In This Day In History on November 7, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Ground Zero mosque row intensifies as hundreds of protesters gather in New York

Hundreds of people on both sides of the controversy over a proposed mosque and community center near Ground Zero rallied near the site to make their feelings known.

A crowd of demonstrators against the project stood behind police barricades three blocks from the World Trade Center site and around the corner from where the mosque and cultural center would be.

Brooklyn plumber Steve Ayling says the people who want to build the project are the same ones who ‘took down the twin towers.’

Nearby, several hundred people who support the mosque chanted ‘Muslims are welcome here. We say no to racist fear.’

Protest: Angry protestors for and against the proposed Muslim cultural centre and mosque gathered near Groud Zero

Protest: Angry protestors for and against the proposed Muslim cultural centre and mosque gathered near Groud Zero

The proposed £70million mosque has ignighted furious debate.

The growing movement against the building of the mosque gained another prominent supporter last week: the first Muslim Miss USA.

United front: A growing number of construction workers are pledging to refuse to work on the mosque

United front: A growing number of construction workers are pledging to refuse to work on the mosque

Insult: A Time magazine poll released last week also revealed that more than 70 per cent of those questioned believed that to build the mosque would insult the memory of victims

Insult: A Time magazine poll released last week also revealed that more than 70 per cent of those questioned believed that to build the mosque would insult the memory of victims

Groud Zero: Protestors marched through the streets waving home-made signs

Groud Zero: Protestors marched through the streets waving home-made signs

Controversy: The proposed mosque and cultural center would cost £70million and would be located only three blocks away from Ground Zero

Controversy: The proposed mosque and cultural center would cost £70million and would be located only three blocks away from Ground Zero

Rima Fakih, 24, the daughter of Lebanese immigrants and a Muslim, criticised the location of the planned mosque.

‘It shouldn’t be so close to the World Trade Center,’ Fakih, 24, told Inside Edition during a break from the Miss Universe pageant preparations in Las Vegas.

‘We should be more concerned with the tragedy than religion.’

After wading into the highly-charged political issue, the Michigan-born Fakih then went on to support President Obama’s statement on the constitutional rights of religious freedom.

‘I totally agree with President Obama with (that) statement,’ said Fakih.

Bad idea: The first Muslim Miss USA has says she opposes the plans for the mosque and cultural center to be built three blocks from Ground Zero

Bad idea: The first Muslim Miss USA has says she opposes the plans for the mosque and cultural center to be built three blocks from Ground Zero

Meanwhile growing number of New York construction workers are vowing not to work on the mosque planned near Ground Zero, according to the New York Daily News.

‘It’s a very touchy thing because they want to do this on sacred ground,’ said Dave Kaiser, 38, a blaster who is working to rebuild the World Trade Center site.

The grass-roots movement is gaining momentum on the Internet, says the Daily News. One construction worker created the Hard Hat Pledge on his blog and asked others to vow not to work on the project if it stays in its current location.

‘Thousands of people are signing up from all over the country,’ said creator Andy Sullivan, a construction worker from Brooklyn.

‘People who sell glass, steel, lumber, insurance. They are all refusing to do work if they build there.

‘Hopefully, this will be a tool to get them to move it,’ he said. ‘I got a problem with this ostentatious building looming over Ground Zero.’

L.V. Spina, a Manhattan construction worker who created anti-mosque stickers that some workers are slapping on their hardhats, told the New York Daily News he would ‘rather pick cans and bottles out of trash cans’ than build the Islamic center near Ground Zero.

‘But if they moved it somewhere else, we would put up a prime building for these people,’ he said.

‘Hell, you could do it next to my house, I would be fine with it. But I’m not fine with it where blood has been spilled.’

The leader of the proposed Islamic centre and mosque says dropping the plan in the face of protest is not an option.

Daisy Khan says she and other organisers of the center are closely consulting with American Muslim leaders as the plan moves forward. Khan says she realises the uproar is affecting Muslims nationwide.

The project has created a national debate over religious tolerance and the Sept. 11 attacks.

Khan said yesterday she’s under no pressure to change locations from the political leaders who previously expressed support.

Khan and her husband, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, say the centre will promote moderate Islam. Critics say the location is insensitive to 9/11 families.

New York Governor David Paterson says no meeting to discuss relocating has been scheduled with developers.

