Thursday, December 2, 2010

The truth Behind the Traditions of Christmas.

Commemorating Jesus’ birth ?

Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary as a fulfillment of the Old Testament's Messianic prophecy. The Bible contains two differing accounts which describe the events surrounding Jesus' birth.These biblical accounts are found in the Gospel of Matthew, namely Matthew 1:18, and the Gospel of Luke, specifically Luke 1:26 and 2:40. According to these accounts, Jesus was born to Mary, assisted by her husband Joseph, in the city of Bethlehem.


Although nominally a Christian holiday, Christmas is also widely celebrated by many non-Christians and many of its popular celebratory customs have pre-Christian or secular themes and origins. Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift-giving, music, an exchange of greeting cards, church celebrations, a special meal, and the display of various decorations; including Christmas trees, lights, garlands, mistletoe, nativity scenes, and holly. In addition, several similar mythological figures, known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas and Santa Claus among other names, are associated with bringing gifts to children during the Christmas season.

Because gift-giving and many other aspects of the Christmas festival involve heightened economic activity among both Christians and non-Christians, the holiday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses.
The economic impact of Christmas is a factor that has grown steadily over the past few centuries in many regions of the world.
The religion and the birth of Christ has almost taking a back site to Santa Clause and Presents. Children now associate Christmas to holiday, family and lots and lots of present.


Did you know that most of Christmas tradition are originated in Scandinavia by the Norseman? That most of the tradition we are so familiar today are from pagan gods rituels? for example; the tradition of burning a single log for 12 days was to celebrating a Sex God during the month of December... Watch this brief documentary... Next Christmas party I bet! you will be the center of attention with these interesting anecdotes.


The Thruth Behing the Christimas Traditions.
1 of 3

2 of 3

3 of 3

Thank you


What is you opinion now... on Christmas?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pilgrimage to Mecca 2010. (1 of the 5 pillars of Islam.)

Dreamhost deal
"To learn about a religion is to understand its people"
Hajj (Arabic: حجḤajj) is the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia
It is currently the largest annual pilgrimage in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so.
The Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to God (Allah in the Arabic language).
The pilgrimage occurs from the 8th to 12th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th and last month of the Islamic calendar. Because the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, eleven days shorter than the Gregorian calendarIhram is the name given to the special state in which Muslims live whilst on the pilgrimage. used in the Western world, the Gregorian date of the Hajj changes from year to year.
The Hajj is associated with the life of Islamic prophet Muhammad from the 7th century, but the ritual of pilgrimage to Mecca is considered by Muslims to stretch back thousands of years to the time of AbrahamIbrahim). Pilgrims join processions of hundreds of thousands of people, who simultaneously converge on Mecca for the week of the Hajj, and perform a series of rituals: (
  1. Each person walks counter-clockwise seven times about the Kaaba, the cube-shaped building which acts as the Muslim direction of prayer,
  2. Runs back and forth between the hills of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah.
  3. Drink from the Zamzam Well.
  4. Stan vigil on the plains of Mount Arafat..
  5. Throw stones in a ritual Stoning of the Devil.
  6. The pilgrims then shave their heads, perform a ritual of animal sacrifice, and celebrate the three day global festival of Eid al-Adha.
As of 2009, about two million pilgrims participate in this annual pilgrimage.crowd-control techniques have become critical, and because of the large numbers of people, many of the rituals have become more stylized. It is not necessary to kiss the Black Stone, but merely to point at it on each circuit around the Kaaba. Throwing pebbles was done at large pillars, which for safety reasons in 2004 were changed to long walls with catch basins below to catch the stones. The slaughter of an animal can be done either personally, or by appointing someone else to do it, and so forth. But even with the crowd control techniques, there are still many incidents during the Hajj, as pilgrims are trampled in, crush or ramps collapse under the weight of the many visitors, causing hundreds of deaths. Pilgrims can also go to Mecca to perform the rituals at other times of the year. This is sometimes called the "lesser pilgrimage", or Umrah. However, even if one chooses to perform the Umrah, they are still obligated to perform the Hajj at some other point in their lifetime if they have the means to do so.

Hajj 2010

Yesterday marked the start of the Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Press Agency said that a record number of Muslims were expected to make the Hajj this year - over 3.4 million anticipated over the five days of the pilgrimage.
More than two-and-a-half million Muslims are traveling to Saudi Arabia this week for Hajj. This is the biggest gathering of people anywhere, and it will be bigger than ever this year. Even in the world's richest oil company, that much tourism has an economic impact. In 2010 tourism is expected to generate $17.6 billion -- nearly 4 percent of the Kingdom's GDP.
Contractors are also cashing in on the pilgrimage, including a projected $40 billion investment in hotels and accommodations and a $5.3 billion rail deal with China.
  
Ask yourself:
  • What do you know about Islam?
  • Are the broadcast of national media your only knowledge of Islam?
  • Are you scared of Islam or Muslims?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

2012 Mayan Calendar 'Doomsday' Date Might Be Wrong

 This article should get some of us a little more rational when it comes to the big hype about 2012, Planet X, Doomsday...  been rational is the hardest thing to do when overcome with extreme feelings of fear, despair or even rapture. So just for a moment open your mind to the idea that it could all be a a spook and we will all laugh about it on December 22, 2012. Other wise would you want to be the one to clean up the mess that doomsday will leave behind?

