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The Buffalo Bullet

The Missing Op-ed page in most Major Newspapers

Religious Intolerance in the Workplace:

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How to Safeguard Your Rights

albertaparrish

 

by Alberta Parish

Recently, a Georgia worker was unfairly terminated from his employment, because he wrote a religious book and distributed it among his coworkers. When I first heard this story, it reminded me of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution wherein the freedom of speech, of the press, and of religion are documented guaranteed rights to those living under its jurisdiction. In this case, all U.S. citizens have the right to freely practice their religious beliefs, and exercise free speech and free press associated with their faith, so long as it does not violate the universal rights of others.

Anyone’s personal opinions and disagreements regarding scriptural texts rewritten and/or revised in another’s work of creation should never be the motivation behind terminating an employee, and subsequently, infringing upon his right to earn livable wages to support himself and family. Most employers promote diversity, and encourage workers to report all incidences of discrimination. Within a diversified work environment, there will always be certain individuals who will have a personal problem with another’s cultural practices, ideas and values. Even so, diversity can produce individuals with zero tolerance for others’ diverse beliefs and lifestyles. If it happens to be your supervisor who takes a personal offense to your religious beliefs, he may feel compelled to unjustly terminate your employment, which means he has effectively violated the Title VII law, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, national origin, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, and age. Any persons who impede your rights to free speech, free press and freedom of religion not only violate the First Amendment, but also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18, which states that “everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

In every workplace in America, there can be seen a company bylaw regarding employment discrimination, but yet many employees today are more in danger of sexual harassment, religious discrimination and race discrimination than in recent years.

According to statistics “compiled by the Office of Research, Information and Planning from data reported via the quarterly reconciled Data Summary Reports and compiled from EEOC’s Charge Data System and, from FY 2004 forward, EEOC’s Integrated Mission System,” the number of charges regarding religious discrimination increased from 2.1% in 1997 to 4.0% in 2014. In 2011, there was only a slight increase of 0.2% of religious discrimination charges. Currently, race discrimination charges have the largest number of filings, which is at 35.0% for FY 2014. The second largest filings are sex discrimination charges, which is at 29.3% for FY 2014 (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2015).

 

PopeExcommunicatingASinner

 

Can excommunication be considered a form of religious intolerance?- cs

Regardless of anyone’s personal feelings and biases regarding organized religion and the tenets associated with it, federal and state law declares that it is a crime to harass and discriminate against individuals who choose to exercise their rights to worship their creator whatever and whoever that creator is. How and where a Christian, Mormon, Catholic, Protestant, Jehovah’s Witness, Hindu, Buddhist, Orthodox Jew, Sikh, Muslim or Wiccan choose to worship as well as what they choose to believe is also protected by federal and state law. The Declaration of Human Rights and First Amendment also protect those who are not members of any organized religion as well as non-members of “New Age” religious communities, which would comprise religious skeptics, atheists and agnostics.

Sometimes with age comes greater wisdom, and with knowledge comes greater tolerance. We must recognize that the world is not just black and white, and the pieces to every puzzle don’t always add up. You may not agree with everything people believe and you may even hate religion whether your reasons are valid or non-valid. However, this does not give anyone the right to terminate someone’s employment based on an employee’s religious or non-religious views and affiliations. Any persons whether Christian or Muslim who are terminated for his religious thoughts typed in a book may as well be living in a totalitarian country. What makes America so special is the fact that our laws protect us from any form of religious persecution and intolerance, which many Christians are currently experiencing in predominantly Islamist republics. Even now, Christians are being beheaded and burned alive by members of the terror group known as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) because they will not renounce their faith and convert to Islam, which by extension means show their allegiance to ISIS.

Christian persecutions around the world vividly remind me of certain biblical passages, which clearly states in Matthew 24:9-10: “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations on account of My name.” According to Rich Deem, the author of “Will Christians Go Through the Great Tribulation,” he wrote that “there are two Greek words most often used to describe tribulation events, and in many instances, they are used together in the same verse. The first word is diwgmos (Strong’s #G1375), which occurs 10 times in the New Testament and is translated “persecution(s)” in all major English translations. This word always refers to the suffering of believers by non-believers” (Deem, 2011).

Deem further concluded that the Greek word thlipsis, occurring 45 times in the New Testament, is the translation for “tribulation,” “affliction,” “distress,” “anguish,” “persecution” or “trouble,” and the word refers to the suffering believers received at the hands of non-believers (3).

I’ve spent past years of my life submerged in biblical texts. Even now as a non-religious practitioner, I am still amazed by those ancient writings, which seems so parallel to what is happening in the world today. No matter how much I’ve tried to dismiss the entire bible as a complete work of fiction, I still look at the mysteries contained in it and compare them to certain historical data. Something that was written so long ago seems to be of great historical significance today, and I cannot deny that no matter how much I have tried. I can’t deny that the persecution of Christians parallels to what has been written thousands of years before. The vitriol against Christians by members of ISIS, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and other terror groups claiming Islam is evident in the commission of savage acts perpetuated against them.

Thank goodness for America and the laws that protect religious as well as non-religious persons. Without the United States Constitution safeguarding us against threats to our personal rights and freedoms, we would be living under total anarchy and lawlessness for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. Our mere existence would be an utter nightmare as we try and navigate our way through a society that executes Christians, homosexuals, adulteress women and alleged witches on a regular basis such as what is happening in the streets of Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Iran. Hopefully, America never adopts a value system in which one religion is made legal in all 50 states, and all other religions are outlawed. May there always be religious and non-religious tolerance within our borders. Even if all religions were outlawed, people would still find a way to risk their lives in the practice of their faith. Thus, banning all religions will definitely never solve cultural and economic problems.

Protecting your principles and humanity in a world that seems to oppose them at every turn is a daily experience that serves to strengthen one’s character and resolve. All humans – whether non-religious or religious – are tasked with upholding freedom of choice, of expression, and the laws of the land. This means if one person’s voice and lifestyle have been repressed due to a system of intolerance against persons who dare to be different, then it should be of great concern to everyone. After all, if your coworker, your boss, your neighbor, your friend or your loved one’s rights have been violated, it is usually a reflection of systemic injustice, which has to be cut off at the roots before being allowed to grow into a tall, ugly tree. Such is the growth of organizational intolerance, which is why it is always ordinary people striving to make the world around them a better and safer place who are best suited to combat workplace discrimination. One’s religious and/or personal views can never be a determinant for wrongful termination just as one’s skeptic, agnostic or atheist views should not be the reason he/she didn’t get that job promotion or pay increase. Their views certainly should not be a factor in hiring practices either. One’s views does not determine his or her job performance. One’s views only reflect the differences that exist between us, because humanity was created to be both diversified and collective.

Works Cited

Deem, Rich. “Will Christians Go Through the Great Tribulation?” Evidence for God from Science. GodAndScience.org. Web. 17 May 2011. Web. 22 Feb. 2015.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “Preamble: Articles 1-30.” United Nations. 2015. Web. 22 Feb. 2015.

