Apartheid Lives!

 

As part of the South African leg of the 2012 Israeli Apartheid Week, the film “Roadmap to Apartheid” is currently being screened in different parts of the country. The film explores, in detail, the apartheid comparison as it is used in the enduring Israel-Palestine conflict. As much a historical document of the rise and fall of apartheid in South Africa, the film shows why many Palestinians feel they are living in an apartheid system today – under Israeli occupation, and why an increasing number of people around the world agree with them. It features interviews with South Africans, Israelis and Palestinians, and the film winds its way through the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and inside Israel moving from town to town and issue to issue to show why the apartheid analogy is being used with increasing potency. It analyses the similar historical narratives of the Jewish people and the Afrikaaners, the tight relationship the two governments shared during the apartheid years, and everything in between.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has seen the film, and commented: “Roadmap to Apartheid is very powerful and compelling, and the visuals of house demolitions are appalling.  Religion is repeatedly misused by politicians. One of the lessons of Jewish history is that God is always on the side of the oppressed.  Another is that those who dehumanise others dehumanise themselves.  Israelis will pay a heavy price for their callous mistreatment of Palestinians.”

It’s a must-see for all who feel strongly about justice in the world, and especially South Africans – who know very well the experience of such a cruel and divisive system.

You can view the trailer here, and if you’re in SA, there are still a few screenings remaining in the country:

Cape Town
Sunday, 11 March @ 14h30 (Joseph Stone Auditorium, Klipfontein Road, Athlone)

Durban
Thursday, 08 March @ 19h30 (Factory Cafe, 369 Magwaza Maphalala Street (Gale Street), Glenwood)
Sunday, 11 March @ 14h00 (Al Ansaar Hall, West Road, Overport, Durban)

Pretoria
Thursday, 08 March @ 13h30 (L2-69, Graduate Centre, University of Pretoria)

Click here for details of screenings in Soweto, Modimolle/Nylstroom, Ermelo, and Polokwane; and here for details of further events around the country for this cause, including a panel discussion with cartoonist Zapiro, Professor Allan Boesak, Ronnie Kasrils on Thursday evening.

Other important documentaries and resources on the subject are:

With all the war talk about an Israeli attack on Iran, let’s not forget about the silent war that happens each and every day in the occupied territories.

Look beyond the political rhetoric, and think about the people that are suffering as a result of this absurd, inhumane occupation – and imagine what it would be like if you or your family were the victims.

It’s through ventures like this 2012 campaign that the reality of the situation can be exposed, and more and more people are awoken to the shocking truth of just what is going on.

Until November…

As mentioned in my last post, I’ll be going for Hajj very soon insha-Allah. And that means that I won’t be posting until at least late November. So until then, I wanted to leave you with something that I hope would be of benefit.

Many of you may not be fortunate enough to go on Hajj this year, but it’s an event that encompasses the entire Ummah – even those who aren’t there. Actually, more people DON’T go than those that do – since, mathematically, we’re over a billion strong in numbers, but only 3 to 5 million make it for Hajj each year.

So, to get you in the spirit, and also hopefully inspire you to make the best use of these coming days, I’d like to share with you the following:

  • Articles:
    • Shaykh Yaser Birjas – The Ten Days of Dhul Hijjah (link here)
    • Compilation – Learning more about Eid ul Adha (link here)
  • Audios: Shaykh Hussain Abdul Sattar
    • The Month of Dhul Hijjah –(Download | 34 minutes)
    • Learning from the Days of Hajj (Download | 11 minutes)

Remember that these are the best 10 days of the Islamic year (“There are no days during which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days…” – related by Bukhari and Tirmidhi) – so take advantage of them to boost your spirituality and draw closer to Allah. (For tips on how to do that, see the Yaser Birjas article referenced above).

Maybe you’ve slipped since Ramadan ended, or maybe you’ve maintained a steady level of consistency. But whatever the case, these coming days gives you the amazing chance to step up and recapture, in some way, the dedication and striving that Ramadan brought.

Again, thank you for reading. And do come back to visit in a few months. I hope to return to this blog in a few months with some pictures and other good things, insha-Allah.

Appreciating Ramadan

Many of us take this month for granted – the fact that we can fast (as we’ve been commanded to do), perform taraweeh, and do all the other, communal things that come packaged with this ‘month of the ummah’.

But while we have it easy – while we have this freedom – our brothers and sisters in some places are being subjected to tremendous oppression – in that they are actively discouraged, or even banned, from fulfilling these great Ramadan activities.

