Sunday, October 27, 2013

Drone strikes - We maybe next

A drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that remotely controlled by a human operator at a pilot station. It can also be controlled via satellite transmission when direct link is unavailable. Drone has been integrated into modern warfare as a military surveyor that provides geospatial intelligence and recently ability to strike from air without risking of a pilot.

Drone spy plane 

The first time I heard about drone was when I read BBC news a few years back. Apart from Aljazeera and a few independent media, I normally follow BBC World News particularly on the Middle East. Palestinian issue is a never ending story, the more I read the more I get used to all sad stories. People got killed or injured due to Israeli attacks are perhaps common headlines in the Middle East that my brain has to digest and rationalize how 'cheap' Palestinian blood can be. How can I stop hating Israel and America if killing the Palestinians could be morally justified as Israeli self-defense response?

Why are we so blind to see the truth? When 29 Palestinian civilians killed by the Israeli drones during the Gaza conflict in 2009, the world do nothing about the genocide, as if it's just a video game, despite the hardship created towards the bullied Palestinian victims and families. Until middle of 2013, based on a few trusted sources, almost 1000 Palestinians killed by drones alone, sadly more than two-thirds were civilians involving women and children.

Now drone strikes have been extended to other Muslim nations such as Yemen and Pakistan, a warfare that has become common in the US pursuit of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The allegedly senior al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders have been killed in drone strikes in Pakistan, but civilians were also among the casualties. These attacks stirred outrage in Pakistan, which many assert that the strikes cause indiscriminate deaths to the military target (allegedly 'military target' as publicized by American-controlled media) and civilians. There were also many reported cases of drone attacks in Afghanistan, Somalia and the Philippines.

The question is - if drone-launched missiles are considered among the most precise weapons in the world, why the so-called 'accurate and coordinated military strikes' led to loss of civilian lives?

Besides, is the place of attack a war zone that you (America) can simply advocate the use of lethal force?

As far as the international law is concerned, you must first verify if targets were combatants, and if there are civilians, they must first be evacuated from the war zones.

Since pictures and videos from the independent reporters confirmed that the indiscriminate killing continues, obviously US-Israel have been above all laws of the entire universe for too long. This means 'the inhuman and the unlawful killings' is perhaps permissible as long as they are executed by the name of US or Israel, the biggest terrorists of all kinds. And their unlawful acts and crimes against humanity are going to remain unchallenged unless more than two-thirds of the people of America themselves take a huge stand against their government.

When I read "Will I be next?", a new report from Amnesty International released on 22 October 2013, I came to understand that the killing, and several other so-called targeted killings from US drone strikes in Pakistan, violated the right to life and may constitute extrajudicial executions or war crimes. Most of us actually already knew that but we are nobody to take actions, so thanks to Amnesty International for documenting the crimes and releasing the report.

Do they look like terrorists to you? Obviously drone strikes do NOT discriminate civilians and military targets

So innocent people of the world out there, whenever you spot a drone flying overhead, 'strike a pose' before the drone strikes at you and post it to a proper channel for protest. We don't know who is going to be next, maybe you maybe me...


To drone operators... please have a heart
If you have a family and love ones, they have too
You definitely can make a difference... PEACE

Friday, October 25, 2013


When anyone receives supermarket vouchers, I'm sure most of ordinary people like us won't refuse (unless you are too rich to need such). For me, it surely can save some Ringgit, although it just cost one Ringgit or two.

But what are you going to do if you hold 'magic vouchers'? Like me, I currently hold extra Tesco vouchers, which sent to my home address under a different name - Martin Furneaux. I'm not surprised if I receive emails or phone calls from wrong senders/callers but to my home address and from Tesco, where the content is legitimate, that's weird!

Martin's Clubcard statement was sent to my address

So who is Martin Furneaux? No one of my household named Martin Furneaux. Martin Furneaux sounds so French to me. If he's not then he could probably a British with French surname. Naaa... I don't want to waste my time guessing, so I presumed that he is just a tourist who stopped by at my hometown Tesco to do some shopping.

I already checked with Tesco, they have his passport no. and mobile number however when I called it ends up with number not available tone.

