Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Supplement: Shaheen, Michael - Zewail, Ahmed Hassan


Shaheen, Michael
1940-2007
United States Justice Department official.

Michael Edmund Shaheen, Jr. was born in Boston on August 5, 1940, the son of Michael and Mabel Shaheen.  When Michael Jr. was 5, his family moved to Como, Mississippi.  Michael's father was a well-to-do doctor of Lebanese descent who defied prevailing racist convention by opening his door to both black and white patients.  Imbued with a strong sense of justice and patriotism, Shaheen attended Taft, an elite prep school in Connecticut.  He graduated from Yale University in 1962 and received a law degree from Vanderbilt three years later.  After law school, he became a clerk for a federal judge in Memphis, Tennessee.  Shaheen later returned to Como to practice law and, from 1970 to 1973, was the town's mayor.

Shaheen joined the Justice Department in 1973, where he would win the respect of Attorney General Edward Levi for his work investigating FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigations) counterintelligence excesses.  In 1975, on Shaheen's suggestion, Levi created the Office of Professional Responsibility, which instituted controls over all FBI investigations.  Levi chose Shaheen to lead the new office.

Shaheen won a reputation for unflappability -- best illustrated by his first meeting with Levi's successor, Attorney General Griffin Bell, in 1977.  Shaheen had just issued an unflattering report about the FBI 's surveillance and harassment of Martin Luther King, Jr., generating reams of bad press.  Shaheen was summoned to Attorney General Bell's office, where an agitated Bell said, "Why did everyone on the Hill get a copy of this report before I did?  And why has everyone else read the whole thing when I'm only on page 38?"

Shaheen reportedly replied, "As to the first question, your predecessor (Edward Levi) ordered that the report be sent to [Congress] in the final weeks of his tenure.  As to number two, maybe you just read slowly."

The angry Bell exploded with laughter.

The report which Shaheen presented to Congress was an indictment of the FBI under the Bureau's legendary director, J. Edgar Hoover.  The report detailed a pattern of corruption at the highest levels of the FBI, including the misuse of bureau employees for the personal benefit of Hoover.  The report cited "improper favoritism" and "conflict of interest" in the bureau's selection of equipment suppliers.  It also pointed out the improper use of FBI employees to construct a front porch and a fish pond at Hoover's home and to repaint his house every year, mow his lawn and even reset his clocks.  No charges were brought because the statute of limitations had passed and Hoover had died in 1972.

In 1980, Shaheen reported that President Jimmy Carter was not fully cooperating with an investigation of his brother Billy's status as a registered foreign agent to the government of the Libyan dictator, Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi, an accusation the president strongly denied.

In 1989, during the Reagan administration, Shaheen found that Attorney General Edwin Meese III (ostensibly Shaheen's boss) failed to document in his 1985 tax return nearly $20,000 in capital gains from a stock sale.  Shaheen's report said Mr. Meese engaged in "conduct which should not be tolerated of any government employee, especially the attorney general."  However, by the time of the report, Meese had resigned. 

In a 1993 report by Shaheen's office, Shaheen reported that William S. Sessions, the director of the FBI had repeatedly billed the government for private trips aboard the bureau's aircraft and had improperly claimed a tax exemption on his official limousine.  The report led to President Bill Clinton's dismissal of Mr. Sessions.

Shaheen spent 22 years as head of the Justice Department's internal investigations office.  During his career, Shaheen probed or criticized nearly all of the eight attorneys general he served under in both Democratic and Republican administrations.  However, he seemed to always manage to maintain the respect of them all.

He died of pancreatic cancer on November 29, 2007, at his home in Falls Church, Virginia. 



Shakira
b. 1977
Colombian-Lebanese singer, musician, and actress.

Shakira, in full Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll (b. February 2, 1977, Barranquilla, Colombia), was a Colombian musician who achieved success in both Spanish and English-speaking markets and by the early 2000s was one of the most successful Latin American recording artists.

Shakira, who had a Lebanese father and a native Colombian mother, started belly dancing at an early age and by age 10 had begun writing songs and taking part in talent competitions. A local theater producer helped her land an audition with a Sony Corporation executive in 1990, and Shakira was subsequently signed to a record deal. Her first two albums, Magia (1991) and Peligro (1993), were only moderately successful, however. After taking a break from recording to act in the Latin soap opera El oasis, Shakira resumed her music career in impressive fashion with Pies descalzos (1995). The album produced several hits, including “"Estoy aquí,"” “"Pienso en ti,"” and “"Un poco de amor."”

After releasing ¿Dónde están los ladrones? in 1998, Shakira focused her efforts on establishing herself in the American market. In 2001 her album MTV Unplugged (2000) won the Grammy Award for best Latin pop album, and she released her first English-language album, Laundry Service, that same year. Although her English-language songwriting skills were questioned by some (Shakira wrote all her own lyrics), Laundry Service sold more than 13 million copies worldwide.

Shakira continued her crossover success in 2005 with the release of the Spanish-language Fijación oral, vol. 1 in June and the English-language Oral Fixation, Vol. 2 in November. Both albums debuted in the top five in the United States, and her single “"Hips Don’t Lie"” (featuring Wyclef Jean) topped charts around the world in 2006. At that year’s Latin Grammy Awards, she captured song-of-the-year and record-of-the-year awards for the single “"La tortura,"” and Fijación oral, vol. 1 was named album of the year as well as best female pop vocal album. A live recording, Oral Fixation Tour, followed in 2007. Also that year Shakira performed in Hamburg as part of Live Earth, a worldwide concert series organized to bring attention to climate change and environmental sustainability.

For her next English-language album, She Wolf (2009), Shakira adopted an electro-pop sound. The following year she scored another international hit with “"Waka Waka (This Time for Africa),"” a collaboration with Freshlyground, a South African band, after it was chosen as the official anthem of the 2010 World Cup. The track later appeared on her breezily eclectic Sale el sol (2010), which earned a Latin Grammy for best female pop vocal album.

Shakira devoted considerable time and energy to social causes. In 2003 she became a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, traveling internationally to raise awareness of the struggles of children in less-developed countries. She also created the Pies Descalzos Foundation, which focused on helping children displaced by violence in Colombia.

Shakira was born on February 2, 1977 in Barranquilla, Colombia. She was the only child of Nidia Ripoll and William Mebarak Chadid and was of Lebanese, Spanish (Catalan and Castilian) and Italian descent. She has eight older half-siblings from her father's previous marriage. Shakira's father is originally from the United States, born in New York City, at the age of 5 his family moved to Sincelejo from New York City then relocated to Barranquilla.

Shakira spent much of her youth in Barranquilla, a city located in northern Colombia. Shakira wrote her first poem, entitled "La Rosa De Cristal" ("The Crystal Rose") when she was only four years old. As she was growing up, she was fascinated watching her father writing stories on a typewriter, and asked for one as a Christmas gift. She got her wish at age seven and continued writing poetry. These poems eventually evolved into songs. At the age of two, an older half-brother was killed in a motorcycle accident and at the age of eight, Shakira wrote her first song entitled "Tus gafas oscuras" ("Your dark glasses"), which was inspired by her father, who for years wore dark glasses, to hide his grief. When Shakira was four, her father took her to a local Middle Eastern restaurant, where Shakira first heard the doumbek, a traditional drum used in Arabic music and which typically accompanied belly dancing. Before she knew it, Shakira was dancing on the table, she then knew she wanted to be a performer. She enjoyed singing for schoolmates and teachers (and even the nuns) at her Catholic school, but in the second grade was rejected for the school choir because her vibrato was too strong. The music teacher told her that she sounded "like a goat". At school, she says she had been known as "the belly dancer girl", as she would demonstrate every Friday at school a number she had learned.

When she was eight, Shakira's father declared bankruptcy. While the details were sorted out, she stayed with relatives in Los Angeles. On returning to Barranquilla, she was shocked to find that much of what her parents owned had been sold; as she later said "In my childish head, this was the end of the world." To show her that things could be worse, her father took her to a local park to see orphans who lived there. The images stayed with her and she said to herself "one day I’m going to help these kids when I become a famous artist." Between the ages of ten and thirteen Shakira was invited to various events in Barranquilla and gained some recognition in the area. It was at about this time that she met local theater producer Monica Ariza, who was impressed with her and as a result tried to help her career. During a flight from Barranquilla to Bogotá, Ariza convinced Sony Colombia executive Ciro Vargas to hold an audition for Shakira in a hotel lobby. Vargas held Shakira in high regard and, returning to the Sony office, gave the cassette to a song and artist director. However, the director was not overly excited and thought Shakira was something of "a lost cause". Vargas, not daunted, was still convinced that Shakira had talent, and set up an audition in Bogotá. He arranged for Sony Colombia executives to arrive at the audition, with the idea of surprising them with Shakira's performance. She performed three songs for the executives and impressed them enough for her to be signed to record three albums.


Shalala, Donna
b. 1941
American educator, administrator, and public official best known as the secretary of health and human services under United States President Bill Clinton.

Donna Shalala, in full Donna Edna Shalala (b. February 14, 1941, Cleveland, Ohio),  attended Western College in Oxford, Ohio, earning a B.A. in 1962. After graduation she spent two years in the Peace Corps in Iran. Upon her return, she entered Syracuse University, where she earned a master’s degree in social science in 1968 and a Ph.D. in 1970. She spent the next nine years teaching political science and education at the university level at Bernard Baruch College (part of the City University of New York [CUNY]) and at Columbia University’s Teachers College.

In 1975, while still teaching, she served as the director and treasurer of the Municipal Assistance Corporation, credited with helping rescue New York City from near bankruptcy. From 1977 to 1980, during the administration of President Jimmy Carter, Shalala worked as the assistant secretary for policy research and development at the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C. In this position, she worked primarily on women’s issues—setting up shelters, establishing mortgage credits, and pressing for anti-discrimination measures.

In 1980, she became president of CUNY’s Hunter College. At Hunter she added to her reputation as a committed feminist by overseeing dramatic increases in the percentages of female and minority faculty and administrators. In 1988 she became the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, one of the largest universities in the United States. Confronted by a campus afflicted with racial tension, she instituted the “Madison Plan,” which increased recruitment of minority students and faculty and reflected her commitment to a “multiethnic, multiracial, multicultural” academic environment.

A dynamic leader and a strong advocate, Shalala was selected to be secretary of health and human services in 1993. Her main objectives in her new position included revising the financial structure of the country’s health-care system, implementing a nationwide immunization plan, combating tobacco use among children and teens, and continuing and expanding AIDS research. She also worked with Vice President Al Gore to increase organ donation.

Following her eight-year stint under Clinton, Shalala returned to education, becoming president of the University of Miami in 2000. In 2007, President George W. Bush appointed Shalala and Bob Dole to head a commission investigating the problems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The following year Shalala received a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Shalala was born in Cleveland, Ohio to Maronite Catholic Lebanese immigrant parents and has a twin sister, Diane Fritel. She graduated from West Tech High School and received her bachelor's degree in 1962 from Western College for Women (which, in 1976, was merged with Miami University in Oxford, Ohio).


Shamsur Rahman
1929-2006
Bangladeshi poet and journalist. 

Shamsur Rahman was born in Dhaka on October 24, 1929.  The fourth of thirteen children, he studied at Pogos School from where he matriculated in 1945.  Later he studied at Dhaka College.

Rahman started writing poetry afte graduating from Dhaka College at the age of eighteen.  Shamsur Rahman studied English literature at Dhaka University for three years but did not take his examination.  After a break of three years, he re-enrolled.  He received his bachelor of arts degree in 1953. 

In his leisure after his matriculation in 1945, Shamsur Rahman read the Golpo Guccho of Rabindranath Tagore.  This book changed his life. 

In 1949, his poem "Unissho Unoponchash" was published in "Sonar Bangla."  Shamsur Rahman's first poetry book "Prothom Gan Ditio Mrittur Agay" was published in 1960.  The political turbulence of the 1960s and 1970s impacted Shamsur's poetry.  He wrote his famous poem "Asader Shirt," a poem dealing with the Revolution of 69.

During the Bangladesh Liberation War, Shamsur Rahman wrote a number of extraordinary poems based on the war.  These poems proved to be inspiring for the freedom fighters.  Later these poems were published in "Bondi Shibir Theke" in 1972.  Later he continued writing poems in the independent Bangladesh and remained as the poet whose poems reflect the history of the nation.  During the historical movement against Ershad, he published his book "Buk Tar Bangladesher Hridoy" indicating the great sacrifice of Nur Hossain.

Shamsur Rahman had a long career as a journalist.  He became the co-editor of the English daily, "Morning News" in 1957.  Later he left this and went to the Dhaka center of Radio Pakistan.  However, again he returned back to his own rank at "Morning News" in 1960 and was there until 1964.  After the independence of Bangladesh, he wrote columns in the "Daily Bangla" ("Dainik Bangla").  In 1977, he became the editor of this daily.  He also jointly worked as the editor of "Bichitra." 

During the period of Ershad, Shamsur Rahman became involved with the turmoil in the
"Daily Bangla."  The position of "Main Editor" was created to take away his position as editor.  In 1987, he left the daily in protest against Ershad.  He worked as the editor of "Odhuna" in 1987 and as the main editor of the weekly "Muldhara" in 1989. 

An outspoken critic of religious fundamentalism, Shamsur Rahman was attacked in January 1999 by a group of young men who talked their way into his apartment and then tried to behead him with an ax.  Shamsur escaped unharmed, but his wife, who came to his aid, was seriously wounded.  Neighbors in his apartment building apprehended the men and held them until the police came.  The attackers admitted that they intended to kill the poet.  They also stated that they planned to attack more intellectuals like Rahman, who held outspoken secular views.

Over his long career, Shamsur Rahman came to be known as the "unofficial poet laureate" of Bangladesh.  He authored sixty collections of poetry in Bangla and is considered a key figure in Bengali literature.   He won numerous awards including the Bangla Academy Award (1969), Ekushey Padak (1977), and Swadhinata Award (1991).

Shamsur Rahman died on August 17, 2006, of kidney failure after several days in a coma.

 


Shoman, Abdul Majid
1912-2005
Chairman of the Arab Bank. 

Abdul Majid was born in Beit Hanina, a town located between Jerusalem and Ramallah.  His father, Abdul Hamid Shoman, had left for the United States six months before the birth of Abdul Majid.  The son would not meet his father until he was fourteen while on a visit to New York.

Abdul Hamid, a semi-literate stonemason, left for America in 1911.  He made a fortune in textiles, and founded the Arab Bank (al-Bank al-Arabi) in 1930, not to make a profit but rather to serve the Arabs of Palestine and their national welfare.  The bank would become a symbol of Palestinian aspirations, representing a drive to create financial institutions for a new nation.

After Israel's seizure of the West Bank, in 1948, including Jerusalem's traditional eastern Arab sector, the Shomans moved to Jordan, where they set up branches of the Arab Bank across the kingdom.  In 1964, Arab leaders named Abdul Majid chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization's Palestine National Fund.  Indeed, the late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, had the Palestine Liberation Organization keep a large part of its funds in the Arab Bank.

Abdul Majid assumed the chairmanship of the Arab Bank upon his father's death in 1974.  During his tenure, Abdul Majid inspired the bank's 7,000 employees, re-invested the gushing oil profits of the 1970s and met the demand for personal banking services in the 1990s. 

Abdul Majid wielded tremendous societal influence.  He established Jerusalem Development Committee and created a prize for intellectuals who contributed to Jerusalem's Arab heritage.  Amongst various humanitarian organizations, he chaired a foundation that bore his name. 

Abdul Majid's Arab Bank often rescued Jordan from fiscal disaster.  In 2000, the bank released funds to support the Jordanian dinar, which had collapsed after King Hussein died.  Perhaps in recognition of this contribution, Abdul Majid's burial in the royal cemetery in Amman reflected the great esteem in which he was held in Jordan.

