Monday, September 18, 2006

Where do I stand?

This is the first time I actually blogged twice in one day, I normally "plan" to do one per day, Monday-Friday, but in this "rare" event, I felt the urge for two. This post was what I wanted to address today, but unfortunately, I felt compelled to add on to my feelings about this Pope thing. For the record, in case some wanted to know, I don't care for or want an apology from the Pope, as I said on the radio this morning for those that heard it, an apology is necessary when one makes an accident, when you do something unintentional and harm someone either directly or indirectly. The Pope knew exactly what he was doing and saying. It was a formal speech that was written, in advance and rehearsed. Not only that, this isn't the first time this particular Pope has said things of this nature, last year there were incidents, and before he was the Pope he openly criticized Pope John Paul II for his "openness" to embrace interfaith relationships with Muslims. For the record Pope John Paul II was the only Pope to ever visit a Mosque and pray, no wonder Muslims heads of state from all over the world attended his funeral, even that guy from Iran, by the way. Pope Benedict, openly opposes Turkey joining the EU and is highly critical of Islam and interfaith dialogue in general, unless in the case of the later, it is at least noted that Catholicism is the only "true" way to God, a complete 180 from Pope John Paul II, who believed that it was "one" way. But that's another discussion all together...

Anyway, the point of this post was to attempt to clarify my position(s) on many so-called hot button issues and debates. As many of you know by now, I do have political aspirations that God-willing will lead me to a position in the Senate. Therefore, its imperative in my opinion that I clear these things up, because for several years now I have been doing the MSG board, chat room, and general Internet thing, and God only knows how many have read what I wrote. So, I want those of you that do take the time out of your busy schedules to pay attention to me, for whatever reason, this is for you:

Iraq: I pray that this will be a non-issue when I do get into office, but for the record, I believe like most Americans that we went to war on false pretenses. Now, I really don't care how that came to be, whether the Intel was bad, whether it was a planned conspiracy, etc. The fact remains that there were many reasons why we went to Iraq many official and many not. Among them were:

alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction,
alleged ties to Al Qaeda and to international terrorism in general
confirmed ties to Hamas and other Palestinian organizations involved in suicide attacks
Iraqi repression and brutalization of its civilian population
Iraqi hostility toward the United States
Iraqi hostility toward UN sanctioned operations such as Operation Northern Watch, Operation Southern Watch
perceived Iraqi failure to cooperate with UN weapons inspections and disarmament procedures
Iraqi possession of Kuwaiti POW's
Iraqi violation of cease fire agreement
Attempted plot to kill former US president George H.W. Bush by Iraqi special service.

Either way, I felt then and now, the Iraq was not a dire threat to our National security, maybe a little more now, but in my opinion, I believe that North Korea and Iran are much higher in the pecking order than Iraq. Hell, a case can be made for Saudi Arabia, China, and others.

However, we are there now, and we have to fix this mess we created. I believe our best course of action is to pull out to the boarders and coastal areas, maintaining a presence but not on the ground, with the condition that Iraq clean herself up with the aid of other regional countries. We should only monitor what goes on in the event of a collapse or the rise of a Taliban like government. The reason I support this, is due to the fact that the insurgents use our continued presence as justification for their indiscriminate slaughter. Take us out of the picture, and what will be there excuse? By the way it doesn't help that we are building the worlds largest embassy in Baghdad, doesn't look like we plan on leaving... The truth of the matter is, no one likes to be occupied, or dictated to by another government, especially when they are perceived as being a cause for the hardship, for clarification read the preamble to our Declaration of Independence and the entire document as well. Once we are gone per se, then the insurgents and terrorists will be clearly exposed and by the looks of it, most likely destroyed by the Shia majority. The Sunni will fall in line for fear of their own extinction. Its the law of numbers, the ugly truth is that it may very well take a civil war to fix this mess, but out hands must be clean to a degree. Its an ugly stance yes, but I'm certain I'm in line with strategic planners and analysts within our government. For more clarification feel free to comment or send me an email. For the record your comment won't appear until I approve it, so multiple submissions are not necessary.

