Monday, 20 June 2011

The Existence of Allah

The Existence of Allah

Abdul Wahid Hamid

Islam the Natural Way

Published in 1989 by MELS, © Abdul Wahid Hamid 1989

Once, a Bedouin was asked what made an unsophisticated man like
him believe in Allah.

Bedouin: "Do you see these marks in the sand?"

Man: "Yes."

Bedouin: "What do they tell you?"

Man: "A camel went by."

Bedouin: "Did you see the camel?"

Man: "No, but these footprints in the sand suggest that a camel
made them."

Bedouin: "Do you see these mountains?"

Man: "Yes."

Bedouin: "They are indicative to me that Allah made them."


Once Khalifa Haroon Rasheed asked Imam Malik: "What is
the evidence (daleel) pointing to the existence of Allah (subhanahu
wa ta`ala)?" Imam Malik replied: "Difference in languages,
difference in pitches of voice, difference in singing are proof
that Allah (subhanahu wa ta`ala) exists!"


The same question was asked, by an atheist, of Imam Abu Hanifa
and he replied, "Forget it! At the moment, I am busy thinking
about this ship. People tell me there is a big ship, it contains
different goods on board. There is no one to steer it, no one maintaining
it. Yet, this ship keeps going back and forth; it even traverses
big waves on the oceans; it stops at the locations that it is supposed
to stop at; it continues in the direction that it is supposed to
head. This ship has no

captain and no one planning its trips."

The atheist who posed the question interrupted and exclaimed, "What
kind of strange and silly thought is this? How can any intelligent
person think that some thing like this can occur?"

Imam Abu Hanifa said, "I feel sorry about your state! You
cannot imagine one ship running without some one looking after its
affairs. Yet you think that for this whole world, which runs exactly
and precisely, there is no one who looks after it, and no one owns

Hearing the reply, the atheist was left speechless but he found
out more about Haqq (The Truth) and proclaimed Islam.


Imam Shafi`i replied to the question in the following way,
"The leaves of Toot (berries) are all but one. Each leaf tastes
exactly the same. Insects, honey bees, cows, goats, and deer live
off of it. After eating these the insects produce silk; bees produce
honey; deer give musk (a special kind of scent), cows and goats
deliver off-springs. Is this not clear evidence that one kind of
leaf has so many qualities, and who created these qualities? It
is the Khaliq (Creator) who we call Allah (subhanahu wa ta`ala)
Who is the Inventor and the Creator."


Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal reflected on the question in the following
way. He said, "There is an incredibly strong fort, it has no
doors, there is no way to get in. In fact, there is not even a hole
in it. From outside it glows like the moon and from inside it shimmers
like gold. It is sealed from all sides, matter of fact it is air
tight. Suddenly one of its doors breaks down, a living thing with
eyes and ears, a beautiful looking animal appears yelling and wandering
all over. So is not there a creator who made it possible for life
to take place in this secured and closed fort? And is not this Creator
better than humans? This Creator has no limit." Imam Ahmad
ibn Hanbal was referring to an egg which is closed from all sides
but Allah (subhanahu wa ta`ala) The Khaliq (Creator) puts life in
it and a chick pops out.


Fortune telling and Islam

Fortune telling

Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips

There are among mankind, people who claim knowledge of the unseen
and the future. They are known by various names, among them: fortune-teller,
soothsayer, foreseer, augur, magician, prognosticator, oracle, astrologer,
palmist, etc. Fortune-tellers use various methods and mediums from
which they claim to extract their information, among them: reading
tea-leaves, drawing lines, writing numbers, palm-reading, casting
horoscopes, crystal ball gazing, rattling bones, throwing sticks,

Practitioners of occult arts, which claim to reveal the unseen
and predict the future, can be divided into two main categories:

1. Those who have no real knowledge or secrets but depend on telling
their customers about general incidences which happen to most people.
They often go through a series of meaningless rituals, then make
calculatedly general guesses. Some of their guesses, due to their
generality, usually come true. Most people tend to remember the
few predictions that come true and quickly forget the many which
do not. This tendency is a result of the fact that after some time
all the predictions tend to become half-forgotten thoughts in the
subconscious until something happens to trigger their recall. For
example, it has become a common practice in North America to publish,
at the beginning of each year the various predictions of famous
fortune-tellers. When a survey was taken of the various predictions
for the year 1980, it was found that the most accurate fortune-teller
among them was only 24% accurate in her predictions!

2. The second group are those who have made contact with the Jinn.
This group is of most importance because it usually involves the
grave sin of Shirk, and those involved often tend to be highly accurate
in their information and thus present a real Fitnah (temptations)
for both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

World of the Jinn

Some people have attempted to deny the reality of the Jinn about
whom the Qur'an has devoted a whole chapter, Soorah al-Jinn (72).
By relying on the literal meaning of the word Jinn which comes from
the verb Janna, Yajunnu: "to cover, hide or conceal",
they claim that the word Jinn really refers to "clever foreigners".
Others have even stated that a Jinn is a human who does not have
a true mind in his head but he has a fiery nature. But, the reality
is that the Jinn represent another creation of Allaah, which co-exists
with man on the earth. Allaah created the Jinn before He created
mankind, and He also used a different set of elements than those
used for man. Allaah said: "Verily we created man from dried
clay, from black putrid mud. And we created the Jinn before that
from a fiery wind." (Surah al-Hijr 15:26)

They were named Jinn because they are hidden from the eyes of mankind.
Iblees (Satan) is from the world of the Jinn, even though he was
among the angels when they were commanded by Allaah to prostrate
to Adam. When he refused to prostrate and was asked why, Allaah
said: "He said, 'I am better than he is. You (Allah) created
me from fire and You created him from clay!" (Surah Saad; 38:76)

'Aa'esha reported that the Prophet (pbuh) said, "The angels
were created from light and the Jinn from smokeless fire."
(Sahih Muslim)

Allaah also said, "And when We told the angels to prostrate
to Adam, they all prostrated except Iblees. He was of the Jinn."
(Surah al-Kahf, 18:50)

Therefore it is incorrect to consider him a fallen angel or the

The Jinn may first be divided into three broad categories in relation
to their modes of existence. The Prophet (pbuh) said: "There
are three types of Jinn: One type which flies in the air all the
time, another type which exists as snakes and dogs, and an earthbound
type which resides in one place or wanders about. " (At-Tabaree
and al-Haakim)

The Jinn may be further divided into two categories in relationship
to their faith: Muslims (believers) and Kaafirs (disbelievers).
Allaah refers to the believing Jinn in Soorah al-Jinn as follows:
"Say: It has been revealed to me that a group of Jinn listened
and said, 'Verily we have heard a marvellous Qur'an. It guides unto
righteousness so we have believed in it. And, we will never make
partners with our Lord. He, may our Lord's glory be exalted, has
not taken a wife nor a son. What the foolish ones among us used
to say about Allaah is a horrible lie."(Surah al-Jinn 72:1-4)

"And there are among us Muslims and others who are unjust.
Whoever accepts Islam has sought out the right path. As for those
who are unjust, they will be fuel for the Hell fire." (Surah
Jinn 72:14)

The disbelievers among the Jinn are referred to by various names
in both Arabic and English: 'Ifreet, Shaytaan, Qareen, demons, devils,
spirits, ghosts, etc. They try to misguide man in various ways.
Whoever listens to them and becomes a worker for them is referred
to as human Shaytaan (devil).

Allaah said: "Likewise, we have made for every Prophet an
enemy, Shaytaans from among mankind and the Jinn. (Surah al-An'aam

Every human has an individual Jinn accompanying him referred to
as a Qareen (i.e. companion). This is a part of man's test in this
life. The Jinn encourage his lower desires and constantly try to
divert him from righteousness. The Prophet (pbuh) referred to this
relationship as follows, "Everyone of you has been assigned
a companion from the Jinn. " The Sahaabah asked, "Even
you, O Messenger of Allaah?" And the Prophet replied, "Even
me, except that Allaah has helped me against him and he has submitted.
Now he only tells me to do good."(Muslim)

Prophet Sulaymaan (Solomon) was given miraculous control over the
Jinn, as a sign of his prophethood. Allaah said: "And, we gathered
for Sulaymaan his army from the Jinn, mankind and the birds."
(Surah an-Naml 27:17) and they were all kept in order and ranks.

But this power was not given to anyone else. No one else is allowed
to control the Jinn and no one can. The Prophet said, "Verily
an 'Ifr-eeit from among the Jinn spat on me last night trying to
break my Salaah. However Allaah let me overpower him and I wanted
to tie him to one of the columns in the masjid so that you all could
see him in the morning. Then, I remembered my brother Sulaymaan's
prayer: 'Oh my Lord, forgive me and bestow on me a kingdom not allowed
to anyone after me.' (Surah Saad 38:35) (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Man cannot gain control over the Jinn as this was a special miracle
given only to Prophet Sulaymaan. In fact, contact with the Jinn
in circumstances other than possession, or accident is most often
made by the performance of sacrilegious acts despised and forbidden
in the religion. The evil Jinn summoned in this fashion may aid
their partners in sin and disbelief in God. Their goal is to draw
as many others as they can into the gravest of sins, the worship
of others besides or along with God.

Once contact and contract with the Jinn are made by fortune-tellers,
the Jinn may inform them of certain events in the future. The Prophet
(pbuh) described how the Jinn gather information about the future.
He related that the Jinn were able to travel to the lower reaches
of the heavens and listen in on some of the information about the
future, which the angels pass among themselves. They would then
return to the earth and feed the information to their human contacts.(Bukhari
and Muslim) This used to happen a lot prior to the prophethood of
Muhammad (pbuh) and fortune-tellers were very accurate in their
information. They were able to gain positions in the royal courts
and enjoyed much popularity and were even worshipped in some regions
of the world.