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. “Charge Statistics FY 1997 Through FY 2014.” EEOC. 2015. Web. 22 Feb. 2015.

About Evidence for God from Science (GodAndScience.org)
www.godandscience.org This provides information about the ministry of godandscience.org.

bullet columnist Alberta Parish is best known as a take-no-prisoners Youtube commentator, you can also follow her writings on Twitter.>

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Written by cs

March 1st, 2015 at 1:54 pm

On Byron Allen’s Class-Action Lawsuit

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ZachHusser2withTie

 

by Zachary Husser

Dear Family of Friends Network,

After reading what Mr. Byron Allen has to say about Rev. Al Sharpton, the National Action Network, the Urban League, the NAACP, Jessie Jackson, and a few others as it relates to Black Media NOT getting Advertising Dollars, I’m almost 100% in agreement with Allen! However, let me state the following because it needs to be said. First, I’m very happy about the “Law Suit” because it’s way over due and should actually be a “Class Action” supported by All Black Organizations and Black Businesses!! Our Black Neighborhoods have suffered tremendously because we get No Contract Dollars from the Media nor do we get any from the Federal, State, County, and City governments. It appears that We are very smart and educated Black folk that know how to do everything under the Sun, but We don’t know how to get Our Fair and Equitable Share of Contract Dollars from private corporations nor the governmental administrations WE support!!!

Secondly, Black Folk are responsible for All of the Professional Teams, except Hockey, for getting Billions of Dollars in TV contracts from advertisers. Not only are WE the ones watching TV games, We’re there year around and especially during the NFL, NBA, and MLB seasons. We’re the straw that stirs the drink for most of these Corporate Tycoons. What’s criminal is We don’t ask nor are we getting “Contract Dollars” for Black Businesses and We have this kind of leverage. It’s not Rev. Al Sharpton because he doesn’t have that kind of influence. WE Black Folk, collectively have got to change how WE do business. What we’ve seen over the many decades is Our Black Businesses get strangled out of Business. We can’t keep doing things the same way we’ve done them in the past. If we Want the outcome I’m hearing from Mr. Allen, we, those of Us who know this game, have got to Unite, Collaborate, and go for the jugular of Contract Dollars based on Our Fair and Equitable Share! Do You Read Me Loud And Clear???

Thirdly, we’re in New York City and the government of NYC under all of the Mayors have not given Black Businesses the Fair and Equitable Share of Contract Dollars so we can take care of Our Young People Educationally, Spiritually, and In the Employment arena. Our Tax Dollars are used to balance the Budgets of the State, County, and City governments, yet we get NO Return Contracts based on the Billions of Dollars We’re levied via paying Taxes to balance the very budgets in the areas we reside in! We get no contracts and that’s something WE have to correct. It’s not Rev. Al Sharpton nor Jessie Jackson, it’s All of Us who are informed and we’re not using Our leverage to force Contracts to Our Black Businesses! We want a different OUTCOME, WE have to go about doing business in different ways.

In concluding, I get my researched facts about No Contracts from the Tax we pay into balancing those budgets from the Comptroller of the City of New York, the Comptroller of the State of New York, and the Comptroller of the State of New Jersey. Do Your Own research, see the Facts, and let’s get together and go after Our Tax Return Contracts for Black Businesses in All the Cities WE reside in! We must Act on this. Otherwise, We’re looking at the worst example of “Taxation without Representation!” What did the founding Fathers do when they realized the British were taxing them and they didn’t have any representation? You do the thinking and tell me what are we’re going to do??? Are WE afraid to go after the Real Money??

In the Interest of Financial Integrity for Black People & People of Color,

Brother Zachary C. Husser, National Communication Advisor
Fathers in Education Campaign, Incorporated
www.fathersineducation.org

Note: My above commentary is an answer to the “link” article written by Brother Byron Allen. Read his article and then take a look at what I say. Either way, please read both articles. Thank You very much and I’m depending on YOU YOUNG WARRIORS to Utilize Your Education and Make getting Our Money via Return Contracts a priority in your Hip Hop Generation’s Business! We Baby Boomers Are Calling Out to YOU!!!

Zachary Cornell Husser is a NY/NJ Community Organizer and member of the Columbia University men’s basketball teams of 1967–70. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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Written by cs

February 28th, 2015 at 11:18 pm

Trayvon Martin:

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The Black Community’s Next Move

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by Alton H. Maddox, Jr.

(“Attorney-at-War”)

On this past Tuesday, the U.S. Justice Department only confirmed the prophecy of our ancestors. The U.S. Justice Department would continue to give great deference to the Compromise of 1877. This decision would come two days before Trayvon Martin’s birthday. This is the modus operandi of white supremacy.

On this past Monday, I had ominously published an article entitled, “An Ombudsman for Black and Latino Children.” They are children without legal representatives and they are disenfranchised politically. Their parents are also disenfranchised and they also lack access to the courts.

Without factoring in the “race calculus,” they are the victims of double jeopardy which is in violation of the Fifth Amendment. Our children need HELP. Among other things, Black and Latino children in New York are subject to the nation’s most repressive legislation. This is of no concern to Black and Latino selected officials.

The United States is unable to erase slavery from its blackboard. Justice would require compensation. This is an innate element of justice and an indispensable element of American jurisprudence. Without justice there should be no peace. Justice and peace should share a symbiotic relationship.

The “debt” is not subject to erasure without compensation. Until the “debt” has been satisfied, its Black creditors, in the meantime, must be placed in protective custody. Any harm gives rise to double indemnity. The parents of Black children are subject to immeasurable pain and suffering coupled with the lack of compensation for wrongful deaths.

No court in the United States should be unfamiliar with the legal concept of judicial notice. These are facts which do not need to be proven. Perennial racism is one of those facts. Res ipsa loquitor should apply to civil rights violations. This eases the element of proof.

The U.S. Justice Department is hypocritical when it claims that a civil rights prosecution requires a high-level of proof. America was born out of slavery and the “badges of slavery” still thrive. This is proof that descendants of enslaved Africans are “constitutional squatters.”

“Ambulance chasers” and the “silver rites” movement are not designed to deliver justice. Descendants of enslaved Africans have bitten the bullet and they are accepting hush money instead of justice. Howard Beach and Bensonhurst, as legal models, were of no moment to them.

“Ambulance chasers” have also replaced civil rights attorneys and the “silver rites” movement has replaced the civil rights movement to the consternation of our revered ancestors who sacrificed their lives to prevent history from repeating itself. The lesson to be learned from State v. Zimmerman is that an elected prosecutor is not a special prosecutor.

Fannie Lou Hamer gave us a delivery system for political science. Rosa Parks concurred. I founded the Freedom Party in 1994. It has never attracted a single, part-time volunteer or a seasonal volunteer. Thus, political education is not a high priority in the Black community.

