Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Speaking from the heart and the mind, there is a khutbah from January 2010 that needs to be shared and analyzed so that a condition of our Ummah can be illuminated for what it truly is. The khutbah compelled a letter to be drafted to the Imam, which reads:

I have a great deal of love for the culture of those from the Diaspora of the Indian subcontinent. I love ‘dall and roti’, the briyani, and with the greatest level of respect and with the knowledge that Allah(SWT) is Watching and His Angels Recording; in general the sisters of this ethnic background are some of the most beautiful women on the earth. However, like with all other peoples, the cultural practices and notions do not always bring about the purest of Islamic outcomes. I feel wholeheartedly, that few, if any families would offer an equal level of trust or understanding from members outside of their tribal region, let alone a brother whose family originates from Europe and West Africa. Tribalism is very much a disease in the heart of the Muslim ummah, and it exists within the Diaspora of the Indian subcontinent. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago; it represents billions of people who speak different languages, have the entire of hue of skin complexions, and are incredibly diverse in relation to interpretations of Islam, etc . Urdu, Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi; all of these terms, and there is no doubt that I am missing more than a few-all of these adjectives mean different things to different people, both inside and outside the Indo-Pak Diaspora…What it has meant for me as a convert is an unfortunate reality: the Muslim sisters of the Indo-Pak Diaspora are forbidden, indeed, culturally haram for Muslims such as myself. If I was of complete European descent, the doors could be opened, but having the blood of former American slaves makes it seemingly impossible and certainly arduous, to seek a wife from the MCMC community. Couple my ethnic background with my divorce and the fact that I do not have a Bachelor of Science degree and absolutely no plans to attend medical or law school, and that I am not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination; well, I have to be realistic about the world and era in which I live. I, feel, and Allah Knows Best that I am setting myself up for heartbreak and disappointment in making any attempt to marry within Muslim Center of Middlesex County. In Islam all Muslims are brothers, but within the various cultures with which Muslims are comprised, Muslims are placed on a social hierarchy of inequality when it comes to marriage…Inshallah, there are virtuous and beautiful sisters in this community, but in the 14 years I have been a Muslim, I have learned that these sisters are not for me because the society, era, and world in which we live views it as completely haram according to cultural notions and norms. Thus, even though the matrimonial service at the masjid is free, the emotional cost is too great for me even to make an attempt. And, as always, Allah Knows Best.

Essentially the letter to the Imam states that I am badnami-a person who would cause shame and ostracism to be brought upon the Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi family that would dare to allow me to marry one of its daughters. It describes a sunna of the Muslims, which is in direct violation and diametrically opposed to that of the prophet Muhammad (SAAW) and all for which Islam Commands. The Pakistani born Imam, Abdul Malik Mujahid, writes in an article entitled: Islam's Manifesto of Universal Brotherhood of Human Beings that The One True and Living God (SWT) Has Created all human beings into different groups. Mujahid writes a commentary on an Ayat of The Holy Qur’an (49:13) that:

This message is not just for Muslims only because God is addressing all of humanity. While Muslims are one brotherhood, this is part of a larger brotherhood of humanity. God is telling us that He has created us. Therefore He knows the best about us. He says that He created us from one man and one woman meaning then that we are all the same. It also means that all human beings are created through the same process, not in a manner in which some are created with a better mechanism than others. God is the One who made human beings into different groups and people. These differences are not wrong, rather a sign from God ("And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the difference of your languages and colors. Verily, in that are indeed signs for those who know" [Quran 30:22]). Note that no word equivalent to race is used in this ayah or any other verse of the Quran. Islam, however, limits the purpose of these distinctions to differentiation and knowing each other. This is not meant to be a source of beating each other down with an attitude of ‘my group is better than your group' or false pride as is the case with tribalism, nationalism, colonialism, and racism. The only source of preference or greatness among human beings is not on a national or group level, but it is at the individual level. One individual who is (higher in Taqwa), more conscious of his Creator and is staying away from the bad and doing the good is better, no matter what nation, country or caste he is part of. Individual piety is the only thing that makes a person better and greater than the other one. However, the only criterion of preference, Taqwa, is not measurable by human beings. Indeed God is the One Who knows and is aware of everything so we should leave even this criterion to God to decide instead of human beings judging each other.

It is apparent from the behavior and attitudes of the brothers and sisters of the Indian subcontinent Diaspora (hereafter, India Proper) that Taqwa is  a poor determining factor in who one allows to be his son-in-law. As Dr. Afaq Ahmed Qureshi writes, these attitudes are about the honor derived from one’s lineage, and are a ‘centuries old tradition borrowed from Hindus and now baptized to be included in our code of ethics as Islamic, they are not remotely related to any of the principles of Islam’. They are not only unrelated, but diametrically opposed to Islam, and yet practiced by the some 160 million Muslims of India Proper. The castes of Tiwana, Gujjar, and Sayyids are deemed superior by the India Proper societies, as compared to the Kummies, Lohars, and Jolahas. It is ironic that some 14 million Muslims of India Proper claim descendancy from our beloved prophet (SAAW), yet the impact of his decrees, injunctions, and warnings have not penetrated the hearts of Muslim India Proper society. This is a disease of the heart that some have challenged in its highlighting, such as Ali Anwar in his 2001 text, Masawat ki Jung (Crusade for Equality). Anwar writes on the plight of Muslims deemed as pariahs by the upper echelon of India Proper, including the Ulema who are supposed to defend the Sahih Principles of Islam, thereby rejecting the notion of the individual’s status based on tribe and caste. Dr. Qureshi confirms that when a young man and woman within Indian Proper dare to challenge the tribal caste system which permeates their lives, it is entirely common for either both, or simply the sister, to be killed by the men in their own families for bringing shame, dishonor-badnami. Understanding the history of the social and spiritual illness of India Proper, it has become clear that a father-in-law rejecting an African-American brother in Middlesex County, New Jersey is largely due to the ethnic inequality within the United States and said African-Americans placement on the social hierarchy. There are many good, Muslim brothers of ostensibly complete European descent, and we have seen their complete and total acceptance in the families of India Proper-Muslims here in the United States. Why? Islam Forbids the consumption of alcohol, but Muslims drink. Islam Commands that all human beings accept the Universality of Brotherhood and live by this principle, yet ethnocentric and racist ideology remain gods other than Allah, worshipped by Muslims. Love between a man and a woman who wish to marry for the sake of Allah are sacrificed on the altar of culture, convention, and tradition. Wallahi it is not just about wealth, for I have seen daughters of rich men married to the sons of India Proper with no money, no Green Card, and no college education. Money is an excuse, as identified in the letter to the Imam, to prevent African-American brothers from marrying the daughters of India Proper. It is easier to say: you are not rich enough, come back when you have $75,000 in the bank, and Inshallah, if my daughter is still available, we will talk, than to simply say: you black nigger.

In response to this arbitrary boundary placed between two Muslims, I speak directly to the sisters of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. Before you begin asking me questions about what I do, I will really implore you to learn about me, as a man, as a father, as a potential husband, and ultimately as a Muslim. I am not perfect by any means. I have my sins, my triumphs, my hills, and my valleys; but ultimately, I am good man and father, and I have an ardent wish to find a sister to love for the Pleasure of Allah (SWT). Beyond the excitement of the engagement; the planning of the wedding; the negotiation of dowry; the magic and the romance of the Nikah ceremony itself; the first night: marriage is truly at times a very arduous endeavor for two people to perform. The real work begins after all that has been previously mentioned takes place, and then two people are compelled to deal with one another with justice, fairness, kindness, and a true, sincere, Islamic love, often in situations that can severely test one’s ability to do so. Make no mistake about it, marriage is work. It can be enjoyable work, but it is work nonetheless. While sexual intimacy is a tool by which a couple grows closer, it cannot be the only tool for the immutable fact that no couple can engage in a constant act of copulation. There must be mutual respect, adoration, compromise, and compassion, for no man and no woman is perfect as respective individuals; in order that a true, Islamic, sincere love can grow, mature, and be maintained.