After the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) began his mission the situation
changed. Allaah had the angels guard the lower reaches of the heavens
carefully, and most of the Jinn were chased away with meteors and
shooting stars. Allaah described this phenomena in the following
Qur'anic statement made by one of the Jinn, "We (the Jinn)
had sought out the heavens but found it filled with strong guardians
and meteors. We used to sit on high places in order to listen, but
whoever listens now finds a flame waiting for him.."'

Allaah also said, "And We have guarded it (the heavens) from
every cursed devil, except the one who is able to snatch a hearing
and, he is pursued by a brightly burning flame."(Surah al-Hijr

Ibn 'Abbaas said, "When the Prophet and a group of his companions
set out for the Ukaadh market, the devils were blocked from hearing
information in the heavens. Meteors were let loose on them, so they
returned to their people. When their people asked what happened,
they told them. Some suggested that something must have happened,
so they spread out over the earth seeking the cause. Some of them
came across the Prophet and his companions while they were in Salaah
and they heard the Qur'an. They said to themselves that this must
have been what blocked them from listening. When they returned to
their people they told them, 'Verily we have heard a marvellous
Qur'an. It guides unto righteousness so we believed in it. And we
will never make partners with our Lord.' (Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi
and Ahmad)

Thus, the Jinn could no longer gather information about the future
as easily as they could before the Prophet's (pbuh) mission. Because
of that, they now mix their information with many lies. The Prophet
said: "They (the Jinn) would pass the information back down
until it reaches the lips of a magician fortune-teller. Sometimes
a meteor would overtake them before they could pass it on. If they
passed it on before being struck, they would add to it a hundred
lies." (Al-Bukhari and Tirmidhi)

'Aa'eshah reported that when she asked Allaah's messenger (pbuh)
about fortune-tellers, he replied that they were nothing. She then
mentioned that the fortune-tellers sometimes told them things, which
were true. The Prophet (pbuh) said: "That is a bit of truth
which the Jinn steals and cackles in the ear of his friend; but
he mixes along with it a hundred lies." (al-Bukhari, Muslim)

Once while 'Umar ibn al-Khattaab was sitting, a handsome man, Sawaad
Ibn Qaarib passed by him. 'Umar said: "If I'm not wrong, this
person is still following his religion of pre-Islamic times or perhaps
he was one of their fortune-tellers." He ordered that the man
be brought to him and asked him about, what he suspected. The man
replied, "I have never seen a day like this where a Muslim
is faced with such accusations." 'Umar said, "Verily I
am determined that you should inform me." The man then said,
"I was their fortune-teller in the time of ignorance."
On hearing that 'Umar asked, "Tell me about the strangest thing
which your female Jinn told you." The man then said, "One
day, while I was in the market, she came to me all worried and said,
'Have you not seen the Jinns in their despair after their disgrace?
And their following of she-camels and their riders." 'Umar
interjected, "It is true." (Al-Bukhari)

The Jinns are also able to inform their human contact of the relative
future. For example, when someone comes to a fortune-teller, the
fortune-teller's Jinn gets information from the man's Qareen (the
jinn assigned to every human being) of what plans he had made prior
to his coming. So the fortune-teller is able to tell him that he
will do this or that, or go here or there. By this method, the real
fortune-teller is also able to learn about a stranger's past in
vivid detail. He is able to tell a total stranger of his parents'
names, where he was born, the acts of his childhood, etc. The ability
to vividly describe the past is one of the marks of a true fortune-teller
who has made contact with the Jinn. Because the Jinn are able to
traverse huge distances instantaneously, they are also able to gather
huge stores of information about hidden things, lost articles and
unobserved events. Proof of this ability can be found in the Qur'an,
in the story about Prophet Sulaymaan and Bilqees, the Queen of Sheba.
When Queen Bilqees came to see him, he asked the Jinn to bring her
throne from her land. "An Ilfreet from among the Jinns said,
I will bring it for you before you can get up from your place. Verily,
I am strong and trustworthy for the assignment.(Surah an-Naml)

The Islamic Ruling on Fortune-telling

Because of the sacrilege and heresy involved in fortune telling,
Islam has taken a very strong stance towards it. Islam opposes any
form of association with those who practice fortune-telling, except
to advise them to give up their forbidden practices.

Visitation of Fortune-tellers

The Prophet (pbuh) laid down principles, which clearly forbade
any form of visitation of fortune-tellers. Safiyyah reported from
Hafsah (wife of the Prophet) that the Prophet (pbuh) said, "The
Salaah of whoever approaches a fortune-teller and asks him about
anything will not be accepted for 40 days and nights."(Muslim)
The punishment in this Hadeeth is for simply approaching a fortune-teller
and asking him questions out of curiosity. This prohibition is further
supported by Mu'aawiyah Ibn al-Hakam asSalamee's Hadeeth in which
he said, "O Messenger of Allaah, verily there are some people
among us who visit oracles. " The Prophet (pbuh) replied, "Do
not go to them". Such a severe punishment has been assigned
for only visitation because it is the first step to belief in fortune-telling.
If one went there doubtful about its reality, and some of the fortune-teller's
predictions come true, one will surely become a true devotee of
the fortune-teller and an ardent believer in fortune-telling. The
individual who approaches a fortune-teller is still obliged to make
his compulsory Salaah throughout the 40 day period, even though
he gets no reward from his prayers. If he abandons the Salaah all
together, he has committed another major sin. This is similar to
the Islamic ruling in the case of Salaah on or in stolen property,
according to the majority of Jurists. They hold that whenever obligatory
Salaah is performed, it produces two results under normal circumstances:

1. It removes the obligation of that prayer from the individual.
2. It earns him a reward.

If Salaah is performed on or in stolen property it removes the
obligation of Salaah, but it is devoid of reward. Consequently,
the Prophet forbade praying the same obligatory prayers twice.

Belief in Fortune-tellers

The Islamic ruling with regard to anyone who visits a fortune-teller
believing that he knows the unseen and the future is that of Kufr
(disbelief). Abu Hurayrah and al-Hasan both reported from the Prophet
(pbuh) that he said, "Whosoever approaches a fortune-teller
and believes what he says, has disbelieved in what was revealed
to Muhammad. Such a belief assigns to creation some of Allaah's
attributes with regard to the knowledge of the unseen and the future.
Consequently, it destroys Tawheed alAsmaa was-Sifaat, and represents
a form of Shirk in this aspect of Tawheed.

The ruling of Kufr includes, by analogy (Qiyaas), those who read
the books and writings of fortune-tellers, listen to them on the
radio or watch them on the T. V., as, these are the most common
means used by 20th century fortune-tellers to spread their predictions.

Allaah clearly states in al-Qur'an that no one knows the unseen
besides Him. Not even the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Allaah said:
With Him are the keys to the unseen and none knows it except Him

Then he told the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), "Say! I have no
power to bring good to myself nor avert harm but it is only as Allah
wills. If it were that I knew the unseen, I would have multiplied
the good and no evil would have touched me."

And he also said: "Say! None in the heavens nor the earth
knows the 'unseen except Allah'."

Therefore, all the various methods used around the world by oracles,
fortune-tellers, and the likes, are forbidden to Muslims.

Palm-reading, I-Ching, fortune cookies, tea leaves as well as Zodiacal
signs and Bio-rhythm computer programs, all claim to inform those
who believe in them about their future. However, Allaah has stated
in no uncertain terms that He alone knows the future: ''Verily the
knowledge of the Hour is with Allaah alone. It is He who sends down
the rain and knows the contents of the wombs. No one knows what
he will earn tomorrow nor in which land he will die, but Allaah
is all-knowing and aware."(Surah Luqmaan 31:34)

Therefore, Muslims must take utmost care in dealing with books,
magazines, newspapers as well as individuals who, in one way or
another, claim knowledge of the future or the unseen. For example,
when a Muslim weather-man predicts rain, snow, or other climatic
conditions for tomorrow he should add the phrase, "In ShaaAllaah
(If Allaah so wishes)". Likewise, when the Muslim doctor informs
her patient that she will deliver a child in 9 months or on such
and such a day, she should take care to add the phrase "In
ShaaAllaah", as such statements are only estimations based
on statistical information.


The Islamic Ruling on Horoscopes

The Islamic Ruling on Horoscopes

Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips

Not only is the practice of astrology Haraam as mentioned earlier,
but also visiting an astrologist and listening to his predictions,
buying books on astrology or reading one’s horoscope are also
forbidden! Since astrology is mainly used for predicting the future,
those who practice it are considered fortune-tellers. Consequently,
one who seeks his horoscope comes under the ruling contained in
the Prophet’s statement: "The Salaah (daily prayer) of
whoever approaches a fortune-teller and asks him about anything
will not be accepted for forty days and nights." [Reported
by Hafsah and collected by Muslim (Sahih Muslim (English Trans.),
vol. 4, p. 1211, no. 5440).]

As was mentioned in the previous chapter, the punishment in this
Hadeeth is simply for approaching and asking the astrologist, even
if one is in doubt about the truth of his statements. If one is
in doubt about the truth or falsehood of astrological information,
he is in doubt about whether or not others know the unseen and the
future besides Allaah. This is a form of Shirk because Allaah has
clearly stated:

"With Him are the keys to the unseen and none knows it except
Him" [Soorah al-An`aa,m 6:59]

"Say: None in the heavens or earth knows the unseen except
Allaah." [Soorah an-Naml 27:65]

If, however, one believes in the predictions of their horoscope,
whether spoken by an astrologist or written in books of astrology,
he falls directly into Kufr (disbelief) as stated by the Prophet
(sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) "Whoever approaches an oracle
or fortune-teller and believes in what he says, has disbelieved
in what was revealed to Muhammad." [Reported by Abu Hurayrah
and collected by Ahmad and Abu Daawood (Sunan Abu Dawud (English
Trans.), vol. 3, p. 1095, no. 3895).]