By 2004, the Arab Bank had become the largest privately owned financial house in the Middle East.   The bank spawned 378 branches in 27 countries with assets valued at $35.7 billion.  In 2005, the bank announced that it was closing its branch in New York where it faced lawsuits contending that it supported terrorism by funneling donations to Palestinian suicide bombers and their families. 






Sijilmasi
?-1800
A Moroccan Maliki scholar.

Abu Abd Allah Mohammed ibn Abi al-Qasim al-Sijilmasi is especially well known for his Sharh al-amal al-mutlaq: al-musammá bi-Fath al-jalīl al-samad fī sharh al-takmīl wa-al-mutamad.  It was finished in 1782. According to al-Hajwi, Sijilmasi died of the plague in Boujad in 1800.



Simpson, Mona
b. 1957
American author.

Mona E. Simpson (b. Mona Jandali, June 14, 1957) became a professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the Sadie Samuelson Levy Professor in Languages and Literature at Bard College. She won the Whiting Prize for her first novel, Anywhere but Here (1986). It was a popular success and adapted as a film by the same name, released in 1999. Her novel Off Keck Road (2000) won the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, and was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. She is also the biological younger sister of the late Steve Jobs, whom she did not meet until she was 25 years old.

Mona Jandali was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin in 1957 and grew up in Los Angeles, California. Her father Abdulfattah "John" Jandali, originally from Syria, taught at the University of Wisconsin. Her mother Joanne Carole Schieble was his student; however, they were the same age because Jandali had earned his PhD at a young age. Later Jandali made a career in the food and beverage industry. Schieble became a speech language pathologist. The Jandalis divorced in 1962 and Jandali lost touch with Mona. Joanne remarried and Mona was given the last name of her stepfather, Simpson.

In 1993, Simpson married the television writer and producer Richard Appel and they had two children together, Gabriel and Grace. Appel, a writer for The Simpsons television show, used his wife's name for Homer Simpson's mother, beginning with the episode "Mother Simpson". Simpson and Appel later divorced.


Sirhan, Sirhan Bishara
1944-
Palestinian who was convicted of the June 5, 1968 assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy.   The assassination took place just minutes after the senator had won the California presidential primary.

Sirhan Bishara Sirhan was born on March 19, 1944, in Jerusalem.  Though he is commonly thought to have been a Muslim, he was actually raised a Christian.  However, in his adult years, he frequently changed his religious views.

On June 5, 1968, Sirhan fired a .22 caliber revolver eight times into the crowd surrounding Kennedy in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles shortly after Kennedy finished addressing supporters in the hotel's main ballroom, hitting Kennedy three times.  Kennedy was mortally wounded.  Sirhan was quickly detained at the scene by bystanders and then arrested. 

On March 3, 1969, in a Los Angeles courtroom, Sirhan confessed that he had killed Kennedy (although later he would maintain that he had no memory of the crime).  The judge in the case did not accept Sirhan's confession and it was subsequently withdrawn. 

Sirhan supposedly believed that the Palestinians had been betrayed by Kennedy's support for Israel in the June 1967 Six-Day War, which had begun exactly one year before the assassination.  However, entries from Sirhan's diary manifest an obsessive interest in killing Kennedy which predated the Six Day War. 

Sirhan was convicted and sentenced to death.  However, the sentence was commuted to life in prison in 1972 after the California Supreme Court's People v. Anderson decision resulted in the invalidation of all then pending death sentences imposed in California prior to 1972.

Since 1972, Sirhan has routinely been eligible for parole, but has always been denied. 


Sistani, 'Ali al-Husseini al-
1930-
Grand Ayatollah and Twelver Shia marja'.

'Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani was born on August 4, 1930, in Masshad, Iran, to a family of religious scholars.  He began studying the Qur'an, the sacred book of Islam, at age 5.  His grandfather, for whom he was named, was a famous scholar who had studied in Najaf. Sistani's family originally comes from Isfahan. During the Safavid period, his forefather Sayyid Mohammad, was appointed as Sheikh ul-Islam (Leading Authority of Islam) by King Hussain in the Sistan province. He traveled to Sistan where he and his children settled, which accounts for the title "al-Sistani" in his great grandson's name today. Sistani began his religious education as a child, beginning in Mashhad, and moving on to study at the Shia holy city of Qom in central Iran in 1949. After spending a few years there, in 1951, he went to Iraq to study in Najaf under the late Grand Ayatollah Abu al-Qasim al-Khoei. (Al-Sistani was named a grand ayatollah after al-Khoei's death in 1992.) 

Sistani rose in religious rank to be named a Marja in 1960 under the military dictatorship of Iraqi president Abd al-Karim Qasim. At the unusually young age of 31 (1961) Ayatollah Sistani reached the senior level of accomplishment called Ijtihad, which entitled him to pass his own judgments on religious questions.

When Khoei died in 1992, Sistani ascended to the rank of Grand Ayatollah by the traditional method — through peer recognition of his scholarship. His role as successor to Khoei was symbolically cemented when he led the funeral prayers of his widely esteemed teacher. He would go on to inherit Khoei's network and following.

With the death of other leading ayatollahs in Iraq including Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr, Ali al-Sistani emerged as the preeminent Shia cleric in Iraq. As the leading Ayatollah in Najaf, Sistani oversaw sums amounting to millions of dollars. Sistani's followers offered him a fixed part of their earnings, which he spent for educational and charitable purposes.

Al-Sistani took little part in political activities during the rule of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.  He survived the persecution that killed many other Shia clerics, although his mosque was shut down in 1994, and did not reopen until after the 2003 invasion of Iraq which toppled the Ba'ath regime. After the invasion, Sistani usually kept to himself in his house in Najaf. His reclusive behavior was seen by many as a protest against persecution, but others consider it to originate from the house arrest orders issued by the Ba'ath Party.

Despite his seclusion and inaccessibility, Sistani had extensive influence throughout the Shia Muslims all over the world especially in Iraq, Iran and Lebanon, and developed a network of junior clerics who conveyed his teachings. Sistani patronized several leading Shia charities and provided financial support for most of the Shia religious schools or madrasas and mosques around the world. Due to his influence, he played a quiet but important role in the current politics of Iraq. He was particularly known for forcing the Coalition Provisional Authority into a compromise on the constitutional process; for issuing a fatwa calling on all Shia, especially women, to vote; and for calling on Shia communities not to retaliate against Sunni sectarian violence. 

Beginning in 2004, al-Sistani began to take an increasingly prominent role in Iraq's political affairs.   A moderate, al-Sistani repeatedly urged Iraqi Shi'a not to offer military resistance to the United States led coalition occupying Iraq.  In August of 2004, he also negotiated an end to the three weeks of fighting between United States led coalition forces and Shi'a militia members led by Muqtada al-Sadr, who had barricaded themselves in an important Shi'a shrine (Imam Ali Mosque) in Najaf.

Sistani's edicts and rulings provided many Iraqi Shia religious backing for participating in the January 2005 elections.  He also issued a fatwa telling women that they were religiously obligated to vote, even if their husbands had forbidden them to do so.

While take a relatively moderate stance, at the same time, al-Sistani also called for the establishment of an Islamic republic in Iraq.  He also strongly opposed United States plans to allow appointed, rather than democratically elected, officials to select the members of Iraq's interim government.

In Al-Najaf, Sistani was devoted to ensuring power for a Shīʿite majority in his adopted country of Iraq, which had been led by a Sunni minority for centuries. Although he served as the spiritual leader of Iraq’s Shiʿite community, Sistani also commanded the respect of Sunni Arabs and Kurds.

Sistani played a key role in the political proceedings that followed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and, although he preferred to give the impression that he did not mix religion and politics, he proved to be an important participant in the planning for Iraq’s first democratic government. Sistani’s support for free elections in Iraq—underscored by a 2004 fatwa (legal opinion) decreeing that Iraqis register to vote—carried great significance. In some cases his credibility outweighed that of not only U.S. and United Nations diplomatic envoys but even the interim government of Prime Minister Ayād ʿAllāwī: his strong and moderating influence among the Iraqi populace as a whole earned him the respect of U.S. diplomats and Iraqi leaders, who deferred to many of his wishes.

Sistani developed a substantial following among Shia's all over the world in his role of  Nayb-i Imam (Preeminent Marja) of the Twelver Sect of Shia Muslims. In Iran as a result of the post-invasion opening of the Iraqi shrine cities of Najaf and Karbala to Iranians, including "great popularity and influence among" the bazaari of the city of Qom, many Iranians returned from pilgrimage in Iraq followers of Sistani.








    





Sulahiyya, Sayyida
d.1087
Queen of Yemen.

al-Sayyida al-Hurrat-ul Malika Asma Bint Shibab al-Sulayhiyya (died 1087) was Muslim Malika (Queen) of Yemen. The title means "The Most Noble Lady who is independent, the woman sovereign who bows to no superior authority, Queen". She was married to Sultan Ali al-Sulahi, who entrusted much of the management of the realm to her. She also enjoyed the privilege of the Khutba - having the Friday's prayer preached in her name - the ultimate proof of sovereignty. In 1067, her husband was taken prisoner on a pilgrimage to Mecca and she was taken prisoner by the Bane Najah family.  When she was released she continued to direct her son's rule along with her daughter-in-law 'Arwa, until her death in 1087.


Taliban

A movement of students (taliban) who attended religious schools in Pakistan and suddenly emerged as a politico-military force in Afghanistan.

The Taliban emerged as a force for social order in 1994 in the southern Afghan province of Kandahār and quickly subdued the local warlords who controlled the south of the country. By late 1996 popular support for the Taliban among Afghanistan’s southern Pashtun ethnic group, as well as assistance from conservative Islamic elements abroad, enabled the faction to seize the capital, Kabul, and gain effective control of the country. Resistance to the Taliban continued, however, particularly among non-Pashtun ethnic groups—namely the Tajik, Uzbek, and Ḥazāra—in the north, west, and central parts of the country, who saw the power of the predominantly Pashtun Taliban as a continuation of the traditional Pashtun hegemony of the country.

By 2001 the Taliban controlled all but a small section of northern Afghanistan. World opinion, however, largely disapproved of the Taliban’s social policies—including the near-total exclusion of women from public life (including employment and education), the systematic destruction of non-Islamic artistic relics (as occurred in the town of Bamiyan), and the implementation of harsh criminal punishments—and only a few countries recognized the regime. More significant was the fact that the Taliban allowed Afghanistan to be a haven for Islamic militants from throughout the world, including an exiled Saudi Arabian, Osama bin Laden, who, as leader of al-Qaeda, stood accused of organizing numerous terrorist attacks against American interests. The Taliban’s refusal to extradite bin Laden to the United States following the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C., on September 11, 2001, prompted a military confrontation with the United States and allied powers . The Taliban was subsequently driven from power. 

Headed by Maulawi Muhammad Omar, a Nurzai from Oruzgan, and his deputy Maulawi Muhammad Hasan, the movement first came to public attention in November 1994 when it rescued a Pakistani truck convoy bound for Central Asia from mujahedin captors.  The Taliban then captured the city of Kandahar and moved north against Kabul.  On Monday, February 13, 1995, they captured Pul-i Alam and the next day Charasiab, the stronghold of Hizb-i Islami leader Hekmatyar.   Hekmatyar was forced to flee to Sarobi, about 37 miles east of Kabul.  In March 1995, the Shi'a Hizb-i Wahdat surrendered its enclave in Kabul to the Taliban, and 'Abdul 'Ali Mazari while in Taliban captivity.  On September 3, the Taliban captured Shindand, an important airbase, and two days later the city of Herat.  In September 1996, the Taliban renewed their offensive and captured Jalalabad, Sarobi, and by the end of the month they were installed as rulers in Kabul.

It was unclear who supported the "students" and their teachers and how they were able to quickly defeat the supposedly battle-hardened mujahedin.  Most observers believe that financial support from sympathizers provided funds and the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) financed, armed, and otherwise supported the Taliban.  Often they conquered without a fight as ex-army officers and mujahedin commanders defected.  The Taliban claimed not to be affiliated with any of the mujahedin groups and only desired to unite Afghanistan, end the power of the war lords, and create a "true" Islamic state.  

For five years, the Taliban created and ruled the "Islamic state" of Afghanistan.   In February, 2001, the Taliban leaders created an international uproar when they ordered the destruction of all statues and carvings of humans and animals.  The leaders claimed that the statues were idolatrous and contrary to the teachings of Islam.  Despite worldwide protests over the destruction of a cultural heritage, Taliban workers smashed relics of Afghanistan's Buddhist period, and in March of 2001, the Afghan army blew up two 1,400 year old Buddhas.  The two statues that were destroyed, the largest of which was 175 feet (53 meters) high, had been carved into a cliff in the central province of Bamiyan, 70 miles (113 kilometers) west of Kabul.

In the Fall of 2001, a coalition of military forces led by the United States launched a campaign against Afghanistan that toppled the ruling Taliban regime.  The United States military action came in the wake of terrorist attacks on the United States  on September 11, 2001, which killed thousands of people.  United States intelligence agents claimed that Osama bin Laden, a Saudi-born exile living in Afghanistan, was behind the terrorist attacks, as well as attacks, such as the bombing of two American embassies in Africa in 1998.  President George W. Bush demanded that the Taliban turn over bin Laden to the United States officials.  The Taliban leaders refused, claiming that United States officials had offered no evidence that he was involved.

Armed forces from the United States and the United Kingdom launched air strikes against Afghanistan on October 7, 2001.  The objective was to destroy both the Taliban, which harbored bin Laden, and bin Laden's terrorist network, al-Qaida ("The Base" in Arabic).  In addition to the air strikes, American armed forces supported the Northern Alliance, a group of anti-Taliban rebels, in its ground attacks against Taliban forces. 

United States bombers and fighter jets attacked Taliban ground troops, barracks, and troop encampments across Afghanistan throughout October, November and early December 2001.  The United States military also targeted Kabul, the capital, and Qandahar (Kandahar), a Taliban stronghold.  On October 21, jet fighter pilots bombed a series of Taliban trenches, bunkers, and minefields approximately 35 miles (56 kilometers) north of the capital, which had separated Taliban forces from the rebels.

On November 9, rebel forces broke through Taliban defenses and entered Mazar-e Sharif, a strategically important Taliban stronghold in northern Afghanistan.  On November 13, Taliban forces offered little resistance as Northern Alliance rebels took Kabul.

Dozens of United States Special Operations troops moved into Afghanistan in mid-November to pursue bin Laden, al-Qaida members, and Taliban leaders.  By late November, Taliban soldiers were fleeing the besieged city of Qonduz (Kunduz), the Taliban's last stronghold in the north, and surrendered by the hundreds.  Rebel leaders captured Qonduz on November 25.

Leaders of the Taliban militia surrendered Qandahar, the last Taliban stronghold, on December 6, 2001.  On December 10, officials with the United States Department of Defense announced that Afghanistan's Taliban had been defeated.  By mid-December, the forces of al-Qaida had retreated into the mountains of Afghanistan's rugged Tora Bora region southeast of Jalalabad, where United States intelligence officials believed that bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders also had taken refuge.  United States jets bombarded the region to disable the terrorist network.  Although hundreds of al-Qaida members were killed or captured, United States officials theorized that others, including the elusive bin Laden, continued to hind in complex cave systems in the region or had escaped over the border into Pakistan.  

The Taliban, alternative spelling Taleban, (Pashto, meaning "students") was a Wahhabi Islamist political movement that governed Afghanistan from 1996 until it was overthrown in late 2001. It regrouped after 2004 and revived as a strong insurgency movement governing mainly local Pashtun areas during night and fighting a guerrilla war against the governments of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

The Taliban movement was primarily made up of members belonging to ethnic Pashtun tribes, along with volunteers from nearby Islamic countries such as Uzbeks, Tajiks, Punjabis, Arabs, Chechens and others. It operated in Afghanistan and Pakistan, mostly in provinces around the Durand Line border.

