Monday, May 9, 2011

Egyptians March to Gaza Concentration Camp

Egyptians to mark Nakba with a march to Palestine
Posted on 09 May 2011.

On 15 May, the annual commemoration of the creation of the state of Israel and the expulsion of Palestinians, known as Nakba, Egyptians plan to march to Palestine under the slogan “Cairo’s liberation will not be complete without the liberation of Al-Quds [Jerusalem].”

Following Egypt’s January 25 Revolution, Egyptians are pushing for some of the country’s foreign relations policies to change, especially those related to Israel and Palestine. Aid or protest convoys to Gaza were frequently stopped or arrested during the Mubarak era by the ousted president’s regime, and now for the first time since the revolution thousands of activists are planning to march to the Rafah border town.

Ahmed Doma, member of the Justice and Freedom Youth Movement, said “we are organising this event as part of the Arab internet call for a third Palestinian Intifada and as part of what has now been termed ‘the Arab mass march’.” The call went out on Facebook for all Arabs to march en masse towards the borders to besiege Israel from Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan and demand the right of all Palestinian refugees to return.

The Egyptian convoy departing from Cairo added several demands besides the right of return, including the permanent opening of the Rafah border to allow the movement of people and goods; ending the export of Egyptian gas to Israel; ending all “humiliating agreements with the Zionist state;” and releasing all Palestinians in Egyptian prisons.

The Cairo march will start in Tahrir Square, the hub of Egypt’s revolution, on 14 May at 12pm and is expected to reach Gaza in the evening and to join the Nakba rallies in Gaza on 15 May.
Parallel to the march to Palestine, demonstrations are planned in front of the Israeli embassy in Giza and the ambassador’s house in Maadi.

Arwa, member of “We are All Resistance,” says “other convoys heading to Palestine are moving from Alexandria, Suez, Damietta and North Sinai. People will also join convoys from Gharbiya, Beni Suef, Assiut, Qena and Sohag.”

The groups participating from Cairo include The National Front for Justice and Democracy, Supporters of the Palestinian Revolution (Cairo University), Justice and Freedom Youth Movement, Kifaya, We are All the Resistance Movement, Resistance Movement (Helwan University), a group of Ahly Club football Altras, likewise a group from the Zamalek Club (White Knights), Activists for Palestine, The Palestinian Women’s Coalition, April 6 Movement and The Nasserist Party. Several independent activists are also organising and publicising the event.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Revolution Against Fear

The Revolution Against Fear

"The only thing to fear is fear itself."--President Roosevelt

No human progress is possible while people are paralyzed by fear. Fear is the great monster of the mind that prevents people from standing against oppression. Once the great monster fear is cut off, we see people can stand tall in the face of any challenge, whether from the guns of state terror, the tanks, police, jails, prisons and ultimately death. Overcoming the fear of death is the ultimate challenge of man. Once a man or woman accepts that his/her life and death are all for God, transcending the self, fear is discarded into the dustbin of history.

We see this occurring in North Africa and the Middle East at this hour. The people have cast off the illusion of fear and are standing tall against oppression from regimes long supported by American Imperialism. America has been the major arms supplier, the guns, bullets, poison gas, equipment for torture chambers and dungeons that were established to allow the most wicked and repressive regimes to flourish for the last forty years.

Let us be clear that America has a history of oppressing its own citizens, of filling their bodies and minds with fear, of reducing them from Kunta Kinte to Toby en mass. We have yet to learn the true story of resistance to the American slave system by North American Africans, who mastered fear during three centuries of chattel enslavement, not recognized as humans or citizens. And yet from within the slave system, North American African resisted by any means necessary, ultimately taking up arms in the Civil War, only to be betrayed by those who won the war and those who were defeated, especially when the 200,000 African soldiers were disarmed.

It is this disarming that allowed fear to return in the from of state terror in the guise of the KKK, the lynchings, virtual slave labor and disenfranchisement during the short lived Reconstruction.

Imagine, for a time the people who were banned from learning to read and write, upon emancipation exercised a thirst for learning so great the children had to be beaten out of the classroom and made to go home. Today we have flipped the script, the children must be beaten or taken to juvenile hall for refusing to attend school. School districts have gone broke because their daily attendance was so low they could not qualify to fund their budgets.

How did the fear of knowledge become pervasive? How did it become a hip fad to be ignut? We need only examine the lives of men who read books and not only transformed their lives but the lives of their people, e.g., Fredrick Douglass, Malcolm X, George Jackson, Eldridge Cleaver. These men cast aside their fears, stood up and made their people stand. Imagine the eternal words of Harriet Tubman, "I could have freed more slaves if they had known they were slaves."

We see here the need for the slave system, today the neo-slave system, to keep people in ignorance and fear. The slave system rules through ignorance and fear. The Civil Rights movement was on the road to success once the people in the South cast off their fears, especially the fear of death, the fear of jail, prison and retaliation.

The 2.4 million people in US jails and prisons are special examples of the fearless. Most people who commit crimes are somewhat fearless, otherwise they would not take penitentiary chances, as they say. Those addicted to fear may be those who decide to hold down a job, to never consider economic independence, until of late when it is crystal clear the job for life is a myth.

We see a college education is no guarantee of a job. Our children will thus need to cast away their fears to configure a fair market system of economic justice. Free market capitalism is exhausted, surely America and her gang of global bandits are in their last days before being rounded up and divested of their ill gotten gains.

By what right should 400 people possess the wealth equal to 150 million? There must be a redistribution of the wealth stolen from the deaf, dumb and blind, yes, those robbed and left half dead on the roadside, those who are victims of American capital accumulation since the beginning of the slave system, i.e., the founding of this nation.

And yet the greatest robbery is not what occurred yesterday, but the robbery of the present global finance bandits who have ripped off the people with their pyramid schemes and sub prime loan scams that stole trillions from people and nations, since the blood suckers of the poor care nothing about people or nations.

The jobless and homeless of today will not rise from this condition until they cast away all fears and seize the means of production and the housing they need. Every human being needs a job and a dwelling. There is no mystery about the human right to a job and a place to stay.

Every human being should have a home with a life estate. This is the true and final solution to homelessness. The home with a life estate cannot be sold or transferred, thus a person will become free of the anxiety of homelessness. And then we consider the reality that all persons need a way to earn money to survive and thrive.

A society that cannot provide its people with economic security shall have no national security, for it is a failed society, a society in chaos, such as we see in America today. There are almost three million people in prison, mostly due to economic crimes, crimes of necessity.

And yet many of these criminals are fearless, some have the very creative minds we need to address the issues of society. And yet they are locked down, many for the most trivial offences, 80% were drug addicted at the time of their arrests and perhaps 50% have severe mental health issues, so what we have in American prisons and jails are drug addicts and the mentally ill or the dual diagnosed.

Still, we have seen that some of our greatest minds came from prison, recall Malcolm, George Jackson, Eldridge, Tookie. Even today we have millions of fearless minds locked down, e.g. Ruchell McGee, and so many other men and women, not to mention our greatest mind on death row, Mumia Abu Jamal. If a man can be productive as Mumia has been on death row, what excuse do we have out here on the big yard?

As Amiri Baraka asked, "Is it difficult for you?" And so I ask, is it difficult for you out here on the big yard? I especially ask the people of the Bay Area who have the legacy of the Black Panther Party who taught one essential lesson which was to discard our fears and stand tall in the face of oppression, is it difficult for you? I say smash your fear of the police, politicians, blood sucking merchants who refuse to hire you yet you do not protest. Challenge the oil and gasoline bandits who reap quarterly profits in the billions by manipulating the markets. But no, you won't dare confront Shell, Mobil, Exxon, Chevron, but you want to kill a brother who jumps ahead of you in the line at the gas station.

It is time to be informed and fearless. Use your cell phone to be informed, Google words you don't understand rather than spend the entire day asking your mate, "Where you at?" Ask yourself where your mind is at, where is your heart and soul at? Where is the fearlessness of your ancestors at?

