Opium Brides

The makers of Opium Brides, a film from American broadcaster PBS, obtained footage of one farmer being slowly beheaded with a penknife. He had refused to hand over his daughter to the gang.

‘It just seemed too awful to be true,’ said producer Jamie Doran, who made the film with Afghan investigative reporter Najibullah Quraishi.

‘There was one poor farmer who couldn’t pay the traffickers back and refused to give his daughter away. And we actually have the entire film of him being beheaded with a penknife. That’s what they do if you refuse to hand over your daughters.’

The film also features an interview with a little girl, aged around six, who faces being handed over to the drug runners in exchange for her father, who was captured after he could not pay up.

She said: ‘The smugglers will take me by force and my mother can’t stop them.’

Her father’s captors sent a film of him blindfolded and in the dark. In it, the father is seen to say: ‘This is a really bad place. I beg you, give them whatever they want.’

The pair told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour about their horrific encounters and of the tragic victims at the mercy of Afghan drug lords. The mother, who can’t even look at her daughter, is also interviewed.

‘I have to give them my daughter to release my husband,’ she states, flatly.

The filmmakers believe there are many hundreds, if not thousands of girls on the run from the traffickers. The problem will get worse when Nato forces leave Afghanistan in 2014, Mr Quraishi said.

Mr Doran added: ‘I don’t know if there’s a solution because the world demands poppy cultivation for its heroin addiction.

‘Maybe the blame shouldn’t just be put on to the Afghan government. Maybe we should be looking inside ourselves a little.’

*Above info from DailyMail.

Watch full documentary here 19 Minutes in:

http://video.pbs.org/video/2183223771

 

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The death of 13-year-old Chevonea Kendall-Bryan has driven the debate on the sexualisation..

There is a storm coming. I can feel it as I stand on a street corner in south London, thinking about my daughters. Lily and Rose are both 11 years old. One is crazy about dogs, the other loves owls.

They are at that tender age when the hormones have begun to stir, and they could be stomping around the room like furious teenagers one minute but snuggling up for a cuddle the next.

The girls are fast approaching 13, the age that Chevonea Kendall-Bryan was when she leaned out of one of the windows on the fourth floor of a block of flats on this street. A boy she knew was down here on the ground, but this was not Romeo and Juliet. Far from it.

Chevonea had been pressurised into performing a sex act on him, and he had shared a phone clip of her doing so with all his mates. She threatened to jump from the window if he did not delete it. Then she slipped and fell 60 feet to the ground, dying from massive brain injuries.

Her mother says she will now campaign against what is happening to young girls in our society. They are certainly under extreme pressure, having to cope with a world more
brutal, more demanding and far more overtly sexual than anything their parents knew.

Never before has girlhood been under such a sustained assault – from ads, alcohol marketing, girls’ magazines, sexually explicit TV programmes and the hard pornography that is regularly accessed in so many teenager’s bedrooms,” says the psychologist Steve Biddulph, currently touring the country to promote a book called Raising Girls.
It is a follow-up to his best-seller Raising Boys – and they are under pressure too, being led to believe that girls will look and behave like porn stars. Our children are becoming victims of pornification.

“It is usually girls who are on the receiving end of some pretty degrading stuff,” says Claire Perry MP, who has just been appointed David Cameron’s special adviser on the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood. “We’ve got young girls being asked to write their names on their boobs and send pictures. Parents would be really shocked to know this is happening in pretty much every school in the country. Our children are growing up in a very sexualised world.”

So this is the storm my girls will soon face. I can already hear the rumblings. For their sake, I want to know, how bad is it? How widespread? I ask to speak to Mrs Perry, and while I’m waiting for the call back I read a report by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, which suggests it is very bad indeed. Researchers who carried out an in-depth study of the lives of pupils at two London schools in 2010 say that year eight was when they began to feel confused and overwhelmed by sexual expectations and demands.

Claire, who must be 12 or 13, is quoted as saying of the boys in her class: “If they want oral sex, they will ask every single day until you say yes.”
Kamal, a boy in the same year, says: “Say I got a girlfriend, I would ask her to write my name on her breast and then send it to me and then I would upload it on to Facebook or Bebo or something like that.” The profile picture on his phone, seen by everyone to whom he sends messages, is an image of his girlfriend’s cleavage. Some of the boys at his school have explicit images of up to 30 different girls on their phone. They swap them like we used to swap football cards. If they fancy a girl, they send her a picture of their genitals. As one teenage girl said after the report came out, sending pictures of your body parts is “the new flirting”.

