Saturday, 20 August 2011

Assassination of President Barrack Hussein Obama - Must Read !

This is our blog prediction for the year 2012. There are so many things going on in the world this year and as an avid student of Nostradamus, we predicted that next year, if Obama is re-elected for the 2nd term as the President of the United States, he will be assassinated just like John F Kennedy.

Here are some reasons why , the Jews will want the first Half Afro American President , dead ???


  • Obama is going to restructure the Federal Reserve System so that it cant be used by capitalist (mostly Jews) to deregulate the World Economy. Restructuring of the FRS will take into account limiting speculative trading of all financial portfolios and instruments. The FED will now be answerable to a select committee under the control of the President so that it cant do things like issuing valueless bonds without getting the approval of the select committee. This move will surely curb the financial freedom of the Fed and make it subservient to the President's select committee. No more mortgage blunder and sub-prime loans issued at will. Obama also will move towards issuing legal tender endorsed by Congress in order to curb the Fed from creating valueless bonds and hurting the US Economy further.

  •   Obama will shut down the War in Iraq without even waiting for the US Administration to reap the profit of stealing oil from a country that they have colonized. The War in Iraq will soon cost the US somewhere around USD 3 trillion. Without any ceremony, they have to recoup money , already spent. The only way to recoup is to colonize IRAQ, stabilize it and starts stealing its oil using a puppet IRAQI administration. That plan seems to be in failure because the factions in Iraq just cant stop fighting each other and costing the US more money to manage this colony. Till doomsday , US cant stabilize Iraq and harvesting IRAQ is just a dream made on the moon. In order to save US Economy, Obama will eventually have to shut down the War in Iraq. This will cause all the Jewish war  machinery's and companies to be extremely upset cause the only way Israel is ever going to get rid of the Arabs for good is when they can establish Greater Israel plan of taking lands from the Nile River in Egypt right up to the Euphrates in Iraq. Apart from that , American Jewish contractors earned a huge amount of revenue through the sales of arms.
  • Since having half Muslim background during his upbringing and having close Pakistani Muslim friends, Obama will be more sympathetic towards the Palestinian rather than towards the Jews. Regime change in the Middle East will demand more from the Obama administration and he will concede to the needs of the Palestinian just to avoid another oil embargo launched by the new Middle East administration whom will be headed by liberal Islamic clergy after the Arab Renaissance.

In order to start a new war which will empower the US to invade other oil rich Muslim countries, the assassination of President Obama will be made to appear in such a way that Al-Qaeda is behind this plot.

The current US President is living in dangerous time. Obama will be the next JFK...

People Against Opposition Moderator

PS - End notes


Thursday, 11 June 2009

Obama is about to take on the private banking system known as the "US Federal Reserve" that since its dubious creation in 1913 has had complete control over the printing of all US money in what many detractors have long stated was in great violation of the American Constitution.

Almost unknown to the American people,  the Federal Reserve Bank is comprised of 12 branches that are private corporations whose ownership is shrouded in the veil of secrecy and is the largest holder of United States debt said to be in excess of over $4 Trillion.

Fueling Obama’s growing anger over the Federal Reserve Bank, the reports continue, has been their arrogant refusal to reply to the many questions being asked of them by the United States Congress over what has happened to over $8 Trillion of US taxpayer money, and which caused US Lawmakers to take the unprecedented step of issuing a subpoena yesterday to force the Federal Reserve to turn over internal documents related to Bank of America's acquisition of Merrill Lynch.

The Federal Reserve Bank, in a desperate bid to hold on to its power over the Untied States, has hired one of Washington D.C.’s top lobbyists,  Linda Robertson, who curiously, headed the Washington lobbying office of Enron Corporation which became one of the largest corporate bankruptcies in US history after they cheated investors out of a staggering $11 billion.




More ominously though, with Obama’s plan to take on the Federal Reserve Bank he becomes only the second US President to attempt to break this insidious creatures stranglehold over the United States after President John F. Kennedy, on June 4, 1963, signed Executive Order No. 11110 to strip the Federal Reserve Bank of its power to loan money to the government at interest.

On that day President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order No. 11110 that returned to the US government the power to issue currency, without going through the Federal Reserve. Kennedy's order gave the Treasury the power “to issue silver certificates against any silver bullion, silver, or standard silver dollars  in the Treasury.” This meant that for every ounce of silver in the US Treasury's vault, the government could introduce new money into circulation. In all, Kennedy brought nearly $4.3 billion in US notes into circulation.

Five short months later, President Kennedy was assassinated, and upon assuming office, newly sworn in President Lyndon Johnson recalled all of the US notes Kennedy had put into circulation and making President Ronald Reagan the next to challenge the power of the Federal Reserve, but which abruptly ended with his near assassination on March 30, 1981 by the hand of the son of former CIA Director, and then Vice President, George Bush’s closest friend and oil business backer John Hinckley Sr.

President Reagan had pitted himself against the Federal Reserve over their refusal to lower the crushing interests rates they had imposed upon the American people during the US recession of 1980-1982 which was their greatest since the Great Depression, but after his near death quietly signed into law on September 13, 1982, H.R.6128 which became Public Law No: 97-258 that was written on the behalf of the Federal Reserve by little known US Congressman Peter Wallace Rodino Jr., with no co-sponsors, and made it illegal for any future American President to print money for the American people.