With these indifferent persons tightly holding the directionless, political reigns of the Freedom Party, no effort is being made to resist the assault on our children. March 7, 2015 will be, to the day, 158 years after Dred Scott and, fifty years, to the day, after “Bloody Sunday 1965″ in Selma, AL.

The outrage against the protracted, inhumane and unprecedented assault against our children should reach a crescendo by March 7, 2015 but this will not happen without a well-developed plan to sustain the struggle under the rubric of Black Lives Matter.

The Freedom Party should be in its vanguard. It is the purpose of a political party. This is a class-action. There are no “innocent bystanders.” While a victim will naturally seek personal justice, the class must seek protective justice. The class will need a human-civil rights attorney to secure class relief. Freedom is not free and war is full-time.

Is a Passport to George Zimmerman a Fish Tale?

No one is taking me seriously when I assert that you must be bilingual to communicate with white supremacists: “legalese” and “military science.” It is not enough to be fluent in pig Latin. White supremacists may “hear” you but they only understand “legalese” and “military science.” This is a big problem for Blacks. Leading Blacks, at best, only speak “broken English.”

For white supremacists, it is enough that Blacks are unable to speak “military science.” The U.S. Justice Department announced, on this past Tuesday, that only insufficient evidence is available to convict George Zimmerman on civil rights violations for the death of Trayvon Martin. Therefore, Zimmerman should be exempt from a criminal accusation.

This is like “putting the cart before the horse.” A criminal prosecution does not start with a conviction. It starts with an indictment as is authorized under the Fifth Amendment. The last stage in the criminal process is a criminal conviction, if convicted, with the option for a criminal defendant to file post-conviction motions.

You will never hear a prosecuting attorney and a defense attorney arguing on CNN or MSNBC that a prosecutor is never able to indict a ham sandwich. Attorneys are not supposed to argue the truth. They are supposed to argue either side of the “facts.” Confrontation is supposed to deliver the truth. A jury announces the verdict.

The issue is whether probable cause exists under the Fourth Amendment to satisfy an arrest of Zimmerman. Probable cause does not mean that sufficient evidence exists to warrant a conviction but criminal defendants are arrested and prosecuted because it is more likely than not that a criminal defendant perpetrated a crime.

Self-defense in a subsequent civil rights prosecution is not subject to the doctrine of res judicata. Zimmerman is not denying that he killed Trayvon Martin. Only a petit jury can decide that a tribunal can leap from an accusation to a conclusion. The prosecutor is only unable to pursue an appeal.

There is no such thing as a pro bono defense. In a protracted struggle, dollars must be recycled to sustain it. Everyone is aware of this fact except descendants of enslaved Africans who are unwilling to invest in freedom. Stated differently, you must pay to play.

Other ethnic groups give great deference to ethics. For years, the Freedom Party has been working on a working definition for “ethics” which is racial glue so that we can stick together. This effort is still a “work-in-progress.” For this reason, politics is currently beyond our reach.

It is a poor rat that does not have its own hole. I invested over One Million Dollars in UAM, Freedom Party and Freedom Retreat for Boys and Girls so that we could have a hole. All members could ride for free. Any organization must have a headquarters. Expenses accompany a headquarters.

Recycled dollars should have allowed for me to purchase a law library for Blacks if we were not social parasites. Someone is the Black community has to speak “legalese.” The business records for UAM are filed and available for public inspection in the Brooklyn Civil Court.

If I had not come to New York and had not invested substantially in the freedom of Blacks for more than thirty years, there would have been no legal or civil rights victories in New York while I was practicing law in addition to counseling Blacks.

The international slave trade only came into fruition because of investors. Accounting was the accelerant and its code of ethics. This is why the “business record exception” to the hearsay rule is at the centerpiece of American jurisprudence. Business records ensure reliability.

The claim that the Justice Department lacks the proof to secure an indictment of Zimmerman is “fishy.” It should have, in its possession, all of its own investigatory files, Florida’s investigatory files and a murder trial. Florida, on the other hand, was able to secure an indictment and trial only after a grand jury investigation but the United States lacks overwhelming evidence to simply indict and arrest Zimmerman.

It is up to a federal petit jury to convict Zimmerman. If insufficient evidence had existed to indict him, this would be a call for a federal judge under Rule 12 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure to decide in a pre-trial motion. Any adverse ruling by the federal judge can be taken upstairs without suffering legal sanctions. The U.S. Justice Department is exceeding its prosecutorial authority and usurping judicial authority.

I knew that the fight for justice for Trayvon Martin was beyond the ken of the “silver rites” movement. It is sad that I had to use personal funds for all Blacks to retain any semblance of respectability for the race. Every ethnic group has its own reputation. Our reputation is near the bottom of the totem pole. Chief Justice Roger Taney defined the class in Dred Scott on March 7, 1857. What will Blacks be doing on March 7, 2015?

Visit: WWW.REINSTATEALTONMADDOX.COM for my political and legal writings.

IMPORTANT NOTICE

For more than two decades, several thousand persons have received my invaluable, writings on politics, law and military science, free of any cost, even though the fixed costs to publish them including research, writing, editing and publishing have exceeded over Twenty-five Hundred Dollars monthly. There is also now a need to upgrade equipment, legal literature and software and to resume the practice of law as the private attorney general without “judicial bullying.” “Freedom is not free.” No one should ride the back of another person. This is an accounting principle.

Make contributions for a free and educational press and for a legal defense fund for the U.S. Supreme Court to redress an odious grievance and provide an emergency, legal defense fund for Tawana Brawley and Ramsey Orta only to:

Friends of Alton Maddox
P.O. Box 35
Bronx, NY 10471

Too honest for the White Press and too black for much of today’s Black Press; bullet columnist Alton Maddox upsets the same people and status quo as he did as an uncompromising Defense Attorney. He is also a founding member of the Freedom Party. Please support the movement to Reinstate him. Contact him at c/o UAM P.O. BOX 35 BRONX, NY 10471.

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Written by cs

February 26th, 2015 at 11:01 pm

The Group

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by Pat Freeman

The former industrial site located in the city of Buffalo at the Outer Harbor has revealed to many of us this group that has vowed to maintain control over all Western New York development. Their efforts have even included mobilizing various environmentalist groups claiming that they support public access to the water, and will fight against development that might threaten the citizen’s right to public access. We have even heard the suggestion of recreational swimming at Gallagher Beach during the summer months. Unfortunately the very thought of this type of recreation before the clean up of more than 1300 acres of the old Bethlehem Steel site proves that this was once again political lip service. The environmental report for Bethlehem Steel states that the entire area needs remediation which would include massive soil replacement, and removal. Seems to me that same network of control that has always existed in Western New York continues it’s dirty tricks to maintain control of all development, and to continue to be the beneficiary of tax laden projects that are laced with the hope of real job creation.