Like the previous Hadeeth, this Hadeeth literally refers to the
fortune-teller but it is just as applicable to the astrologist.
Both claim knowledge of the future. The astrologist’s claim
is just as opposed to Tawheed as the ordinary fortune-teller. He
claims that people’s personalities are determined by the stars,
and their future actions and the events of their lives are written
in the stars. The ordinary fortune-teller claims that the formation
of tea leaves at the bottom of a cup, or lines in a palm tell him
the same thing. In both cases individuals claim the ability to read
in the physical formation of created objects knowledge of the unseen.

Belief in astrology and the casting of horoscopes are in clear
opposition to the letter and spirit of Islaam. It is really the
empty soul, which has not tasted real Eemaan (belief) that seeks
out these paths. Essentially these paths, represent a vain attempt
to escape Qadar (fate). The ignorant believe that if they know what
is in store for them tomorrow, they can prepare from today. In that
way they may avoid the bad and ensure the good. Yet, Allaah’s
messenger was told by Allaah to say:

"If I knew the unseen, I would surely have only sought the
good. But, I am only a warner and a bearer of glad tidings for believers."
[Soorah al-A`raaf 7:188]

True Muslims are therefore obliged to stay far away from these
areas. Thus, rings, chains, etc., which have the signs of the Zodiac
on them should not be worn, even if one does not believe in them.
They are part and parcel of a fabricated system which propagates
Kufr and should be done away with entirely. No believing Muslim
should ask another what his sign is, or attempt to guess his sign.
Nor should he or she read horoscope columns in newspapers or listen
to them read. And, any Muslim who allows astrological predictions
to determine his actions, should seek Allaah’s forgiveness
and renew his Islaam.


Medical Benefits from Circumcision

Medical Benefits from Circumcision

by Dr. Brian J. Morris

from Circ-Online

Circumcision has historically been a topic of emotive and often
irrational debate. At least part of the reason is that a sex organ
is involved. (Compare, for example, ear piercing.) During the past
two decades the medical profession have tended to advise parents
not to circumcise their baby boys. In fact there have even been
reports of harrassment by medical professionals of new mothers,
especially those belonging to religious groups that practice circumcision,
in an attempt to stop them having this procedure carried out. Such
attitudes are a far cry from the situation years ago when baby boys
were circumcised routinely in Australia. But over the past 20 years
the rate has declined to as low as 10%. 

However, a reversal of this trend is starting to occur. In the light
of an increasing
volume of medical scientific evidence (many publications cited below)
pointing to the benefits of neonatal circumcision a new policy statement
was formulated by a working party of the Australian College of Paediatrics
in August 1995 and adopted by the College in May 1996 [2]
. In this document medical practitioners are now urged to fully
inform parents of the benefits of having their male children circumcised.
Similar recommendations were made recently by the Canadian Paediatric
Society who also conducted an evaluation of the literature, although
concluded that the benefits and harms were very evenly balanced.
As discussed below the American College of Pediatrics has moved
far closer to an advocacy position. 

In the present article I would like to focus principally on the
protection afforded by circumcision against infections, including
sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). I might add that I am a university
academic who teaches medical and science students and who does medical
research, including that involving genital cancer virology. I am
not Jewish, nor a medical practitioner or lawyer, so have no religious
bias or medico-legal concerns that might get in the way of a rational
discussion of this issue. 

The increased risk of infection may be a consequence of the fact
that the foreskin presents the penis with a larger surface area,
the moist skin under it represents a thinner epidermal barrier than
the drier, more cornified skin of the circumcised penis, the presence
of a prepuce is likely to result in greater microtrauma during sexual
intercourse and, as one might expect, the warm, moist mucosal environment
under the foreskin favours growth of micro-organisms. 

In the 1950s and 60s 90% of boys in the USA and Australia were circumcised
soon after birth. The major benefits at that time were seen as improved
lifetime genital hygiene, elimination of phimosis (inability to
retract the foreskin) and prevention of penile cancer. The trend
not to circumcise started about 20 years ago, after the American
Academy of Paediatrics Committee for the Newborn stated, in 1971,
that there are ?no valid medical indications for circumcision?.
In 1975 this was modified to ?no absolute valid ... ?, which remained
in the 1983 statement, but in 1989 it changed significantly to ?New
evidence has suggested possible medical benefits ...? [49]

Dr Edgar Schoen, Chairman of the Task Force on Circumcision of the
American Academy of Pediatrics, has stated that the benefits of
routine circumcision of newborns as a preventative health measure
far exceed the risks of the procedure [48]
. During the period 1985-92 there was an increase in the frequency
of postnewborn circumcision and during that time Schoen points out
that the association of lack of circumcision and urinary tract infection
has moved from ?suggestive? to ?conclusive? [48]
. At the same time associations with other infectious agents, including
HIV, have been demonstrated. In fact he goes on to say that ?Current
newborn circumcision may be considered a preventative health measure
analogous to immunization
in that side effects and complications
are immediate and usually minor, but benefits accrue for a lifetime?

Benefits included: a decrease in physical problems such as phimosis
, reduction in balanitis (inflammation of the glans, the head of
the penis) [17]
, reduced urinary tract infections, fewer problems with erections
at puberty, decreased sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), elimination
of penile cancer in middle-aged men and, in addition, in older men,
a decrease in urological problems and infections [reviewed in: 2,
Therefore the benefits are different at different ages. 

Neonatologists only see the problems of the operation itself. However,
urologists who deal with the problems of uncircumcised men cannot
understand why all newborns are not circumcised [47,
. The demand for circumcision later in childhood has increased,
but, with age, problems, such as anaesthetic risk, are higher. Thus
Schoen states ?Current evidence concerning the life-time medical
benefit of newborn circumcision favours an affirmative choice? [48]

In a letter written by Dr Schoen to Dr Terry Russell in Brisbane
in 1994 Schoen derides an organization known as ?NOCIRC? for their
use of ?distortions, anecdotes and testimonials to try to influence
professional and legislative bodies and the public, stating that
in the past few years they have become increasingly desperate and
outrageous as the medical literature has documented the benefits.
For example they have compared circumcision with female genital
mutilation, which is equivalent to cutting off the penis. In 1993
the rate of circumcision had risen to 80% in the USA and Schoen
suggests that ?Perhaps NOCIRC has decided to export their ?message?
to Australia since their efforts are proving increasingly futile
in the US?. He also noted that when Chairman of the Task Force his
committee was bombarded with inaccurate and misleading communications
from this group. Another of these groups is ?UNCIRC?, which promotes
procedures to reverse circumcision, by, for example, stretching
the loose skin on the shaft of the retracted penis. Claimed benefits
of ?increased sensitivity? in reality appear to be a result of the
friction of the foreskin, whether intact or newly created, on the
moist or sweaty glans and undersurface of the prepuce in the unaroused
state and would obviously in the ?re-uncircumcised? penis have nothing
to do with an increase in touch receptors. The sensitivity during
sexual intercourse is in fact identical, according to men circumcised
as adults. 

Another respected authority is Dr Tom Wiswell, who states ?As a
pediatrician and neonatologist, I am a child advocate and try to
do what is best for children. For many years I was an outspoken
opponent of circumcision ... I have gradually changed my opinion?
. This ability to keep an open mind on the issue and to make a sound
judgement on the balance of all available information is to his
credit ? he did change his mind! 

The complication rates of having or not having the procedure have
been examined. Amongst 136,000 boys born in US army hospitals between
1980 and 1985, 100,000 were circumcised and 193 (0.19%) had complications,
with no deaths [58]
. Of the 36,000 who were not circumcised the complication rate was
0.24% and there were 2 deaths [58]
. In 1989 of the 11,000 circumcisions performed at New York?s Sloane
Hospital, only 6 led to complications, none of which were fatal
. Also no adverse psychological aftermath has been demonstrated
. Cortisol levels have registered an increase during and shortly
after the procedure, indicating that the baby is not unaware of
the procedure in its unanaesthetized state and one has to weigh
up the need to inflict this short term pain in the context of a
lifetime of gain from prevention or reduction of subsequent problems.
Anaesthetic creams and other means appear to be at least partially
effective in reducing trauma and some babies show no signs of distress
at all when the procedure is performed without anaesthetic. 

The proponents of not circumcising nevertheless stress that lifelong
penile hygiene is required. This acknowledges that something harmful
or unpleasant is happening under the prepuce. Moreover, a study
of British schoolboys found that penile hygiene does not exist [44]
. Furthermore, Dr Terry Russell, writing in the Medical Observer
states ?What man after a night of passion is going to perform penile
hygiene before rolling over and snoring the night away (with pathogenic
organisms multiplying in the warm moist environment under the prepuce)?

The reasons for circumcision, at least in a survey carried out as
part of a study at Sydney Hospital, were: 3% for religious reasons,
1-2% for medical, with the remainder presumably being ?to be like
dad? or a preference of one or both parents for whatever reason
. The actual proportion of men who were circumcised when examined
at this clinic was 62%. Of those studied, 95% were Caucasian, with
younger men just as likely to be circumcised as older men. In Adelaide
a similar proportion has been noted, with 55% of younger men being
circumcised. In Britain, however, the rate is only 7-10%, much like
Europe, and in the USA, as indicated above, the rate of circumcision
has always been high [16]

Neonatal urinary tract infections 

A study by Wiswell of 400,000 newborns over the period 1975-84 found
that the uncircumcised had an 11-fold higher incidence of urinary
tract infections (UTIs) [58]
. During this decade the frequency of circumcision in the USA decreased
from 84% to 74% and this decrease was associated with an increase
in rate of UTI [61]
. UTI was lower in circumcised, but higher in uncircumcised. In
a 1982 series 95% of UTI cases were in uncircumcised [60]
. A study by Roberts in 1986 found that 4% of uncircumcised boys
got UTI, compared with 0.4% of girls and 0.2% of circumcised boys
. This indicated a 20-fold higher risk for uncircumcised boys. In
a 1993 study by Wiswell of 200,000 infants born between 1985 and
1990, 1000 got UTI in their first year of life [59]
. The number was equal for boys and girls, but was 10-times higher
for uncircumcised boys. Of these 23% had bacteraemia. The infection
can travel up the urinary tract to affect the kidney and higher
rate of problems such as pyelonephritis is seen in uncircumcised
children [43,
. These and other reports [e.g., 21,
all point to the benefits of circumcision in reducing UTI. 