The main leader of the Taliban movement wass Mullah Mohammed Omar. Omar's original commanders were a mixture of former small-unit military commanders and madrasa teachers, while its rank-and-file was made up mostly of Afghan refugees who had studied at Islamic religious schools in Pakistan. The Taliban received valuable training, supplies and arms from the Pakistani government, particularly the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and many recruits from madrasas for Afghan refugees in Pakistan, primarily ones established by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI).

Although in control of Afghanistan's capital (Kabul) and most of the country for five years, the Taliban regime, which called itself the "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan", gained diplomatic recognition from only three states: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

While in power, the Taliban enforced one of the strictest interpretations of Sharia law ever seen in the Muslim world, and became notorious internationally for their treatment of women. Women were forced to wear the burqa in public. They were allowed neither to work nor to be educated after the age of eight, and until then were permitted only to study the Qur'an. They were not allowed to be treated by male doctors unless accompanied by a male chaperon, which led to illnesses remaining untreated. They faced public flogging in the street, and public execution for violations of the Taliban's laws.

The word Taliban is Pashto meaning "students", the plural of ṭālib. This is a loan word from Arabic tālib, plus the Indo-Iranian plural ending "an"(the Arabic plural being ṭullāb, whereas ṭālibān is a dual form with the incongruous meaning, to Arabic speakers, of "two students"). Since becoming a loanword in English, Taliban, besides a plural noun referring to the group, has also been used as a singular noun referring to an individual. For example, John Walker Lindh has been referred to as "an American Taliban" rather than "an American Talib". In the English language newspapers of Pakistan the word talibans is often used when referring to more than one taliban. The spelling 'Taliban' has come to predominate over 'Taleban' in English.

The most credible and often-repeated story of how Mullah Omar first mobilized his followers is that in the spring of 1994 Singesar neighbors told him that a warlord commander had abducted two teenage girls, shaved their heads and taken them to a camp where they were raped repeatedly. 30 Taliban (with only 16 rifles) freed the girls and hanged the commander from the barrel of a tank. Later that year two warlord commanders killed civilians while fighting for the right to sodomize a young boy. The Taliban freed him.

The Taliban's first major military activity was in 1994 when they marched northward from Maiwand and captured Kandahar City and the surrounding provinces, losing only a few dozen men. They captured a border crossing at Spin Baldak and an ammunition dump from warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar on October 29. Kandahar fell November 3–5. A few weeks later they freed a convoy trying to open a trade route from Pakistan to Central Asia from another group of warlords attempting to extort money for permission to pass their checkpoints. The convoy owners, known as the "transport mafia" paid a large fee and promised ongoing payments for this service.

Over the next three months this hitherto unknown force took control of twelve of 34 provinces, disarming the "heavily armed population". Warlords often surrendered without a fight. By September 1996 they had captured Afghanistan's capital, Kabul. In newly conquered towns hundreds of religious police beat offenders (typically men without beards and women who were not wearing their burqas properly) with long sticks.

Closely tied with Pakistan's fundamentalist JUI party, the Taliban received manpower from madrasas in Pakistan’s border region. After a request from Mullah Omar in 1997, JUI's Maulana Samiul Haq shut down his 2,500+ student madrasah (Darul Uloom Haqqania) and sent his entire student body hundreds of miles to fight with the Taliban. The next year, he helped persuade 12 madrasas in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province to shut down for one month and send 8,000 students to reinforce the Taliban.

The Taliban returned the favor, helping spread its ideology to parts of Pakistan. By 1998 some Pakistani groups along the "Pashtun belt" were banning TV and videos, imposing Sharia punishments such as stoning and amputation in defiance of the legal system, killing Pakistani Shiʻa and forcing the people, particularly women, to adapt to the Taliban dress code and way of life.

In December 1998 the Tehrik-i-Tuleba or Movement of Taliban in the Orakzai Agency ignored Pakistan’s legal process and publicly executed a murderer in front of 2,000 spectators. They also promised to implement Taliban-style justice and ban TV, music and videos. In Quetta, Pashtun pro-Taliban groups burned down cinema houses, shot video shop owners, smashed satellite dishes and drove women off the streets.

In Kashmir Afghan Arabs attempted to impose a Wahhabi style dress code banning jeans and jackets. On 15 February 15, 1999, they shot and wounded three Kashmiri cable television operators for relaying Western satellite broadcasts.

Hazara people, among other ethnic minorities, faced large-scale massacre during the Taliban regime. Thousands of Hazaras were killed by Pashtu Taliban and thousands forced to flee. These massacres took place in the context of the six-year war between the Taliban and parties now grouped in the United National Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan (the 'United Front'), in which international human rights and humanitarian law have been repeatedly violated by the warring factions. Ethnic and religious minorities, and the Hazaras in particular, have been especially vulnerable in areas of conflict, and Taliban forces have committed large-scale abuses against Hazara civilians with impunity. In this report Human Rights Watch called upon the United Nations to investigate both massacres and to systematically monitor human rights and humanitarian law violations by all parties to Afghanistan's civil war.

The Taliban's strict policies and condescending behavior toward their local allied troops caused an uprising in which thousands of the Taliban's best troops were killed.

In 1997, Ahmad Shah Massoud attempted to use guerrilla tactics in the Shomali plains to defeat the Taliban. In collaboration with the locals, Massoud deployed his forces in civilian dwellings and other hiding places. Upon the arrival of the Taliban, Massoud's forces, along with some locals who had vowed peace with the Taliban, came out of hiding and in a surprise attack captured the north of Kabul. Soon after, the Taliban put a major effort into retaking the Shomali plains, indiscriminately killing young men, while uprooting and expelling the population.

On August 8, 1998 the Taliban recaptured Mazar-i-Sharif, avenging their earlier defeat and creating more international controversy by killing thousands of civilians and several Iranian diplomats. This offensive left the Northern Alliance in control of only 10–15% of Afghanistan in the north. Thereafter, the Taliban retained control of most of the country until the NATO invasion. On September 9, 2001, a suicide bomber, posing as an interviewer, now widely thought to be connected to Al-Qaeda, assassinated Massoud.

After the September 11 attacks on the U.S. and the PENTTBOM investigation, the United States made the following demands on the Taliban, and refused to discuss them:

       1. Deliver to the United States all of the leaders of Al Qaeda
       2. Release all foreign nationals that have been "unjustly imprisoned"
       3. Protect foreign journalists, diplomats and aid workers
       4. Close immediately every terrorist training camp
       5. Hand over every terrorist and their supporters to appropriate authorities
       6. Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps for inspection

Over the course of the investigation, the United States petitioned the international community to back a military campaign to overthrow the Taliban. The United Nations Security Council and NATO approved the campaign as self-defense against armed attack.

On September 21, the Taliban responded to the ultimatum, promising that if the United States could bring evidence that bin Laden was guilty, they would hand him over, stating that they had no evidence linking him to the September 11 attacks.

On September 22, the United Arab Emirates, and later Saudi Arabia, withdrew recognition of the Taliban as Afghanistan's legal government, leaving neighboring Pakistan as the only remaining country with diplomatic ties. On October 4 the Taliban agreed to turn bin Laden over to Pakistan for trial in an international tribunal that operated according to Islamic Sharia law, but Pakistan blocked the offer as it was not possible to guarantee his safety. On October 7, the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan offered to detain bin Laden and try him under Islamic law if the United States made a formal request and presented the Taliban with evidence. A Bush administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, rejected the Taliban offer, and stated that the US would not negotiate their demands.

Still on October 7, and less than one month after the towers fell, the United States, aided by the United Kingdom, Canada, and other countries including several from the NATO alliance, initiated military action, bombing Taliban and Al Qaeda-related camps. The stated intent of military operations was to remove the Taliban from power and prevent the use of Afghanistan as a terrorist base of operations.

The CIA's elite Special Activities Division (SAD) units were the first U.S. forces to enter Afghanistan. They joined with the Afghan Northern Alliance to prepare for the subsequent arrival of United States Special Operations forces. SAD, Special Forces and the Northern Alliance combined to overthrow the Taliban with minimal coalition casualties and without the use of international conventional ground forces.

On October 14 the Taliban offered to discuss handing over Osama bin Laden to a neutral country in return for a bombing halt, but only if the Taliban were given evidence of bin Laden's involvement. Once again, the United States rejected this offer and continued military operations. Mazari Sharif fell November 9, triggering a cascade of provinces falling with minimal resistance. Many local forces switched loyalties from the Taliban to the Northern Alliance. On the night of November 12, the Taliban retreated south from Kabul. On November 15, they released eight Western aid workers after three months in captivity. By November 13 the Taliban had withdrawn from both Kabul and Jalalabad. Finally, in early December, the Taliban gave up Kandahar, their last stronghold, dispersing without surrendering.

The continued support from tribal and other groups in Pakistan, the drug trade and the small number of NATO forces, combined with the long history of resistance and isolation, indicated that Taliban forces and leaders were surviving. Suicide attacks and other terrorist methods not used in 2001 became more common. Observers suggested that poppy eradication, which destroyed the livelihoods of rural Afghans, and civilian deaths caused by air strikes encouraged the resurgence. These observers maintained that policy should focus on "hearts and minds" and on economic reconstruction, which could profit from switching from interdicting to diverting poppy production—to make medicine.

In September 2006, Pakistan recognized the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan, an association of Waziristani chieftains with close ties to the Taliban, as the de facto security force for Waziristan. This recognition was part of the agreement to end the Waziristan War which had exacted a heavy toll on the Pakistan Army since early 2004. Some commentators viewed Islamabad's shift from war to diplomacy as implicit recognition of the growing power of the resurgent Taliban relative to American influence, with the US distracted by the threat of looming crises in Iraq, Lebanon, and Iran.

By 2009, a strong insurgency had emerged, in the form of a guerrilla war. The Pashtun tribal group, with over 40 million members (including Afghanis and Pakistanis) had a long history of resistance to occupation forces, so the Taliban probably comprised only a part of the insurgency. Most post-invasion Taliban fighters were new recruits, mostly drawn from local madrasas.

In early December, the Taliban offered to give the U.S. "legal guarantees" that it would not allow Afghanistan to be used for attacks on other countries. The U.S. ignored the offer, and continued military action.

The Taliban initially enjoyed good will from Afghans weary of the warlords' corruption, brutality, and incessant fighting. However, this popularity was not universal, particularly among non-Pashtuns.

The Taliban's extremely strict and anti-modern ideology has been described as an "innovative form of sharia combining Pashtun tribal codes," or Pashtunwali, with radical Deobandi interpretations of Islam favored by JUI and its splinter groups. Also contributing to the mix was the Wahhabism of their Saudi financial benefactors, and the jihadism and pan-Islamism of Osama bin Laden. Their ideology was a departure from the Islamism of the anti-Soviet mujahideen rulers they replaced who tended to be mystical Sufis, traditionalists, or radical Islamicists inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan).

Under the Taliban regime, Sharia law was interpreted to forbid a wide variety of previously lawful activities in Afghanistan. One Taliban list of prohibitions included:
  pork, pig, pig oil, anything made from human hair, satellite dishes, cinematography, and equipment that produces the joy of music, pool tables, chess, masks, alcohol, tapes, computers, VCRs, television, anything that propagates sex and is full of music, wine, lobster, nail polish, firecrackers, statues, sewing catalogs, pictures, Christmas cards.”

They also prohibited employment, education and sports for women, dancing, clapping during sports events, kite flying, and depictions of living things, whether drawings, paintings, photographs, stuffed animals, or dolls. Men were required to have a beard longer than a fist placed at the base of the chin. Conversely, they had to wear their head hair short. Men were also required to wear a head covering.

Many of these activities were hitherto lawful in Afghanistan. Critics complained that most Afghans were not Pashtuns and followed a different, less strict and less intrusive interpretation of Islam. The Taliban did not eschew all traditional popular practices. For example, they did not destroy the graves of Sufi pirs (holy men) and emphasized dreams as a means of revelation.

Punishment was severe. Theft was punished by the amputation of a hand, rape and murder by public execution, and married adulterers were stoned to death. In Kabul, punishments including executions were carried out in front of crowds in the city's soccer stadium. Rules were issued by the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Suppression of Vice (PVSV) and enforced by its "religious police", importing that Wahhabi concept.

Like Wahhabi and other Deobandis, the Taliban do not consider Shiʻi to be Muslims. The Taliban also declared the Hazara ethnic group, which totaled almost 10% of Afghanistan's population, "not Muslims."

The Taliban were averse to debating doctrine with other Muslims. The Taliban did not allow even Muslim reporters to question their edicts or to discuss interpretations of the Qur'an.

Women in particular were targets of the Taliban's restrictions. They were prohibited from working; from wearing "stimulating and attractive" clothing; taking a taxi without the presence of a close male relative; washing clothes in streams; or having their measurements taken by tailors.

Employment for women was restricted to the medical sector, because male medical personnel were not allowed to examine them. One result of the banning of employment of women by the Taliban was the closing down in places like Kabul of primary schools not only for girls but for boys, because almost all the teachers there were women. Women were made to wear the burqa, a traditional dress covering the entire body except for a small screen to see out of. Taliban restrictions became more severe after they took control of the capital. In February 1998, religious police forced all women off the streets of Kabul and issued new regulations ordering people to blacken their windows, so that women would not be visible from the outside.

The Taliban were criticized for their strictness toward those who disobeyed the novel (Bid‘ah) rules. Some Muslims complained that many had no basis in the Qur'an or sharia.  Another objection was that the Taliban called their 20% tax on truckloads of opium "zakat", which is traditionally limited to 2.5% of the zakat-payers' disposable income (or wealth).

Muhammad Omar's title as Amir al-Mu'minin was criticized on the grounds that he lacked scholarly learning, tribal pedigree, or connections to the Prophet's family. Sanction for the title traditionally required the support of all of the country's ulema, whereas only some 1,200 Pashtun Taliban-supporting Mullahs had declared Omar the Amir. No Afghan had adopted the title since 1834, when King Dost Mohammed Khan assumed the title before he declared jihad against the Sikh kingdom in Peshawar. But Dost Mohammed was fighting foreigners, while Omar had declared jihad against other Afghans.

The Taliban modeled their decision making process on the Pashtun tribal council (jirga), together with what they believed to be the early Islamic model. Discussion was followed by a building of a consensus by the "believers". Before capturing Kabul, there was talk of stepping aside once a government of "good Muslims" took power and law and order were restored.

As the Taliban's power grew, decisions were made by Mullah Omar without consulting the jirga and without consulting other parts of the country. He visited the capital, Kabul, only twice while in power. Instead of an election, their leader's legitimacy came from an oath of allegiance ("Bay'ah") in imitation of the Prophet and the first four Caliphs. On April 4, 1996, Mullah Omar had "the Cloak of the Prophet Mohammed," taken from its shrine for the first time in 60 years. Wrapping himself in the relic, he appeared on the roof of a building in the center of Kandahar while hundreds of Pashtun mullahs below shouted "Amir al-Mu'minin!" (Commander of the Faithful), in a pledge of support.

The Taliban were very reluctant to share power, and since their ranks were overwhelmingly Pashtun they ruled as overlords over the sixty percent (60%) of Afghanis from other ethnic groups. In local government, such as Kabul city council or Herat, Taliban loyalists, not locals, dominated, even when the Pashto-speaking Taliban could not communicate with the roughly half of the population who spoke Dari or other non-Pashtun tongues. Critics complained that this lack of local representation in urban administration made the Taliban appear as an occupying force.

Consistent with the governance of early Muslims was the absence of state institutions or a methodology for command and control that is standard today even among non-Westernized states. The Taliban did not issue press releases, policy statements or hold regular press conferences. The outside world and most Afghans did not even know what their leaders looked like, since photography was banned. The regular army resembled a lashkar or traditional tribal militia force with only 25,000 to 30,000 men, expanding as the need arose.