The Private Investment proposal to build a state of the art entertainment complex on 150 acres of the Outer Harbor has been a devastating thorn in the side of this group because they can’t control the project. The funding will essentially come from all outside money with 1 Billion dollars of private money guaranteed for this project which would be the largest in Western New York history. The group or cabal have even created a make believe deal for a cash-strapped furniture factory from Canada to purchase 50 acres on the waterfront claiming it would create 250 jobs. This company Gracious Living from Canada barely had $70 million in international sales, and we must ask the question was this really a legitimate opportunity, or was it created to block the private investment proposal for the stadium complex? Also with the toxicity of furniture manufacturing was the goal to insure public access that might have included swimming in even more polluted water. The actions of this group, and their control of an apparent weakened leadership has helped to slow down the creation of 8-15,000 living wage union jobs here in Western New York. They also double crossed their mobilized environmentalist telling them that the private investment proposal for a stadium/entertainment complex would take away public access to our most valuable waterfront.

Well the truth is always in the details because the group wants to build exclusive housing on the waterfront which would include some mix use recreation but in truthfulness they would be making public land high-end private apartments that most of us would not be able to afford. This pitiful idea is nothing new in this area if you take a look at how residential housing has really helped the development of Niagara Street. The group as I have named them has only one interest in this area, and that is to take back full control of what they call the new Buffalo! The problem they were not anticipating was the private investment proposal to build a state of the art entertainment complex on the long vacant outer harbor has, and continues to grow in support. It is the best plan for the future of Western New York and introduces a new economic age free from the corrupted finger tips of the group. This destination plan includes a multi-use Stadium facility which would seat up to 72,000, a 500 room hotel, convention center, retail space, and a one of a kind North American History of Sport and Culture Museum operated by the world renowned Strong Museum of Rochester. Who by the way are eager to expand into a project, and market place like Buffalo . The Outer Harbor will be the new stadium and entertainment site!!!! No weapon formed against me shall prosper!!!!

If you enjoy talking about the world of sports tune into the number#1 sports show in the nation every Saturday from 4-5:00PM hosted by WUFO Sports Director Patrick Freeman on 1080AM WUFO radio or via the internet at www.wufoam.com. Or catch Sports Update for clbTV (ch.20 Buffalo) and YouTube. Also join us for the number#1 recap show every Monday at 7:25AM with Lee Pettigrew, and The Mighty O’Ba Pat Freeman.

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Hard Truths on Race from FBI Director

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CharlesMBlow2

 

by Charles M. Blow

In our collective imaginations, we tend to conceive of the constantly called-for “national conversation on race” as having the formality of some grand conclave of consciousness — an American Truth and Reconciliation equivalent, a spiritual spectacle in which sins are confessed and blame taken and burdens lifted.

This may be ideal, but it is also exceedingly unlikely in this country, particularly in this political environment. There will be no great atoning. Reparations will not be paid. There will no sprawling absolution.

Yet we can still have a productive conversation. Indeed, I would argue that we are in the midst of a national conversation about race at this very moment. Its significance isn’t drawn from structure but from the freedom of its form.

Every discussion over a backyard fence or a cup of coffee is part of that conversation. It is the very continuity of its casualness that bolsters its profundity.

We need to stop calling for the conversation and realize that we are already having it.

Last week the F.B.I. director, James Comey, added his voice to that conversation, particularly as it relates to the relationship between law enforcement and communities of color. There were portions I found particularly potent coming from a man in his position.

He gave a list of “hard truths,” the first of which was an admission that the history of law enforcement in this country was not only part of the architecture of oppression but also a brutal tool of that system. As Comey put it, “One reason we cannot forget our law enforcement legacy is that the people we serve and protect cannot forget it, either.”

His second hard truth acknowledged the existence of unconscious racial bias “in our white-majority culture” and how that influences policing.

Third, he acknowledged that people in law enforcement can develop “different flavors of cynicism” that can be “lazy mental shortcuts,” resulting in more pronounced racial profiling.

But as in all discussions, there were portions of the speech to which I took exception.

First, Comey seems to falsely conflate condemnation of poor policing — sometimes predatory policing, in particular — with a condemnation of all policing. He makes a straw man argument, “Law enforcement is not the root cause of problems in our hardest hit neighborhoods.” Who said it was?

This is a twisting of motive and purpose of the voices of recent protesters that undermines and mischaracterizes both. Minority communities want policing the same as any other, but they want it to be appropriate and proportional. They want not to be afraid of the cops as well as the criminals. They want officers to display an equitable modicum of discernment in treating the law-abiding differently from the lawbreaking.

The discussion is not about police officers being a “root cause of problems” in a given neighborhood, but rather that they shouldn’t be a problem at all, anywhere. We are not geographically confined. We can move in and out of high-crime neighborhoods. We can’t move in and out of our own skin.

At another point, Comey states that cynicism “becomes almost irresistible and maybe even rational by some lights.” This is dangerous and unconditionally false. “Lazy mental shortcuts” — in other words, racial profiling — aren’t rational in any light. That violates not only an American principle but also a human one: that no person should be punished for the crimes or sins of another.

His fourth hard truth focused on how crimes among “many young men of color become part of that officer’s life experience.” But in seeking to offer context, he mentioned “environments lacking role models, adequate education, and decent employment.” Here he moves perilously close to a racial pathology argument, as if there were something inherent in blackness and black culture that predisposes one to criminality. This, too, is a “lazy mental shortcut.”

What too few people mention when discussing crime is the degree to which concentrated poverty, hopelessness and despair are the chambermaids of violence and incivility. These factors are developed and maintained through a complicated interplay of structural biases — historical and current — interpersonal biases, environmental reinforcements and personal choices.

Even as I disagree on portions, I take the larger point, and I applaud the endeavor and its purpose. Comey seems to be making a genuine effort to be part of the conversation and the solution, and that is more than I can say for some.

One doesn’t have to possess the certitude of gospel to have a positive impact on this discussion — for oneself and others. Just an earnest desire for insight and mutual understanding.

This is more than one can say of the hard of heart, those resistant to engagement and, therefore, beyond enlightenment. The stone cannot absorb no matter how much you drench it.

(This column originally appeared in the New York Times FEB. 16, 2015 under the title “A Kaffeeklatsch on Race“)

Charles M. Blow is a New York Times Columnist and nationally-known commentator: “I invite you to visit my blog By The Numbers, join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter, or e-mail me at chblow@nytimes.com.”

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Written by cs

February 19th, 2015 at 11:47 pm

It’s Black History Month….Again!

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by Karima Amin
 
I recently made a comment to someone about this month being Black History Month. In an incredulous tone, that person replied, “Again!?” I was a little shocked as I was speaking to someone who was my age and college-educated who, for some reason, didn’t realize that Black History Month is an annual observance. Also, she had never heard of Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson, “The Father of Black History,” who founded “Negro History Week” in 1926. Initially, the response was lukewarm but the idea gained in popularity over the next five decades and by the 1970’s school administrations, religious institutions, fraternal organizations, city councils, and some state governments embraced the importance of acknowledging the significance of the history of people of African descent. Canada and the UK also celebrate Black History Month. Woodson died in 1950 after distinguishing himself as a historian, journalist, and author, most notably for Mis-Education of the Negro.
 
