Saturday, August 28, 2010

'Shariah Law Preached From Stamford Church Steps?' By Reverend Barbara Sexton "The Biblical Biochemist-Where Science Meets The Cross"

Front row from left, Midhat Syed, Zubair Quadri and Suhail Kadri
SHARIA LAWYER MIDHAT H. SYED ON LEFT Front
Dear Readers:
     Once in a while history does, indeed, repeat itself.  On the steps of a church, the First Congregational Church (FCC) of Stamford, a recent pro-NYC Ground ZERO Mosque/pro-Muslim 'prayer vigil' has seemingly turned back the hands-of-time.
     I am reminded of the days when men had their heads lopped off and women (not quite deserving of such a rapid and clean death) were stoned to death BY FCC CHURCH OFFICIALS (and in other UCC Churches, as well) all over the country years ago. 
     This FCC Church has a RICH AND COLORFUL HISTORY of clapping people in 'stocks' and drowning and burning not a few 'witches'.  The 'color' of that 'history' is red--the color of innocent blood.
     Back when I was STILL PROUD of FCC Stamford, we ALL tried to accentuate the positives of our church history (the abolitionist history helping the Underground Railroad, for instance and trail-blazing work on civil and womens' rights and GLBT ONA/inclusion before it was in-EVERY ONE'S FACE and not 'bullying', aggressive and intolerant as it is now)  
     In fact, many of us go way-back to the civil rights activism of our youth, completely engaged and convicted of the kind of change we could all believe in.  We may not have 'trusted anyone over 30', but we did, at least, have a very real and open transparency.
     But the 'BAD church legacy'...well, THAT we tried to push aside and relegate to the annals of history, never to be repeated again by anyone related to THAT hallowed old church, oh no.
     All those old and awful church deeds done back then were at the directive of the Pastor-in-power at the time. Not much is different today, except for the fact that the Pastor is a woman and a lawyer and a proud lesbian at that.  Isn't America grand?
     Not one to rest on her laurels, our Pastor Carrietta Jackson, Esq. here has decided to take on ONE BIG CHALLENGE, we see.  She, along with the church body--presumably-- has adopted a new role as 'the hub' of pro-Muslim, pro-Mosque promotion in the Stamford area. 

Speakers Midhat Syed and Faisal Quadri at the First Congregational Church iin Stamford on Tuesday where Muslims were supported in a prayer vigil.
     Along with the Interfaith Council of Southwestern CT, Pastor Carrie 'LAWYERED UP' those Walton Place church steps, but good.  Out of the abundance of goodness and compassion of my heart, I will allow the benefit of the POSSIBILITY that she actually didn't REALIZE just WHOM she was allowing to TRUMPET on the steps of her church edifice, but who knows?
     She, a Christian and a  lawyer purveying and protecting the laws 'fulfilled in Christ', as well as the laws of the United States of America and of the states she is licensed to practice in was there with Rabbi Josh Hammerman, who spoke forth as purveyor of the 613 Laws of Moses.
     Accompanying them was Midhat H. Syed, Stamford's own Sharia lawyer promulgating and protecting  whatever he was promulgating and protecting  on those dusty old stone church steps.  Read below about Sharia Law and see if you can guess, since, to-date, no one's saying.
LINK: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharia  Here's one take on Sharia:
"Confusion between Sharia and customary law
According to Jan Michiel Otto, Professor of Law and Governance in Developing Countries at Leiden University, "Anthropological research shows that people in local communities often do not distinguish clearly whether and to what extent their norms and practices are based on local tradition, tribal custom, or religion. Those who adhere to a confrontational view of sharia tend to ascribe many undesirable practices to sharia and religion overlooking custom and culture, even if high ranking religious authorities have stated the opposite." Professor Otto's analysis appears in a paper commissioned by the Netherlands Foreign Ministry.[50]" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharia 
     Perhaps someone from the Stamford 'rally' will fill us in here before the next event at the North Congregational Church (a UCC church, like FCC Stamford), whenever it will be.  I understand the wish to promote 'interfaith awareness and cooperation'. 
     But it cannot really be true to ANYONE'S religion--Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, etc, etc.--when the 'Sharia law aspect of all Islam' is ignored. 
     All that does is hoodwink everyone who doesn't take the time and care to take a 'second look' at all this.


Sharia lawyer Midhat H. Syed preaching at FCC Stamford
     I just wonder how much Cari Jackson knew what 'all' she was 'allowing' to go on.  Did she know?  Did she care?  It strikes me as 'unlikely' that she'd do anything at all without careful deliberation, but who knows? 