Would you want to survive Doomsday?
Leave your comment:

The Mayans Never Predicted Doomsday

Before we continue, it's worth emphasizing that this mesoamerican calendar (as used by several cultures -- including the Maya -- in Central and South America before European colonization) does not predict an apocalypse. It never did, despite what the movie "2012" told us
The Mayan civilization existed from 250-900 A.D. in the current geographical location of southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and some of Honduras. Archaeologists studying this fascinating culture have been able to decipher their many calendars, but their longest period calendar -- the "Long Count" -- is what set alarm bells off in the fertile minds of a few conspiracy theorists, doomsayers and guys looking to make a fast buck.
So, where's the problem?
The Long Count was used by the Maya to document past and future events. Their other calendars were simply too short to document any date beyond 52 years. The 52-year calendar -- known as the "Calendar Round" -- was used as it spans a generation, or the approximate lifetime of an individual.
Using the Calendar Round meant that events in a person's life could be chronicled over 52 years -- or 52 "Haab's," spanning 18,980 unique days. But what if the Maya wanted to keep note of a historical event that occurred more than 52 years ago? Or perhaps mark a date more than 52 years into the future?


It's Just a Numerical Coincidence
Using remarkable ingenuity, the Maya created the "Long Count" calendar, a departure from the shorter calendars. The Long Count is a numerically predictable calendar, not based on archaic measures of time.
Now, purely as a consequence of the Long Count's numerical value, many Mayan scholars agree that the calendar will "run out" after 5,126 years (or, at least, it's first cycle does). The Mayans set this calendar to begin in the year 3114 B.C. (according to our modern Gregorian calendar). If the Long Count began in 3114 B.C. and it's calculated to continue for 5126 years, the "end date" will be -- you guessed it -- 2012 A.D. Further refinement sets the date to Dec. 21, the day of the winter solstice for the Northern Hemisphere.


Correlating Calendars
A huge issue when studying ancient calendars comes when trying to correlate their time frames with our modern (Gregorian) calendar. After all, for archaeologists to work out when a big event is documented in the Mayan calendar (such as a war, famine or religious celebration), it needs to be translated into "our" years, months and days.
As the Gregorian calendar began 2010 years ago, we have a standard time line for over two millennia of historical events. But to understand the events documented by the fallen culture, Mayan scholars needed to find significant events common in both the Gregorian and Long Count calendars so they can "correlate."
To do this, most Mayan scholars use a well-respected correlation factor called the "GMT constant." GMT stands for the initials of the last names of the archaeologists who calculated the constant: Joseph Goodman, Juan Martinez-Hernandez and J. Eric S. Thompson.
But Gerardo Aldana of UC Santa Barbara is now questioning the validity of this correlation factor due to a possible misidentification of ancient astronomical events in a new book called "Calendars and Years II: Astronomy and Time in the Ancient and Medieval World."
The Maya were highly skilled astronomers who kept meticulous records of the night sky. They documented the phases of the moon, recorded eclipses and even tracked the movement of Venus. In fact, the Venus cycle was an important calendar for the Maya. Their records enabled them to predict future astronomical cycles with great accuracy.


Venus or a Meteor?
Although GMT uses several sources of astronomical, archaeological and historical evidence to correlate the Long Count with our modern calendar, Aldana has cast doubt on the accuracy of some of the astronomical evidence interpreted from ancient Mayan artifacts and colonial texts.
One of the key events described by Aldana is a battle date as set by the ruler of Dos Pilas (a Maya site in the current geographical location of Guatemala). Ruler Balaj Chan K’awiil chose this date by the appearance of Chak Ek'. According to Johan Normark, researcher at the Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies at Stockholm University, Chak Ek' "used to be believed to be Venus but in another study Aldana believes it is a [meteor]."


If this is the case, there's a correlation mismatch. If an event is assumed to be correlated with the rising of Venus (a predictable, cyclical occurrence), but it's actually correlated with a random event such as a meteorite, then we have a problem.
Add this to a mismatch of solar calendar dates between Mayan sites and the end date of Dec. 21, 2012 could be at least 60 days out.
Aldana presents several reasons why the GMT constant may not be reliable, and he's not the first to do so, but he does admit that it is widely accepted by the majority of researchers. A lot more work (such as supportive radiocarbon dating) therefore needs to be done before his findings can be corroborated.
This is a fascinating area of work, but it is overshadowed by the inane ramblings of doomsday advocates who have their sights set on the world ending on Dec. 21, 2012. Alas, I doubt that even if this infamous Mayan calendar end date was proven to be inaccurate, doomsayers will ignore this fact.
After all, proving that the world isn't going to end is bad for business if you have a doomsday book to sell.

Analysis by Ian O'Neill Mon Oct 18, 2010 01:31 PM ET
Sources: UC Santa Barbara, Archaeological Haecceities (Johan Normark's blog)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Halloween its Pagean Origin.



I would like to share this documentary with you.
I like reading but this topic is much more interesting visualized. 
Booo... Whaooo...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Reconsider Columbus Day.


1492 Christopher Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue...
Christopher Columbus was a man of his times, like  all settlers he was looking to make money, and slavery was one way....
In 1485 the inquisition was at its pinnacle, Spain was ruled by the Catholic King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. When Columbus approached the queen and king of Spain he already was a middle age man. He dreamed of a great voyage over sea and bring back gold, spices and slaves like Marco Polo and others have done over land and like them receive in return great wealth, honor and titles.