Cabinet ministers and deputies were mullahs with a madrasah education. Several of them, such as the Minister of Health and Governor of the State bank, were primarily military commanders who left their administrative posts to fight when needed. Military reverses that trapped them behind lines or led to their deaths increased the chaos in the national administration. At the national level, all senior Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara bureaucrats were replaced with Pashtuns, whether qualified or not. Consequently, the ministries by and large ceased to function.

The Ministry of Finance had neither a budget nor a qualified economist or banker. Mullah Omar collected and dispersed cash without book-keeping.

Opium poppies are a traditional crop in Afghanistan, and, with the war shattering other sectors of the economy, opium became Afghanistan's largest export.

The Taliban have provided an Islamic sanction for farmers to grow even more opium, even though the Koran forbids Muslims from producing or imbibing intoxicants.

In 2000 the Taliban banned opium production, a first in Afghan history. That year Afghanistan's opium production still accounted for 75% of the world's supply. On July 27, 2000, the Taliban again issued a decree banning cultivation. By February 2001, production had been reduced from 12,600 acres to only 17 acres.

However, with the 2001 expulsion of the Taliban, opium cultivation returned, and by 2005 Afghanistan provided 87% of the world supply, rising to 90% in 2006.

During its time in power, the Taliban regime, or "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan", gained diplomatic recognition from only three states: the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia all of which also provided aid. Most other states, including Russia, Iran, India, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, and later the United States, opposed the Taliban and aided the Northern Alliance.

Foreign powers, including the United States, briefly supported the Taliban, hoping it would restore order in the war-ravaged country. For example, it made no comment when the Taliban captured Herat in 1995 and expelled thousands of girls from schools. These hopes faded as the Taliban began killing unarmed civilians, targeting ethnic groups (primarily Hazaras) and restricting the rights of women. In late 1997, American Secretary of State Madeleine Albright began to distance the U.S. from the Taliban. The next year the American-based oil company Unocal, withdrew from negotiations on pipeline construction from Central Asia.

One day before the capture of Mazar, bin Laden affiliates bombed two U.S. embassies in Africa, killing 224 and wounding 4,500, mostly Africans. The United States responded by launching cruise missiles on suspected terrorist camps in Afghanistan, killing over 20 though failing to kill bin Laden or even many Al Qaeda. Mullah Omar condemned the missile attack and American President Bill Clinton. Saudi Arabia expelled the Taliban envoy in protest over the refusal to turn over bin Laden and after Mullah Omar allegedly insulted the Saudi royal family. In mid-October the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to ban commercial aircraft flights to and from Afghanistan and freeze its bank accounts worldwide.

Adjusting its counterinsurgency strategy, in October, 2009, the U.S announced plans to pay Taliban fighters to switch sides.

There are many claims that the CIA directly supported the Taliban or Al Qaeda. In the early 1980s, the CIA and the ISI (Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency) provided arms and money and the ISI helped gather radical Muslims from around the world to fight against the Soviet invaders. Osama Bin Laden was one of the key players in organizing training camps for the foreign Muslim volunteers. By 1987, 65,000 tons of U.S.-made weapons and ammunition a year were entering the war.

India was one of the Taliban's most outspoken critics. India was concerned about growing Islamic militancy in its neighborhood and refused to recognize the Taliban regime. Ahmad Shah Massoud also had close ties to India.

In December 1999, Indian Airlines Flight 814 en route from Kathmandu to Delhi was hijacked and taken to Kandahar. The Taliban moved its militias near the hijacked aircraft supposedly to prevent Indian special forces from storming the aircraft and stalled the negotiations between India and the hijackers for days. As a part of the deal to free the plane, India released three militants. The Taliban gave a safe passage to the hijackers and the released militants.

Following the hijacking, India drastically increased its efforts to help Massoud, providing an arms depot in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. India also provided a wide range of high-altitude warfare equipment, helicopter technicians, medical services and tactical advice.

In early August 1998, relations with other countries became much more troubled. After attacking the city of Mazar, Taliban forces killed several thousand civilians and 10 Iranian diplomats and intelligence officers in the Iranian consulate. Alleged radio intercepts indicate Mullah Omar personally approved the killings. The Iranian government was incensed and crisis ensued as Iran mobilized 200,000 regular troops, although war was eventually averted.

The vast majority of the Taliban's rank and file and most of the leadership, (though not Mullah Omar), were Koranic students who had studied at madrasas set up for Afghan refugees, usually by JUI. Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman, JUI's leader, was a political ally of Benazir Bhutto. After Bhutto became prime minister, Rehman had access to the government, the army and the ISI, whom he influenced to help the Taliban.

The Soviet withdrawal in 1989 from Afghanistan created a power vacuum. Afghanistan was torn apart by warring mujahideen groups. Pakistan's ISI supported a previously unknown Kandahari student movement. They continued to support the Taliban, as the group conquered Afghanistan in the 1990s.

From 1994 through 2001, Pakistan was the Taliban's main sponsor. It provided military equipment, recruiting assistance, training and tactical advice that enabled the band of village mullahs and their adherents to control the country. Officially Pakistan denied supporting the group, but its 1998 aid was an estimated $30 million in wheat, diesel, petroleum and kerosene fuel, and other supplies. Conversely, the Taliban's unprecedented access among Pakistan's lobbies and interest groups enabled it to play off one lobby against another and extend their influence in Pakistan even further. At times they would defy even the powerful ISI.

The Taliban created a new form of Islamic radicalism that spread beyond the borders of Afghanistan, mostly to Pakistan. As of early 2007, Taliban influence in Pakistan continued in conjunction with the Taliban insurgency.

The formation of a Pakistan Taliban umbrella group called Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan was announced in December 2007.

On February 16, 2009, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari signed a deal with the Taliban to implement Shariah law in some parts of Pakistan, including banning girls from school. On April 13, 2009, Zardari signed into law a peace deal for the Swat Valley, including sharia.

On June 30, 2009, the Taliban withdrew from the peace deal to protest the continuing airstrikes by American drones. Soon after the announcement, approximately 150 militants attacked a Pakistani military convoy near Miramshah, killing an estimated 30 soldiers. An additional 4 were killed in southwestern Pakistan by a car bomber who targeted NATO supply trucks.

A major issue during the Taliban's reign was its relations with the United Nations (UN) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Twenty years of continuous warfare had devastated Afghanistan's infrastructure and economy. There was no running water, little electricity, few telephones, functioning roads or regular energy supplies. Basic necessities like water, food, housing and others were in desperately short supply. In addition, the clan and family structure that provided Afghans with a social/economic safety net was also badly damaged. Afghanistan's infant mortality was the highest in the world. A full quarter of all children died before they reached their fifth birthday, a rate several times higher than most other developing countries.

International charitable and/or development organizations (NGOs) were extremely important to the supply of food, employment, reconstruction, and other services. With one million plus deaths during the years of war, the number of families headed by widows had reached 98,000 by 1998. Thus Taliban restrictions on women were sometime a matter not only of human rights, but of life and death. In Kabul, where vast portions of the city had been devastated from rocket attacks, more than half of its 1.2 million people benefited in some way from NGO activities, even for water to drink. The civil war and its never-ending refugee stream continued throughout the Taliban's reign. The Mazar, Herat, and Shomali valley offensives displaced more than three-quarters of a million civilians, using scorched earth tactics to prevent them from supplying the enemy with aid.

Despite the aid, the Taliban's attitude toward the UN and NGOs was often one of suspicion, in place of gratitude or even tolerance. The UN operates on the basis of international law, not Sharia, and the UN did not recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan. Additionally, most foreign donors and aid workers, were non-Muslims.

Taliban decision-makers, particularly Mullah Omar, seldom if ever talked directly to non-Muslim foreigners, so aid providers had to deal with intermediaries whose approvals and agreements were often reversed. Around September 1997 the heads of three UN agencies in Kandahar were expelled from the country after protesting when a female attorney for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees was forced to talk from behind a curtain so her face would not be visible.

When the UN increased the number of Muslim women staff to satisfy Taliban demands, the Taliban then required all female Muslim UN staff traveling to Afghanistan to be chaperoned by a mahram or a blood relative.  In July 1998, the Taliban closed all NGO offices by force after those organizations refused to move to a bombed-out former Polytechnic College as ordered. One month later the UN offices were also shut down. As food prices rose and conditions deteriorated,

In 2009 a top UN official called for talks with Taliban leaders. In 2010 the UN lifted sanctions on the Taliban, and requested that Taliban leaders and others be removed from terrorism watch lists. In 2010 the United States and Europe announced support for President Karzai's attempt to negotiate peace with the Taliban.

In 1996, Osama bin Laden moved to Afghanistan from Sudan. He came without invitation, and sometimes irritated Mullah Omar with his declaration of war and fatwas against citizens of third-party countries, but relations between the two groups improved over time, to the point that Mullah Omar rebuffed his group's patron Saudi Arabia, insulting Saudi minister Prince Turki while reneging on an earlier promise to turn bin Laden over to the Saudis.

Bin Laden was able to forge an alliance between the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The Al Qaeda-trained 055 Brigade integrated with the Taliban army between 1997 and 2001. Several hundred Arab Afghan fighters sent by bin Laden assisted the Taliban in the Mazar-e-Sharif slaughter.

Taliban-Al Qaeda connections were also strengthened by the reported marriage of one of bin Laden's sons to Omar's daughter. While in Afghanistan, bin Laden may have helped finance the Taliban. Perhaps the biggest favor Al-Qaeda did for the Taliban was the Massoud assassination. This came at a time when Taliban human rights violations and extremism were creating international support for Massoud's group. The killing, reportedly arranged by Ayman Zawahiri and the Al Qaeda's Egyptian Islamic Jihad wing, left the Northern Alliance leaderless, and removed the last obstacle to the Taliban’s total control of the country.

After the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, Osama bin Laden and several Al-Qaeda members were indicted in a United States criminal court. The Taliban rejected extradition requests by the U.S., variously claiming that bin Laden had gone missing, or that Washington could not provide any evidence or any proof that bin Laden was involved in terrorist activities.

Bin Laden in turn, praised the Taliban as the "only Islamic government" in existence, and lauded Mullah Omar for his destruction of idols like the Buddhas of Bamyan. However, by the end of 2008, the Taliban had severed all ties with Al Qaeda.



Tantawi, Muhammad Sayyid
1928-2010
Grand Imam of the al-Azhar Mosque and Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar University.

Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi (Mohamed Sayed Tantawi) (Muhammad Sayyid Tantawy) (28 October 1928 – 10 March 2010) was born on October 28, 1928. He joined the Alexandria Religious Institute in 1944, and became a member of the faculty of Ausol Aldeen in 1968. In 1972 he became a member of the faculty of Arabic & Islamic Studies at the Islamic University of Libya. In 1980 he moved to Saudi Arabia, where he became chief of the Tafsir branch of the Postgraduate studies branch at the Islamic University of Madinah. He returned to Egypt in 1985, when he became Dean of the Faculty of Ausol Aldeen at the prestigious Alexandria Religious Institute.

In 1986, Tantawi was appointed as Grand Mufti of Egypt on his 58th birthday, October 28, 1986. He held this position for almost ten years, until he was appointed Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Mosque and Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar University by the President of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, on March 27, 1996.  The Al-Azhar Mosque is one of the most influential and important Sunni Muslim institutions.

Tantawi completed a seven thousand page exegesis of the Qur'an (Al-tafser al-waset). This Tafsir took over ten years to complete. He also wrote Bano Israel (The Children of Israel) and Muamlat Al-bank (Bank's Dealings).

Tantawi led the funeral prayers at the funeral of Yasser Arafat in 2004, during which he said that "Arafat has done his duty as a defender of the Palestinian cause, with courage and honesty".

During the controversy of the French headscarf ban in schools, Tantawi issued a fatwa allowing Muslim girls to take off their headscarves while attending school, using the lesser of two evils principle.

Tantawi issued a fatwa which allowed abortion in cases where a woman had become pregnant as a result of rape.  This fatwa generated controversy and Mufti Ali Gomaa said Tantawi was wrong, and that irrespective of how the life was created, after 120 days an abortion becomes haram -- forbidden.

Tantawi opposed female circumcision calling it un-Islamic, especially in 1997, when he said "The ulema (theologians) of Islam are unanimous in agreeing that female circumcision has nothing to do with religion" and revealed his own daughter had not been circumcised.

Tantawi took a line against suicide bombings, and unlike his compatriot Yusuf al-Qaradawi, he condemned the use of suicide bombings against Israelis, rejecting the argument that all Israelis were legitimate targets, because at some stage they could all carry a gun.  In 2003, he called suicide bombers "enemies of Islam", adding "people of different beliefs should co-operate and not get into senseless conflicts and animosity. Extremism is the enemy of Islam, whereas, jihad is allowed in Islam to defend one's land and to help the oppressed. The difference between jihad in Islam and extremism is like the earth and the sky"

Tantawi took an orthodox stance on women's place in Islam, opposing women as Imams in mixed congregations during Friday prayers (Jumu'ah), saying when a woman "leads men in prayer ... it is not proper for them to look at the woman whose body is in front of them". He also called Haydar Haydar's book, Feast for Seaweed, blasphemous.  In 2001, Tantawi issued a fatwa banning women from acting as surrogate mothers or from receiving frozen sperm from dead husbands.

Speaking after the September 11, 2001 attacks, Tantawi said "It's not courage in any way to kill an innocent person, or to kill thousands of people, including men and women and children." Tantawi noted that Osama bin Laden's call for a Jihad against the west was "invalid and not binding on Muslims", adding "Killing innocent civilians is a horrific, hideous act that no religion can approve". Tantawi said the Qur'an "specifically forbids the kinds of things the Taliban and al-Qaida are guilty of".

Al Imam Tantawi passed away in the City of Riyadh on March 10, 2010, at the age of 81, as result of a heart attack during a visit to Saudi Arabia.


Tanukhi, Abu 'Ali al-Muhassin al-
939-994
Arab writer.

Abu 'Ali al-Muhassin al-Tanukhi left a collection of proverbs, anecdotes and sayings, called Joy follows Sorrow, which became very popular and played a part in Persian, Turkish and Jewish literatures.




Tapas
1800s
In Brazil, slaves, possibly converts to Islam, imported from the Slave Coast through the port of Lagos, Nigeria.  In the Bahia slave uprisings of 1835, six black tapas were brought to trial.  The tapa language was spoken in Bahia during the entire nineteenth century.



Thomas, Danny
1912-1991
Lebanese American comedian and actor.

Danny Thomas (January 6, 1912 - February 6, 1991) was a Lebanese American nightclub comedian and television and film actor, best known for starring in the television sitcom Make Room for Daddy (also known as The Danny Thomas Show). He was also the founder of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. He was the father of Marlo Thomas, Terre Thomas, and Tony Thomas.

Thomas was born in Deerfield, Michigan, to Charles Yakhoob Kairouz and his wife Margaret Christen in 1912. His parents were Maronite Catholic immigrants from Lebanon. Thomas was raised in Toledo, Ohio, attending St. Francis de Sales Church (Roman Catholic), Woodward High School and finally The University of Toledo, where he was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity. Thomas was confirmed in the Catholic Church by the bishop of Toledo, Samuel Stritch. Stritch, a native of Tennessee, was a lifelong spiritual advisor for Thomas, and urged him to locate the St. Jude Hospital in Memphis. He married Rose Marie Cassaniti in 1936, a week after his 24th birthday.

In 1932, Thomas began performing on radio in Detroit at WMBC on The Happy Hour Club. Thomas first performed under his Anglicized birth name, "Amos Jacobs Kairouz." After he moved to Chicago in 1940, Thomas did not want his friends and family to know that he went back into working clubs where the salary was better, so he came up with the pseudonym "Danny Thomas" (after two of his brothers).


