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Thursday, July 31, 2014

#SelfieSomethingNice - Raya edition!

#RM10SomethingNice



Project Duration: 30 days (31 July – 29 Aug 2014)

Funding Goal: RM 5,000.00
Donation amount: RM10, RM20, RM50, RM100

Project Video: 


Project Description:

#RM10SomethingNice

#SaySomethingNice

The #SaySomethingNice campaign is a nationwide campaign mooted to encourage truce and showcase the best side of our nation. For the 17-day period between Hari Merdeka and Hari Malaysia, zubedy wants fellow Malaysians to portray Malaysia in a very positive light by showcasing our best, kindest, and nicest side.

#RM10SomethingNice

#RM10SomethingNice is a crowdfunding initiative under the #SaySomethingNice campaign to help fund Kechara Soup Kitchen and Mr William Huee's #EatSomethingNice project. As an organisation with a keen passion for Unity, we as the organiser feel compelled to realise and assist Kechara Soup Kitchen and Mr William Huee in their charitable efforts.


(1)    Kechara Soup Kitchen - #ServeSomethingNice

Kechara Soup Kitchen (KSK) is a community action group that distributes food, basic medical aid, and counselling to the urban poor of Malaysia. Located at the heart of Kuala Lumpur, KSK serves hot meals, water, fruit, and bread to the underprivileged every day of the week. They also have facilities to provide medical treatment, job placements and laundry facilities. Most importantly, they have the capacity to interact with the needy directly through counselling.

Picking up where the project left last year, #ServeSomethingNice will once again attempt at securing sponsorship for KSK throughout the 17-day campaign period. The more sponsors there are, the easier it is for KSK to bear the cost of preparing food and basic medical aid.


(2)    Mr William Huee - #EatSomethingNice

  




William Huee Thing Hoa has conducted more than 1,300 roadshows in schools and universities which he estimated were attended by over one million students. He takes it upon himself to educate school children, especially the young ones in primary schools about consuming healthy food and drinks.

During the 17-day campaign period, Mr. William Huee will deliver talks on healthy eating and good food choices. The talks will be delivered at selected schools of various types in Klang Valley – national, religious, vernacular, etc. Below is the confirmed list of school for #EatSomethingNice campaign:

Date
School/Institution
Time
20-Aug-14
SJK(T) Ampang
1:30 pm – 3:30 pm
27-Aug-14
SK Ampang
8:00 am – 9:30 am
3:00 am – 4:30 pm
28-Aug-14
SR Agama Al – Alusi, Kg Datuk Keramat
8:00 am – 9:30 am
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
3-Sep-14
SJK (C) Pandamaran A. Pelabuhan Klang.
10:30 am – 12:00 pm
4-Sep-14
SJK(T) Ladang Vallambrosa
8:30 am – 10:30 am
5-Sep-14
SJK ( C ) Yak Chee Puchong
1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
11-Sep-14
SK St John. KL
1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
12-Sep-14
SJK ( C ) Ladang Harcroft
8:00 am – 9:30 am


We thank you for your support! Your contributions will help to make a difference for the society.

About Us:


Zubedy (M) Sdn Bhd is a human development trainer and consultant. Our vision is to add value to individuals and organisations. While we are a for-profit organisation, we have a social cause that is close to our heart, which is Unity. Over the years, zubedy has promoted the appreciation of shared traditions and the respect of differing values. We are especially passionate about Hari Malaysia. In the long run, we envision a time when we will all truly respect the myriad of cultures that make us Malaysia.

Persatuan Perpaduan Penghubung Insani / Bridge Builders Unity Society (BBUS) is a non-governmental organisation and an affiliate of zubedy that will collaborate in steering #SaySomethingNice. BBUS will jointly coordinate the many projects, connect the supporters under the #SaySomethingNice, and manage the finances of the campaign in order to create a cohesive, properly-planned, and successful campaign.

Facebook:
Main : #SaySomethingNice campaign (https://www.facebook.com/saysomethingnicecampaign)
Fanpage : RM10Somethingnice (www.facebook.com/RM10somethingnice)

Project Page (Website):


Rewards:
a)      RM10 – Thank you message on behalf of the kids
b)      RM20 – Donors who donate RM20 will enable 4 children to know better about healthy food options
c)       RM50 – Donors who donate RM50 will enable 10 children to know better about healthy food options
d)      RM100 – Donors who donate RM100 will enable 50 children to know better about healthy food options
e)      RM500 – Donors who donate RM500 will fund one whole session of #EatSomethingNice and enable a whole group of children to know better about healthy food options

click here to start pitchIN





Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Have a meaningful Aidilfitri - Thursday in The STAR


The Japanese scholar who completed the first direct translation of the Qur'an from Arabic to Japanese and contributed much to Islamic scholarship.
-Toshihiku Izutsu (1914-1993)



Back to basics: Let us be inclusive.