I am always encouraged to see my history highlighted and I try, every day, to learn something new that I can share with others.  Although Woodson only designated one week for study and celebration, he spent a lifetime establishing the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (1915) and a journal, The Negro History Bulletin (1933) that still exist today.
 
At least once or twice yearly, Prisoners Are People Too takes the time to acknowledge Black History by inviting a guest speaker or screening a film which invites us to take a look back at where we have been, to have increased understanding of where we stand today. This month we have a film, “The Black Power Mixtape -1967-1975,” which is a documentary compilation of people, events, and ideas that fueled nearly a decade known as the “Black Power Movement.” It goes back in time but includes the voices of contemporary people who were influenced by the history.  If you were aware of what Black Americans were experiencing in the 60’s and 70’s, then you need to see this film. You will see that so much of what is going on in this nation now has happened before. If you were a child in the 60’s and 70’s then you need to see this film to know something of the history that was misinterpreted by media, often making the US appear benign and blameless and Blacks appear responsible for their own oppression. This documentary will give you what the typical textbook leaves out. Yesterday’s frustration with the status quo that ignores Black humanity is still with us today. Yesterday’s police brutality and subsequent violence are still with us today. Yesterday’s racism, both overt and covert, are alive and well in the 21st century USA.
 
Prisoners Are People too will hold it’s next monthly meeting on Monday, February 23, 2015 at the Pratt-Willert Community Center, 422 Pratt Street, in  Buffalo, from 7:00- 9:00pm. For more information: Call 716-834-8438; or contact Karima, karima@prisonersarepeopletoo.org; or BaBa,  georgebaba_eng@yahoo.com. Visit our website: www.prp2.org and be sure to “like” us on Facebook.

 

“God has not called us to see through each other, but to see each other through.” (Anonymous)

Karima Amin is a longtime Buffalo Activist, Educator, and Storyteller as well as founder and director of Prisoners Are People Too (PRP2).

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February 18th, 2015 at 10:06 pm

Quitting Your Job With Grace

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AnnBrown1

 

by ANN BROWN

Be careful how you quit your job–make a mistake when you leave a company and you can put a bad mark of your career. “It matters, because bad behavior will follow you. An employee may think that quitting in a big, boisterous way means that they get the last word, but that’s not the case,” explains Lauren Milligan, resume expert/job search coach with ResuMAYDAY.com. “Not being able to use that employer as a reference is giving that employer the last word. Former employees talking about you behind your back gives them the last word. People dropping out of your network, or not vouching for you on LinkedIn or other social networks is giving them the last word.”

Always make a good impression when leaving. “The people you work with and for will only remember your last performances and behaviors. For this reason you need to be at your best,” says global management consultant Kathleen Brush, Ph.D. “Even if you are leaving because of a bad boss, when you resign be gracious and be sure to ask what you can do to help with any transition. Even if he says nothing, you have other people who you need to leave a good memory with.”

Quitting No Nos:

HNIC

 

Act like a child. “One of the worse ways to quit is throwing a tantrum and quitting in front of other employees or customers,” says Milligan.

Act a fool. No matter how difficult your relationship was with your boss, don’t “be a clown to your boss when you resign,” says Brush.

Going viral. “Don’t create a ‘I Quit!’ video and posting it online,” adds Milligan.
Quit via social media. “It’s a no no to quit electronically by text, Facebook, Twitter,” says Milligan. And while we’re at it, don’t give notice on a voice mail either.

Be secretive. Don’t just disappear. After informing your boss, tell your co-workers. “You shouldn’t leave your colleagues in the dark so they can’t handle your responsibilities,” says Brush.

How To Quit:

Have a sit-down. “Have a calm, one-on-one meeting with your supervisor,” suggests Milligan.

Put it in writing. Milligan says “a resignation letter that is thoughtful and professional.” Be careful of what you write, however. “While it is tempting to include a manifesto of the company’s ills in your resignation letter, you are better served by keeping it simple,” adds Smith. “A resignation letter needs only three pieces of information. 1. Your last day. 2. Contact address and phone number. 3. Your signature.”

Pass on your knowledge. “Make an extra effort to train the person/people who will be assuming your responsibilities and create documentation for any tasks that are multi-step,” says Brush. And organize your files: paper and electronic.

Make the most of your exit interview. “Many companies interview outgoing employees to gather information. Answer all questions judiciously. Some exit interviews are confidential, while others are not,” says Smith. “In addition, you want to be sure not to burn any bridges. Boomerang employees are becoming more and more common.”

Ann Brown is a longtime New York journalist whose columns appear in The Network Journal, New York Trend and other publications. She currently resides in Cape Verde.

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February 17th, 2015 at 11:17 pm

A Tale of Love & Jealousy:

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Bobbi Kristina’s Boyfriend, Nick Gordon Under Investigation

albertaparrish

 

by Alberta Parish

As Bobbi Kristina Brown lay in a coma at Emory University Hospital, family and friends remain prayerful that the daughter of the late Whitney Houston will recover from an incident in which Brown was found under water in a bath tub on January 31 inside her Roswell townhome. Her aunt, Leolah Brown informed Fox 5 News that the doctor told the family that Bobbi is “moving her eyes” and seems to be improving (1). Her boyfriend, Nick Gordon is being questioned as a central figure in a criminal investigation as police try to piece together events that led to Bobbi Kristina’s discovery face-down in bathwater as well as unexplained injuries on her.

Earlier reports claimed that Brown and Gordon are married, but the couple never wedded. Leolah Brown certainly did not approve of their relationship and “does not think Gordon has been a good influence on her niece,” according to recent statements made to Fox 5 News. In a 911 recording days prior to the drowning incident, a security guard at Brown’s complex made claims that neighbors complained about a domestic dispute outside the home of Gordon and Brown (2), which supports previous claims that the couple had a violent relationship, according to their friends (TMZ, 2015).

Although Gordon was adopted by Whitney Houston and practically grew up alongside Bobbi as siblings, it does not mean he had her best interest at heart as their relationship appeared to be volatile. Love may have brought them together, but money gradually became the central issue as Gordon demanded more money from Brown’s estate.

Years ago, I concluded that many people lack basic human emotions like love and compassion for others, and only care about their own self-fish desires. Often, a person is only talking to you because he or she has an ulterior motive, is trying to extract information from you for nefarious purposes, or is using you. When most people feel they cannot use, control or manipulative you, you probably will not hear from them. When you call them, they really do not want to talk to you although they pretend they do. They may even feel that you are annoying and also boring, but most times they won’t be straightforward with you about how they really feel about you as a person. They are often deceptive instead. As long as you have lots of money or is about to inherit lots of money, it seems like people who normally wouldn’t be talking to you or befriending you are calling you e very week. It is usually me who calls others and extends my hand in friendship, which is why a red flag went up about a particular person (who is a non-relative) that has been consistently calling me. Many family members don’t even call me, which is why anybody calling me every few days asking questions and poking around for information about my financial affairs is usually up to no good.