Rev. Cari Jackson and ?
     It  just could be that her old rebellious streak--against many things American and all things masculine--took up residence in that place of her heart reserved for acts of uncivil disobedience and she just let loose without regard for the implications of 'giving a Shari'a lawyer' a platform from which to trumpet his ideologies.
     There are more 'contradictions' and inanities here than meet the eye at first glance.  Consider the other COUNTRIES represented at this FCC pro-Muslim/pro-NYC GROUND ZERO Mosque rally in Stamford, for instance. 
     One of the countries 'reresented' is Pakistan.  You hardly need a tutorial on US-Pakistani relations, but the recent massive flooding has prompted many of us in the faith community to appeal for 'the prayers of all peoples'.  One cannot be considered to be a sentient human being without being gut-wrenchingly affected by suffering and human tragedy on such a level. (Good timing, this, as we reflect upon the anniversary of the U.S.'s own Hurricane Katrina)
     Yet-back to Pakistan-on the heels of numerous (mine included) public 'shout-outs' for prayer and assistance (I PUSHED for Uncle to send the Chinooks, 'politics be damned'!).  Then--as if God was exercising His rather Magnanimous Sense Of HUMOR...The Pakistani Taliban threatens that 'anyone attempting to supply aid will be killed or suppressed or whatever it is that Sharia law calls for in cases like that.
     For most Americans, well-intentioned as we are,  far too many aspects of militant Sharia-Compliant Islamic cultures defy understanding.  Supporting regimes and mentalities like this are simply anathema to the many of us in the 'free world' today.  Yet, here we are with this spate of 'pro-Muslim/pro NYC Ground Zero Mosque' rallies, with more to come, and all I can do is ask, "WHAT'S REALLY GOING ON?"
     Anyone who can, please let me know.  Best of all, I'd like to hear one of the participants referred to here OPEN UP and let us know what their real agenda is.
Midhat H. Syed, Partner, Murtha Cullina
Midhat advises clients in corporate and cross border transactions, particularly in emerging markets of the Middle East and South Asia. He serves as co-chair of the firm’s Islamic Finance and Investment Group. Mr. Syed’s Islamic Finance practice involves assisting and advising institutions and entities with respect to Shari’ah (Islamic Law) compliant transactions in the realm of private equity investments, real estate finance, mergers & acquisitions, strategic investments and joint ventures, and investment funds.
His domestic corporate practice includes advising and assisting small to mid size companies with entrepreneurial spirit. In this realm, he focuses on company formations, private equity, venture capital and angel funding, private placements, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, corporate restructuring, business planning, asset transfers and corporate and operational compliance matters. He has closely worked with clients in the food, franchising, media and retail industries.
Mr. Syed has extensive experience in advising and assisting IT companies, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) service providers and customers specifically with respect to Master Services Agreements (MSA), emerging technology companies, and business consulting firms. With a diversified cultural background, attorney Syed has developed a keen understanding and sensitivity for servicing the needs of Muslim clients.
     Please, someone, what's going on?  If Pastor Cari Jackson, the Interfaith Council, Reverend Katie Heichler, Rabbi Josh Hammerman, et. al. are so 'up' with human rights (especially with those of ever-oppressed womankind), they MUST have some kind of 'deal' going with Midhat Syed, Esq. and his Sharia law practice.  I, for one, had NO IDEA that Shari'a law was so very FLEXIBLE and TOLERANT of Christians and Jews and our 'USA legal system', did you?  Is this a different kind of Sharia law from the one we hear about in the news? 
       I always thought that Sharia law is above all a 'religious code' which supersedes any and all other codes of law, both religious and secular.  I applaud Rev. Cari's open mindedness in embracing Sharia law even if it does seem kind of odd considering that she is a female.  Oh, the times are a-changing.
     Here's some good 'reading' for you:
Isam Salah, partner, King & Spalding, LLP, on Islamic financial markets during the current financial crisis;
Mahmoud El-Gamal, professor, Rice University, on assessing the extent to which Islamic financial products match their ideals;
Oliver Agha, partner, Agha & Shamsi, Inc., on the fundamental concepts and practices of Islamic finance;
Midhat Syed, partner, Murtha Cullina, on challenges and solutions to striking shari’a-compliant private equity deals in the U.S.;
Mercy Kuo, senior project director, National Bureau of Asian Research, on unique features of the practice of Islamic finance in Southeast Asia;
Ibrahim Warde, adjunct professor, Tufts University, on Islamic finance and the U.S. “financial war on terror;”
April Rinne, director of venture development, Unitus Investment Group, on deployment of microfinance programs in Muslim-majority countries.
http://muslim-investor.com/conference/2nd-annual-uc-berkeley-islamic-finance-sympoisum.html  
     I had no idea that Sharia law was EVEN PRACTICED in Stamford, let alone that it's world-renowned global practitioners are so very OPEN-MINDED of others who are 'different' in our little city of Stamford.  I applaud that! 
    It is good to see that two female Christians can be hosts and ring-leaders to devout Sharia-compliant Muslim men allowing them to plight their cases on church property.  THIS is the kind of religious cooperation I have longed to see for so long!
     Still, I am NO FAN of the NYC Ground Zero Mosque and the way everything related to it is being so manipulative and convoluted and downright insensitive to all who suffered as a result of the terrorism of September 11, 2001.  It ought to be a simple thing to answer any and all questions regarding any mosque building if one is WILLING TO DO SO in a spirit of OPENNESS and HONESTY, no?.
Rev. Katie Heichler & Faisal Quadri (Qadri) http://www.thehour.com/story/478745
     And unlike Pastors Jackson and Heichler and Lingle, I am no fan of Sharia law, especially as  it regards and treats women and the disenfranchised, not to mention non-Muslims. 
Muslim women at the prayer vigil wrapped up good and warm head-to-toe against that awful 'August cold'