Boys have always tried their luck, but now they have the technological means to apply pressure, on phones with cameras and messenger networks that no adult ever sees.
Chloe Combi, a former teacher who began her career in “a pretty posh school”, has written in the Times Educational Supplement about when it goes further: “The hardest conversation I’ve ever had was with a distraught, confused man of about 45. I had to explain to him that we had to exclude from school his seemingly non-abused, non-disturbed, well-loved daughter because she had been caught administering fellatio to a line of young men in the boys’ toilets for cash.”

Ms Combi went on: “A friend of mine, who teaches at another school (much more posh than mine) said that it had got so bad they had to go on patrol every lunchtime to prevent similar incidents.”

What is the cause of all this? We need more research, the experts say. But to a dismayed parent, it seems like the horrific result of a massive experiment. Thanks to the internet, our boys and girls are the first children to grow up with free, round-the-clock access to hardcore pornography. Porn has become part of the adult mainstream, colouring everything from advertising to best-selling books like Fifty Shades of Grey. Of course our children are affected.

Diane Abbott, the shadow public health minister, said last week: “I want to highlight what I believe is the rise of a secret garden, striptease culture in British schools and society, which has been put beyond the control of British families by fast-developing technology, and an increasingly pornified British culture.”

It starts young, with pencil cases that carry the Playboy bunny logo and Bratz dolls that look like they have just finished a shift at a strip joint. High-heeled shoes are sold to girls at the age of eight, along with knickers bearing slogans that on an adult would be meant to sound saucy. Campaigns by concerned groups like Mumsnet only stop products like these for a while, until new ones are pushed out.

The pop industry, which aims at hooking kids before they hit puberty, teaches little girls to bump and grind. I’m not a prude, but I have been called one for asking why a 10-year-old was copying the moves in a video in which Rihanna prowls like a dominatrix and sings, “Come on rude boy, boy, can you get it up? Come on rude boy, boy, is you big enough?”

Working backwards, Rihanna is inverting the more extreme imagery used by some male hip hop stars, whose videos effectively show women as sex slaves. They, in turn,
offer a polished version of the behaviour in hardcore porn, which is only a click away, on imitations of YouTube.

It’s not hidden behind a paywall, it’s free. And you don’t even have to claim to be 18 to watch it. This is not the cheesy porn on the newsagent’s top shelf, which was all we could get our hands on when I was a boy. The extreme, violent stuff our children can see so easily now would make a Seventies porn star blush. Or throw up.
The ubiquity of such material has shifted the understanding of what is normal. Three-quarters of teachers surveyed for the TES last year said they believed access to porn was having a “damaging effect” on pupils. One said girls were dressing like “inflatable plastic dolls” while another said some pupils “couldn’t get to sleep without watching porn”.

However, there is also disturbing evidence that hardcore pornography has become so commonplace that some children see it as “mundane”. The pioneering NSPCC study in 2010 found that watching professional porn was seen by boys as a sign of desperation. They would rather watch – and circulate – home-made porn shots on phones with girls they knew.

This is part of the phenomenon called sexting, the exchange of sexual messages or images by text, smartphones and social networking sites. Chevonea Kendall-Bryan was a victim of it, and worse. She had been bullied by boys since the age of 11, a coroner heard earlier this month. At 13, she was forced to perform a sex act on an 18-year-old after a party. A boy of 15 later demanded the same treatment – or he would smash the windows of her south London home. When she obeyed, he filmed her on his phone and shared the clip around her school.

Sexual pressure can cause girls to contemplate suicide, self-harm, develop eating disorders, or try to lose themselves in drugs or alcohol. But does sexting only happen in the most troubled inner-city schools? No, says Prof Andy Phippen of Plymouth University, who led his own research in Cornwall, Somerset and Devon. “I’ve been into all kinds of schools – including inner city, rural and semi-rural – and I can’t remember a single one where sexting was not an issue,” he says. “It’s not a class thing either. I visit elite schools, and the kids there talk about it just as much.”