Quick Facts
  1. Christopher Columbus was a brilliant navigator.
  2. Christopher Columbus never set foot on mainland North America. The closest he got was one of the islands in the present day Bahamas.
  3. Columbus did not have any women on his first two voyages. In 1498, Columbus recruited one woman for every ten men on his third voyage.
  4. Neither Columbus nor the Vikings discovered the "New World" as it was settled by people centuries before them.
  5. Christopher Columbus’ name is not Christopher Columbus. It is Chrisoffa Corombo. Christopher Columbus is the English translation of sorts.
  6. The Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria were not the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. Well, the Pinta was but the Nina was a nickname for the Santa Clara and the Santa Maria was known as the Gallega.
  7. While Columbus is considered a hero in the U.S., Spain and Italy, he was not well-known during his life.
  8. Christopher Columbus never actually set foot on U.S. soil. He landed on an island in the Bahamas.
  9. Columbus began sailing at the age of 14.
  10. It was not Columbus’ idea to sail across the ocean. It was his brother, Bartholomew’s idea.
  11. Columbus had 23 people testify against him, charging him with atrocities and cruelty, while he was governor of the colony Hispaniola.
  12. Columbus was an opium addict, the same drug used in producing modern-day heroin.
  13. There is genetic evidence that Columbus and his men brought the sexually transmitted disease Syphilis to Europe.
  14. No one knows what Columbus really looked like. Paintings depicting Columbus are not based on his actual looks.
Then let me ask why a man who massacred millions of man, woman,children, old and young Indians for greed is today revered as a hero?. So please learn the truth and reconsider Columbus day.



Sunday, October 3, 2010

Guantanamo - Guidebook.

How can we ever be the leader of the civilize world when our government act like the government we sanction for their Human Right Violation.
British Channel 4 engaged the Team Delta Cadre to recreate the Guantanamo Bay interrogation experience.
At the production company’s request, along with Team Delta’s normal approach to interrogation, the cadre also reenacted several specific events reported to have occurred at Guantanamo.

In most cases these reenacted events were counter productive to the interrogation plan developed by Team Delta – a plan that had learned 80% of the requested intelligence within the first few hours of capture.
Prisoner 73 on his experience:
Total deprivation of sleep, food and water.
Exposure to extreme heat and cold.
Up to 20 minutes in stress positions.
Up to 2 hours listening to white noise…
Plus any other interrogation technique deemed acceptable by the interrogation team’ By any standards the waiver I signed for “Guantanamo Guidebook” was special, and two weeks later when I was lying naked, shaved, shackled in a ball on the floor, alone with a hood over my head, listening to white noise with a cold fan at my back, I realized just how superficial the term ‘informed consent’ can be.
"Two weeks earlier I had received an e-mail looking for students who would be willing to participate in a Channel Four documentary investigating US interrogation practices for Terror detainees held in Cuba.
I was to be one of seven male volunteers from various backgrounds – three Muslims: a father of two, a youth worker, and a recent graduate; plus Britain’s fittest Fireman, a triathlete, Britain’s Thai Kickboxing Champion and me, a plucky Oxford undergraduate finalist in philosophy and politics.
The test was to see how we fared in a simulation of up to 60 hours under a team of retired US army interrogators, led by a founding member of Delta Force, who used the techniques officially sanctioned for Guantanamo detainees to extract information about us and make us confess to the scenarios we had acted out with the production company the week before. We were to withhold information and endure."
Watch the full documentary now (playlist). Alternative link at Google.
Warning-Might be graphic: Human torture experiment on voluntary citizen.
 
Leave your comment...

Friday, July 2, 2010

POST CARD FROM HELL

The world most Failed States.  "Somalia"



For the last half-decade, the Fund for Peace, working with Foreign Policy, has been putting together the Failed States Index, using a battery of indicators to determine how stable -- or unstable -- a country is. But as the photos here demonstrate, sometimes the best test is the simplest one: You'll only know a failed state when you see it.
1. SOMALIA
FSI score: 114.3 (out of 120)
Somalia has topped the Failed States Index for the last three years -- a testament not only to the depth of the country's long-running political and humanitarian disaster, but also, as James Traub writes, to the international community's inability to find an answer. After two decades of chaos, the country is today largely under the control of Islamist militant groups, the most notorious and powerful of which is al-Shabab. A second faction, Hizbul Islam, rivals the former in brutality -- it recently executed two Somalis for the crime of watching the World Cup. Off the coast, pirates such as the men pictured here torment passing ships, often holding them hostage for a high price. In 2009, Somali pirates earned an estimated $89 million in ransom payments.

Why Somalia Matters

The “Black Hawk Down” battle of 1993 didn’t end U.S. involvement in Somalia. Far from it. In recent years, America has quietly fought a proxy war there in the name of anti-terrorism. The results have been dismal: insurgency, bloodshed, pirates.

Aside from the humanitarian suffering—thousands killed in Mogadishu’s fighting this past year, four million hungry—it is time we woke up to what else is unfolding in Somalia. The world allowed Afghanistan to fester in brutal isolation until 2001, and look what came to pass. In Somalia, organized crime and Islamist extremism have been incubating for years. Now they threaten to metastasize globally, Afghanistan-style. George W. Bush’s policies in Africa’s Horn have been disastrous. But events on the ground provide the U.S. president-elect, Barack Obama, with fresh opportunities.

