The world is our classroom, and all the things that happen in our lives are our life lessons. Every life lesson, be it joyful or painful, serves to reform our thinking, review our actions, expand our awareness, accelerate our growth, and thrust us into wisdom.
On January 1st 2009, four friends Syed, Walski, Marina and Anas got together at Coffee-Bean Bangsar Village and decided to launch a campaign to encourage people to read and understand the Quran better.
This campaign is not only for Muslims, but also for our brothers and sisters who are Christians, Buddhists Hindus, Sikhs and those who believe in a God-Head but not so gung-ho about being in any brand of religion, too – come join us and share your ideas! You can join this campaign even if you are an atheist!
The goal of this campaign is to encourage people to read the Quran in the language they understand most and find in it areas of common values in our day-to-day living.
I watched the BBC World News at 7pm. It is the first time I heard a BBC World News presenter (I can't get his name) speaking harshly to an Israeli government spokesman. He said things like:
"Your aim is not to get rid of the rocket attacks. Your aim is to get rid of Hamas." "You say there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. My goodness, people are dying there."
In the studio, the presenter spoke to Zaki Chehab, political editor of the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper who is also an author. His latest book is entitled "Inside Hamas: The Untold Story of the Militant Islamic Movement."
On 22 May 2007, Zaki Chehab was interviewed by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!
This is part of the transcript:
AMY GOODMAN: Zaki Chehab, let’s go back to the beginning of Hamas, as you do in this book. How was it created?
ZAKI CHEHAB: Hamas, practically, is a branch of the international Islamic Brotherhood movement worldwide. As I was told by Sheikh Yassin, himself, the founder of Hamas, ’til ’77, 1977, himself, he was not a member of the Islamic Brotherhood movement. He visited Egypt for the first time, and he like met some of their leaders at that time as someone who admired them. But practically, he was not a member.
So, Hamas, as an organization, was practically or officially launched in the first week of the Intifada in 1987. But they were active like as a group, and you would be surprised if I tell you that the Israeli government at that time have helped Hamas to expand. They have given them the permission to set up social centers and the what’s so called the nerve center for the Hamas movement today, the Islamic University, is something have been given by the Israelis to Hamas to weaken Fatah, who was fighting the Israelis at that time. So in terms of military struggle against Israel, Hamas ’til 1987 never been involved with a military struggle with Israel, unlike Fatah, who have started this in the ’60s.
AMY GOODMAN: So you’re saying that the Israeli government helped set up Hamas.
ZAKI CHEHAB: It’s not only that. Even the first cache of weapons Hamas managed to accumulate, it was given to them by the Shin Beit, which is like the Homeland Security or the Israeli internal intelligence, to the extent that when Hamas leader, Hamas founder, Ahmed Yassin, and his fellow were arrested, they were convicted as a result of the cache of weapons given to them by the Israelis, and to be specific, by someone who have like carried the name of Abu Sabri.
AMY GOODMAN: Yassin and Rantisi have both been assassinated.
ZAKI CHEHAB: Both of them has been assassinated.
AMY GOODMAN: By the Israelis.
ZAKI CHEHAB: By the Israelis, yes. It was very clear from day one. And I think, you know, whatever measures Israel takes against Hamas leader, the experience have showed us that there will always someone who will take place and replace, and nothing would really change the situation. The only thing which can weaken Hamas is by giving the Palestinians hope that there will be an independent state at a specific time.
After shopping at a supermarket, I walked towards the open car park where I parked my car. I noticed a Chinese couple having a row with two Malay youths on a motorbike. As I approached, the youths rode off angrily.
I talked to the Chinese couple. They told me that they spotted a vacant parking space when a motorbike ridden by the two Malay youths overtook them and occupied the space. They got off their car and scolded the youths. The Malay youths got angry and they traded insults.
After telling me what happened, the couple ended by saying, “Useless Mat Rempit. Their race behaves like that.”
Very politely, I asked them these questions:
Did the boys know that you wanted the parking space?
Did you talk to the boys like the way you talk to your own children?
Why did you not park at another place instead of quarreling with the boys and risking high blood pressure?
If the boys were Chinese, would you be as hostile to them?
I left the couple and walked towards my car. 4 or 5 motorbikes have gathered at a spot near my car. The young Malay riders seemed to be in a discussion. Upon seeing me, they stopped talking and eyed me warily. Without any hesitation, I flashed them a sincere smile. They looked awkward at first, but soon they smiled back. I told them politely that I wanted to drive my car out. They nodded politely and moved their bikes away from my car.
Before I drove off, I waved to them and said in English, “Happy New Year!” They waved back. Some of them found their voices to say “Happy New Year!”