I am reminded of individuals in my formative years who declared they loved me, cared so much about me and protected me from myself, but they were wearing a mask. Life has certainly changed me, but one thing I made sure to maintain is my genuine compassion for others.

Sometimes, people who you believe you can trust are often not trustworthy because not all people are good people. There are millions of people in the world who are inwardly monsters and lack kindheartedness, love, integrity, empathy and honesty. The clinical definition for this person is called a sociopath. Millionaires like Bobbi Kristina can sometimes end up being surrounded by sociopaths that love to use people for money. Sociopaths appear to be charismatic and trustworthy. However, underneath the mask, they are deceptive. They lie, lie, lie and believe the lies they tell others. When a sociopath thinks you are not looking closely, he or she displays antisocial behavior, is manipulative, incapable of love, and self-serving. They care only about their own self-gratification.

Because we live in a world where people are generally untrustworthy, I sometimes find it difficult to believe there are some good, straightforward people left like me who do not use others and do not enjoy making other people’s lives miserable. There are lots of scam artists, deceitful and manipulative persons surrounding Bobbi Kristina. Therefore, she will probably always be accosted by people who are simply looking for a huge payday. The leeches constantly engulf her draining her of life and money.

I like to study people. I see couples all the time – married and single – that look miserable together. I sometimes deduce that most of these couples are together for convenience. Instead of walking away from an unstable relationship, they keep lying to each other and wearing their facades. This is how I see Bobbi and Nick’s relationship. I don’t see him walking away quietly from their relationship any time soon. Hopefully, Bobbi Kristina will make a full recovery but only time and medical therapy heals all wounds.

Works Cited

Ann Oldenburg. “Police called to Bobbi Kristina’s home.” USA TODAY: A GANNETT COMPANY. USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc. Web. 11 Feb. 2015. Web. 12 Feb. 2015. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2015/02/11/bobbi-kristina-brown-home-police-call-fight-domestic-dispute/23223559/.

“Bobbi Kristina–Violent History With Nick Gordon Triggered By Jealousy.” TMZ.com. EHM Productions, Inc. Web. 9 Feb. 2015. Web. 13 Feb. 2015. Retrieved from http://www.tmz.com/2015/02/09/bobbi-kristina-nick-gordon-domestic-violence-history-
jealousy-reality-show/
.

MYFOXATLANTA STAFF. “Bobbi Kristina’s aunt speaks to FOX 5 Atlanta.” MyFoxAtlanta.com. Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. Web. 10 Feb. 2015. Web. 12 Feb. 2015. Retrieved from http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/story/28074604/exclusive-bobbi-kristinas-aunt-speaks-to-fox-5.

bullet columnist Alberta Parish is best known as a take-no-prisoners Youtube commentator, you can also follow her writings on Twitter.

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February 16th, 2015 at 11:15 pm

Stephen Kinsey’s Inauguration Held at Treasures in Germantown

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GloriaDulanWilson5NewPic

 
 

by Gloria Dulan-Wilson

 

Hello All:

 

The ballroom of Treasures on Germantown Avenue was packed to capacity last Saturday morning, despite the fact that the temperature was a vicious 16 degrees with vicious whipping winds. The Germantown/Mt. Airy community turned out to celebrate the re-election of State Representative Stephen Kinsey, who is now serving his second term representing the 201stdistrict in Philadelphia.
 

 

Stephen Kinsey

 

Residents of all ages and economic backgrounds showed up to congratulate him and let him know how pleased they were with who he was and how he was representing them.

 

The opening ceremony with a color guard from the Boy Scouts and another local youth organization was followed by a musical rendition of Lift Every Voice and Sing performed by Darryl McKeever on sax.
Kinsey’s adorable little daughter, Myla Rose Pearl Kinsey, dressed in white blush, greeted the audience and welcomed them to her dad’s inauguration.

 

There was an overwhelming sense of family as you looked around the capacity-packed room. People spoke with pride about the difference Kinsey has made since being in Harrisburg. John Odom spoke of his outstanding character, stating, “What stood out was a man who treated everybody on the same plane. I am grateful to know him at this stage of my life. Hope to see you running for president,” he concluded.
John Myers, his predecessor, stated that Kinsey had come up under his leadership. Myers shared his wisdom knowledge and was determined to make sure he was able to carry on the work of David Richardson (one of Kinsey’s icons).

 

Per Myers, “Steve Kinsey is like a political son to me. I had said to Steve in five years we could make you a leader in Harrisburg. He said ‘no way!’ He later had to turn down leadership positions people wanted him to take. Steve is a soldier for his people. He knows what is right and when it’s right; what to say and when to say it. I want to make you the 800 pound gorilla. We need an 800 pound gorilla in this city!” Myers went on to say that Kinsey needed an army to become the 800 pound gorilla. And that army was made up of community constituents who can help out by making phone calls, sending emails and letters and standing with him on the issues.

 

“I want you to pledge to be that army,” he continued. Per Myers Kinsey must have the people behind him willing to do the work necessary.

 

Stating a fact in political math, Myers reminded the audience that a 1500 voter turnout for the most part will get little to no attention; but when you have 15,000 voters turning out it makes everybody sit up and take notice. “If we want to see changes made, it continues after he gets in office. If you look in the mirror and see someone other than yourself looking back, you need to change the mirror.”

 

Spoken word artist, Kirwyn Sutherland’s brilliant piece, which started with – “Generation B has wide wings…there is no stolen history ritalin can reconstruct – and culminated with “you are not alone, every single one of us have gravely sinned – we invite every part of you in,” lent a contemporary basis to the high regard the so called generation ‘z’ have for the Representative, who has broad personal appeal across the age and economic ranges.

 

The inauguration was as much a lesson in civics and politics as it was the celebration of the re-election of Stephen Kinsey.  With many of the who’s who in the the Pennsylvania political arena.

 

State Representative Cherelle Parker stated enthusiastically, “This is my tenth year. And it took people like John Myers, Dwight Evans, John White, Jr., Dave Richardson – all of those people who sort of laid the foundation – to give people like Steve Kinsey and Cherrelle Parker the opportunity to do what we do. And to do what we do in a way that is so selfless, that when we get there – you know when you get elected, people begin to call you, address you as ‘honorable.’ And if you’re not careful, if you’re not grounded, if you don’t come from a place where you realize that if it wasn’t for the Grace of God, that could be me – you could lose yourself in what we do. And you can get to Harrisburg and you could forget Germantown. Right? You’re walking the halls and people say, ‘Oh I want to meet with you!’ ‘Oh, I want to talk to you!’ And all of a sudden, you just get grand! And don’t start reading you press releases – you start reading your press releases and believing it; your picture in the paper – and if you are not careful and disciplined – you get so busy you forget the purpose. He sits next to me; he hasn’t forgotten purpose! John Myers, you know it’s easy to talk about what you believe in in front of this crowd, because you’re home. They feel what you’re feeling, and believe what you believe! But when you go to Harrisburg, and you get inside that conference room, when you get on that floor, where there are 203 members and only 25 of us from Philadelphia, and we do not always agree. But I’m impressed with Kinsey, because when he got to Harrisburg he didn’t mind speaking out, especially when people came from different places. You can sit there and be quiet and try to make people like you – but you’ll never get anything done. You can speak up about your concerns – school closings; economic dollars that once helped to stabilize schools – you can say it or you can be quiet and be afraid to speak up,” she stated, wanting to make it emphatically clear that role Kinsey plays in Harrisburg.

