“When men cease to be faithful to God, he who expects to find them so to each other will be much disappointed”. Said Bp. Horne
March 19 marks two gloomy anniversaries: the 12th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq and the 5th anniversary of the Nato intervention in Libya. Both overthrew Arab dictators; both left the local people in such horrific straits that many of them look back with nostalgia to the days of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Qaddafi.
I was in Iraq with a dozen of my CODEPINK colleagues a month before the US invasion in 2003. While we found a country wracked by 13 years of draconian Western sanctions and a people scared to openly criticize Saddam Hussein, we also found a middle class country with an extremely well-educated population where women made up the majority of university students and participated in all aspects of public life.
I’ll never forget my first conversation with an Iraqi woman in Baghdad, Eman Khammas. “Oh, you’re from the United States,” she remarked in perfect English. “Who is your favorite black woman poet? Do you like Nikki Giovanni or June Jordan or Alice Walker?” Taken aback, I asked how she knew about these women. “I studied them when I was doing my English degree at the University of Baghdad”.
Today Khammas and her family are refugees, as are millions of Iraqis who were forced to flee the violence unleashed by ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’. By 2007, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said that the number of people fleeing Iraq reached 2 million and that within Iraq there were an estimated 1.7 million internally displaced people. With the civil war raging today, that number has only increased, as have deaths.
While military contractors made out like bandits, US taxpayers wasted 1.7 trillion dollars on the Iraq war, money that could have funded healthcare and education here at home. American families lost 4,488 of their loved ones, with tens of thousands of veterans suffering from PTSD and other war-related maladies.
Yes, the US overthrew Saddam Hussein, but it also destroyed the nation’s infrastructure and tore asunder the societal fabric. By disbanding the entire Iraqi military and bureaucracy, and supporting a sectarian Shia government, the US created a power vacuum – a space for Isis to seize power. Isis currently controls a huge swath of Iraq, some 13,000 square miles, and wreaks havoc on the predominantly Shia population.
Libya is a similarly tragic tale. When the peaceful protests against Muammar Gaddafi were met with government violence, an armed rebellion emerged that called for military help from the west. With Nato’s help in this ‘humanitarian intervention’, Gaddafi was overthrown in October 2011.
Today, Libya is considered a ‘failed state’ run by extremist militias and two opposing governments vying for power. Ex-rebel commanders, former exiles, Islamists, tribal leaders are all fighting for control.
Before the ‘liberation’, Libya was the richest country in Africa. It provided all Libyans with free healthcare and education. Today Libyans have almost no functioning public services, with daily blackouts and water shortages.
On the anniversaries of these two epic failures in Iraq and Libya, anti-war activists are gathering for four days of actions from March 18-21. They are protesting the past interventions, the present-day US participation in wars in the Middle East and the possibility of a new war with Iran.
The activities include a ‘spring cleaning of Congress’, where activists will march into the offices of the most hawkish members of Congress, dusting off the cobwebs of war and the fingerprints of military contractors. They’ll take a bus tour of warmakers and their enablers, including the Pentagon, the FBI, the lobby group AIPAC and the right-wing American Enterprise Institute. The gathering will culminate at a rally at the White House.
By: Medea Benjamin
“The population of Muslims and Christians is growing day by day. To rein in this, Centre will have to impose emergency, and Muslims and Christians will have to be forced to undergo sterilization so that they can’t increase their numbers,” vice-president of All India Hindu Mahasabha, Sadhvi Deva Thakur told reporters here.
She also exhorted Hindus to have more children and increase their population so as to have an effect on the world.
In another controversial remark, she said idols of Hindu gods and goddesses should be placed in mosques and churches.
Thakur also came out strongly in support of installing a statue of “patriot” Nathuram Godse in Haryana.
Courtesy : Times of India
1. All India Hindu Mahasabha is a political party in India that has only Hindus as its members.
2. Hariana is a Hindus minority state and majority of population does not worship idols.
“If religious books are not widely circulated among the masses in this country, I do not know what is going to become of us as a nation. If truth be not diffused, then error will be. If God and His Word are not known and received, the devil and his works will gain the ascendancy. If the evangelical volume does not reach every hamlet, the pages of a corrupt and licentious literature will. If the power of the gospel is not felt throughout the length and breadth of this land, anarchy and misrule, degradation and misery, corruption and darkness will reign without mitigation or end.”