But, according to Russian legal experts, even though Public Law No: 97-258 does appear on its surface to constrain President Obama; President Kennedy’s Executive Order No. 11110 has never been repealed by any American President making a showdown “inevitable” between Obama and the Federal Reserve before the US Supreme Court, and which Obama has recently nominated US Federal Judge Sonia Sotomayor to America’s highest court where she will become the 6th Roman Catholic Justice and giving the Vatican near total control of US monetary policy.

And, in this epic battle between the Vatican backed Obama and the Rothschild backed Federal Reserve, we can plainly see that the 1849 secret agreements between these two monstrous powers that have enslaved the West is nearing its catastrophic end, and with no clear winner to be seen but an entire World being destroyed in its titanic aftermath.

In what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu considered a “threat”, the US stated to Israel this week that “We are going to change the world. Please, don't interfere.”, the American people have not even been told.

This cannot be said of Putin, however, who immediately upon learning of Obama’s “battle” with the Federal Reserve joined China and Brazil and ordered Russia’s Central Bank to begin divesting itself of US Federal Reserve holdings and replace them with International Monetary Fund bonds as the United States is about to be crushed with what London’s Fleet Street News is calling  “The Triple Crown of Financial Catastrophes”. The US Media has continued to be silent on this and numerous other issues. 



Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Singapore - A developed nation, full of mistakes !

Economic miracles sometimes need course correction.

by : Shamim Adam

Economic miracles sometimes need course corrections, even in Singapore, which last year was home to more U.S. dollar-millionaire households per capita than any other country, according to Boston Consulting Group Inc.

From 1959 onward, under the leadership of Lee Kuan Yew and his successors, Singapore transformed itself into a rich hub for a range of industries, from financial services to transportation, to pharmaceuticals, Financial Markets magazine reports in the September issue. From 1960 to 2010, the city- state’s GDP increased 41-fold, to 285 billion Singapore dollars, as it became the world’s second-busiest container port and fourth-largest financial center. Three of the world’s six strongest banks are based in Singapore, according to a June Bloomberg Markets ranking.

As non-Singaporean workers and companies have poured into what the World Bank says is the easiest place on earth to do business, some Singaporeans have been left behind. 

The income gap between richest and poorest has widened in recent years, according to the government statistics department.

Non-Singaporeans now make up more than one-third of the island’s population of 5 million. The influx of wealthy expatriates has inflated demand for housing, pushing up prices, while the opposition Workers’ Party argues that large numbers of immigrant laborers have depressed local wages.


‘Learn and Lead’

Against this backdrop, the voters in May’s general election handed the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) its smallest margin of victory since 1965. While the PAP still collected 60 percent of the votes cast, the decline from previous showings was bracing enough for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Lee Kuan Yew’s eldest son, to promise a period of soul-searching.

The government pledged to pay attention to the electorate. “My mantra is to listen, learn and lead,” says Lui Tuck Yew, the new transport minister.

The Workers’ Party, which won six seats in Parliament (up from one in the 2006 election), called it a watershed election. Some Singaporeans went further. Catherine Lim, a best-selling novelist and political commentator, said the electoral landscape had turned toxic for the PAP by the time voters went to the polls. 

“This election shocked them like no other,” Lim, 69, says. “I call it a renaissance -- a Singapore revolution of sorts, like the Arab Spring.”

In reality, Singapore bears little resemblance to the fragile autocracies of countries in North Africa and the Middle East, politically or economically. 


Hybrid Democracy

Lee Kuan Yew co-founded the PAP and was the world’s longest-serving prime minister when he stepped down in 1990 after 31 years in office. He presided over a hybrid democracy: Though political opposition was minimal, there were regular elections. Remaining in the cabinet first as senior minister and then as minister mentor, Lee was succeeded by Goh Chok Tong and, in 2004, by Lee Hsien Loong.

Over the decades, the city-state achieved its success by encouraging foreign investment, avoiding corruption and emphasizing discipline, efficiency and interracial harmony. In order to reduce Singapore’s reliance on exports, successive governments encouraged the growth of new industries through business-friendly taxes and a minimum of red tape.

The Singaporean economy has grown mostly without interruption since 1986. The exceptions are a 2.1 percent contraction during the Asian financial crisis in 1998, a 1.2 percent decline in 2001 after the dot-com bubble burst and a 0.8 percent decrease during the 2009 global financial crisis.


Casino Gambling


While Macau, China, has been the world’s biggest player in casino gambling since it overtook Las Vegas in 2006, Singapore will move into second place by the end of this year, forecasts Frank Fahrenkopf, president of the American Gaming Association. 

(Blogger's note : DAP in Malaysia wants to turn Malaysia into a gambling hub like Singapore)

In 2005, as part of an effort to further diversify the economy, the government lifted a four-decade ban on casinos. Singapore moved with lightning speed: The island’s two huge gaming resorts opened last year. The casinos say they employ about 21,600 people and had attracted almost 35 million people as of recently.

Immigration has driven Singapore’s development. Smaller than New York City in area, the city-state has few natural resources. It has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world: 1.2 births per woman compared with 2.1 in the U.S., according to 2009 World Bank data.


‘An Invasion’


To fuel its ambitions, Singapore attracted globe-trotting professionals and entrepreneurs from places such as North America, Europe and India, as well as lower-paid laborers from countries including China, the Philippines and Bangladesh.

“It feels like an invasion because one day you wake up and there seem to be foreigners wherever you go,” says Dixon Chew, 34, a Singaporean maintenance engineer. “It used to be that most of the foreign workers were maids or laborers, but now they’re driving the buses, they’re taking your orders at McDonald’s, they’re the cashiers at the supermarkets.”