I do not want to rule my wife. I do not wish to marry a future servant. I am not interested in having someone just to cook, clean, fetch tea and coffee, rear children, and remain silent. I do not want a woman of weakness, afraid to speak her mind. I expect her correct me if she sees me about to embark on something wrong, dangerous, or unhealthy for my spirit. She need not be light skinned, because I like my Indian sisters to look like Indian sisters. Please, you do not need to starve yourself into being a close to a size zero, because I love sisters with backsides and furthermore, I am not into a 30-year-old woman having the appearance of a 12-year-old boy. I want a dynamic woman who has a favorite sport whether it is cricket, soccer, or baseball. I want a woman that has something to say, some passion, and will not allow herself to be ruled. I do not wish to be ruled. I will not be ruled. I expect to be heard. I expect a woman strong enough to understand that she can be wrong, and is woman enough to listen to my thoughts, feelings, fears, and hopes. In short, I marry because I wish to find a partner, a companion, and a best friend. Yes, it is true that I would like to marry a woman that wears hijab, performs the salat, and wants from herself the same, which she would demand of me; to be the best Muslim I can be. And yes, it is true that I look for a woman that I am attracted to physically, intellectually, spiritually, who performs her duties as a Muslimah beyond the Five Pillars. In the final analysis, I have been considered a nigger for the greater more of my life, so your family putting a new label of badnami means just about the same thing. I simply do not care, and I am and remain an imperfect, humble, often eccentric servant of The One True and Living God, and it is only He(SWT) that Can and Will Judge me.

Isma’il ibn Bilal

Monday, November 29, 2010

Confession, The Tunisian Girl, Lina ben Mhenni

Je ne sais pas pourquoi je vais reparler de la violence contre les femmes encore une fois , non je mens je le sais très bien et là aujourd'hui j 'ai décidé de briser mon silence et d' en parler . Le BUT n 'est pas d'étaler mon linge sale ni de faire du mal à qui que ce soit . Aujourd'hui, si je vais parler de la violence contre les femmes c 'est parce que j 'en suis victime . Aujourd'hui, si j 'en parle c 'est parce que je veux partager mon expérience avec d'autres femmes . Si je le fais aussi c 'est parce que je sais que beaucoup de femmes subissent cette VIOLENCE et n 'osent pas en parler. D 'ailleurs, c était mon cas .

Il y 'a cinq ans, j 'ai connu un homme qui m 'a beaucoup aidé pendant une période difficile de ma vie, celle de ma maladie. il paraissait vraiment amoureux de moi . Peu à peu son amour s'est transformé en une sorte de possession. Le bon monsieur m 'a éloignée de tous mes amis et même de mes activités habituelles. Désormais ma vie se résumait à fréquenter l 'université et à le rencontrer. Au moindre doute d'une 'infraction' de ma part , il devenait furieux, il perdait la tête. Je me suis laissée faire car j 'étais au début de ma maladie , j 'étais déprimée , et je me sentais seule. Il s 'occupait beaucoup de moi et me faisait oublié que j 'avis un caoutchouc qui pendait de mon ventre (cathéter pour la dialyse péritonéale). Mais peu à peu sa violence verbale s'est transformée en violence physique. Et je me suis laissée faire car je n 'osais pas en parler , je ne pouvais confier cela à personne, comme un tel comportement est inadmissible dans mon environnement . J 'avais honte de dire qu'on me tabassait . En plus, le monsieur venait pour pleurer entre mes bras après chaque dispute et promettait de ne plus faire ça. Mais il n 'a jamais arrêté . Un jour , on s'est séparés.

Cet été , j 'ai vécu la violence encore une fois. Au moment , ou je vivais cela , je me suis souhaitée la mort. Je voulais tout simplement disparaitre , disparaitre à jamais. Je me suis sentie humiliée, déshonorée, et abaissée. Mais j 'ai encore une fois pardonné . J 'ai trouvé des excuses à mon agresseur . Je me suis inventée des fautes graves, et je lui avait donné raison. Maintenant avec le temps je réalise que je suis plus fautive que lui . Je suis fautive en me laissant faire , en acceptant de subir la violence sans agir .

Je sais que certaines personnes vont être déçues en lisant ce billet . Je sais qu 'ils ne vont pas accepter cela de ma part. Mais oui je préfère ne parler . oui je dis que j'ai été fautive en subissant la violence mais il n 'est jamais trop tard pour avouer ses fautes et essayer de les corriger. J'écris ce billet pour inciter la femme à parler de toutes sortes de violence qu'elles subissent et d'essayer de dépasser cela d'une manière ou d'une autre. Ne vous taisez pas , confiez vous à la personne à qui vous faites confiance et elle vous aidera à vous en sortir.


Lina ben Mhenni's blog can be read at: http://atunisiangirl.blogspot.com/

العنف ضد النساء ..تجربة شخصية‎-The Tunisian Girl, Lina ben Mhenni

: قام الصديق أحمد فرج بترجمة تدوينتي اعتراف إلى العربية

لا أعرف لماذا أتحدث عن العنف ضد النساء .. لا أنا أكذب فأنا أعرف جيدا واليوم قررت أن أكسر صمتى وأتكلم عنه .. ليس الهدف أن أنشر غسيلى القذر أو أن أجرح أى شخص . سأتكلم اليوم عن العنف ضد النساء لأننى ضحية . عندما أتكلم عن هذا الأمر الآن فهذا لأنى أريد مشاركة خبرتى مع النساء الأخريات . وأيضا لأننى أعلم أن كثير من النساء تختبرن العنف ولا يجرؤن عن الحديث عنه . وعلاوة على ذلك هذه كانت حالتى .

عرفت منذ خمسة سنوات رجلا كان مساندا جدا لى فى فترة صعبة من حياتى ، مرضى . بدا أنه يحبنى فعلا . تحول تدريجيا هذا الحب الى نوع من الاستحواذ . الرجل المهذب الطيب أخذنى بعيدا عن كل أصدقائى وحتى أنشطتى الاعتيادية . انحصرت حياتى الآن بين الذهاب للجامعة ، وبين مقابلته . وعند أقل شك من ارتكابى لغلطة يفقد عقله ويغضب بشدة .لقد سمحت لنفسى بفعل هذا لأننى كنت فى بداية مرضى ، كنت مكتئبة ، وشعرت بالوحدة . لقد ساعدتنى هذه العلاقة على التماسك وعلى تجاهل الأنابيب التى تتدلى من بطنى ( قسطرة الغسيل البريتونى ) . ولكن تدريجيا تحولت اساءاته اللفظية الى عنف جسدى . وسمحت بحدوث هذا لأنى لم أجرؤ على التكلم . لم أتمكن من البوح بهذا لأى شخص لكون هذا السلوك غير مقبول فى بيئتى .كنت لأخجل من القول بأنه يضربنى . بالاضافة لذلك ، السيد المهذب كان يبكى بين ذراعى بعد كل شجار ويعدنى بألا يكررها . ولكنه أبدا لم يتوقف . وذات يوم انفصلنا .

اختبرت العنف مجددا فى هذا الصيف . فى الوقت والمكان الذى عايشته فيه ، أردت الموت . أردت فقط أن أختفى ، أختفى للأبد . شعرت بالمهانة ، والخزى والاحتقار . ولكنى سامحته مجددا . لقد التمست الأعذار للمسىء الى . لقد ارتكبت أخطاءا حقيقة ومنحته سببا .أدركت الآن  وبمرور الوقت أنى جانية أكثر منه ، لقد أخطأت بالسماح لنفسى بفعل هذا بالموافقة على أن أتعرض للعنف دون حراك .

