Must Read: Malcolm X’s Letter from Makkah

Malcolm KSASource: Malcolm X’s Letter from Makkah (Original post from MyMFB.com)

Malcolm X, or Al-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, is one Muslim who saw the light of true Islam through his Hajj in April 1964.  As a former member and speaker for the Nation of Islam, a black spiritual and nationalist movement, he believed that the white man was the devil and the black man superior.

After leaving the Nation of Islam in March 1964, he made Hajj, which helped change his perspective on whites and racism completely.

Here is an excerpt of a letter El Hajj Malik El Shabazz wrote a letter to his loyal assistants in Harlem… from his heart, telling them of his experience.  In it, he explains what it was during this blessed journey that made him so profoundly shift his perspective on race and racism.  We should keep in mind that this letter was written in a time when the history of African Americans in America was in making, a time when centuries worth of oppression was being spoken about and condemned in public.

“Never have I witnessed such sincere hospitality and overwhelming spirit of true brotherhood as is practiced by people of all colors and races here in this ancient Holy Land, the home of Abraham, Muhammad and all the other Prophets of the Holy Scriptures.  For the past week, I have been utterly speechless and spellbound by the graciousness I see displayed all around me by people of all colors.

“I have been blessed to visit the Holy City of Mecca, I have made my seven circuits around the Ka’ba, led by a young Mutawaf named Muhammad, I drank water from the well of the Zam Zam.  I ran seven times back and forth between the hills of Mt. Al-Safa and Al Marwah.  I have prayed in the ancient city of Mina, and I have prayed on Mt. Arafat.

“There were tens of thousands of pilgrims, from all over the world.  They were of all colors, from blue-eyed blondes to black-skinned Africans.  But we were all participating in the same ritual, displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood that my experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist between the white and non-white.

“America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem.  Throughout my travels in the Muslim world, I have met, talked to, and even eaten with people who in America would have been considered white – but the white attitude was removed from their minds by the religion of Islam.  I have never before seen sincere and true brotherhood practiced by all colors together, irrespective of their color.

“You may be shocked by these words coming from me.  But on this pilgrimage, what I have seen, and experienced, has forced me to rearrange much of my thought-patterns previously held, and to toss aside some of my previous conclusions.  This was not too difficult for me.  Despite my firm convictions, I have always been a man who tries to face facts, and to accept the reality of life as new experience and new knowledge unfolds it.  I have always kept an open mind, which is necessary to the flexibility that must go hand in hand with every form of intelligent search for truth.

During the past eleven days here in the Muslim world, I have eaten from the same plate, drunk from the same glass, and slept on the same rug – while praying to the same God – with fellow Muslims, whose eyes were the bluest of blue, whose hair was the blondest of blond, and whose skin was the whitest of white.  And in the words and in the deeds of the white Muslims, I felt the same sincerity that I felt among the black African Muslims of Nigeria, Sudan and Ghana.

“We were truly all the same (brothers) – because their belief in one God had removed the white from their minds, the white from their behavior, and the white from their attitude.

“I could see from this, that perhaps if white Americans could accept the Oneness of God, then perhaps, too, they could accept in reality the Oneness of Man – and cease to measure, and hinder, and harm others in terms of their ‘differences’ in color.

“With racism plaguing America like an incurable cancer, the so-called ‘Christian’ white American heart should be more receptive to a proven solution to such a destructive problem.  Perhaps it could be in time to save America from imminent disaster – the same destruction brought upon Germany by racism that eventually destroyed the Germans themselves.

“Each hour here in the Holy Land enables me to have greater spiritual insights into what is happening in America between black and white.  The American Negro never can be blamed for his racial animosities – he is only reacting to four hundred years of the conscious racism of the American whites.  But as racism leads America up the suicide path, I do believe, from the experiences that I have had with them, that the whites of the younger generation, in the colleges and universities, will see the handwriting on the walls and many of them will turn to the spiritual path of truth – the only way left to America to ward off the disaster that racism inevitably must lead to.

