Night in Gaza

I don’t understand the Palestinians. I don’t understand their strength and resilience. I don’t understand how they withstand decades of brutal occupation and oppression.

What is even more incomprehensible is silence of the international community. Why do so many of us choose to not see and let evil prevail?

This book is an account of what Dr. Mads Gilbert witnessed at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza in the summer of 2014 when, once again, Israel bombarded Gaza. The majority of the people injured and killed by Israel were children and women — unarmed civilians.

This book is important because it documents what happened when Israel attacked Gaza. Western main stream media would not tell this story, would not let you see the human cost of a war on unarmed civilians. May be they are afraid that if more people wake up to the brutal reality of Israel’s crime, our voice will become loud enough and strong enough to bring an end to the occupation and demand justice for the victims.

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Lost Islamic History

It’s amazing the way the author squeezed over one thousand years of history into 214 pages without leaving out any vital details. The story starts in the Arabian Peninsular (where else?), giving the background of pre-Islam Arabs and Arabia.

The first two chapters, to me. were rather boring because I was re-reading the stories I’ve heard so many times since I was a little girl. The story of an orphan boy, Muhammad, who grew up to be the most trusted man in Mecca. However, if you’ve never read the biography of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), then Chapter 2 is vital because it introduces him to the reader — his life, his character, why people followed him and the basic tenets of his teaching.

The Muslims were persecuted by the elite of Mecca who saw Islam as a threat to their power, which led to the Muslims migrating to Medina. From there, Islam spread quickly and widely.

The four caliphs who took over leadership of the Muslim world after the death of the prophet — Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman and Ali — were known as ‘The Rightly Guided Caliphs’. ‘Umar’s time as capliph was marked not only for his military conquests, but also his administration over the conquered territories. For the people under the conquered territories, life barely changed. The previously ruling Byzantine and Sassanid armies and aristocratic class left, but the local populations remained untouched.

For the local population, there were two main changes: 1) who they paid taxes to, and 2) they were given the freedom to practice their religions. For example, the Monophysite Christians were allowed to practice their religion in Syria — a change from the oppressive Byzantine government who imposed their Greek Orthodox belief on them. Jews were allowed to go back to their holy city, Jerusalem, to worship.

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To vaccinate or not to vaccinate

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate — that is the question.

I’m not a medical doctor, so my opinion on the matter doesn’t carry much weight (if at all). What bothers me is there seems to be many reports about children and adults who have suffered from vaccine injury. Please bear in mind that many people who have been voicing their concerns about vaccine safety are medical doctors and other medical professionals.

People who are labeled anti-vaccines, don’t consider themselves to be anti-vaccines. What they’re campaigning for is an honest, transparent and rigorous testing on the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. If there are potential for devastating side effects (such as brain injury), don’t you owe it to yourself (and more importantly, to your children) to research all facts regarding vaccination before deciding if it is something you want to do?

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Kill All Infidels?

Islamophobes (and their parrots) like to quote the Quran verse 2:191 out of context as prove that Muslims are commanded to kill all infidels. Let’s look at the context, starting with verse 2:190.

Al-Baqarah 2:190
وَقَاتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ الَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ وَلَا تَعْتَدُوا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ
Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors.

Al-Baqarah 2:191
وَاقْتُلُوهُمْ حَيْثُ ثَقِفْتُمُوهُمْ وَأَخْرِجُوهُم مِّنْ حَيْثُ أَخْرَجُوكُمْ ۚ وَالْفِتْنَةُ أَشَدُّ مِنَ الْقَتْلِ ۚ وَلَا تُقَاتِلُوهُمْ عِندَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ حَتَّىٰ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِيهِ ۖ فَإِن قَاتَلُوكُمْ فَاقْتُلُوهُمْ ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ جَزَاءُ الْكَافِرِينَ
And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.

Al-Baqarah 2:192
فَإِنِ انتَهَوْا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
And if they cease, then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.

Al-Baqarah 2:193
وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّىٰ لَا تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ لِلَّهِ ۖ فَإِنِ انتَهَوْا فَلَا عُدْوَانَ إِلَّا عَلَى الظَّالِمِينَ
Fight them until there is no [more] fitnah and [until] worship is [acknowledged to be] for Allah. But if they cease, then there is to be no aggression except against the oppressors.

If you read verse 2:191 within its context, you will see that it is about self-defense. Muslims are allowed to fight those who attack them, but while doing so, they must not transgress the limits set by Allah. More importantly, when the aggressors cease their attack, Muslims must also cease.

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