أعلم أن البعض سيحبطهم قراءة هذا المقال ، أعلم أنهم لن يقبلونه منى . لكن أقولها نعم أنا فضلت عدم الحديث ، نعم كنت مخطئة بمعايشة العنف لكن الوقت ليس متأخرا أبدا للاقرار بأخطائك ومحاولة تصحيحها . أكتب هذه التدوينة لتشجيع النساء على الكلام عن كل أشكال العنف التى يتعرضون لها والسعى لتجاوزها بطريقة أو بأخرى . لا تصمتن ، صارحن شخصا تثقن فيه وسوف يساعدكم هذا .

Sunday, November 28, 2010

الحجب الالكتروني مازال هنا فلماذا هذا الصمت؟-The Tunisian Girl, Lina Ben Mhenni

الحجب الالكتروني مازال هنا فلماذا هذا الصمت؟

بعد موجة الحجب الكبيرة التي عرفتها شبكة الانترنت في تونس خلال شهر أفريل الفارط  والتي طالت  العديد من المواقع الالكترونية والمدوّنات وصفحات الشبكات الاجتماعية، التف مستعملو الانترنت حول هاذه القضية وتكاثفت مجهوداتهم للتعبير عن رفضهم لهذا الاعتداء الفظيع على حقّهم في التعبير وحقّهم في الوصول إلى المعلومة الصحيحة، فتعدّدت الحملات المناهضة للحجب واختلفت طرق التعبير عن رفض هذا الحجب. فوسط مشهد إعلامي طغت عليه وسائل الاعلام الموالية للسلطة ظلّت شبكة الانترنت أحد آخر الوسائل الاعلامية التي تتمتّع ببعض الاستقلالية لصعوبة احتوائها والسيطرة عليها، فباتت تمثّل خطرا على من يسعون إلى طمس وإخفاء الحقائق وإلى تسويق ما يشاؤون من الأخبار المغلوطة منها و الزائفة . فلجئوا إلى الحجب كوسيلة  للسيطرة على المعلومة في عصر المعلومة و المعلوماتية.

 و كما ذكرت آنفا، احتجّ مستعملو الانترنت و ابتكروا أساليب احتجاجية جديدة عبّروا من خلالها عن رفضهم لهذا الاعتداء السافر على حقّهم في التعبير . فكانت حملة "سيّب صالح" والتي عبّر مستعملو الانترنت من خلالها عن غضبهم و رفضهم للحجب بحمل لافتات كتبت عليها عبارة "سيّب صالح" وتصوير مقاطع فيديو للتعبير عن رفض الحجب ونشرها على الشبكة . ثمّ تلتها حركة " نهار على عمّار"  والتي سعت إلى إقامة وقفة احتجاجية سلمية ضدّ الحجب أمام وزارة تكنولوجيا الاتصالات، وأمام العدد الهائل لمستعملي الانترنت الذين عبّروا عن نيّتهم في المشاركة في هذه الوقفة لم تجد السلطة من حلّ سوى استعمال القوة والترهيب عن طريق غلق الشوارع المؤدية لشارع الحبيب بورقيبة برجال الأمن، وإيقاف بعض منسّقي الحركة دون آخرين في نطاق سياسة "فرّق تصدّ".
 ولئن نجحت الحركة في كسر شيء من حاجز الخوف وذلك بإقناع عامة الناس بالنزول إلى الشارع للمطالبة بحقوقهم بالرغم من تعمّد رجال الامن نشر فيديوهات تظهر اثنين من منظّمي الحركة وهما يعلنان إلغاء الوقفة الاحتجاجية بعد تعرّضهما لضغوطات إثر إيقافهما قبل يوم من الموعد المحدّد، إلاّ أنّها فشلت داخليا من حيث توحيد الصفوف والثبات أمام ضغوطات كانت متوقّعة و منتظرة  من قبل السلطات المعنية.  فساورت الشكوك بعض منّسقي الحركة ممّن أوقفوا و صاروا يتهمون  من  نجا من الايقاف بالتعامل مع قوات الأمن. و لكنّ رباطة جأش و خبرة و حنكة بعض منّسقي الحركة ساهمت في احتواء هاته المشاكل، فكانت عملية "رسائل إلى النواب " المتمثّلة في كتابة رسائل لمن اضطلعوا بمهمة تمثيل الشعب لمساءلتهم فيما يخصّ المسألة و مطالبتهم بتناول المسألة بطريقة جديّة في إحدى جلسات مجلس النواب .
 لم تعرف هذه الحركة إقبالا  كبيرا لسببين رئيسيين، كان أوّلهما تخوّف الناس من التوّجه بخطاب مباشر إلى من يعتبرونهم من أصحاب المناصب العليا في الدولة، وتمثّل ثانيهما في فقدان بعض المواطنين لثقتهم في ممثّليهم البرلمانيين و قدرتهم على طرح المشاكل بصفة موضوعية وجدية. 

تلت عملية " الفلاشموب" التي تمّت  في ظلّ غياب العديد من منّسقي حركة "نهار على عمّار" و عرفت "الفلاشموب" نفس مصير "نهار على عمّار"، فقام رجال الأمن بمحاصرة مسكن أحد منّسقي الحركة محاصرة لصيقة و قاموا بمراقبة كلّ تنقّلاته و تنقّلات أفراد عائلته، و تنقّلوا بأعداد غفيرة إلى مكان "الفلاشموب" بجهة سيدي بوسعيد و قاموا بمنع عملية "الفلاشموب" وباستجواب بعض المشاركين فيها ومطالبتهم بالاستظهار بوثائق هويّاتهم و بتحويل وجهتهم إلى العاصمة أين تعرّضوا إلى الشتم و محاولة الاعتداء بالعنف.  

هكذا كانت  هذه العملية آخر تحرك ميداني ضدّ الحجب الالكتروني، واستمرّت عمليات الحجب بل و زادت وتيرتها فقلّ أن يمرّ يوم دون نعي مدوّنة أو موقع الكتروني . و في المقابل تراجع الاحتجاج على الحجب، ففي حين كان حجب موقع ما يحرّك العديد من مفاتيح لوحات الكمبيوتر وينتج العديد من النصوص المستنكرة وخلق أساليب احتجاجية جديدة، صار الآن أمرا عاديا، وكأنّ مستعملي الشبكة العنكبوتية تعوّدوا على الحجب وقبلوا به كواقع يومي غير قابل للتغيير. لذلك وجب العمل على التفكير مجدّدا في طرق ناجعة وابتكار أساليب متجدّدة لتناول مسألة الحجب ولإيجاد الطرق الكفيلة بالتصدّي لهذه الافة التي صارت تهدّد أحد آخر فضاءات التعبير الحرّ في تونس.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Who Am I?

Praise be to God, The Most High, The Most Exalted, Lord of All The Worlds, Who sent the prophet Muhammad (SAAW-May God Bless him and Grant him Peace), as a mercy to the whole of humanity. He, Glorified and Exalted, sent down The Noble Qur’an through him as a Light and a Guidance so that His creation could learn, respect, love, and honor, not only Him (SWT-Glorified and Exalted), but themselves individually and collectively. He Commanded the prophet Muhammad (SAAW) clarify what The Lord had Revealed to people so that they might reflect. The words and actions of the prophet Muhammad (SAAW) made clear to us, everything we needed to know about the proper methods by which one should conduct their lives. He (SAAW) instructed his companions (RAA- May Allah Be Pleased with them) to convey his teaching to those of us who were not among them. May the Peace and Blessings be upon him, upon his family, and his good and pure companions who expended their property and their lives to the spread the Way and Path of Islam. It is due to the effort of Companions of the prophet Muhammad (SAAW) and countless generations of Muslims that have allowed this author-a descendant of Scotch-Irish pig farmers and West African slaves, to state the sublime testification of faith: I testify that there is nothing worthy of worship except The One True and Living God, Alone, and without partner, and I testify that Muhammad ibn Abdullah, is the servant and messenger of God (SAAW).