Every religion, spiritual tradition, and culture has a combination of universal principles and confined narrow local settings.

The former comprises of shared values that speaks to man as man and stand the test of time and location; like helping the poor, be good to parents, love thy neighbour, be courteous, be just, be righteous. These are values that embrace the world.

The latter involves rites and rituals that may differ even within people from the same religion or spiritual traditions like how to pray, cleanse oneself, dress, eat. Rites and rituals are painted by indigenous past, myth and symbols that are likely to attract the emotions of only those who share the same history.  

Shared values stress on substance while the other focuses on its form. Shared values promote inclusiveness, while the other cannot but be exclusive.

Our beautiful Malaysia is blessed with a mosaic of religion, spiritual traditions, and culture inside a small corner of the world within the 3S - Semenanjung, Sabah and Sarawak. 

We have the unique gift to experience, share, and see what is universal and what is local on a day-to-day basis. We have learned to appreciate what is local and cement our ties with the universal. To stay united we must choose to pay attention to what is universal, choose to be inclusive.

When we practice inclusiveness, we enrich our shared values even more. When we practice inclusiveness, we vibrantly colour our interactions with each other. When we practice inclusiveness, we exemplify true faith to the rest of the world.

That is Malaysia’s calling, we can do it. Let us be inclusive!

At zubedy, our programs draw strength from shared values and traditions. We believe that at heart, all Malaysians want good things for themselves and for their brother and sister Malaysians, simply because our nation cannot prosper as a whole if some of us are left behind.

Let us be, first and foremost, Malaysians.

Let us add value,

Have A Meaningful Aidilfitri



Thursday, July 17, 2014

Join us to #AdvertSomethingNice

WHAT?
As part of the #SaySomethingNice campaign’s social media engagement, zubedy wishes to share nice and positive messages with the public through a common yet meaningful medium – commercials.


WHY?
  •  Commercials are common place in today’s society due to their   easily digestible nature and therefore more impactful to the public.
  • The sharing of commercials with positive messages is in line with the spirit of the #SaySomethingNice campaign.
  • The sharing is hoped to encourage positivity, empathy, and Unity.
  • This in turn, is hoped to inspire members of the public to positively contribute and do something nice for the society.



HOW?
  •  We will share with you commercials and public service announcements on our social media platforms on regular intervals.
  • You are then encouraged to share this on your social media. This way the reach can be extended to even more people.
  • If you have interesting videos or clips that fits the spirit of what this project is doing, do share with:

FACEBOOK : www.facebook.com/SaySomethingNiceCampaign                               
TWITTER : twitter.com/msians4unity