 

Parker spoke of how rare it was to be a part of the appropriations committee so early in his political career, and how thorough and fair Kinsey was in his determinations; playing a key role in the effort to ensure that Germantown has its fair and equitable share.

 

With a flair of humor, Rep. Parker stated that she would “like to be fly on wall of the appropriations committee when Rep. Kinsey was putting forth his concerns for he budget and its impact on the whole of Philadelphia.” She stated, “You have made a good choice – to succeed Dave Richardson you sent John Myers. And to succeed John Myers you sent Stephen Kinsey and my friend represents you well.”

 

City Councilwoman Cindy Bass rounded out the accolades by stating that there has never been a time since Kinsey took office that she has called and not received the help she needed from him. There has never been a time when he was unavailable to the constituents she represents in his district.

 

“I can’t do the things I try to do in the City Council without Steve’s help. If you’re trying to get bills passed in the city, you need government in the state. You need people who are really able to do the work. Who are well qualified, but also has the heart about the work that needs to be done,” she emphasized. “He will always be a part of my team, and I will always be a part of his team!”

 

Kinsey’s focus has been education, economic empowerment and building a cohesive community. Prior to the inauguration he hosted an open house in his new office at 5952 -54 Germantown Avenue (Corner Harvey) directly across the street from the now shuttered Germantown High School, his alma mater.  Kinsey has been supportive of the GCCS – a consortium of community  organizations and residents who are working to have the school transformed into a viable sixth through twelfth grade charter school.  It was the only high school in Germantown and would have celebrated its 100th Anniversary had it not been shut down in 2013.
 
Among the guests and well wishers in the audience for Kinsey’s second inauguration, were members of Kappa Alpha Psi’s Philadelphia Alumnae chapter, members of the Germantown Community Charter School Coalition, and other community based organizations from the Germantown area. Suffice it to say that those in the 201st district fortunate enough to have Kinsey for their state representative have nothing but praise for his first two years and are looking to working with him in making sure that the 2nd term is as successful as the first.

Stay Blessed &
ECLECTICALLY BLACK

bullet Columnist Gloria Dulan-Wilson Is a veteran New York City Journalist. Her experiences, perspective & sense of history are an invaluable combination. “check out my blog:” www.gloria-dulan-wilson.blogspot.com

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February 15th, 2015 at 10:55 pm

What to Do About ISIS?

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PlaythellBenjamin

 

by Playthell Benjamin

They Must be No Longer at Ease

These days I find myself of one heart with the ancient Roman Senator Cato the Elder, who ended every speech with the declaration: “Carthage must be Destroyed!” The rational for the Senator’s demand was that the North African nation’s very existence posed a danger to Rome. After all, Carthage had been the staging ground for the invasion of Rome by the great general Hannibal, who surprised and amazed the Romans by crossing the Alps with elephants. Today a rag tag group of armed Islamic zealots pose a clear and present danger to the international order by carving out a fanatical Islamic Caliphate in the sands of Syria and Iraq that refuse to recognize the legitimacy of international law, or man-made laws of any kind, especially if they are the product of a democratic process.

In their view only Sharia is valid, the laws dictated by God/Allah to the Islamic prophet Muhammad. If God has given you the law it is perfect, they argue, how can man improve upon it? They see blasphemy in the thought. Calling their desert stronghold the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq aka ISIS, their supreme leader Caliph Ibrahim, an Islamic theologian with a PhD in Sharia Law, is so convinced that he is carrying out the will of God/Allah he routinely orders gruesome murders of captives – citizens of sovereign states big and small – and films them for display on the internet. These shocking crimes have provoked a howl across the globe, with multinational voices chanting: “Isis Must Be Destroyed!”

Indeed ISIS has left the citizens of the world little choice. The pacifist may cry out for negotiation but their pleas are destined to fall on deaf ears. It is clear to anyone who have been paying attention to the murderous antics of ISIS that negotiating with them is a fool’s errand, a pipe dream induced by ideological opiates.

Alas, one cannot negotiate with people who are led by a religious potentate with a doctorate in Islamic Law, and is convinced that he alone holds the blueprint for constructing the perfect world. When this belief is accompanied by the idea that the end justifies the means and mass murder is an acceptable process for bringing about the new world order, plus they are recruiting Jihadists from among your populace and training them for attacks on their home land, the international community is left no choice but to destroy the aggressive state or movement.

The belief that ISIS must be destroyed has been declared by no less an Islamic authority than the theologians at the University of Al Azhar in Egypt, the land that gave birth to the modern Jihad. (see: *Of All the Places in the Islamic World, Why Egypt?) After watching the video of Jordanian pilot Mouath al-Kasaesbeh being burned alive by ISIS militants, Muslim Scholars at the 1000 year old University of al Azhar, the most revered authority on Islamic doctrine in the Sunni world, denounced the Sunni militants in ISIS.

Their statement expressed “deep anger over the lowly terrorist act” and called ISIS “a Satanic terrorist group.” And the Qatar based International Association of Muslim Scholars, led by the widely respected theologian Youssef al-Qaradawi, called the burning a crime and issued this statement: “The Association asserts that this extremist organization does not represent Islam in any way and its actions always harm Islam.”

Upon first hearing of these statements I was surprised that the Scholors at al Azhad finally spoke out on the theology of ISIS, as they have repeatedly refused to comment on the authenticity of ISIS’ interpretation of Islam. Hence I naturally assumed that the issuing of collective statements on behalf of institutions provided a smokescreen by which the scholars could mask their individual identities, and for good reason given the murderous proclivities of ISIS. However many scholars have courageously stepped forward and issued critical statements in defense of their religion under their own name and authority which amount to scathing denunciations of ISIS; declaring their beliefs and actions “un-Islamic.

First among these is Ahmed al-Tayeb, The grand sheikh of Al-Azhar, who said the ISIS militants ought to be “killed, crucified or to have their limbs amputated.” Salman al-Odah, a prominent Saudi Imam, called the incineration an abomination and declared: “It is rejected whether it falls on an individual or a group or a people, only God tortures by fire.” Most compelling of the condemnations is that of Abu Sayaf, a Salafist Imam from Jordan whose nom de plume among the Jihadists in al Qaeda is Mohamed al Shalabi.