So if you are MARTIN FURNEAUX, please contact me because you have a lot of vouchers to spend. To date, by accumulation, he earns Clubcard cash vouchers of almost RM40 (= GBP7.82 = USD12.70), valid until 2015. As a Muslim, where honesty is important, it is my duty not to spend something which is not mine. I like to keep it until I meet the owner rather than to give to someone else. So if you are the one, just leave a message under comment section (only write once because it's moderated).

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Canyoning in Jordan

I am just an ordinary guy who like simple sporting activities like jogging, badminton, table tennis and simple body workout. After two consecutive injuries at my calf which happened somewhere May-July 2012, I stopped almost all the activities except for the simple body workout. When my Jordanian brother Waleed invited me for a canyoning adventure in Jordan, I became so excited but I wasn't sure whether I will be able to do it or not. This was because I could not afford to bear another serious injuries and I am no longer young like those of 20s. But this could probably one of the adventures of a lifetime, so why to blow an open opportunity when you are given one? Just give 'a damn' try. Sometimes we just have to step outside our own circle in order to succeed. It's okay to fail rather than not trying at all.

May 20th, 2013 - the D-day of my first time canyoning activities which took place at Wadi al-Manshia (not far from Dead Sea). Joining me was Mr Wael from Albania, both of us were the international guests for the Jordanian canyoning activities (under Black Iris Adventures), and both of us were first timers.

We were briefed by Basheer Abdeen, Waleed's brother on the safety and canyoning gears. Basheer is a qualified canyoning instructor who will guide canyoneers at the same time motivates them. He is really a nice person and I really like him. We walked about 4 km from the main road to the canyon, under the hot sun, around 37 degrees Celsius (it's not humid like the equatorial countries, so I didn't feel that hot) - the weather was just great. English was the medium of communication here, so international canyoneers should not worry about the language barrier. The air was so breeze down the valley and canyon makes you feel like relaxing under natural air-conditioned Bali villa.

Here are some pictures of the activities. It was really an amazing adventure. I myself as a first timer couldn't believe that I have made it to the end. As the wise people always say - You won't know what you are capable of until you give it a try - It's so true.

Believe that you can do it
Congratulations! You've made it. Wael is one good example of a good adventurer, a great brother and friend
Faces of relief (after the last great challenge) : Me, Wael and Abdullah Awad (Instructor)
Mr Basheer - Black-Iris Professional

Jordan is a great place for canyoneers. The landscape is remarkable, just like the people. I definitely recommend this kind of activities if you are planning to visit Jordan in the future. I also recommend Black Iris Adventure for your canyoning experience. They are young but professional. Perfectly safe for beginners and first timers. So go go Iris!

All pictures are courtesy of Black Iris Adventures (Jordan Canyoning Team), Jordan.
[FB] Black.Iris.Adventures
Contact: Basheer Abdeen / Waleed Abdeen

Sunday, June 2, 2013

My Jordan Visit 2013

Jordan is a peace of land that experienced a series of clashes of ancient civilations, which left many ancient ruins across trans-Jordan on top of its class for modern people to see. I am glad that I made the trip there although I have no such great expectation at the beginning. Visiting Jordan is something I have planned for many years. My friendship to the Arabs is not new especially with the Levantines (Jordanian, Palestinian and Syrian). My house in Taiping is not strange to them. I have built up trust with them since 2004 and still in contact until now. It's too expensive to let go, for that reason I made that click on May 18th this year, fly solo to Jordan.

There I visited Waleed Abdeen, my old friend of USM's 2004/2005 batch. Then I visited my new Arab friend Mostafa Barmawi, followed by other old friends like Khalid Jaber, Anas Hussein, Tareq Zeyad and Tariq Sabbah's parents. It took a total of 11 days to cover the whole visit including the historical sites and city centre.