When Somalia collapsed, in 1991, the end of the Cold War left it awash in weaponry, but strategically it was devalued real estate. Things degenerated into tribal bloodletting. A friend in Mogadishu called it “geno-suicide,” but since it had no impact on Western interests, nobody lifted a finger to help. Then 300,000 children starved to death. Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton sent troops to rescue and feed famine victims. Those troops were swiftly sucked into a feud with warlord militias that culminated in the 1993 battle described by Mark Bowden in his book Black Hawk Down: two American helicopters were shot down, 18 soldiers were killed, and at least one of the dead Americans was dragged through the streets by angry mobs. After that, nation-building efforts were abandoned. Somalia was so unimportant that, after the Americans left, C.I.A. files were discovered dumped in the Mogadishu airport’s departure lounge.

Even the bombing of U.S. embassies in East Africa by a Somalia-based al-Qaeda cell failed to revive America’s interest. By 9/11, the U.S. had such inadequate intelligence and policy resources that it was forced to rely on regional ally Ethiopia for an off-the-peg strategy. A series of misadventures followed, culminating in a rogue C.I.A. effort to bolster the power of bloodthirsty warlords in Mogadishu simply because they were “anti-terrorist.” Henceforth, America’s objectives in Somalia—a country of 9.5 million—were to be framed around the hunt for the East African embassy bombers, a handful of individuals.
Horrified, the local citizenry backed a takeover of Mogadishu, in mid-2006, by Islamists with a Taliban-like vanguard force known as Al-Shabaab (the Youth). The militants ruled for six months, and I saw them stamp out rampant crime, including piracy. They opened trade routes and revived the economy. Diaspora Somalis returned in droves. Somalis are generally moderate Muslims. Ordinary folk swiftly became disillusioned by puritanical bans on music, World Cup football matches on TV, dancing at weddings—even cell-phone ringtones that were “un-Islamic.” What I witnessed in Mogadishu suggested that Somalis were moving toward a rejection of extremism. But just as that process was advancing, Jendayi Fraser, the U.S. State Department’s top official for Africa, claimed that Somalia’s Islamists were “controlled by al-Qaeda,” and ruled out negotiations.
Already involved in Iraq and Afghanistan, America chose to pursue a proxy war in Africa’s Horn. When U.S.-backed Ethiopian forces invaded Mogadishu, two years ago, they immediately sparked a vicious insurgency. Fighting has since claimed more than 10,000 civilian lives. The already war-damaged capital has been reduced to ruins. Most of the city’s one million citizens have fled to refugee camps. U.S. air strikes have killed perhaps two high-value terrorist targets while swelling the insurgent ranks with a new generation of Somali militants.
On the ground, reports abound that foreign jihadis from Pakistan and Iraq are also pouring into Somalia. They have imported the faddish technology of jihad—I.E.D.’s, suicide bombers, even the decapitation of hostages on video. A small gang of fugitive, Somalia-based al-Qaeda operatives has expanded into an army. The very nightmare Washington sought to avoid has become reality.
Bizarrely, al-Shabaab militants are the only forces in Somalia that have vowed to stamp out piracy. The Western-backed government of President Abdullahi Yusuf claims it can do little—but that is because our “allies” have links to the pirates themselves through their clans. Ministers, former police chiefs, and mayors from among the president’s clans are the pirates’ godfathers and investors. In some ports, pirates pay the salaries of police forces who were formerly trained and equipped with Western funds.
Piracy on the high seas simply reflects what happens on dry land. In Mogadishu earlier this year I found a Western-supported government that was rotten to the core. Victims claimed that instead of arresting terrorists, the intelligence services held civilians in dungeons and extorted ransoms from their families. The police did the same, with senior officers behaving like warlords. Government and insurgent forces traded heavy artillery fire in civilian districts with devastating consequences. Humanitarian-aid supplies were pillaged. Incredibly, I discovered that leaders on both sides in this conflict migrate between the killing fields of Somalia and Western countries. The reason: they hold European Union or U.S. passports. Increasingly, so do the pirates.
Al Shabaab militants who have seized much of southern Somalia are now on the brink of overwhelming Mogadishu. Ethiopian forces are edging toward withdrawal, together with a beleaguered force of African peacekeepers. If the jihadi militants succeed in Mogadishu, it will be the first time an al-Qaeda ally has controlled a country since the Taliban in Afghanistan before 2001. This time, their foreign agenda could be both more organized and more aggressive against the outside world. More moderate factions among Islamists and in President Abdullahi Yusuf’s government could still reach a compromise—excluding both al-Qaeda cohorts and Western-backed gangsters. Negotiations between the moderates are ongoing.
That process attracts scant international interest, but it provides an opportunity for incoming President Obama and his chosen secretary of state, Hillary Clinton. For seven years, the Bush administration has exacerbated conflict in Somalia by focusing on anti-terror operations to the detriment of diplomatic and humanitarian concerns. This strategy has failed, leaving Somalia severely traumatized. The road to recovery is fraught with peril, but now is the time for a more balanced, humane policy. This means investing resources in Somali-led peace initiatives rather than in ones imposed from abroad. There is no real international appetite for a peacekeeping military intervention on the scale needed, and, based on earlier failures, it might not even be wise to pursue such a course. That leaves diplomacy. Ultimately, the only way to prevent Somalia from becoming a home to terrorists is to restore the rule of law.
We must try, however long it takes. Pretending Somalia doesn’t exist is no longer an option.

Article courtesy of  Aidan Hartley  columnist for The Spectator and the author of The Zanzibar Chest, a best-selling book about his experiences covering African conflicts for Reuters. He lives in Kenya.


 


Saturday, June 12, 2010

What do you know about Islam?


