Saturday, November 03, 2007

Can You Hear Me ?!

"I desperately wanted to be an ambassador to the Middle East because I never saw anybody who spoke my language on TV". With this line, Omid Djalili, the British-Iranian comedian, simply summarises the entire issue. It's the media. Most of what non-Muslims know about Islam and the Islamic world comes from biased media that shows what it wants to show and hides what it wants hide. Those who seek the Truth must search for it from its true sources. And here is where the blessing of being bilingual reveals its utmost importance. Here is where the responsibility of English-speaking Muslims lie.

I believe that those who truly hate Islam are a minority and that most non-Muslims have a mistaken perception about Islam. That is why I meant to post these two videos together. The first is an excerpt from a lecture by Moez Masoud, an Egyptian Muslim, that was a part of a conference entitled "The Search for Mutual Understanding". In the second tape, Omid Djalili, and after laughing a bit with circumcision, talks about biased media.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

To Anonymous Who Continues To Insult...

This is a short note to the anonymous reader who posts insult on my blog. I have added a detailed comment. Its in the comment area of the topic "To Settle The Korean Issue". If you wish to comment, please do it there because I will delete this short note when you read my reply. Thank You.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

To Settle The Korean Issue...

During Ramadan, I had the chance to catch some breath amidst this boisterous world that we have come to live in and contemplate on some of the replies that I have received in numerous forums concerning the apology to Korea. From warm appreciations to indirect accusations of being a Korean undercover agent, the responses were numerous. I thought of selling my Korean-made car so that it might not be considered a bribe from the Korean embassy which I haven't had the honour of visiting it because the last time my eyes caught sight of the Korean flag was during the 2002 World Cup.
The message I wanted to send via the apology was that there are voices in the Muslim world that consider what Taliban did a crime. I failed to find any line, any sentence, any dictum in Islamic jurisprudence that allows the murder of missonaries. But then the way in which Taliban chose to end the whole hostage situation clearly proved, without doubt, that their intentions were not wholly holy and for the sake of Islam.
To those who said that nobody apologises when Muslims are killed everywhere, I reply by a single sentence from one of Anthony Quinn's best movies "Omar El-Mokhtar" (the famous Libyan revolutionist): "They are not a role model for us."
And as for the anonymous person who left a comment here and called me Doctor "Battil" which for those who do not speak Arabic means "false or fake", the prominent Muslim scholar Imam El-Shafie once said: "Whenever I entered a debate, I asked God to show the Truth by my adversary's hands so that I would follow it."
I seek the Truth and on whosoever's side it is, I shall follow it.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Apologising To Korea...

I think I have to temporarily interrupt the series of articles I have started. I could not stop myself from briefly commenting on the current situation.
We owe these people an apology. We, as Muslims, owe the Koreans an apology for the murder of the hostages in Afghanistan. This has nothing to do with Islam. The kidnappers are a fanatic group who would have commited the same atrocities had they been members of any other religion.
Added to that, I am disgusted at the doubtful silence of the Arab nations. What Taliban has commited has insulted Muslims more than any Danish cartoonist has ever done. When will we wake up to the true essence of our wonderful religion.
The Holy Quran, Chapter 60, Verses 8 and 9
[8] Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just.
[9] Allah only forbids you, with regard to those who fight you for (your) Faith, and drive you out, of your homes, and support (others) in driving you out, from turning to them (for friendship and protection). It is such as turn to them (in these circumstances), that do wrong.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Outstanding Arabs: Farouk El-Baz

From the Boston University Website...
Dr. Farouk El-Baz is Research Professor and Director of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University, Boston MA, U.S.A. He is Adjunct Professor of Geology at the Faculty of Science, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt. He is also a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Geological Society of America Foundation, Boulder CO.
He was born on 1 January 1938 in the Nile Delta town of Zagazig. Twenty years later, he received a B.Sc. in chemistry and geology from Ain Shams University, followed by a scholarship for graduate study. In 1961, he received a M.S. degree in geology from the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy; his performance won him membership in the honorary society of Sigma Xi. In 1964 he received a Ph.D. in geology from the University of Missouri after conducting research in 1962-1963 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge MA. In 1989, he received an Honorary Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) degree from the New England College, Henniker NH.
From 1967 to 1972, Dr. El-Baz participated in the Apollo Program as Supervisor of Lunar Science Planning at Bellcomm Inc., a division of AT&T that conducted systems analysis for NASA Headquarters in Washington DC. During these six years, he was Secretary of the Landing Site Selection Committee for the Apollo missions to the Moon, Principal Investigator of Visual Observations and Photography, and Chairman of the Astronaut Training Group. His outstanding teaching abilities were confirmed by the Apollo astronauts. While circling the Moon for the first time during Apollo mission 15, Alfred Worden said, "After the King's [Farouk's nickname] training, I feel like I've been here before."

Surrounded by Apollo Command Module Pilots (from left): Michael Collins (Apollo 11), Richard Gordon (Apollo 12), Stuart Roosa (Apollo 14), and Alfred Worden (Apollo 15) at a 1994 "Salute to Apollo" in Oshkosh, Wisconsin

During the Apollo years, Dr. El-Baz joined NASA officials in briefing members of the press on the results of the lunar missions. His appeal rested in a unique ability to simplify complex issues in clear, succinct and easily understood words. His remarks on the scientific accomplishments were regularly quoted by the media during the Apollo missions.

In Episode 10 ("Galileo Was Right") of the TV series "From the Earth to the Moon," produced by Tom Hanks for HBO, his role in the training of the Apollo astronauts was featured in a segment entitled: "The Brain of Farouk El-Baz." In his honor, the popular television program "Star Trek: The Next Generation" featured a shuttle craft named "El-Baz."

Star Trek's shuttle "El-Baz"

In 1973, NASA selected him as Principal Investigator of the Earth Observations and Photography Experiment on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP), the first joint American-Soviet space mission of July 1975. Emphasis was placed on photographing arid environments, particularly the Great Sahara of North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, in addition to other features of the Earth and its oceans. Emphasizing the study of the origin and evolution of arid landscapes, he collected field data during visits to every major desert in the world. One of his significant journeys took place, soon after the United States and China had normalized relations in 1979, when he coordinated the first visit by American scientists to deserts in northwestern China. The six-week journey was chronicled in National Geographic and the Explorers Journal. His research on the origin and evolution of the desert resulted in his election as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Dr. El-Baz served his native land as Science Advisor to the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat from 1978 to 1981. Because of population growth and the attendant food requirements, Sadat believed that Egyptians should not continue to be confined within the Nile Valley and must reclaim more land from the desert.

First meeting with the late Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt, in 1974

His desert research, spanning over 25 years, helped in dispelling the public misconception that deserts were man-made and explained how arid lands originated and evolved in response to global climatic variations. His research methods are now commonly replicated in desert studies throughout the world.

Throughout his career, Dr. El-Baz has succeeded in conveying the excitement of scientific research and the importance of using advanced technology. One of his efforts resolved the 1995 controversy about the crowd size in Washington DC's "Million Man March". He estimated the number of participants in the march using the same computer techniques applied to counting sand dunes in the desert.