Indeed, Wiswell performed a meta-analysis of all 9 previous studies
and found that every one indicated an increase in UTI in the uncircumcised
. The average was 12-fold higher and the range was 5 to 89-fold,
with 95% confidence intervals of 11-14 [59]
. Meta-analyses by others have reached similar conclusions. Other
studies, including one of men with an average age of 30 years, have
indicated that circumcision also reduces UTI in adulthood [51]
. The fact that the bacterium E. coli , which is pathogenic
to the urinary tract, has been shown to be capable of adhering to
the foreskin, satisfies one of the criteria for causality [52,
and refs in 18].
Since the absolute risk of UTI in uncircumcised boys is approx.
1 in 25 (0.05) and in circumcised boys is 1 in 500 (0.002), the
absolute risk reduction is 0.048. Thus 20 baby boys need to be circumcised
to prevent one UTI. However, the potential seriousness and pain
of UTI, which can in rare cases even lead to death, should weigh
heavily on the minds of parents. The complications of UTI that can
lead to death are: kidney failure, meningitis and infection of bone
marrow. The data thus show that much suffering has resulted from
leaving the foreskin intact. Lifelong genital hygiene in an attempt
to reduce such infections is also part of the price that would have
to be paid if the foreskin were to be retained. However, given the
difficulty in keeping bacteria at bay in this part of the body [38,
, not performing circumcision would appear to be far less effective
than having it done in the first instance [48]

Sexually-transmitted diseases 

Early studies showed higher rates of gonococcal and nonspecific
urethritis in uncircumcised men [39,
. Recent studies have yielded similar findings. In addition, the
earlier work showed higher chancroid, syphilis, papillomavirus and
herpes [53]
. However, there were methodological problems with the design of
these studies, leading to criticisms. As a result there is still
no overwhelming agreement. In 1947 a study of 1300 consecutive patients
in a Canadian Army unit showed that being uncircumcised was associated
with a 9-fold higher risk of syphilis and 3-times more gonorrhea
. At the University of Western Australia a 1983 study showed twice
as much herpes and gonorrhea, 5-times more candidiasis and 5-fold
greater incidence of syphilis [39]
. In South Australia a study in 1992 showed that uncircumcised men
had more chlamidia (odds ratio 1.3) and gonoccocal infections (odds
ratio 2.1). Similarly in 1988 a study in Seattle of 2,800 heterosexual
men reported higher syphilis and gonnorrhea in uncircumcised men,
but no difference in herpes, chlamidia and non-specific urethritis
(NSU). Like this report, a study in 1994 in the USA, found higher
gonnorhea and syphilis, but no difference in other common STDs [12]
. In the same year Dr Basil Donovan and associates reported the
results of a study of 300 consecutive heterosexual male patients
attending Sydney STD Centre at Sydney Hospital [16]
. They found no difference in genital herpes, seropositivity for
HSV-2, genital warts and NSU. As mentioned above, 62% were circumcised
and the two groups had a similar age, number of partners and education.
Gonorrhea, syphilis and hepatitis B were too uncommon in this Sydney
study for them to conclude anything about these. Thus on the bulk
of evidence it would seem that at least some STDs may be more common
in the uncircumcised, but this conclusion is by no means absolute
and the incidence may be influenced by factors such as the degree
of genital hygiene, availability of running water and socioeconomic
group being studied. 

Cancer of the penis 

The incidence of penile cancer in the USA is 1 per 100,000 men per
year (i.e., 750-1000 cases annually) and mortality rate is 25-33%
. It represents approximately 1% of all malignancies in men in the
USA. This data has to be viewed, moreover, in the context of the
high proportion of circumcised men in the USA, especially in older
age groups, and the age group affected, where older men represent
only a portion of the total male population. In a study in Melbourne
published in Australasian Radiology in 1990, although 60%
of affected men were over 60 years of age, 40% were under 60 [45]
. In 5 major series in the USA since 1932, not one man with penile
cancer had been circumcised neonatally [31]
, i.e., this disease only occurs in uncircumcised men and, less
commonly, in those circumcised after the newborn period. The proportion
of penile malignancies as a fraction of total cancers in uncircumcised
men would thus be considerable. The predicted life-time risk has
been estimated as 1 in 600 in the USA and 1 in 900 in Denmark [27]
. In under-developed countries the incidence is higher: approx.
3-6 cases per 100,000 per year [27]

The so-called ?high-risk? papillomavirus types 16 and 18 (HPV 16/18)
are found in a large proportion of cases and there is good reason
to suspect that they are involved in the causation of this cancer,
as is true for most cases of cervical cancer (see below). HPV 16
and 18 are, moreover, more common in uncircumcised males [35]
. These types of HPV produce flat warts that are normally only visible
by application of dilute acetic acid (vinegar) to the penis and
the data on high-risk HPVs should not be confused with the incidence
figures for genital warts, which although large and readily visible,
are caused by the relatively benign HPV types 6 and 11. Other factors,
such as poor hygiene and other STDs have been suspected as contributing
to penile cancer as well [8,

In Australia between 1960 and 1966 there were 78 deaths from cancer
of the penis and 2 from circumcision. (Circumcision fatalities these
days are virtually unknown.) At the Peter McCallum Cancer Institute
102 cases of penile cancer were seen between 1954 and 1984, with
twice as many in the latter decade compared with the first. Moreover,
several authors have linked the rising incidence of penile cancer
to a decrease in the number of neonatal circumcisions [13,
. It would thus seem that ?prevention by circumcision in infancy
is the best policy?. 

Cervical cancer in female partners of uncircumcised men 

A number of studies have documented higher rates of cervical cancer
in women who have had one or more male sexual partners who were
uncircumcised. These studies have to be looked at critically, however,
to see to what extent cultural and other influences might be contributing
in groups with different circumcision practices. In a study of 5000
cervical and 300 penile cancer cases in Madras between 1982 and
1990 the incidence was low amongst Muslim women, when compared with
Hindu and Christian, and was not seen at all in Muslim men [22]
. In a case-control study of 1107 Indian women with cervical cancer,
sex with uncircumcised men or those circumcised after the age of
1 year was reported in 1993 to be associated with a 4-fold higher
risk of cervical cancer, after controlling for factors such as age,
age of first intercourse and education [1]
. Another study published in 1993 concerning various types of cancer
in the Valley of Kashmir concluded that universal male circumcision
in the majority community was responsible for the low rate of cervical
cancer compared with the rest of India [14]
. In Israel, a 1994 report of 4 groups of women aged 17-60 found
that gynaecologically healthy Moshav residents had no HPV 16/18,
whereas healthy Kibbutz residents had a 1.8% incidence [24]
. Amongst those with gynaecological complaints HPV 16/18 was found
in 9% of Jewish and 12% of non-Jewish women. HPV types 16 and 18
cause penile intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) and a study published
in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1987 found that
women with cervical cancer were more likely to have partners with
PIN, the male equivalent of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN)
. Thus the epidemic of cervical cancer in Australia, and indeed
most countries in the world, would appear to be due at least in
part to the uncircumcised male and would therefore be expected to
get even worse as the large proportion that were born in the past
10-20 years and not circumcised reach sexual maturity. 

AIDS virus 

In the USA the estimated risk of HIV per heterosexual exposure is
1 in 10,000 to 1 in 100,000. If one partner is HIV positive and
otherwise healthy then a single act of unprotected vaginal sex carries
a 1 in 300 risk for a woman and as low as a 1 in 1000 risk for a
man [9]
. (The rates are very much higher for unprotected anal sex and intravenous
injection). In Africa, however, the rate of HIV infection is up
to 10% in some cities. (A possible reason for this big difference
will be discussed later.) In Nairobi it was first noticed that among
340 men being treated for STDs they were 3-times as likely to be
HIV positive if they had genital ulcers or were uncircumcised (11%
of these men had HIV) [50]
. Subsequently another report showed that amongst 409 African ethnic
groups spread over 37 countries the geographical distribution of
circumcision practices indicated a correlation of lack of circumcision
and high incidence of AIDS [7]
. In 1990 Moses in International Journal of Epidemiology
reported that amongst 700 African societies involving 140 locations
and 41 countries there was a considerably lower incidence of HIV
in those localities where circumcision was practiced [33,
. Truck drivers, who generally exhibit more frequent prostitute
contact, have shown a higher rate of HIV if uncircumcised. Interestingly,
in a West African setting, men who were circumcised but had residual
foreskin were more likely to be HIV-2 positive than those in whom
circumcision was complete [40]

Of 26 cross-sectional studies, 18 have reported statistically significant
association [e.g., 15,
by univariate and multivariate analysis, between the presence of
the foreskin and HIV infection, and 4 reported a trend. The findings
have, moreover, led various workers such as Moses and Caldwell to
propose that circumcision be used as an important intervention strategy
in order to reduce AIDS [9,

Perhaps the most interesting study of the risk of HIV infection
imposed by having a foreskin is that by Cameron, Plummer and associates
published as a large article in Lancet in 1989 [10]
. This had the advantage of being prospective. It was conducted
in Nairobi. These workers followed HIV negative men until they became
infected. The men were visiting prostitutes, numbering approx. 1000,
amongst whom there had been an explosive increase in the incidence
of HIV from 4% in 1981 to 85% in 1986. These men were thus at high
risk of exposure to HIV, as well as other STDs. From March to December
1987, 422 men were enrolled into the study. Of these, 51% had presented
with genital ulcer disease (89% chancroid, 4% syphilis, 5% herpes)
and the other 49% with urethritis (68% being gonorrhea). 12% were
initially positive for HIV-1. Amongst the whole group, 27% were
not circumcised. They were followed up each 2 weeks for 3 months
and then monthly until March 1988. During this time 8% of 293 men
seroconverted (i.e., 24 men), the mean time being 8 weeks. These
displayed greater prostitute contact per month (risk ratio = 3),
more presented with genital ulcers (risk ratio = 8; P <0.001)
and more were uncircumcised (risk ratio = 10; P <0.001).
Logistic regression analysis indicated that the risk of seroconversion
was independently associated with being uncircumcised (risk ratio
= 8.2; P <0.0001), genital ulcers (risk ratio = 4.7; P
= 0.02) and regular prostitute contact (risk ratio = 3.2; P =
0.02). The cumulative frequency of seroconversion was 18% and was
only 2% for men with no risk factors, compared to 53% for men with
both risk factors. Only one circumcised man with no ulcer seroconverted.
Thus 98% of seroconversion was associated with either or both cofactors.
In 65% there appeared to be additive synergy, the reason being that
ulcers increase infectivity for HIV. This involves increased viral
shedding in the female genital tract of women with ulcers, where
HIV-1 has been isolated from surface ulcers in the genital tract
of HIV-1 infected women. 