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #advertsomethingnice

The Gaza Massacre - The Underlying Motives by Dr. Chandra Muzaffar

Massacre has become a habit. Every two or three years, Israel launches a massive military assault upon largely unarmed Palestinians in Gaza. It did this in December 2008 to January 2009. It did it again in November 2012. On each occasion hundreds of Palestinians are murdered and thousands more maimed.
Every time, Israel claims the moral high ground for its brutal, barbaric action. It blames Hamas, an important component of the Palestinian liberation movement, for the present cycle of violence. It alleges, without an iota of proof, that Hamas was responsible for the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens on 12 June 2014. Hamas has denied any involvement. The death of the teens --- a despicable act --- provided the justification for a large-scale operation against Hamas and other so-called militants. Israeli authorities arrested a number of activists including those who were released earlier.
While the global media has highlighted the killing of the Israeli teens, it has ignored a critical bit of background information that may have a connection with the tragic episode. On 15th May 2014, the Israeli army killed two unarmed Palestinian teens and wounded a third. The media has also failed to provide a context to this unconscionable murder of children in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Between 29 September 2000 and 23 June 2014, 1,523 Palestinian children were killed by Israelis as against 129 Israeli children killed by Palestinians.  It is also worth noting that between the two dates, 6,876 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli occupiers compared to 1,110 Israelis by Palestinians.
If the media has concealed these statistics from the public, it has also presented a rather distorted picture of how the present violence had unfolded. It is mainly because of the huge emotional torrent unleashed by the anti-Arab venom spewed by some politicians and religious personalities in the wake of the killing of the Israeli teens that some Israeli settlers may have killed a Palestinian teen and burnt his body on the 2nd of July. This incident --- not unexpectedly --- provoked thousands of Palestinians to launch angry protests in not only Gaza but also the West Bank. The Benjamin Netanyahu regime retaliated with harsh punitive measures including missile strikes and the collective punishment of entire communities.
It is against this backdrop that one should look at the primitive rockets launched by Hamas against targets in Israel.  It is true that these rockets have generated some fear among segments of the Israeli population but they have not resulted in any deaths. On the contrary, they serve as “evidence” for Netanyahu to convince the world that Israel is under threat and is forced to defend itself and to protect its people. This is why one wonders whether as a strategic option the rockets serve a purpose.
If anything, the rockets have helped to divert attention from the underlying motives for Israel’s current aggressive offensive. What are these motives?
One, the offensive, ostensibly directed at Hamas, actually demonstrates Israel’s overwhelming military power in the region. Its neighbours are reminded at regular intervals that no one should try to trifle with West Asia’s most formidable armed forces. The projection of power in this manner is consistent with Israel’s singular obsession with its security. For the nation’s security, in the Israeli psyche, is equated with its ability to dominate the region, militarily. Hence its opposition to any other state in West Asia possessing even the remotest capacity to produce nuclear weapons. Besides, Israel is determined to show friend and foe that it is above the law, that the norms that apply to other states bear no relevance to it.  It is “exceptional” because the Jews are a “chosen people.” 
Two, the need to project its power is all the greater at this moment in view of the reconciliation agreement reached between Hamas and its rival Fatah on the 23rd of April 2014. Israel perceives a united Palestinian liberation struggle as a major threat to its agenda of domination and control through the strategy of divide and rule. If, as a result of a Hamas-Fatah unity government, Gaza and the West Bank are brought together, the Israeli plan of keeping them apart --- and weak --- will be thwarted.
Three, the Netanyahu regime is also worried that more and more people especially in Europe are beginning to appreciate the justice of the Palestinian cause as reflected in the growing support of big corporations and universities for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel’s post -1967 occupation of Palestinian land.  In order to check this trend, Netanyahu is once again playing the victim card especially with Europe in mind: Israel is still under a grave threat, its survival is at stake. Do not abandon Israel.
Four, playing victim has acquired a new urgency in light of a recent development. There is a strong possibility that Iran will come to some understanding soon with the US and other big powers on its nuclear programme. As we have hinted, for Israel, an oil-rich Iran with a strong scientific base and a clear Islamic ideological orientation, is a challenge to its security, read dominance. It explains why it has gone all out to foil Iran’s rapprochement with the US in particular.  The present offensive which attempts to link Hamas’s rockets with Iran is both an endeavour to make Iran look like the culprit and to underscore Israel’s vulnerability.
Since the motives reveal an extremely myopic perspective on Israel’s interests, all the more reason why an immediate ceasefire in Gaza is critical. Though there have been calls for a ceasefire from the United Nations Security Council to NGOs, the parties involved especially Israel is not prepared to heed. Perhaps NGOs and other civil society groups all over the world should be more vocal and more persistent in demanding an immediate cessation of conflict.
Needless to say, a ceasefire in itself is not a solution. There will continue to be massacres of this sort in the future unless the fundamental cause of the Israeli-Palestinian/ Arab conflict is addressed. It is widely accepted that the root of the conflict is Israeli occupation of Palestinian/Arab land. It is because of their situation--- their dispossession ---that Palestinians and other Arabs are sometimes even prepared to resort to violence in order to restore their dignity.
This is something that the Israeli elite and its backers in the West should understand. As it has been said on numerous occasions, there will be no security for Israelis unless there is justice for the Palestinians and other Arabs.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Malaysian Link To Terror In Syria by Dr Chandra Muzaffar

Since April 2014, the Malaysian media has carried numerous stories of Malaysians who are directly or indirectly linked to terrorist groups operating in Syria, and to a lesser extent, Iraq. We are told that they see themselves as “jihadis” who are fighting for an Islamic cause. There are unconfirmed reports that some of them have been killed in the on-going conflict in Syria.

Police intelligence appears to have mined a lot of information about the activities of these individuals and groups. Their local training hideouts have been revealed and their regional and international links exposed. This has enabled the police to make several arrests.

