Archive for June, 2011

SAVE – 4

June 30, 2011

Bismillah. The following were also at the summit: ex-President Uribe of Colombia. Mark who was kidnapped there by FARC rebels (as was Tom Hart-Dyke, not at the summit).

Camilla Carr, who went to Chechnya from the UK to help children but was kidnapped and held by fighters for 14 months & treated brutally. She has written a book about her ordeal, “The Sky Is Always There.”

Dari (?), one of the teachers held hostage during the Beslan massacre, was also there but I didn’t have the honour of meeting her.

Sue Hanisch, whose leg was blown off by an IRA bomb in a litter-bin at London’s Victoria Station in 1991. Bins were removed from the London Underground after that.

I was touched by the patience, dignity, courage, forgiveness and smiles of all the heroic “Survivors” at the Summit. The Formers are all inspirational people: the Survivors even more so. All Praise be to Allah.


Rainbow over Dublin Mosque, 29 June 2011

June 29, 2011

God is Great! 🙂

After the summit, I went down to the mosque to meet my dad & the other ECFR scholars (Qaradawi & Ibn Bayyah didn’t come; we had planned to take rabbis, Robi Damelin, priests and imams to talk to them, esp about Israel/Palestine). After offering my afternoon prayers, I came outside to find the sun shining and it raining on the mosque simultaneously. The sunlight goes through the rain to produce a rainbow on the opposite side, so I stepped out to look behind the mosque and voila! A magnificent rainbow. God-willing, was it a sign that our efforts in Dublin had been accepted? 😉

SAVE – 3

June 28, 2011

Bismillah. Last session yesterday: Paul Carrillo & Yasmin Mulbocus, ex al-Muhajirun, chaired by Chris Isham (not the quantum gravity expert!)

Today’s sessions:

We just had a POWERFUL talk from Aichah el-Wafi, mum of Zacharias Moussaoui (“20th hijacker” of 9/11), interviewed by Anne-Marie Slaughter of Princeton. She is now chairing a panel on identity with Ben Owens (ex-Cripp), Arno Michaels (ex neo-Nazi, Kindness not Weakness) & Noman Benotman (ex-leader of the Libyan Jihadis, was with Bin Ladin & Zawahiri in Afghan).

Prof. Slaughter was very struck by the teaching of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), “The strong man is not one who wrestles his opponent to the ground. The strong man is the one who controls himself when angry.” It had been mentioned by Yasmin Mulbocus on stage the previous day, and the Prof requoted it today, exploring what it means to be powerful, macho etc.

Dr. Shona Brown, Director of Google, chairing with Mubin Shaikh (ex-member of Toronto terrorist cell), an ex neo-Nazi, ex SA gang leader + Ruth, a former Bader-Meinhoff sympathiser.

Jared Cohen chairing: Tahir Malik (wife blown up by Taliban at the UN World Food Programme in Islamabad), an ex-skinhead who runs Harmony Through Hockey, Rudy Cruz, Imam Sani Isah of Nigeria plus our very own Abu Muntasir 🙂

One of the heads of Sesame St International speaking: Gary. They try to impart decent values to kids from a young age (in some countries, kids join gangs aged 4-d & get killed at 10-12). Operate in 140 countries, inc. Pak + Middle East. Eg issues such as childhood obesity. Now showing premiere of a clip on bullying that will be watched by 30 million kids later this year God-willing 🙂

SAVE – 2

June 28, 2011

Bismillah. Patterns of Radicalisation, moderated by Farah Pandith (US Special Representative to Muslim Communities). With Imam Nurayn Ashafa of Nigeria (from the “Imam and Pastor” film), Sammy Rangel (inspiring Native American ex-gangster with a T-shirt saying “Kindness Is Not Weakness”), Angela King (ex-white supremacist) + Eric Gibson, ex-LA gangster in a wheelchair after being shot 5 times in a drive-by shooting in 1993, the 13-yr-old girl beside him was killed by a single bullet to the head.

Personal stories from Brazil + Iran. Then I was on a panel with Henry Robinson (ex-IRA), Mo Mohammed (ex al-Shabab, Somalia), James (the Pastor from the “Imam and Pastor” film). Chaired by Amanda Lindhout, who was kidnapped by al-Shabab in Somalia and held for 15 months, starved and treated brutally.  She has now set up the Global Enrichment Foundation, dedicated to helping the people of Somalia, especially the refugees and orphans who had to flee to neighbouring Kenya.

Workshop around integration. More inspiring people, including Bud whose 23-yr-old daughter died in the Oklahoma bombing of 1995 (she was born a month before me).

In the discussions about dialogue, I kept thinking of the ayah of Surah al-Hujurat, “We have made you peoples and tribes so that you may get to know each other.”

Someone mentioned “integration buddies” – used successfully in various places. I thought of the Prophet (pbuh) pairing his Meccan & Medinan companions after the hijrah: the Muhajirun & Ansar (Emigres/Refugees & Helpers/Hosts).

The final panel included Yasmin Mulbocus, ex “Al-Muhajirun” (so-called) from London, Paul Carrillo, chaired by a famous Chris Isham, not the Quantum Gravity expert from Imperial College London! 🙂

Summit Against Violent Extremism – 1

June 27, 2011

Bismillah. Honoured to be at SAVE in Dublin. It is being streamed online, I believe. Do watch if possible. So many amazing & inspiring people here.

First session (Finding common ground between different extremes): Gill Hicks, Noor Huda Ismail, TJ Leyden, Maajid Nawaz & Susan Cruz.

Now on: Fireside Chat. Dr. Erik Schmidt, CEO of Google, interviewed by Carrie LeMack, whose mother Judy died as a passenger on the American Airlines flight, the first plane to crash into the World Trade Centre on 9/11.

A letter from Desmond Tutu re: Palestine (for those who listen to music)

June 23, 2011

Dear Usama,

I am writing to you, a supporter of War on Want, to urge you to buy the new single Freedom for Palestine by Oneworld.

I have visited the occupied Palestinian territories and have witnessed the humiliation of Palestinians at Israeli military checkpoints: the inhumanity that won’t let ambulances reach the injured, farmers tend their land or children attend school.

This treatment is familiar to me and the many black South Africans who were corralled and harassed by the security forces of the apartheid government.In South Africa, we could not have achieved our freedom without the help of people around the world, and musicians were central to our struggle. Through music and art we speak to a common humanity, one which transcends political and economic interests.

For this I am proud to support Freedom for Palestine by OneWorld. I urge everyone to buy the single and spread its message.

Please do so now, [online].Let’s send a message to governments that a critical mass of people want to see an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the oppression of its people. By acting together we can break cycles of injustice, end the occupation and build a new world based on our common humanity and justice.

Support Freedom for Palestine.

Peace. Shalom. Salaam.

Desmond Tutu

Geometric Design

June 6, 2011

Bismillah. From Eric Broug:

I am the author of a popular book on Islamic Geometric Design ( It has also been translated into Persian.

I have been recently commissioned by international art book publisher Thames and Hudson to write a much larger book on the same subject. The book will aim to be the most ambitious, complete and attractive book on the subject so far published in English, inshallah. It will be comprise 350 pages, 50,000 words, about 300 colour photos.

I am looking for individuals or organisations who will sponsor my work on this book, in exchange for a prominent acknowledgement in the book. Financial sponsorship will mean that you have been directly supportive in the creation of this book. I am an alumnus of SOAS.

There is a Paypal button on my website homepage ( that allows anyone to support this book. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions. Feel free to forward this email to friends.

With kind regards,