The Boston University "Million Man March" counting team
He is an accomplished author or editor of twelve books, including Say it in Arabic, The Moon as Viewed by Lunar Orbiter, Apollo Over the Moon, Egypt as Seen by Landsat, Deserts and Arid Lands, The Gulf War and the Environment, and Atlas of the State of Kuwait from Satellite Images. He has contributed over 200 scientific papers to professional journals, supervised numerous graduate students, and lectured in academic institutions and research centers worldwide.
In 1999, the Geological Society of America (GSA) established the "Farouk El-Baz Award for Desert Research," an annual award aimed at encouraging excellence in arid land studies.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Outstanding Arabs: Ahmed Zewail

Ahmed Zewail is presently the Linus Pauling Chair Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Physics, and the Director of the Physical Biology Center for UST and the NSF Laboratory for Molecular Sciences (LMS) at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, U.S.A. Professor Zewail was awarded the 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his pioneering developments in the field of femtoscience, making it possible to observe the movement of the individual atoms in a femtosecond, a split second that is a millionth of a billionth of a second. Such a development—which literally changed our view of the dynamics of matter—holds great promise in the areas of technology and life sciences. Currently his research interests include the biological sciences, the complexity of molecular function and the new development of ultrafast diffraction for the imaging of transient structures in space and time with atomic-scale resolution. Professor Zewail was educated in Egypt, received his B.S. (with first class honors) and M.S. from Alexandria University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. His honors include more than 100 Prizes and Awards, Orders of Merit, and Orders of States from around the world. These include the Robert A. Welch Prize, Wolf Prize, King Faisal Prize, Benjamin Franklin Medal, Peter Debye Award, and the E. O. Lawrence Award. From Egypt he received the Order of the Grand Collar of the Nile, the highest state honor, and postage stamps were issued to honor his contributions to science and humanity. He holds honorary degrees in the sciences, arts, philosophy, law, medicine, and literature from universities and institutions around the world including the U.S.A., England, Switzerland, Egypt, Belgium, Australia, Canada, India, Italy, Scotland, Korea, Sweden, France, China, Mexico, Ireland, Japan, Lebanon, and Argentina. He is an elected member of national and international academies and societies, including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Achievement, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the European Academy of Arts, Sciences, and Humanities, the Royal Society of London, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Sciences of Malaysia, and the French Academy of Sciences. He is on the Board of Trustees and Board of Directors of national and international foundations and universities, and holds the Honorary Chair at the United Nations University. Professor Zewail is renowned for his public lectures and writings encompassing science and technology, education and world affairs, and for his tireless efforts to help the population of the have-nots. In his recent biography Voyage through Time—Walks of Life to the Nobel Prize, he gives an exposé of his life and work until the receipt of the Nobel Prize, and he suggests a concrete course of action for the world of the have-nots and for a new vision of world order. Ahmed Zewail is the father of four children and lives in California.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Outstanding Arabs: Sir Magdi Yacoub

From the Royal Society website...
Sir Magdi Yacoub has performed more transplants than any other surgeon in the world and, as a scientist, his interest in the basic mechanisms of heart structure and function in health and disease has improved transplant surgery and patient care. He retired from the NHS in September 2001, but continues to head his research programme at Harefield Hospital, which he sees as, "treating patients in the future." Why did the society award this fellowship? Magdi Yacoub was born and raised in Cairo where he qualified as a doctor in 1957. He came to Britain in 1962 and since then has made pioneering strides in cardiothoracic surgery. Under his leadership, Harefield Hospital became the countrys leading transplant centre, performing over 200 operations a year. Madgi specialised in working with children with congenital heart defects and performed complex operations on the tiny hearts of babies in their first days of life. In a career spanning over four Decades, Magdi has been involved in a number of firsts. He was involved in the first UK heart transplant, performed the first UK live lobe lung transplant and the first ever domino operation, in which one patient with failing lungs is given a new heart and lungs, with a second patient receiving the first patients fully functioning heart.He has always combined surgical work with scientific research, which he sees it as the key to improving patient care and ultimately eliminating heart disease. He has conducted research looking into organ rejection after transplantation and is working to produce a tissue-engineered aortic heart valve."Operating on patients with heart disease leads you to ask, why did this organ go wrong in the first place and what can we learn about the basic mechanisms of the heart that can help us understand heart failure better," says Magdi. "There is a massive amount of heart disease in this country and elsewhere - we are almost flooded - wouldnt it be great if we could abolish it completely or, at least, reduce the numbers of people affected. My research is driven by the search to find answers to patients problems. The more you look into a problem, like heart failure, the more you find. Heart transplants were regarded as pie in the sky when I started out in medicine. Research is a chance to help treat the patients of the future." How has this work helped society? Magdi Yacoub's work is all about helping people live longer and more fulfilling lives and describes "seeing people who are not well getting so much better" as the most satisfying part of his job. His strong sense of social responsibility led him to establish the Chain of Hope charity, which sends teams of medics to the developing world to treat children suffering from heart disease free of charge. With all the knowledge we have scientifically, we have a responsibility to help," he says. Magdi is personally involved in the charitys missions and had just returned from Mozambique.As well as treating children, the charity works to build up developing countries capacity to do operations and carry out research themselves. It helped to establish Maputo Heart Institute in Mozambique, which is training doctors and investigating how to treat EMS, a neglected heart disease. This disease affects up to 15% of children and young adults and leads to premature death. The charity also brings promising doctors from Mozambique to the UK for further training. Similarly 2 or 3 children from the developing world come to London for operations each month."The charity is called a Chain of Hope, because of the chain of people involved in the work we do - people donating money, people acting as host families for children and people donating their medical expertise," Magdi says.
What current areas of research are being investigated?
Magdi's team of 75 scientists are looking at new ways they can improve heart transplantation and repair damaged hearts. One emerging area is stem cell research. Stem cells are the master cells of the body and have the ability to develop into specific kinds of cells, such as heart cells. Magdi hopes that they can be used to help the damaged heart regenerate itself and repair its own function. Currently, his team is creating heart cells in the lab. Clinical trials will be needed before stem cells can be a part of everyday patient care, but nevertheless believes that the future for this technology, "could be near".He is also researching techniques to improve the treatment of valvular heart disease. Valves guard the entrances and exits of the two pumping chambers of the heart and a disease or damaged valve can affect the flow of blood and put extra strain on the heart. Magdi is exploring whether tissue engineering can be used to restore valve function.Some work is also being carried out on xenotransplantation. However, Magdi has reservations about this area. "There are still ethical problems about the risk of introducing new infections, which could be very dangerous to mankind," he says. "There is a type of virus in the genome of the pig that could have a devastating impact if it crossed over to humans." Why did you decide to get involved in the Royal Societys Role Models project? Magdi is chairing a Royal Society project looking at how effective role models are in changing young people's view about science and engineering. The aim of project is to produce best practice guidelines and advice for organizations working in science education."I got involved in this project because Im conscious of the fact there is massive amount of intellect that we need to look after. I know from interacting with young researchers in my own lab, how excited and enthused young people can be about science. This enthusiasm needs to be encouraged as it contributes to the intellectual power in the community."Indeed, Magdi knows first-hand how experiences early in life can make a lasting impression. He decided to become a heart surgeon as a young boy. His father was a general surgeon in Egypt and he was fascinated by the work he did. He was drawn to heart surgery, in particular, after the death of his youngest aunt - who died of mitral stenosis (a narrowing of the heart valve), a correctable heart condition."She was very young, in her twenties, and I was left with the impression that she didnt need to die. This motivated me to become a heart surgeon," he says. Fellowship Sir Magdi was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1999. He is currently Chair of the Role Models Project. He was knighted in 1992 by HM Queen Elizabeth II. Professor Yacoub is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians and Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine. He holds honorary degrees from Brunel University, Cardiff University, The University of Loughborough, University of Middlesex and also from the University of Lund in Sweden. He holds honorary posts in Lahore, Pakistan and University of Siena, Italy. He has received many awards and distinctions among which the Clement Prize Thomas Award of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1989. In 1999 he was elected a Fellow of The Royal Society and presented with the Lifetime Outstanding Achievement Award in recognition of his contribution to Medicine by the Right Hon. Frank Dobson, MP,Secretary of State for Health. In April 2004 he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement award by the International Society for Heart & Lung Transplantation. A touching story... courtesy of the BBC website 13 April 2006 Heart transplant reversed
Hannah Clark with Sir Magdi Yacoub
A young girl has had her donor heart removed and her own heart replaced and restarted in a pioneering operation ten years after her original transplant. Doctors at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital acted after discovering the body of 12-year-old Hannah Clark was rejecting her donor heart. Retired coronary specialist Sir Magdi Yacoub advised the surgeons who removed it and reconnected the dormant heart. Hannah, from Mountain Ash in south Wales, left hospital after five days.