It has been suggested that the foreskin could physically trap HIV-infected
vaginal secretions and provide a more hospitable environment for
the infectious innoculum. Also, the increased surface area, traumatic
physical disruption during intercourse and inflammation of the glans
penis (balanitis) could aid in recruitment of target cells for HIV-1.
The port of entry could potentially be the glans, subprepuce and/or
urethra. In a circumcised penis the dry, cornified skin may prevent
entry and account for the findings. 

In this African study the rate of transmission of HIV following
a single exposure was 13% (i.e., very much higher than in the USA).
It was suggested that concomitant STDs, particularly chancroid [9]
, may be a big risk factor, but there could be other explanations
as well. Studies in the USA have not been as conclusive. Some studies
have shown a higher incidence in uncircumcised men. Others do not.
In New York City, for example, no correlation was found, but the
patients were mainly intravenous drug users and homosexuals, so
that any existing effect may have been obscured. A study in Miami,
however, of heterosexual couples did find a higher incidence in
men who were uncircumcised, and, in Seattle homosexual men were
twice as likely to be HIV positive if they were uncircumcised [28]

The reason for the big difference in apparent rate of transmission
of HIV in Africa and Asia, where heterosexual exposure has led to
a rapid spread through these populations and is the main method
of transmission, compared with the very slow rate of penetration
into the heterosexual community in the USA and Australia, now appears
to be related at least in part to a difference in the type of HIV-1
itself [29]
. In 1995 an article in Nature Medicine discussed findings
concerning marked differences in the properties of different HIV-1
subtypes in different geographical locations [37]
. A class of HIV-1 termed ?clade E? is prevalent in Asia and differs
from the ?clade B? found in developed countries in being highly
capable of infecting Langerhans cells found in the foreskin, so
accounting for its ready transmission across mucosal membranes.
The Langerhans cells are part of the immune system and in turn carry
the HIV to the T-cells, whose numbers are severely depleted as a
key feature of AIDS. The arrival of the Asian strain in Australia
was reported in Nov 1995 and has the potential to utilise the uncircumcised
male as a vehicle for rapid spread through the heterosexual community
of this country in a similar manner as it has done in Asia. It could
thus be a time-bomb about to go off and should be a major concern
for health officials. 

To summarize: 

Lack of circumcision: 

  • Is the biggest risk factor for heterosexually-acquired AIDS
    virus infection in men (8-times higher risk by itself, and even
    higher when lesions from STDs are added in). 
  • Is responsible for a 12-fold higher risk of urinary tract infections. 
  • Carries a higher risk of death in the first year of life (from
    complications of urinary tract infections: kidney failure, meningitis
    and infection of bone marrow). 
  • One in ~600-900 uncircumcised men will die from cancer of the
    penis or require at least partial penile amputation as a result.
    (In contrast, penile cancer never occurs in men circumcised
    at birth). (Data from studies in the USA, Denmark and Australia,
    which are not to be confused with the often quoted, but misleading,
    annual incidence figures of 1 in 100,000). 
  • Often leads to balanitis (inflammation of the glans), phimosis
    (inability to retract the foreskin) and paraphimosis (constriction
    of the penis by a tight foreskin). Up to 18% of uncircumcised
    boys will develop one of these by 8 years of age, whereas all
    are unknown in the circumcised. 
  • Means problems that may result in a need for circumcision late
    in life: complication risk = 1 in 100 (compared with 1 in
    1000 in the newborn). 
  • Is associated with higher incidence of cervical cancer in the
    female partners of uncircumcised men. 

There is no evidence of any long-term psychological harm arising from
circumcision. The risk of damage to the penis is extremely rare and
avoidable by using a competent, experienced doctor. Surgical methods
use a procedure that protects the penis during excision of the foreskin.
As an alternative, for those who might prefer it, a device (PlastiBell)
is in use that clamps the foreskin, which then falls off after a few
days, and so eliminates the need to actually cut the foreskin off
. For some, cultural or religious beliefs dictate the method. 

Sociological aspects 

Finally, a brief mention of other findings relating to circumcision
in the setting of Australia. 

In a survey of circumcised vs uncircumcised men and their partners
that was conducted by Sydney scientist James Badger [4,
(who regards himself as neutral on the issue of circumcision) it was
found that: 

  • 18% of uncircumcised males underwent circumcision later in life
  • 21% of uncircumcised men who didn't, nevertheless wished they
    were circumcised. (There were also almost as many men who wished
    they hadn?t been circumcised and it could be that at least some
    men of either category may have been seeking a scapegoat for their
    sexual or other problems. In addition, this would no doubt be
    yet another thing parents could be blamed for by their children,
    whatever their decision was when the child was born.) 
  • No difference in sexual performance (consistent with Masters
    & Johnson). 
  • Slightly higher sexual activity in circumcised men. 
  • No difference in frequency of sexual intercourse for older uncircumcised
    vs. circumcised men. 
  • Men circumcised as adults were very pleased with the result.
    The local pain when they awoke from the anaesthetic was quickly
    relieved by pain killers (needed only for one day), and all had
    returned to normal sexual relations within 2 weeks, with no
    decrease in sensitivity
    of the penis and claims of 'better
    sex'. (Badger?s findings are, moreover, consistent with every
    discussion I have ever had with men circumcised as adults. The
    only case to the contrary was a testimonial in a letter I received
    in the mail from a member of UNCIRC.) 
  • Women with circumcised lovers were more likely to reach a simultaneous
  • Women with uncircumcised lovers were 3 times as likely to fail
    to reach orgasm. (These data could, however, possibly reflect
    behaviours of uncircumcised males that might belong to lower socio-economic
    classes and/or ethnic groups whose attitudes may differ from groups
    in which circumcision is more common.) 
  • Circumcision was favoured by women for appearance and hygiene.
    (Furthermore, some women were nauseated by the smell of the uncircumcised
    penis, where, as mentioned above bacteria and other micro-organisms
    proliferate under the foreskin.) 
  • The uncircumcised penis was found by women to be easier to elicit
    orgasm by hand. 
  • The circumcised penis was favoured by women for oral sex. 

Why are human males born with a foreskin? 

The foreskin probably protected the head of the penis from long grass,
shrubbery, etc when humans wore no clothes, where evolutionarily our
basic physiology and psychology are little different than our cave-dwelling
ancestors. However, Dr Guy Cox from The University of Sydney has recently
supplemented this suggestion with a novel idea, namely that the foreskin
could be the male equivalent of the hymen, and served as an impediment
to sexual intercourse during adolescence [11]
. The ritual removal of the foreskin in diverse human traditional
cultures, ranging from Muslims to Aboriginal Australians, is a sign
of civilization in that human society acquired the ability to control
through education and religion the age at which sexual intercourse
could begin. Food for thought and discussion! 


The information available today will assist medical practitioners,
health workers and parents by making advice and choices concerning
circumcision much more informed. Although there are benefits to be
had at any age, they are greater the younger the child. Issues of
?informed consent? may be analogous to those parents have to consider
for other medical procedures, such as whether or not to immunize their
child. The question to be answered is ?do the benefits outweigh the
risks?. When considering each factor in isolation there could be some
difficulty in choosing. However, when viewed as a whole, in my opinion
the answer to whether to circumcise a male baby is ?yes?. Nevertheless,
everybody needs to weigh up all of the pros and cons for themselves
and make their own best decision. I trust that the information I have
provided in this article will help in the decision-making process. 

Brian J. Morris, PhD DScFax: +61 2 9351 2058
University Academic (in medical sciences)Email:



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Unique Features of Islam

Unique Features of Islam

By Abu Yusuf Daniel Masters, Abu Maryam Isma'il Kaka and Abu Iman
Robert Squires.

© Muslim Answers

Uniqueness of the Name

The name for the religion of Islam is much more than just a name
because it expresses a deep spiritual meaning as well as an overall
outlook on life and concept of worship. The word "Islam"

is an Arabic word which means "complete submission to the will
of Almighty God". Other religions are named after their founders,
such as Christianity and Buddhism; after a tribe or ethnic group,
such as Judaism; or after a specific geographical region, such as
Hinduism. Islam, however, is unique because its name represents
its outlook on life and reflects its universal nature. Additionally,
the name "Islam" was not thought up by its followers or
applied by other people, as is the case with the names of other
religions, but was revealed by Almighty God. This name expressed
nothing new, because submission to the will of God, i.e. "Islam",
has always been the true religion of God. Due to this fact, and
since the teachings of Islam are straightforward, profound and logical,
Islam is the "Natural Religion" of all human beings. The
name of no other religion carries any significant message, or conveys
the true sense of its outlook on life, as does the name "Islam".