Unaccustomed as it is to opposition, the ruling PAP may have underestimated popular discontent, says Vishnu Varathan, an economist at Capital Economics (Asia) Pte in Singapore. “The government has missed some clues, and there are very legitimate reasons why people are unhappy,” he says. “The onus is on the PAP to show that it is not old wine in a new bottle or it will continue to lose votes.”

After the election, Lee Hsien Loong moved quickly to show he had heard the voters. He reshuffled his cabinet. The government announced plans to release more land for homebuilding.


Coded Language


It also said it would review ministerial salaries that are among the highest in the world: Prime Minister Lee made $2.1 million in 2009, while cabinet ministers earned about $1.1 million each.

Lee Kuan Yew, who turns 88 on Sept. 16, left the cabinet, as did Goh, who had assumed the role of senior minister in 2004. In somewhat coded language, the elder Lee and Goh said in a statement a week after the election that it was time for change in Singapore.

“We have made our contributions to the development of Singapore,” they said. “The time has come for a younger generation to carry Singapore forward in a more difficult and complex situation.”

The government began to address immigration before the election. “We have moved quite fast over the last five years,” Lee Hsien Loong said last year. “But now, I think we should consolidate, slow down the pace. 

We cannot continue going like this and increasing our population 100,000, 150,000 a year indefinitely, and we should give Singaporeans time to adjust and our society time to settle and integrate better the newer arrivals.”


Reaching Out


In that vein, the government granted 48,023 permanent- residence and citizenship applications in 2010, down about 40 percent from 79,388 the year before. Ministers are increasingly reaching out to the public. Some are connecting in time-worn ways. In June, Minister for Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan waded through a shopping mall to see firsthand the effects of a flash flood.

Others are flocking to the Internet. “I will consult widely, with experts, customers, industry players and Singaporeans,” Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan said on his Housing Matters blog.

Adapting to shifting currents is something that Singapore has excelled at since Lee Kuan Yew came to power a half century ago. His exit marks more than a symbolic threshold for Singapore and for his son. The government recognizes that popular demands at home can’t go unmet.


‘Significant Concerns’


“Singapore has entered a new phase in its political development,” Lee Hsien Loong said at the swearing-in ceremony of his new cabinet in May. 

“It is clear that Singaporeans do have significant concerns over both the substance of government policies and the way they are implemented. In implementation, our approach must be more flexible, thoughtful and compassionate.”

(Blogger's note : Pakatan Rakyat failed to understand flexible, thoughtful and compassionate policies implementation. DUMC church issue is a proof of this implementation failure) 


Lee’s challenge will be to keep making the city-state his father built attractive to business and foreign workers while making sure born-and-bred Singaporeans continue to get a piece of the economic miracle.

(Blogger's note - Pakatan Rakyat will commits similar mistakes or worse if they were to govern Malaysia.)


Planning for Tommorow - How can we save Somalia and others....

We would read the verse four of Sura 106 (106:4) that describes Allah as the one "who has given them food against hunger, and made them safe from danger." We will also read the verse eight of sura 76, (76:8) "And they feed, for the love of Allah, the indigent, the orphan and the captives. And in sura 90 verse fourteen(90:14) describing the most challenging task for human beings and believers specifically, we are reminded of a group of people who feed people on a day of hunger.

Doubtlessly Allah has given abundant food against hunger. Yet millions are suffering from hunger all over the world. In Somalia alone, hundreds are dying each day of starvation. So where is the food that Allah has provided the people with? In Italy alone, 1.5 million ton of food is wasted every year because farmers do not want to sell their crops at a cheaper price. Estimates of how much food we toss in the US vary, but according to Jonathan Bloom, author of American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It), weÕre wasting around 40 percent of the total. The leading English magazine the Economist recently wrote the following: 

The average American wastes 1,400 kilocalories a day. That amounts to 150 trillion kilocalories a year for the country as a whole-about 40 percent of its food supply, up from 28 percent in 1974. Producing these wasted calories accounts for more than one-quarter of AmericaÕs consumption of freshwater, and also uses about 300 million barrels of oil a year. On top of that, a lot of methane (a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide) emerges when all this food rots.

These figures are about just few countries out of 200 plus countries in the world. Obviously, when the food is not brought in the market due to cheap prices and some 40 per cent of what is cooked is wasted, one cannot blame God for failing in his promise.





The blame can certainly be placed on those who speak in the name of God. Why are they not raising the awareness about hunger and disproportionate distribution and known wastage of resources? There is hardly anyone talking about the unjust distribution system that exists in our world. How much food the Muslim community is wasting? All you need to do is look at the dumpster at a mosque that is serving iftar and dinner to the community. You will not be surprised to find the similarity between the national and Muslim pattern of wastage.

Hardly anyone is talking about sacrifice for the betterment of the world. 

Economists describes the situation in terms of world food prices and its impact on future economy. Politicians, depending on whose money they are using to get re elected, would talk about the poverty without ever doing anything to change the situation. As Muslims, we need to act on the divine message that those who prefer the needs of others over their own comfort are indeed the ones successful in this life and the life hereafter. It is the quality of sacrificing for others that is the foundation for a better world and better commitment to Allah. For a rich man who does not know the limit of his wealth, spending a few hundred thousands is nothing. However, when the responsibilities are limited to only two and a half percent of one's savings regardless of the savings and regardless of the means of earning, the results would not be different. 