The ground-breaking surgery was carried out on 20 February. Sir Magdi performed Hannah's original heart transplant when she was two.

Heart size doubled

The original operation saved her life because she had cardiomyopathy, which made her heart double the size it should have been and therefore likely to give out within a year.

Experts said a modern approach to the problem would see the enlarged heart removed to rest, while a mechanical heart took over its job temporarily.

Her donor heart worked fine until last November when a routine check-up showed that her body was rejecting it.

Hannah's mother, Elizabeth Clark, said the operation, which had been expected to take at least eight hours, was finished in just four.

The piggy-back heart allowed the patient's own heart to take a rest
Professor Peter Weissberg

She said: "They also said she could be in intensive care for weeks, maybe months - they just didn't know because it was the first time it had been done.

"Hannah recovered so well she was able to come home within five days.

"Nobody thought she would be like she is now.

"She is just enjoying her life and is looking forward to going back to school after Easter."

Cancer battle

Following the operation, Hannah no longer needs to take strong anti-rejection drugs she had to take with the donor heart.

She has also battled lymph cancer in recent years but is now in remission following a successful course of chemotherapy in January.

Hannah Clark
Hannah Clark is looking forward to going back to school

Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, described the operation as "an exciting and important event".

He said: "Surgeons have thought for some time that if a heart is failing because of acute inflammation, it might be able to recover if rested.

"This seems to be exactly what has happened in this case.

"The piggy-back heart allowed the patient's own heart to take a rest.

'Surprising result'

"Today the approach would be to implant a mechanical heart, called a ventricular assist device, to take over the work of the inflamed heart in the hope that the heart will recover and the device can be taken out after a few months.

"Ten years ago such devices were not sufficiently reliable, which is why Hannah received a donor heart alongside her own.

"This is a great example of how a pioneering and novel approach to a medical problem can lead to surprising results that tell us a lot about how some heart diseases progress.

"In the past, patients with inflamed hearts either died or were transplanted before their own hearts had any chance of recovery."

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People

This is just a small sample from the tons of movies that portray us Arabs negatively. When will the world "unlearn their prejudices against Arabs?" Most of what reaches the world about Islam and the Arabs is either clear lies or over-exaggerations of the faulty actions of a handful that are used to tag an entire nation. I am hoping that it is through websites, such as this one, that the true image of Islam is presented. Therefore, I shall be posting a series of articles entitled "Outstanding Arabs" in which I intend to shed some light on several Arab individuals whose brilliant achievements in different fields have changed humanity. Just trying to change the sterotypical category in which we Arabs are placed.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The First Egyptian On Everest !!

On May 17th 2007, 28 year old, Omar Samra, became the first Egyptian to climb Mount Everest!! Here is the last interview with him before he performed the daunting task... Education MBA, London Business School 2007 Climbing & expedition experience Omar climbed his first mountain in Switzerland at the age of 16. Having grown up in Cairo, it was also the first time he saw snow! Since then he has climbed and trekked extensively in the Himalayas, Alps, Andean, Patagonian and Central American mountain ranges. Omar hopes to become the first Egyptian to summit Mount Everest. Other expeditions include traversing the Costa Rican jungle in 3 weeks, cycling across the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and around Andalusia in Spain. As a keen traveller, Omar has been to over 35 different countries and published writing about his travelling experiences in both English and Arabic. ( Other interests and hobbies? Other interests include Scuba Diving (Advanced Diver qualified) and Basketball where he won several gold and silver medals in national and collegiate tournaments across Egypt and the UK. Omar is also a keen writer and is in the process of writing a book. What makes you want to climb Everest? Climbing Everest has been a dream of mine for as long as I've known of its existence. I am passionate about climbing and feel drawn to the mountains. I am always amazed how such a beautiful and peaceful place can also be so forbidding. Climbing a big mountain like Everest is a victory against the weakness of the mind and body. Being Egyptian, it is quite unusual to be a climber. Egypt is a flat country that has almost never seen snow. To accomplish such a feat is a much a personal goal as it is out of a sense of pride for my country and being the first Egyptian. Having said all this, undoubtedly the best part will be if we all make it as a team as the feeling of triumph will be ten-fold. What skills will you bring to the team? Having spent extended periods of time in remote places and on various expeditions and climbs around the world, I hope to bring a good balance between remaining calm in adversity and helping the team remain motivated and together on the mountain. What motivates or inspires you generally? Challenging the normal ways of doing things and myself. What do you think will be the hardest part of climbing Everest? Staying mentally strong and motivated as well as physically healthy for the duration of the climb. Also, the long summit day climb after only a few hours rest climbing from camp 3 to camp 4. What do you think you will miss the most during the 10 weeks on Everest? My appetite, a hot shower, a soft mattress and OXYGEN! But above everything I will miss my girlfriend Luisa who has been a source of strength for me on this journey, and my dad, brother (who will be joining me on the trek in) and my mother who has also been a tremendous support.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Funniest Muslims Alive...!!

"You can't be a Muslim and a terrorist at the same time"

Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Letter To Muslim, Christian And Jewish Believers

Muslim, Christian and Jewish believers, Let’s Act All Together for Love, Peace and Brotherhood and Respect the Faiths. All prophets are very beautiful people. Their disposition, morals and attitudes are excellent. They are exemplary people, who are most respected and loved. Any inappropriate language directed towards them disturbs all believers. It is unreasonable to explain away any such contrary attitudes by the excuses of “democracy” or “tolerance.” From the Qur’an, as well as the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, we know that throughout history, unbelievers seemed to mock and slander God’s blessed messengers. However, the Qur’an foretells the miserable end of those who try to ridicule God’s messengers, with these words: “Messengers before you were also mocked, but those who jeered were engulfed by what they mocked.” (Qur’an, 6: 10) Jesus (peace be upon him) is also one of the Islamic prophets highly praised in the Qur’an. In one verse, the Qur’an states that people also attempted to mock Jesus (pbuh) in the time of our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace): When an example is made of the son of Mary [Jesus], your people laugh uproariously. (Qur’an, 43: 57) From the Hebrew Bible, the holy book of the Jews, we learn that Prophets Elijah, Moses, Job and many other prophets (peace be upon them all) met similar attitudes from the people they addressed. As it is stated: But they mocked God's messengers, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against His people and there was no remedy. (2 Chronicles 36: 16) Whom are you mocking? At whom do you sneer and stick out your tongue? . . . In the light of these things, should I relent? (Isaiah 57: 4, 6) Likewise, the hostile manner of the unbelievers to God's blessed messenger Jesus (pbuh) is related in the New Testament in these terms: He [Jesus] will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him... (Luke 18: 32) For further information, please visit Harun Yahya / Global Publishing

Friday, February 16, 2007

Who adopted Moses ?