 Frankly, what they all recently PROMOTED FROM THOSE CHURCH STEPS  reminds me a little too much of the old 'witchhunting days' of some 365 +/- YEARS AGO.

Rev. Katie Heichler & Faisal Quadri (Qadri) 

     The August 24, 2010 pro-Muslim/pro-NYC Ground Zero Mosque 'prayer vigil' also reminds me of how just how much some people would like to wipe ISRAEL and all JEWS off the face of the map. 
     I don't know..maybe someone can better 'educate me' about Sharia law as it is practiced in Stamford these days, especially since it's proponents are preaching on MY once-beloved church steps.  If this is an effort to make America fully SHARIA-COMPLIANT as many other countries are, I sure would like to know about it. 
     I wish the Stamford Advocate or someone would interview the Muslim Sharia law advocates here in Southwestern CT and have them tell us directly just how well we can all get along as citizens of the United States of America.   I say 'citizens' for I simply cannot believe that the Reverend Dr. Cari Jackson would allow anyone BUT legal American citizens (or those here legally with appropriate paperwork) to preach as they have....would she?
     Anyway, if there's a change in the wind, I WELCOME IT.  I look at even 'neutrally-minded' countries like Switzerland banning the building of 'Muslim minarets' because of the unrest that they propagate and wonder how such a 'minor thing as that' can mean so much to non-Muslims.
     I'm hopeful--but I'm not holding my breath--that any of the goings-on at FCC Stamford will be explained to us soon and the issues I raise addressed. 
     But considering that the FCC Stamford is a UCC (United Church of Christ) which brought us Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Reverend Otis Moss, Father Pfleger and their attendant intolerant philosophies, I really shouldn't be surprised at ANYTHING, at all, being promoted in those hallowed halls or on their weathered steps.
     Now more from Midhat H. Syed, Shariah-lawyer-in-residence Stamford, CT:

 "Spiritual Economics
Recession and depression, falling stock prices and soaring unemployment rates foreclosures and bankruptcies, – the grave economic crisis that our nation faces brings with it little good news. The Survey of Professional Forecasters, the oldest quarterly survey of macroeconomic forecasts in the United States, tells us we are in for more of the same. Released in May 2009, the survey’s projections indicate higher job loss numbers and continued contraction of economic activity.
Such gloom and doom threatens more than our financial stability. Houses of worship are reporting a decrease in donations. The American Heart Association sent a news release in May 2009 outlining how the economic downturn, unemployment and money losses are impacting people’s ability to take care of their health. Canceling gym memberships, skipping dental examinations and scrimping on fresh fruits and vegetables are some of the changes people are making to accommodate the bad economy, perhaps not realizing the negative effects on their health. Additionally, crisis hotlines, suicide prevention and counseling call centers report a dramatic increase in traffic as economic stress exacerbates mental and emotional stress. In spring of 2009 one such outlet, the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, reported a call increase of more than 100% compared to the same time last year.