The crisis in Somalia can be resolved through our sacrifice for the sake of humanity. We are capable of doing that. But we need to get organized, which often we are not.

We need to do the following to help improve the situation in Somalia and other places.

1. On an emergency basis our relief organizations survey the availability of food at a low prices in a world market.

2. On a longer term basis, a proper survey of putting an irrigation system with the possibility of growing new high yielding crops can be made to plan for the future.

3. Our entrepreneurs work in coordination with these agencies to produce and prepare cooked nutritious food to serve those who are in need.

4. Our masses demonstrate the quality of sacrifice in their life style. Every time we eat a meal, we make it a habit of donating amount at least half or one quarter of the amount of the meal we eating and give it to an organization that knows how to do the job right.

If the 4 plus million Muslim community saves a quarter each meal, it alone can generate resources to do everything that is mentioned above. But this would happen only when we are willing to sacrifice and willing to heed to the divine call beyond the call of our duty.

One of the steps that American Muslim Relief organizations should have taken is to organize a summit to discuss this humanitarian crisis so that all could coordinate their resources and direct them to appropriate actions. But then that would require sacrifice on the part of the leadership. If they want people to sacrifice their monetary resources, they have to show they are willing to tame their egos and willing to sacrifice their organizational popularity for a goal much bigger than that: serving the creation of God on a day when some of it may be hungry. (
90:13)
A worrying alarm arrives now from the Italian Farmers Association (CIA): mass amounts of food is sitting and rotting in their fields because sale prices donÕt cover all of the costs of production. The result is a 1.5 million of tons wasted every year and 4 billion of Euro frittered away. All this with rising costs for Italian consumers and farmers. 

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Lust and Desire .......


The desire of love is to give. The desire of lust is to get.
- Ed Cole -

Shun pornography. Protect your younglings from this filth !




Allah wishes to accept your repentance, but those who follow their lusts, wish that you  should deviate tremendously away . 
(  سورة النساء  , An-Nisa, Chapter #4, Verse #27)


 And keep yourself patiently with those who call on their Lord , morning and afternoon, seeking His Face; and let not your eyes overlook them, desiring the pomp and glitter of the life of the world; and obey not him whose heart We have made heedless of Our Remembrance, and who follows his own lusts, and whose affair  has been lost. 
(  سورة الكهف  , Al-Kahf, Chapter #18, Verse #28)


 Beautified for men is the love of things they covet; women, children, much of gold and silver , branded beautiful horses, cattle and well-tilled land. This is the pleasure of the present world's life; but Allah has the excellent return (Paradise with flowing rivers) with Him. 
(  سورة آل عمران  , Aal-e-Imran, Chapter #3, Verse #14)

Friday, 5 August 2011

Buku Baru - Terbitan Thinkers Library Sdn Bhd - Meletup ! - Barisan Nasional - Menuju Ke Arah Kemenangan Pilihanraya Umum ke 13

Tajuk Buku - Barisan Nasional - Menuju Ke Arah Kemenangan Pilihanraya Umum ke 13

Penulis : Dr Nik Yahya Abdul Rahman

Pencetak : Laris Resources Sdn Bhd

Penerbit : Thinkers Library Sdn Bhd
No. 123 Jalan Jasa Tiga Taman Jasa Sungai Tua
Batu Caves, Selangor 68100
Malaysia
tel: +60 603-61897570
fax: +60 603-61878525
e-mail - thinkers_library@yahoo.com

ISBN : 978-967-69-0786-8


Buku ini adalah sebuah prediksi berasaskan fakta dan kemelut politik semasa terhadap keputusan pilihanraya ke 13 dimana, semua sebab-sebab kenapa BN pasti menang pilihanraya ke 13 ini dikupas bagi tujuan memberi peluang kepada pengundi-pengundi menggunakan buku ini sebagai rujukan bagaimana membuat pilihan yang tepat pada pilihanraya ke 13 kelak. Buku komprehensif ini mencakupi pelbagai pandangan serta memuatkan jawapan-jawapan  kepada semua isu-isu dalaman dan luaran yang dibawa oleh pihak pembangkang yang pasti memberi impak besar kepada para pengundi muda khususnya dan masyarakat umum , amnya.   Pendekatan berdasarkan kaedah Factor Rating digunapakai di dalam membuat analisa terhadap semua parti-parti politik utama di Malaysia. Empat piawai digunapakai di dalam menganalisa setiap parti politik  iaitu ;



Konsisten, Pembangunan Berterusan, Kesejahteraan dan Pembetulan Dalaman.

Ke-empat-empat  kriteria ini juga sudah mencukupi bagi memberi satu jawapan yang terperinci tentang apakah sumbangan sesebuah parti politik di Malaysia di dalam menjaga hak-hak serta kepentingan-kepentingan rakyat berbilang kaum, bangsa dan suku etnik di Malaysia ?

Penerangan tentang Dasar-Dasar Kerajaan Barisan Nasional daripada tahun 1957 sehingga 2011 juga dimuatkan agar menjadi bukti tentang kesungguhan serta iltizam Kerajaan Barisan Nasional merangka rancangan-rancangan jangka pendek serta jangka panjang dan statistik kesan-kesan perancangan tersebut kepada pembangunan sosio-ekonomi Malaysia.