However, it is important to say that children may be telling the truth if they insist they have never come across it. Estimates of those affected range from 15 to 40 per cent of pupils, depending on where you are. And when I speak to Claire Perry, she admits: “The answer is we don’t know. I think it is a growing problem. My sense is that even in the nicest, leafiest part of the country, this is something that children are doing.”

Hadn’t we better find out? “Yes. That is why it is good that the debate is happening. Bullying has always taken place, but technology means we have given our children a space where there are no adult eyeballs watching. We have to do something about that. I expect there will be lots of difficult conversations this weekend.”

Over the past few days, she has been accused of being a snooper, after suggesting that parents should read their children’s texts and emails. “If your child was going out with somebody you thought was taking drugs, you would feel you had the right to intervene. Somehow, we don’t feel we have the right to do that in the online world. We are on the back foot. But I think that this week’s reaction shows that parents do want to be able to do this.”

Her first job, though, is to focus on the internet. Last year, Mr Cameron backed an “opt-in” system to block adult content on home computers. The idea has now been dropped, however. A consultation showed that the majority of people thought it too draconian, admits Mrs Perry – but she is now working with internet service providers on a series of changes, including a block on adult content on public Wi-Fi. In the home, customers will have to verify that they are over 18 and want access to adult content, or else restrictions will apply. “You will have to say, ‘I don’t want that filter.’ Once we have this, we will lead the world in online child safety.”

All of which is fine, except it won’t do a thing about sexting. In any case, technologically savvy boys like my 15-year-old will find a way round it if they want to. Of course, he will seek out pictures of people having sex. Boys do. I’m just scared of the effects of the tsunami of hardcore he must see any time he tries. As Claire Perry says: “Porn is a terrible sexual educator and that is not where our children should be getting their information.”

As for his sisters, I shudder. I don’t want them to live in a world in which romance means boy meets girl, boy sends a picture of his genitals. Lily and Rose are not their real names, by the way. I’m that afraid of their being drawn in. We clearly need to talk, awkward as it may be.

As adults, we also have to be clear where the blame lies. I’m reminded of that as I travel home to hug the girls, and a text arrives from a 14-year-old friend of the family. Responding to the call to talk about the pressure she’s under, she texts: “DON’T bash the kids. We don’t sell porn. Grown-ups do. YOU FIX IT!!!!”

Children and the culture of pornography: ‘Boys will ask you every day until you say yes’ – Telegraph

Forsake it now…

عن أبي حازم قال : ما أحببت أن يكون معك في الآخرة ، فاتركه اليوم . وقال : انظر كل عمل كرهت الموت من أجله ، فاتركه ثم لا يضرك متى مت .

Abu Haazim(RA) said:

What ever you would like to be with you in the hear-after, then forsake it today.

And he also said:Look to every action (that you’ve done) which has been a reason for disliking death. Leave it and it will not harm you when you die.

Siyaar al-Nubalaa’

Translation updated

سلسلة كيف تكون طالب علم فضيلة الشيخ الدكتور راشد الزهراني

Brand Washed..

 

Marketing visionary Martin Lindstrom has been on the front lines of the branding wars for over twenty years. In Brandwashed, he turns the spotlight on his own industry, drawing on all he has witnessed behind closed doors, exposing for the first time the full extent of the psychological tricks and traps that companies devise to win our hard-earned money. Brandwashed is a shocking insider’s look at how today’s global giants conspire to obscure the truth and manipulate our minds, all in service of persuading us to buy. Lindstrom reveals eye opening details such as : how advertisers and marketers target children at an alarmingly young age – starting when they are still in the womb, what heterosexual men really think about when they see sexually provocative advertising, how marketers and retailers stoke the flames of public panic and capitalize on paranoia over diseases, extreme weather events, and food contamination scares, the first ever evidence proving how addicted we all are to our iPhones and our Blackberrys, and how certain companies, like the maker of one popular lip balm, purposely adjust their formulas in order to make their products chemically addictive, and much, much more.

A very British killing..

 

Synopsis

Examines the institutional brutality, the bureaucratic apathy, the flawed military police inquiry and the farcical court martial that attempted to hold people criminally responsible. This book shines a light on those involved in the crime and its investigation.

A reminder for the huffaz..