--Marvin X


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Profile: Oakland's Imam Alim Musa and the American Islamic Revolution

Oakland's Imam Abdul Alim Musa
and the American Islamic Revolution

Imam Abdul Alim Musa, an African-American convert to Islam, is the head of the Masjid Al Islam mosque in Washington DC and founder of Sabiqun. He advocates for an Islamic revolution in the U.S. and promotes anti-Semitism. Despite his extremist views, Alim Musa is often invited to speak to Muslim student groups, in particular at events organized by the Muslim Student Union (MSU) at the University of California, Irvine.

These events often feature a handful of radical speakers who espouse anti-Semitic rhetoric, including Imam Mohammad al-Asi and Imam Amir Abdul Malik Ali. Though he claims that some of the major Muslim organizations try to avoid him because of his ideology, Alim Musa has participated at events organized by prominent Muslim-American community organizations including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, Muslim American Society, Islamic Circle of North America and the Islamic Society of North America. He also makes regular appearances at the large annual conferences of the Muslim Congress, a Houston-based Shia community group.

At some of these events, Alim Musa has sold copies of an anti-Semitic book written by Imam Mohammad al-Asi. The book, The Ascendant Qur'an, blames Jews for conspiring against Islam.
Alim Musa has also spoken at mass antiwar rallies, including one of the largest pro-Palestinian rallies ever held in this country, which was organized by the ANSWER Coalition on April 20, 2002 in Washington, DC. Musa served as moderator.

In addition, Alim Musa is a founder and former member of the governing body of the Muslim Alliance in North America, a community organization that involves prominent American-born Muslims, mostly African-Americans. In 2004, the San Francisco Bay View described Alim Musa as "one of the highest-ranking Islamic leaders in the Black community, nationwide and specifically in the Islamic movement."

Born Clarence Reams in Arkansas, Alim Musa grew up in Oakland, California. According to his own account, as a young man in the 1960s in Oakland he was dealing with illegal drugs and later fled the country. He claims to have spent time in Algeria where he met fugitive activists in the Black Panther movement and to have also been involved in cocaine trade in Columbia. Alim Musa returned to the U.S. and was jailed in a federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, where he converted to Islam, based on his account.

Alim Musa is a "senior" member of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT), an international pro-Iranian, pro-Hezbollah Islamist think tank that distributes anti-Semitic propaganda in its magazine, Crescent International. He claims to have travelled several times to Iran, implying in various speeches that he has met with Hezbollah and Hamas representatives in Iran, as well as with groups fighting Indian forces in Kashmir during a visit to that region.

In addition, he maintains contacts with other extremist groups in the U.S. and abroad, including the anti-Semitic and racist New Black Panther Party (NBPP) and Jamaat al-Muslimeen.
Below is a sample of extremist and anti-Semitic statements that Alim Musa has made:
June 4, 2010: During a sermon at a Dallas mosque, Alim Musa argued that "the whole Western world is out against Islam" and that the U.S. government is implementing a policy that targets African-American Muslims because they are not as susceptible to intimidation as immigrant Muslims.

He argued that it was therefore the responsibility of African-American Muslims to establish an authentic "liberation-based" Islamic movement, which he describes as a "re-Africanization" and "de-Israelization of the Islamic movement in America."

January 5, 2010: Alim Musa appeared on Press TV, a state-funded Iranian TV news channel, to discuss the attempt to blow up an American airliner heading for Detroit on Christmas Day 2009. During his appearance, Musa claimed that the Israeli Mossad and the U.S. government were behind 90 percent of the terror attacks in the U.S. and abroad since the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, including the Christmas Day plot.

He argued that this continuous Israeli-American terrorist campaign not only provides an excuse to launch attacks against Muslims but also allows those in power to strengthen their grip in the U.S.

July 4, 2009: Alim Musa spoke at an event organized by the Muslim Congress, a Houston-based Shia community group, in Dearborn, Michigan. At the event, which was reportedly attended by 1,200 people, Alim Musa reportedly distributed fliers that called the U.S. government "Zionist occupied" and the FBI "Gestapo." In his speech, Alim Musa reportedly "accused U.S. leaders of fabricating a Muslim threat to national security so Americans could stop the global spread of Islam."

September 26, 2008: Alim Musa spoke at an anti-Israel event at the Islamic House of Wisdom, a Shiite Muslim mosque in Dearborn, Michigan. At the event, which was held to commemorate Iranian-inspired Al Quds [Jerusalem] Day, Alim Musa sold copies of a book by Mohammad al-Asi, an exegesis of the Quran that interprets much of the Islamic holy text as a warning of a Jewish conspiracy against Islam. During his lecture, Alim Musa expressed his support for Hezbollah, stating:
"The Hezbollah…it stands to the Zionists on behalf of their Palestinian cousins."

May 9, 2007: During his appearance at an anti-Israel event that was organized by MSU at UC Irvine, "Holocaust Memorial Week," Alim Musa said:
"Who ran the slave trade…who funded [it]? You'll study and you will find out: the Jews…It was the Jewish bankers…in Vienna, with pockets full of money, funding and insuring, that's who did it…you can't tell us about no holocaust. Between the African Americans and the Native Americans, everybody else's stuff was small potatoes."

October 5, 2006: Alim Musa spoke at a protest organized by the antiwar group World Can't Wait outside the White House in Washington, DC. Claiming September 11 was a conspiracy by the American government, Alim Musa stated:
"We got to get rid of this new Hitler…Just like Hitler burned the Reichstag…to gain full power over the people…George Bush brings down the World Trade Center, blames it on us [Muslims] and then claims himself dictator over the world. So we're here to say it's all over for George."

January 2004: In an interview in the San Francisco Bay View, Alim Musa talked about September 11 and other issues. In the interview, Alim Musa stated:
"When 9/11 happened, the only people who understood it really was Black people. They know that when you have an election-stealing president that has no credibility, he needs something to make him presidential…."If you remember before 9/11, the big conference they held in Durban, South Africa, Black people was attuned to Zionism is racism—we know that as a people. Amerikkka [original spelling] needed something to take them off of the most-hated list, but it never worked."

April 20, 2002: Alim Musa served as the moderator of an anti-Israel rally, sponsored by ANSWER, during which many speakers called for the destruction of Israel. A large Hezbollah flag was on display from the stage throughout much of the event next to where Alim Musa stood.

March 22, 2002: Alim Musa spoke at an event at the National Press Club in Washington DC that was organized by the NBPP, titled: "National Opposition Town Hall Meeting." At the event, Malik Zulu Shabazz, national chairman of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP), praised Alim Musa as an authentic and courageous leader. During his speech, Alim Musa hailed Hezbollah and Palestinian groups fighting Israel and berated the U.S.:
"A little group like Hezbollah, 'the Party of God'…and in the world there are only two parties: Hezbollah and Hizb-ul-Shaytan [Party of Satan]…you're either in the party of God or Satan—America, the British, the French…You're either in that party or the Party of God, the Hezbollah…

"They have caused so much trouble for the Zionists…they're getting paranoid. Zionists are shooting other Zionists…that's the way the Jews are doing…because they're paranoid…and that's the way they need to feel…because when it come to Islam and peoples' willingness to achieve martyrdom, you can't beat them….

"We don't want to be a part of the American system. We want to see it wrapped up, bundled up like they do in them garbage trucks…take it and dump it into the dust bin of history."

October 31, 2001: Alim Musa joined Shabazz for a news conference at the National Press Club. At the event, Shabazz blamed Jews and Israel for the September 11 terrorist attacks. During his speech, Alim Musa said: "America placed this sword, this cancer, this Zionist state, in the center of the crossroads of the world." He also assailed "Zionists in Hollywood, the Zionists in New York, and the Zionists in D.C." who, he claimed, "all collaborate" to oppress Blacks and Muslims.