Thomas, Marlo
b. 1937
American actress of Lebanese descent.

Margaret Julia “Marlo” Thomas (born November 21, 1937) was an American actress, producer, and social activist known for her starring role on the TV series That Girl (1966–1971). She also served as National Outreach Director for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Thomas was born in Detroit, Michigan, the eldest child of Lebanese-American comedian Danny Thomas (1912–1991) and his wife, the former Rose Marie Cassaniti (1914–2000). On her mother's side, she was also the granddaughter of drummer and percussionist, Marie "Mary" Cassaniti (1896–1972). Her brother, Tony Thomas, was a television and film producer, and her sister, Terre Thomas, was a former actress.

Marlo Thomas was raised in Beverly Hills, California. Her parents called her Margo as a child, though she soon became known as Marlo, because of her childhood mispronunciation of the nickname. She attended Marymount High School in Los Angeles. Thomas graduated from the University of Southern California with a teaching degree where she was also a member of the sorority Kappa Alpha Theta.


Tiahahu, Martha Christina
1800-1818
A Moluccan freedom fighter and a National Heroine of Indonesia.

Martha Christina Tiahahu (January 4, 1800 – January 2, 1818) was born to a military captain, Tiahahu was active in military matters from a young age. She joined the war led by Pattimura against the Dutch colonial government when she was 17, fighting in several battles. After being captured in October 1817, she was released on account of her age. She continued to fight, and was captured again. Sent to Java to be a slave laborer, she fell ill on the way and, refusing to eat or take medicine, died on a ship in the Banda Sea.

Tiahahu is considered a National Heroine of Indonesia, with the date of her death celebrated as a holiday. She has also been honored with two statues, one in Ambon and one in Abubu.  Other namesakes include a warship, street, Moluccan social organization, and women's magazine.

Tiahahu was born in Abubu village on Nusalaut Island, near Maluku, on January 4, 1800. Her father was Captain Paulus Tiahahu of the Soa Uluputi clan.  After her mother died while she was an infant, Tiahahu was raised by her father. As a child, she was stubborn and followed her father wherever he went, at times joining him in planning attacks.

Beginning in 1817, Tiahahu joined her father in a guerrilla war against the Dutch colonial government. They also backed Pattimura's army. She saw several battles. In a battle at Saparua Island, the troops killed Dutch commander Richement and wounded his replacement Commander Meyer. In another battle, she and her troops succeeded in burning Duurstede Fortress to the ground. During battles, Tiahahu was said to throw stones at the Dutch troops if her soldiers were out of ammunition, while other accounts have her wielding a spear. After Vermeulen Kringer took over the Dutch military in Maluku, Tiahahu, her father, and Pattimura were captured in October 1817.
Carried on the HNLMS Evertsen to Nusalaut, Tiahahu was the only captured soldier not punished.  This was due to her young age. After a period of time in holding in Fort Beverwijk, where her father was executed in late 1817, Tiahahu was released.  She continued to fight against the Dutch.

In a sweep in December 1817 Tiahahu and several other former rebels were caught. The captured guerrillas were placed on the Evertsen to be transported to Java.  They were meant to be used as slave labor on the coffee plantations there. However, on the way Tiahahu fell ill. Refusing medication and food, she died on January 2, 1818 while the ship was crossing the Banda Sea. Tiahahu received a burial at sea later that day,

Soon after Indonesia's independence, Tiahahu was declared a National Heroine of Indonesia. January 2 was designated Martha Christina Tiahahu Day. On that day, people in Maluku spread flower petals over the Banda Sea in an official ceremony honoring her struggle. However, the ceremony is smaller than that honoring Pattimura, on May 15.

Several monuments have been dedicated to Tiahahu. In Ambon, capital of the province of Maluku, an 8-metre (26 ft) tall statue of her holding a spear was erected in 1977; it stands in Karangpanjang overlooking the Banda Sea. In Abubu, a statue of her leading soldiers while holding a spear was erected and dedicated on the 190th anniversary of her death. She also has several items named after her, including a street in Karangpanjang, Ambon, and a warship, the KRI Martha Christina Tiahahu.

Other organizations have also taken Tiahahu's name as a symbol of bravery and "spirit of struggle", including a social organization for Moluccans in Jakarta and a women's magazine in Ambon.



Toure, 'Ali Farka
1939-2006
Self-taught Malian guitarist and songwriter who merged West African traditions with the blues and carried his music to a worldwide audience winning two Grammy Awards. 
 
Ali Ibrahim “Farka” Touré was born October 31, 1939 in the village of Kanau, on the banks of the Niger River in the cercle of Gourma Rharous in the northwestern Malian region of Tombouctou. His family moved to the nearby village of Niafunké when he was still an infant. He was the tenth son of his mother but the only one to survive past infancy.  He was given birthname of Ali Ibrahim, but it’s a custom in Africa to give a child a strange nickname if you have had other children who have died, Toure's nickname, “Farka”, was chosen by his parents and means “donkey”, an animal admired for its tenacity and stubbornness. He was descended from the ancient military force known as the Arma, and was ethnically tied to the Songrai (Songhai) and Peul peoples of northern Mali.

When Toure was about 13, after an encounter with a snake, he suffered attacks he believed to have been caused by contact with the spirit world.  Sent away for a year to be cured, he returned as someone who was recognized for his ability to communicate with spirits. 

Unlike many West African musicians, Toure was not born into a musical dynasty.  Instead, he was drawn to music despite the wishes of his family.  Hearing the music of spirit ceremonies, he taught himself to play the njurkle, a one-stringed West African lute.  In 1950, he learned to play the n'jarka, a one-stringed fiddle, and later the n'goni, a four-stringed lute.

After seeing the Guinean guitarist Keita Fodeba, he took up the guitar in the mid-1950s and joined a local band.  Mali became independent of France in 1960, and in 1962 Toure became the leader of the Niafunke village cultural troupe, dedicated to preserving local culture.  At the same time, he was listening to American soul, blues and funk, which he heard as rooted in the music of West Africa.

In 1970, Toure moved to Bamako, Mali's capital, where he became an engineer at Radio Mali and a frequent performer on the air.  Six albums of music recorded at Radio Mali were released in France in the 1970s.  In 1980, he returned to his hometown, Niafunke, and established a farm that he tended between musical engagements.  He toured Africa widely, establishing a reputation across West Africa.
 
As the first African bluesman to achieve widespread popularity on his home continent, Touré was often known as “the African John Lee Hooker”. Musically, the many superpositions of guitars and rhythms in his music were similar to John Lee Hooker’s blues style. Toure usually sang in one of several African languages, mostly Songhay, Fulfulde, Tamasheq or Bambara as on his breakthrough album, "Ali Farka Touré", which established his reputation in the world music community.

In 1987, he performed in Britain and began recording for international release the album, "'Ali Farka Toure."  The stark propulsion of his music, and its hints of electric blues, made him a star on the world music circuit, and he toured the United States, Europe and Japan.

Toure collaborated widely, winning Grammys for albums he made with the American guitarist Ry Cooder ("Talking Timbuktu" in 1994) and with the Malian griot Toumani Diabate ("In the Heart of the Moon" in 2005).  He also recorded with the American bluesman Taj Mahal.

1994’s "Talking Timbuktu", a collaboration with Ry Cooder, sold promisingly well in Western markets, but was followed by a hiatus from releases in America and Europe. Toure reappeared in 1999 with the release of "Niafunké", a more traditional album focusing on African rhythms and beats.

In 2002, Toure appeared with African American blues and reggae performer Corey Harris, on an album called "Mississippi to Mali". Toure and Harris also appeared together in Martin Scorsese's 2003 documentary film Feel Like Going Home, which traced the roots of blues back to its genesis in West Africa. The film was narrated by Harris and features Ali’s performances on guitar and njarka.

Around 2000, Toure retired from touring to return to his farm.  He often said that he considered himself a farmer above all, and in 2004 he was elected mayor of the village of Niafunke.  Touré spent his own money grading the roads, putting in sewer canals and fuelling a generator that provided the impoverished village with electricity.

Toure established the 'Ali Farka Toure Foundation, nurturing younger Malian musicians, and he continued to perform in Mali.  However, he still made occasional international forays.  His final concert was in 2005 at a festival in Nice, France.

In September 2005, Toure released the album "In the Heart of the Moon", a collaboration with Toumani Diabaté, for which he received a second Grammy award. His last album, "Savane", was posthumously released in July 2006. It was received with wide acclaim by professionals and fans alike and was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category “Best Contemporary World Music Album”. The panel of experts from the World Music Chart Europe (WMCE), a chart voted by the leading World Music specialists around Europe, chose "Savane" as their Album of the Year 2006, with the album topping the chart for three consecutive months (September to November 2006). The album was also listed as No. 1 in the influential Metacritic’s “Best Albums of 2006” poll, and No. 5 in its all-time best reviewed albums.

Toure's deep grounding in Malian traditions made him one of African music's most profound innovators.  In Mali, he was considered a national hero. 

Toure forged connections between the hypnotic modal riffs of Malian songs and the driving one-chord boogie of American bluesmen like John Lee Hooker.  He mingled the plucked patterns of traditional songs with the aggressive lead-guitar lines of rock.  He sang in various West African languages -- his own Sonrai as well as Songhai, Bambara, Peul, Tamasheck and others -- reflecting the traditional foundations of the songs he wrote.  His lyrics, in West African style, represented the conscience of a community, urging listeners to work hard, honor the past and act virtuously.

Some of Ali Farka Touré’s songs and tunes have been used in different programmes, films and documentaries. For example, his guitar riff on the song “Diaraby”, from the album "Talking Timbuktu", was selected for the "Geo-quiz" segment of The World PRI-BBC program, and was retained by popular demand when put to a vote of the listeners. This song was likewise used in 1998 as a soundtrack for the film L’Assedio (Besieged) by the Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci. His songs "Cinquante six", "Goye Kur" and "Hawa Dolo" from the album "The Source" were also used as a soundtrack in the French film Fin août, début septembre ("Late August, Early September") directed in 1998 by Olivier Assayas.

'Ali Farka Toure died in his sleep on March 6, 2006, at his farm in the village of Niafunke in northwestern Mali, reportedly from bone cancer.  At the news of his death, government radio stations there suspended regular programming to play his music.







Tun Muhammad Tahir
1803-1863
The last Bendahara of the Old Johor Sultanate.

Tun Muhammad Tahir, better known as Tun Mutahir (Bendahara Seri Maharaja, Raja Bendahara Pahang V (1847-1863)), became the last Bendahara of the Old Johor Sultanate. As also the last Raja Bendahara of Pahang, he ruled the vassal state of Pahang until his death in 1863 following the Pahang Civil War.

Tun Mutahir (1803-1863) was born in 1803. His father was Tun Ali, Bendahara Siwa Raja and his mother was Che Wan Ngah of the Bendahara family. He was privately educated as was the custom of the nobility then. In 1832, he was proclaimed as Bendahara Muda (Bendahara in waiting) in a ceremony in Lingga, then capital of the Johore Empire. He had 3 spouses: Tengku Kechik, the princess of the Johore Sultan, Sultan Abdul Rahman; Tengku Chik, the princess of the Kedah Sultan, Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin II; and Tengku Chik princess of the Johore Sultan, Sultan Muhammad. Tun Ali also married Chik Puan Lingga in 1832 and Tun Ahmad was born from this union.
Tun Ali entered into a semi-retirement in 1847 and handed the reins to Tun Mutahir. Tun Mutahir followed the policy of Bendahara Ali and not much is written about his reign. In 1857 Bendahara Ali signed a proclamation indicating that Tun Ahmad be put to death due to his misconduct. Bendahara Ali wanted Tun Ahmad and his accomplice be put to death.

Tun Ahmad immediately fled to Singapore and returned to Pahang at the time of the death of Tun Ali. Conflict broke between both parties which resulted in a civil war which engulfed Pahang. This conflict not only involved the Pahang princes but also involved Temenggung of Johore, the Terengganu Sultan as well as the British playing a political role. The war was the most decisive in the history of the Old Johore Sultanate. The conflict ended when Tun Mutahir was mortally wounded in 1863.

Tun Mutahir was buried in Bukit Timbalan, Johor Bahru, Johor.  Although Tun Ahmad ousted Tun Mutahir, he had no interest in continuing as the Bendahara of Johor. Instead, he was proclaimed as Sultan Ahmad I in 1882 and founded the modern Pahang Sultanate which sealed the breakup of the Johor Sultanate. The Temenggung of Johor (Maharaja 1868–1885) was given recognition by the British and proclaimed the Sultan of Johor three years later.






Turkoglu, Hidayat
1979-
Professional basketball player. 

Hidayet "Hedo" Türkoğlu was born on March 19, 1979 in Gaziosmanpaşa, Istanbul, Turkey.  Türkoğlu stands 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) tall. He was a versatile player who played four positions from point guard to power forward during his career, but he most often played the small forward position. His media nicknames included 'Mr. Fourth Quarter' and 'The Michael Jordan of Turkey,' both likely in reference to his frequent late-game clutch performances.

Türkoğlu was selected with the 16th pick by the Sacramento Kings in the first round of the 2000 NBA Draft, from Efes Pilsen in Istanbul.

He was a finalist for the league's Sixth Man of the Year Award in his sophomore season, after averaging 10.1 points per game, 4.5 rebounds per game, and 2.0 assists per game coming off the bench. His name also inspired a Burger King menu called Hido Menu in Turkey during the first years of his NBA career.

In 2003, Türkoğlu was traded to the San Antonio Spurs in a three-team trade that sent Brad Miller of the Indiana Pacers to the Kings while Indiana acquired Scot Pollard from the Kings and Danny Ferry from the Spurs; the Spurs also acquired Ron Mercer from the Pacers. Turkoglu signed with the Orlando Magic when he became a free agent in 2004. He scored a career-high 39 points on April 4, 2007 against the Toronto Raptors and on March 19, 2008, his 29th birthday in a loss to the Washington Wizards.

Türkoğlu has represented Turkey at all levels of international competition, but declined to play in the 2006 World Basketball Championship.

On April 28, 2008, Türkoğlu was given the NBA's Most Improved Player Award for the 2007-2008 NBA Season. Türkoğlu helped the Orlando Magic win 52 games, and averaged career highs in points per game (19.5), rebounds per game (5.7) and assists per game (5.0), starting all 82 regular season games.

A Muslim, Turkoglu and his wife Banu are the parents of a son named Lapo and a daughter named Ela (born February 26, 2009).



Tyson, Mike
1966-
A world heavyweight boxing champion.

Mike Tyson, in full Michael Gerald Tyson, byname Iron Mike   (born June 30, 1966, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.), American boxer who, at age 20, became the youngest heavyweight champion in history.

A member of various street gangs at an early age, Tyson was sent to reform school in upstate New York in 1978. At the reform school, social worker and boxing aficionado Bobby Stewart recognized his boxing potential and directed him to renowned trainer Cus D’Amato, who became his legal guardian. Tyson compiled a 24–3 record as an amateur and turned professional in 1985.

D’Amato taught Tyson a peekaboo boxing style, with hands held close to his cheeks and a continuous bobbing motion in the boxing ring that made his defense almost impenetrable. At 5 feet 11 inches (1.8 metres) tall and weighing about 218 pounds (99 kg), Tyson was short and squat and lacked the classic heavyweight boxer’s appearance, but his surprising quickness and aggressiveness in the ring overwhelmed most of his opponents. On November 22, 1986, he became the youngest heavyweight champion in history, with a second-round knockout of Trevor Berbick, to claim the crown of the World Boxing Council (WBC). On March 7, 1987, he acquired the World Boxing Association (WBA) belt when he defeated James Smith. After he defeated Tony Tucker on August 1, 1987, Tyson was unanimously recognized as champion by all three sanctioning organizations (WBC, WBA, and International Boxing Federation [IBF]).