يا حافظ القرآن لست بحافظ حتى تكون لما حفظت مطبقا ما ذا يفيدك أن تسمى حافظاً وكتاب ربك في الفؤاد تمزقا

 
O hafiz al-Quran you shall not be a true hafiz until you apply what you have memorized. What gain have you in being called a hafiz? And yet the book of your lord is ripped apart in the heart.
Allah protect us.

Softness between the people of Sunnah

Lying unintentionally..

قال شيخ الإسلام ابن تيمية رحمه الله:من تكلم في الدين بلا علم كان كاذبا ، وإن كان لا يتعمد الكذب

Shaykhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said: Whoever speaks about Al-Islam without knowledge is a liar. Even if he had not intended to lie.

Humility and its virtues

Humility and its virtues

By Abu Usama Ath-Thahabi

Humility is when a person does not see himself as being better or above other people because of frivolous reasons like social standing, education, citizenship, or even color.

As for believing one is better than another person due to religious reasons, then in some cases this is permissible, and in other cases, it’s an obligation. For instance, the Muslim should believe Allah has given him ‘Izza over the Kaafir. This has been established in the Quran in many places:

Allah says, “…and to Allah belongs all honor (I’zzah), and to His Messenger, and to the believers….” Sura 63 Ayat 8

And in another ayat He says, “Oh you who believe, whoever of you should revert (apostate) from his religion, Allah will bring forth a people He will love, and who will love Him, (who are) humble towards the believers, and powerful (I’zzah) against the disbelievers…” Sura Maidah Ayat 54

He also says, “Not equal are the blind and the seeing. Nor are the darknesses and the light. Nor are the shade and the heat”. Sura 35 Ayat 19-21

Being humble and having humility is opposite of being arrogant and having arrogance (kibr). Humility leads one to the pleasure of Allah and it causes one to enter into the paradise, whereas arrogance leads to the displeasure of Allah and it leads one to the Hellfire.

Allah has ordered the Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم ) to adorn himself with this noble characteristic in many verses of the Quran.

The Prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم ) was ordered, “And lower your wing (i.e., be humble and show kindness ) to those who follow you from the believers”. Sura Shu’araa Ayat 215

And He Allah said, “And don’t turn you cheek (in contempt) towards people and don’t walk through the earth exultantly. Indeed, Allah doesn’t like every self-deluded and boastful person”. Sura Luqman Ayat 18

Some examples of the Prophet’s humility:

One of the clearest examples of his humility, is that the Messenger of Allah (صلي الله عليه و سلم ) would sit in the Masjid with his companions and if a stranger or visitor came to the Masjid he wouldn’t know who the Prophet was until he asked, “Which one of you is Muhammad”?

This is because he would not sit, dress, or be treated in a way that distinguished him from the people. Unlike the way leaders and famous people are treated when they’re with the people. Whenever a stranger enters into their majlis, it becomes quite clear to the stranger this person is noteworthy amongst the people.

Anas Ibn Maalik would pass by a group of young boys playing and he would extend to them a warm and gracious greeting (salaams). When he was asked, “Why do you do this”? He replied, ‘The Prophet ( صلي الله عليه و سلم ) use to do it’. Bukhari/Muslim

Abdullah ibn Amr ( رضي الله تعا لي عنه )said: ‘The Prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم ) entered upon me so I gave him a pillow (to sit on) made out of skin and filled with date palm fibers. The Prophet ( صلي الله عليه و سلم ) (refused to sit on it) and he choose to sit on the (bare) ground, and he left the cushion between him and myself’. Bukhari/Muslim

Abu Saeed Al-Khudri ( رضي الله تعا لي عنه ) said; ‘I entered upon the Messenger of Allah (صلي الله عليه و سلم ) and I found him praying on a (normal) mat, and he was making Sajdah on it’. Muslim

Aisha ( رضي الله تعا لي عنه ) was asked, ‘What did the Prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) use to do when he was in the privacy of his home’? She replied, ‘He use to be in the service of his family’. He used to repair his sandals and sew/patch his own thobe and he would milk the sheep. Bukhari

Anas ibn Maalik ( رضي الله تعا لي عنه ) said the Prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم ) performed the Hajj upon an old camel that had a saddle that cost about four dirhams or less, and then he said, “Oh Allah, this is a Hajj (that I’m performing) wherein there is no showing off nor notoriety sought”. Tirmizi/Ibn Majah

