By NICK SCHOU
Published on April 29, 2009
Who Was that Mosqued Man?
Craig Monteilh insists he was hot on the trail of terrorist plots at OC mosques. Count the victims of his earlier con games among the skeptics
Who Was that Mosqued Man?
Craig Monteilh insists he was hot on the trail of terrorist plots at OC mosques. Count the victims of his earlier con games among the skeptics
A good reminder. Source: www.islamfortoday.com
I only modified the old and British English used in the article.
Islamic teachings on the Importance of Parents
In Islam it is obligatory for us to show kindness, respect, and obedience to our parents. The position of parents, and the mutual obligations and responsibilities, have been addressed in Islam in great detail. In fact kindness and obedience is so strongly emphasized that God has linked showing gratitude to one's parents with showing gratitude to God -
And We have enjoined on man (to be good) to his parents: in travail upon travail did his mother bear him, and in years twain was his weaning: (hear the command), "Show gratitude to Me and to your parents: to Me is (your final) Goal. (31:14)
Sadly we are living in a time where children speaking disrespectfully to their parents and about their parents, is the norm rather than the exception. However Islam places great emphasis on respectful and considerate behavior to even our enemies, so to not uphold the obligations laid down by God to our parents is actually one of the major sins.
In the Quran
Let's see what the Quran says about Parents. This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear God (2:02)
Treat parents with honor & speak to them graciously & with humility
Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor. And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say: My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood. (17:23)
Be grateful to parents but do not obey them if they strive to make you associate things with God
...Be grateful to Me and to both your parents; to Me is the eventual coming. But if they strive to make you join in worship with Me things of which you have no knowledge, obey them not; yet bear them company in this life with justice (and consideration), and follow the way of those who turn to Me (in love): in the end the return of you all is to Me, then will I inform you of what you did (31:15)
These verses make it clear that we must honor our parents, appreciate their sacrifices and efforts for us, and do our best for them. This is required regardless of whether they are Muslims or not.
Be good to parents and everyone else who you meet
Serve God, and join not any partners with Him; and do good- to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near, neighbours who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and what your right hands possess: For God loves not the arrogant, the vainglorious;- (4:36)
If the Quran tells us to be good to a stranger how can we even think of disrespecting our parents?
Hadiths (sayings of the Prophet)
Disobedience to parents is a major sin
Anas narrated from Prophet Muhammad about the major sins. He (Mohammed) observed: Associating anyone with God, disobedience to parents, killing a person and false utterance. (Muslim)
One of the dearest deeds to God is being good & dutiful to parents
Narrated 'Abdullah: I asked the Prophet "Which deed is the dearest to God?" He replied, "To offer the prayers at their early stated fixed times." I asked, "What is the next (in goodness)?" He replied, "To be good and dutiful to your parents"...(Bukhari)
Being dutiful to parents is one of the keys to enter Paradise
Abu Huraira reported Prophet Muhammad as saying: Let him be humbled into dust; let him be humbled into dust. It was said: God's Messenger, who is he? He said: He who sees either of his parents during their old age or he sees both of them, but he does not enter Paradise (because he has been undutiful to them). (Muslim)
Acts of kindness we can do for our parents after their death
While we were with Prophet Muhammad of God . A man of Banu Salmah came to Him and said: Apostle of God is there any kindness left that I can do to my parents after their death? He replied: Yes, you can invoke blessings on them, forgiveness for them, carry out their final instructions after their death, join ties of relationship which are dependent on them, and honour their friends. (Abu Dawood)
The High Status given to Mothers
A man came to the Prophet and asked him for permission to join a military expedition. The Prophet asked him if he had a mother, and when he replied that he had, he said, "Stay with her, for Paradise is at her feet." (Ahmad)
Sometimes we may take our parents for granted and overlook their importance. As Muslims we should constantly be alert to guard ourselves from sins, however, are we guarding ourselves from one of the biggest major sins? Are we honoring and respecting our parents as per their right? Or are we neglecting one of the deeds most dearest to God? Right now the choice is ours!
We ask God the Most High, the All-Powerful, to teach us that which will benefit us, and to benefit us by that which we learn.
= Peace and Blessings of God be upon him.
An Irvine man who claims to have worked as an FBI informant said he was asked by agents to identify photos of Middle Eastern men who worked out at Orange County gyms as part of an effort to identify terrorist cells in the U.S.