“Never have I been so highly honored.  Never have I been made to feel more humble and unworthy.  Who would believe the blessings that have been heaped upon an American Negro?  A few nights ago, a man who would be called in America a white man, a United Nations diplomat, an ambassador, a companion of kings, gave me his hotel suite, his bed.  Never would I have even thought of dreaming that I would ever be a recipient of such honors – honors that in America would be bestowed upon a King – not a Negro.

“All praise is due to God, the Lord of all the Worlds.”

Malcolm X Thinker

Malcolm X saw and experienced many positive things.  Generosity and openheartedness were qualities which were impressed on him by the welcome which he received in many places.  He saw brotherhood and the brotherhood of different races and this led him to disclaim racism and to say:

“I am not a racist… In the past I permitted myself to be used… to make sweeping indictments of all white people, the entire white race, and these generalizations have caused injuries to some whites who perhaps did not deserve to be hurt.  Because of the spiritual enlightenment which I was blessed to receive as the result of my recent pilgrimage to the Holy City of Mecca, I no longer subscribe to sweeping indictments of any one race.  I am now striving to live the life of a true Sunni Muslim.  I must repeat that I am not a racist nor do I subscribe to the tenets of racism.  I can state in all sincerity that I wish nothing but freedom, justice and equality, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all people.”

source:

From The Autobiography of Malcolm X with assistance from Alex Haley, the author ofRoots.

Taxation can help declining economy

The following article has been published in Daily Nation, dated 23rd February 2015

(E-Paper (Print Edition)http://nation.com.pk/E-Paper/lahore/2015-02-23/page-9 )

(Onlinehttp://nation.com.pk/business/23-Feb-2015/taxation-can-help-declining-economy )

Taxation – Solving Pak’s Dilemma

Prof Dp

By: Omer Zaheer Meer

We’re all aware of the fact that it cost money to run countries and these funds are raised by taxes. Taxation is therefore an essential subject warranting attention from all concerned. In this write-up we’ll identify key issues in this regard and propose solutions to solve them amicably which have been presented by me at various think-tanks as well as published and publicized but unfortunately still awaits implementation from the decision makers.

Taxation is an extremely important source of funding for any state to finance the running of the Governmental functions. Even the oil rich Arab states are now beginning to recognize the importance of this and starting to shift towards a lasting economy with citizens contributing to the national treasury with their share of the taxes. To put it simply in all global economies, there is taxation both direct and indirect (in different combinations). Direct taxation is a tax directly levied on an individual or business’s income while indirect taxation entails taxes on products and services whereby consumers are made to pay taxes when they consume these.

In developed countries, realizing that taxation is necessary for providing them with necessary facilities, most citizens contribute their share to the state finances. Direct taxation is the dominant part of the tax system in such countries as it accrues some substantial benefits for the economy, people and the state. Importantly, direct taxation allows richer segments of the society to be taxed more and poorer classes are provided with relief and benefits. This proportionate taxation not only help smooth the flow of money across various classes of the society but it also helps in ensuring that every citizen has a minimum living standard by providing state assistance where required.

However, a different story is at work in Pakistan. A culture of tax avoidance has long engulfed the business horizons. An ongoing cat and mouse fight between the tax authorities and the taxpayers, with the later believing that it would be a waste to pay off their tax bills due to the deep pockets of the corrupt government officials, has led to a greater focus on indirect taxation. While the tax and state officials rightly point out that no state can perform the necessary duties with the empty coffers, the tax payers also have their point in that they don’t see any real delivery of essential services but instead are greeted with stories of herculean corruption rife all around. The plague of corruption is widely believed to be consuming most of the available resources. Hence, there seems to be a massive break-down of trust between the taxpayers and the “tax-man”.