Said: Denial Webster
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It is a common misconception with some non-Muslims that Islam would not have millions of adherents all over the world, if it had not been spread by the use of force.
The following points will make it clear, that far from being spread by the sword, it was the inherent force of truth, reason and logic that was responsible for the rapid spread of Islam.
Islam has always given respect and freedom of religion to all faiths. Freedom of religion is ordained in the Quran itself:
“There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong.” (Quran 2:256)
The noted historian De Lacy O’Leary wrote: 
“History makes it clear however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated.”
The famous historian, Thomas Carlyle, in his book Heroes and Hero worship, refers to this misconception about the spread of Islam: “The sword indeed, but where will you get your sword? Every new opinion, at its starting is precisely in a minority of one; in one man’s head alone. There it dwells as yet. One man alone of the whole world believes it, there is one man against all men. That he takes a sword and tries to propagate with that will do little for him. You must get your sword! On the whole, a thing will propagate itself as it can.”
If Islam was spread by the sword, it was the sword of intellect and convincing arguments. It is this sword that conquers the hearts and minds of people. The Quran says in this connection:
“Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best.” (Quran 16:125)
The facts speak for themselves
• Indonesia is the country that has the largest number of Muslims in the world, and the majority of people in Malaysia are Muslims. But, no Muslim army ever went to Indonesia or Malaysia. It is an established historical fact that Indonesia entered Islam not due to war, but because of its moral message. Despite the disappearance of Islamic government from many regions once ruled by it, their original inhabitants have remained Muslims. Moreover, they carried the message of truth, inviting others to it as well, and in so doing endured harm, affliction and oppression. The same can be said for those in the regions of Syria and Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, North Africa, Asia, the Balkans and in Spain. This shows that the effect of Islam on the population was one of moral conviction, in contrast to occupation by western colonialists, finally compelled to leave lands whose peoples held only memories of affliction, sorrow, subjugation and oppression.
• Muslims ruled Spain (Andalusia) for about 800 years. During this period the Christians and Jews enjoyed freedom to practice their respective religions, and this is a documented historical fact.
• Christian and Jewish minorities have survived in the Muslim lands of the Middle East for centuries. Countries such as Egypt, Morocco, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan all have significant Christian and Jewish populations.
• Muslims ruled India for about a 1000 years, and therefore had the power to force each and every non-Muslim of India to convert to Islam, but they did not, and thus more than 80% of the Indian population remains non-Muslim.
• Similarly, Islam spread rapidly on the East Coast of Africa. And likewise no Muslim army was ever dispatched to the East Coast of Africa.
• An article in Reader’s Digest ‘Almanac’, yearbook 1986, gives the statistics of the increase of the percentage of the major religions of the world in half a century from 1934 to 1984. This article also appeared in The Plain Truth magazine. At the top was Islam, which increased by 235%, while Christianity had increased by 47%. During this fifty-year period, there was no “Islamic conquest” yet Islam spread at an extraordinary rate.
• Today the fastest growing religion in America and Europe is Islam. The Muslims in these lands are a minority. The only sword they have in their possession is the sword of truth. It is this sword that is converting thousands to Islam.
• Islamic law protects the privileged status of minorities, and that is why non-Muslim places of worship have flourished all over the Islamic world. Islamic law also allows non-Muslim minorities to set up their own courts, which implement family laws drawn up by the minorities themselves. The life and property of all citizens in an Islamic state are considered sacred whether they are Muslims or not.
It is clear, therefore, that Islam did not spread by the sword. The “sword of Islam” did not convert all the non-Muslim minorities in Muslim countries. In India, where Muslims ruled for 800 years, they are still a minority. In the U.S.A., Islam is the fastest growing religion and has over six million followers.
In his book The World’s Religions, Huston Smith discusses how the prophet Muhammad granted freedom of religion to the Jews and Christians under Muslim rule:
The Prophet had a document drawn up in which he stipulated that Jews and Christians “shall be protected from all insults and harm; they shall have an equal right with our own people to our assistance and good offices,” and further, “they shall practice their religion as freely as the Muslims.”
Smith points out that Muslims regard that document as the first charter of freedom of conscience in human history and the authoritative model for those of every subsequent Muslim state.
 In his book Islam at the Crossroads, p.8.
 Quoted in The World’s Religions by Huston Smith, Harper Collins, 1991, p. 256
Courtesy : www.islamreligion.com