Kaedah SWOT Analysis telah digunakan  di tempat-tempat yang bersesuaian membincangkan tentang Strength (Kekuatan), Weaknesses (Kelemahan), Oppurtunity (Peluang) dan Threat (Ancaman) dan diterangkan dengan diselit dengan fakta-fakta yang jelas serta rapi. Buku ini boleh dijadikan “Hand-Book” bagi petugas – petugas jentera-jentera pilihanraya bagi menghadapi rakyat yang memerlukan penjelasan yang mudah tetapi tepat berkenaan dengan apakah faktor-faktor yang perlu diambil kira sebelum membuat keputusan untuk menunaikan tanggung-jawab di dalam latihan demokrasi di pusat-pusat pengundian.

Satu ciri buku ini adalah selain daripada fakta-fakta yang dikemukakan, Debat Rakyat adalah bahagian dimana contoh-contoh senario berlatarbelakangkan kemelut politik semasa dikarang dalam bentuk skrip dimana terdapat perbincangan serta debat-debat antara penyokong-penyokong kerajaan dengan penyokong-penyokong pembangkang ditulis dengan gaya bersahaja agar diambil pelajaran dan pengajaran daripada Debat Rakyat ini.

Buku ini merupakan jawapan kepada semua hujah-hujah yang dikeluarkan oleh puak pembangkang yang sudah kehabisan modal serta dilanda pelbagai isu yang bakal memecahkan kesatuan serta kredibiliti Pakatan Rakyat. 

Pemintaan dijangka melebihi pengeluaran - Sure 100% Best Seller.....

Dapatkan naskah anda di ; 

Thinkers Library Sdn Bhd
No. 123 Jalan Jasa Tiga Taman Jasa Sungai Tua
Batu Caves, Selangor 68100
Malaysia
tel: +60 603-61897570
fax: +60 603-61878525
e-mail - thinkers_library@yahoo.com

Sila hubungi Brother Isa di - 0192205015

atau Haji Latif di - 0166856285


Nota : Buku ini dijangka keluar sebelum Hari Raya Aidilfitri, insya Allah.


diterima daripada - Mydin Rakyat1Malaysia dalam comment posting....

Arab Awakening: A New Revolutionary Discourse


When President Ali Abdullah Saleh tried desperately to quell Yemen's popular uprising, he appealed to tribalism, customs and traditions. All his efforts evidently failed, and the revolution continued unabated. When Saleh denounced women for joining men in demonstrations in Sana'a - playing on cultural sensitivities and a very selective interpretation of religion - the response was even more poignant. Thousands of women took to the streets, denouncing Saleh's regime and calling for its ouster.

The immediate popular response was notable for its level of organization and decisiveness. It was also interesting because most of the women protesting, did so while wearing the Niqab. Fully covered Yemeni women have continued to inspire - if not fuel - the revolution which started in February. Without their active participation and resilience in the face of violent attempts to quash the uprising, one wonders if Yemen could have held on for so long. 

The role of Yemeni women in the revolution should significantly challenge any ideas of Arab women that are based simply on statistical or superficial criteria. In 2010, the Freedom House report on women in the Middle East had already determined that Yemen made no significant progress on women's rights in the preceding five years. Most international reports examining the standing of women in Yemen - whether in education, health or any other field - have consistently been bleak. Yet, in revolutionary Yemen, the discounted women were more than equal to their male peers when it came to articulating their demands for freedom, democracy and equality. 

Yemeni women have not simply broken the stereotype regarding what truly 'radical' women in a traditional society should be. They have also challenged all sorts of academic takes on the subject. No famous feminist or NGO has been responsible for mobilizing the women's activism. Yemeni women are also not specifically asking for equality in a supposedly men-dominated society. They seem to understand that a truly free and democratic society will naturally deliver on its promises of equal treatment, opportunities and expectations for all. 

Western media and think-tanks have long presented a mistaken and divisive understanding of Arab - and other - societies. There is a discrepancy between the actual situation and indicators-driven understanding. Entire Arab societies are deconstructed and reduced into simple data, which is filtered, classified and juggled to fit into precise criteria and clear-cut conclusions. Public opinions and entire policies are then formed or formulated based on these conclusions. 

The problem does not lie in academic practices per se, but rather the objective-specific understanding that many in the west have towards the Middle East. Most Washington-based think-tanks - regardless of their political leanings - tend to study distant societies only for the sake of producing definite answers and recommendations. However, providing an all-encompassing depiction of a society like Yemen's - whose internal dynamics and complexity necessarily differs from any other's in the region - would be most unhelpful for those eager to design policies and short-term strategies on the go. 

Arab revolutions continue to tear down archaic beliefs and misguided understandings, challenging the wild theories around Arab peoples and their supposed wrangling between secularism and Islamism. Despite all of this, the self-seeking objectifying of Arabs continues in western media. 

Under the all-inclusive title, "The Arab World: The Awakening", an article in Economist Magazine (Feb 17) attempted to describe the upheaval currently underway throughout the Arab world. Interspersed with such predictable terms as 'extremists', 'Islamists', 'strongmen' and so on, the inane analysis made way for equally silly conclusions. The article, for example, suggested that the West's decision to accommodate dictatorial regimes in the Middle East was motivated by a mix of despair and altruism: "The West has surrendered to this (Arab) despair too, assuming that only the strongmen could hold back the extremists."



While words such 'extremists', 'fundamentalists' and 'terrorists' may have their own special ring to western audiences, they could well mean something entirely different - if anything at all - to Arabs. Listening to the Arab media's coverage of ongoing revolutions, one may not even encounter any of the above terminologies. At times, they can be entirely irrelevant in terms of understanding the momentous happenings underway throughout the region. 