Face of relief - resting under a tree after stopping to a nearby toilet on the way to Petra. This was my fourth time to the toilet.. broken pipe.. haha
Breathtaking view of Amman from Jabal Hussein
With Jordanian Flag on top of my head..
With Khalid Jaber (right) and Eyad Jaber (left)
Inside King Hussein Automobile Museum
Khalid's brother Eyad is so sweet and funny, I can't stop laughing
Inside the Ancient City of Petra
In front of the main entrance of the Ancient City of Petra
My best friend Anas and Osama, my travelling partners to Petra
Sunset at Umm Qais
Me... during the sunset
Village mosque behind Mostafa's farmhouse in Jerash under the blue sky. I noticed that Jordan sky is so clear and blue.. Beautiful mashaAllah!
Ancient Roman ruins of Gerasa (Jerash)
Nice and sporting Jordanian police
With Mostafa Barmawi inside Ajloun Castle
Inside the Ajloun Castle ( قلعة عجلون )
We made Arab barbecue at the farm house. Actually Mostafa did it all and me.. I just prepare the salad.. hehe
This is Mostafa's farm house where I stayed in Jerash. It situated on top of the hill with breathtaking view of the village. Simply amazing!

The Arabs are probably harsher relatively to the Malays but I have no problem with that. It is a fact that their hospitality is simply the best in the world, trust me! I never feel lonely or isolated rather I felt so much at home. This journey is to be remembered forever. Thanks Waleed Abdeen, Yusaira Sakkijha, Anas Hussein, Maram al-Kinj, Khalid Jaber, Mostafa Barmawi, Tareq Ziyad, Eiad Jaber, Mohammad Jaber, Qais Jaber, Obaida Hussein, Osama, Basheer Abdeen and the families and friends that are too many to mention, my utmost gratitude to everyone who made my visit enjoyable.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Muslim Calendar Needs Immediate Standardization: Shed Me Some Light

This topic is an adapted version of my 2007's post in WordPress [Izat Malezy], which was published on September 2007. I still believe it is an IMPORTANT issue and remains relevant to these days. I'm not challenging or bashing anyone, just consider this as an openness of knowledge. 

"We celebrated Eid on 23rd October. Why you people celebrated on 24th October? Didn’t your country do moon sighting?"
"Though I live in UK, I’m originally from India. So I followed Eid calendar from India. Our country officially celebrated Eid on the 24th"
"Brother, you should have celebrated it on 23rd like us in Saudi Arabia".


The above conversation actually reflects the situation of last year’s Eid al-Fitr. What does this mean? Simple answer isn't it? We Muslims are far from ready from being united. That's the truth! We Muslim are too much divided. Non-standardized Muslim calendar – is it an old issue? Yes it is. We have been talking for long. We like to blame rather than to solve.

I was called to make this homework after a few friends keep on telling me that Malaysia don’t do moonsighting (hilal) but rather fix the date (pre-decided). As far as truth and facts are concerned, I like to keep myself neutral. Therefore I refrain myself from any political and emotional sentiment. What I understand, they do moonsighting, whether there is an element of pre-decided, Allahu a'lam. I don’t want to elaborate the detail in here, because that’s not my aim in this post. Perhaps these links could clarify the misunderstanding.

What I am more concerned about as a Muslim is the unity. Whether we like it or not, we Muslims must be united.

"And hold fast, all of you together, to the rope of Allah, and be not divided among yourselves"
- Surah al-Imran [3:101]


Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha reflect the unity among Muslims around the world. The unsynchronized Eid day is one of many examples showing how divided Muslims are. Take a look at the Eid al-Fitr celebrated last year (tabulated below), in which I used international date line as a point of reference.

Countries with the whole or some parts of the population celebrated Eid al-Fitr on
22 October 2006
Nigeria[1], Senegal and Tanzania[1]

23 October 2006
Bahrain, Djibouti, France, Holland, India[1], Iraq[1], Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria [2], Palestine, Pakistan[1], Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tanzania[2], Tunisia, Turkey, U.A. Emirates, UK[1] and USA

24 October 2006
Algeria, Brunei, Egypt, India[2], Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Japan, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Oman, Pakistan [2], Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania[3], Thailand, UK[2] and Yemen

25 October 2006
Bangladesh, Pakistan[3] – Lahore

Having known that we Muslims had actually celebrated our big day in FOUR different days across the globe in 2006!!! How sad….

The official Eid al-Fitr for all South East Asian Countries (Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines, Vietnem and Cambodia) was 24th October, as well as the East Asia (Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and China).

In the Middle East, some celebrated on 23rd October (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestine, Qatar and UAE), while some others celebrated on 24th October (Jordan, Syria, Oman, Yemen and Egypt). In Iraq, the Sunnis celebrated on 23rd, while the Shias celebrated on 24th. If we put Iraq aside, still the Sunnis are not united. Very sad isn’t it? I'm sad and shaking my head in disbelief because it happened within the same region.