Eliminating Muslim terrorist networks of this sort will not be a walk in the park. The police, and indeed, the majority of the Malaysian populace share the same faith as the individuals associated with these terrorist operations. A lot of Malaysian Muslims may also harbor some of the misconceptions and prejudices which impelled some of these jihadis to take the road to Damascus.

What would have motivated them to tread this perilous path? What would have persuaded thousands of Muslims from some 80 countries — according to a certain estimate — to join the armed rebels against the Bashar Al- Assad government in Syria? Why are they so determined to topple Bashar? 

It must be remembered that this is not the first time in recent decades that Muslims from various parts of the world have come together to do battle on behalf of a common cause. The global Muslim campaign against the occupation of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union in the nineteen eighties was in a sense even more extensive and sustained. Muslims from Malaysia were also involved in that campaign which they saw rightly as the foreign occupation of a Muslim land. Repelling occupation is a Quranic imperative. But Syria today is not occupied the way Afghanistan was in the eighties. If there is any occupation in Syria, it is Israeli occupation of the strategic Golan Heights since 1967 which should concern Muslims and others who cherish justice and sovereignty. And yet the jihadis from Malaysia and the rebels who are their comrades-inarms do not seem to be bothered about the liberation of the Golan Heights. On the contrary, it is an open secret that Israel has colluded with some of the rebels — by providing training and supplying intelligence —in the fight against Bashar since the middle of 2011. Israel itself has conducted a series of military strikes within Syria in the course of the last two years with the aim of sapping the strength of the Syrian army.

Mission

If the rebels are not fighting alien occupation, what is their mission? It is obvious that the Malaysian jihadis, like their counterparts from other countries, see themselves as defending the Sunnis of Syria against alleged oppression by the Shia ruling elite. There is a parallel perception of Shia suppression of Sunnis in Iraq. Both these perceptions are part of a wider view fostered by various influential groups in West Asia (including Israel) and in some parts of the West that an arc of Shia power is rising from Iran through Bahrain to Iraq and Lebanon and this is a threat to the Sunni majority in the region. Adding to this phobia of the Shias — Shiaphobia — especially in the case of Syria is the rebels’ opposition to secularism and the secular state. It is a state which in their reckoning has to be replaced by a Caliphate — a Global Sunni Caliphate — which has now become the rallyingcry of some of the rebels, specifically the terrorist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS).

This narrative of Sunnis being suppressed; of Shia power; of the illegitimacy of the secular state; of a Sunni Caliphate, has reached a crescendo in the last few years in the midst of the Syrian conflict. Leading religious personalities in West Asia especially from the Gulf monarchies have been vitriolic in their denunciation of the Shias. In mosques and through the media, they have succeeded in fuelling hatred of this minority sect within and beyond the region while creating a sense of siege among the majority Sunni population. Consequently, the Sunni- Shia divide has become more pronounced than ever before. Because some of these Islamic personalities are highly revered in Malaysia, their utterances command a substantial constituency. They have legitimized the already prevailing antipathy towards the Shias among the
local ulama (religious scholars).As a result, the anti-Shia campaign led by the ulama has gained much prominence among the populace. Some of the ulama are part of the religious establishment; others are free-lance operators. Academics and media practitioners have also reinforced the vile bigotry emanating from some of the ulama. So have politicians from both the government and the opposition.NGO activists have been equally vocal in conjuring an ominous Shia threat in a Sunni-Muslim majority nation where the sect is an insignificant minority.

Given how pervasive and intensive the targeting of this sect has been in recent months, propelled by the massive propaganda flowing from parts of the Arab world, it is not surprising that some impressionable youth in the country have been lured by the slogan of Sunnis facing the danger of extermination in Syria and now Iraq. There are perhaps two additional factors that explain this fatal attraction. For centuries, Sunni Muslims in Malaysia, as in some other parts of the Muslim world, have been somewhat uneasy about Shias— which is why any negative imaging of the sect is so readily absorbed. The videos on You Tube showing the alleged atrocities committed by the Syrian government in the course of the last three years have also had a huge impact upon Muslims here, as elsewhere. Indeed, cyber media as a whole has been a major tool in mobilizing Sunnis globally to defend themselves. 