All men can find detractors. All men are broken vessels. All men have their sins. And yet, I submit to my detractors, whomever they are, that it is a correct and wise course of action to inquire as to whether the voice of a mere citizen is worthy of being heard. After all, one should ascertain the source of ideas as much as the ideas themselves, especially in relation to politics. Politics is not only and merely concerned with law and government, but at its essence, it is the study of human interaction, on all levels, as it relates to the dynamics of power, hierarchy, resource accumulation, distribution, and exchange, but paradoxically and ultimately, the innate theory of social justice. When any individual attempts to speak about human interaction, it is completely correct for that individual to provide the required information to his audience, friend and foe alike. I was born Preston Henry Andrew Scott, to a fifteen year old mother and a father whose age and presence in my life both have escaped me since January 1, 1976. As aforementioned, I was born in the City of New Brunswick, New Jersey like all kids from Somerset, Franklin Township. Franklin Township has no hospital, so we were all born in either Saint Peter’s or Middlesex County, which would later become Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. My grandparents’ home was on Bartle Road, and the working class inhabited our neighborhood. In 1976, the working class still had its dignity and an opportunity for social advancement. There was love, but there was violence in the home. As I grew older, I was more accustomed to the screaming, the fighting, the punching, the swearing; and at 11 or 12, I began to feel resentment and then full hatred of my mother. My sin, in her eyes, was resembling and reminding her of my father and for this I was beaten; called every ‘motherfuckin’ piece of shit nigga’ ever phrased; robbed of dignity; and compelled to question my self-worth. From the ages of 10 until the age of 17, I was humiliated, degraded, abused, and despised until, with high school diploma under arm I ran away from home, to my maternal aunt’s home awaiting my eighteenth birthday and freedom. This began what two of my therapists have called the period of post-traumatic stress disorder. This is all I will say to my detractors, for my sins, my mistakes, my self-destructive and unholybehavior are for Allah (SWT), and Allah Alone. Instead, I will state with some pride, that I was able to fight through deep depression and confusion enough to get accepted to Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and with many years of trial and error, graduate with a degree in Political Science. Furthermore, let there be no misunderstanding that I am from the bottom of this American society. The blood of Scotch-Irish farmers and West African slaves and sharecroppers flows through my veins. Their stories, when put into a political/historical context, provide me with a sense of immense honor to be their descendant.

One of my ancestors had his freedom and humanity stolen, and then sold to some white man centuries ago. That ancestor survived the torments of extreme heat and hunger, stormy seas, the surreal fear of the unknown, the smell of urine and feces, the denial of Liberty Granted to him by The One True and Living God, whether he knew Him or not, and the depravation of humanity. If that ancestor was a woman, add the lost of her dignity, honor, and chastity, as she became the toy of European sailors far from home and the sight of women. Once on American shores, in my maternal grandparents and great grandparents’ home of Virginia, that ancestor survived the sting of the lash, the lost of language, made the unfamiliar the familiar, and through all of this still believed in love, in hope, and in a brighter future for children that belonged to his or her master and owner. Perhaps my family began its integration into American society on the fields on a Tidewater plantation, but as the nation grew, there are two centers, to second-homes in Old Virginia, that will forever remain in my memory and in my heart. Wallahi, I was born in New Jersey, but I realize that I am nothing more than a transplanted Virginian. My maternal grandfathers people is full of extremely fair skinned, sometime blue eyed, people that are obviously not of full, perhaps even a quarter African descent. The details of what truly happened and how, are something I intend to ask Allah, should I have the opportunity in the Next World. Yet, some family, some man, perhaps some woman, from Appalachia of Anglo-Celtic descent belongs to my family, as my family belongs to theirs. Indeed, we are kin, and so much so, that the Virginia record has my ancestor living as free people in the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Albemarle County, Virginia in 1850, some eleven years prior to the first shot at Fort Sumter. My maternal grandmother’s people were not so Blessed. They were slaves right up until the end. Indeed, my grandmother’s parents were named Clarence and Rose Street, and Grandma Rose was the daughter of a wonderful woman, my great-great grandmother, known to me as Mama Hicks. As I child, we often went to their home some seventy miles west of Richmond, where the interstate led to a two-lane highway. One could see nothing but peaceful blackness at night, for each and every time I have been on that two-lane highway, rarely if ever have a seen an on-coming vehicle of any kind. Some ways down that two-lane highway there was a dirt road, and all in a row was relative after relative’s home on both sides. For those that cannot make the connection, those relatives’ homes were built on the slave cabins that stood perhaps three-quarters to a full mile, from this grand edifice of the South, that was, perhaps still is, owned by the white family that once owned mine under the laws of the Republic. My aunt Francis worked in the home as ‘nanny’ to the white family’s children, during my childhood. Mama Hicks was born in 1896 and lived until 2000. Born in the year that the Cleveland administration handed power to William McKinley, this woman, who even at a 100 years of age was lucid, intelligent, and tough lived during two world wars; the horse give way to the automobile; a man walk on the moon; the Korean War, Vietnam, and her nation go from a Republic to an Empire. Her mother and grandmother were slaves, who worked the land on the very ground where he trailer home stood. She once relayed some family history to my mother, who was gathering information for her senior thesis at Douglass College, Rutgers University in 1984-1985. While sitting on the dirt floor of their cabin, Mama Hicks’ grandmother would brush her long, straight black hair-genes passed onto her from her either full or part Native American father. While brushing her hair, this grandmother of mine would tell another grandmother of mine, the horrors of slavery that are so often overlooked in the annals of history, almost as if it never happened. If a slave, man or woman, was to attempt or successfully runaway, an example was made for any and all other slaves to witness. Slave babies were cut, perhaps even killed, prior to their bodies being thrown to hogs. Hogs, as Allah Has Created them, will eat just about anything, and I wonder how many of my ancestors had to watch as their children or the children of their fellow slaves were devoured on the muddy, feces-filled pens of the hogs they would butcher and serve to master, mistress, and their fine, dignified guests. This is America as it was, and Wallahi Al-Theem, this is a true and authentic story of my family’s suffering under the Stars and Stripes. Little is known of the history of my Scotch-Irish family on my maternal grandfather’s side; perhaps the ‘miscengation’ was begun by an overseer, a master, or like my paternal grandmother’s parents, true love between a Scotch-Irish man and an African-American woman. I do not know, save for this immutable fact: there are no other European people I would wish to be descended from than the Irish, Catholic or Ulsterman. The Scotch-Irish came to American beginning in the 1720s, first settled in Pennsylvania, and then began to move into Virginia and the Carolinas. Their descendants were the first to settle Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and the large majority came to America of their own free will and volition. Ardent supporters of the American Revolution, the Whiskey Rebellion, and in all probability in the case of my ancestors, the Confederate States of America, I see the genetic propensity for religion, fighting and guns, slight insanity, and the love of bourbon within me and within my maternal grandfather’s people. I love this blood just as I love the blood of the West African that is within my veins and my heart. It is my life force. It is these people, the Scotch-Irish, that have given me my red-beard, my extremely white skin, and the realization that I am from an extremely hardened and fierce people. It is my blood-my life-force-that allows me to state with full confidence that I am, without any doubt, a descendant of the original Americans. In short, this is my country! To my detractors, because my ancestors have paid the ultimate price with every tobacco plant chopped and dried; every whip of the lash; every bullet fired into British ranks in the Revolution and the War of 1812; every misguided step at Antietam, Gettysburg, Petersburg, and Appomattox; every baby devoured by pigs: the voice of this citizen has the right to speak and to be heard. Furthermore, because I have exercised my Universal Right of Conscience and determined that there is nothing worthy of worship except The One True and Living God (Allah in the Arabic language) and that Muhammad, son of Abdullah, born on the Arabian Peninsula, in the City of Mecca, 1,400 years ago is the servant and messenger of The One True and Living God and is the Seal of the Prophets (SAAW) in a line that began with the first man, Adam, and includes Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, son of Mary, in a culminating line, as an American it would be wise for you to hear, listen, and attempt to understand my words for they may save so many lives and unnecessary destruction. There is nothing unique or special about me personally, save for I can bridge the gap between two civilizations that have no need for conflict.