Yesterday six millions of Jewish, Tomorrow ... millions of Muslim.
All through history we the use of targeted propaganda by politician and leaders are used to manipulate the masses, to vilify and demonize a segment of the population.  Today with the use of global technology again propaganda are spearheading and invisible agenda. Vilifying Islam and it people, demonize it to justify a genocide. In the United States the general population are media and technology junkies, views are like lobotomized, robotized souls brainwashed to behave and think as we are told and should to fit in.  Our freewill is just an illusion. Can you be part of this society without a credit card? a credit score? ... Why are we so easily sawed to condemn an entire Religion because of the action of a few fanatics, Nationalists an extremist Muslim?  are the Crusade, the inquisition,the KKK are a representation of Christianity? Educate yourself, yesterday it was six millions of Jewish, is tomorrow ... millions of Muslim?
"Education is not the answer to the question. Education is the means to the answer to all questions."
-- William Allin 
 

Author: Laura Cosse
About the Author
Laura Cosse' converted to Islam in 1996.  She is the author of several Islamic children’s books and currently resides in Virginia Beach, VA with her husband and twin sons, Muhammad and Hamza.  For more info and articles please visit www.AdvocateIslam.com





Was Islam Spread by the Sword?


    The idea of Islam being spread by the sword is one of the most common misconceptions among both the Muslims and non-Muslims.  Many non-Muslims have written untold volumes of anti-Islamic literature propagating the fallacy of Muslims holding swords above the heads of Christians and forcing them to convert to Islam.  This is total nonsense.  On the other hand we have some Muslim apologists who, in their great fervor to defend Islam and portray it as the peaceful religion it is, seem reluctant to admit that Muslims did indeed fight wars to expand their territories.  So what is the truth of the situation?  I would like to begin our quest for the truth on this matter by quoting the Qur’an, the literal word of God and the primary source for Islam:  “Say the truth from your Lord, then let whomsoever wills believe and let whomsoever wills reject.” 18:29

   Let’s start with the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and look at his example.  He did preach Islam peacefully in Mecca for 13 years without once raising a finger against his enemies even though he and his followers were harshly persecuted, tortured, mocked and sometimes murdered.  The first wars with Mecca did not occur until after the hijra to Medina, and those battles were defensive against Abu Sufyan and his amassed troops.  After the Treaty of Hudaybiyya, the peace treaty between the Muslims and the Meccans, was unilaterally broken by the Meccans, the Muslims conquered Mecca without any bloodshed.  Tribal customs would dictate that the Meccans should then be slaughtered for their transgressions against the victorious Muslims, and indeed the Meccans anticipated this, but Muhammad (PBUH) granted them amnesty on the condition that they cease fighting the Muslims.  This was a beautiful act of mercy which led to the majority of Meccans choosing to convert to Islam, though no person was ever forced to do so.

  
What is conversion to Islam?  Converting to Islam is something that has to be done by choice, it is something that you believe in your heart, that there is only one God and that Muhammad is His prophet and messenger.  Words without belief are meaningless.  Of course God alone knows what is in each and every person’s heart, so you won’t be able to fool God by meaningless lip service to Islam, and religion is solely for God and the benefit of the individual.  So, forced conversion is impossible.  The Qur’an attests to this fact in 2:256 where it states:  “There is no compulsion in religion.”


So how did Islam spread so rapidly across North Africa to the Iberian Peninsula and east across India and Central Asia all the way to Southeast Asia?  Primarily it spread by trade.  Very often while Muslim merchants were traveling abroad they would impress the people they did business with by their honesty and integrity, so much so that those people would ask questions, learn about Islam, and eventually choose to convert. 


However, there were indeed wars as well, most of which were in the times of the first four caliphs.  The prophet Muhammad advised his armies of how to approach the non-Muslim governments, he told his armies to call them first to Islam, and if they accept it then leave them alone.  If they reject Islam, call on them to submit to the Muslim government and pay the jizyah tax, a poll tax paid by non-Muslims to the Muslim government for their protection and upkeep of the lands and buildings.  If they refused both of those options, then they were to fight.  But, the fighting itself had many rules, it wasn’t just a bloodbath, free-for-all like we’ve seen in other times, for instance by the Mongols and the Christian Crusaders, rather it was warfare waged only against the armies themselves.  It was forbidden to fight civilians and it was forbidden to destroy their agriculture and means of livelihood.  There was no raping, pillaging and plundering by the Muslim armies; they fought only the armies sent out by the government until they surrendered and left the innocent civilians alone.


There are numerous hadiths of the prophet (PBUH) where he clearly distinguishes between the combatants and the non-combatants.  In a hadith related by Abu Dawud he said, “Do no kill any old person, any child, or any woman,” and he said, “Do no kill people sitting in places of worship.”  Abu Bakr, the first Caliph, gave detailed instructions to his army heading for Syria based on his knowledge of Qur’an and hadiths:


“Stop, O people, that I may give you ten rules for your guidance in the battlefield. Do not commit treachery or deviate from the right path. You must not mutilate dead bodies. Neither kill a child, nor a woman, nor an aged man. Bring no harm to the trees, nor burn them with fire, especially those which are fruitful. Slay not any of the enemy's flock, save for your food. You are likely to pass by people who have devoted their lives to monastic services; leave them alone.”


Once a government had fallen into the hands of the Muslims, the citizens paid a poll tax and were free to practice any religion they chose. Christianity and Judaism flourished under Islamic rule since the Muslims protected their churches and synagogues and other holy places, even though they had the power to wipe them out if they had so chosen.  Perhaps the most amazing law of all is that if a Christian or a Jew committed a crime and was found guilty, they were tried by their own courts and punished by their own laws, not by the courts and laws of the Muslims.  Can you imagine in America today a Muslim being tried in an Islamic court rather than the American system?  This was truly progressive governing.