While none of us might be calling suicide hotlines, nor have most of us lost billions in investments, many of us are feeling a pinch in some areas of our lives. Such discomfort might make us wonder what will prevent further deterioration and stem more negative repercussions. As Muslims, we turn to our spirituality and religion for answers. Here we find we have certain benefits. “One of the clear advantages to the Islamic perspective is the concept of being people of the middle path,” said Charles Faisel Whatley, a Muslim economist. Mr. Whatley is the Director of Commerce and Entrepreneurship at the Atlanta Development Authority, the economic development agent implementing Mayor Shirley Franklin’s New Century Economic Development Plan for the City of Atlanta. He explains, “We don’t go to extremes. Most of the upheaval in the global market has resulted from taking financial products to their tipping points and stretching the financial system to its limits.”
To make it clear to those of us who are stretched by certain economic concepts, Mr. Whatley uses the example of farmland. “It is as if you took a 100-acre plot and tried to plant on it the same amount of food as for a 1,000 acre plot. There is a physical limit to an economic system. Islam recognizes the limits of man and the limits of our resources, and provides balance between them. It makes the economic actor realize profit cannot be the only motive.

As the combined profits for the big five oil companies reached $123 billion in 2007 and $100 billion in 2008 while drivers were paying record prices at the pump, some consumers questioned the ethics of such high profits. Mr. Whatley notes that while profit is lawful in Islam, there is more than one bottom line. “There are four bottom lines – financial profit, the social impact, the environmental impact and the spiritual bottom line. So there must be a balance among them, and you don’t let the monetary gain overshadow other components.”

The spiritual bottom line is important to Muslims as they seek to invest their money or purchase a home. Attorney Midhat H. Syed, a partner and co-chair of the Islamic Finance and Investments division at the Connecticut-based law firm of Murtha Cullina LLP, reviews contracts and documents sales for Islamic financial institutions and individuals who wish to ensure that their transactions are Shari’ah-compliant. He says, “The concepts promoted and adopted by Shari’ah are equity and fairness. The Shari’ah laws are deeply rooted in those concepts.” Explaining the guidelines, Mr. Syed states that social conscious investing prohibits investments in industries such as alcohol, pornography and gambling, and that Islamic finance principles prohibit ribaa, interest; gharar, excessive uncertainty and maysir, speculation. “In a Shari’ah-compliant transaction,” the risk is shared in all aspects – credit, market and operations,” Mr. Syed concludes. Additionally, Islamic transactions must be based in reality. Derivatives, hedge funds and financial instruments, based on pure speculation, allow the financier a long reach. Because they are not tied to any tangible commodity, they violate the Islamic requirements of freedom from excessive uncertainty and speculation. “The main reason for the economic downturn and the financial crunch is that every dollar has been stretched many times,” observes Mr. Syed." 

http://www.azizahmagazine.com/side-bkissue-vol5is3.html 
       
     So... there you have it.  I sure wish someone would just be HONEST enough to let us all know what's REALLY up with this 'pro-Muslim prayer vigil' initiative.  Any way you look at it, combining religion with politics, money and sex always ends up with something that stinks.  At the very least, I sure would like a statement of clarification from the Shari'ah lawyers among us as they push for the building of mosques here and there in the "Land of the Free & Home of the Brave".
     It should be interesting to see how all this plays out for us all in the US as terrorist threaten us, as our economy fails and as the voters flounder due to lack of confidence in our leaders. 
     All I ask is, "Where is the TRANSPARENCY with these out-spoken Muslims and their supporters in light of this MOSQUE DEBATE?  So far, I'm not seeing any.
     As a country, we can be better than this.
"I SAY, NOT 'GOD DAMN AMERICA', BUT GOD BLESS AMERICA"
Let us join together to heal our fine country!
For You In The Truth of Christ-
Reverend Barbara Sexton
"The Biblical Biochemist-Where Science Meets the Cross"
http://www.dearoneshealingministry.blogspot.com/
Faisal Quadri (Qadri?) reads from a Hadith as the InterFaith Council of Southwestern Connecticut hosts a vigil in support of the Islamic community at the First Congregational Church on Walton Place in Stamford, Conn., Tuesday, August 24, 2010. The event featured leaders from the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths leading prayers and discussing unity. Photo: Keelin Daly / Stamford Advocate

  http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/local/articleGallery/Members-of-all-faiths-gather-in-support-of-Islam-630396.php

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