I am of the original Americans, both black and white. Wallahi Al-Theem, I am not interested in destroying America. I am not interested in killing its people. I am not interested in bombing its subways, its bridges, its tunnels, nor am I interested in compelling any of its people to accept my religious views in place of their own Universal Right of Conscience. I simply wish to exercise said Universal right, which has caused some personal history to expire. The name Preston Henry Andrew Scott is too diminutive, too meaningless, and in the final analysis, no longer describes who and what I am. This is not a cultural attempt at breaking the mental or psychological bonds of slavery, for Islam has already succeeded in the latter process. The name Preston Henry Andrew Scott has died, and Isma’il, the son of Bilal (my father’s legally assumed name) has risen. Isma’il is the name of the first son of the prophet Abraham, and means ‘he who Allah Hears’. The only thing I could or wish to add to my name: Isma’il ibn Bilal, is the geographical title: Al-Amerikini (The American) for this is the only adjective that truly explain me to the Muslim world.

The Universal Right of Conscience is a tradition of both the Liberal Political Tradition and that of the Islamic. Allah Says in the 109th Surah of The Holy Qur’an:

Say: O ye that reject Faith; I worship not that which ye worship; nor will ye worship that which I worship; And I will not worship that which ye have been wont to worship; nor will ye worship that which I worship; to you be your Way and to me mine.

In the 2nd Surah of The Holy Qur’an, ayat 256, Allah Says:

Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out Clear from Error: who rejects Tagut[1] and believes in Allah hath grasped The Most Trustworthy Hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah Heareth and Knoweth all things.

No human can compel another as to what to believe or not to believe, for Faith, Religion, Politics, are matters of personal choice and conviction. This is a lesson that both the Muslim and the West must learned to accept, in particular since both the Islamic and Liberal Political traditions recognize it as a major tenet of liberty and freedom. It is only the Muslim political idiot that cries for the implementation of Shari’ah Law in London, Toronto, Paris, or New York, but makes no effort to see the implementation of Shari’ah Law in Riyadh, Dubai, Cairo, or Algiers. Indeed, nowhere on the earth at this contemporary time, is there a single legitimate Islamic Republic! Instead of trying to force the British or the American governments to adopt Islamic Ways and Actions, the Islamic Nationalist seeks to compel Muslim governments to adopt and propagate the Ways, Actions, commitment to Social Justice of The Islamic Political Philosophy. Furthermore, the only way to legitimize this compulsion of Muslim governments is through the democratic-republican process, which requires a study of American Political Theory. As the prophet, Muhammad (SAAW) said in two hadiths to which I will paraphrase: seek knowledge even as far as China, and take what is good and leave what is bad.

Something very inaccurate is happening in the nation of my birth, for it has forgotten the words of men who supported and defended the original and authentic Tea Party and the Revolution it begat, and like King, some where I read:

The bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason and right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that its protection of opinion meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares the coercion is a departure from the plan of The Holy Author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word ‘Jesus Christ’, so that it should read ‘a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion’. The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mahometan, the Hindoo, and infidel of every denomination.[2]

Some where I read:

We the subscribers, citizens of the said Commonwealth, having taken into serious consideration, a Bill printed by order of the last Session of General Assembly, entitled ‘A Bill establishing a provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion’ and conceiving that the same if finally armed with the sanctions of a law, will be a dangerous abuse of power, are bound as faithful members of a free State to remonstrate against it, and to declare the reasons by which we are determined. We remonstrate against the said Bill; (1) because we hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth, ‘that religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence’. The religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate...(2) because if religion be exempt from the authority of the society at large, still less can it be subject to that of the legislative body. The latter are but the creatures and vicegerents of the former. Their jurisdiction is both derivative and limited...the preservation of a free Government requires not merely, that metes and bounds which separate each department of power be invariably maintained; but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the great Barrier which defends the rights of the people. The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are Tyrants. The People who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them, and are slaves...(3) Because it is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of Citizens, and one the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution...(4) Because the Bill violates that equality which ought to be the basis of every law[3]

The non-Muslim, often racist, but certainly extreme conservative within American society has used the words, ‘tyrant’ in relation to their government and ‘slave’ in reference to themselves, while ironically being blinded by their own hatred for the first non-white Executive-in-Chief, whose name represents a worldview unlike that of their own. This is merely his name, though his political and economic values represent a man whom their parents and grandparents loved more than any other in the twentieth century. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inappropriately tagged a socialist, a secret Communist, but never an enemy of the very nation he governed and certainly never a Muslim. Therefore, we the American Muslims are compelled to question: who are becoming the true tyrants and who the true slaves?

All over the nation, it is our houses of worship that are being vandalized and burned. It is our brothers and sisters who are being humiliated in airports. It is our people being stabbed in taxis by intoxicated persons claiming to work in our benefit during sobriety. It the Republican Party’s strategy to emphasize the danger of our presence in these United States, in order to regain control of the United States Congress and possibly the Executive branch in 2012. It is their established candidates who are unable to win primary elections and instead their constituents are choosing ultra-right wing extremists to ultimately hold power within Government. Individuals who have all but forgotten, twisted, or simply ignored the principles of American democratic-republicanism, and will enacted laws that will violate equality which ought to be the basis of every law. Their advisors will attempt to use my past, my personal history to discredit me as worthy of a voice within the political forum in my own nation. My retort is simple:

I believe in the brotherhood of man, all men, but I don't believe in brotherhood with anybody who doesn't want brotherhood with me. I believe in treating people right, but I'm not going to waste my time trying to treat somebody right who doesn't know how to return the treatment.[4]

It is an unfortunate reality that my brothers and sisters in Islam will soon face. The Arabs and those of the Indian subcontinent that have deemed it appropriate to diminish, or otherwise make cursory, our bond will soon be forced to embrace it with the highest levels of intensity. For they are, socially, culturally, and systemically being relegated to the status of ‘niggas’ in the 19th and 20th century Jim Crow era. They are soon to learn how the very people who claim to cherish the principles such a phrase represents can deny life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness to them. And my question is simple to all Muslims: what are you prepared to do?

Silence is no answer at all, just moral and political cowardice. Violent extremism and the indiscriminate killing of innocents and oneself is a violation of The Laws of The One True and Living God, and only leads to Hellfire. So what shall be done and what are you prepared to do? For me, personally, it is time to leave and I make preparations to do just this. America is not worth another investment, another drop of my God-Given bloodline. I see the winds of freedom and change elsewhere in lands where the Adhan can be heard for miles. I seek to invest in my own people and leave America to her own devices. I pray she is not destroyed, but I will not shed another tear or lift another mound to save her, for the evolving standards of decency are too subjective, too meaningless, and I am a Muslim who loves Allah, His messenger (SAAW), His Deen Islam. I am Isma’il ibn Bilal, the American.