Sayaf is no stranger to militant Islamic activity, having served ten years in a Jordanian prison for organizing an attack on US soldiers, but he views the actions of ISIS as a misrepresentation of Islamic teaching that is destructive to the Islamist movement. Sayaf argues:

“This weakens the popularity of Islamic State because we look at Islam as a religion of mercy and tolerance, even in the heat of battle, a prisoner of war is given good treatment. Even if the Islamic State says Muath had bombed, and burnt and killed us and we punished him in the way he did to us, we say, ok. But why film the video in this shocking way, the method has turned society against them,’’

The principle theme in all of the condemnations of this type is the vindication of Islam through the rejection of ISIS’ atrocities, which the militants justify through the application of Islamic law. However they have a big problem: Since there is no central authority that the billion Muslims in the world can look to as the final authority on Islamic doctrine – like the Catholic Pope or the Mormon Prophets – the matter of doctrine is open to various interpretations. Which allows Caliph Ibrahim, who is an authority on Islamic law, to dismiss his critics as ignoramuses and charlatans, even worse they can be declared apostates and have their heads lopped off with a scimitar.

Apparently anticipating a theological dustup about their public torching of a Sunni Muslim pilot, ISIS issued a Fatwa; a religiously inspired death penalty that can be ordered by a high ranking religious leader against anyone deemed to have profaned the Islamic faith. The Fatwa placed on the Indian Muslim novelist Salman Rushdie by the Ayatollah Homeni, leader of the Islamic revolution in Iran, is the most poignant case of a condemned man under Fatwa; he is still in hiding and running for his life after two decades!

In the Fatwa issue by ISIS, the theological justification for burning the Jordanian pilot is argued with a scholarly rigor that sets forth chapter and verse. In a February 2, 2015 analysis titled, Fatwa: How Islamic State Justifies Burning Pilot Alive, written by Raymond Ibrahim, a widely respected expert on militant Islam, we are told:

“The brief fatwa argues that “the Hanafis and Shafi‘is [two of Sunni Islam’s four orthodox schools of jurisprudence] permit burning’ people. Next the fatwa quotes the eminent Hafiz ibn al-Hajar (d. 1449) who comments that ‘the deeds of the companions [of Muhammad] evince the permissibility of burning, and the prophet put out the eyes of the men of Urayna with a heated iron [he also cut their hands and feet off], and Khalid bin al-Walid burned some of the people who apostatized.’ None of this is surprising, every atrocity IS has committed—whether beheading, crucifying, raping, enslaving, or now immolating humans—has precedents in Islam, whether in the deeds of Muhammad, that most “perfect” and “moral” man (Koran 33:21, 68:4) or his revered companions.”

As we can see by comparing this exegesis on the theological foundation of ISIS’s Fatwa, which justifies the burning of the Jordanian pilot, with the denunciations of the Islamic scholars cited above, there is no agreement on what the correct teaching of Islam is on the critical issue of human immolation. The obvious consequence of this ambiguity of interpretation is that the preachments of those scholars who oppose ISIS will fall on deaf ears. And I suspect that after some of these are deemed apostates and murdered it will be harder to find oppositional theologians who are willing to go on record. All of this leads to one conclusion: ISIS must be destroyed with military might, and the sooner the better!

But how is this to be accomplished when the US President has promised the American people that he will never, ever, ever, send American ground troops to fight ISIS? Whatever solution President Obama decides on it cannot involve American “boots on the ground!” But even if he were willing to order troops to the area right now victory would not be easily won.

This is because fighting ISIS requires getting involved in a quagmire of conflicting religious and ethnic grievances whose roots lay deep in centuries of tortured Islamic history. Tom Friedman, the three time Pulitzer Prize winning Foreign Affairs columnist for the New York Times, provides an insightful summation of the problem in a September 2, 2014 essay titled “Ready, Aim, Fire. Not Fire, Ready, Aim.”

“To defeat ISIS you have to address the context out of which it emerged. And that is the three civil wars raging in the Arab world today: the civil war within Sunni Islam between radical jihadists and moderate mainstream Sunni Muslims and regimes; the civil war across the region between Sunnis funded by Saudi Arabia and Shiites funded by Iran; and the civil war between Sunni jihadists and all other minorities in the region — Yezidism, Turkmen, Kurds, Christians, Jews and Alawites. When you have a region beset by that many civil wars at once, it means there is no center, only sides. And when you intervene in the middle of a region with no center, you very quickly become a side.”

Yet, even so, given the increasing dangers posed by ISIS to everybody that disagrees with them, American intelligence agencies should be tasked with finding the factions that will work in a coalition with the limited objective of defeating ISIS. And since bitter experience has demonstrated that giving weapons to any “side” in this complicated conflict usually results in them ending up in the arsenals of the Jidadist, prudence dictates that we seek another strategy. Here is the ideal opportunity to finally take the historic step of removing the restrictions placed on Japan in the aftermath of World War II, which prohibits them from deploying armed forces beyond their borders to resolve international disputes.

Many members of the US Congress have called for the lifting of this prohibition – which was written into their post-war constitution under American direction as part of their “unconditional surrender” after being devastated by American atomic bombs during World War II. And regional Pacific powers such as Australia, feeling threatened by the growing might of China, are also calling for Japan to play a larger military role in international affairs. It is no secret that this would be to the liking of the Japanese Prime Minister Abbo, who has made no secret of his desire to strengthen Japan’s military posture, even acquiring nuclear weapons.  The Prime Minister has openly questioned the reliability of the American “Nuclear Umbrella” by raising the critical question of whether Americans would risk nuclear war with China to defend Japan. However in my view, any deal that would allow Japan to become a nuclear armed nation would be a dangerous Faustian Bargain and the Devil will one day claim our bodies and souls, it would be just a matter of time.

Hence what I have in mind is a far less grandiose plan. Although if other nations that are less developed and technically competent than Japan such as India, Pakistan, Israel, South Korea, et al are allowed to build nuclear arsenals it is just a matter of time before Japan joins the Nuclear club, to think otherwise is self-deceptive folly. But for the time being Japan could supply an affective armed force to confront ISIS on the ground. The brazen public murders of Japanese citizens on the internet while the Japanese government pleaded for their lives as they tried to work out a deal, has created public support for a Japanese invasion force to take the field against ISIS.

They have all he means to do the job and I think this could be their moment to renter the international arena as a military power. No nation in the world has a longer history of military distinction than Japan, and some of their most influential thought leaders have made it plain that they do not like being known as “a nation that produces beautiful flower arrangements.” And they are anxious to remind the world that they are a great warrior nation. I say let the remind us by taking the field against ISIS and removing them from the face of the earth, with the full backing of the rest of the world! What to do about ISIS?  Therein lies your answer.

Benjamin is a veteran political journalist out of Harlem NY. His essays can be read on his blog site Commentaries on the Times.

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