After the deaths of D’Amato and manager Jimmy Jacobs, Tyson aligned with controversial promoter Don King. He made 10 successful defenses of his world heavyweight title, including victories over former champions Larry Holmes and Michael Spinks. In 1988 Tyson married actress Robin Givens, but the couple divorced in 1989 amid allegations that Tyson had physically abused her. A myriad of assault and harassment charges were subsequently filed against Tyson.

On February 11, 1990, in one of the biggest upsets in boxing history, Tyson lost the championship to lightly regarded James (“Buster”) Douglas, who scored a technical knockout in the 10th round. Tyson rebounded from the loss with four straight victories. In 1991, however, he was accused of having raped a beauty pageant contestant, Desiree Washington. Tyson was convicted on the rape charge on February 10, 1992 after the jury deliberated for nearly 10 hours.
 
Alan Dershowitz filed an appeal on Tyson's behalf alleging that the victim had a history of at least one false accusation of rape and that the judge had blocked testimony from witnesses who would have contradicted Washington. The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled against Tyson in a 2–1 vote.
 
On March 26, 1992, Tyson was sentenced to six years in prison followed by four years on probation. He was assigned to the Indiana Youth Center (now the Plainfield Correctional Facility) in April 1992, and he was released in March 1995 after serving three years. During his incarceration, Tyson converted to Islam.

Following his release from prison in 1995, Tyson resumed boxing and in 1996 regained two of his championship belts with easy victories over Frank Bruno and Bruce Seldon. On November 9, 1996, in a long-anticipated bout with two-time heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, Tyson lost for the second time in his professional career, by a technical knockout in the 11th round. In a rematch against Holyfield on June 28, 1997, he was disqualified after he twice bit his opponent’s ears, and, as a result of the infraction, he lost his boxing license.

Tyson eventually was relicensed, and he returned to the ring on January 16, 1999, when he knocked out Franz Botha in the fifth round. On February 6, however, Tyson was sentenced to one year in jail, two years of probation, and 200 hours of community service and was fined $2,500 after he pleaded no contest to charges that he had assaulted two elderly men following a 1998 automobile accident. Tyson was released after serving just a few months of the one-year sentence.

Nevertheless, Tyson’s self-control problems continued. After the referee stopped a fight in June 2000 with American Lou Savarese, Tyson continued punching and inadvertently injured the referee. In comments made to the press after this fight, Tyson outraged boxing fans with bizarre and vicious remarks about British heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis. In his October 2000 bout with Andrew Golota, Tyson won in the third round, but the fight was later declared a no contest because Tyson tested positive for marijuana. Tyson had only one more fight between October 2000 and his June 2002 fight with Lewis.

It had been difficult to schedule this fight. Both men were contractually bound to different promoters and cable television companies. Tyson had attacked and bitten Lewis during a press conference, which also had a dampening effect. Tyson’s legal problems caused him to be denied a boxing license by the sanctioning bodies of the U.S. states that usually hold major boxing matches (such as Nevada). It had been so long since Tyson had fought a boxer of his own calibre that no one knew the level of his skills. The question was settled when Lewis twice knocked Tyson to the canvas during the course of the fight before knocking him out in the eighth round.

Tyson had his final professional win in 2003, a 49-second first-round knockout. Later that year he filed for bankruptcy, claiming to be $34 million in debt after earning an estimated $400 million over the course of his career. Tyson lost bouts in 2004 and 2005, and he retired in the aftermath of the latter fight. In 2007 he served 24 hours in prison after pleading guilty to drug possession and driving under the influence, charges that stemmed from a 2006 arrest.

Tyson’s personal and professional exploits were recounted in the documentary Tyson, which premiered at the Cannes film festival in 2008, and in a one-man stage show, Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth, which he first performed in Las Vegas in 2012. (The show was subsequently mounted on Broadway in a production directed by filmmaker Spike Lee.) He also appeared as himself in a number of television shows and films, including the blockbuster comedy The Hangover (2009) and its sequel (2011). Tyson was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2011.



Umaru Musa Yar'Adua
1951-2010
President of Nigeria from May 29, 2007 to May 5, 2010.

Umaru Musa Yar'Adua (August 16, 1951 – May 5, 2010) was the President of Nigeria and the 13th Head of State. He served as governor of Katsina State in northern Nigeria from May 29, 1999 to May 28, 2007.  He was declared the winner of the controversial Nigerian presidential election held on April 21, 2007, and was sworn in on May 29, 2007. He was a member of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP). In 2009, Yar'Adua left for Saudi Arabia to receive treatment for pericarditis. He returned to Nigeria in 2010, where he died on May 5, 2010.

Yar'Adua was born into an aristocratic Fulani family in Katsina.  His father, a former Minister for Lagos during the First Republic, held the royal title of Mutawalli ("custodian of the treasury") of the Katsina Emirate, a title which Yar'Adua inherited.  Yar'Adua began his education at Rafukka Primary School in 1958, and moved to Dutsinma Boarding Primary School in 1962. He attended the Government College at Keffi from 1965 until 1969. In 1971, he received a Higher School Certificate from Barewa College. He attended Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria from 1972 to 1975, attaining a Bachelor of Science in Education and Chemistry, and then returned in 1978 to earn a Master of Science Degree in Analytical Chemistry.

Yar'Adua married Turai Umaru Yar'Adua of Katsina in 1975.  They had seven children (five daughters and two sons). Their daughter Zainab married Kebbi State governor Usman Saidu Nasamu Dakingari. Their daughter Nafisat married Bauchi State governor Isa Yuguda. Yar'Adua married to Hauwa Umar Radda as a second wife from 1992 to 1997. They had two children.

Yar'Adua's first employment was at Holy Child College in Lagos (1975–1976). He later served as a lecturer at the College of Arts, Science, and Technology in Zaria, Kaduna State, between 1976 and 1979. In 1979 he began working as a lecturer at College of Art Science, remaining in this position until 1983, when he began working in the corporate sector.

He worked at Sambo Farms Ltd. in Funtua, Katsina State as its pioneer General Manager between 1983 and 1989. He served as a Board Member, Katsina State Farmers' Supply Company between 1984 and 1985, Member Governing Council of Katsina College of Arts, Science and Technology Zaria and Katsina Polytechnic between 1978 and 1983, Board Chairman of Katsina State Investment and Property Development Company (KIPDECO) between 1994 and 1996. Yar'Adua served as a director of many companies, including Habib Nigeria Bank Ltd. 1995–1999; Lodigiani Nigeria Ltd. 1987–1999, Hamada Holdings, 1983–1999; and Madara Ltd. Vom, Jos, 1987–1999. He was Chairman, Nation House Press Ltd., Kaduna, from 1995 to 1999.

During the Second Republic (1979–1983), Yar'Adua was a member of the leftist People's Redemption Party, while his father was briefly the National Vice chairman of the National Party of Nigeria. During the Transition Programme of President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Yar'Adua was one of the foundation members of the Peoples Front, a political association under the leadership of his elder brother, the late Major-General Shehu Musa Yar'Adua. That association later fused to form the Social Democratic Party. Yar'Adua was a member of the 1988 Constituent Assembly. He was a member of the party's National Caucus and the SDP State Secretary in Katsina and contested the 1991 Governorship election, but lost to Saidu Barda, the candidate of the National Republican Convention and an ally of Babangida. In 1999, he ran for the same position and won. He was re-elected in 2003. He was the first governor to publicly declare his assets.

In 2000, during his administration as governor, Katsina became the fifth northern Nigerian state to adopt sharia, or Islamic law. In 2002, Amina Lawal, a woman from Katsina, was sentenced to death by stoning by a sharia court in the town of Bakori for committing adultery. The story attracted international attention. Her sentence was at first upheld by a court in the town of Funtua, then overturned a year later following an appeal.

On December 16-17, 2006, Yar'Adua was chosen as the presidential candidate of the ruling PDP for the April 2007 election, receiving 3,024 votes from party delegates. His closest rival, Rochas Okorocha, received 372 votes.  Yar'Adua's success in the primary was attributed to the support of incumbent President Olusegun Obasanjo.  At the time of his nomination he was an obscure figure on the national stage, and had been described as a "puppet" of Obasanjo who could not have won the nomination under fair circumstances. Shortly after winning the nomination, Yar'Adua chose Goodluck Jonathan, governor of Bayelsa State, as his vice-presidential candidate.

Another view of the support Yar'Adua received from President Obasanjo is that he was one of few serving governors with a spotless record, devoid of any suspicions or charges of corruption. He also belonged to the People's Democratic Movement (PDM) – a powerful political block founded by his late brother, Shehu Musa Yar'Adua, who was also Obasanjo's vice president during his military rule.

In 2007, Yar'Adua, who suffered from a kidney condition, challenged his critics to a game of squash in an endeavor to end speculations about his health.  On March 6, 2007 Yar'Adua was flown to Germany for medical reasons, further fomenting rumors about his health. His spokesperson said this was due to stress and quoted Yar'Adua as saying he was fine and would soon be back to campaigning. Another report, which was rejected by Yar'Adua's spokesperson, claimed that Yar'Adua collapsed after suffering a possible heart attack.

In the presidential election, held on April 21, 2007, Yar'Adua won with seventy percent (70%) of the vote (24.6 million votes) according to official results released on April 23,2007. The election was highly controversial. Strongly criticized by observers, as well as the two primary opposition candidates, Muhammadu Buhari of the All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP) and Atiku Abubakar of the Action Congress (AC), its results were largely rejected as having been rigged in Yar'Adua's favor.

After the election, Yar'Adua proposed a government of national unity. In late June 2007, two opposition parties, the ANPP and the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), agreed to join Yar'Adua's government.  On June 28, 2007, Yar'Adua publicly revealed his declaration of assets from May (becoming the first Nigerian Leader to do so), according to which he had ₦856,452,892 (US$5.8 million) in assets, ₦19 million ($0.1 million) of which belonged to his wife. He also had ₦88,793,269.77 ($0.5 million) in liabilities. This disclosure, which fulfilled a pre-election promise he made, was intended to set an example for other Nigerian politicians and discourage corruption.

Yar'Adua's cabinet was sworn in on July 26, 2007.  It included 39 ministers, including two for the ANPP.

Buhari and Abubakar filed petitions to have the results of the 2007 presidential election invalidated due to alleged fraud, but on February 26, 2008 a court rejected the petitions. Buhari and Abubakar said that they would appeal to the Supreme Court. Marred by corruption, many argued that this election was rigged by Obasanjo as well, as he wanted his successor to have the same basic ideals that he possessed as President.

President Yar'Adua left Nigeria on November 23, 2009, and was reported to be receiving treatment for pericarditis at a clinic in Saudi Arabia. His absence created a dangerous power vacuum in Nigeria.

In December 2009 Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), stated that Yar'Adua should have handed over power to Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan in an acting capacity during his illness, a statement that was backed up by the NBA national executive committee. On January 22, 2010, the Supreme Court of Nigeria ruled that the Federal Ministries of Nigeria had 14 days to decide on a resolution about whether he "is incapable of discharging the functions of his office". The ruling also stated that the Federal Ministries should hear testimony of five doctors, one of whom should be Yar'Adua's personal physician.

On February9, 2010, the Senate determined that presidential power should be transferred to Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, and that he should serve as Acting President, with all the accompanying powers, until Yar'Adua returned to full health. The power transfer was called a "coup without the sword" by opposition lawyers and lawmakers. However, there were others that felt the power vacuum would lead to instability and a possible military takeover.

On February 24, 2010, Yar'Adua returned to Abuja. His state of health was unclear, but there was speculation that he was still on a life support machine. Various political and religious figures in Nigeria visited him during his illness saying he would make a recovery.

Yar'Adua died on May 5, 2010 at the Aso Rock presidential villa. An Islamic burial took place on May 6, 2010 in his hometown.




Ustad Sultan Khan
1940-2011
Indian sarangi player and singer who performed Hindustani classical music.

Ustad Sultan Khan (b. 1940, Jaipur, Indian Empire – d. November 27, 2011, Mumbai, India) was one of the members of the Indian fusion group Tabla Beat Science, with Zakir Hussain and Bill Laswell. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian honor, in 2010.

Sultan Khan was born near Jaipur in the princely state of Sikhar in the Indian Empire. He learned music from his father Gulab Khan.

Khan gave his first performance at the All-India Conference at the age of 11, and performed on an international scale with Ravi Shankar on George Harrison's 1974 Dark Horse World Tour.

He won numerous musical awards including, twice, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, also known as the President's Award, as well as the Gold Medalist Award of Maharashtra and the American Academy of Artists Award in 1998.

Khan taught music producers such as Sukshinder Shinda and Ram Gopal Varma (who provided the music for his film, Deyyam) to play the sarangi. Belonging to the Indore Gharana, Khan played the Sarangi and sang. He had many students, but few gandhabandha disciples (notables include Anand Vyas and Ikram Khan). He was the teacher of Deeyah, a Norwegian born singer, and he performed on her debut album I Alt Slags Lys in 1992. He contributed vocals and sarangi to Gavin Harrison's 1998 solo album Sanity & Gravity. He sang "Albela sajan aayo re..."along with Kavita Krishnamurthy and Shankar Mahadevan in the Hindi film Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam in 1999.

Sultan Khan performed for the Tamil film Yogi. He played a solo sarangi for Yogi's theme and also for the song "Yaarodu Yaaro" from the same album.

Khan died on November 27, 2011, in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India after a prolonged illness. 


Webb, Mohammed Alexander Russell
1846-1916
An early American convert to Islam.

Mohammed Alexander Russell Webb (November 9, 1846, Hudson, New York – October 1, 1916, Rutherford, New Jersey) was an American writer, publisher, and the United States Ambassador to the Philippines.

His father, Alexander Nelson Webb, was a leading journalist of his day and perhaps influenced his son’s later journalistic exploits.

Webb received his early education at the Home School in Glendale, Massachusetts, and later attended Claverack College, an advanced high school near Hudson, New York. He became editor of the Unionville Republican, Unionville, Missouri. His prowess as a journalist was soon apparent, and he was offered the city editorship of the St. Joseph Gazette in St. Joseph, Missouri. Next he became associate editor of the Missouri Morning Journal. Later he became the Assistant City Editor of the Missouri Republican in St. Louis. This newspaper was the second oldest and largest daily newspaper at that time.

While working for the Missouri Republican, he was appointed (in September, 1887) by President Cleveland to be Consular Representative to the Philippines at the United States office at Manila. According to the editor of his book The Three Lectures, he had given up any concept of religion at least fifteen years before that point.

In 1887 Webb was introduced to Islam by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, India. Webb wrote two letters to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian. Webb's first clear step toward Islam was expressed in these correspondence. These letters were published then in Mirza Ahmad's book "Shahne e Haqq".

He started his life as a Presbyterian but found it dull and restraining. As early as 1881 he started a search for his true faith by reading books from a well-stocked library of over 13,000 volumes. He started his study with Buddhism and finding it lacking, he began to study Islam. In 1888, he formally declared himself to be a Muslim.

At that time he had yet to meet a Muslim but was put in contact with several Muslims in India by a local Parsi businessman. A newspaper publisher, Budruddin Abdulla Kur of Bombay, published several of Webb's letters in his paper. A local businessman, Hajee Abdulla Arab, saw these letters and went to Manila to see Webb.

After the visit, Webb began plans to tour India and then return to the United States to propagate Islam. Webb's wife, Ella G. Webb, and their three children had also accepted Islam by this time. Hajee Abdulla returned to India and raised funds for Webb's tour. Webb visited Poona, Bombay, Calcutta, Hyderabad, and Madras and gave speeches in each town.

All of his speeches were published at least once separately and some were published in a collection. His Islam in America and all later works were basically derived from rewrites of these successful speeches.

He resigned his post in 1892 and toured India then returned to the United States. His family stayed in San Francisco until he sent for them.