 

Tajikstan
For example, take the Muslim majority country of Tajikstan – whose secular government has banned Muslim youth from the masajid. This legacy of the country’s former Soviet rulers – who banned and punished the practicing of religion – also includes the government imposing sermons on imams to deliver at mosques – publishing a collection of 52 sermons that must be preached during the weekly Friday prayers. Additionally, a government campaign includs the arrest of men with beards, and ordering them to shave. All this in the name of countering “religious extremism”. For more info on the Tajikstan situation, see this article.

 

Xinjiang
Another example is the plight of the Uighur Muslims in the Chinese region of Xinjiang. Chinese Muslims already face severe restrictions, but Muslim members of the government throughout Xinjiang must sign “letters of responsibility” promising to avoid fasting, taraweeh, and other religious activities. The Communist government says “Party members are not allowed to fast for Ramadan, and neither are civil servants.” Other individuals are allowed – as it’s a “traditional ethnic custom” – according to the government – but they aren’t allowed to hold any religious activities during Ramadan.

With regard to Muslims working for private companies, while there isn’t an outright ban, there are still consequences. Uighur Muslim employees are offered lunches during fasting hours; and anyone who refuses to eat could lose their annual bonus, or even their job – according to one account.

And schoolkids and the youth are also not free. Officials target Muslim schoolchildren, providing them with free lunches during the fasting period. Another report, from an Uighur resident ofBeijing, said that students under 18 are forbidden from fasting during Ramadan.

For more info on the Uighur situation, see this article.

 

These are just two examples of political oppression – but there may be others. And in addition, there are Muslims in other places that are being deprived of a ‘normal’ (in our sense) Ramadan by other issues – poverty, famine, war, and more.

So while we enjoy our Ramadan and attempt to draw closer to Allah through fasting, taraweeh, and everything good that the month brings, let’s stop to feel the pain, try to help, and at least make dua for our suffering brothers and sisters in other parts of the world.

And let’s appreciate the religious freedom we have, while we have it. Because if we don’t, we may lose it, and then we’ll look back to these times of freedom with fondness and longing – but without the ability to practice and enjoy our religion the way we are able to right now.

Ramadan 2011 with Mufti Ismail Menk

I hope everyone’s having an awesome Ramadan so far. Ramadan in South Africa usually means that our esteemed guest, Mufti Ismail Menk (from Zimbabwe) performs taraweeh in one of our cities – each night following the salaah with a talk based on some aspect of the Quran.

This year, he’s in Cape Town – at Zeenatul Islam (Muir Street – District Six), and the talks are about the stories of the Prophets (peace be upon them all).

Cape Town radio station Voice of the Cape is broadcasting the taraweeh and lectures this week; and I think Channel Islam International also broadcasts it every night (not sure though). For those who can’t pick up those stations, click on the links and they both have audio streaming via the Internet.

You can find the videos of these inspirational talks – updated regularly – on YouTube. And for those interested in downloading the talks, you can find days 1 to 5 at:

http://www.salaahtimes.co.za/download/

This site is updating it regularly, so they’ll hopefully keep adding more until the month is done. I’m aware that at least some of the audios on that site have a problem – with sound in one channel only. For an alternative, which might be better, try this link.

Note that Mufti Menk does allow his talks to be downloaded for free from the Internet – just as long as you don’t alter them. (And also don’t try to make a profit from them!)
For those who prefer / want rough transcripts of the talk, Du’aa a Day on Facebook is publishing daily / regular transcripts. And for those without Facebook (perhaps better to keep off it this month for some of us 😉 – Muslimah (Life)Style is posting the transcripts on their site.

For older lectures by him, visit www.muftimenk.co.za– which has the complete sets of most of his South African Ramadan talks for the last few years.

Feel free to pass this message on to anyone that’s interested. Many, many, South Africans benefit from these lessons each year – and even though we can listen to / see / read it at any time of the year; Ramadan is a time when our hearts are much more open and accepting of these beautiful advices – so take advantage of them now, while you’re in these blessed moments.

Hajj 1432 / 2011

For those South Africans hoping to go next year, you can begin the process already – by registering with SAHUC online:

http://www.sahuchajjregistry.org.za/public/Main/Home.aspx

On the registration page, choose the year 1432.

Registration opened Friday, 29th October 2010 – and the sooner you put your name down, the better.