Universality & Continuity of the Message

The command to worship none other than Almighty God and to submit
to His will has been revealed by God to all of His prophets throughout
mankind's long history. The pure essence of the beliefs and teachings
that were revealed by God to the Prophet Muhammad are the same as
God taught to Abraham, who was one of the earliest and greatest
prophets. So actually, Muhammad is the final prophet of Islam --
not the first. Additionally, Islam is the true "religion of
Abraham", because Abraham completely submitted himself to the
revealed will of Almighty God. Islam is truly unique among the religions
of the world because it is addressed to all of mankind. The scripture
of Islam, called the Qur'an, repeatedly addresses all human beings
by saying: "O mankind!" Additionally, in the Qur'an, Almighty
God is never addressed as the God of a particular people or nation.
From the very beginning of the mission of Prophet Muhammad, his
followers came from a wide spectrum of individuals -- there was
Bilal, the African slave; Suhaib, the Byzantine Roman; Ibn Sailam,
the Jewish Rabbi; and Salman, the Persian. Since religious truth
is eternal and unchanging, and mankind is one universal brotherhood,
God's revelations to man have always been consistent and universal.
Submission to the will of God, and worshipping Him alone without
intermediaries, has always been the only religion acceptable to
Almighty God.

A Straightforward Concept of God

Unique among the religions of the world, the concept of God in
Islam is completely based upon Divine Revelation. Not only is the
concept of God in Islam characterized by purity and clarity, but
it is also not marred by myths, superstitions or man-made philosophical
ideas. In the pure and straightforward teachings of Islam, Almighty
God has clearly revealed His unique nature and qualities to man
in the way which He wants them to be understood. While other religions
have either mixed man-made doctrines with divine revelation, or
ignored the divine revelation almost completely, Islam's concept
of God is based totally on what God has said about Himself. Islam's
concept of God can be called pure and straightforward because there
is a clear distinction made between the Creator and the created.
As such, there is no ambiguity in divinity -- it is made clear that
there is nothing divine or worthy of being worshipped except for
Almighty God. In Islam, calling someone other than Almighty God
"Lord" or "Savior" is completely prohibited
because such terms compromise God's uniqueness and because all of
our trust should be put in Almighty God -- who is the Most Merciful
and the Controller of all affairs.

The only Creator -- Almighty God -- is Unique, Eternal and Transcendent
above His Creation. Everything else besides Almighty God -- meaning
anything that you can see or even imagine -- is part of God's creation,
and thus not worthy of worship. Almighty God, as He has described
Himself in the Qur'an, is Absolutely One and "the Most Merciful
of those who show mercy". Even though God is transcendent above
His creation, due to His infinite Mercy He is constantly involved
with the affairs of His creatures. Even though God is infinite,
unique and incomprehensible, in the Holy Qur'an He has revealed
Himself in a way suitable to the finite and

limited human mind. By reaching out to man and sending revelations
through all of His prophets, God has allowed Himself to be known
through His unique and most-beautiful attributes. Because the concept
of God in Islam was sent by God specifically for mankind, it appeals
to the innate nature of the human being. Due to this fact, Islam
does not ask man to accept irrational, ludicrous or man-made doctrines
about God. The Islamic concept of God strikes a unique balance between
various religions an because is avoids reducing God to just being
some remote and impersonal "First Cause" or "Higher
Power", while on the other hand it also teaches that a direct
and personal relationship with God can be maintained without believing
God to be like His creation or incarnate in it.

Direct Relationship with God

In other religions, even the ones which claim belief in "One
God", people often approach God through an intermediary, such
as a saint, an angel, the Virgin Mary or Jesus. However, it is only
in Islam that a person is required only to pray to God. Some people
also nullify a truly proper and direct relationship with Almighty
God by mistakenly believing that they have a special relationship
with Him simply because they are members of a certain ethnic group,
tribe or "chosen people". Additionally, in Islam there
are no priests or clergy -- each worshipper, man or woman, has a
direct relationship with their Merciful Creator -- Almighty God.
Since God is the Owner and Sustainer of everything, as well as the
only one who can provide true and complete forgiveness, it is completely
futile to try to approach Him through anyone else. According to
the teachings of Islam, praying to or worshipping anything or anyone
besides Almighty God is the greatest sin a person can commit. Even
though other religions believe in God, they nullify this belief
by making the grave mistake of not always approaching Him directly.
Some religions even go so far as to say that human beings, due to
their sinfulness, cannot approach God without an intermediary --
which mistakenly implies that God is unable or unwilling to forgive
human-beings directly. Islam teaches that Almighty God has the power
to do all things and that no one should ever despair of His mercy.
According to the teachings of Islam, God is always ready to bestow
His abundant Grace and Mercy on anyone who turns to Him in repentance.
Even people who used to commit the worst sin of worshipping others
besides God will be forgiven if they realize what they are doing
is wrong and repent. Having a direct relationship with God, and
understanding that He alone deserves worship and praise, goes hand-in-hand
with the Islamic concept of God. This is because once a proper concept
of God is established in the heart and mind, submission to God and
complete reliance on Him alone comes naturally.

Unique Concept of Worship

According to the teachings of Islam, everything that a human being
does with the pure intention of pleasing God is an act of worship.
Due to this, Islam has an all encompassing concept of worship unlike
any other religion. Almighty God has revealed in the Holy Qur'an
that His purpose for creating human beings was to worship Him and
Him alone. Like other religions, Islam has required acts of worship,
however worship in Islam is not limited to rituals. Since Islam
is an all-encompassing religion with guidance for all aspects of
life. almost every action in a Muslim's life becomes an act of worship
if it is done to build a better relationship with God. Since man's
purpose in life is to worship and submit to God, worship in Islam
has been defined by God Himself in an all-encompassing way. This
is special uniqueness can also be seen in the fact that most other
religions only require formal worship once per week, while Islam
requires it five times a day. Even more importantly, all rites of
formal worship in Islam are based on Divine revelation, while the
modes of worship in other religions are a mixture of Divine revelation,
man-made traditions, opinions of clergymen and religious councils.
Additionally, in Islam acts of worship such as prayer and fasting
have been described by God and His Prophet in such detail that it
gives human beings a feeling of assurance that the way they are
worshipping God is pleasing to Him.

Based on Authentic Sources

The preservation of the scripture of Islam -- the Holy Qur'an --
is unique among world religions. No other religion has a scripture
which is both as old and as well-preserved as the one possessed
by Muslims today. Even scholars who are hostile to Islam admit that
the Qur'an that exists today is exactly the same as the one that
existed in the time of the Prophet Muhammad. Even though many people
mistakenly assume that the Qu'ran (also spelled Koran) was written
by Muhammad, it is actually the literal Word of God. Not only was
Muhammad known by his people to be unable to read and write, but
the Holy Qur'an clearly and repeatedly exclaims that it is from
Almighty God - the Lord of the Universe. Unlike other religions,
the followers of Islam have always considered their scripture to
be the Word of God in toto. The scriptures of other religions are
made up of writings that were not considered to be scripture until
many years after they were written - the letters of (St.) Paul are
a good example of this. Additionally, the Holy Qur'an has always
been in the possession of the common believer, and as such was circulated
very widely. In this way, Muslims know that their scripture is authentic,
unlike other so-called "scriptures" which are still claimed
to be scripture even though their authors are unknown. The Qur'an
also remained pure and authentic because unlike other scriptures,
it was written down and memorized in the lifetime of the prophet
that it was revealed to. Also, its wide circulation prevented scholars,
clergy and religious councils from deciding what should and should
not be part of the scripture -- since it was already in the hands
of the people in its complete form. It has always amazed people
to find out that the entire Qur'an was not only memorized word-for-word
by hundreds of the companions of Prophet Muhammad, but that it has
been memorized verbatim by thousands upon thousands of people until
this very day in its original language of Arabic. It was only natural
for Almighty God to preserve the scripture revealed to Prophet Muhammad,
because he was the last Prophet and Final Messenger of God. In short,
the Qu'ran is a unique scripture that has come down to us in its
original form and unique language. Due to its pristine teachings
and unquestionable authenticity, the Qur'an removes the need for
man to wonder for himself how to worship and please God, since God
Himself has clearly described these things.

An Eternal Message

Islam has just as much meaning and is just as applicable to people
living in today's "modern world" as it did for people
living 1400 years ago. Since the message of Islam is eternally true
it is also very robust, and as such still has a strong spiritual
impact on millions of people living in the world today. The Pure
Monotheism of Islam, as well as its universal brotherhood, strong
morals and positive outlook on life, is still very relevant and
meaningful to modern man. The continued relevance and applicability
to both the spiritual and worldly life of human beings from all
around the word is just one of the many proofs of the Divine origin
of the message of Islam. Unlike the teachings of other religions,
the teachings of Islam don't need to be updated or watered-down
in order to appeal to a human being living in today's troubled world.
Since the teachings of Islam are both spiritually true and eternally
practical, they can be lived and implemented in the daily life of
a person in order to make their life more fulfilling. In short,
unique among world religions, Islam has not had to sacrifice its
integrity in order to be both applicable to "modern life"
and to have enough spiritual impact to change people's lives.

