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

Gaza: Holocaust version 2014

The following article is published in the Sunday edition (DNA) of Pakistan Today, dated 20th July 2014

(For online version: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2014/07/19/comment/gaza-holocaust-version-2014/ )

(For published version: Page 6  at:  http://issuu.com/abidoon/docs/dna_issue_33/4?e=3820687/8669388    )

Gaza: Holocaust version 2014

Zionist occupiers’ atrocities against Palestinian women, children and elderly make Hitler seem like an angel.

By: Omer Zaheer Meer

The author is a Director of the think-tank “Millat Thinkers’ Forum”. He is a leading economist, qualified accountant and anti-money laundering expert with international exposure who can be reached on Twitter and www.myMFB.com @OmerZaheerMeer  or omerzaheermeer@hotmail.co.uk

A sad tragedy ensues when the oppressed becomes the oppressor. Even worse is when it bites the hand that fed it in its worst hour of need. That is precisely the tragedy unfolding in occupied Palestine under the so-called Israeli occupation forces.

The disproportionate use of power is of least concern in a conflict where all international laws are floundered. Banned and illegal weapons like phosphorus, in addition to other internationally banned chemical weapons, are routinely used on civilian populations. Innocent civilians are routinely targeted and killed as are innocent family members of “alleged” Palestinian resistance members. Entire families are wiped out in such Israeli attacks. Children as young as just a few months old are slaughtered while women of all ages are butchered along with the elderly in what is termed collateral damage by Israel. A policy of collective punishment is being pursued by blockading 17 million human beings for eight long years, effectively turning Gaza into the largest open-air prison on the planet.

This Palestinian occupation is truly an asymmetrical conflict with Israel’s sophisticated, top of the range, highly destructive and even internationally banned chemical arsenal largely met with rag-tag home-made crude Palestinian rockets. The comparatively slightly better Palestinian rockets are extremely limited and used rarely by the resistance. Compared to a bomb shelter in almost every new house built in Israel, there is none in Gaza. Only recently the first Israeli fatality of the conflict incurred in over a week compared to over 200 innocent Palestinian children, women and elderly slaughtered in addition to young men. The only Israeli fatality so far was a Zionist volunteer delivering food to Israeli occupation soldiers near the Gaza border. The billions of dollars of annual military aid to Israel by the USA can be compared to a naught for Palestine.

Holocaust, as described by various Jewish as well as Zionist authors, was the alleged systematic and state-sponsored persecution and annihilation of millions of Jews by Nazi Germany.

It is worth mentioning here that present day Imperialist Israel is a fruit of political Zionism whose brutalities against Palestinian civilians are opposed even by moderate Jews across the globe. The genocide of and war crimes against Palestinians perpetrated by the Israeli occupation forces, particularly in Gaza, has made atrocities of Nazi Germany seem lighter in comparison.

Let’s visit recent history to draw comparisons. The Nazis believed in racial superiority of Germans, deemed “inferior” Jewish and other non-German races as an alien threat to their survival and supremacy. This is pretty much the same attitude as that showcased by present day Israel against non-Jewish Palestinian Arabs, effectively treating them as a threat to Zionist “supremacy”. It’s even worse since most Israeli Zionists, particularly the impressionable youth, call for the annihilation of even innocent Palestinian children (widely available on social media), unlike Nazi Germany where people even helped Jewish women and children.

Holocaust, as described by various Jewish as well as Zionist authors, was the alleged systematic and state-sponsored persecution and annihilation of millions of Jews by Nazi Germany. The “Holocaust version 2014” by Israel is even worse. Not only are Palestinian Arab Muslims massacred systematically by the occupying Zionist regime, the imperialist state of Israel also controls their life by applying a total blockade particularly on Gaza, where the local population cannot even have emergency medical journeys without a cumbersome process requiring Israeli permission.

What is ironic and perhaps lesser known today is the fact that it was under the Muslim Ottoman rule that Jews fleeing from across the globe were provided sanctuaries and opportunities to prosper. The Jews were heavily persecuted by Byzantines after Christianity was declared the official religion (408 – 450) by Theodosius 11. Forceful conversions of Jews to Christianity were the norm.

With the Ottoman Turkish conquest of Bursa in 1324, a golden era ensued for the previously oppressed Jewish community. The Jews treated the Ottomans as their saviours. The toleration was to the extent that not only were Jews given high public offices, but also allowed to build huge synagogues like the Etz Ha-Hayyim (Tree of Life). Jews from all over Europe came and settled in Muslim Ottoman lands; from Hungary in 1376, France in 1394, Sicily in the early 15th century, Salonika in 1420, Spain in 1492 after Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand expelled the Jews during brutal Spanish Inquisition, and from many more places.

Now let us fast forward to the present era. The memory of the Israeli attack on the Turkish Flotilla carrying civilian aid to Gaza is not too old. More more recent is the case when Israel started bombarding civilians yet again in Gaza, one of the most densely populated places on the planet. An ultimatum was given to people in northern and eastern Gaza to leave their homes, raising fear of the worst atrocities to come. However, the fleeing civilians were forced deep within the already congested and tiny Gaza strip by Israel and its ally Egypt, refusing to open border crossings thereby denying them safety. The blockade of Palestinians, resulting in deaths due to starvation and a crippling economy for eight years, has conveniently been forgotten by the world.

With the Ottoman Turkish conquest of Bursa in 1324, a golden era ensued for the previously oppressed Jewish community. The Jews treated the Ottomans as their saviours.

Perhaps it is time that moderate Jews across the globe rise up to confront the extremist Zionists of Israel for the Muslim rulers seem to be sleeping, barring the lip service of a few. These Muslim rulers are so busy in their sectarian fights and protection of their rule that this human tragedy fails to evoke a serious response from them. While people around the world including Europe and North America have shown their discontent over what is commonly referred to as a brutal massacre by Israel, Muslim governments have continued to show little material support for oppressed Palestinians in Gaza.

A lesser explored aspect of the recent turmoil in Gaza is the political maneuvering of Netanyahu with allegations that the Israeli government knew about the whereabouts of the kidnapped illegal Israeli settlers in occupied Palestinian territory but decided to use it for political mileage. The incident was used to incite hatred, culminating in the abduction and brutal burning to death of an innocent Palestinian teen legally living in Jerusalem, by Zionist right-wingers. This observation is supported by the gag-order regarding the incident barring even the Israelis from having access to information about it. Furthermore, there were reports of raids on the Palestinian suspects’ homes two weeks before the occupying Israeli Government announced the names. All these indicate manipulation. Truly right-wing extremist Israelis led by Netanyahu gained the most at the expense of everyone else.

This is not the first atrocity against the Palestinians, particularly in Gaza, nor can it be expected to be the last. What we should strive for is to create awareness and help the helpless, enslaved population of Gaza.

The big question is will moderate Jews recall the favours granted to them by Muslims, which ensued their golden era, and rise up with them to confront the Zionist monster which has unleashed its own version of Holocaust, only upon Muslims this time.