Role of Religion in Politics and Legislation: Let me start out that I do not believe that one has the right to legislate their religious views and or beliefs. However, as a man of faith, I do use my religious beliefs as the backbone of my views on the universe and legislation. I do not understand how one can say they believe, but not act in accordance with those beliefs daily, to do anything other in my opinion is contrary to religion. Every religion I have studied, in its basic form, requires its adherents two things: To believe and to act in accordance to that belief and or system. That is how we are judged by our actions and words. Now sometimes the lines are blurred, but for the most part it should be clear cut. For the record every word in this blog that I have written has as its backbone my beliefs and understanding of Islam and its associated philosophies, contrary to popular belief. I'm certain I can find many Islamic verses, doctrines, etc. to back up my ideas. So in a nutshell, if I were to become a legislature in any form, just like I do daily, my ideas will be in the context of my beliefs, which I'm certain for the most part applies to most legislators, but at the same time the balance comes in, when you have to recognize that at the same time you can't force those beliefs on others. Hence the Quranic verse "there should be no compulsion in religion".

Same-Sex Marriage: Let me start out that first and foremost, as I referenced above, that my ideas are in the context of my religious beliefs. While religiously, I'm compelled to disagree with homosexuality, I must also understand that I don't have to agree with a certain thing, belief, or practice, and use that as a justification to be unjust or unwise. Homosexuality in Islam is a sin as in most Abrahamic traditions, however the reason given is that like all sin, it goes against the intention of what God wanted or desired for us. Now, according to Islamic philosophy, oftentimes people are born certain ways that in Islam we call a test. Now I'm going to stay away from theology just this once, and say that while I do feel that Homosexual acts are a sin, it is no worse than falsehood, adultery, theft, murder, etc. So he who has not sinned feel free to cast the first stone, or as Benjamin Franklin put it, don't throw stones at your neighbor if your house is made of glass. Marriage in the spiritual sense is the union of a man and woman in the presence of God, presided over by a leader of the religious or spiritual institution. Marriage in the legal sense, is the coming together of two legal and consenting adults with the agreement of being legally responsible for the other, and as a result of this agreement are granted monetary and other legal rights that differ from single individuals. Not all legal marriages are conducted in the presence of a religious authority, because not all people are religious. I believe that civil law and in this case marriage, should apply to all citizens. I believe that if two tax-paying adults and citizens want to make an official commitment to one another, they should be able to do, regardless of their sexual orientation. I don't accept the notion that the law should be privy to those whom we agree with. The law should apply equally, just like the blind-folded woman who holds the scales. Justice doesn't see ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation, justice in this country should be blind and apply to all citizens. The civil rights afforded to married people should be afforded to all citizens that wish to form a union. However, I do believe that the compromise should only appear in the name. Because Marriage has spiritual and religious meaning, it should not be applied. The term best suited is something like a civil union. I don't think one can argue the legality of such, and the wording wouldn't offend religious peoples either. Fundamentally, most people could care less what goes on in the home next door, and if you do even though it doesn't harm you, get a life. I do support legislation to define marriage, not to close same-sex couples out, but to set boundaries, because then we might see people wanting to marry animals, children, multiple women or men, etc.

Women's right to choose: I think the verdict is still being deliberated in the case of the un-born child both religiously and scientifically, therefore, I go with what we do know, the Woman is a human being, and our tradition states that all men are created equal and their inalienable rights afford them to freedom, justice, and the pursuit of happiness. I don't see, how telling a woman she doesn't have a right to do what she wants to her body is any of those things. Until we can make a case for the un-born child legally, which is highly unlikely in my opinion, then the right to choose should stand. Even theologically, it hasn't been proven just yet. In Islam, its very blurry as to this matter, traditionally, we think its wrong, but then one has to even question that, because if an unborn child is miscarried before the fourth mouth or in the first trimester, Islamically, a funeral is not given. So one has to question the scholars why is that? In my opinion that is because Islamically, we don't consider that "child" a human prior to the second trimester, I mean why else would that "child" not be worthy of a Islamic funeral? So like I stated the debate still rages on the nature of the unborn child, and therefore I can see no reason for a hindrance in what we still have as a matter of law.

Foreign Policy: I do not believe we are the world police. I believe in an America first policy. That is that we should focus more on our infrastructure before anyone elses. We have probably the largest crime rate, inmate population, and poverty of the industrialized, modernized countries. Every dictator should be equal and I don't see how we continue to condemn some and support others. We should restructure our deployments and limit our bases to the US and democratic allies that want us there. When things erupt we should be charitable but only through international efforts like the UN. The Billions we spend could be better used in our economy not others even our allies. Our military should only be in our defense and that of UN volunteering. Outside of that, we have to care more about our boarders first.