Anas ibn Maalik ( رضي الله تعا لي عنه ): ‘I never saw a man seeking the ear of the Prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم ) except that the Messenger of Allah would never turn his head from him, until the man turned his head first. Nor did I ever see a man take the hand of the Prophet, except that the Messenger of Allah would never let his hand go, until the man was the first to let the Prophet’s hand go’. Bukhari

Abu Masood ( رضي الله تعا لي عنه ) said: ‘A man came to the Prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم ) and he began to speak to him, and he was seized by fear (of the Prophet). Upon witnessing his demeanor the Prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم ) said to him: “Take it easy and calm down, for verily I am not a king, but instead I am only the son of a Quraishy women who use to eat dried salted meat strips”. Ibn Majah

From the clearest and most manifest examples of his humility is when he entered Mecca as a conqueror. It is a well known historical fact the Prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم ) escaped from Mecca fearful for his life, as the disbeliever’s of Quraish were hot on his trail in pursuit of him to do away with him once and for all.

Ten years later when he returned to Mecca as a conqueror and triumphant, he had every right to enter the sacred precincts of Mecca with his head held high as he had been given victory over his enemies, and they were totally defeated and subdued. Had he entered into Mecca in this way, he would not have been blamed! But instead, he entered into Mecca with his head held down, barely touching the neck of his camel and glorifying Allah by saying Allah Akbar, for the victory that he was given.

Prophetic Hadith about humility:

Abu Hurayrah ( رضي الله تعا لي عنه ) narrated that the Prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم ) said: “…and no one will exercise humility for Allah’s sake, except that Allah will raise him up”. Muslim

He also said, “Verily Allah loves the servant who has Taqwah, and he’s rich (content), and he’s hidden (i.e. not known by the people because of his humility)”. Muslim

Abdullah Ibn Abbas ( رضي الله تعا لي عنه ) said: I heard Umar Ibn Khattab ( رضي الله تعا لي عنه ) say on the minbar, the Prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم ) said: “Don’t over exaggerate with me as the Christians over exaggerated with Ibn Maryam (صلي الله عليه و سلم ). Verily I am His slave, therefore say, ‘Abdullah’ and the Messenger of Allah”. Bukhari

A lesson from Umar Ibn Khattab ( رضي الله تعا لي عنه ):

‘Urwah ibn Zubair ( رضي الله تعا لي عنه ) said: ‘I saw Umar carrying a large leather water canteen on his shoulder. I said to him, ‘Oh Amir-ul-Mu’mineen, you shouldn’t be carrying that’. Umar replied by saying, ‘A delegation came to Medina and I saw their obedience to me, and some ‘nakwah’ entered into my heart and I wanted to destroy it’.

Everyone knows the strong personality of Umar ( رضي الله تعا لي عنه ) and how he instilled fear in the hearts of men. And yet, when a small and minute amount of pride (nakwah) entered into his heart, he hurried in an attempt to destroy it before it destroyed him.

This is the way of the righteous people. Those who know the virtues and importance of humility, and at the same time they know the danger of falling into ‘kibr’.

The Prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم ) said: “Whoever possesses an atom’s weight of ‘kibr’ will not enter into the paradise “. Muslim

He also said, “It is a right on Allah, that nothing is raised in the Dunyah (in stature or esteem), except that Allah will bring it down”. Bukhari

If we’re trying to seek the benefits of the Dunyah or the Hereafter, then part of our success lies within our ability to humble ourselves in our quest. For instance, if a person is searching for knowledge, he must humble himself in his struggle and efforts towards that goal.

Abdullah ibn Mu’tazz ( رضي الله تعا لي عنه ) said: ‘The humble student is the one who gets the most knowledge, just as the lowest places on earth collect the most water’

As for the Hereafter, Allah says, “That is the home of the Hereafter, We assign (it) to those who do not desire exaltedness upon the earth or corruption. And the (best) outcome is for the righteous”. Al-Qassas Ayat 83.

May Allah grant us the Tawfeeq to humble ourselves and may He protect us from the fitnah of ‘kibr’ and it’s evil results.

Abu Usamah At-Thahabi

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