Settling in New York, he established the Oriental Publishing Company at 1122 Upper Broadway. This company published his writings (including his magnum opus- Islam in America).  The table of contents for Islam in America follows:

    * Islam in America - contained 70 pages divided into eight chapters namely:

    I) Why I Became a Muslim
    II) An Outline of Islamic Faith
    III) The Five Pillars of Practice
    IV) Islam in Its Philosophic Aspect
    V) Polygamy and the Purdah
    VI) Popular Errors Refuted
    VII) The Muslim Defensive Wars
    VIII) The American Islamic Propaganda

Along with this venture he started the organ of the American Muslim Propagation Movement called Moslem World. The first issue appeared on May 12, 1893, and was dedicated to The Interests of the American Islamic Propaganda and "[t]o spread the light of Islam in America". It lasted for seven monthly issues (May to November 1893).

In December 1893, John A. Lant and Emin L. Nabakoff broke from Webb's movement and formed the First Society for the Study of Islam and set up shop in Union Square.

Webb was the main representative for Islam at the 1893 World Parliament of Religions in Chicago. On September 20th and 21st, 1893, he gave two speeches. His speeches were entitled: The Influence of Islam Upon Social Conditions and The Spirit of Islam and were published in the large two volume proceedings of the Parliament called The First World's Parliament of Religions (1894).

For the rest of his life he was the main spokesman for Islam in America. Many of America’s most prominent thinkers heard him speak on the Islamic Faith, including Mark Twain.

On Broadway, in Manhattan, he founded a short-lived masjid (Mosque). The reasons for the termination of this Masjid are unknown, but it could be due to a lack of financial support from India. Throughout the rest of America he started study circles, i.e. in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Newark, Manhattan, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland. They were named Mecca Study Circle No. I (NYC), Koran Study Circle, Capital Study Circle No. 4, etc. Each using an Islamic city or reference in its title. It is likely they studied Webb's works and those he suggested. The last meeting was in 1943 in Manhattan and was attended by his daughter Aliyyah.

Webb is also known for his writing of two booklets about the Armenian Genocide from a Muslim point of view: The Armenian Troubles and Where the Responsibility Lies and A Few Facts About Turkey Under the Rule of Abdul Hamid II. He was appointed the Honorary Turkish Consul in New York by Sultan Abdul Hamid II. The Sultan had been shown plans by Webb for a Muslim cemetery and Masjid and complimented Webb on them. These plans never materialized.

From 1898 to the time of his death on October 1, 1916, Webb lived in Rutherford, New Jersey. There he owned and edited the “Rutherford Times”. He was buried in Hillside Cemetery, Lyndhurst, on the outskirts of Rutherford.



Ya'qubi, Ahmad ibn Abi Ya'qub ibn Wadih al-
d. 897
Arab historian and geographer.

Ahmad ibn Abi Ya‘qub ibn Wadih al-Ya‘qubi was a Shi‘a of the moderate Musawis.  His fame is based on his Book of the Countries, a geographical work for which he had been collecting material by research in literature and making inquiries of travelers.  His style is simple and his text free from fables.  He also wrote a history of the world, which he brought down to the year 872.   Al-Ya‘qubi is important in African history because in his writings, he described the Ghana empire, as well as the kingdoms of Kawkaw, Kanem and Mallel.  The latter may have been a reference to Mali.  Al-Ya‘qubi was the first to mention the existence of Awdaghast.  His writings are among the first descriptive works of African geography which go beyond the mere listing of names.



Yulayev, Salawat
1754-1800
A Bashkir national hero who participated in Pugachev’s rebellion.

Salawat Yulayev (b. June 16, 1754, Tekeyevo (Bashkortostan), Shaytan-Kudeevsky volost, Ufa province, Orenburg Governorate, Russia – d. September 26, 1800, Paldiski) is a Bashkir national hero who participated in Pugachev's rebellion.

The Bashkirs are a Turkic people indigenous to Bashkortostan extending on both parts of the Ural Mountains, on the place where Europe meets Asia. Groups of Bashkirs also live in the republic of Tatarstan, Perm Krai, Chelyabinsk, Orenburg, Tyumen, Sverdlovsk, Kurgan, Samara and Saratov Oblasts of Russia, as well as in Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and other countries. They speak the Kypchak-based Bashkir language. The Bashkirs are Sunni Muslims of the Hanafi madhhab.

Salawat Yulayev was born in the village of Tekeyevo of Shaytan-Kudeevsky volost of Ufa province of Orenburg Governorate (now Salavatsky District) of Bashkortostan. Tekeyevo no longer exists, because it was burned in 1775.
Salawat Yulayev was at the head of all of rebel Bashkortostan from the very beginning of the country war of 1773-1775. He was seized by imperial authorities on November 24, 1774, and his father Yulay Aznalin was seized even earlier. Put into irons they were sent to Moscow.
 
In 1768 the Orenburg governor prince Putyatin appointed Yulay as the foreman of the Bashkir command. But soon the merchant Tverdyshev, granted to collegiate asessory rank, bereaved Yulay Aznalin of his land to build Simsky plant and villages. The Bashkir land was bringing to ruin, that is why Yulay Aznalin and it nineteen years old son Salawat stood up under Yemelyan Pugachev’s banners.

In ten months after Salawat’s capture, in September, 1775, he and his father were publicly punished by lashes in those places where the largest battles with the governmental armies passed. They both were branded on their foreheads and faces. On October 2, 1775 chained by hands and legs, Salawat and Yulay on two carts under protection were sent to transportation for life to the Baltic fortress Rogervik (nowadays the city of Paldiski in Estonia). The transport with convicts passed Menzelinsk, Kazan, Nizhni Novgorod, Moscow, and on November 14 they reached Tver. Then there was Novgorod, Pskov, and Revel and on November 29th they reached Rogervik.
The Baltic port Rogervik, was founded by Peter the Great. However by 1775, when the Rogervik participants of the Bashkir revolt turned out, the fortress was practically deserted. There was only a small garrison and small number of prisoners. Salawat and Yulay met there their brothers-in-arms: Pugachev Colonel I. S. Aristov, Colonel Kanzafar Usaev, and others. It was there that Salawat Yulayev and his father lived the rest of their lives.

Salawat Yulayev died on September 26, 1800.

Many things in modern-day Bashkortostan are named after Yulayev including a town, a hockey team, and the republic's State Prize.



Yunus, Mohammed
1940-
Bangladeshi economist and the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipient. 

Yunus was born to a well-to-do family in Chittagong, a business center in Bangladesh, in 1940.  His father was a successful goldsmith who always encouraged his sons to seek higher education.  However, his biggest influence was his mother, Sofia Khatun, who always helped any poor that knocked on the door.  The example set by his mother inspired Mohammed to seek the eradication of poverty.

Yunus was an outstanding student who won a Fulbright Fellowship to do doctorate work at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1965.  He returned home in 1972 to become the head of the economics department at the Chittagong University.  He found the situation in the newly independent Bangladesh worsening day by day.  The terrible famine of 1974 in Bangladesh literally changed Yunus' life forever.  He felt uncomfortable with the fact that while people were dying of hunger on the streets, he was teaching elegant theories of economics.  He felt the inadequacies of elegant theories of economics and decided to make the poor his teachers.  He began to study them and question them on their lives.  One day, interviewing a woman who made bamboo stools, he learned that, because she had no capital of her own, she had to give up more than 93% of her proceeds to the middleman.  Dr. Yunus identified the problem as one of structure.  He theorized that people are poor today because of the failure of the financial institutions to support them in the past.  Thus, the idea of micro-credit was born. 

One of the first practices of micro-credit occurred in 1976 when Mohammed Yunus himself loaned $27 out of his own pocket to a group of poor craftsmen in the nearby town of Jobra.  To boost the impact of that small sum, Yunus volunteered to serve as guarantor on a larger loan from a traditional bank, kindling the idea for a village-based enterprise called the Grameen Project.  It never occurred to Yunus that his gesture would inspire a whole category of lending and propel him to the top of a powerful institution.

By 2006, the Grameen Bank (in Bengali, "grameen" means "rural") had become the largest rural bank in Bangladesh.   It had over two million borrowers and was in operation in 35,000 villages in a country of 68,000 villages.  94% of its borrowers were women.  The bank is based on simple, sensible rules, meticulous organization, imagination and peer pressure among borrowers.  The break that Grameen Bank offers is a collateral-free loan, sometimes equivalent to just a few United States dollars and rarely more than $100.  In rural areas, it makes things happen.  98% of its loans are honored.  Thus he had turned into reality a philosophy that the poorest of the poor are the most deserving in the land and that given the opportunity they can lift themselves out of the mire of poverty.  Yunus' ideas combine capitalism with social responsibility. 

The micro-credit concept became a global phenomenon.  By 2006, it was being practiced in 58 countries.  The work of the Grameen Bank and of Mohammed Yunus caught the attention of the five member Nobel Committee and resulted in the Grameen Bank and Mohammed Yunus being awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.  In awarding a prize more traditionally given to those who sign treaties to end wars or fight for human rights, the Nobel Committee said that eliminating poverty was a path to peace and democracy.  In the words of the Committee, "Lasting peace cannot be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty.  Microcredit is one such means.  Development from below also serves to advance democracy and human rights."

Mohammed Yunus lived in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with his physicist wife, Afrozi, and their daughter Deena.

Yusuf
1626-1699
One of the founders of Islam in South Africa.

Abadin ('Abidin) Tadia Tjoessoep (1626–1699), more commonly known as Sheikh Yusuf, was an Indonesian muslim of noble descent. In 1693 he was exiled to the Cape of Good Hope which resulted in his establishing Islam in the Cape.

Yusuf was born in Makassar, Indonesia, the nephew of King Biset of Goa. In 1644 he embarked on the Haj to Mecca and spent several years in Arabia learning under various pious scholars. During this period the Dutch and British East India Companies were fighting for control of the region due to its lucrative trade in spices and gold. When Yusuf left Arabia in 1664, Makassar had been captured by the Dutch, and he was unable to return home.

Instead, Yusuf headed for Bantam on the island of Java, where he was welcomed by Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa (Sultan Ajung). Ageng gave Yusuf one of his daughters hands in marriage, and made him his chief religious judge and personal advisor. Yusuf stayed in Bantam for 16 years until 1680, when Ageng's son, Pangeran Hajji, rose against his father, possibly at the urgings of the Dutch East India Company (DEIC). Ageng rallied his forces, including Yusuf, and in 1683 besieged Hajji in his fortress at Soerdesoeang. Ageng was defeated but managed to escape capture, along with an entourage of about 5,000, among them the 57-year-old Yusuf. Ageng was captured later that year but Yusuf managed to escape a second time and continued the resistance.

In 1684, Yusuf was persuaded to surrender on the promise of a pardon, but the Dutch reneged on their promise and instead imprisoned him at the castle of Batavia. Suspecting that he would attempt escape, the Dutch transferred him to the Castle in Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in September that year, before exiling him to the Cape on June 27, 1693 on the ship Voetboeg.

Fearing Yusuf's influence in Ceylon the Dutch exiled him to the Cape of Good Hope ten years after his initial surrender. The Sheikh arrived on board `De Voetboog' on April 2, 1694 along with his retinue of 49 which included his two wives (Carecontoe and Carepane), two slave girls (Mu'minah and Na'imah), 12 children, 12 imams (religious leaders) and several friends with their families.

Yusuf along with 49 followers, including two wives and twelve children, were received in the Cape on April 2, 1694 by Governor Simon van der Stel. On June 14, 1694, they were moved to the farm Zandvliet, near the mouth of the Eerste River, outside of Cape Town in an attempt to minimise Yusuf's influence on the DEIC's slaves. The plan failed however. Sheikh Yusuf's settlement soon became a sanctuary for slaves and it was here that the first cohesive Islamic community in South Africa was established. From here the message of Islam was disseminated to the slave community of Cape Town.

Sheikh Yusuf died at Zandvliet on May 23, 1699.

There were a number of Muslims at the Cape before Yusuf's arrival, and thousands more were to follow during the succeeding decades, most of them slaves, but some of them spiritual leaders of distinction.  Yusuf, however, is regarded as the founder of the region's Islamic community and is venerated as such.  His tomb, or kramat, is close to the town of Faure.  It is one of six such holy places -- five on or near the Peninsula and one on Robben Island -- which together form a "sacred circle," within which those who live enjoy special protection from the elements. 



The area surrounding Zandvliet farm was renamed Macassar in honor of Yusuf's place of birth. Yusuf was buried on the hills of Faure, overlooking Macassar. A shrine was erected over his grave and to this day Muslims in the area visit it to pay their respects.

On September 27, 2005 Sheikh Yusuf was posthumously awarded the The Order of the Companions of Oliver Tambo in Gold for his contribution to the struggle against colonialism.




Yusuf Mohamed Ibrahim
c.1800-1848
A sultan of Geledi (Somalia).

Yusuf Mohamed Ibrahim (c.1800-1848) was probably the most renowned of the sultans of Geledi, a group which dominated the hinterlands of Mogadishu and Brava throughout most of the 19th century.  Yusuf Mohamed Ibrahim is remembered as a great religious and political leader.  His most famous military expedition occurred in 1843, when he led an army of some 40,000 warriors against the religious reformers of Bardera.  In 1848, Yusuf died in a battle with the Bimal, the traditional enemies of the Geledi.




Zardari, Asif Ali
b. 1955
President of Pakistan (2008- ).

Asif Ali Zardari (b. July0 26, 1955, Karachi, Pakistan) became president of Pakistan in 2008 and became de facto leader of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) following the assassination of his wife, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, on December 27, 2007.

Zardari—the son of Hakim Ali Zardari, a Sindhi landlord, businessman, and politician—was educated at Saint Patrick’s School in Karachi and later studied business in London. He gained a reputation as a playboy and gadfly for his easygoing lifestyle.  An avid polo player and an intense competitor, Zardari demonstrated little interest in the political scene. His betrothal to Bhutto, who was the daughter of former president (1971–73) and prime minister (1973–77) Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and whom he had first met five days prior to the public announcement of their engagement, surprised many observers. On December 18, 1987, the two were married in an arranged and relatively simple ceremony, and they went on to have three children: a son, Bilawal, and two daughters, Bakhtwar and Asifa.

The couple had been married less than a year when President Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq was killed, ending more than a decade of military rule. Bhutto’s subsequent success at the polls ushered her into office as prime minister. In 1990, her tenure was cut short by corruption-related scandal, however, and both Zardari and his wife were the focus of attacks from opposition politicians as well as disgruntled members of the PPP, Bhutto’s own party. Arrested on kidnapping and extortion charges, Zardari was imprisoned in 1990, and, following his release in 1993, corruption allegations against him multiplied (some labeled him “Mr. Ten Percent,” alleging he took kickbacks on large government contracts during Bhutto’s tenure in office).

Zardari served as a member of the National Assembly from 1990 to 1993—during which time he was periodically released from prison to attend sessions—and from 1993 to 1996. After Bhutto’s return to power in 1993, he served as minister of the environment (1993–96) and federal minister for investment (1995–96) in her government. Zardari aggressively sought control of the PPP, but he was the subject of ever-increasing criticism from opponents within and outside the party. In addition, Zardari was deeply involved in a Bhutto family feud led by Bhutto’s brother, Murtaza, and mother, Nusrat. The conflict between Zardari and Murtaza over leadership of the Bhutto clan ruptured the PPP and destabilized Bhutto’s government. The Murtaza-Zardari rivalry ended abruptly on September 20, 1996, when Murtaza was shot and killed by police.