Isma'il ibn Bilal

Identity Crisis in French North Africa

 Like most of the planet in the colonial period of the 19th and 20th centuries, the Muslim world was divided between two bipolar perspectives and methods of colonization. As the British used to boast: the sun never set on their empire, which controlled two-fifths of the world’s territories. For the colonized on the Indian subcontinent, sub-Saharan African, Egypt, Palestine, the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the various other colonies where Muslims resided, the methodology by which one was subjected was both harsh and simple. Either one was white and British born or was not; and if not, no matter the subconscious level of commitment towards assimilation, one would never be deemed a person deserving equal rights, protection, or liberty. The native was nothing more than a tool with which to be used to further serve the interests of the British government and its policies. The French Empire, though smaller than their British counterpart, was nonetheless extremely sizeable. It also included nations of sub-Saharan Africa, the Far East, Syria, and for our purposes the three nations of al-Maghrib, in Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. The French colonial policy of assimilation has long been a value of the French government, both its monarchy-Bourbon and Napoleonic-and its republic. Its overall purpose is to make Frenchmen from the Arabs, the African, and the Asian. We use the present context, for it can be argued that France still expects the people who have dealings with or reside in France itself, to behave, to think, to dress, and to love being French. True, the policy of assimilation (hereafter termed the policy) could allow one native of a colonized nation to rise to high status within the French system, yet we can think of only two times in France’s history that such an arrival is noteworthy. The first being that of Thomas Alexandre Davy de la Pailleterie, born to a Marquis and the slave he married, a general in Napoleon’s army, and the father of Alexandre Dumas; and the second being that of Blaise Diagne, the first African deputy in the French Assembly. The policy was designed to pacify the populations of France’s colonies through the process of making them Frenchmen, and was supported by the political theorists of the Utilitarian school of the French Enlightenment. Education was the principle by which assimilation began, and the effects of the learning of the average Algerians, Tunisians, and Moroccans great-great grandfathers are the dilemma that faces the Ummah today. The French theorist, Etienne Balibar asked a very poignant question in 1998 which should be expanded to include Tunisia and Morocco: ‘Algerie, France: une ou deux nations?’ Are Algeria and France one nation? Do the values of France supersede the values of Islam?

During his Middle East Quarterly interview in 1996, Anwar N. Haddam spoke of the cultural, existential crisis of his native Algeria:

The Algerian people are winning back an awareness of their own identity. We were colonized by the French for more than a hundred and thirty years. Since 1962, we have not really been independent. We had military independence, but nothing more, being dependent in economic policy, foreign policy, foreign trade, defense policy, and so forth. Now we want back our own identity, and that's our right. This is our message in all the Muslim world. Of course because we are Muslims, Islamic parties win a majority of support; that's normal and obvious. The problem is that there are some people within the Arab world and the Muslim world who think that they have to stay within the Western ideological and civilizational sphere, who think that France should remain in Algeria. The cultural dimension to the program put forward by the FIS rejects this assimilationist approach and instead accepts the concept of the coexistence of civilizations. It aims at the preservation of the cultural and historical traditions of the Algerian society (Islam, Arabism, Amazighism), for these constitute the elements of its identity. Also, we see the rehabilitation of science for peaceful purposes of paramount importance. Algeria could be the bridge between our two civilizations, being close to France and being part of the Muslim world. All over the Muslim world, there is an awareness that what is taking place in Algeria could be an example to be followed by every Muslim country.

Howard Schneider wrote in 1999 in his Washington Post article, ‘Algerians United and Divided by Faith’ that:

In Algeria, academics and moderate Islamic activists agree that the rise in popularity of the Islamic Salvation Front in the late 1980s and early 1990s was more an expression of frustration with the country's long history of corruption and authoritarian rule than a desire to remake Algeria in the image of Iran or Saudi Arabia. Algerians regard their society as unique in the region, with its own complexities--not entirely Arab or European, but stamped with certain European trappings after more than a century of French colonial rule. These Western influences include widespread use of the French language, a taste for local wine, comparatively free association between men and women and other habits that would be difficult to supplant with the type of conformity demanded in more fundamentalist states. It is common in central Algiers, for instance, to see veiled women strolling nonchalantly with friends in sleeveless shirts and other Western fashions. Even outside Algiers, many Algerians say it is the militants who have strayed from the faith. ‘What happened in Algeria is not from Islam. Our religion is one of peace and tolerance,’ said Souhila, a teenager from Sidi Moussa, a town a half-hour's drive from Algiers that was a stronghold of the Islamic fighters.

In Tunisia, is there a correlation can the decision of Zine Alabidin Ben Ali and that of France to ban hijab at roughly the same time because of the widespread resurgence of Muslim sisters choosing to wear it in accordance with Qur’anic Edict and Decree? Furthermore as Yvonne Ridley pointed out in her article about Tunisia’s during this ban:

I would like to be more forthright with Mr. Ben Ali and remind him of his Islamic obligations as a Muslim. I doubt if Zine Alabidin Ben Ali would take much notice. The man is clearly an arrogant fool and somewhere in Tunisia there is a village which is missing its idiot (Hamman-Sousse in the Sahel, actually). This is the man who once said the hijab was something foreign and not part of Tunisian culture. Hmm, he obviously has not seen pictures taken before he came to power, clearly show Tunisian women going about their business fully covered. He has a history of despising the French colonialists who occupied his country, but at least under the French, the Tunisian people had more freedom than they do now.

Balibar questions echoes again: Is Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco merely an extension of France, even with the cessation of official French colonialism. Nearly ten years ago, Jean-Pierre Chevenement wrote in an article, ‘Stop Being Ashamed’ to his French countrymen declaring to them that the immigrants they have welcomed should be appreciative of having been colonized by the French and taught the values of the Republic. He states:

And even with the southern shores of the Mediterranean a joint commitment to enable us to drain the soil of all fundamentalism, fight against poverty and put an end to humiliation. Would it be more interesting and fruitful than indulging in morbid evocation of a past that does not pass? The war in Algeria, its violence and drama lasted seven years and ended with a settlement of one hundred thirty two years. Like it or not, people have been involved, drawn into the orbit of world history, cultures and languages have faced and met, indissoluble bonds were created. The Franco-Algerian does not leave summarized by the evocation of torture or rape, which they did exist, are in no way does the 3 million calls and the vast majority of military members served in Algeria. This view of history is not only an insult to them but it keeps us collectively to move towards integration into the French nation of youth born of immigration, which it manufactures and minority identity that anchors them a principle of hostility to the Republic. Millions of French have their roots in Algeria, but their future is in France and form a bridge between two shores. Today there are more francophones in Algeria that there never was. You cannot judge the colonial period, retaining only its violent denouement but forgetting the assets, and primarily the school, bringing to colonized peoples, with the values of the Republic, the intellectual weapons of their release.

Chevenement confirms that even as early as 2001, how the French view the values of the Republic having released the Algerian, the Tunisian, the Moroccan, and all Muslims said values have liberated from the arcane, the exotic, the antithesis of modernity, that Islam represents. Robespierre and the Declaration of the Rights of Man has set the views of France towards that which it deems unnecessary and superstitious, including the hijab in public schools and government offices, and it would seem that, at the very least, the ruling elites within Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco have answered the call of the Mother Country. We are reminded of the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes when he wrote: Man’s mind stretched to a new idea never goes back to its original dimensions. And yet this is the task The One True and Living God has Placed for all of us, as the brothers and sisters of the Algerian, the Tunisian, and the Moroccan, while we recognize how arduous and nearly impossible it will be, though the words of Haddam and Souhila bint Sidi Moussa engender reason for hope. The great scholar 'Abd al-Rahman Ibn Muhammad Ibn Khaldun al-Hadrami of Tunis, who if one truly studies, is the father of economics; Algeria has Abdelhamid Ben Badis who was instrumental in the Islamic Reform movement while living under French colonial rule; Morocco has ibn Battuta, and the Saharan Berber ibn Yasin (whose descendants are currently being killed by Moroccan and Algerian authorities for no reason at all).[1] These Muslims represent the original and reveal what Islam, when chosen of the individual’s volition, can produce and contribute to the improvement of human history. Now it must be stated that when Islam, or any value system, is wielded for the self-delusional desires of the human mind, which include but are not limited to, fame, the messiah complex, revenge, hatred of a people or their value system-September 11, July 7, French colonialism and its detrimental effects are- self-evident consequences. Yet, how do we, as an Ummah, remind those who are Muslim of the benefit of their faith, their politics, and their notions of social justice, which are inherent in being Muslim. Again, how do we explain what was taken from them generations ago? How it was taken? Why it was taken? And how it is evident in their behavior, their thoughts, their tendencies, that they are nothing more than slaves of the French, even in their contemporary times? Harriet Tubman, herself a slave fugitive, who risked all in order to free others from bondage said: I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves. More than money, armies, or elections, the people of al-Maghrib, as with the entire Ummah, need al Farabi’s Dialectical Theologians to liberate and release them from the psychological effects and social disease of the secularism of French Republican-Imperialism, colonialism, for it is that which makes them feel they are inferior, inadequate, and uncivilized. Simply stated, the existential crisis that plagues the people of Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco is based on the values of the French Republic. It is these values and the draconian methods by which it was forced upon their parents and grandparents that make it normal for the ruling elites of al Maghrib to behave with complete disregard of the Fifteen Rights of Islamic Political Theory and the Declaration of the Rights of Man. The Algerian, Tunisian, and Moroccan governments are merely mimicking the actions of the French administrators who once controlled their respective nations. When any notion of resistance or trouble arose, the grand chieftains of the French colonial government suspended movement, instituted curfews, shut down newspapers, censored the freedom of speech, removed hijabs, ordered French troops to torture and kill, and did whatever was necessary, by any and all means necessary to maintain French law and order.