October 28, 2000: Alim Musa spoke at a rally in Washington DC that was organized by some of the premier Muslim community organizations in the country and in which speakers expressed support for Hamas and Hezbollah. Referring to Palestinian casualties in the second intifada, which broke out the previous month, Alim Musa said:
"We celebrate our young brothers…those shuhada [martyrs]. They're not dead….The Zionists, when they get hit they're dead. They are dead and gone…But our people, when they leave this world they're headed for jannah [Paradise]."

June 2000: At a gathering in Baltimore organized by Jamaat al-Muslimeen, Alim Musa spoke about Imam Jamil al-Amin, a Muslim activist who has since been convicted for killing an Atlanta, Georgia, deputy sheriff:
"Al-Amin…turned his ideas, his belief in Islam, into practical solutions for society. And they can't stand that….the Zionist are the same today as they was then. In those days [in Arabia before the ascendance of Islam] they controlled the liquor market in Madina… and the Zionists kept the Arab leaders broke and drunk…the yahud [Jews, in Arabic] were seating back and had each one of them [Arab clans] fighting each other because the leaders was both drunken and they was all in owe (sic) to the same Yahud… he was manipulating the Arabs…then Islam came [and abolished riba, or interest]…"We're the pioneers here of Islam in America… Islam went everywhere in the world… so why can't Islam take over America… We are on the right road."

Oakland and the American Islamic Revolution

Oakland and the American Islamic Revolution

Imam Jamil Alamin (H. Rap Brown)
of Atlanta GA

Imam Luqman of Detroit (RIP)

Imam Musa of Oakland

Cause Célèbre Islam: Racism, Revolution, Black Nationalism
Written by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Madeleine Gruen
Friday, 20 November 2009 14:16

“We can’t just be saying, ‘O.K., everything is run by the U.S. government,’ we got to take out the U.S. government. The U.S. government is nothing but Kuffars.”
—Luqman Abdullah, imam of Masjid al-Haqq and Detroit representative to al-Ummah2

“So the goal of the government is to destroy this group [al-Ummah] and to send the message to other African Americans that the federal government will not allow any unified, organized Islamic activities to be carried out inside of the United States of America. But we have a message for them. We will not be intimidated by the government of the United States of America.”
—Abdul Alim Musa, imam of Masjid al-Islam and founder of al-Sabiqun3

The shooting of Luqman Abdullah, the imam of Detroit’s Masjid al-Haqq and a representative to al-Ummah, provided a glimpse into a movement that blends conservative Sunni Islamic practice with the legacy of black nationalism. Abdullah’s rhetoric weaves references to the Qur’an and ahadith together with the language of militant jihadism and assertions of injustice perpetrated against African-American Muslims by the U.S. government in the form of harassment, targeted raids, arrests, and “assassinations.” Other preachers similarly fuse these themes, resulting in a distinctive understanding of the faith that can be described as “cause célèbre Islam.”

For Abdullah and his followers, this doctrine provided justification for criminal behavior. In other cases, cause célèbre Islam prepares adherents for an inevitable violent revolution against the U.S. government: this revolutionary vision is at least as indebted to the ideas of men like Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver, and Malcolm X as it is to more typical advocates of Islamic revolution like Sayyid Qutb. Those who share this view tend to be suspicious of outsiders, and outside influences.

Cause Célèbre: An Indigenous American Islamic Movement

The “cause célèbre Islam” movement arose from a combination of uniquely American conditions and experiences. Because many of the movement’s leaders were children of the civil rights era and were active in the black nationalist movement, or had significant exposure to members of that movement, the leaders’ rhetoric fuses black nationalist themes with conservative or militant Islamic ideas.

Antecedents of this movement include quasi-Islamic sects that catered to African-Americans by trying to frankly address the reality of racism in America, such as the Moorish Science Temple and the Lost-Found Nation of Islam. However, unlike these groups, there is nothing within the cause célèbre Islamic movement—such as the Nation of Islam’s belief in W.D. Fard’s divinity and the prophethood of Elijah Muhammad—that clearly places it outside the mainstream of Islamic theology.

This issue’s article “Jamil al-Amin” profiles a significant leader within the cause célèbre Islam movement, a man who continues to serve as an ideological inspiration and who has himself become one of its causes célèbre following his conviction and life sentence for shooting two police officers in Atlanta. Al-Amin’s supporters claim he was framed because the U.S. government feared his power and influence.

Abdul Alim Musa, originally from Oakland, CA, is an associate of Jamil al-Amin, and the leader of the Washington, D.C.-based group As-Sabiqun, which subscribes to the same cause célèbre brand of Islam as al-Ummah. Speaking of al-Amin’s trial, he commented: “You know a different America than I do. I know America coming from Arkansas of lynchings, of burning, and of torture. I don’t know an America of a fair trial. I don’t know America of a Bill of Rights. I have never seen that America. Imam Jamil came out of a generation coming up out of Louisiana.”4

He has further explained his deep admiration for al-Amin, describing him as a living legend:
You know who Imam Jamil al Amin is? I’m gonna tell you who he is. You see all these movies, a last man standing, right? A guy who goes through houses being blown up. Ran over by a train. Legs ripped off, sawed in half, buried alive. Isn’t that right? And he’d come out the last man standing. Imam Jamil al Amin, they tried to blow him up in 1967. They tried to assassinate him on several occasions. Isn’t that right? They ran him into exile in the late 60’s and the early 70’s. But he came on back. The last man standing. Martin Luther King is dead. Malcolm X is dead. Medgar Evers is dead. Isn’t that right? [Huey] Newton is dead. Eldridge Cleaver is dead. Everyone you read about in a black history book that struggled against what we used to call the “white man” is dead. Isn’t that right?5

This article now turns to the revolutionary threads and criminal threads within cause célèbre Islamic ideology.

Revolutionary Threads

Revolution and potential confrontation with the U.S. government are overarching themes within the movement’s thinking. They featured prominently in Luqman Abdullah’s rhetoric, for example. “[W]e should be trying to figure out how to fight the Kuffar,” he said. “You see, we need to figure out how to be a bullet.”6 Further, he said, “you cannot have a non-violent revolution.” 7

There are various gradations of how revolution is seen within the movement. At their most extreme, the revolutionary ideas are pegged to the notion of establishing an Islamic state within the U.S., or more ambitiously seizing the instruments of government and imposing Islamic rule throughout the nation. At other times, the idea of revolution within the movement’s rhetoric is more secularized, with “the oppressed” (and not just Muslims) rising up against the institutions that hold them back. And in their mildest form, the movement’s revolutionary ideas are inward-looking, with fighting against ignorance and addiction seen as transformative in themselves.8

The revolutionary theme fosters an “us versus them” mentality, putting the U.S. government in the role of the community’s oppressor. This can isolate members of the movement from outsiders, and also cultivate a lack of respect and trust for the government’s authority. Members of the movement will see law enforcement action that has an impact on those within their community as calculated, part of a grand strategy to keep the movement weak. One example of this conspiratorial view is an article in New Trend Magazine, an online Islamist publication, which remarked that “Muslims of America, especially African Americans, are leaderless. The government knows this and wants to keep Imam Jamil in prison on a bogus case which should have been thrown out long ago.”9

Criminal Threads

Though Luqman Abdullah and his associates were heavily involved in criminal activity, this is certainly not the case for all adherents of this brand of Islam. Indeed, many antecedents of the cause célèbre Islamic movement, such as the Nation of Islam, prided themselves in giving followers with a criminal past the self-discipline necessary to avoid lapsing back into criminality.
Many within this movement have served time in prison, but in part this may be due to the fact that Darul Islam and similar groups have systematized prison dawah programs.

Often Islam provides an attractive alternative to the violent and degrading prison environment. “Acting through the principle of freedom of worship, Islam meets these challenges and shows a remarkable capacity to redefine the conditions of incarceration,” writes Robert Dannin. “A new Muslim repeats the attestation of faith, the shahada, before witnesses at the mosque. His Islamic identity then means a fresh start, symbolized by the choice of a new name, modifications to his physical appearance, and an emphasis on prayer.”10

But not all converts to Islam leave behind their criminal past. Among other reasons, some of them may not be able to shake old worldviews and habits after adopting their new faith. Others may not even try to shake off them at all, and may in fact use their new Islamic framework to justify criminality.

