Friday, January 16, 2015

My letter to the NYTimes RE An Islamic Reformer, Lashed by Nicholas Kristof

RE An Islamic Reformer, Lashed by

Dear Editor,

It is horrifically tragic that the Saudi blogger,
Raif Badawi, is being punitively punished - 10 years in prison, and 1,000 lashes for “insulting Islam.” FYI Badawi was also fined 1 million Saudi riyals (about $315,000 Canadian) and banned from traveling outside Saudi Arabia for 10 years after his release... all for a blog. 

Saudi Arabia is only one of many governments in today's world that legitimize and empower religious fundamentalism and intolerance rather than
legitimizing and empowering the rule of fair and just laws- and governments aren't the only problem: If Obama had been in Paris with all the other world leaders in the Anti-Terrorism March, cynics worldwide with many different motives would have found reasons to condemn him for that. 

Our free speech here in the West gives a podium as well as ammunition to petty tyrants and hate mongers here and there, with
petty tyrants and hate mongers spinning stories and campaigns aimed at generating hostilities rather than inspiring compassion and empathy for "others", whether that "other" is a leader, or a follower, an individual or a government or a religion.

Focusing in on ending the Israel-Palestine conflict with a fair and just, carefully negotiated fully secular two state solution ASAP would go a long way towards curbing the rise of religious extremism, sectarian strife, tyranny... and terrorism... worldwide.
Yes there is a chance that Palestine will become a failed state run by apologists for Hamas and Islamic Jihad (thereby handing Israel an excuse to wage all out war, creating more hostility and despair with an even bigger refugee crisis- or worse the slaughter of countless men, women and children)...  BUT there is also a chance, a very good chance that Palestinians and their supporters worldwide will elect to empower dignity, decency, real freedom and a better future with the time tested idea that religion should be a personal private matter, not a requirement for citizenship rights or a tax payer funded mandate. 

The modern reality of Israel's Netanyahu and Palestine's Abbas walking with other world leaders in
the recent anti-terrorism march “of defiance and sorrow” in Paris and the calm wise words of positive role models and heroes such as Lassana Bathily who points out that "We are brothers. It's not a question of Jews, of Christians or of Muslims. We're all in the same boat, we have to help each other to get out of this crisis..."  are obvious proof that there is hope.

Anne Selden Annab


Ziad Asali

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Supporters fear Saudi blogger will not survive weekly public flogging

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas were among the leaders attending

Jordan Times: AMMAN/PARIS — Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania on Sunday participated in a march “of defiance and sorrow” in Paris to pay tribute to victims of terrorism in France.

Worldwide marches in solidarity with France... "Live Together Free, Equal, and United"

Up to a million flood streets of Paris to defy Islamist terror

"We are brothers. It's not a question of Jews, of Christians or of Muslims. We're all in the same boat, we have to help each other to get out of this crisis." Lassana Bathily

Lassana Bathily, Muslim Employee At Kosher Market, Saved Several People During Paris Hostage Situation



Hamas confirmed on Sunday that it has banned a visit by Palestinian orphans from the Gaza Strip to Israel because it was in the context of “normalization” with Israelis.

During World War II, the Allies adopted the Four Freedomsfreedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from fear, and freedom from want—as their basic war aims.... The United Nations Charter "reaffirmed faith in fundamental human rights, and dignity and worth of the human person" and committed all member states to promote "universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion".

A Christmas poem... in Growing Gardens for Palestine: Star Street Bethlehem Palestine 2014

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The United States casts its lot with the problem solvers, the healers, and the builders,”  US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman in a September speech, quoted by CSM in their recent editorial

Kerry heads to talks on Palestinian statehood bid: "There are a lot of different folks pushing in different directions out there, and the question is can we all pull in the same direction," Kerry said Friday, when asked about his meeting with Netanyahu."

Jordan's King: World must stand up to radicals

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... Ibrahim's Estate... The Promised Land: In Celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights & Peace Day

Tala Haikal: Empathy Is Essential to Humanity

Hussein Ibish: Non-violent resistance is Palestine’s most powerful weapon

ATFP Calls for De-Escalation between Israel and the Palestinians

 “Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.” Khalil Gibran (1883-1931), born in Lebanon, immigrated to the United States in 1895 where he grew up to become a beloved poet and respected writer.

"There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies" Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 – 1968) American minister, humanitarian and social activist- a cherished leader of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, whose inspiring words continue to influence and empower diplomatic efforts to bring more justice, more security, more peace and more jobs to more people, every one and every where.

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