Craig Monteilh said he worked as an informant from July 2006 to October 2007. He said he identified hundreds of Middle Eastern men in pictures that appeared to be taken from surveillance footage from several O.C gyms. He said agents asked him to act as a "magnet" for members of the Muslim community - work out with them, and provide information, such as names and telephone numbers, to the FBI.
Agents were interested only in young Middle Eastern men, Monteilh said, and when a picture was identified as someone that was not, "they (pictures) were discarded," he said.
Officials at the FBI declined to address on specific allegations, saying they could not comment on investigative techniques or ongoing investigations, but said suggestions that the agency may be racially profiling an ethnic group were absurd and unfair.
"To suggest that the FBI targets individuals based on their ethnicity is beyond absurd, and can unfairly damage the reputation of a community," said Laura Eimiller, spokeswoman for the FBI. "Investigations are structured to protect the civil liberties of all, and are conducted with strict adherence to the Constitution."
Monteilh, 46, in February identified himself as an informant who used the name Farouk al-Aziz to infiltrate local mosques. He came forward shortly after a Tustin man was arrested on immigration-fraud charges – a man authorities claim lied about links to terrorist organizations and a brother-in-law suspected of being Osama bin Laden's security coordinator.
In a bail hearing for Ahmadullah Sais Niazi, Special Agent Thomas J. Ropel III said Niazi was recorded by an informant talking about blowing up buildings and taking up jihad. Ropel did not identify the informant.
Monteilh said he began identifying young men in pictures in November 2006 and continued to meet with agents, once a week for about nine months, identifying men in pictures from several gyms, particularly those in Irvine.
"Every week, twice a week sometimes, I'd be handed 80 to 120 photos of specifically Middle Eastern-looking men," Monteilh said. He would then write the name of the men in the back of the pictures, and hand over telephone numbers if he obtained them.
Monteilh, who worked as a fitness consultant, has been arrested for fraud and grand theft, including a case where he was convicted of conning two women out of more than $157,000.He said the FBI asked him to use his background as a trainer in local gyms to workout with Muslim men and provide information.
"I was told there were terrorist cells in Orange County and they were going to do everything possible to (identify) these terrorist cells," Monteilh said.
FBI TACTICS QUESTIONED
For months, members of Orange County's Muslim community have been calling into question the FBI's tactics. During a demonstration in May 2007, a confrontation between a student at UC Irvine and a FBI agent inside a car with tinted windows sparked several questions of whether the FBI was monitoring Muslim students.
Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Council on Islamic American Relations, said he wouldn't be surprised if Monteilh's allegations of surveillance in OC gyms were true.
"Any normal activity, conducted by others, once it is conducted by Muslims, it's labeled suspicious," Ayloush said. "Many Muslims were questioned about suspicious activity, but the fact they were Muslim is what rendered these activities suspicious."
Having to circle an airport because of missing a terminal, taking pictures of tourist areas, hunting, paint ball, or "building muscles," are misconstrued as suspicious when conducted by someone who appears to be Middle Eastern, Ayloush said.
Monteilh said he had brought up concerns about racial profiling while he identified men in photos, but was told by one agent that, "little white old ladies didn't slam planes into buildings."
Adam Krowlikowsky, an attorney representing Monteilh, said he and his client also planned to file lawsuit against the agency for, "having suffered as a result of a violation of his rights as an individual and services he provided to the agency."
No written agreement was made between the FBI and Monteilh, the attorney said, but his client could be entitled to up to $10 million, he said. He declined to comment on whether he or Monteilh had been in contact with FBI officials regarding the claim.
Monteilh said he was paid between $6,000 and $11,200 a month by the FBI to work as an informant and was promised lump sump payment at the end of his work. He also said a 2008 conviction of grand theft was related to work he was conducting as an informant.
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SANTA ANA – The widening rift between the FBI and the Islamic community has drawn the American Civil Liberties Union into the fray, with the organization's lawyers declaring victory in their efforts to force the release of government surveillance records on Southern California Muslims.
A federal district court judge Monday gave the FBI 30 days to make available for review 48 pages of surveillance memos pertaining to Southern California Muslim organizations that had previously been released only in heavily redacted form, 47 pages of previously withheld memos, and FBI files on the Council of American Islamic Relations and Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the group's Southern Californian Chapter, ACLU staff attorney Jennie Pasquarella said.