Thus, in Algeria when Abbasi Madani, a professor at the University of Algiers,[2]Ali Belhadj, and the Front Islamique du Salut offered a platform that included the Arabization of Algerian education system, a direct rejection of the French values and language which dominated the upper echelon of Algeria including its university system; dismantling the planned economy emphasizing competition in a private sector economy which would receive loans from banks within an interest free Islamic banking system; and began to win elections in Algeria. The pro-French Algerians, aided I would imagine by the French government and business community in need of Algerian petroleum, took power in a coup d’état. What could have been, Allahu Alim; but it must be again. Algeria is a prime example of what the West fears the most, and that is Muslims exercising their rights to political self-determination, rejecting post-colonial notions of progress and cultural emulation, and rebuilding viable, commercial, states in a Islamic framework. Chevenement confirms this, as does the complete inertia of the West towards the political and human rights abuses of Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Egypt, and the entire Muslim world. The byproduct of this inertia, save for the destruction of movements like the FIS, is what transpired after the coup d’état in 1991 which claimed 200,000 lives. Idiots with guns, hatred, ignorance, extreme and always wrong ideological claims take matters into their own hands, which only further exacerbates the problem of freeing others from mental and psychological slavery. September 11, 2001 is a prime example of this byproduct.

I say to the Ummah of which I am a very proud member; we have so much work to do, and conservative, so-called moderate Islam is the only remedy, the only medicine to the social disease of the Muslim body politic. Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco need us, and we must pay closer attention.

Isma'il ibn Bilal

[1] I would add that there is no t-shirt or public outcry for the slaughter of the Berbers in North Africa. Wake UP!
[2] Madani was the RIGHT MAN for Algeria…Ali Belhadj should have followed him and never been made such a prominent figure that he was in the FIS, unless he was under the tutelage of Madani.

A Voice from Algeria-Lyes Balamane

الحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على أشرف خلق الله محمد بن عبد الله النبي الأمي الذي لا نبي بعده الذي تركنا على المحجة البيضاء ليلها كنهارها لا يزيغ عنها إلا هالك. أما بعد
يسرنا أن نتواصل معكم من خلال هذه المداخلة المتواضعة للحديث بشكل مختصر عن أوضاع الجزائر والجزائريين.
يشرفني أن أبدأ كلامي هذا بقولة العلامة ابن باديس عليه رحمة الله "شعب الجزائر مسلم والى العروبة ينتسب" فنحن والحمد لله شعب مسلم بالأغلبية الساحقة وبنسبة قد تصل إلى 99 بالمائة  فضلت عدم القول مائة بالمائة لأنه يمكن أن يكون هناك من هو على غير دين الإسلام فهم يعدون على أطراف الأصابع ونحن في الجزائر يمكنك أن تطبق الشعائر الإسلامية وبكل حرية فهناك المساجد والمدارس القرآنية وحتى الجامعات الإسلامية وان كان هناك بعض النقائص والعراقيل التي قد يواجهها الشخص الملتزم المتدين فالكمال لله .
والحقيقة التي أريد أن أوضحها وبكل موضوعية أنه عندما أقول أن الشعب الجزائري مسلم مائة بالمائة   فهذا لا يعني أنهم كلهم متدينون فعند تجولك في شوارع الجزائر وفي المدن الكبرى تشعر وكأنك في أحد الشوارع الأوروبية من خلال طريقة لباس الفتيات والشبان فنسأل الله العافية قد ظهر الفساد في البر والبحر فحرية اختيارك لطريقك هي السائدة في بلادنا فان أردت التوجه إلى المسجد فليس هناك ما يمنعك وان أردت التوجه إلى أماكن الفساد والرذيلة فهذا أسهل طريق وتجده مفروش بالورود.
أما عن الحالة المعيشية فهي حياة صعبة على أغلبية الجزائريين بالنظر غالى الدخل الفردي الذي يتراوح بين 100 دولار و 300 دولار في الشهر الواحد فهذا شيء جد قليل مقارنة بغلاء المعيشة فهذا أثر وبشكل مباشر على ارتفاع معدلات العنوسة وانتشار الجريمة في المجتمع الجزائري. نسأل الله السلامة . وفيما يخص التشغيل في الجزائر فهو يعتبر نقطة سوداء بسبب ارتفاع معدلات البطالة فكل عام يتخرج الآلاف من الشباب من الجامعات والمعاهد ويكون مصيرهم البطالة التي أصبحت تتقل كاهل كل الجزائريين.
هذا ما أردت أن أوضحه وما توفيقي إلا بالله والسلام عليكم ورحمة الله. أخوكم الياس الجزائري

Monday, November 22, 2010

Jean-Pierre Chevènement : cessons d’avoir honte

Article paru dans le Nouvel Observateur du 25 octobre 2001 [1].

Quand des milliers de jeunes conspuent notre hymne national au Stade de France, comment ne pas être blessé  ? Confiance déçue, révélation publique d’une situation jusqu’alors cachée dans nos banlieues, mal-être d’une génération issue de l’immigration qui n’a pas encore fait de la France sa patrie : à tout cela il y a des causes anciennes et profondes.

Ceux qui s’offusquent à juste titre d’entendre la Marseillaise sifflée sont parfois les mêmes qui, voici quinze ans, me faisaient reproche de vouloir la faire apprendre dans les écoles. Je veux souligner par là qu’on ne peut exiger du peuple un patriotisme que désertent les élites. D’où est venu ce discours lancinant sur la nation qui serait dépassée, la France qui serait moisie, l’instruction civique qui serait passée de mode, sinon de ceux qui exercent le magistère politique ou moral sur notre pays depuis trente ans ? A force de cultiver le masochisme national, de détruire l’élémentaire confiance en soi dont tout peuple a besoin pour affronter les défis de l’avenir, on aboutit à ce résultat désastreux : la sécession morale de ceux qui, justement parce qu’ils ne possèdent pas grand chose, auraient, selon la juste intuition de Jaurès, le plus besoin d’une patrie pour s’affirmer et grandir. Comment inviter les nouvelles générations issues de l’immigration à devenir partie intégrante d’une nation dont les responsables cultivent systématiquement la repentance ? La honte de soi n’est pas la meilleure manière d’agréger.

La France se mire dans son passé ; jusqu’à l’obsession, elle revisite ses heures noires, fait revivre les drames d’hier, ressuscite jusqu’à la nausée les lâchetés et les crimes, entretient une culpabilité déliée de toute connaissance des réalités. Elle ne pense sa relation avec l’Allemagne qu’à travers le prisme des années quarante. Elle ne traite de ses rapports à l’Algérie que par le rappel de la guerre et de ses souffrances. Et dans ces deux cas, l’évocation du passé est tronquée ou mensongère.