The Libyan rebellion is another example to note here. Revolution and war in Libya have ignited a heated debate among Arab intellectuals, pertaining to the use of violence and foreign intervention - although barely in support of the Libyan regime. However, for the New York Times, the coverage of the story is often slated and removed from current reality in Libya. The article "Exiled Islamists Watch Rebellion Unfold at Home," (NYT, July 18) attempted to answer a nagging question concerning the relationship between Islamists and the Libyan rebels. This question is relevant only to western governments. Although the group examined - the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group - has long been dismantled, its alleged former ties with al-Qaeda continue to concern many in the west. While for Libyans, "the men are seen not as an alien, pernicious force but as patriots," the article claims that many in the West "are trying to assess their influence and any lingering links to Al Qaeda."

Arab revolutions are attempting to examine larger issues that have tremendous impact on all aspects of life. They are actively confronting the suffering caused at the hands of local dictators supported by Western and other foreign governments. Western media and intellectuals, however, continue to seek only easy answers to intricate, multifaceted questions. In doing so, they follow the path of the same superficial, stereotypical, and predictable discourse. While Arab societies discuss democracy, freedom, and social justice, Western writers continue to follow the imagined paths of al-Qaeda, Islamists, moderates and extremists. In all of this, they are embarking on yet another futile hunt, a hunt which will yield no concrete answers, and more misguided policies.

Thomas Jefferson's Qur'an


Facing the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. stands the Jefferson Building, the main building of the Library of Congress, the world's largest library, with holdings of more than 140 million books and other printed items. The stately building, with its neoclassical exterior, copper-plated dome and marble halls, is named after Thomas Jefferson, one of the "founding fathers" of the United States, principal author of the 1776 Declaration of Independence and, from 1801 to 1809, the third president of the young republic. But the name also recognizes Jefferson's role as a founder of the Library itself. As president, he enshrined the institution in law and, in 1814, after a fire set by British troops during the Anglo-American War destroyed the Library's 3000-volume collection, he offered all or part of his own wide-ranging book collection as a replacement for the losses, commenting that "there is in fact no subject to which a member of Congress may not have occasion to refer."

Among the nearly 6,500 books Jefferson sold to the Library was a two-volume English translation of the Qur'an, the book Muslims recite, study and revere as the revealed word of God. The presence of this Qur'an, first in Jefferson's private library and later in the Library of Congress, prompts the questions why Jefferson purchased this book, what use he made of it, and why he included it in his young nation's repository of knowledge.

These questions are all the more pertinent in light of assertions by some present- day commentators that Jefferson purchased his Qur'an in the 1780's in response to conflict between the U.S. and the "Barbary states" of North Africa-today Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. That was a conflict Jefferson followed closely- indeed, in 1786, he helped negotiate a treaty with Morocco, the United States' first treaty with a foreign power. Then, it was relations with Algeria that were the most nettlesome, as its ruler demanded the payment of tribute in return for ending semiofficial piracy of American merchant shipping. Jefferson staunchly opposed tribute payment. In this context, such popular accounts claim, Jefferson was studying the Qur'an to better understand these adversaries, in keeping with the adage "know thy enemy." However, when we look more closely at the place of this copy of the Qur'an in Jefferson's library-and in his thinking- and when we examine the context of this particular translation, we see a different story.

From his youth, Thomas Jefferson read and collected a great number of books, and a wide variety of them: The collection he eventually sold to the Library of Congress comprised 6,487 volumes, ranging in subject from classical philosophy to cooking. Like many collectors of the time, Jefferson not only cataloged his books but also marked them. It is his singular way of marking his books that makes it possible to establish that, among the millions of volumes in today's Library of Congress, this one specific Qur'an did indeed belong to him.

In the 18th century, the production of books was still an essentially manual process. By means of a hand press, large sheets of paper were printed on both sides with multiple pages before being folded. They were folded once to produce four pages for the folio size, twice to produce eight pages for the quarto or four times to produce the 16-page octavo. These folded sheets, known as "gatherings," were then sewn together along their inner edges before being attached to the binding. To ensure that the bookbinders would stitch the gatherings together in the correct sequence, each was marked with a different letter of the alphabet on what, after folding, would become that gathering's first page.


Thus, in an octavo volume like Jefferson's Qur'an, there is a small printed letter in the bottom right-hand corner of every 16th page. It was Jefferson's habit to take advantage of these preexisting marks to discreetly inscribe each of his books. On each book's 10th gathering, in front of the printer's mark J he wrote a letter T, and on the 20th gathering, to the printed T he added a J, thereby in each case producing his initials. This subtle yet unmistakable signature appears clearly on the two leather-bound volumes in the Library of Congress.
The initials "T.J." were Thomas Jefferson's device for marking his books: On this page, the "T." is the printer's mark to help the binder keep each 16-page "gathering" in sequence, and the "J." was added personally by Jefferson.
Jefferson's system of cataloging his library sheds light on the place the Qur'an held in his thinking. Jefferson's 44-category classification scheme was much informed by the work of Francis Bacon (1561-1626), whose professional trajectory from lawyer to statesman to philosopher roughly prefigures Jefferson's own career. According to Bacon, the human mind comprises three faculties: memory, reason and imagination. This trinity is reflected in Jefferson's library, which he organized into history, philosophy and fine arts. Each of these contained subcategories: philosophy, for instance, was divided into moral and mathematical; continuing along the former branch leads to the subdivision of ethics and jurisprudence, which itself was further segmented into the categories of religious, municipal and "oeconomical." 
Jefferson organized his own library, and he shelved religious books, including his English version of the Qur'an, with other works under "Jurisprudence," which fell under "Moral Philosophy."