Ayloush and Shakeel Syed, the executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, joined Pasquarella in the courtyard of the federal courthouse in Santa Ana minutes after the judge's ruling, declaring the decision a victory for Muslim organizations.
"We are exercising our first amendment rights, and we are running out of patience," Syed said.
FBI representatives forwarded requests for comment to Department of Justice officials, who could not be immediately reached for comment. Federal officials have previously denied charges by several national Islamic organizations that the government has taken part in "fishing expeditions" by sending informants to ensnare Muslims at area Mosques.
A coalition of Islamic organizations known as the American Muslim Taskforce last month threatened to cut ties with the FBI, accusing the agency of using "McCarthy-era tactics."
The announcement came on the heels of Irvine resident Craig Monteilh's public admission that he spent more than a year pretending to embrace Islam at various local mosques as part of an FBI-backed effort to uncover terrorist threats.
Monteilh claimed his work played a key role in the arrest of Ahmadullah Niazi, a Tustin-resident and member of the Islamic Center of Irvine, on several immigration-fraud charges.
But Islamic leaders claim the FBI violated the sanctity of the Islamic religion by sending in Monteilh, a felon who previously served a prison term for conning two women out of more than $150,000.
"While we were led to believe we were partners, we learned we were also under surveillance," Syed said.
The FBI previously declined to comment on the specific allegations brought by the Islamic groups, but pledged to continue outreach efforts with the Muslim community and warned against "limiting honest dialogue, especially when complex issues are on the table."
Muslim leaders say the rift between the FBI and the larger Islamic community has also widened because of the agency's deteriorating relationship with the Council of American Islamic Relations.
In the months following the 911 attacks, the group's officials say they helped the FBI reach out to Muslims and with cultural sensitivity training.
But the group in 2007 came under fire when it was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorist funding case against the Holy Land Foundation.
The FBI recently announced that it has ended its own formal partnership with the council, whose leaders have denied any terrorist links.
Ayloush said he hoped this week's court ruling could spark a "healing phase" between the Muslim community and the FBI.
"We're hoping this will begin the process of undoing this climate of fear," Ayloush said.
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This Thursday, we will deliver our Special Prosecutor petitions to Attorney General Eric Holder. We will join with the ACLU and 185 other groups which oppose immunity for torturers.
Nearly 25,000 of our readers have signed our petition - but you have not. Could you sign right now so we can deliver your signature on Thursday? No Amnesty for Torturers:
Torture is utterly immoral and un-American. Despite Dick Cheney's lies, it produced absolutely no useful intelligence. In fact, it recruited terrorists responsible for at least half the U.S. deaths in Iraq. And it endangered every U.S. soldier who may be captured in the future.
And torture is absolutely illegal. The U.S. ratified the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which prohibits torture and requires prosecution of torturers. In 1947, the U.S. prosecuted a Japanese officer for waterboarding. No lawyer can "legalize" what is illegal.
Congress must take the following actions:
1. Demand the appointment of a Special Prosecutor by Attorney General Eric Holder for torture, warrantless wiretapping, and other heinous crimes of the Bush Administration. (Thanks to Rep. Jerrold Nadler for leading the way!)
2. Prohibit the use of any taxpayer dollars to defend government officials who committed such crimes against lawsuits, or to pay for judgments against them.
3. Impeach Judge Jay Bybee, the torture memo author who serves on the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in California.
4. Protect human rights by restoring Habeas Corpus and the Fourth Amendment (search and seizure), including repeal of the Orwellian-named Protect America Act, U.S.A. Patriot Act, the FISA Amendments, and Military Commissions Act.
5. End secret government by prohibiting use of "State Secrets," "Sovereign Immunity" and "Signing Statements."
Sign our Petition: No Amnesty for Torturers
Through your patience and persistence, we are moving ever closer towards the restoration of the Constitution and the Rule of Law in the nation we love.
Thanks for all you do!
"We're here today to say our mosques are off limits," Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations for Greater Los Angeles, told the crowd last month at an Anaheim mosque.
"Our Koran is off limits," Ayloush said. "Our youth, who they try to radicalize, are off limits. Now is the time to tell them, 'We're not going to let this happen anymore.' "
"It reached a level where we felt we had to do something," said Agha Saeed, chairman of the American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections. "The FBI is doing things which are not healthy. They are creating divisions and conflict, creating a totally negative, Islamophobic image of Muslims in America."