From "Moses and Akhenaten" By Ahmed Osman Many websites claim that there is a contradiction between the Quran and Egyptology concerning the person who adopted Moses. The Quran says that it was Pharaoh's queen while the books of Egyptology, based on the Old Testament, mention the Pharaoh's daughter. I believe the following lines can help solve the riddle. A Philological Explanation The word for 'daughter' and the word for 'house' were written identically b_t in early Hebrew and open to misconstruction by anyone not familiar with the Egyptian usage. To an Egyptian the word 'house' was also used -and indeed, still is- to signify a wife: to a Hebrew it meant either 'house' in the sense of a building or 'household'. Later, both Hebrew and the language of Ancient Egypt, which had no written vowels, began to use some consonants like y to indicate long vowels. Thus,for example, we find a slightly different spelling for b_t Phar'a in the Book of Genesis account of events when Jacob, the father of Joseph, died. Joseph, who wanted permission to take him back to Canaan for burial, did not speak to the king directly but to the b_y_t Phar'a , the Hebrew word signifying 'the house of Pharaoh': 'And when the days of his mourning were past, Joseph spake unto the house of Pharaoh, saying, if now I have found grace in your eyes, speak I pray you, in the ears of Pharaoh...' (Genesis 50:4). 'Pharaoh' itself means 'the great house'. Thus b_y_t Phar'a signifies the 'house of the great house', which in the Egyptian sense would mean the queen whose intercession he sought in the matter of his father's burial. There is an example of similar usage earlier in the Book of Genesis when the brothers who had earlier sold Joseph into slavery made their second trip to Egypt at a time of famine. On this occasion Joseph revealed his true identity and was so moved that he 'wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard' (Genesis 45:2). This had been construed as meaning that Joseph's weeping was so loud that it was audible in the royal palace, but I interpret it as meaning that the queen heard the news of his brother's arrival. In this second example the word used is again b_y_t Phar'a. However, in the Book of Exodus, where we have the story of the Pharaoh's daughter going down to bathe, finding the Hebrew child in the rushes and later adopting him, the y is absent and we have simply b_t Phar'a. My suspicion was that during the ninth century BC, the early stages of written Hebrew when the Old Testament was given permanent form, all three words had been written in this way, referring in each instance to the 'house of Pharaoh', the reigning queen and the y in the two Genesis references had been added late, as written Hebrew developed, because the scribe did not understand the special Egyptian usage of the word 'house'. This, while not easy to establish, proved to be the case. The Hebrew Masoretic text we have now goes back only to around the tenth century AD and could not throw any light on the matter. Nor could sections of the Old Testament found in the caves of Qumran, near the Dead Sea, some of which belong to the second century BC. Confirmation was eventually provided by the Moabite Stone. This black basalt inscribed stone was left by Mesha, King of Moab, at Dhiban (biblical Dibon, to the east of the Dead Sea) to commemorate his revolt against Israel and his subsequent rebuilding of many towns ( II Kings, 3:4-5). This stone was found by the Revd F.Klein, a German missionary working with the Church Missionary Society, on 19 August 1868 and is now in the Louvre in Paris. The inscription refers to the triumph of ' Mesha, ben Chemosh, King Of Moab', whose father reigned over Moab for thirty years. he tells how he (Mesha) threw off the yoke of Israel and honoured his god, Chemosh.

The Moabite Stone

According to the American archaeologist James B.Pritchard, a professor at t6he University of Pennsylvania; ' The date of the Mesha Stone is fixed roughly by the reference to Mesha, King of Moab, in II Kings 3:4-5, after 849 BC. However, since the contents of the stela point to a date toward the end of the king's reign, it seems probable that it should be placed between 840 and 820, perhaps about 830 BC in round numbers'. The text reads: 'I [am] Mesha, son of Chemosh...King of Moab... I said to all the people:" Let each of you make a cistern for himself in his house."' The inscription, written in the Semitic language used for writing at the time by the Jews of Israel, confirms that the word for house was then written simply b_t, without the the insertion of y and was the same word as daughter. This is also true of the way it was written in the Phoenician language. When 'house' and 'daughter' were written identically there was no cause to differentiate between them. The situation changed when development of the Hebrew language made it possible to alter the spelling slightly to give two different words. The scribes then found themselves in a dilemma, based on the ignorance of the fact that 'house' had the Egyptian meaning 'wife'. It now becomes clear what has happened. If the word simply meant 'house' or 'household', it made sense that Joseph approached the house of Pharaoh on the subject of his father's funeral and that his weeping could be heard in the king's house, but it made no sense at all to suggest that the whole of the king;s household had come 'down to wash herself at the river' (Exodus, 2:5) or had become the mother to the child. The scribe therefore decided in the Exodus reference to retain the alternative meaning of 'daughter' whereas it, too, should have been changed to 'house', signifying the wife of Pharaoh, his queen. Oh, and by the way, it almost impossible that the 'Egyptian' queen would give her adopted son, a name derived from a Hebrew root, even if she had been sure that he is a Hebrew child.( drawn out of water means moshe i.e mose in Hebrew). "Mose" in ancient Egyptian language means "son" and the name formula god+mose was common e.g Amen mose = Amen + Mose= son of Amun Thut mose = Thut + Mose = son of Thut Ramose= Ra + Mose =son of Re They did not give a "real name" for the child whom they drew out of the water, they just called him 'the son" i.e "Mose".

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Visiting President !! (Part 4)