Jefferson's system for organizing his library has often been described as a "blueprint of his own mind." Jefferson kept his Qur'an in the section on religion, located between a book on the myths and gods of antiquity and a copy of the Old Testament. It is illuminating to note that Jefferson did not class religious works with books on history or ethics-as might perhaps be expected-but that he regarded their proper place to be within jurisprudence.

The story of Jefferson's purchase of the Qur'an helps to explain this classification. Sifting through the records of the Virginia Gazette, through which Jefferson ordered many of his books, the scholar Frank Dewey discovered that Jefferson bought this copy of the Qur'an around 1765, when he was still a student of law at the College of William & Mary in Virginia.

This quickly refutes the notion that Jefferson's interest in Islam came in response to the Barbary threat to shipping. Instead, it situates his interest in the Qur'an in the context of his legal studies-a conclusion that is consistent with his shelving of it in the section on jurisprudence.

Jefferson's legal interest in the Qur'an was not without precedent. There is of course the entire Islamic juridical tradition of religious law (Shari'ah) based on Qur'anic exegesis, but Jefferson had an example at hand that was closer to his own tradition: The standard work on comparative law during his time was Of the Law of Nature and Nations, written by the German scholar Samuel von Pufendorf and first published in 1672. As Dewey shows, Jefferson studied Pufendorf's treatise intensively and, in his own legal writings, cited it more frequently than any other text. Pufendorf's book contains numerous references to Islam and to the Qur'an. Although many of these were disparaging-typical for European works of the period-on other occasions Pufendorf cited Qur'anic legal precedents approvingly, including the Qur'an's emphasis on promoting moral behavior, its proscription of games of chance and its admonition to make peace between warring countries. As Kevin Hayes, another eminent Jefferson scholar, writes: "Wanting to broaden his legal studies as much as possible, Jefferson found the Qur'an well worth his attention."
"We the General Assembly of Virginia do enact that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their
civil capacities."

'From the Virginia Statute for
Religious Freedom, ratified 1786;
drafted by Thomas Jefferson in 1777

In his reading of the Qur'an as a law book, Jefferson was aided by a relatively new English translation that was not only technically superior to earlier attempts, but also produced with a sensitivity that was not unlike Jefferson's own emerging attitudes. Entitled The Koran; commonly called the Alcoran of Mohammed, it was prepared by the Englishman George Sale and published in 1734 in London. A second edition was printed in 1764, and it was this edition that Jefferson bought. Like Jefferson, Sale was a lawyer, although his heart lay in oriental scholarship. In the preface to his translation, he lamented that the work "was carried on at leisure time only, and amidst the necessary avocations of a troublesome profession." This preface also informed the reader of Sale's motives: "If the religious and civil Institutions of foreign nations are worth our knowledge, those of Mohammed, the lawgiver of the Arabians, and founder of an empire which in less than a century spread itself over a greater part of the world than the Romans were ever masters of, must needs be so." Like Pufendorf, Sale stressed Muhammad's role as a "lawgiver" and the Qur'an as an example of a distinct legal tradition.

This is not to say that Sale's translation is free of the kind of prejudices against Muslims that characterize most European works on Islam of this period. However, Sale did not stoop to the kinds of affronts that tend to fill the pages of earlier such attempts at translation. To the contrary, Sale felt himself obliged to treat "with common decency, and even to approve such particulars as seemed to me to deserve approbation." In keeping with this commitment, Sale described the Prophet of Islam as "richly furnished with personal endowments, beautiful in person, of a subtle wit, agreeable behaviour, shewing liberality to the poor, courtesy to every one, fortitude against his enemies, and, above all, a high reverence for the name of God." This portrayal is markedly different from those of earlier translators, whose primary motive was to assert the superiority of Christianity.
 
In addition to the relative liberality of Sale's approach, he also surpassed earlier writers in the quality of his translation. Previous English versions of the Qur'an were not based on the original Arabic, but rather on Latin or French versions, a process that layered fresh mistakes upon the errors of their sources. Sale, by contrast, worked from the Arabic text. It was not true, as Voltaire claimed in his famous Dictionnaire philosophique of 1764, that le savant Sale had acquired his Arabic skills by having lived for 25 years among Arabs; rather, Sale had learnt the language through his involvement in preparing an Arabic translation of the New Testament to be used by Syrian Christians, a project that was underwritten by the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge in London. Studying alongside Arab scholars who had come to London to assist in this work, he acquired within a few years such good command of the language that he was able to serve as a proofreader of the Arabic text. 

"Translation" or "Interpretation"?  "In this Qur'an, We have put forward all kinds of illustrations for people, so that they may take heed-an Arabic Qur'an, free from any distortion."

That quotation from Surah 39, Verses 27-28, of the Qur'an was rendered into English by Muhammad A. S. Abdel Haleem, Professor of Islamic Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. It emphasizes a basic yet far-reaching fact about the holy book of Islam: It was received and recorded in the Arabic language. Muslims believe that the Qur'an is inseparable from the language in which it was revealed, and for this reason, all Muslims worldwide recite it in Arabic, even though today the vast majority of Muslims are neither Arabs nor native speakers of Arabic. Many Muslims also regard the eloquence of the Qur'an as evidence of its divine provenance. A popular story recounts how, in the time of Muhammad, the most famous poet of Makkah converted to Islam after reading one of its verses, convinced that no human could ever produce a work of such beauty.