"You don't get brownie points for speaking to them," said Ameena Qazi, a lawyer for the council. "They don't go back to the office and check off your civic engagement or your patriotism. . . . We are a very open and hospitable community, but we shouldn't be naive."
"We goofed up, guys," said Shakeel Syed, head of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California. "We brought them here. We brought them to our mosques, to our meetings. . . . We have to hold ourselves responsible. That's why it's so important to dig our heels into the ground and say we're not going to take this lying down, we're going to fight."
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad – shaking hands as the Summit of the Americas gets under way in Trinidad and Tobago.and have met for the first time,
Photos released by the Venezuelan government show the two smiling and Obama touching Chavez on the shoulder.
The Venezuelan presidency says Obama initiated the handshake. It quotes Chavez as telling Obama he hopes for better relations between their nations.
Chavez also reportedly said Friday: "With this same hand I greeted Bush eight years ago. I want to be your friend."
As recently as last week, Chavez expressed a desire to "reset" relations with Washington.
Controversy isn’t new terrain for Yoav Shamir. And controversy is the likely response to “Defamation,” his new documentary focused on anti-Zionism, antisemitism and the Arab-Israeli conflict, among other lightning rods. The Anti-Defamation League and its director, Abraham Foxman, figure prominently in the film, as do “Holocaust Industry” author Norman Finkelstein and a group of Israeli teens taking a school trip to the Nazi death camps.
The 38-year-old Shamir, who appears briefly on camera and narrates the film, ricochets among his native Tel Aviv, the United States and Eastern Europe...
First screened last February at the Berlin International Film Festival, “Defamation” arrives in New York in late April at the Tribeca Film Festival, and will open Tel Aviv’s DocAviv documentary festival in early May. “Defamation” joins such earlier Shamir films as “Checkpoint” (2003), about Israeli soldiers’ interactions with Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, and “Flipping Out” (2008), about Israeli solders’ drug-fueled misadventures in India following their army service. “5 Days” (2005), the documentary that inspired the antisemitism accusation, generated anger of a different sort — with organizers of Scotland’s Edinburgh International Film Festival warning Shamir not to attend a 2006 screening for fear of violence by anti-Israel protesters. (He attended without incident, under added security.)
Shamir recently spoke with writer Nathan Burstein, a frequent contributor to the Forward, about “Defamation.”
Nathan Burstein: Some people might be surprised by your assertion that you never seriously considered the term “antisemite” until it was used against you.
Yoav Shamir: What I’m getting at is that I never felt antisemitism. I was never a victim of antisemitism, and I would think that probably 99% of Israelis, if you asked them, would tell you the same thing. … If a Palestinian upsets me, I don’t think it has anything to do with the fact that I’m Jewish, that I hold the Jewish religion. It’s because either I took his land, or, if it’s an Arab-Israeli, it’s some kind of conflict which happens when you have two communities coming from different backgrounds and values living in the same place...The film doesn’t paint a very flattering portrait of the organization or of Foxman. Have they seen the film yet?
They haven’t seen the film yet — they’ll see it now at the Tribeca Film Festival. [Regarding how they come across], that is your interpretation. Some people will see it differently...
You argue quite reasonably that anti-Zionism is not always antisemitism and that criticism of Israel can be legitimate. Do you see times when anti-Zionism does cross over into antisemitism?
There are many, many gray areas. Obviously there are going to be people who will have antisemitic tendencies, and they will express them by being anti-Zionist. They are part of the story. But the film is not really about that; it’s mostly about what we as Israelis and Jews make of this experience. How do we view ourselves, how we want to define ourselves...
You take a fairly negative view of March of the Living programs and trips by Israeli high school students and soldiers to visit the Nazi death camps. What do you think would be a more appropriate way for Israelis and other Jews to learn about the Holocaust?
[A]s I see it, in many ways, Israelis and Jews look at antisemitism as something different from racism — as a kind of almost mystical phenomenon that goes along with us for 2,000 years and that almost [has not changed]. For me, that is a bad understanding of history. It’s a negative way to look at and interpret the world. Obviously, the Holocaust is something that should be learned, and the Arab world is the biggest example of how stupid it is to be ignorant about such an important event in human history. But how you use this and how you navigate your life from now on is a different issue. If Israel and Jewish people see this as a colossal, demonic thing that happened only to us, that makes any other suffering seem irrelevant, [which] is the wrong lesson...