Zardari was implicated in Murtaza’s death, and, following the second dissolution of Bhutto’s government in November 1996, he was arrested on charges that included corruption, money laundering, and murder. Although never convicted, Zardari was imprisoned from 1997 to 2004. He was elected to the Senate from his jail cell during this time. The toll exacted on Zardari’s health by his imprisonment was considerable. Following his release, Zardari sought medical treatment in the United States for psychological distress. He returned to Pakistan with Bhutto’s resumption of political activity in 2007 and was given amnesty for his alleged offenses. Following Bhutto’s death in December 2007, Zardari named his son, Bilawal, chairman of the PPP and made himself the party’s co-chairman.

In the parliamentary elections of February 2008, the PPP captured one-third of the available seats, while the party of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif won one-fourth of the seats. In March the two parties formed a coalition government. Although disagreements destabilized the administration in the months following its formation, in August 2008 Zardari and Sharif led the movement to impeach President Pervez Musharraf. To avoid further public embarrassment, Musharraf resigned his office. Sharif and Zardari were not reconciled, however, and their sustained feuding ultimately caused Sharif to withdraw his party from the coalition. Zardari easily won the September 2008 presidential elections.

Friction between the two rivals intensified further in early 2009, when the Supreme Court voted to disqualify Sharif’s brother from his position as chief minister of the Punjab and to uphold a ban prohibiting Sharif himself from holding political office (the ban stemmed from his 2000 hijacking conviction). Sharif alleged that the court’s rulings were politically motivated and backed by Zardari. Meanwhile, the status of the Supreme Court judges dismissed under Musharraf who had yet to be reinstated—one of the issues that had undermined the Sharif-Zardari coalition—remained another major source of contention. Faced with the prospect of a Sharif-led protest in the capital, in March 2009 the government agreed to reinstate Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry and a number of other Supreme Court judges who had not been returned to their posts (Sharif’s brother was also returned to his position shortly thereafter). The move was seen as a political victory for Sharif and a significant concession on the part of Zardari, who is thought to have opposed Chaudhry’s return because of the possibility that the amnesty Zardari had enjoyed under Musharraf might be overturned. Indeed, in December 2009 the Pakistani Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional the 2007 amnesty protecting politicians accused of corruption. Zardari was among the thousands of people affected by the ruling, which essentially reactivated cases against them.

As president, Zardari was a consistently strong United States ally in the war in Afghanistan, despite prevalent public disapproval of the nation's involvement in the conflict. He came under domestic criticism in 2008 after flirting with American vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. In late 2008, his government obtained a three-year multi-billion dollar loan package from the International Monetary Fund in an effort to steer the nation out of an economic crisis. In early 2009, his attempt to prevent the reinstatement of Supreme Court judges failed in the face of massive protests led by Nawaz Sharif, his chief political rival. The passage of the 18th Amendment in 2010 reduced his vast presidential powers to that of a ceremonial figurehead. He again aroused widespread public uproar for his trip to Europe in the midst of the devastating 2010 floods across Pakistan.


Zarqawi, Abu Musab al-
1966-2006
Jordanian guerrilla leader and the self-proclaimed leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. 

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was born on October 20, 1966, with the name Ahmad Fadeel al-Nazal al-Khalayleh.  He was the son of a native Jordanian family (al-Khalayleh of the Bani-Hassan tribe).  He grew up amidst poverty and squalor in the Jordanian town of Zarqa, a town located about 30 miles northeast of the capital Amman.  It is from Zarqa that Zarqawi got his "nom de guerre," since "Zarqawi" literally means "man from Zarqa."  

At the age of 17, Zarqawi dropped out of school.  According to Jordanian intelligence reports, Zarqawi was jailed briefly in the 1980s.  Subsequently, he was active as a militant in Afghanistan, Jordan, Iraq, and elsewhere.

In 1989, Zarqawi traveled to Afghanistan to join the insurgency against the Soviet invasion, but the Soviets were already leaving by the time Zarqawi arrived.  It is believed that Zarqawi met and befriended Osama bin Laden while there.  However, instead of becoming a fighter, Zarqawi became a reporter for an Islamist newsletter. 

Zarqawi was arrested in Jordan in 1992, and spent seven years in a Jordanian prison for conspiring to overthrow the monarchy to establish an Islamic caliphate.  In prison, Zarqawi reportedly became a feared leader among inmates according to some reports.
 
Upon his release from prison in 1999, Zarqawi was involved in an attempt to blow up the Radisson SAS Hotel in Amman, Jordan, where many Israeli and American tourists lodged.  He fled Jordan and traveled to Peshawar, Pakistan, near the Afghanistan border.  In Afghanistan, Zarqawi established a guerrilla training camp near Herat.  According to the United States government, the training camp specialized in poisons and explosives.

Jordanian and European intelligence agencies claim that Zarqawi formed the group Jund al-Sham in 1999 with $200,000 of startup money from Osama bin Laden.  The group originally consisted of 150 members.  It was infiltrated by members of Jordanian intelligence and scattered by Operation Enduring Freedom but in March 2005, a group of the same name claimed responsibility for a bombing in Doha, Qatar.

Sometime in 2001, Zarqawi was arrested in Jordan but was soon released.  Later, he was convicted in absentia and sentenced to death for plotting the attack on the Radisson SAS Hotel.

After the September 11 attacks, Zarqawi again traveled to Afghanistan and was allegedly wounded in a United States bombardment.  He moved to Iran to organize al-Tawhid, his former militant organization.  Zarqawi supposedly traveled to Iraq to have his wounded leg treated at a hospital run by Uday Hussein.  In the summer of 2002, Zarqawi was reported to have settled in northern Iraq, where he joined the Islamist Ansar al-Islam group  that fought against Kurdish nationalist forces in the region.  He reportedly became a leader in the group, although his leadership role has not been established.

In Secretary of State Colin Powell's now famous February 2003 speech to the United Nations urging war against Iraq, Zarqawi was cited as an example of Saddam Hussein's support for terrorism.  In his speech, Powell mistakenly referred to Zarqawi as a Palestinian, but Powell and the Bush administration continued to stand by statements that Zarqawi linked Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda.

At the time, Zarqawi's group was actually a rival to bin Laden's.  A CIA report in late 2004 concluded that it had not evidence Saddam Hussein's government was involved with, or aware of, Zarqawi's medical treatment, and that there was no conclusive evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime had harbored Zarqawi. 

According to some sources, the Pentagon had pushed to "take out" Zarqawi's operation at least three times prior to the invasion of Iraq, but had been vetoed by the National Security Council.  The council's decision was made because they thought it would make it harder to convince other countries to join the United States in a coalition against Iraq. 

During Zarqawi's time in Iraq, a number of attacks and kidnappings were attributed to him and his organization.   The following is a listing of the incidents:

10/28/02: Laurence Foley, a diplomat and administrator of United States aid programs in Jordan was gunned down outside his home in Amman.

08/19/03: A truck bombing of United Nations headquarters in Baghdad killed 23, including top United Nations envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello.

08/29/03: A car bomb in Najaf killed more than 85 people, including Ayatollah Mohammad Baqr al-Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

03/02/04: Coordinated blasts from suicide bombers, mortars, and planted explosives struck Shiite Muslim shrines in Karbala and Baghdad, killing at least 181.  United States and Iraqi officials linked the attacks to al-Zarqawi.

05/11/04: Kidnapped American businessman Nicholas Berg was beheaded while being videotaped, and the voice of the knife welder was identified as being that of al-Zarqawi.

05/18/04: A car bomb assassinated Iraqi Governing Council president Abdel-Zahraa Othman.

06/14/04: A car bomb attacked on a vehicle convoy in Baghdad killed 13, including three General Electric employees.

06/22/04: Kidnappers beheaded South Korean hostage Kim Sun-il.  Al-Jazeera television said that the killing was carried out by al-Zarqawi's group.

06/29/04: Bulgarian truck drivers Georgi Lazov and Ivaylo Kepov were kidnapped.  Al-Zarqawi's followers were suspected of decapitating both men.

08/02/04: Video from followers of al-Zarqawi showing shooting death of hostage Murat Yuce of Turkey.

09/13/04: Video purportedly from al-Qaeda in Iraq showed Durmus Kumdereli, a Turkish truck driver, being beheaded.

09/14/04: A car bomb ripped through a busy market near a Baghdad police headquarters where Iraqis were waiting to apply for jobs, killing 47.  

09/16/04: British engineer Kenneth Bigley, and United States engineers Jack Hensley and Eugene "Jack" Armstrong were kidnapped in Baghdad.  By October 10, 2004, all three men had been confirmed beheaded.

09/30/04: Bombings in Baghdad killed 35 children and seven adults as United States troops handed out candy at the inauguration of a sewage treatment plant.  Al-Zarqawi's group claimed responsibility for attacks that day, but it was unclear if these included the explosions that killed the children.

10/30/04: The body of hostage Shosei Koda, of Japan, was found decapitated in Baghdad, his body was wrapped in an American flag.

12/19/04: Car bombs tore through a funeral procession in Najaf and the main bus station in nearby Karbala, killing at least 60 in the Shiite holy cities.

02/28/05: Suicide car bombers struck a crowd of police and Iraqi National Guard recruits in the southern city of Hillah, killing 125 people.

05/07/05: Two explosives-laden cars plowed into an American security company convoy in Baghdad, killing at least 22 people, including two Americans.

08/19/05: A rocket attack in the Jordanian port city of Aqaba, killing Jordanian soldier.  One Katyusha rocket landed in neighboring Israel -- causing no casualties -- and another missed a United States Navy ship docked at Aqaba.

11/09/05: A triple suicide bombing against hotels in Amman, Jordan, killed 60.

12/27/05: A volley of rockets were fired from southern Lebanon into Israel.

At 6:15 pm (Iraqi time) on June 7, 2006, al-Zarqawi, along with seven aides, was killed by two 500 pound laser guided bombs dropped by United States F-16 jets while attending a meeting in an isolated safehouse approximately 8 kilometers/5 miles north of Baqubah.  The joint task force had been tracking him for some time, and although there were some close calls, he had eluded them on many occasions.  United States intelligence officials then received tips from Iraqi senior leaders from al-Zarqawi's network that he and some of his associates were in the Baqubah area.  Jordanian intelligence reportedly helped to identify his location.  The area was subsequently secured by Iraqi security forces, who were the first ground forces to arrive.  On June 8, 2006, coalition forces confirmed that al-Zarqawi's body was identified by facial recognition, fingerprinting, and known scars.  They also confirmed the death of one of his key lieutenants, spiritual adviser Sheik 'Abd-al-Rahman.




Zevi, Sabbatai
1626-1676
Jewish messianic rabbi who converted to Islam.

Shabbetai Tzevi (Sabbatai Zebi) (Sabbatai Zevi) (Shabbetai Tzvi) (Shabbetai Ẓevi) (Sabbatai Sevi) (Sabetay Sevi) (b. July 23/August 1, 1626, Smyrna, Ottoman Turkey [now İzmir, Turkey] — d. September 17, 1676, Dulcigno (present day Ulcinj), Albania), was a Jewish messianic figure who developed a mass following and threatened rabbinical authority in Europe and the Middle East.

Sabbatai Zevi was a Sephardic Rabbi and kabbalist who claimed to be the long-awaited Jewish Messiah. He was the founder of the Jewish Sabbatean movement. At the age of forty, he was forced by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed IV to convert to Islam. Some of his followers also converted to Islam, about 300 families who were known as the Dönmeh (aka Dönme) (converts).

As a young man, Shabbetai steeped himself in the influential body of Jewish mystical writings known as the Kabbala. His extended periods of ecstasy and his strong personality combined to attract many disciples, and at the age of 22 he proclaimed himself the messiah.

Driven from Smyrna by the aroused rabbinate, he journeyed to Salonika (now Thessaloníki), an old Kabbalistic center, and then to Constantinople (now Istanbul). There he encountered an esteemed and forceful Jewish preacher and Kabbalist, Abraham ha-Yakini, who possessed a false prophetic document affirming that Shabbetai was the messiah. Shabbetai then traveled to Palestine and after that to Cairo, where he won over to his cause Raphael Halebi, the wealthy and powerful treasurer of the Turkish governor.

With a retinue of believers and assured of financial backing, Shabbetai triumphantly returned to Jerusalem. There, a 20-year-old student known as Nathan of Gaza assumed the role of a modern Elijah, in the traditional role of forerunner of the messiah. Nathan ecstatically prophesied the imminent restoration of Israel and world salvation through the bloodless victory of Shabbetai, riding on a lion with a seven-headed dragon in his jaws. In accordance with millenarian belief, he cited 1666 as the apocalyptic year.

Threatened with excommunication by the rabbis of Jerusalem, Shabbetai returned to Smyrna in the autumn of 1665, where he was wildly acclaimed. His movement spread to Venice, Amsterdam, Hamburg, London, and several other European and North African cities.

At the beginning of 1666, Shabbetai went to Constantinople and was imprisoned on his arrival. After a few months, he was transferred to the castle at Abydos, which became known to his followers as Migdal Oz, the Tower of Strength. In September, however, he was brought before the sultan in Adrianople and, having been previously threatened with torture, converted to Islām. The placated sultan renamed him Mehmed Efendi, appointed him his personal doorkeeper, and provided him with a generous allowance. All but his most faithful or self-seeking disciples were disillusioned by his apostasy. Eventually, Shabbetai fell out of favor and was banished, dying in Albania.

The movement that developed around Shabbetai Tzevi became known as Shabbetaianism. It attempted to reconcile Shabbetai’s grandiose claims of spiritual authority with his subsequent seeming betrayal of the Jewish faith. Faithful Shabbetaians interpreted Shabbetai’s apostasy as a step toward ultimate fulfillment of his messiahship and attempted to follow their leader’s example. They argued that such outward acts were irrelevant as long as one remains inwardly a Jew. Those who embraced the theory of “sacred sin” believed that the Torah could be fulfilled only by amoral acts representing its seeming annulment. Others felt they could remain faithful Shabbetaians without having to apostatize.

After Shabbetai’s death in 1676, the sect continued to flourish. The nihilistic tendencies of Shabbetaianism reached a peak in the 18th century with Jacob Frank, whose followers reputedly sought redemption through orgies at mystical festivals.





Zewail, Ahmed Hassan
b. 1946
Recipient of the 1999 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

Ahmed Hassan Zewail (b. February 26, 1946, Damanhur, Egypt) was an Egyptian-born chemist who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1999 for developing a rapid laser technique that enabled scientists to study the action of atoms during chemical reactions. The breakthrough created a new field of physical chemistry known as femtochemistry.

After receiving a bachelor of science (1967) and master of science (1969) degrees from the University of Alexandria, Zewail attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a doctorate in 1974. Two years later he joined the faculty at the California Institute of Technology and in 1990 was selected as the school’s first Linus Pauling professor of chemical physics. Zewail also served as a visiting professor at a number of institutions, including Texas A&M University, the University of Iowa, and American University at Cairo.

Because chemical reactions last only 10 to 100 femtoseconds (fs)—one femtosecond is 0.000000000000001 second, or 10-15—many believed it would be impossible to study the events that constitute a reaction. In the late 1980s, however, Zewail was able to view the motion of atoms and molecules using a method based on new laser technology capable of producing light flashes just tens of femtoseconds in duration. During the process, known as femtosecond spectroscopy, molecules were mixed together in a vacuum tube in which an ultrafast laser beamed two pulses. The first pulse supplied the energy for the reaction and the second examined the ongoing action. The characteristic spectra, or light patterns, from the molecules were then studied to determine the structural changes of the molecules. Zewail’s discovery enabled scientists to gain more control over the outcome of the chemical reaction, and it was expected to have many applications.

“With femtosecond spectroscopy we can for the first time observe in ‘slow motion’ what happens as the reaction barrier is crossed,” the Nobel Assembly said. “Scientists the world over are studying processes with femtosecond spectroscopy in gases, in fluids and in solids, on surfaces and in polymers. Applications range from how catalysts function and how molecular electronic components must be designed, to the most delicate mechanisms in life processes and how the medicines of the future should be produced.”





















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