When the date of the visit was due, anyone who had anything to do with politics looked with contempt at Dr.Fareed's constant hopping between the two Presidents as he played the roles of the translator and the jovial companion. They all pitied the man whom they knew will be thrown out of the government, the moment the visiting President leaves the country, because he bet all his money on the wrong President. He focused solely on the past that will eventually cease to exist and ignored the inevitable and upcoming future. During the side talks of political gossip, everyone wondered how this man, who was gifted with such wit, was not able to read the present correctly and, thus, make the right decisions. "That is typical of humans when they consider themselves invincible. He is, after all, a human. He can not win everything. Soon he will fall and the daggers will be pointed at him from every direction. He has forgotten that President Junior has a fatal sting ! He is heartless ! There will come a day when the country will miss the good old days when his father was alive. At least he had a sense of humour. Dr.Fareed will never know what hit him." Dr.Fareed was never hit. On the contrary, he reached the climax of his ascent on the very first day of the visit by that nostalgic tour he had prepared for the visiting President and his wife that filled the major country's citizens with joy when the pictures of the couple hugging each other on a Nile boat, led by Dr.Fareed himself, were published, in which Dr.Fareed was smiling not only out of his success in stabilizing the relationship between both countries, guaranteeing the greatest amount of financial aids to the country, silencing the ignorant voices of the opposition and the human rights organisations but also out of his miraculous success in pumping a seemingly-impossible love back into the hearts of the old couple. The removal of Itidal's dancing section from the welcome ceremony was officially announced, in order to prevent the reappearance of any tension between the visiting President and his wife, and was replaced by a modest folklore dancing section and a song performed by the President's Children Chorus; a group that has become to the entertainment business as the President's personal bodyguards are to the rest of the army. Whenever the visiting President would leave the ceremony to go to the toilet, the President would remind him jokingly how he warned him, during dinner, about the country's national delicacy; the Felafel, that the visiting President immediately ordered the moment he sat at the dinner table. Dr.Fareed did not abide by the rules of honest translation when the President said : " You asked for it. I told you that your stomach is not up for it". Instead, he translated it into a much gentler phrase: "The President wants to know if you would like us to behead the Felafel guy". The visiting President laughed as he walked to the toilet accompanied by his bodyguards and Dr.Fareed who insisted on having the privilege. Nobody could have expected that the three times in which the visiting President went to the toliet, each lasting for about seven to ten minutes, had nothing to do with the Felafel but with Itidal who performed for him, on the specially-prepared toilet floor, while he insisted on thrusting his head between her breasts that the days have helped increase in length, width and depth. Similarly, nobody expected that it was this diabolical idea of Dr.Fareed's that was enough to make him deserve the finest of the major country's medals a few months later. On the second and final day of the visit, and during the farewell press conference, Dr.Fareed's adversaries nearly danced with joy when they saw the President's son ignore Dr.Fareed's hand when he went to greet him. It was obvious that Dr.Fareed was living the last of his happy days and that tomorrow the country will witness the departure of both the visiting President's airplane from the country's airport and Dr.Fareed's name from the country's political scene. They looked at Fareed, without the Doctor now, with despise as he was trying to describe the scene as a joke from the President's son and they were surprised at his ability to control his fear and horror from an event that would have led anyone else to immediately pee in his pants and grovel at the President's son's feet asking for forgiveness. Nobody thought that Dr.Fareed's laughter was not fake but actually emerging from the bottom of his heart. If they knew, it would have been they who would grovel at Dr.Fareed's feet asking for forgiveness for all the times they spent mocking him. In the middle of the visiting President's speech came the surprise that not even President Senior saw coming. Everyone expected that the visiting President would commence his speech by praising the country's President for his wise leadership of the enormous reformation plans and everyone expected that he will praise the state of democracy in the country that has become a model to be followed in the entire region but nobody expected that the visiting President's speech would explode into a tirade of criticism on the opposition's newspapers that refuse to accept the presence of the President's son in the political arena claiming that his father is preparing him for succession. Silence prevailed as the audience saw the visiting President reveal, from within the stack of papers he had in front of him, a big golden folder which he waved in front of everyone saying : " My dear friend Dr.Fareed has sent me a folder containing the achievements that your Excellency's son has helped in accomplishment which are achievements that do not only concern reforms within the ruling Party or important theoretical and strategic discussions but extend to field visits to several parts of the country. I was very touched by the warm welcome he had received from the simple citizens of this country. I have read a summary of the ideas that your Excellency's son has suggested, gratefully translated by my friend Dr.Fareed of course, and I clearly see that you, your Excellency, are the main source of inspiration for your son and I would like to make it clear how I am proud of him and at the same time astonished how he is sometimes underestimated. I myself have not been blessed by the gift of having a son of my own but I assure you that if I had a son like your Excellency's, I would not spare moment till I see him comfortably seated on my country's throne". Nobody had not yet awoken from the intensity of the blow when Dr.Fareed, the only sober person in the audience now, suddenly stood up applauding loudly and, with eyes full of love and affection, stared at the President's son who could not yet conceive what he had just heard and was thinking about the embarrassing situation he might be put in if the visiting President asked him to elaborate on any of those ideas that that phony Fareed wrote. When the entire hall was loud with applaud witnessing country's President wipe a tear off his cheeks, crossing the chairs to hug and kiss his son and presenting him to the visiting President to do the same, President Junior's mind was busy in self-reprimand when he saw tears of joy flow from Dr.Fareed's eyes who was crying like a mother on her only son's graduation day. President Junior, that nickname will no longer be made fun of now that he has received this unprecedented international certificate of approval, could not believe how he did not see the amount of love that Dr.Fareed secretly had for him and how enormous his loss would have been if he had listened to the advice of those ungrateful enemies of Dr.Fareed. The visiting President was busy trying to devise a method by which he can take Itidal back to his country without the knowledge of his wife. The President was waiting for the end of the ceremony to pat Dr.Fareed on the back with his usual "You son of a...How did you do it ?". The only person in the crowd who was not thinking about the tremendous event that had just occurred was Dr.Fareed himself, not only because he had previously envisioned everything in his imagination but because he was busy thinking about what he had to prepare for the next golden folder.
The End

Arab Rulers...The Likes Of This Bloke !!

No, this is not a visual trick of some sort. This is King Abdullah of Jordan dressed in the famous Star Trek uniform !! Egyptian Blogger, Wael Abbas, posted this video exerpt of the popular American show Star Trek-Voyager (episode 35: Investigations - 1995 to be exact) . It shows King Abdullah, probably not king by then, playing a silent role as one of the crew members. Impressive !! King Abdullah, a member in an American serial. But on second thought, aren't all the Arab rulers ?!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Visiting President !! (Part 3)

Minutes later the opposition leader was completely forgotten when Dr.Fareed presented a golden folder to the major country's delegate as a simple gift from his country apologising for the inconvenience caused by the opposition leaders demonic ideas; a gift which filled the eyes of the visiting President and his wife with tears in a time in which several close acquaintances to the visiting President swore that nothing brought them closer as this gift did. "You son of a ...." said the President to Dr.Fareed when he flipped through the pages of the folder before sending it to the major country's delegate. The golden folder was more than just a folder. It was actually a personal diary that was filled with many sweet memories. Pictures of the villa where the visiting President and his wife lived when he was an ambassador, his favourite yacht that he used to rent for his romantic Nile cruises with his wife, his favourite historic mosque, the church that he repeatedly visited in the country's finest Christian quarter, even his personal Egyptian chef. Everything that was related to the three years in which the visiting President spent in the country was present inside that folder that Dr.Fareed prepared with the help of a special handpicked team. "Make me a folder like that Fareed. My wife will be very pleased". The President, who did not possess the ability of being easily surprised, was fascinated, to the extent that he could not use his lovable insults, when Dr.Fareed stood up, gave a theatrical bow and presented to him another golden folder with pictures of the President and his wife who spent several nights after that in reminiscence, with the children, about when and where each and every picture was taken. Dr.Fareed skyrocketed. Nobody could stop his ascent. His colleagues were not able to catch up with his diabolical mind. They began to curse the day in which the visiting President decided to visit the country for if it had not been for that day, Dr.Fareed might not have reached his current status. The Ministers' secretaries spent some rough time thanks to "that damned Dr.Fareed". Each Minister gathered his subordinates and showered them with insults; the likes of "you useless, mindless blokes !! What good ever comes out of you or out of the loads of money spent on you if you can not do anything right, you mother....?!" Even the editors of the state-owned newspapers fell in a dilemma. Their traditional methods of kissing the President's butt have become obsolete compared to the waves of hypocritical creativity that Dr.Fareed help spread across Egypt. The Editor-In-Chief of the second largest state-owned newspaper held an article-writing competition between young columnists to find the best creative idea to be published in light if the Presidential visit. The competition led to a disaster when the newspaper published a two-page article on " the ideas that the visiting President learnt from the wisdom of our President during the years he spent as an ambassador while our President, may God Make him live longer so that we may prosper during his reign, was still in his early ruling years." The young columnist spent a week in research to prove that all of the political, social and economic advances that occurred in the major country were inspired by the thoughts, speeches and strategies of "our great President" and ended his lengthy article by a quote from the visiting President in which he describes how the world needs "our President, may God Protect him". The columnist did not finish his first day in the all expenses paid vacation at the coastal resort. The newspaper's Board summoned him immediately and gave him the sack because his damned article led to a crisis between both countries that nearly led the visiting President to cancel his visit especially after another newspaper questioned, on its first page, whether the aim behind the President's visit was to thank the real President who was ruling the major country.

A day after that, the same newspaper mentioned that a strong rumour is circulating that the visiting President decided to cancel the visit and that he refused to talk with his counterpart who offered to permanently close the newspaper as a sign of his utter refusal of every word that was published. Only Dr.Fareed could save the day.

The next day, every newspaper published an interview done by a journalist from the major country who was one of Dr.Fareed's colleagues during his scholarship and whom Dr.Fareed summoned immediately by a private plane. There was a folder waiting for him when he arrived that contained questions concerning the special relationship that bounded between the two friend Presidents and how the major country's President was the source of inspiration behind many of the decisions that were taken in the country and he provided the support in the reform plans that the country had witnessed in the past years. Of course the folder did not only contain questions. It also contained the answers that Dr.Fareed spent several nights preparing with the researchers of the only Strategic Studies Centre in the country. Once again, thanks to Dr.Fareed, things went smoothly.

Dr.Fareed's enemies had no other way to stop his ascent but to take a decisive action, as their previous choice of waiting till the visit ends has become useless. They might find him Prime Minister or leading a military coup by the time the visit ended. Therefore, they had to screw him and screw him now. He did not leave a flaw behind him except for the fact that he always sought the pleasure of the President and ignored the forthcoming successor who was the one who first put him on his current track.