Paterson told WNYC Radio’s The Take Away last night that he’s still seeking a meeting, but the discussion he’d hoped to have this week won’t happen.

Racism row: The proposed mosque has stirred-up emotions in New York

Racism row: The proposed mosque has stirred-up emotions in New York

Political row: President Obama has sparked anger amongst Democrats after revealing he suppots the plans to build the mosque

Political row: President Obama has sparked anger amongst Democrats after revealing he suppots the plans to build the mosque

Misconception: Up to one in four people, or 24 per cent, said they think Mr Obama, whose middle name is Hussein, is a Muslim

Misconception: Up to one in four people, or 24 per cent, said they think Mr Obama, whose middle name is Hussein, is a Muslim

Freedom of religion: President Obama stated last week that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in the U.S.

Freedom of religion: President Obama stated last week that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in the U.S.

Paterson had said this week that he had hoped to meet with developers in a couple of days to talk about the concerns of those still hurt and angry over the 9/11 attacks.

He says the group postponed a Monday meeting because its imam leader was travelling.

Paterson has also offered to provide state assistance for any relocation.

Up to one in four people, or 24 per cent, said they think Mr Obama, whose middle name is Hussein, is a Muslim after he announced his support for a the building of a mosque near the site of the 9/11 attacks.

The Time poll released last week also revealed that more than 70 per cent of those questioned believed that to build the mosque would insult the memory of victims.

The poll emerged as the mosque developers refused to rule out accepting funding for the plan from Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Mr Obama said he has ‘no regrets’ over the comments he made about the right of Muslims to build an Islamic centre near Ground Zero.

Sensitive issue: Hundreds of protestors took to the streets forcing police to erect barricades

Sensitive issue: Hundreds of protestors took to the streets forcing police to erect barricades

Mr Obama sparked outrage from Republicans and the families of 9/11 victims after supporting the right of developers to build the mosque.

He inserted himself into the debate over the mosque last week when he said Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in the U.S.

A day later, he told reporters that he wasn’t endorsing the specifics of the mosque plan.

According to the Siena Research Institute poll, 63 per cent of New Yorkers polled were against its construction and just 27 per cent were for it. But in the same poll a similar margin – 64-to-28 per cent – said the developers had the constitutional right to built it.

The mosque, previously called Cordoba House but now known as Park51, will be a 13-storey Muslim community centre costing £70million which will include a swimming pool, gym, theatre and sports facilities.

Construction is due to begin on September 11 next year – the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack.

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Ostegun goizaldean istripua izan eta Deba eta Zumaia arteko flysch eremu babestuan hondoa jota dagoen Motxo arrantzaontzia nola atera aztertzeko bilera egingo dute gaur auziarekin zerikusia duten alde guztiek, Donostian, Gipuzkoako Itsasertzerako Lurralde Zerbitzuan. Bilera horretan Motxo-ren armadoreak azaldu behar du zein asmo duen ontzia desegiteko. Izan ere, joan den ostiralean osorik ateratzeko ahaleginak hutsegin ostean, ontzia ataldatzea beste aukerarik ez da izango. Ondorio horretara iritsi dira gai horrekin lanean dabiltzan Gipuzkoako Diputazioko eta Itsas Salbamenduko teknikariak.

Ostegun goizaldean izan zuen istripua Bermeoko (Bizkaia) arrantzaontziak, eta ostiralean itsasgorarekin batera saiatu ziren ateratzen atoiontzi baten laguntzarekin. Ahalegin horretan ari zirela, ordea, irauli egin zen Motxo, eta teknikarien arabera, hor galdu ziren osorik ateratzeko aukera guztiak. Gainera, ontziak barruan metatutako 12 tona erregai isuri zituen itsasora.

Deba eta Zumaia arteko itsaslabarra babestutako biotopoa da, eta istripuaren berri izan zenetik kezka handia sortu du ingurumenean eragin zezakeen kalteak. Esan bezala erregaia isuri zuen ontziak, baina Diputazioko teknikarien arabera ez du ingurumenean kalte handirik eragin: gehiena lurrundu egin dela diote.