Luqman Abdullah, who served two prison terms (one for carrying a concealed weapon, the other for assaulting a police officer), continued to justify theft and crimes of violence after his conversion to Islam. After his conversion, he used religious justifications to argue that such activities were legitimate; when he helped arrange for a new VIN for a truck that he believed to be stolen, he described it as an act of jihad.11 He encouraged members of Masjid al-Haqq to carry firearms, which many did even though their criminal records made it illegal.

The shooting of Abdullah now gives the movement the opportunity to establish his status as a martyr, and to create another cause célèbre to rally around. As Abdul Alim Musa has declared: “[W]hat the government is doing by assassinating Imam Luqman is it’s trying to intimidate the Muslim community, especially the black community. And I say that because the immigrant community, which is about half of the Muslims in the United States, and the African American Muslim community, which form the other half, have different views about Islam in America and how it should be fostered.”12


Certainly, one cannot draw complete analytical conclusions about a movement’s theology, doctrine, and strategy based on what is disclosed in court documents: criminal complaints and other such documents are used to support a criminal prosecution, and are not meant to provide a comprehensive history or account of the subject’s activities. Therefore, in assessing the movement’s priorities it is helpful to look beyond Abdullah, and toward an active group that is part of the cause célèbre Islamic movement.

As-Sabiqun, which is another offshoot of Darul Islam, is one such group. Group leader Abdul Alim Musa was a close associate of Jamil al-Amin, and is very active in the campaign to free him from prison. In his public statements, Musa often warns of a war on African-American Muslim converts by the FBI at the behest of a “Zionist-controlled U.S. government.”

He uses every incident involving law enforcement actions against African-American converts as an opportunity to bolster his claim. He also speaks of the need for dramatic change to the government:
[I]t is the responsibility of God-serving people to champion the right of self-determination—to alter that government, and to institute a new form of administration that is in conformity with the eternal principles and values of God’s Law; a government which is both human-friendly and earth- friendly. Prudent and just means must be employed to accomplish the establishment of such a government. The timeless prescribed methods to address tyranny are threefold: the usage of the hand (physical or military might), the tongue (to raise our voices in defense of Truth and justice), or the heart (to detest it internally and implore for God’s assistance).13

One of Musa’s favorite themes is the use of “snitches and FBI informants” as a tool of the government to eliminate the movement’s leaders. In June 2007, he delivered a lecture at his mosque entitled “How to Punk the FBI,” which included such pointers as: “How to bring the sissy out of your local FBI agent. Counter-harassment techniques (Did your mamma buy that shirt?) Laugh your fears away by laughing in your oppressor’s face.”

And in July 2009, Musa hosted another seminar to discuss the position of the African- American Muslim community toward the FBI entitled “RE-PUNK THE F.B.I.: Practitioners of Tyranny & Oppression.”

The justification for holding the meeting was described in a release issued by As-Sabiqun in June 2009. It read, in part: “The history of the Zionist-occupied United States government has been one of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an oppressive and tyrannical world order.

Prudence demands that we, the oppressed, list some of our outstanding grievances in this regard.” The release asserts that “actions, on the part of the Zionist-occupied U.S. government, has created an atmosphere of pervasive fear, that exists both nationally (via the FBI, Homeland Security, Immigration, and others) and internationally (via the CIA and its partners in crime throughout the globe).”

The announcement then asked supporters to join them at their masjid “for an afternoon of courage and clarity, where Imam Musa will, insha’Allah, give a detailed discussion on two very critical and timely topics: the Re- Africanization of the Islamic movement in North America & the De- Israelization of the global Islamic movement.”14

Many followers of As-Sabiqun are ex-convicts who converted to Islam while in prison, as did Musa, who spent several years in the United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas after being convicted of charges that included drug trafficking. As-Sabiqun engages in dawah efforts directed at prison inmates, and offers them a community where they can go after their release.

According to Musa’s biography on his personal MySpace page, “His ‘street’ background helps explain part of his appeal to inner-city youths and ex-convicts, with whom he can identify through personal experience.”15 In addition, Musa travels extensively to lecture, often speaking to Muslim youth groups and Muslim student associations at U.S. universities.

As-Sabiqun’s web site is a first place to look to understand the group ideologically:Carrying on the torch lit by El-Hajj Malik Shabazz (Malcolm X) and past homegrown Islamic movements such as the Darul Islam movement and the Islamic Party of North America, As-Sabiqun aspires to:
make Islam a living force by challenging and breaking the grasp of social and political forces seeking to suppress and destroy the Deen.

obliterate the hold of jahiliyyah through moral and spiritual development.

establish Islamic homes and build model communities where Islam is lived.

work toward total economic independence.

stand up against those who oppress Muslims and all other human beings across the globe as well as the earth and Allah’s creation itself. 16

As-Sabiqun members are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the writings of thinkers like Abu Ala al-Mawdudi, Hasan al-Banna, Sayyid Qutb, Malcolm X, and Ayatollah Khomeini. This list is telling in itself: though a number of conservative and militant Sunni Muslims were heartened by Iran’s 1978-79 Islamic revolution, they largely turned against Khomeini in the 1980s due to their problems with Shia theology. Not so for Musa, for whom being a revolutionary seems to be a top concern.

As-Sabiqun’s stated goal is to establish the “Islamic State of North America” no later than 2050. 17 However, Musa has given somewhat contradictory guidance about this aspiration. On the one hand, he tells his followers to invite people to Islam peacefully; on the other, he glorifies suicide bombers as heroes.

In a June 2008 speech delivered to a group in Dearborn, Michigan, honoring Ayatollah Khomeini, Musa said, “My enemy is the United States…. We are living under a dictatorship in the U.S.” Though he preceded these comments by telling his audience to “invite people to Islam instead of shooting,” he went on to say that “we are being harassed to a point.”10 Perhaps, then, Musa is suggesting that violence is now justifiable, given the extremes to which the Muslim community in the U.S. has been “pushed.”


The shooting of Luqman Abdullah does not eliminate potentially violent groups that fuse Islamism with black nationalist grievances. This movement, which we dubbed “cause célèbre Islam,” is broader than Abdullah, with a traceable ideological foundation based on the heritage and experience of African-Americans. It is certainly a movement that will remain on the radar of those who are concerned about the possibility of homegrown terrorism.
1Portions of this article were originally published in Madeleine Gruen & Frank Hyland, “The Threat Here—2008: As Sabiqun,” Counterterrorism Blog, July 28, 2008.return
2Gary Leone, Criminal Complaint, United States v. Abdullah, No. 2:09-MJ- 30436 (E.D. Mich., Oct. 27, 2009).return
3“Washington’s Imam Musa: FBI Assassinated Luqman Ameen Abdullah to Intimidate the Black American Muslim Community,” Press TV (Iran), Nov. 2, 2009.return
4Abdul Alim Musa, speech at Jamil al-Amin Fundraiser, University of California at Irvine, Sept. 9, 2001, accessed from the Investigative Project on Terrorism web site, Nov. 20, 2009.return
5Leone, Criminal Complaint, United States v. Abdullah, ¶ 18.return
7Ibid. See also ibid. ¶ 24, in which Abdullah states: “We are going to have to fight against the Kafir.”return
8Examples of this framework can be found in Jamil al-Amin, Revolution by the Book: The Rap is Live (Beltsville, MD: Writers’ Inc., 1994).return
9Kaukab Siddique, “Dr. Siddique Interviews Sister Karima al-Amin,” New Trend Magazine, Sept. 9, 2009.return
10Robert Dannin, Black Pilgrimage to Islam (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 175.return
11Leone, Criminal Complaint, United States v. Abdullah, ¶ 33.return
12“FBI Assassinated Luqman Ameen Abdullah to Intimidate the Black American Muslim Community,” Press TV.return
13“RE-PUNK THE F.B.I. (Practitioners of Tyranny & Oppression,” posted to Abdul Alim Musa’s Facebook page on June 24, 2009 (accessed Nov. 20, 2009).return
15This page can be accessed at (last visited Nov. 20, 2009).return
16As-Sabiqun’s web site can be accessed at (last visited Nov. 20, 2009).return
17This statement can be found at (last visited Nov. 20, 2009).return
18Video of this speech can be seen at (accessed Nov. 20, 2009).return

Imam Abdul Alim Musa
Monday, 22 March 2010 14:12

Press TV

Imam Abdul Alim Musa is a radical Muslim American activist and public speaker. Known for his openly anti-Semitic remarks, Alim Musa is a well known figure in the Muslim world.

