2000: The year in review from a Muslim perspective

A news conference with Governor Jeb Bush on the initial Florida recount during the 2000 Presidential election

Muslims are now a new, although small, variable in the most powerful nation of the world.

That can pretty much sum up our greatest accomplishment in the year 2000. But along with our emergence on the American political stage this year, there were still the tragedies, trials and tribulations. It seems that for every step forward we move two or even three steps back.

Here's a brief synopsis of what Muslims achieved and areas where we failed across the globe this year.

Muslims in US election 2000:

Muslims announced a bloc vote in favor of Texas governor George W. Bush. With more than 70% of Muslims voting for Bush through out the US, and about 60,000 Muslims voting for him in Florida, Muslims did prove that they can make a decision and can deliver in a tight election like the one in year 2000.

Secret Evidence Law on the way out, or is it?

The opposition to the inhuman law of secret evidence in the US increased substantially. First the Judicial committee in the House recommended an amendment to it, which is bound to reappear this year again. Both president-elect Bush and Al Gore declared their opposition to the secret evidence law. By the end of the year, two judges released two of the victims of secret evidence Palestinian Prof. Mazen Al-Najjar and Algerian leader Dr. Anwar Haddam.

Imam Jamil al-Amin

Early this year Eid-ul-Adha was marked by the bang of a gun and an accusation of murdering a police officer for Imam Jamil Al-Amin.

On March 16 two sheriff deputies attempted to serve a warrant that was reportedly issued months earlier. One deputy was killed, the other injured; Imam Jamil was accused of being the assailant, and became a fugitive until his arrest on Monday, March 20th, in the State of Alabama.

Imam Jamil is one of the most prominent Muslim leaders in America and is the past chairperson of the Islamic Shura Council of North America. He is equally well-known to non-Muslims as a civil rights leader.

Iraq: Sanctions continue as opposition grows

Since the 1991 Gulf War, Iraq has been slapped with devastating economic sanctions that have wreaked death and destruction on the country. Voices in the Wilderness, a mainly Catholic activist organization, is the leading group opposing and seeking to end the Iraqi sanctions. Madeleine Albright, the US Secretary of State responding to a question about UN charges that 500,000 Iraqi children have died because of the decade-long US-British embargo of Iraq, stated, `it is a price worth paying

Palestine-More talks, more violence, then more talks again

The cycle of violence and "negotiation" continued this year in Palestine.

On September 28, Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon marched into the compound of Al-Aqsa Masjid with about 1,000 Israeli soldiers. This was clearly not a move for peace.

Angered at his provocative "visit", Palestinians began protests that ended with hundreds wounded and killed, including children. It is being called the new Intifada. To date, 305 Palestinians have been killed and 56 Israelis.

Turkey: Hijab struggle continues

After protests, expulsions from school, arrests, as well as threats of execution, the Hijab struggle continues in Turkey.

Women in the predominantly Muslim country must still endure strict secular laws that forbid religious dress at schools and in public office. More than 26,000 female students have been expelled from their educational programs.

Kosova: From Serb occupation to NATO control

While Muslims around the world struggle for self-determination, Kosova has been blessed to have been free from the Serbs' colonial yoke this year.

Kosova is now an international protectorate under the United Nations and K-FOR, the NATO-led peace force. Although Serbia would like to restore its sovereignty there, its majority ethnic Albanian population will never accept this.

The relative freedom though, came at a price. Murder, rape and expulsion were the fate of thousands of Albanians in 1999, but in 2000, Kosovars were living independent of Serbia, which had suppressed their language and culture for decades. Kosova Task Force, USA the Muslim alliance of 15 organizations in the US, according to Associated Press, was the nerve center of support of Kosova in America.

Serbia's Slobodan Milosevic, an indicted war criminal, who ignited four Balkan wars and has the blood of half a million victims and several million refugees on his hands, continues to be untouched by the arm of justice.

Milosevic, and his fellow war criminals, Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic, must be brought to trial for committing the worst crimes against humanity in Europe since Stalin and Hitler.

Malaysia: Free Anwar campaign picks up momentum

Malaysia's jailed former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim is still unjustly imprisoned, but he hasn't been forgotten.

Momentum has picked up in favor of the man who dared to challenge the leadership of the country's prime minister Mahathir Mohamad. He was sacked then jailed in 1998 following charges of engaging in sodomy.

Indonesia: Suharto sacked

The largest Muslim country, Indonesia, continues to be in the news. In the wake of the resignation of Suharto, the despot who led the country for over 30 years, East Timor was finally separated from Indonesia and violence between Christians and Muslims broke out on the Malaccus island.

Lebanon: Exit of the oppressor

After over 20 years, Israel finally pulled out of southern Lebanon in May leaving behind a legacy of bloodshed, torture, injustice and violence. Citing "security" as its excuse for the unjust occupation, Israel left, driven out by the Lebanese guerilla fighters of Hezbollah. One of the more grotesque horrors of the occupation was the Khiam prison, where Israel tortured, raped, and killed to silence all opposition to its illegal occupation.

India: Gandhi-killers are now in control

The party whose member killed Mahatma Gandhi came into power in India in October 1999.

With the Bhartiya Janata Party's (BJP) leadership came violence against non-Hindus, especially Muslims and Christians. BJP leader Atal Behari Vajpayee later visited the United States in September 2000, with President Bill Clinton welcoming him with open arms. US support has clearly shifted the balance of power to India, despite the current government's racist and fascist leanings.

Ethiopia-Eritrea: Fighting ends

The two-year border conflict ended with a peace treaty that will include talks to mark their 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) long border, exchange of POWs, return of displaced civilians and hearing of claims on compensation for war damages.

But as in Kosova, the UN will not see fit to leave the country alone: a 4,200-strong UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea has started deploying peacekeepers in a 25-kilometer (15-mile) buffer zone, most of it inside Eritrea. They are supposed to monitor the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops and Eritrea's military redeployment until the border is demarcated.

Afghanistan: Sanctions and drought

Once upon a time, the United States backed this proud Asian nation of over 25 million. Today it has smacked it with sanctions. The country's starving people are the brunt of economic sanctions depriving them of food.

This has all been done to catch America's latest bogeyman: Osama bin Laden, the Mujahid who helped drive out the Soviets and whom the US has accused of bombing two of its embassies in Africa in 1998. Note: the US has yet to provide solid evidence of Bin Laden's involvement in the bombing which killed 28.

Syria: Death of a despot

Syrian president Hafez al-Assad died of a heart attack in June. His son Bashar succeeded him later in the year. The senior Al-Assad is known to many for his massacre of thousands citizens in Hama in 1982, when they dared challenge his leadership.

Nigeria: Who's afraid of the law?

Shariah was the word and the ideal which inspired a number of Christians in Nigeria to the streets in protest. A few of the 19 states in the largest Muslim country in Africa have decided to rule according to the law of Allah and therefore must bear the brunt of criticism and condemnation from who else: the "world" community.

Hundreds have died in the resulting riots and unrest.

Muslim organizations in America slammed with lawsuits by a Jewish American family

Several Muslim organizations including the Islamic Association of Palestine and CAIR's chairperson Omar Ahmed are being sued for millions of dollars in a civil suit for the killing of one Israeli using a provision of the terrorist law in America. This allows victims of terrorism to sue for damages. Informed sources state that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL)'s attorneys are allegedly involved in the law suit. The ADL is an advocacy organization for the Jewish community in America.

 

Photo Attribution: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Election2000news2.jpg

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