They, therefore, decided to leave Dr.Fareed drowning in his euphoria, from the President's constant pleasure and from those phone calls that he would end in the military style "Yes, sir", and spent their filling the mind of President Junior, as the citizens called him, with hatred and despise against Dr.Fareed who did not bother to thank the real caregiver who it if were not for him, he would have remained a nobody. And into a nobody, he must return.

To Be Continued...

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The "Unfortunate" Joke...

After the invasion of Iraq, the American President decided to celebrate by inviting the Presidents of the world to a football match on the banks of the Iraqi river, the Furat. During the match, the ball fell into the river. The American President ordered an American soldier to bring the ball but the soldier refused. "The river is full of crocodiles and I want to return to my wife and children in one piece". The British Prime Minister ordered a British soldier to bring the ball but the soldier refused. "The river is full of crocodiles and I want to return to my wife and children in one piece". The Egyptian President ordered an Egyptian soldier to bring the ball. The soldier immediately jumped into the river and after wrestling the crocodiles and recieving an arm injury, he emerged from the river with the ball. The news reporters who were present at the scene raced each other to interview the fearless soldier and when he was asked about the secret behind his courageous act, he replied: "I want to return to my wife and children in one piece!!".

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

No Difference Between Them

Written By : Magdy El-Gallad Translated From Arabic By: Doctor Deen

The author is the editor-in-chief of the Egyptian daily newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm

I never did Like Saddam Hussein nor did I like Iraq during his reign or after the fall of his regime but I have come to hate the United States even more. Not because of the fact that it deliberately humiliated and insulted us, for the umpteenth time, in our most sacred festivals, not because of the fact that it treated an ex-President of an Arab country with such obnoxiousness that made him appear in front of the world as a "sheep" being led to the "slaughterhouse" but because it sent a very clear message to us, Muslims and Arabs, : " We despise you for you are a nation of cattle."

The message was signed by George W. Bush, the rightist extremist, who revealed the truth, willingly or unwillingly, after 9/11 when he clearly announced that is a "Crusade" . And although he and his henchmen repeatedly tried to dilute its repercussions yet what happened Saturday morning proved that it is indeed a Crusade or else what can justify the choice of the timing of the execution on the first day of Eid-ul-Adha [Muslim Festival of Sacrifice] ?

The Americans did not spoil our festival for our lives have run out of festivals. We celebrate in order not to forget that we are Muslims. But the days of "joy and happiness" have disappeared from the houses and streets. How can we be joyful and happy while we live a sour reality created by our rulers for decades with the help of the obscure silence of the crippled Arab citizens?

I never did like Saddam Hussein for he was a tyrant and a dictator yet I wished that he would receive a fair trial in a free country and not under the dictations of the American invasion. I never did like the Arab rulers because they are all similar in essence yet differ in the mode and method. I will neither be sorrowed nor angered if anyone of them is put on trial in the courts of his people for questioning because if a free independent country judges its ruler, it will never perform it in the comic and hilarious way as was done with Saddam and will never hang him during a festival but might even give him a pardon or a short vacation to visit his family because Islam is the religion of peace and tolerance.

In my opinion, the current debate between the Arabs about Saddam deserving the death penalty or not is not the point. It is more serious than that. If the man has led Iraq to a bloody and mysterious destiny, then there are rulers in the region who have committed sins and crimes and have not been held accountable for. If someone says that the Iraqis did not choose their "hanged" President and that they suffered for many years from his oppression and his reign then allow me to say : "And who did choose his ruler with free will?! Which Arab ruler led his country to democracy, collective participation in ruling and stability?". It is the same version of Saddam but with many faces; the same production line for producing Arab kings and rulers.

Do not curse Saddam for he is a legitimate son of a corrupt Arab system and do not show sympathy for him for he has oppressed, killed and destroyed. Just think about the mysterious future and do not believe the dialogue-of-civilisations-mirage because the Americans, and in front of them and behind them the Israelis, repeat it day and night, over and over again: "You are a nation of cattle and you deserve your rulers." And Saddam Hussein was nothing but an old ally and an obedient member of Washington's men who in a moment of political stupidity tried to revolt and was doomed to be sacrificed on Eid-ul-Adha [the Festival of Sacrifice] and that itself is another message to Washington's other men in the region!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Visiting President !! (Part 2)

The next situation that Dr.Fareed met was not as juicy as the previous one; it was a real problem but Dr.Fareed was , as usual, creative and ingenious. Out of the blue, the visiting President asked Dr.Fareed to add to the itinerary a visit to the leader of the country's main opposition party who was sentenced to two years in prison after being found guilty of attempting to murder a poor citizen by his fancy car even though the opposition newspapers discovered that the poor citizen was nothing but a police informant but who said that police informants do not have the right to safely cross the road. Dr.Fareed did not react aggressively when he heard the request from the Head of the visiting President's delegate. He neither stuttered nor hesitated for a while in search for an appropriate reply. He rather laughed out loud then accepted the request swearing by his honour that he himself was about to propose the idea to the visiting President, in order to personally disprove to him the lies that are spread by the reports of the international human rights organisations that claim that the opposition leader was unjustly imprisoned and is maltreated in jail, but he feared that the suggestion would be misunderstood so he spurned the idea but now that he has discovered that his way of thinking resembles that of "our friends in the major country" , he is full of joy. Dr.Fareed's subordinates looked at him in utter amazement without understanding what would force him to say such words while he knows very well that the opposition leader may be having his backed whipped this very instant. The moment the meeting was over they asked him and he replied by a stern sentence (actually most of his sentences have become stern ever since that last phone call from the President) :"Prepare a meeting with the Minister of Internal Affairs and tell him to call the Head of the Prisons Authority." The next day, the country's citizens did not understand why the state-owned newspapers published, on their first pages, the news about an expected visit by the visiting President to the opposition leader in his jail. The second paragraph contained a quotation by Dr.Fareed in which he said that this visit was "our beloved President's idea because our country has nothing to hide". For a whole week, the nation wondered about this sudden democratic quantum leap and how it may be related to the ferocious international campaign calling for more democratic reform. Some even went to the extent of questioning the honesty of the the opposition newspapers that described the brutality by the which the opposition leader was being treated in prison. Those surrounding Dr.Fareed wondered about those repeated phone calls he got on his mobile phone that would make him both stand up with fear and respect and end his sentences with "Yes, sir". His close acquaintances claimed that these calls came from the President himself but everyone knew that " Yes, sir" was Dr.Fareed's way of addressing any of his superiors; and until this moment, they were numerous. A week later, it was clearly evident to all that the "honesty fits" that had struck the government were nothing but a part of Dr.Fareed's demonic plan that elevated him to become the ruling party's man-of-the-hour. The local TV stations interrupted their daily programmes to broadcast this breaking news. " The national security forces have succeeded in foiling a terrorist plot devised by the opposition leader, in his prison, to assassinate the guest President who was supposed to visit him there. The plot was prepared with the help of a number of criminal and political prisoners. The security forces were able to confiscate large numbers of heavy artillery that were smuggled into the prison". Detailed confessions from several detainees were published, the next day, in the newspapers and were broadcast by several satellite channels accompanied by pictures of the opposition leader with the prisoners in many locations inside the prison. Nobody cared about what the opposition newspapers published about this being a complete fabrication and that a deal was made with the prisoners whose life sentences were all decreased to ten years in return for their strict compliance to the plan; a plan that amazed the President when he heard it from Dr.Fareed in the presence of the Minister of Internal Affairs, who refused it when it was initially presented to him and forced Dr.Fareed to take the matter to the highest of levels. The highest of levels told Dr.Fareed, after he finished his presentation: "You son of a...How does that little mind of yours work?! If all of you losers thought the way he did, you would have helped me get rid of those Islamist groups once and for all." Even though the Minister of Internal Affairs was laughing as if he was being praised, and not scorned, yet Dr.Fareed did not miss out on the chance of praising the national security forces for its heroic actions that have always helped stabilise the Egyptian political system; a speech that was cut short by the President by saying: " What? Are you afraid that they might cause you any harm? Don't worry. You are now a part of my personal elite." That was a major event by all means. The last time the President told anyone that he was "part of my personal elite" was to the current Head of Parliament who, during his position as a member in the Legislative Committee fifteen years ago, tailored a law that prohibited any discussion concerning the Presidential budget describing it as " strictly confidential" . Therefore, Dr.Fareed did not need to postpone his celebrations till he sees how the President will make him part of his elite. All that matters now is that he has officially become a member and all he has to do is celebrate and wait. Not only did the major country's security forces cancel the meeting with the opposition leader but it advised its embassy to cut all connections with the opposition parties that have not yet got rid of their previous experiences with underground work. Dr.Fareed received the request for the cancellation with deep sorrow and he made it clear to the major country's delegate that his country is able to secure the visiting President anywhere and he hopes that the cancellation is not related to any security fears because "his excellency will see for himself how the country that welcomed him as an ambassador will honour him as a visiting President".