He grew up in Oakland, California amid the drug dealing turf of East Oakland. During his serving time in prison for heroin smuggling, currency smuggling and assaulting a federal agent, Musa converted to Islam. Upon release, he established a masjid in East Oakland. Soon after, he went to Iran, where he showed his staunch support for the 1979 Iranian revolution.

During his travels, he met many top Islamic leaders and scholars.Musa is on the leading members of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, an international intellectual center promoting a global Islamic movement. He is also the founder and director of As-Sabiqun, an American organization advocating an establishment an Islamic state in the United States.Alim Musa had made many extremely anti-Semitic statements.

He has stated that the U.S. was controlled by the Jews, has glorified Palestinian suicide bombers as heroes and has claimed that the Zionist Jews were responsible for most terrorist attacks worldwide, including the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center.Musa has accused the Jews of running the slave trade.

At an anti-Israel event at University of California Irvine, Musa said the following: “Who ran the slave trade…who funded [it]? You’ll study and you will find out: the Jews…It was the Jewish bankers…in Vienna, with pockets full of money, funding and insuring, that’s who did it…. you can’t tell us about no holocaust.

Between the African Americans and the Native Americans, everybody else’s stuff was small potatoes.”Despite his openly anti-Semitic views, Musa is a frequent speaker and has given speeches at events organized by such prominent Muslim-American organizations as Muslim American Society, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Circle of North America, Muslim Public Affairs Committee and Islamic Society of North America.

In addition, he has spoken at many pro-Palestinian rallies nationwide.Alim Musa is strongly associated with the Muslim Student Union at University of California Irvine, where he organization frequently disrupts Israeli guest speakers and stages anti-Israel events..As of April 2009, Musa became banned from entering the United Kingdom for supporting terrorism and propagating extremist ideology.

Imam Luqman

Detroit Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah Killed by FBI Agents in Dearborn

Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos

October 28, 200

FBI kills leader of radical Muslims; 12 charged


The leader of a local mosque who authorities also are calling the head of an Islamic fundamentalist group was killed in a shootout with federal agents this afternoon during a series of raids that resulted in charges against a dozen men.

Luqman Ameen Abdullah, 53, leader of the Masjid Al-Haqq mosque in Detroit, is accused in a federal complaint of heading a Sunni Muslim group with a mission of establishing a separate Islamic nation within the United States. Abdullah, also known as Christopher Thomas, was gunned down after firing on officers as the FBI raided a Dearborn warehouse, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

An FBI canine also was fatally shot. Raids also were conducted in Detroit."The eleven defendants are members of a group that is alleged to have engaged in violent activity over a period of many years and known to be armed," a joint statement from the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office said. A 12th man was arrested late Wednesday in connection with the investigation. Three of the men charged were at large Wednesday night.

Abdullah and the others were charged with conspiracy to commit several federal felony crimes, including illegal possession and sale of firearms and theft from interstate shipments.Abdullah spoke of attacking Super Bowl XLAbdullah believed he and his followers were soldiers at war against the government and non-Muslims."Abdullah told his followers it is their duty to oppose the FBI and the government and it does not matter if they die," FBI agent Gary Leone said in an affidavit unsealed today. "He also told the group that they need to plan to do something."

Abdullah, 53, of Detroit stayed true to his word as armed FBI agents raided a Dearborn warehouse at Michigan Avenue and Miller. Authorities said he refused to surrender, opened fire and then died in a shootout in which an FBI dog also was killed. Agents also raided two Detroit homes in the 4400 block of Tireman and the 9200 block of Genessee. The affidavits and returns for those warrants were sealed today.The U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI in Detroit unsealed a 43-page document describing a sinister, radical fundamentalist group headed by Abdullah.

The document notes conversations he had with undercover agents and federal informants that ranged from talking about attacking Super Bowl XL in Detroit to blowing himself up as a final act of courage."If they are coming to get to me, I'll just strap a bomb on and blow up everybody," he said in a March 21, 2008, conversation.

Federal officials said Abdullah was the leader of a group that calls itself "Ummah, a group of mostly African-American converts to Islam, which seeks to establish a separate Sharia-law governed state within the United States."

"The Ummah is ruled by Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown, who is serving a state sentence ... for the murder of two police officers in Georgia." Brown came to prominence in the 1960s as a leader of the Black Panther Party."He regularly preaches antigovernment and antilaw enforcement rhetoric," Leone said of Abdullah in the affidavit.

"Abdullah and his followers have trained regularly in the use of firearms and continue to train in martial arts and sword fighting."Why Abdullah and his followers chose Detroit as their haven remains unknown, Detroit FBI spokeswoman Sandra Berchtold said today.Authorities said none of the charges levied today are terrorist-related. Abdullah and 11 suspects were charged with felonies including illegal possession and sale of firearms, mail fraud to obtain the proceeds of arson, theft from interstate shipments and tampering with motor vehicle identification numbers.

Seven of the suspects appeared today in U.S. District Court, one was in custody and three were still being sought.Imad Hamad, senior national adviser and regional director of the Dearborn-based Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, said he received a call from the head of the FBI's Detroit office mid-day to tell him about the raid.

Hamad said FBI Special Agent Andrew Arena told him that the case was "solely criminal" and had to do with "smuggling and fraud." He said Arena revealed few details of the investigation, but said it had been ongoing for about two years.Hamad said he didn't know the defendants."Agents were trying to chase some people," Hamad said Arena told him about the raid. "They were giving instructions to lay down. He resisted. He pulled a gun. They exchanged fire, he was shot down, killed. A dog ... was dead as well."The warehouse is near the heavily commercial intersection of Miller and Michigan.Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Arena called him as well.

Walid said he knew Abdullah."I know him as respected imam in the Muslim community," Walid said.At some point after the raids and shootout, the FBI landed a helicopter with the wounded dog at 12:25 p.m. on normally busy John R, just south of 12 Mile Road, "right in front of the hospital," Madison Heights police said.

FBI agents then carried the wounded dog into Veterinary Emergency Services at 28223 John R. There were no injuries and no traffic mishaps as a result of the unusual landing, although the police department received so many calls about the landing that Police Chief Kevin Sagan issued a written news release Wednesday explaining what happened.Shadi Saad, the owner of Wellcare Pharmacy on Oakman in Dearborn, said he stepped outside before lunchtime to see several people in FBI jackets with guns going toward the warehouse across the street. He heard noises like shots and a short time later a helicopter descended.

"It was like a movie scene for a minute," he said. He opened his business, he said, just 10 days ago. "This isn't the way I wanted it to start."Contact BEN SCHMITT : 313-223-4296 or Staff writers Bill Laitner, Zlati Meyer and Amber Hunt contributed to this report.The suspectsThe FBI targeted 12 people believed to be engaged in violent crimes over many years. After raids Wednesday, police still are searching for three of them. Killed Luqman Ameen Abdullah (a.k.a. Christopher Thomas), 53, of Detroit during the raids. He had been charged with conspiracy to commit federal crimes, sale or receipt of stolen goods transported in interstate commerce, providing firearms or ammunition to a person known to be a convicted felon, possession of body armor by a person convicted of a violent felony and altering or removing motor vehicle identification numbers....