This makes any attempt to render the Qur'an into another language a daunting task, and explains why Muslims prefer to call non-Arabic versions of the Qur'an "interpretations." The difficulties are compounded further by the interpretive problems inherent in all translations, that is, the word-by-word demand for decisions about the intended meaning of the original and the most suitable equivalent in the target language. These issues the Qur'an itself seems to anticipate: "Some of its verses are definite in meaning-these are the cornerstone of the scripture-and others are ambiguous. The perverse at heart eagerly pursue the ambiguities in their attempt to make trouble and to pin down a specific meaning of their own: only God knows the true meaning." (Surah 3, Verse 7, Abdel Haleem version)

Most modern-day "translators" of the Qur'an explicitly engage these issues and explain their particular approach and decisions. While there will never be a definitive Qur'an in any language other than Arabic, these days English readers are able to choose from among a wide selection of careful "interpretations." 

It is thus not so surprising that Sale turned from translating the holy text of Christians into Arabic to rendering the holy text of Muslims into his native English. Noting the absence of a reliable English translation, he aimed to provide a "more genuine idea of the original." Lest his readers be unduly daunted, he justified his choice of fidelity to the original by stating that "we must not expect to read a version of so extraordinary a book with the same ease and pleasure as a modern composition." Indeed, even though Sale's English may appear overwrought today, there is no denying that he strove to convey some of the beauty and poetry of the original Arabic.

Sale's aspiration to provide an accurate rendition of the Qur'an was matched by his desire also to provide his readers with a more honest introduction to Islam. This "Preliminary Discourse," as he entitled it, runs to more than 200 pages in the edition Jefferson purchased. Fairly presented and conscientiously documented, it contains a section on Islamic civil law that repeatedly points out parallels to Jewish legal precepts in regard to marriage, divorce, inheritance, lawful retaliation and the rules of warfare. In this substantial discussion, Sale displays the same quality of dispassionate interest in comparative law that later moved Jefferson.
An inscription inside the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. quotes Jefferson's 1777 statute on religious pluralism that inspired the constitutional right that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust."
But did reading the Qur'an influence Thomas Jefferson? That question is difficult to answer, because the few scattered references he made to it in his writings do not reveal his views. Though it may have sparked in him a desire to learn the Arabic language (during the 1770's Jefferson purchased a number of Arabic grammars), it is far more significant that it may have reinforced his commitment to religious freedom. Two examples support this idea. In 1777, the year after he drafted the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was tasked with excising colonial legacies from Virginia's legal code. As part of this undertaking, he drafted a bill for the establishment of religious freedom, which was enacted in 1786. In his autobiography, Jefferson recounted his strong desire that the bill not only should extend to Christians of all denominations but should also include "within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan [Muslim], the Hindoo, and infidel of every denomination."

This all-encompassing attitude to religious pluralism was by no means universally shared by Jefferson's contemporaries. As the historian Robert Allison documents, many American writers and statesmen in the late 18th century made reference to Islam for less salutary aims. Armed with tendentious translations and often grossly distorted accounts, they portrayed Islam as embodying the very dangers of tyranny and despotism that the young republic had just overcome. Allison argues that many American politicians who used "the Muslim world as a reference point for their own society were not concerned with historical truth or with an accurate description of Islam, but rather with this description's political convenience." These attitudes again came into conflict with Jefferson's vision in 1788, when the states voted to ratify the United States Constitution. One of the matters at issue was the provision-now Article vi, Section 3-that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." Some Anti-Federalists singled out and opposed this ban on religious discrimination by painting a hypothetical scenario in which a Muslim could become president. On the other side of the argument, despite their frequent opposition to Jefferson on other matters, the Federalists praised and drew on Jefferson's vision of religious tolerance in supporting uncircumscribed rights both to faith and to elected office for all citizens. As the historian Denise Spellberg shows in her examination of this dispute among delegates in North Carolina, in the course of these constitutional debates "Muslims became symbolically embroiled in the definition of what it meant to be American citizens."

It is intriguing to think that Jefferson's study of the Qur'an may have inoculated him-to a degree that today we can only surmise- against such popular prejudices about Islam, and it may have informed his conviction that Muslims, no less and no more than any other religious group, were entitled to all the legal rights his new nation could offer. And although Jefferson was an early and vocal proponent of going to war against the Barbary states over their attacks on US shipping, he never framed his arguments for doing so in religious terms, sticking firmly to a position of political principle. Far from reading the Qur'an to better understand the mindset of his adversaries, it is likely that his earlier knowledge of it confirmed his analysis that the roots of the Barbary conflict were economic, not religious.

Sale's Koran remained the best available English version of the Qur'an for another 150 years. Today, along with the original copy of Jefferson's Qur'an, the Library of Congress holds nearly one million printed items relating to Islam-a vast collection of knowledge for every new generation of lawmakers and citizens, with its roots in the law student's leather-bound volumes.
*****
Sebastian R. Prange (s.prangegmail.com) holds a doctorate in history from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. He studies the organization of Muslim trade networks in the pre-modern Indian Ocean, with a regional focus on South India.
Aasil Ahmad (http://www.aasilahmad.net/) is a freelance photographer and photo editor for Islamic Monthly magazine. He recently completed a project in Kashmir teaching photography to children impacted by the 2005 earthquake. His photos of the Hajj were featured in a series called "A Minox in Mecca" at the Contact Photography Festival in Toronto. He lives in Washington, D.C.