This serious trust deficit leads to a difficult situation where finance ministry overemphasizes on indirect taxation to try to bolster its coffers.  Unfortunately this approach has serious negative ramifications for Pakistan’s economy and people which has manifested in worsening the already declining economic situation of the country.

In Pakistan, ordinary people are taxed indirectly on just about everything. Nowhere in the developed world is indirect taxation utilized as heavily as in Pakistan due to the negative effects that it creates for the economy. In Pakistan’s case (and that of many other developing countries following this strategy) the negative impacts far outweigh the contributions raised in this manner due to the missed opportunity costs.

For example, 25-30% had been routinely charged as an indirect tax on every liter of fuel (mainly Petrol, Diesel, e.t.c.) in Pakistan which is a basic necessity for everyday life compared to only 13% in the USA. This way of collecting taxes indirectly leads to inflationary pressures in the economy as the increased transportation costs translates into increased prices for just about everything including the commonly used commodities. The effects are hyper-inflationary in nature because there is a multiplicative rather than an additive element in the inflation passed-on at every level.

Furthermore the pay-rises are not proportionate to inflation thereby forcing people to rely on expensive credit to make their ends meet. Similarly businesses also require more finance to run their operations. This hyper-inflationary environment then leads to higher interest rate which negatively affects the businesses. With higher finance costs many business projects which would otherwise be viable becomes non-feasible. The resulting lack of employment opportunities combined with the limited money-supply puts recessionary pressures on the market. The above issues lead to the devaluation of the currency which in turn results in increased foreign debt burden. As a result, financing costs of the foreign debts rise leading to a higher proportion of GDP spent on debt financing. All this combined with hyper-inflation drags the already estranged economy further back in Pakistan’s case.

The above is a summary of the mess created by the taxation policies pursued by the previous government which are unfortunately continued by the incumbent finance ministry. The result is that while the standard of living of especially urban Pakistanis is generally considered well-off compared to most developing countries, Pakistan is considered to be lagging behind economically in the league of the nations.

What is actually required is to restore the faith of the taxpayers by implementing a multi-dimensional tax reforms agenda where:

  • Taxpayers are encouraged and incentivized for paying taxes.
  • Taxpayers are facilitated by making the process easier and fairer, focusing on maximum automation in order to stem out corruption.
  • Instead of increasing the tax rates the tax net is constantly widened.
  • More focus is given to direct taxation.
  • Meaningful tax rebates and reliefs are introduced for the less able sections of the society.
  • A system of proportionate taxation is adopted with more affluent contributing more to the treasury.
  • Certain exempt sectors are brought into the tax-net (subsidies can be given for assisting any under-pressure areas/products).
  • Tax rebates and incentives are introduced to encourage foreign/local investments in key sectors with tax-breaks for transfer of technology, e.t.c. as may be required in a particular sector.
  • Tax money is actually spent on public welfare and infrastructure projects, which will improve the spending capacity and the business environment in Pakistan.
  • The massive corruption in public contracts/projects, now routinely in the range of 40-50% of tender values, is eradicated for better and efficient use of public money through revamping the pay and accountability structures.

With all the natural resources at our disposal, a high proportion of population been young and hardworking and cheap labor availability, a fairer system of taxation culminating into a fairer economic policy can provide the necessary environment to harness the economic potential of Pakistan.

The key reforms outlined above, if properly implemented, can resolve the current enigma facing the treasury. Should such reforms be made with reliance on local resources and a will for change, there is no reason, why Pakistan cannot stand on its own feet and become an economic hub not only for the region but the whole world.

The writer is a leading economist who is also a qualified chartered accountant, financial analyst and anti-money laundering expert. He can be reached on Twitter and www.myMFB.com @OmerZaheerMeer or omerzaheermeer@hotmail.co.uk

Response to Mark Zukerberg’s attacks on Islam, Prophet Muhammad PBUH & Pakistan

Below is an excerpt from an Express Tribune report on the now infamous hate-mongering by the Islamophobic Facebook CEO Mr. Mark Zukerberg:

“In his Facebook post, he said, “A few years ago, an extremist in Pakistan fought to have me sentenced to death because Facebook refused to ban content about Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) that offended him.”