A Complete Way of Life

Islam not just a "religion" in the traditional sense,
because it is not just confined to acts of worship, morality and
other aspects of personal piety. The teachings of Islam, even though
they do cover religious rituals and morality, also encompass all
other aspects of life. The Prophet Muhammad's mission encompassed
not only spiritual and religious teachings, but also included guidance
for such things as social reform, economics, politics, warfare and
family life. Thus due to the diversity and success of Muhammad's
mission, Muslims have clear guidance from God and His Final Prophet
on all aspects of life. This goes hand-in-hand with the Islamic
belief that Almighty God does not leave human beings without guidance
in their daily lives -- thus His guidance is all-encompassing. Due
to God's wisdom, and because Islam is the final revealed religion,
the guidance that God has sent is applicable for all times and for
all places. This can be seen in the fact that the guidance for some
aspects of life is much more broad and flexible than others. Additionally,
in the Qur'an, Almighty God has revealed to mankind that the purpose
of our creation is to worship and remember God in all aspects of
our life, and to follow His guidance in everything that we do. Thus
Islam does not accept a secular view of government and society,
but only one based on the Law of God. Nor does Islam leave it to
human beings to decide what is right and wrong, good and bad, moral
and immoral based on their whims, desires or man-made idea. In short,
Islam does not teach people to "Render unto Caesar the things
which are Caesar's" because, according to Islam, everything
belongs to God. Like all of its other teachings, Islam's view of
other religions is balanced, realistic and moderate. Islam doesn't
view other religions as being either completely true nor completely
false, but believes that all true religions were at one time divinely
revealed. However, over time the teachings of the various religions,
due to a variety of reasons, have become distorted and mixed with
made-man ideas. But nonetheless, Muslims are required to be tolerant
of other revealed religions since the Qur'an clearly says: "Let
there be no compulsion in religion".


The teachings of Islam, since they are divinely revealed, are balanced
in all of their aspects. Even though Islam is an all-encompassing
way of life, it preaches moderation and rejects extremism. On the
one hand, Islam does not preach complete rejection of all worldly
pleasures in view of the life hereafter; and on the other hand it
does not teach that earthly life is just for pleasure and enjoyment.
In Islam, wealth and worldly pleasures can be partaken of in this
life as long as they are enjoyed in a way that is in obedience to
God. However, Muslims are taught to keep in mind that the life hereafter
is their ultimate goal, and therefore one should be charitable and
not become too attached to worldly things. By maintaining a balance
between man's spiritual and physical needs, the teachings of Islam
are best suited for the needs of human beings in particular and
society in general. Since Islam is based on clear guidance from
God, it rejects all man-made religious excesses, such as certain
forms of monasticism where people try to completely "reject
the world" and other forms of extreme self-denial. Islam teaches
that human beings have responsibilities at all levels -- to other
individuals, to their families and to society as a whole. By maintaining
a unique balance between the physical and spiritual, and between
the individual and society, Islam maintains a balance in all directions.

A Positive Outlook

Most people will agree that having a strong self-esteem and a positive
outlook on life is conducive to achieving happiness and success.
Unique among the religions of the world, Islam's view of both the
nature of the human being and the purpose of life are extremely
positive. Islam's view of the nature of the human being is balanced.
On the one hand they are not viewed as being inherently evil, but
on the other they are not considered to be perfect - nor are they
expected to be so. According to the teachings of Islam, every human
being, man or woman, is born with a clean slate and is equally capable
of both good and evil. Since God has bestowed limited free-will
on human beings, they will ultimately be held responsible for their
actions. Believing that "salvation" is based on "faith
alone" reduces human life to a near meaningless and fatalistic
existence. The teachings of Islam make it clear that human beings,
since their nature is basically good, are capable of positive action
in this life, and that the best way to achieve a balanced, happy
and fulfilled life is complete submission to Almighty God. Certainly,
no person can completely submit to God by simply wanting to do so,
but by first realizing that none has a right to be worshipped and
obeyed except for Almighty God, and then making a reasonable effort
to follow God's commands, all human beings can fulfill their reason
for existence - which is to worship God alone. The Holy Qur'an tells
us that "man was created weak" and thus falls into sin
often. On the other hand, man is not to think of himself as so evil
and corrupt so as to despair of God's mercy. As a recourse to this,
and since Islam condemns self-righteousness, a pious life can only
be lived by trusting in God -- since there is no power or strength
except through God. As such, spiritual felicity is achieved by a
combination of both faith and action. As such, the most righteous
person is not one who thinks that repentance is unnecessary, but
the one who admits and realizes his mistakes - and then repents.
According to the word of Almighty God as revealed in the Holy Qur'an,
mankind is God's trustee on earth; and as such the life of this
world is a test, not a punishment. Even before God created the first
man, He knew that he would sin, however God created man in spite
of this. According to the Qur'an, God has bestowed on human beings
a great trust and given them dignity. It is only by worshipping
Almighty God, directly and without intermediaries, that a human
being can fulfull their true innate nature and purpose of existence.
In short, Islam is realistic. It portrays human beings just as they
are and the life of the world just as it

is. Since the outlook of Islam is divinely revealed is not based
on wishful or negative thinking, but simply on reality. Islam also
has a positive view of mankind in general, since it teaches that
the best person in the sight of God is the one who is most God-conscious.
In this way the truth of Islam and the universality of God's message
transcends all of the barriers of race, nationality, ethnic group
and economic status.


Former Congressman Calls on Muslims to Help Set America on Right Course

Former Congressman Calls on Muslims to
Help Set America on Right Course

By Edwin Ali

Former Congressman and world renowned author Paul Findley has lamented
the bias against Muslims in America following 9/11 and made a stirring
appeal to the followers of Islam to help set this country back on
the right course.

“We, each of us, ought to do something to set America back
on the right course, because America is on a gravely mistaken course
Muslims have to do more to set the record straight in so far as
Islam is concerned. First, go to church, speak to the preacher,
and offer to answer questions. There will be literally thousands
of people who will be better informed,” he told participants
to the second annual South Florida Banquet of the Council on American-Islamic
Relations (CAIR) at the Hilton Hotel in Ft. Lauderdale.

His call was echoed by Founder and Chairman of CAIR, Omar Ahmad,
who spoke on the theme “I am American, I am Muslim”.

The welcome address was given by Altaf Ali, Executive Director
of CAIR-FL who referred to the changes that followed 9/11 adding
that the changes have in some way affected “all of us, in
some way, shape or form. Many of us have begun to question the phrase
Liberty and Justice which is a corner stone of this great society.
Some of us have become so disheartened by some of the atrocities
that have taken place, that they have returned to their homeland.
I am encouraging and imploring all of you to be steadfast and recognize
and understand that every immigrant group who came to this great
land, had to strive and struggle to achieve a foothold in this great

In this current struggle, he added, “we will feel pain,
we will suffer in some way and some of us will be victimized, but
with the permission of Allah, we will prevail and in the end success
will be shared with those friends who supported us and forgiveness
will be given to those who stood against us.”

In his address, Mr. Findley noted that the theme of the dinner
was “Liberty & Justice for All”, he expressed the
hope that President George Bush “who says he reads the Bible,
I hope that one day he would go to Deuteronomy and read about God’s
injunction to Moses. Seek justice, only justice, seek Justice, Only

Mr. Findley, who spoke on the theme, “They Dare To Speak
Out”, added that 9/11 led to our Government’s terrible
over reaction in my opinion, with the curtailment of civil liberties
that have been so important in our national life, that we have striven
for over the centuries to bring into being and in strength. In violation
of the Constitution, a frightened congress gave the president and
the president alone the right to make war any place he deems it
necessary. He alone will be the judge. War making has become in
violation of the spirit of the constitution and the President will
be given the personal opportunity to alter pubic policy, today’s
doctrines that have been important to personal life.”

He challenged Muslims to take steps to end the bias against Islam
and speak about Islam and suggested that Muslims attend church and
talk to their neighbors about Islam which is not a vengeful faith,
with a vengeful god. He expressed alarm over the fact that his neighbors
believe Muslims condone terrorism, and that Muslims have a vengeful
God and that “Muslims want to alter, if not to abolish the
constitution. He added that the level of ignorance and misinformation
of Islam is enormous.

He said it was this ‘false image of Islam which allows Israel
to defend its position, using some of the examples being perpetuated
as a reason for its treatment of the Palestinians.”

The world knows that Israel has made a puppet of the United States
government., and quoted a great Israeli citizen who said America
rules the world and Israel rules America.

Against a background of repeated cheers from the audience, Mr.
Findley observed that there was goodwill for America among the Muslim
community world-wide. “A few years ago, the Muslim world adored
America and the Government. Then came disappointment, then came
outrage, and then came fury and even hatred. For 35 years, with
unconditional backing from the U.S. Government, Israel has humiliated
and brutalized the Palestinians and the mistreatment today is worse
than ever before. For 35 years, the U.S. Government has been hand
in glove with Israel.

“Most Americans seem unaware of this guilt, this complicity
on the part of the U.S. Government but believe me, most of the rest
of the world knows exactly what is happening. Believe me when Palestinian
Muslims and Palestinian Christians are dehumanized, the 1.2 billion
Muslims world wide, have a similar pain because they are brothers
and sisters,” he said.

“When Palestinians are being fenced off like a bunch of
camels, as they are now, and are subject to endless curfews, it
hurts Muslims world wide and many other non Muslims like myself,”
Mr. Findley said.

He referred to the President’s recent meeting with Israeli
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon but (the President) says nothing about
bringing justice to the Palestinians, “he seems not to realize
that the agony of the Palestinians is a world wide problem, recognized
as such, but seems oblivious to the fact that the US government,
not just Israel, but the US government is blamed for this sad state
of affairs.”

He had hoped that America would have emerged from the Vietnam experience
in good spirit and true to its expressions. “Look at America
today. I strived to liberate America from subservience. For 35 years
its subservience has led America astray. It has proved to be a corrupting
influence on Judaism, Israel and America. The people who defend
Israel with every twist and turn with policies and activities should
realize the humiliation that they have brought upon the Palestinian

The former Congressman said “the consequences of our bias
towards Israel and against Arabs and Muslims has had horrific consequences
already. The first casualty which began almost 35 years ago, was
free speech on the development of Middle East policy.”

“I know, I was in Congress for 22 years, I was on the Committee
that developed the policy for the Middle East and I can say that
there has never been anything that can truly be called free speech,
free expression, free exchange of ideas. All Congress has done during
that time and still does is to consider what Israel wants, and what
Israel wants from Washington, Israel gets.”