Many of the citizens welcomed the Muslims as their rulers and viewed them as liberators who had rescued them from oppressive kingships, granting them their basic human rights and so much more.  Many of the citizens of a conquered land would choose to embrace Islam once they came in contact with the Muslims, and Islam did spread rapidly through these acquired lands.  But, individuals were never forced to convert to Islam.


The proof that individuals were not and are not forced to convert to Islam is in the facts of populations.  In Egypt there are over 14 million Coptic Christians, in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and all the other lands ruled by Muslims there have continuously been large populations of Christians and Jews.  Muslims ruled over Spain for more than 800 years, yet the Christian and Jewish populations have thrived throughout that time.  There are over 450 million Muslims in Indonesia today but there was no war by Muslims that brought the religion there, it was only merchants.  And, perhaps the most fascinating, the fastest growing religion in the United States and Europe is Islam.  Are Americans and Europeans being forced to convert?  Of course not, it’s something else.  These people see truth and justice in Islam that they don’t find in any other religion or way of life.  These people choose Islam for themselves, by themselves, just like the Meccans did 1400 years ago.  That is the truth about how Islam has spread throughout the world.


Peace be on you and yours.
Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/religion-articles/islam-101-was-islam-spread-by-the-sword-283817.html
For more info and articles please visit www.AdvocateIslam.com

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Who are the Turks?


(The Göktürk Empire in 600
The name Turk (Chinese: 突厥, pinyin: tū jué; jyutping: duk kyut) was first applied to a clan of tribal chieftains (known as Ashina) who overthrew the ruling Rouran confederency, and founded the nomadic Göktürk Empire ("Celestial Turks").  These nomads roamed in the Altai Mountains (and thus are known as Altaic peoples) in northern Mongolia and on the steppes of Central Asia. The Göktürks were ruled by Khans whose influences extended during the sixth to eighth centuries from the
Aral Sea to the Hindu Kush in the land bridge known as Transoxania. In the eighth century, some Turkic tribes, among them the Oghuz, moved south of the Oxus River, while others migrated west to the northern shore of the Black Sea.
 The name Türk spread as a political designation during the period of Göktürk imperial hegemony to their subject Turkic and non-Turkic peoples. Subsequently, it was adopted as a generic ethnonym designating most if not all of the Turkic-speaking tribes in Central Asia by the Muslim peoples with whom they came into contact. The imperial era also provided a legacy of political and social organisation (with deep roots in pre-Türk Inner Asia) that in its Türk form became the .common inheritance of the Turkic groupings of Central Asia.


( The Seljuk Empire at its zenith upon the death of Malik Shah I in 1092)
The Seljuks (Turkish Selçuklular) were a Turkish tribe from Central Asia. In 1037, they entered Persia and established their first powerful state, called by historians the Empire of the Great Seljuks. They captured Baghdad in 1055 and a relatively small contingent of warriors (around 5,000 by some estimates) moved into eastern Anatolia. In 1071, the Seljuks engaged the armies of the Byzantine Empire at Manzikert (Malazgirt), north of Lake Van. The Byzantines experienced minor casualties despite the fact that Emperor Romanus IV Diogenes was captured. With no potent Byzantine force to stop them, the Seljuks took control of most of Eastern and Central Anatolia. They established their capital at Konya and ruled what would be known as the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum. The success of the Seljuk Turks stimulated a response from Latin Europe in the form of the First Crusade. A counteroffensive launched in 1097 by the Byzantines with the aid of the Crusaders dealt the Seljuks a decisive defeat. Konya fell to the Crusaders, and after a few years of campaigning, Byzantine rule was restored in the western third of Anatolia. Although a Turkish revival in the 1140s nullified much of the Christian gains, greater damage was done to Byzantine security by dynastic strife in Constantinople in which the largely French contingents of the Fourth Crusade and their Venetian allies intervened. In 1204, these Crusaders conquered Constantinople and installed Count Baldwin of Flanders in the Byzantine capital as emperor of the so-called Latin Empire of Constantinople, dismembering the old realm into tributary states where West European feudal institutions were transplanted intact. Independent Greek kingdoms were established at Nicaea (present-day Iznik), Trebizond (present-day Trabzon), and Epirus from remnant Byzantine provinces. Turks allied with Greeks in Anatolia against the Latins, and Greeks with Turks against the Mongols. In 1261, Michael Palaeologus of Nicaea drove the Latins from Constantinople and restored the Byzantine Empire. Seljuk Rum survived in the late 13th century as a vassal state of the Mongols, who had already subjugated the Great Seljuk sultanate at Baghdad. Mongol influence in the region had disappeared by the 1330s, leaving behind gazi emirates competing for supremacy. From the chaotic conditions that prevailed throughout the Middle East, however, a new power was to emerge in Anatolia, the Ottoman Turks.