“As I reflect on yesterday’s attack and my own experience with extremism, this is what we all need to reject — a group of extremists trying to silence the voices and opinions of everyone else around the world,” Zuckerberg wrote.

“I won’t let that happen on Facebook. I’m committed to building a service where you can speak freely without fear of violence,” he assured.

His response was: “It’s not against our policies to talk about Prophet Muhammed (pbuh). We did block the content in Pakistan where it was illegal, but we didn’t block it in the rest of the world where it is legal.”

Instead of very lengthy writeup exposing the hypocrisy of Mr. Zukerberg in detail, I’d just a raise a few questions to put the entire matter in perspective:

a) Clause 3.7 of Facebook’s terms of service states

“You will not post content that: is hate speech, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.”

(https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms)

Why is it that the content even questioning Holocaust is removed & strictly penalized but DESPITE requests and protests by over 1.5 Billion Muslims, ridiculing of Prophet Muhammad PBUH (the most revered personality on the planet) is allowed which incites violence & promotes hate speech in VIOLATION of YOUR OWN TERMS of SERVICE?

b) While propagating Voltaire’s support for “freedom of expression” who said, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it” why do you choose to ignore Zechariah Chafee who said, “Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins”, that too ONLY in case of ISLAM?

c) By removing abusive content against Holocaust, e.t.c. but openly stating your support for ridicule of Prophet Muhammad PBUH & Islam are you promoting ‘Freedom of Expression’ or ‘Freedom for Some Expressions’?

d) Is it not true that the “CENSORSHIP” on Facebook has risen by 19% plus over the last year as per various NGO reports?

e) Is any person going to a court of law to challenge something they believe is illegal an extremist, just because they disagree with you?

e) Charlie Hebdo attack happened in France, then why did you choose to attack Pakistan at this time?

f) Why did you stay silent when children were massacred in Palestine by Israel and when 140 angels lost their lives in Peshawar?

g) Will you also classify Bill Donohue, President of the US Catholic League as an extremist and/or terrorist for issuing a statement in the light of the continuous provocations of Muslims that “Muslims are right to be angry.”

h) Is it not true that Facebook is a spy tool which transfers all the private data of its users to CIA & NSA WITHOUT the users even knowing?

i) Why is it that a cartoon of Condolezza Rice is termed as Rascism, a cartoon of Mark Zukerberg is called anti-Semitic but ridiculing of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) (Nauzbillah) is termed as freedom of expression. What is it, if not hypocrisy of the highest order?

If you ponder over the above questions and the fact that even heads of states like the Queen are not allowed to be ridiculed but despicable competitions to ridicule the most revered person on the globe, Prophet Muhammad PBUH are held and supported, you can clearly see that ordinary peace-loving people are provoked and incited for vested interests.

I’ll leave it for you to decide whether such tactics are being used to further an agenda of “clash of civilizations” by provoking and inciting violence and as a result malign an already marginalized Muslim community?.

For all the above reasons, I urge not just all Muslims but peace-loving decent people of all religions to boycott Facebook and start using alternate platforms like Twitter, MillatFacebook, e.t.c.

I’ll end by stating that while Individuals should not resort to violence we must also condemn the senseless hypocrisy to provoke and incite violence. It is high time that all the nations sit together to resolve the issues arising out of the cultural and religious dis-similarities and fault lines. Let the peace prevail & DEFEAT hypocrite hate-mongers like Mr. Zukerberg hiding amongst us.

I demand that in line with Facebook’s own TERMS of service and respecting the emotions of over 1.5 Billion Muslims, Mark Zukerberg should remove the hate-mongering & violence inciting content ridiculing Prophet Muhammad PBUH.