Imam Jamil Al-Amin

By Askia Muhammad

Senior Correspondent

Final Call

Updated Aug 14, 2007 - 10:51:00 AM

WASHINGTON ( - From his jail cell on K-Block in the state prison at Reidsville, Ga., to his supporters all over the country—an unambiguous demand is being sounded for prison authorities and for the legal system itself, to end the unjust persecution of Imam Jamil Al-Amin.
“My husband says he feels he has been sentenced two times. He has been sentenced for a crime, number one, that he did not commit and that someone has confessed to it, and confessed shortly after the incident. And he’s been sentenced by the Department of Corrections,” Karimah Al-Amin, wife of Imam Al-Amin, told The Final Call.

In March 2002, Imam Al-Amin was convicted of murdering a Fulton County, Georgia Sheriff’s Deputy and wounding another in an incident March 16, 2000. Mr. Al-Amin steadfastly maintains his innocence. His supporters insist that he was convicted not based on the evidence, but because he is a Muslim, because of his militant past and his former association with the Black Panther Party.

There is a consensus among Imam Al-Amin’s supporters that he was convicted long before the jury announced its verdict and that prosecutors intentionally ignored the truth in order to punish someone with whom Atlanta authorities have had a long-running feud.

Law enforcement officials “know they’ve got the wrong people, but as long as they can do it in the darkness, or as long as there’s no mass protest, then they can just say, ‘Hey. We got another leader off the streets. So what if he didn’t do it. We’ve been after him since the ’60s’ COINTELPRO,’” complained Hodari Abdul-Ali, executive director of the Imam Jamil Action Network.

“What’s needed is more public awareness of the fact that he’s an innocent man. He’s a political prisoner who is serving time for a crime that he did not do. If he’s guilty, he’s guilty of fighting for the rights of African Americans and, fighting for the rights of Muslims. And trying to make America the democracy that it claims to be. Yeah, he’s guilty of that,” said Mr. Abdul-Ali.

Imam Al-Amin’s second unjust sentence, his supporters insist, is his treatment in the Georgia prison system where he has been on 23-hour lock-down since 2002, despite many public complaints, even petitions from among the Muslim population at Reidsville that he join them for Jumu’ah prayers as their Imam.

He gets one hour out of the cell to shower and also to walk around, what is considered a ‘Dog Pen’ for exercises, according to Mrs. Al-Amin. Authorities even tried recently to humiliate him by passing his meals to him through a slot on the floor, his supporters pointed out. That practice was ended after many vocal complaints.

“The [Prison] Commissioner, when questioned on the phone [recently] by [Imam Al-Amin’s] brother Ed Brown, said, ‘We’ll consider [modifying his conditions] once the situation changes.’” said Sister Al-Amin. “He was asked, ‘What is the situation?’ He could not come up with anything. He doesn’t have any infractions against him. He would be considered a model prisoner anywhere else.”

And there is the fundamental injustice of his conviction, insists Imam Al-Amin’s wife. The Imam has been a target of government harassment since the 1960s when he was the leader of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). At that time he was known as H. Rap Brown and was known for militant civil rights rhetoric.

The fiery civil rights leader was singled out individually, by name, as a threat by FBI Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) agents. “Spiro Agnew, who was then governor of Maryland said: ‘Throw Brown in the jail and throw away the key,’” Nkechi Taifa, then Director of the Equal Justice Program at Howard University School of Law told The Final Call at the time of Imam Al-Amin’s trial in January 2002.

The facts in the case also strongly support Imam Al-Amin’s claims of innocence. There was testimony during the trial that within minutes of the shootout March 16, 2000, in which deputy Ricky Kinchen died, a caller to Atlanta’s 911 Emergency Telephone line reported seeing a bleeding man a few blocks from the scene of the confrontation, begging motorists for a ride. That fact is important because both Deputy Kinchen and his partner, Aldranon English, claimed to have wounded their assailant.

There was also testimony of a trail of fresh blood leading from the scene to an abandoned house, which was not investigated by the police, according to Sister Al-Amin, and “the Imam’s fingerprints were not found on any firearm associated with the crime,” she wrote in The Weekly Mirror. When Imam Al-Amin was arrested three days after the shooting in White Hall, Alabama, after a massive manhunt, authorities were shocked that he had no injuries.

Prosecutors managed to stack the jury, said Mrs. Al-Amin, excluding Muslims, Black women who might be old enough to recall COINTELPRO involvement in civil rights and campus rights activities.

Another puzzling development is the recent appearance of an un-dated and unsigned letter, purportedly written by a Mr. Otis Jackson who in the typewritten letter identifies himself as Mr. Bey. In his confession letter, Mr. Bey writes: “I pulled out and opened fire with my 9 mm hand gun. I then went to my car and got my M-14 and fired off some rounds. Deputy Kinchen shot me two times in the arm so I shot him. I shot Deputy English as well. I remember standing over him and him telling me about his family, but I was upset and hurt and I hate cops so I shot him anyway.

“I got in my car, went to the home of [redacted] She along with [redacted] removed the bullet. One went in and came out. The one that was in there, they got it out. I went home, on the 17th or 18th I found out that they were looking for Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. So I called my parole officer and told her what I had done,” the confession letter continues. “I was sent back to Vegas. I had to beg the FBI to investigate and I was told that I was not the one that they wanted. I was told that I should be honored that I had gotten away with killing a police.”

With such potentially convincing evidence available for his legal team, why is he still behind bars?

“That’s what we’re dealing with right now,” said Sister Al-Amin. “We’ve been in court in the county where he’s being held with a habeas corpus (petition). We have two new attorneys, not the original trial attorneys. We raised 14 grounds for reversal and for him to have a new trial,” she continued.

The plight of Imam Jamil Al-Amin is not new in the persecution of freedom fighters. We must not forget, and continue to organize and mobilize our community to support, defend, and with God’s help, gain the release of our Brother, another political prisoner, Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has been on death row in a Philadelphia, Pa. prison for the past 25 years.

Like the case of Imam Al-Amin, wicked forces do not desire to look at the truth of the evidence in his case that would free him.

The Final Call will continue to monitor, investigate and report on the legal proceedings of both cases involving Imam Jamil Al-Amin and Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Bolivarian Revolution

Toward a Definition of the

Bolivarian Revolution

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez sits under a painting of Simon Bolivar on March 6, 2003, in Caracas.

(Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images)

Question: What does Hugo Chavez mean by a Bolivarian Revolution?

Answer: Hugo Chavez came to power in Venezuela in 1998, and the following year a new constitution was adopted that replaced the country's 1961 constitution. This renamed the country the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, as an ode to Simon Bolivar, who is credited with the 19th century liberation of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and Bolivia from Spanish colonial rule. The Bolivarian philosophy named for Bolivar is a form of democratic socialism that repels perceived imperialism and rewards nationalism while promoting economic self-sufficiency of the nation as a whole.

Philosophy in practice

The Bolivarian philosophy pushed by Chavez incorporates the Marxist influences gleaned from another hero and mentor of Chavez, Fidel Castro. Unlike Castro's insulated Cuba, though, Chavez has tried to push his agenda onto the regional stage and use Venezuela's oil power to give a higher profile to this brand of Latin American leftism. Chavez has gradually clamped down on freedoms within the country, though, closing media outlets, tamping down opposition movements, and nationalizing various industries.

Latin American partners

Chavez is not alone in his push for a "Bolivarian Revolution." The Bolivarian Alternative for the People of Our America (ALBA) was launched in 2004 by Venezuela and Cuba as an alternative to the U.S.- backed Free Trade Area of the Americas. By June 2009, when the group had grown to nine member states, the name was changed to the Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our America.

Think of it as a traditional trade bloc that doesn't advance economic growth through the free market, but through government involvement, welfare, trade, and social reform.
The member states of ALBA are Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Venezuela. Though the concept of a Bolivarian Revolution is most often associated with Chavez's plans in Venezuela, it's fair to say that Chavez's political partners in Latin America are implementing similar philosophies to one degree or anther in their home countries with the intent of bringing all of Latin America on board in a united effort.