Anatolian Beyliks (Turkish: Anadolu Beylikleri, Ottoman Turkish: Tevâif-i mülûk) were small Turkish principalities governed by Beys, which were founded across Anatolia at the end of the 11th century. Political unity in Anatolia was disrupted from the time of the collapse of the Anatolia Seljuk State at the beginning of the 14th century, when until the beginning of the 16th century each of the regions in the country fell under the domination of beyliks (principalities). Eventually, the Ottoman principality, which subjugated the other principalities and restored political unity in the larger part of Anatolia, was established in the Eskişehir, BilecikBursa areas. On the other hand, the area in central Anatolia east of the Ankara-Aksaray line as far as the area of Erzurum remained under the administration of the Ilhani General Governor until 1336. The infighting in Ilhan gave the principalities in Anatolia their complete independence. In addition to this, new Turkish principalities were formed in the localities previously under Ilhan occupation. and
During the 14th century, the Turkomans, who made up the western Turks, started to re-establish their previous political sovereignty in the Islamic world. Rapid developments in the Turkish language and culture took place during the time of the Anatolian principalities. In this period, the Turkish language began to be used in the sciences and in literature, and became the official language of the principalities. New medreses were established and progress was made in the medical sciences during this period.Ottoman era
The Ottoman Empire (Old Ottoman Turkish: دولت عالیه عثمانیه Devlet-i Âliye-yi Osmâniyye, Late Ottoman and Modern Turkish: Osmanlı Devleti or Osmanlı İmparatorluğu), was a Turkish state. The state was known as the Turkish Empire or Turkey by its contemporaries.  Starting as a small tribe whose territory bordered on the Byzantine frontier, the Ottoman Turks built an empire that at the height of its power (16th–17th century), spanned three continents, controlling much of Southeastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
As the power of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum weakened in the late 1200s, warrior chieftains claimed the lands of Northwestern Anatolia, along the Byzantine Empire's borders. Ertuğrul gazi ruled the lands around Söğüt, a town between Bursa and Eskisehir. Upon his death in 1281, his son, Osman, from whom the Ottoman dynasty and the Empire took its name, expanded the territory to 16,000 square kilometers. Osman I, who was given the nickname "Kara" (Turkish for black) for his courage, extended the frontiers of Ottoman settlement towards the edge of the Byzantine Empire. He shaped the early political development of the state and moved the Ottoman capital to Bursa


The Ottoman Empire (1299 – 1923)
By 1452 the Ottomans controlled almost all of the former Byzantine lands except Constantinople. On May 29, 1453, Mehmed the Conqueror captured Constantinople after a 53-day siege and proclaimed that the city was now the new capital of his Ottoman Empire. Sultan Mehmet's first duty was to rejuvenate the city economically, creating the Grand Bazaar and inviting the fleeing Orthodox and Catholic inhabitants to return. Captured prisoners were freed to settle in the city whilst provincial governors in Rumelia and Anatolia were ordered to send four thousand families to settle in the city, whether Muslim, Christian or Jew, to form a unique cosmopolitan society.
During the growth of the Ottoman Empire, Selim I extended Ottoman sovereignty southward, conquering Syria, Palestine, and Egypt. He also gained recognition as guardian of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina; he accepted pious the title of The Servant of The Two Holy Shrines.
Suleiman I was known in the West as Suleiman the Magnificent and in the East, as the Lawgiver (in Turkish Kanuni; Arabic: القانونى‎, al‐Qānūnī), for his complete restructuring of the Ottoman legal system. The reign of Suleiman the Magnificent is known as the Ottoman golden age. The brilliance of the Sultan's court and the might of his armies outshone those of England's Henry VIII, France's François I, and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. When Suleiman died in 1566, the Ottoman Empire was a world power. Most of the great cities of Islam (Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem, Damascus, Cairo, Tunis, and Baghdad) were under the sultan's crescent flag. After Suleiman, however, the empire's power gradually diminished due to poor leadership; many successive Sultans largely depended upon their Grand Viziers to run the state affairs.
The Ottoman sultanate lasted for 624 years, but its last three centuries were marked by stagnation and eventual decline. By the 19th century, the Ottomans had fallen well behind the rest of Europe in science, technology, and industry. Reformist Sultans such as Selim III and Mahmud II succeeded in pushing Ottoman bureaucracy, society and culture ahead, but were unable to cure all of the empire's ills. Despite its collapse, the Ottoman empire has left an indelible mark on Turkish culture and architecture. Ottoman culture has given the Turkish people a splendid legacy of art, architecture and domestic refinement, as a visit to Istanbul's Topkapi Palace readily shows.The Republic of Turkey
The Republic of Turkey was born from the disastrous World War I defeat of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman war hero, Mustafa Kemal Pasha (who was later given the surname Atatürk by the Turkish Parliament with the Surname Law of 1934), sailed from Istanbul to Samsun in May 1919 to start the Turkish liberation movement; he organized the remnants of the Ottoman army in Anatolia into an effective fighting force, and rallied the people to the nationalist cause. Under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Pasha, a military commander who had distinguished himself during the Battle of Gallipoli, the Turkish War of Independence was waged with the aim of revoking the terms of the Treaty of Sèvres By 1923 the nationalist government had driven out the invading armies; replaced the Treaty of Sèvres with the Treaty of Lausanne and abolished the Ottoman State; promulgated a republican constitution; and established Turkey's new capital in Ankara
During a meeting in the early days of the new republic, Atatürk proclaimed:
To the women: Win for us the battle of education and you will do yet more for your country than we have been able to do. It is to you that I appeal.
To the men: If henceforward the women do not share in the social life of the nation, we shall never attain to our full development. We shall remain irremediably backward, incapable of treating on equal terms with the civilizations of the West.[80]
—Mustafa Kemal
Chronology of Major Kemalist Reforms:
November 1, 1922 Abolition of the office of the Ottoman Sultan.
October 29, 1923 Proclamation of the Republic of Turkey.
March 3, 1924 Abolition of the office of Caliphate held by the Ottoman Caliphate.
November 25, 1925 Change of headgear and dress
November 30, 1925 Closure of religious convents and dervish lodges.
March 1, 1926 Introduction of the new penal law.
October 4, 1926 Introduction of the new civil code.
November 1, 1928 Adoption of the new Turkish alphabet
June 21, 1934 Law on family names.
November 26, 1934 Abolition of titles and by-names.
December 5, 1934 Full political rights, to vote and be elected, to women.
February 5, 1937 The inclusion of the principle of laïcité in the constitution.
The Kemalist revolution aimed to create a Turkish nation state (Turkish: ulus devlet) on the territory of the former Ottoman Empire that had remained within the boundaries of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. The meaning of Turkishness (Turkish: Türklük) implies a "citizenship" (of the Republic of Turkey) and "cultural identity" (speaking the Turkish language and growing up with the mainstream Turkish culture) rather than an ethno-genetical background. The Turkish-speaking Muslim citizens of the Ottoman Empire had been called "Turks" for centuries by the Europeans, and the Ottoman Empire was alternatively called "Turkey" or the "Turkish Empire" by its contemporaries. However, the Devşirme system and intermarriages with people in the former Ottoman territories of Southeastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa ensured a largely heterogeneous gene pool that makes up the fabric of the present-day Turkish nation. The Turks of today, in short, are the descendants of the Turkish-speaking Muslims in the former Ottoman Empire.
Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code notoriously made it a legal offense to "insult Turkishness" prior to its amendment in 2008.
"Turkishness" (citizenship of Turkey) is the cornerstone of the Republic of Turkey, according to the Turkish Constitution. Kemalist ideology defines the "Turkish people" as "those who protect and promote the moral, spiritual, cultural and humanistic values of the Turkish nation." Kemalist ideology defines the "Turkish nation" as "a nation of Turkish people who always love and seek to exalt their family, country, and nation; who know their duties and responsibilities towards the democratic, secular and social state governed by the rule of law and founded on human rights, and on the tenets laid down in the preamble to the constitution of the Republic of Turkey."
Turkey is the only secular republic with a majority of the population (99%) being Muslim. Turkish law is not based on Islamic law, but is rather a republic modeled after the Swiss and French legal systems.