The film’s trailer is below.
AUSTIN — A North Texas legislator during House testimony on voter identification legislation said Asian-descent voters should adopt names that are “easier for Americans to deal with.”
The comments caused the Texas Democratic Party on Wednesday to demand an apology from state Rep. Betty Brown, R-Terrell. But a spokesman for Brown said her comments were only an attempt to overcome problems with identifying Asian names for voting purposes.
The exchange occurred late Tuesday as the House Elections Committee heard testimony from Ramey Ko, a representative of the Organization of Chinese Americans.
Ko told the committee that people of Chinese, Japanese and Korean descent often have problems voting and other forms of identification because they may have a legal transliterated name and then a common English name that is used on their driver’s license on school registrations.
Brown suggested that Asian-Americans should find a way to make their names more accessible.
“Rather than everyone here having to learn Chinese — I understand it’s a rather difficult language — do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?” Brown said.
Brown later told Ko: “Can’t you see that this is something that would make it a lot easier for you and the people who are poll workers if you could adopt a name just for identification purposes that’s easier for Americans to deal with?”...
Barack Obama's speech before the Turkish parliament today also was heard back home and generally welcomed by Muslim Americans while a UCI Iranian expert said the president's continued overtures towards the Islamic community portend real policy changes likely will follow...
In a 25-minute speech in Ankara, Obama declared that the United States "is not and will never be at war with Islam."
On his first visit to a Muslim nation as president, Obama continued his efforts to push for a respectful relationship with the Muslim world.
Calling the consistency of his message good, UCI Prof. Nasrin Rahimieh, a linguist and an expert in Iranian literature, said the speech will be viewed as a welcome change in the posture that the United States has adopted towards both the Muslim world and Muslim Americans.
"Some of these people come from countries where Islam is the dominant religion. So President Obama's valorization of the contribution of Muslim Americans will also indicate a positive change," said Rahimieh, the director of the Dr. Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture at the university.
Obama told Turkish legislators: "I also want to be clear that America's relationship with the Muslim community, the Muslim world, cannot, and will not, just be based upon opposition to terrorism."
"We seek broader engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect. … We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world including in my own country. The United States has been enriched by Muslim Americans. Many other Americans have Muslims in their families or have lived in a Muslim-majority country I know, because I am one of them," he continued.
Rahimieh said she was fascinated that Obama referred to his extended Muslim family "which positions him to better understand how it feels like to have an entire population feel isolated and marginalized in the U.S. and globally (and) so be seen only as potential terrorists and risks for security."
"But I believe that we'll see more consistent policy action because of these speeches and they indicate changes to come," she added.
One Orange County Muslim cleric said the president needs to lay out specifics of how he can help achieve lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians – a subject Obama also touched on in his speech today – and he must reassure Muslim Americans the same way he is reaching out to Muslims worldwide.
"As much as we liked his appeal to the greater Muslim community out there, we want similar appeal to the greater Muslim community in the United States … which feels that either we're guilty by association or we're targeted," said Yassir Fazaga, the imam or religious leader at the Orange County Islamic Foundation mosque in Mission Viejo. "We don't want to feel left out here."
Urging a greater partnership with the Islamic world in an address to the Turkish parliament, Obama called the country an important U.S. ally in many areas, including the fight against terrorism. He devoted much of his speech to urging a greater bond between Americans and Muslims, portraying terrorist groups such as al Qaida as extremists who do not represent the vast majority of Muslims.
"Let me say this as clearly as I can," Obama said. "The United States is not and will never be at war with Islam. In fact, our partnership with the Muslim world is critical ... in rolling back the violent ideologies that people of all faiths reject."
The U.S. president is trying to mend fences with a Muslim world that felt it had been blamed by America for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The sentiment that America is not against Islam bears repeating, said Munira Syeda, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Anaheim.
"I would say that as American Muslims we welcome and applaud President Obama's message of bridging the gap between America and the Muslim world in particular his statement that the U.S. is not at war with Islam," she said. It "is a positive message that should be restated every time."
The message represents a change from the attitude of the Bush administration, local Muslims say.
"In general, Muslims here and abroad have been waiting for such reconciliatory gestures and moves," Syeda said. "The past administration took on the approach of confrontation and took unilateral positions and President Obama's administration is a shift towards mutual respect and dialogue and will further the cause of world peace and stability."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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