White Supremacy and the Arab Revolution

April 11, 2011
The Jersey Shores of Tripoli: MTV and Arab Revolution
By Haroon Moghul

If you've ever been through New York's Museum of Natural History, and you're a person of color, conscience, or a student of critical race theory, I'm sure you walked out feeling deeply offended. The museum organizes human populations as if they’re animals along a Darwinian ladder of civilizational evolution. All sorts of “exotic” — the right word here, with all the right implications, might be “ethnic” — populations are represented in their native costumes, excepting, of course, white Westerners.

Why aren’t they also present? Because the “ethnic” populations are dropped into motionless display cases, showcasing how red, yellow, brown, and black peoples have worked, eaten, and mated from time immemorial—apparently doing so for generations until white Westerners discovered progress, swept in, and forcibly liberated them. Then these same folks learned a) they have no ability to change unless it’s through Western civilization or b) they are incapable of modernization because of who and what they are.

This worldview, namely that the Westerner, coextensive with a certain type of Christianity and a certain type of whiteness, creates the progress of history is so shockingly pervasive that persons who do not fit within this privileged category can find themselves negatively disposed toward their own race, culture and religion — usually without realizing it. I'm sure you've heard of the famous experiments asking black children whether they preferred white dolls or black dolls. That's what I mean.

The same kind of race consciousness (it also doubles as religion consciousness; read Gil Anidjar’s Semites for more) feeds into politics across the Third World, as people who are not white doubt whether they can develop their societies in any meaningful way, and begin to wonder if their negative circumstances are not the product of mutable historical realities but instead their lacking an irreproducible cultural, religious (or non-religious—civilized peoples being those who have either tamed religion, or transcended it altogether) and racial essence.

Then Japan Beat Up Russia Twice

Around 1908, a wave of revolutions swept across the Middle East, but a major influence on these revolutions was actually distant Japan. Because, in 1904, Japan went to war with Russia. The world powers’ consensus was that the white European power would handily defeat the Asian nation, as had been the case across the world for the previous century. But Japan did something its race and continent was not supposed to allow it to. Japan won.

For the first time in a very long time, a non-white power had handed it to a white one. Not only had Japan won, but decisively so. Japan defeated Russia in East Asia, then sat around waiting for Russia's European navy to show up (it took many months to navigate around Africa), and then, once that showed up, they sunk all of that, too. People across the Middle East found inspiration in a non-white, non-Christian, non-European power, thinking: If they can do it, why can't we?
The tyranny of low expectations, of longstanding assumptions of inherent cultural inferiority, was shaken, but not overthrown. During today’s Arab revolutions, we heard elites argue that their populations were not ready for democracy. In other words, while a frequently slave-owning, patriarchal, racially exclusive elite in 18th century America could birth a tremendously vigorous democracy and achieve world power, somehow Arabness and Muslimness is too static, violent, backwards, and irrational to handle a vote.

I'm Not Thomas Friedman

The inexplicably popular Times columnist recently published a frankly weird list of influences on the Arab revolutions. Check the tyranny of the paradigm: Most of his influences were Western and American, like Barack Obama, alternate side parking, Google Earth, Subway’s $5 foot-longs, and our tremendous fiscal discipline.

Friedman likely made a list of 50 things that could possibly explain the Arab revolutions and was too uncritical of his own consciousness to realize his own bias. He then pulled as many of these reasons as he could fit into his regular column. But Friedman shortchanged China (he sort of got that), and missed both Turkey and MTV's Jersey Shore.


In the last 10 years, as we’ve been bogged down in wars and economic crises, China’s become a global power. Much like Japan a century ago, here's an Asian power capable of competing on a global stage. If an ancient civilization such as China can rapidly modernize, why not an ancient civilization such as Egypt?

Maybe there was nothing to the myths — and there’s nothing to them — that Islam is resistant to change, Arabs are unsuited to democracy, and only certain types of people can enjoy certain success. Educated young professionals like Wael Ghonim, the Google executive who helped organize the Egyptian revolution, were deeply aware of China’s rise, and began to look to their own country with dissatisfaction.


Turkey brings it even closer to home. In the last few decades, the average Egyptian has barely seen his salary rise, while Turkey’s GDP rose by 300 percent. Turkey has raced past Iran to become dominant in the Middle East, and has done so with a curious blend of secularization and an originally Islamist party repeatedly elected to power.

In short: Egypt watched its star dim, while watching a close neighbor, of similar size and religious composition, become a regional power. Turkey is largely Sunni Muslim, it is a democracy and it is part of Western security architecture. The Turkish Navy is now off the coast of Libya; I'm sure perceptive Libyans notes the awkward anniversary: 100 years ago, in 1911, the Ottoman Empire lost its last African territory, Libya, to Italy.

And speaking of Italy—the mother country of our favorite ethnic white reality show cast—this brings us to the most profound, insistent and unexpected influence on the Arab revolutions: Jersey Shore.

Season Zero

I met my first "ethnic" white person when I was well into my third decade, after I’d spent some years in New York City. The experience still confuses me. Because where I grew up, I was one of the few minorities. My white friends, classmates and pretty much every white person around me had no specific ethnic identity. They often claimed that they were this percentage Irish or that percentage Lithuanian, but these differences seemed perfunctory. They were just white Americans, to me and to themselves. Their subcultures were formed by class, music, sports, and other local criteria, and rarely by either faith or ethnicity.

Here's a secret, white people: For us brown people, you were long part of a magical, all-powerful civilization, and we had no idea how in the hell you did it (these days, it seems, you're desperately wondering the same thing). Everywhere whites went, they prospered, dominated, succeeded, kicked butt, took names and persuaded lots of people to change their names. You can go to the bottom of the world and find glittering skyscrapers in a vibrant Australian democracy.

But travel the Muslim world and it seems each country is a variation of the other in all the wrong ways: corruption, instability, underperformance. It's depressing. It makes you doubt yourself. It makes you think that the current malaise lasted backwards through time, like you really do belong in that static museum display. It makes you think there's something wrong with your faith and culture, and that these cannot provide any resources for reform or change.
But along comes Jersey Shore with its cast of self-described Italians.

These are not the magical white folks of world-conquering, democracy-building myth-but they’re still “white”. They behave like the Museum assumes only people of my color behaved. (Then again, they are my color, suggesting that Italy's inclusion in the European continent is the consequence of unavoidable plate tectonics.) The sum total of their television life is a kind of late-capitalist tragic anthropology: doing laundry to go to parties, in order to have sex.

They're kind of like a savage tribe, except they do not admit to any interest in higher values or realities. They exist to reproduce, but they use birth control, so it's not really clear what primitive instinct compels them to wash their clothes and get not merely some, but a lot. They exist to consume (goods and people), and their consumption generates massive profits. As well as pride: For me, it's been tremendously liberating to know that people of my color and faith are not the only people who are embarrassing to watch on television.

And the same goes for people who are classified, like me, in the “other” category. I'm sure that for the youth of Tunisia, this show felt like Japan's victory in 1905. Maybe Western civilization — which, for many in the region, remains a “white” phenomenon, and therefore inaccessible and irreproducible — isn't all that. Maybe, they're thinking, we've been too hard on ourselves — and for the wrong reasons. The next thing you know Libyan civilians are storming army bases.

Gym, (Already) Tanned, Liberation

When pundits debate whether or not to support Libya's rebels, they annoyingly use the same trope: Even if these rebels aren't "Jeffersonian Democrats," we should support them. Perhaps we would prefer they be staunch elitists, who fight for and sustain a brilliant political structure that nevertheless excludes women and unpropertied members of the allegedly privileged racial group from the vote and keeps people of color in chains.