Ne Mutlu Türküm Diyene (How happy is he/she who calls himself/herself a Turk).
—Mustafa Kemal Atatük

Geographic distribution 

Turks primarily live in Turkey; however, when the borders of the Ottoman Empire became smaller after World War I and the new Turkish Republic was founded, many Turks chose to stay outside of Turkey's borders. Since then, some of them have migrated to Turkey but there are still significant minorities of Turks living in different countries such as in Northern Cyprus (Turkish Cypriots), Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Macedonia, the Dobruja region of Romania, Pakistan, the Sandžak region of Serbia, Kosovo, Syria,India, China, Countries of Central Asia and Iraq.

The three most important Turkish groups are the Anatolian Turks, the Rumelian Turks (primarily immigrants from former Ottoman territories in the Balkans and their descendants), and the Central Asian Turks (Turkic-speaking immigrants from the Caucasus region, southern Russia, and Central Asia and their descendants).

Turks in Turkey
People who identify themselves as ethnic Turks comprise 80-88% of Turkey's population. Regions of Turkeyİstanbul (+12 million), Ankara (+4.4 million), İzmir (+3.7 million), Bursa (+2.4 million), Adana (+2.0 million) and Konya (+1.9 million). with the largest populations are
The biggest city and the pre-Republican capital İstanbul is the financial, economic and cultural heart of the country. Other important cities include İzmir, Bursa, Adana, Trabzon, Malatya, Gaziantep, Erzurum, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Konya, Mersin, Eskişehir, Diyarbakır, Kahramanmaraş, Antalya and Samsun. An estimated 70.5% of the Turkish population live in urban centers. In all, 18 provinces have populations that exceed 1 million inhabitants, and 21 provinces have populations between 1 million and 500,000 inhabitants. Only two provinces have populations less than 100,000.

Turks in Europe  

As a legacy of the Ottoman Turkish Empire, there are significant Turkish minorities in Europe such as the Turks in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Kosovo and the Republic of Macedonia.

The post-World War II migration of Turks to Europe began with ‘guest workers’ who arrived under the terms of a Labour Export Agreement with Germany in October 1961, followed by a similar agreement with the Netherlands, Belgium and Austria in 1964; France in 1965 and Sweden in 1967. As one Turkish observer noted, ‘it has now been over 40 years and a Turk who went to Europe at the age of 25 has nearly reached the age of 70. His children have reached the age of 45 and their children have reached the age of 20’
Due to the high rate of Turks in Europe, the Turkish language is also now home to one of the largest group of pupils after German-speakers, and the largest non-European language (Turkish originated in Asia Minor) spoken in the European Union. Turkish in Germany is often used not only by members of its own community but also by people with a non-Turkish background. Especially in urban areas, it functions as a peer group vernacular for children and adolescents. 

Turk in America
The US Census reported in 2006 that approximately 170,000 Americans identify as having at least partial Turkish ancestry, while the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History states that there is an estimated 500,000 Turks living in the United States; the largest Turkish communities are found in Paterson, New York City (i.e. Brooklyn and Staten Island), Long Island, Cleveland, Chicago, Houston, Miami, Washington D.C. (mostly in Northern Virginia), Boston (esp. the suburb of Watertown), Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Since the 1970s, the number of Turkish immigrants has risen to more than 4,000 per year.
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