Mr. Findley observed that there have been many casualties over
the years, another one of which is the end to fairness and balance
in Middle East policy. He noted also that there has been the stifling
of free speech on Middle East policy as well as the absence of Civil
liberties here at home which followed 9/11.

He urged the participants to bring out the truth about Islam to
the American people adding that wonderful things will happen at
every turn of the road “as you remove false images and as
you do, you will help Muslims to enjoy their lives and who will
help all of America. Never give up.

Mr. served for 22 years as a Member of the U.S. Congress from
Illinois and is author of such best sellers as “They Dare
to Speak,” and “Silent No More” and is the author
of numerous humanitarian awards. He was later presented with a plaque
in recognition of his support for CAIR.

In his remarks, Mr. Ahmad spoke of the efforts by CAIR to reach
out to non Muslims, giving Mr. Findley as one example,. He said
that there are many people who are working in association with CAIR
to improve relations with the American people and cautioned that
two years after Sept. 11, Muslims are now beginning to discover
themselves and are beginning to find their place in this country
and to define “who we are and what we stand for.”

He referred to the challenges facing Muslims in America and added
that “we are beginning to understand what is our role in this
country. Muslims are not about to become millionaires or have 50
or 60 members in the U.S. Congress, but have to go back to basics
and should draw a lesson from the Prophet Muhammad (OWBP) when he
was forced to flee Mecca, returning some 10 years later victorious.

“Despite the challenges facing us today, I am optimistic.
As a community, we are improving, we are fighting back, we are defending
our fundamental rights and we are starting to open up to others.
There are many people who are willing to open their hearts to us
and we have encouraged Muslims to open their Mosques to non Muslims
who can come and visit”, he added.

He lamented the fact that Muslims are not taking advantage of
the opportunities before them to explain their religion to others,
and should ask themselves “How can we help America, instead
of what we can benefit from America” We have to become the
bridge between America and the Muslim world and should not be afraid
to criticize those Muslim countries which have dictatorships, where
women have no rights and where some rule without democracy and no
freedom of religion.”

Mr. Ahmad criticized those professed scholars and writers who
have misled the nation on the religion of Islam, adding that some
of their comments and articles were not only baseless, but totally
inaccurate and false.

Mr. Parvez Ahmad, CAIR-FL Board Chairman told the audience that
the relationship forged today will “help us through some of
the difficult times and help us enjoy the good time ahead as throughout
America’s rich history, there has been no constant, striking
in its simplicity but profound in its impact.” He added that
the struggle to define America’s liberty and citizenship rights
and freedom continues and CAIR recognizes that it is part of a distinguished
tradition of Americans. “Our aim is to provide a moral, ethical
and legal framework to prevent the incursions of our liberty. We
do not underestimate the urgency for securing our country against
terrorism and do take seriously, our responsibilities towards our
freedom. The price of freedom remains eternal vigilance, and vigilant
we are today’.

He outlined some of the activities of CAIR over the past year
and highlighted the challenges the organization faced following
the arrest of three Medical students and the arrest and detention
of Tampa Podiatrist Dr. Harold Goldstein, and lamented the fact
that even though the Podiatrist was held with enough arms and ammunition
to blow up 50 Islamic Mosques and Centers he was not charged as
a terrorist.

A proclamation from the Mayor of Broward, Diana Wesserman-Rubin,
was read by Mr. Robert Foulkes , Chair, Multi-Ethnic Advisory Board,
Broward County Commission. Declaring August 2, 2003, As CAIR Appreciation
Day in Broward County, Florida.

The proclamation read: “Whereas, the Florida Chapter of the
Council on American Islamic Relations is a non profit grass-roots
membership organization with its local office in Broward County
Florida, and whereas

The Council on American Islamic Relations is the largest Muslim
Civil Rights organization in the country with 18 offices across
the country, and whereas the mission of CAIR-Florida, is to present
an Islamic perspective on issues of importance to to the American
public, and whereas:

CAIR-Florida seeks to empower the Muslim community in America through
political and social activism and whereas:

CAIR-Florida advocates dialogue between different faiths and encourages
substantive inter-action between faith-based communities both in
America and across the world, and whereas

CAIR-Florida seeks to educate Muslims about their responsibilities
of citizenship and about their rights as citizens and residents
of the United States of America, and their responsibilities of civic
duties, and whereas:

CAIR-Florida supports freedom of religion and freedom of expression,
and whereas:

CAIR-Florida supports domestic policies that promotes civil rights
and accommodates diversities which reflect America’s diverse
population and whereas:

CAIR-Florida is committed to protecting the civil rights of all
Americans, regardless of faith, and advocates on behalf of those
who are discriminated against because of their beliefs, and whereas:

CAIR-Florida opposes domestic policies that limits civil rights,
prevent Ethnic Organizations profiling, infringe on due process,
or that prevents Muslims from full participation in American civic
rights, and whereas:

CAIR-Florida, is the national ally of groups, religious or secular,
that advocates justice and human rights in America and around the
world, and whereas:

CAIR –Florida believes that Islam, with its emphasis on self-sufficiency,
charity and community service, strengthen America’s social
and religious fabric, and whereas:

CAIR-Florida rejects and condemns all forms of terrorism, of any
individual, group or State, NOW therefore:

Be It Proclaimed by the Board of County Commissioners of Broward
County Board, that the Board decree Saturday, August 2nd, 2003,
As Council on American Islamic Relations Appreciation Day in Broward
County, Florida.

Master of Ceremonies Ahmed Bedier, who is CAIR’s Communication
Director noted that CAIR can never repay some of the individuals
who have supported and helped the organization in its work and therefore
was showing its appreciation by the presentation of a number of

He called on CAIR-Florida Director Altaf Ali to make the first
presentation to Michael Mayo News Columnist for the Sun Sentinel.
Ali said it was an honor and privilege to read some of the columns
written by Mr. Mayo and handed over a plaque to him.

Mr. Mayo expressed appreciation to CAIR and Altaf for the gift
which he felt he did not deserve as he was only doing his job and
paid tribute to the organization as well as Ali for the work they
are doing. “I have nothing but positive experiences and respect
for the work of CAIR and Altaf”, he said. Mr. Mayo lamented
the situation in South Florida where there were bickering, divisiveness
and hate, adding “I try to rise above this, as I am for open
and constructive dialogue.

“I am bothered as an American and I think everybody here
who is American and who love their country, watched with shock and
horror the events of Sept. 11 and then the aftermath also has brought
other events, some of which are understandable, others incomprehensible
and I think it is the role and duty of the Press to question and
look into what we are doing as a country and what we are doing within
the country.”

Mr. Mayo noted that the theme of the Banquet was “Liberty
and Justice for All” and added that “right now I am
troubled by the things going on, secret evidence, secret detentions,
secret reports and that is not the America that I grew up with,
and I love this country but am troubled with some of the things

He referred to the case of Jose Padilla, an American, who the
Government claimed is an Al Qaeda member and who was planning a
number of activities, was taken into detention 15 months ago and
“I want justice for him.”

Mr. Mayo added that if Padilla was a member of Al Qaeda and was
planning to heap violence and destruction on this country, I want
justice but in my world, justice means the rule of law. “Justice
means you charge him, he should have access to a lawyer, and you
bring him into open court, and have him judged by a jury of his
peers” Mayo said to the cheers of the audience. “Justice
does not mean locking him up and throwing away the keys, so I am
troubled by that. So again, I do not know if he is guilty or not,
all I know is that her has not been charged with anything and I
think it is about time that we get to the bottom of it.”,
he added.

He called for open dialogue with members of the Muslim community,
adding that he wants to hear from them and to talk with them.

Before the Community Service Award was presented to Mr. Foulkes,
Altaf Ali paid tribute to him as a “friend of the Muslim community.”.
“This individual, brothers and sisters and friends, is an
honorable man and if there is one voice for the Muslims, it is Roland

In accepting the award Mr. Foulkes began by saying…”In
the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful” which was part
of the inscription in the Plaque. In a short address, he referred
to a move by some members of the School Board in Broward to exclude
CAIR and all Muslim Organizations from being involved in any activities
in the school district.

The move, Mr. Foulkes said, arose from a video which Altaf Ali
prepared for schools in Broward, highlighting some of the concerns
which students may be having during this time of conflict, “and
I felt that was wrong and still feel so.”

“On the night of July 10, the meeting at which the motion
was to be considered, was packed by Muslims and it was not surprising
that it was withdrawn, but the motion can be brought up again, and
therefore I urge you to be vigilant, as the motion can be brought
up again,” Mr. Foulkes said.

CAIR-FL Director Altaf Ali then presented Robert Steinback, Editorial
Columnist of the Miami Herald, with an Excellence of Journalism

In accepting the award, Mr. Steinback said since 9/11 it has been
a difficult time for all Americans and while thee has been a lot
of change of “our perceptions, I am not sure that this has
changed us for the better.”

“Sept. 11 should have been a time for us to reaffirm our
faith in the principles that have made us a great nation over the
years, for example, commitment to justice and freedom, the rule
of law and the value of life and liberty,” adding that “we
have to be sure that our fear does not change who we are, but that
we have to be stronger about being who we already are.”

Throughout his short speech, Mr. Steinback stressed the need for
upholding principles, adding that sometimes the principle is even
more important than self. “I would rather die first for my
country than kill first” he continued. “We are all on
this mission together to expand and enhance the principles which
must guide our actions, and the only thing to fear is fear itself”.

Mr. Mark Schlakman, of the Center for Advancement of Human Rights
also spoke at the function urging understanding and commitment to
justice and peace, a point echoed by the Master of Ceremonies, Ahmed
Bedier, who is the Communications Director of CAIR.

He urged members of the Muslim community to respond to inaccuracies
in the press and not allow such reports to go unanswered.

During the dinner, a video presentation was shown and was well
received by the audience, many of whom expressed satisfaction with
the contents. Some aspects were devoted to CAIR’s activities
and highlighting some of the challenges which the organization faced
during this year.