Immigration: There are two forms, Legal and Illegal. If your not a legal immigrant, you should be deported. I don't see the argument, the word illegal means acting against and in this case that would be the laws of immigration. If you do something illegal you are prosecuted and punishments there should be no exceptions. Our boarders need to be secure. For me that means Military deployment on the boarders, if necessary, with fences, etc. Criminals that break the law especially in this case, should be treated in the same manner as anyone else that trespasses on private property. Call it harsh, but you can't just go to private property without authorization, getting bit by a dog is a best case scenario, but depending on the type of property or owner you might get shot. Furthermore, how are we protecting this country from radicals and terrorists, if our boarders are porous?

My God, I could do this for days, so if I missed something and I know I have, feel free to email me questions or comments that you feel I should add or comment on, so I can expand this, as well as clarify the positions I have already stated.

Thank you

This Pope thing just wont die...

First and foremost, let me address the skeptics out there by saying that no not all Muslims are reacting violently or even care what the Pope has said and yes we are upset about the Muslims that are reacting violently. For those who keep wondering where are the positive voices, let me tell you they exist in mass, but the only way you might happen upon them is in places like this, on a blog, on a MSG board, on an Internet website, or as official statements at the various prestigious Islamic institutions across the globe. Why, because Peaceful Muslims that participate in Interfaith walks, talks, and conferences, or who do feed the homeless drives, or actually speak to the press at press events is not "newsworthy". The media in general, is sensationalized, and if its not provocative, sexy, or violent, odds are its not going to reach your television. Personally, I wrote and sent an Op-ed to the Washington Post, wrote on several MSG Boards, and spoke on the Joe Madison talk radio show this morning as a caller. I'm just one lone Muslim, and many would have never heard these words unless they were privy to these actions or went looking for them, as is the case with most Muslims like me. I have no problem going on National TV or any other media or platform, but does that mean I would get invited? Maybe if I was a radical cleric or terrorist, but not as a patriotic, peaceful, loving Muslim and father of five. Here is a recent post I put on a Message board to fully illustrate my views on the subject:

"First and foremost there is no "large violent protests", If all Muslims felt that way, the world would be in Anarchy right now. There are 1.5 Billion Muslims, damn near 1/5 of the worlds population. What you are seeing is media spin. There are isolated incidents with groups of 200-2000 Muslims acting an ass for the camera. In the places these things are happening is predictable: The ME, East Africa, and some parts of Asia, then of course you have the same big mouth idiot in the UK. Outside of that, most Muslims haven't said a word publicly except maybe a spill on the radio, op-ed, or some other letter, etc. My Imam addressed this very thing this past Friday, who BTW is not only in a Partnership with the FBI, but also heads over one of the largest if not the largest Masjid in the DC area, and is the vice-president of the Islamic Society of North America(ISNA) in other words he's a prestigious and well respected man, he said in this month alone he attended several press conferences with CNN, the Post, etc. and every time he gets asked "where is the Muslim condemnation of radicals" he said he once again condemned them for the 1000th time, but he also chastised the media for silencing the positive voices. He remarked that the reason why you don't hear these voices is because its not "newsworthy" no one wants to hear about the interfaith meetings, no one wants to hear about the 9/11 unity walks, or the Jewish/Muslim Peace Walks around the country, that stuff is boring, but if an Imam says something stupid, or people act out in the streets, then that is the news and that's what you hear. Its like October last year, I attended the Millions More Movement and it was a huge and peaceful event, many said there were over 1 million people, but did that get coverage, maybe 10 seconds, what got news that day was the group of people in Cleveland that rioted over the KKK march. The news is good at shaping public opinion. Its not that hard to go to the large and respected Islamic institutions around the globe to see the official stances on these things, but one has to go look first. But if your one who gets all your information from the TV, than of course your going to be blind to what is truly going on. The only way Muslims get a voice in this country is if we blow something up, outside of that, you have to do Internet searches, read a book, and look at the very back of local newspapers."

One thing that remains true throughout the ages, good or bad, people tend to do whats convenient. For the media that is show or report the things that get the ratings, and unfortunately, in our society, that's rarely anything positive.