Critical Analysis 

While there is no denying that the Syrian Army and its affiliates have committed gross atrocities in trying to quell the armed rebellion, Muslims in Malaysia and other countries have unfortunately failed to subject the media blitz launched by the rebels, their supporters in West Asia and in Western capitals to critical analysis. Independent investigations into a number of horrendous massacres for which the mainstream media had immediately blamed the Syrian authorities have now revealed that the rebels were actually culpable. The Khalidiya and Karm Allouz massacres in March 2012 and the Houla massacre in May 2012 would be outstanding examples. The most startling expose of all was the Ghouta sarin gas attack of August
2013, pinpointed upon the Bashar government, which the celebrated American investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh, showed through meticulous analysis was in fact the work of a rebel group carried out with the connivance of Turkey. Young Malaysian Muslims should realize that half-truths, outright lies and wholesale fabrication in order to demonize an adversary and to camouflage the truth are part and parcel of the arsenal of the powerful as they seek to perpetuate their interests.

Indeed, even allegations about the suppression of Sunnis who are the majority in Syria should be examined with greater objectivity. Sunnis constitute the bulk of the Syrian armed forces and are at the core of the top brass. The current defense minister is Sunni. His predecessor was a Christian assassinated by the rebels. Some of the most influential positions in the dominant public sector are held by Sunnis while major businesses in the private sector are Sunni owned. The highest religious authority in Syria, the Grand Mufti, is a Sunni from the Shafie doctrinal school, the same mazhab as the Muslims of Malaysia.

It is because many Muslims trapped in the web of propaganda spun by certain elements in West Asia and the West refuse to come to grips with realities that they do not want to acknowledge that Syria is one of the few countries in the region that has succeeded in integrating the majority community with the minorities and has developed an inclusive Syrian citizenship that transcends religious boundaries. This is also the reason why the Syrian leadership has always been opposed to any notion of an exclusive Muslim religious identity in politics peddled by groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood.


Just as the question of an inclusive versus exclusive idea of citizenship is fundamental to Malaysia’s own quest for national identity, so is the other issue that appears to have attracted some Muslims to the Syrian rebellion, the issue of Syria’s fidelity to Islam. For most of the armed rebels and the Malaysian Muslims who have joined them, one of the reasons why they regard the Bashar government as not ‘Islamic’ is because it has not implemented the Islamic penal code, erroneously interpreted as hudud. They may not be aware that in the Syrian Constitution Islamic jurisprudence is a main source of legislation and the President of the Syrian Republic has to be a Muslim, the faith of the vast majority of the citizenry. More than that, there are many aspects of governance — free education, universal healthcare, specific worker representation in public decision-making and so on— which would make Syria Islamic. By the same token, there are other aspects of the Bashar administration which violate Islamic norms such as the ubiquitous role of its secret police, the curtailment of dissent, and the persistence of corruption.

However, Bashar’s Syrian opponents and their Malaysian friends do not adopt a balanced, rational approach when it comes to determining the credentials of a government. They are more inclined towards labelling a government as ‘Islamic’ or ‘secular’ driven by their own shallow, superficial approach to religion and politics. In this regard, they would view an absolute monarchy that denies basic rights to the people but implements hudud as ‘Islamic’ while condemning a state that applies the rule of law to all its citizens and provides space to women and men to participate in politics but does not include hudud in its legal system, as ‘secular.’

This then is the nub of the issue. It is a shallow, superficial understanding of what is happening in Syria that has pushed some Malaysian Muslims into the arms of the Syrian conflict. Their ignorance has been exacerbated by distorted information and skewed analysis. There is hardly any appreciation among these jihadis of the underlying causes of the conflict and how they are linked to regional and global politics with long-term significance. That the Syrian conflict epitomizes the perennial US-Israeli goal of crushing
resistance to their hegemony over West Asia is something that escapes our jihadis.

This is why there is an urgent need to develop a deeper, broader understanding of the conflict among religious elites, politicians, activists, youths, students, academics and the media. This is as important as
intelligence gathering and effective action against the culprits based upon law. A more profound appreciation of conflicts such as Syria should be accompanied by a serious endeavor to impart an understanding of Islam
that is inclusive, universal, progressive and enlightened through our educational institutions, religious bodies and the media.

The national leadership has a particularly important role to play in this. It should be clear in its total rejection of the sort of religious extremism that breeds terror and violence. In both its domestic and foreign policies it should demonstrate through deeds — not words — that it subscribes to a “justly balanced” outlook, as prescribed in the Quran. There can be no room for ambiguity  or ambivalence in its approach to issues that hint of religious bigotry and dogmatism.

As a nation, we should not be under any illusion. Malaysians with a terrorist orientation, willing to exploit religion in pursuit of their agenda, are now operating in other countries. There is no reason to believe that they and their kind will not turn their guns upon local targets one day. We should not let that happen — which is why we must act now.