Much of the democracy we enjoy in the West today was formed in dialogue with minorities and marginalized peoples: Black Americans, women and, of course, the colonized peoples of the Third World. (Would Martin Luther King happen without Gandhi?) Democracy is not the product of one part of the world, nor did it emerge spontaneously and perfectly, so that it can be described as the product of a peculiar culture's genius, inaccessible to people of other cultures, colors, or religions.

But this is often how history is told, and how we sell ourselves to the world. So it's not hard to see how people in the Arab world might lose hope that their regimes, and their societies, facing myriad problems, could ever change. They would believe that white folks were somehow just superior. And then they watch some guy punch Snooki in the face, and they know in their heart: Yes, we can, too.

The magic power of white culture is taken away, revealed to be human, the product of historical events and decisions, and thus susceptible to change, transformation, failures and successes. Just like any other culture. So too Arab cultures, and so too Muslim cultures, and Arabs and Muslims now know that the way is open to them to build their own democracies and their own modernities. Forget Facebook. It's Jersey Shore that's keeping Bashar Assad up at night, as he wonders what in this goofy cycle of gyms, tanning, and laundry, shakes the foundations of his regime.
--Haroon Moghul

Haroon Moghul, Executive Director of The Maydan Institute and fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, teaches at Adelphi University. Mr. Moghul holds a B.A. from NYU in Philosophy and Middle Eastern Studies and an M.A. from Columbia University in Middle Eastern Studies, where he is a doctoral candidate. His first novel, The Order of Light was published by Penguin in 2006 and his work has appeared or he has been otherwise featured on CNN, BBC, The History Channel, The New Yorker, and Tikkun.

Libya: An African Viewpoint>
Thabo Mbeki.
April 2, 2011.
Libya and African Self-Determination.

The popular uprisings in North Africa affecting Tunisia, Egypt and Libya took the whole of Africa by surprise.Stunned by the events we watched unfolding on television, and unable quickly to decide how we should respond, instinctively, as Africans, we resolved that we had no choice but to stand and wait.We hoped that events in this part of our Continent would evolve in a manner which would give us the possibility publicly to pronounce ourselves correctly.

The stark choice we faced was – should we side with the demonstrators or with the governments they demanded should resign!Our challenge was not made easier by the political interventions of various Western countries which offered unsolicited opinions and made unilateral interventions to influence the outcome of the uprisings.Because of our history as Africans, we could not but ask ourselves the question – is it possible for Africa to share the same interests with the West in terms of the outcomes of the popular uprisings?

Whenever has the West ever been truly concerned to encourage genuine democracy in Africa, not driven by self-interest?These considerations suggested to us that there was something very suspect about the attempts of the West to identify itself as an ally of the popular uprisings in North Africa, to the extent that these represented real democratic revolutions.These considerations reinforced our feeling that we should tread carefully instead of rushing to intervene.This attitude did not cause Africa any significant embarrassment with regard to Tunisia and Egypt.

In the end all we needed to do was merely to endorse the outcomes determined by the peoples of these two African countries.However, what has happened and is happening in Libya has exposed many fault lines in the African project to determine its destiny.The Libyan uprising began in Benghazi on February 15. Almost immediately, unlike in Tunisia and Egypt, this uprising also took the form of an armed insurrection, while the Gaddafi regime resorted to brute force to suppress the uprising and insurrection, claiming that it was inspired and led by Al Qaeda.Eight days after the beginning of the uprising, on February 23, the inter-governmental African Union Peace and Security Council (AU PSC) spoke for all Africa when it condemned “the indiscriminate and excessive use of force and lethal weapons against peaceful protestors, in violation of human rights and International Humanitarian Law”, and affirmed that “the aspirations of the people of Libya for democracy, political reform, justice and socio-economic development are legitimate” and urged that “they be respected.”

At the same meeting the AU PSC resolved to send “a mission of Council to Libya to assess the situation on the ground.” Unfortunately the AU failed to make even this limited intervention.Because of Africa’s weak capacity to communicate even with itself, many of us in Africa did not even hear of the February 23 decisions of the AU PSC until many days later.In reality the international media virtually ignored the AU PSC decisions.

Rather, the world was exposed to the dramatic television images of what was happening in Libya and the public communications of the actors in this drama, including those of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and his son, Saif al-Islam.In other words, the AU and therefore African message withered on the vine, making no impact whatsoever on African and world opinion of what might be done to resolve the conflict in Libya.

This is but one of the manifestations of the fault lines I have mentioned relating to Africa’s determination to define its future.Almost three weeks after its February 23 meeting, on March 10, the AU PSC decided to constitute a five-nation ‘AU Ad Hoc High Level Committee on Libya’, made up of African Heads of State and Government mandated to intervene to resolve the Libyan conflict.The Committee was directed to “facilitate an inclusive dialogue among the Libyan parties on the appropriate reforms”, which would lead to the peaceful resolution of the Libyan crisis.The AU PSC also expressed its “rejection of any foreign military intervention, whatever its form.”But a week later the UN Security Council adopted its Resolution 1973, which prescribed exactly the “foreign military intervention” which Africa had rejected.

The historical fact is that as should have been the case, the African Union moved ahead of the United Nations in terms of prescribing what should be done to address the Libyan, and therefore African, crisis.The reality, however, is that the UN Security Council made absolutely certain that it ignored the views of the African Continent about what needed to be done to resolve a crisis in a member state of the AU.

This was later emphasised by the refusal of the UN to allow the AU Ad Hoc Committee to visit Tripoli and Benghazi on March 18 and 19 respectively, to promote a peaceful resolution of the Libyan crisis, precisely to reduce the loss of human lives while promoting democratic rule in Libya.This meant that had the African peacemakers flown to Libya to carry out their mission, they stood the danger of their planes being shot down!

The African leaders sought to visit Libya because the Gaddafi regime had accepted that it should engage its opposition, under the auspices of the AU, to achieve the immediate cessation of all hostilities, delivery of humanitarian assistance to the affected populations, the protection of foreign nationals, and the adoption and implementation of the necessary political reforms to eliminate the causes of the current crisis, based on the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people for democracy, political reform, justice, peace and security, as well as for socio‐economic development.

The marginalisation of Africa in terms of helping to determine the future of Libya paid absolutely no regard to the fact that failure to end the Libyan crisis correctly will have a long term impact on the Continent, and especially the countries of North Africa and the Sahel, such as Sudan, Chad, Niger and Mali, with little effect on the Western countries.

The Western countries have also underlined this marginalisation of Africa by insisting, to this day, that what is important for them is the support of the League of Arab States, with absolutely no mention of the African Union.Nobody knows how many Libyans will be killed and injured as a result of the ongoing civil war in that country and the evolving military intervention of the West, which, has unquestionably evolved into support for the armed insurrection in Libya to achieve the objective of regime change.

The reality is that the Libyan conflict will claim many casualties. Because the space has been closed for the Libyans to sit together to decide their future, it is almost guaranteed that for many years Libya will experience sustained and debilitating instability, whoever emerges ‘victorious’ from the current armed conflict.Tragically, one of the other casualties will be Africa’s efforts, sustained since the 1990s, independently to determine its future as a Continent of democracy, peace, stability and shared development and prosperity.

The countries of the West, acting through the UN Security Council, have used their preponderant power to communicate the message to Africa that they are as determined as ever to decide the future of Africa, regardless of the views of the Africans, as they did during the years of the colonial domination of our Continent.It should not come as a surprise if, over the years, the peoples of Africa lose confidence in the will of multilateral institutions, such as the UN, to help them change their condition for the better.

This will happen because we will have come to understand that powerful countries beyond the oceans reserve the right and have the capacity ultimately to decide the future of Africa, with no regard for our views and aspirations as Africans.History will record that the moment of the re-assertion of this deadly malaise was when the West, acting through the UN Security Council, dismissed the notion and practice of finding African solutions to African problems.Denied the right to solve its own problems, Africa will inevitably fall victim to ever-continuing conflict and instability.Will it be that, paradoxically, the occasion of the Libyan popular uprising, which portended welcome democratic transformation, will also mark the moment of the asphyxiation of the dream of an African renaissance!