India, UK and a few European countries also have two Eid days, 23rd and 24th. In UK for intance, at the mosques which were dominated by Indians celebrated their Eid on 24th, while at the mosques which were dominated by Arabs celebrated their Eid on the 23rd.

Pakistan and Tanzania were the worst, in which Eid al-Fitr was celebrated in three different days within the same country.

Upon doing my homework, I read a lot of arguments considering the difference. Among those are:
[1] Astronomical calculations were used instead of the conventional moon sighting method.
[2] Moon sighting technique varies from country to country.

Regarding the first, what I’ve learned - it’s prescribed in the Quran to decide the beginning of Ramadan by the means of moon sighting.
"… So whoever among you sights (the crescent on the first night) the month (of Ramadan), he must observe sawm (fast) that month…"
- Surah al-Baqarah [2:185]

Also in a hadith, Prophet (PBUH) said, "Whenever you sight the new moon (of the month of Ramadan) observe fast, and when you sight it, and when you sight it (the moon of Shawwal) break it, and if the sky is cloudy for you, then observe fast for thirty days."
- Narrator: Abu Hurairah [Sahih Muslim: 2378]

So moon sighting is not a choice but it is MANDATORY. Regarding the second one, whether we like it or not, we must standardize our moon sighting technique. It’s not as simple as looking at the sky and say, "Hey look I can see it!". There is a rule and there is a method of measurement. Do homework please.

Okay, say if we solved argument [1] and [2], do you think we can have a synchronized Muslim calendar?

In my opinion I believe it's a NO. Please accept my apology brothers and sisters. We will never solve this problem UNLESS we have our own Islamic Date Line.


Allah has made the land of the prophets (Middle East) very special. Where is Kaaba located? It is neither located in America, Iran nor Malaysia. The one and only in Saudi Arabia. Most of the important events happened in the land of the prophets. Therefore the land of the prophets should be marked as the starting point for the change of day in Islamic calendar. [You can view the timezone map below in order to see the proposed Islamic Date Line]. I proposed that the Islamic Date Line starts from the Arabian Peninsular, in which Oman, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait bordering the date line, followed by Iraq and Turkey. Other countries that will border the line in the Nothern hemisphere are Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Estonia and Finland. In the Southern hemisphere, the change of day in Islamic calender will happen first at Mauritius and Reunion Island, followed by Madagascar, Somalia, etc.


If we follow the current International Date Line, Japan, Malaysia and India are ahead of Saudi Arabia by six, five and two & half hours respectively. But if we use the proposed Islamic Date Line, Japan, Malaysia and India are behind Saudi Arabia by 18, 19 and 22.5 hours respectively. Now we take the last year’s Eid al-Fitr as an example. Say all Middle East countries followed Saudi Arabia and celebrated Eid on 23rd October 2006, and all South Asia, South East Asia and East Asia countries celebrated Eid on 24th October 2006 (using the International Date Line as the point of reference). But if we use the proposed Islamic Date Line as the point of reference, Eid al-Fitr was celebrated in the same day (1st Shawwal) by all of these countries, in which Japan, Malaysia and India celebrated 18, 19 and 22.5 hours later (but still in the same date).

What we need to do is to follow the announcement from Saudi Arabia. Is it so hard? No. Some might argue, we must celebrate at the same time in all places all over the world. I hope we can do that but we must remember the earth has been divided into 24 time zones. If my brother prays Zohor prayer in Saudi Arabia, how can I pray Zohor prayer the same time in Malaysia (because at 1 PM Saudi Arabia is equivalent to 6 PM Malaysia)? So one place must go earlier than another. So please be logical.

The question is why can’t we have Islamic Date Line? As I mentioned earlier I’m not challenging anyone, not the Islamic scholars nor the authorities. Who am I to do that? I write this chapter because I believe we Muslims are not doing enough to make ourselves united. We have been divided enough. Enough is enough! What I want to see is the one and only Muslim calendar that applies to all Muslim countries all over the world. Is it too much to ask?

Finally, please forgive me if any of my words offended you. It is a fact that we can’t make everybody happy. I'm just an ordinary person and not trying to be a scholar. So if you think that I’m wrong, please correct me and shed me some light.