Vichy n’était pas la France, mais ce qu’il en advint lorsque la République abdiqua. L’extrême droite française obtint de l’occupant nazi ce que le suffrage universel lui avait toujours refusé. Et c’est une grande faute de Jacques Chirac que d’avoir assimilé Vichy et la France. C’est l’avenir qui devrait nous guider et non le rétroviseur. Quand 6 % seulement des jeunes Allemands apprennent notre langue et 12% des jeunes Français étudient l’allemand, on mesure le chemin à parcourir : de la base au sommet, les relations franco-allemandes doivent être revivifiées. Depuis 1963, où en sont les projets, les initiatives, les échanges que seule une poignée de gens dévoués s’escrime à maintenir dans l’indifférence ? La France et l’Allemagne, ce n’est pas Vichy et le régime nazi  : c’est la relation exceptionnelle de deux peuples qui se sont combattus durement et dont l’accord constitue la charnière de l’Europe de demain. Mais de cela, qui se soucie ? Et de même avec la rive Sud de la Méditerranée un engagement conjoint doit nous permettre d’assécher ensemble le terreau de l’intégrisme, de lutter contre la misère et de mettre un terme aux humiliations. Ne seraitce pas plus intéressant et fécond que de se complaire dans l’évocation maladive d’un passé qui ne passe pas ?

La guerre d’Algérie, ses violences et ses drames ont duré sept années, et mis un terme à une colonisation de cent trente deux ans. Qu’on le veuille ou non, des peuples ont été mêlés, entraînés dans l’orbite de l’histoire universelle, des cultures et des langues se sont heurtées et se sont rencontrées, des liens indissolubles se sont créés. La relation franco-algérienne ne se laisse pas résumer par l’évocation des tortures ou des viols qui, s’ils ont bien existé, ne sont en aucune manière le fait des 3 millions d’appelés et de l’immense majorité des militaires ayant servi en Algérie. Cette vision de l’Histoire n’est pas seulement une injure à leur égard mais elle nous empêche collectivement d’avancer vers l’intégration à la Nation française des jeunes nés de l’immigration, auxquels on confectionne ainsi une identité minoritaire qui les ancre dans une hostilité de principe à la République. Des millions de Français ont leurs racines en Algérie mais leur avenir est en France et ils forment un pont entre les deux rives. Il y a aujourd’hui en Algérie plus de francophones qu’il n’y en eut jamais.

On ne peut juger la période coloniale en ne retenant que son dénouement violent mais en oubliant l’actif, et en premier lieu l’Ecole, apportant aux peuples colonisés, avec les valeurs de la République, les armes intellectuelles de leur libération. On peut soutenir sans paradoxe que c’est la France qui a permis à l’Algérie d’être la grande Nation qu’elle est devenue dans son extension géographique actuelle sur plus de 2 millions de km2 et avec un potentiel de modernisation qui n’a guère d’équivalent.

La fin de cette période coloniale a été féroce en Algérie, parce qu’à Paris la lucidité manquait, et empêchait de tirer les conséquences de la dérive du système. Faut-il accabler de cela le peuple français ? Il a été consulté à deux reprises par référendum à l’initiative du Général de Gaulle. Il a répondu clairement en 1961 en faveur de l’autodétermination et en 1962 en faveur de l’indépendance de l’Algérie. Il a choisi la coopération avec cette nouvelle Nation. N’imputons pas au peuple français les faiblesses de la IVème République finissante. Au moment où le monde entier découvre la malfaisance des réseaux islamistes, on mesure à quel point le peuple algérien, soumis à une vague d’attentats sanguinaires depuis les années 90 a été laissé à sa détresse face aux islamistes formés en Afghanistan ; tandis que plus de cent mille civils périssaient, les observateurs parisiens ne cessaient de tenter de disculper les fondamentalistes, ou de semer la confusion en faisant mine d’ignorer « qui tuait qui ». Qui s’est soucié du grave fossé creusé à ce moment crucial où l’Algérie avait plus besoin de solidarité que de réquisitoires ? Avalanche de commentaires sur les crimes d’hier, mais silence et absence de solidarité autour des victimes des crimes d’aujourd’hui.

Est-il normal que jamais en sept ans, ni le Président de la République ni le Premier Ministre n’ont trouvé le temps de se rendre en Algérie, peuplée de 30 millions d’habitants dont plus de la moitié sont francophones ? Est-il satisfaisant de voir notre coopération réduite au strict minimum, quand le dialogue de nos cultures est plus nécessaire que jamais et plus facile à conduire avec le Maghreb qu’avec toute autre région du monde ? Face à la réplique apportée par les Etats-Unis à l’agression terroriste perpétrée sur leur sol, beaucoup s’interrogent sur le contenu et les perspectives de la politique américaine. Je crois plus utile pour ma part de formuler des propositions en faveur d’une politique étrangère active de la France dans cette crise. Rien n’est plus urgent que de resserrer les liens avec les pays riverains de la Méditerranée dans une période particulièrement difficile pour eux.

La France doit aussi reprendre l’initiative au Proche-Orient en faveur d’une paix négociée, où l’existence d’un Etat palestinien viable sera la meilleure garantie de sécurité pour Israël. Elle doit plaider la cause d’une paix durable de la Méditerranée au Golfe. La voix de la France est attendue et elle est nécessaire. Son histoire et son expérience lui permettent d’exercer des médiations utiles pour éviter toute stratégie d’affrontement global avec le monde arabo-musulman et pour faciliter les évolutions démocratiques de ces sociétés.

Cette France dont je m’efforce de porter l’idée exigeante, serait en mesure de remplacer la repentance par le projet. La meilleure manière de surmonter les drames de l’histoire, ce n’est pas de ressasser des vues partielles et partiales et de s’en auto-mortifier ; c’est de les dépasser dans un projet associant le meilleur de chacun.

La voix de notre pays retrouvera sa force et son sens dès lors qu’à l’intérieur il sera fidèle aux valeurs dont il porte l’héritage depuis deux cents ans. Le message de la citoyenneté est une promesse d’égalité qui libère des carcans des communautés, et affranchit de la sombre mythologie des origines. Il doit aussi être défendu au lieu d’être avili en charité compassionnelle ou en assistance. L’égal accès à la citoyenneté, et d’abord à l’emploi, pour tous les jeunes des quartiers populaires de nos villes, doit devenir l’impératif moral de quiconque est investi d’une responsabilité. La « politique de la ville » ne se réduit pas à acheter la paix civile par des subventions : pour réussir elle doit aller de pair avec une conception claire de la citoyenneté et de la nation. Car là est l’origine de la crise entr’aperçue au stade de France.

Pour que les jeunes Français issus de l’immigration fassent corps avec la France, ils doivent retrouver la raisonnable estime de soi indispensable à la construction de leur avenir. L’exemple doit venir d’en haut. Il est grand temps de se ressaisir. Offrons à ces jeunes une lecture non manipulée de notre histoire commune, ne dissimulant rien, ni les ombres, ni les lumières. Aidons les à se comprendre eux-mêmes comme un trait d’union entre les deux rives de la Méditerranée, en surmontant ensemble les traumatismes du passé pour tourner tous nos efforts vers l’avenir. Ils sont une chance pour la France dans la mondialisation, car ils peuvent jeter des passerelles vers d’autres cultures dont nous avons besoin pour forger notre avenir. Si la France est capable de porter en son sein l’idéal de la citoyenneté, et au dehors celui du dialogue des cultures et des civilisations, alors je suis sûr que nous saurons surmonter le moment de doute qui a saisi beaucoup de nos compatriotes un soir d’automne au stade de France. Pour « faire France » [2], il faut tout simplement avoir envie de continuer la France.

[1] Cet article, qui ne correspond en rien au point de vue de la LDH, est repris dans ce dossier à titre de document.

[2] « Faire France », cette expression, utilisée par Michèle Tribalat comme titre de son livre présentant l’enquête Ined-Insee sur les immigrés et leurs enfants, est employée dans les monts du Lyonnais et du Vivarais et signifie « prospérer ».