To Be Continued...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Visiting President !! (Part 1)

Written By : Belal Fadl Scribblings By : Amro Selim Translated From Arabic By : Doctor Deen Dedicated to Belal Fadl's newborn daughter... Ishq "You are one lucky man, Dr.Fareed, your mother's prayers must have been accepted !! " This was what he was told by his colleagues in the Cabinet after a Presidential decree was issued that anointed him as Head of the delegate that will accompany the President of the major country who suddenly decided to visit the country. Dr.Fareed nodded his head, smiling, as he recalled that envious sentence although he knew quite well that the last thing he heard from his mother were curses, and not prayers, after she saw her husband die out of grief because his Minister son yelled at him and told him not to keep jumping on him at the Ministry every now and then with a new request. Dr.Fareed shook that dreaded memory off his mind and decided not to ruin this fine morning. He thanked God for being gifted with a perfect knowledge of the visiting President's language that he had learnt during the years he spent in the major country studying the finest it gave to humanity, Civil Law, before returning to his country to contribute in the lowest it gave to humanity, the Emergency Law. Ever since he returned to teaching at the Faculty, he did not waste a moment. His first achievement was a project for a new law he published in the country's most popular newspaper. He called it the Respect-of-the-Country Law and it was for its sake that he sought to introduce himself to the newspaper's Editor-in-chief's daughter whom he knew was a student at the Faculty. She never did go the Faculty actually. It was the professors who went to her at0 her daddy's mansion. He asked a friend to introduce him to her and it was through her that he reached the Editor who was impressed with the idea of the project which the country did need after the ferocious waves of disapproval that were aiming at the President; a law that penalised anyone who would criticise the President or his associates. The project was published on many pages. It was immediately aborted after it provoked storms of controversy which were enough to attract the attention of the major country to its danger and to warn the country's President who issued a secret decree to bury the project alive. Dr.Fareed knew the fate of his project beforehand. He was neither outraged when he received the news about the project's termination nor was he annoyed from the numerous whiplash articles that emerged. He would read these articles with a smile. " The bait has been taken", he would tell his wife who was busy at that time trying to find a membership in a Rotary Club. He collected the articles that were written against him and he sent numerous copies to offices of the local authorities accompanied with a bitter complaint from the decline of the level of dialogue to a demeaning extent. The bait had really been taken. A close friend of the President's son called Dr.Fareed, one happy evening, and asked if he could join them in a closed meeting with many of the well-known patriotic minds of the country to discuss how to improve the efficacy of work inside the country's ruling party that the President left to his son ever since he told him one day : "Daddy I'm bored. Find me something to do". It was love at first sight between the President's son and Dr.Fareed; a love that was ignited by those notes, speeches and research papers that Dr.Fareed would write and present to the President's son to read out publicly in meetings as if they were his own; a love that reached its climax by a personal request from the son to Dr.Fareed that he "be with us in the next Cabinet". His new position was insignificant. Or that was what he thought about it the moment he received the news that he was anointed Minister of Human Rights; that newly devised ministry the newspapers called for for ages in order to be the only country that owns such a thing as a Ministry of Human Rights. He did not bother about what that satirical writer wrote in his daily column about changing the Ministry's name to "Animal's Rights" because the government treats the citizens as animals. He was only worried about this burden that was thrown on his back. What on Earth can one make out of the Ministry of Human Rights but one's salary, new car and bodyguards? He knew that he had not yet reached that elite status in order to be given the Ministry of Petroleum or Housing but at least he could have been given a service-providing Ministry as Electricity or Sewage Disposal. At least he would have secured a decent future for his children. Yet, he did not surrender to depression. He gave orders to add a hundred pound fee to be paid on every complaint presented to the Ministry. Dr.Fareed's assistant began to calculate for him his personal share of the loot from the complaints that flooded the Ministry after a wide campaign that covered the country announcing the dawn of a new era in human rights. And things went smoothly, not as smooth as his colleagues, but at least it was better than nothing. Dr.Fareed arose from his long daydream in front of the mirror while getting dressed. He was delighted from the flashback that helped him recall his rapid ascent. He fell an exciting numbness in his limbs; a numbness that he hadn't felt ever since his weekly visits to the major country's prostitutes who made him feel young again. But whoever said that Dr.Fareed's dreams have been fulfilled. He should not let the euphoria overtake him. The path is still very long and he is now at a crucial moment as it could take him from simply being one of the President's son's friends to a member in the octogenarian President's elite whom everyone fears his anger fits that usually fall on his son's head. "When I die and you inherit me then you can go around insulting my men...Mr.Successor." That was how the President chose to shout at his son during a closed meeting with the Party's leaders when he deliberately criticised his father's men considering them "the biggest obstacle on the path of our Party towards reform". Dr.Fareed must reach his goal slowly and in an unnoticeable way in order not to find himself being paid an unexpected visit by the Death Angel. The visit did not go as smoothly as Dr.Fareed wished. It was rather packed with dilemmas; the first of which was a one-of-a-kind. Nobody was able to solve it but Dr.Fareed came up with a solution that would remain the main conversational subject in all political rallies across the country. The assistants of the visiting President surprisingly asked Dr.Fareed and his men to prepare, during the tour, an oriental belly-dancing session to be performed by the one and only Itidal; the country's number one belly-dancer for the past thirty years whom the visiting President adored ever since he was an ambassador twenty years ago. The request shocked those who heard it not only because they could not dare to mention that Itidal had retired from belly-dancing once and for all but also because of the fact that she has worn the Islamic veil, denounced her "demeaning past" and has her own TV show on an Islamic TV channel. Dr.Fareed tried to suggest younger and much-fuller alternatives to Itidal , with the use of pictures and diagrams, but the President's men refused. The request had nothing to do with a passion for bouncing belly buttons but was related to the nostalgia that the President was in at the verge of his political career after the two terms he ruled in which the country. It was only during lunch, when things got a little friendly, when the visiting President's men told Dr.Fareed how their President fell in love with Itidal the first moment he set his eyes on her and how she became the woman of his dreams ever since she put his head between her breasts in an attempt to deepen the relationships between both countries. It was the beginning of a belly-dancing mania that overwhelmed the President and kept growing throughout the years to the extent that the First Lady literally abandoned him after she was sick and tired from the tabloids that wrote about her husband's obsession with stout, oriental belly-dancers. And so, Dr.Fareed found himself forced to personally sit with Itidal and negotiate with her after she refused to meet anyone who would dare mention the visiting President's request in her presence. Nobody ever expected that Dr.Fareed would be smart enough to go to her armed with a fatwa from the country's Grand Imam that explained how necessities justify the prohibited and that a one-night's dancing with the intention of bringing benefit to the country will most certainly be rewarded by God. Yet, nobody ever expected, again, that she would tear the fatwa and throw it at the face of the person who read it expressing utter sorrow for a country in which its Grand Imam was superior to her in dancing at the pleasure of its rulers. They were astonished when they saw her shamefully shake her still shapely body in an attempt to imitate, what she thought, was the manner in which the Grand Imam danced. The smile never left Dr.Fareed's face as he watched the repulsive act but he surprised everyone when he called the Minister of Finance, put him on speakerphone and asked him to re-open Itidal's tax files to check, just check, if she had paid society's share from the millions that she had made throughout her thirty years of dancing especially that she was able to obtain a fatwa allowing her to keep her money with purifying it by a few simple acts of charity here and there. Minutes later, Dr.Fareed, with a victorious smile on his face, left Itidal discussing with her fashion designer the criteria of chastity that have to be fulfilled in her new dress that she will wear for the visiting President and how she believed that seduction was never by body exposure. Those who believed what happened that day never believed that Dr.Fareed would deserve, for his achievement, a cordial phone call from the President, who, according to a rumour, followed the negotiations by means of a hidden camera. " We want your skills with the IMF ...or are you just good with belly dancers ?" For days, Dr.Fareed repeated the last sentence to his wife and friends as a sign of the President's satisfaction because everybody knew that when the President insults someone like that, with that lovable way of his, then that someone has secured himself a place in the President's heart. To Be Continued...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Apologising To Denmark !!

Written by :
Belal Fadl
Translated from Arabic by:
Doctor Deen This article was written during the first Danish cartoon crisis. Both writer and translator are Egyptian Muslims. I was asked by my enthusiastic friend to join him in an online campaign, set up by several websites, to send e-mails to the Danish community expressing disapproval and resent on the sympathy or silence showed by some of its factions towards the caricatures that made fun of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace And Blessings Be Upon Him). I thanked my friend for his enthusiasm in defending in the Prophet, an enthusiasm I know stems from a solemn faith and an honest zeal, but after a few moments of thinking I asked him: "Suppose that a Danish citizen responded to one of your e-mails and wrote to you asking: ' If you Muslims greatly respect your prophet and if he is , as you claim, a man of such honour and importance and if his teachings, fourteen centuries ago, contain drastic solutions to all of your problems, then why are your communities stuffed with corruption, injustice, ignorance and disease? Why are we better than you in everything while we never claim that we follow the teachings of Prophet Jesus or the Holy Bible? ' How will you reply to such questions?!! " My friend was silenced by confusion. He then gave me a stare as if he had seen Abdullah ibn Saba' (a famous hypocrite who lived at the time of the Prophet Muhammad) and walked away accusing me of sophistry, arousing doubts, passivity and other claims that I did not comprehend because I was searching for answers to my Danish questions that I wish that you , the reader, might help in finding as these are inevitable questions that we will definitely hear especially after the sounds of anger and rage have quietened and the sounds calling for a dialogue are coming form numerous directions after the battleground has been entered by many countries whom we ,unfortunately, fear to stand against. Maybe because if we simply boycott the American, Italian, French, German, Dutch and British products we will walk hungry and naked in the streets. And just as a reminder by the way, I would proudly support the calls for a boycott if they had emerged from a civilised perspective, as that of Gandhi's, that will make us self-dependant in everything from the food we eat to the clothes we wear. But i am not ready to participate in a deceptive campaign of hypocrisy where people are called onto boycott via mobile phones, personal computers and television screens; all of which we did not contribute in by a single screw or microchip. I believe that this stream of thoughts has given you the opportunity to look for an answer to the supposed Danish question which if you are suddenly faced with will find noting but the impulsive reply : " We have reached this level of fragility, humiliation and disrespect because we ( and I have said it before and I will repeat it again and again) claim that we love the Prophet but it is a superficial love; a love that has never been manifested on our actions and manners. He asked us to learn but we have become ignorant. He told us to make achieving wisdom our utmost goal but we lost it. He told us to have mercy on one another but we damned one another and we divided ourselves into struggling sects; each hiding behind a saying attributed to the Prophet. He prevented us from injustice but we made it our mode of life. He ordered us to respect the elderly so we worshiped them. He ordered us to accept our daughters suitors by their good manners and piety but we did not accept them unless they were wealthy and famous even of they were ill-mannered and deviant. He denied Faith from the hearts of those who sleep satisfied while knowing that their neighbours are hungry, so we never asked about them. Millions are spent underneath belly-dancers, on gambling tables and in securing presidential processions while others choose to kill themselves than to face the demanding eyes of their children. The renown amongst us steals and he is left unharmed while when the needy steals, his pictures are published in the everywhere and he is insulted and hurt. We punish only those who rally against the ruler and call for making him accountable for his actions. We glorify ourselves amongst ourselves while we are midgets In the eyes of the world. We have become a burden on this planet and an experimental field for its superpowers. We have humiliated ourselves so others have humiliated us. we set plans for this Life and we forget the Hereafter. Our utmost hope is that the day passes with the least of losses and our greatest wish is that God protects us form the injustice of our rulers who have reached their near-divine position by imams who memorise the Prophetic traditions by heart; hiding what they want and revealing what their rulers prefer. The Prophet described them "as reading the Quran but does not pass their throats (to reach their hearts), they pass through religion as an emerging from an archer's (bow) ' " The Danish citizen will listen to all of this with a cold Scandinavian interest and follow it with the question : "Then why don't you follow your Prophet's teachings then be angry for him?" It is there that, if you have a morsel of conscience, your only reaction will be a solemn apology to him, to all of Denmark, to all of Europe and to mankind as a whole because we asked them to respect a Prophet whom we never sought to inform the world about, whom our rage-provoking riot0incting governments did not spend a penny in spreading his message, kindness, just and mercy while spending millions over hypocritical operas that seek to glorify our minuscule rulers and leaders.
We have to apologise to the danish citizens because we treated them by the faults of a mere minority of them to the extent that our newspapers published, a few days ago, that 43 Danish passengers refused to leave the airport until they were heavily secured while we were supposed to follow our Prophet's tradition and welcome our guests to show them that Islam does not know collective guilt and that even if an ignorant person insulted our Prophet, that will neither harm nor affect his high status. If this insult would have happened at the time of the Prophet, he would have responded to it in the same manner he responded to the Bedouin who entered the mosque and urinated in it in the presence of the Prophet and his followers who before attacking the man where stopped by the Prophet himself who said : " Do not interrupt your brother's urination". The Prophet then went to the man and gently explained to him that this is a place of worship and he ordered for some water to be poured over the place. Such a civilised and humane response is the best example that teaches us hoe to react towards ignorance, insult and blasphemy and it is an example that is mentioned in the Quran : " Let not those grieve thee who rush headlong into Unbelief, not the least harm will they do to Allah..." Chapter 3 Verse 176 Shall we be brave enough to send this apology thus earning the respect of the world and to shift their attention towards our noble religion and noble Prophet? Shall we stand honestly in front of ourselves and feel ashamed of our rage in defending a Prophet whom we never sought to learn from and refuse that his name be used by by a corrupt ruler or a hypocrite or a bank thief or a biased imam? Shall we? I doubt but yet I wish that we do. I wish that we are up to the standard put by Chapter 5 Verse 67 : "O Apostle! proclaim the (Message) which hath been sent to thee from thy Lord. If thou didst not, thou wouldst not have fulfilled and proclaimed His Mission. And Allah will defend thee from men (who mean mischief). " I bare witness that the Prophet Muhammad ( Peace And Blessings Be Upon Him ) has informed the Message and proclaimed God's Mission...but have we??