Nolanahi ere, azken orduetan ugaritu egin dira Motxo-ren salbamenduaren inguruan instituzioek izan duten jokabidearen inguruko kritikak. Batetik, Laguntzara Sistemaren Munduko Gobernuz Kanpoko Adituen Taldeak adierazi du arrantzaontziko marinelen salbamendua asko atzeratu zela, hain zuzen ere, haien bizitza arriskuan jartzeraino. Horrez gain, ontzia hondoa jotan dagoen lekutik ateratzeko behar adina baliabide jarri diren zalantzan jarri du Zumaiako alkateak. sare sozialera Ander Izagirre kazetariak ekarri du Motxo-ren inguruko kritika, Santi Ianiz argazkilariak bere blogean egin duen kronikaren harira. Zumaiako herri aldizkariaren webgunean itsaslabarrean sumatzen den gasolio usainaren berri eman dute.


Marija J Borg

B’madwar 47,000 ħaddiem, is-Settur Pubbliku huwa l-akbar employer fil-pajjiż.

6 ta’Novembru 2010

Fil-Baġit li għadda tħabbru għadd ta’ miżuri dwar is-settur pubbliku; miżuri intiżi biex itejbu l-effiċjenza ta’ dan is-settur u l-mod kif jopera. Issemmew fost l-oħrajn dawn il-miżuri:

1. Matul is-sena li ġejja, id-Dipartimenti u l-entitajiet tal-Gvern (għandhom il-mira li): itejbu l-effiċjenza tagħhom mill-anqas bi tnejn fil-mija. Kull Dipartiment u entità pubblika għandha tissottometti, sal-15 ta’ Diċembru, pjan t’azzjoni dwar kif se jtejbu l-effiċjenza tagħhom;

2. fejn jagħmel sens, jimpjegaw persuna waħda għal kull tnejn li jispiċċaw. Id-dipartimenti u entitajiet huma mistennija li jużaw ir-riżorsi umani bl-aħjar mod possibbli;

3. jitwaqqaf grupp ta’ ħidma biex iħares mill-qrib lejn il-metodi u l-proċessi tax-xiri fis-settur pubbliku, u biex jipproponi strateġiji u miżuri għat-titjib fl-effiċjenza u l-valur għall-flus. Dan il-grupp se jintalab ilesti r-rapport tiegħu sal-aħħar t’Awissu li ġej;

4. it-trasport tal-Gvern irid jiġi mmaniġġjat b’mod iżjed effiċjenti. Għalhekk, fuq perijodu ta’ sentejn, se jsir eżerċizzju biex jiġi analizzat it-trasport tal Gvern, u jsiru rakkomandazzjonijiet fuq l-użu, ippjanar, fjuwil, manutenzjoni u tiswija tal-vetturi użati. Huwa mistenni li din ir-riforma tkun lesta sal 2013.

Kont selettiva, iva, imma dawn il-miżuri kienu l-iktar li laqtuni għaliex inħoss li għandhom potenzjal ta’ impatt qawwi pożittiv fuq l-ekonomija; dejjem jekk imħaddma sew.
Titjib fl-effiċjenza

Il-miżura tat-titjib fl-effiċjenza hi għan ta’ min ifaħħru. Spiss nisimgħu lmenti dwar il-ħtieġa ta’ titjib fis-servizz mogħti minn istituzzjonijiet, entitajiet u dipartimenti pubbliċi. Il-kjuwijiet li rajna fix-xhur li għaddew fl-uffiċċji tal-ARMS huma eżempju ta’ dik li ħafna jassoċjaw mal-ineffiċjenza mistħajla fis-servizz pubbliku.

Min-naħa l-oħra, ilkoll nafu b’eżempji differenti ta’effiċjenza (jiġini f’moħħi s-servizz tal-passaporti fejn biex nagħmlu u biex niġbru domt biss ftit minuti… iżjed domt infittex fejn nipparkja!).

Il-ħtieġa tal-effiċjenza tmur lil hinn minn dak li huwa l-front office, jew aħjar il-wiċċ tad-dipartimenti li jaqdu lill-gvern. Il-makna kollha trid tkun effiċjenti. Bħal kull entità mdaqqsa oħra, il-gvern għandu diversi dipartimenti li jagħtu servizz lil dipartimenti oħra fi ħdanu.

Ħarsa lejn il-websjat tad-Dipartiment tal-Informazzjoni turi diversi minn dawn, bħal ngħidu aħna, fl-Uffiċċju tal-Prim Ministru, il-Management Support, id-dipartimenti risponsabbli mir-riżorsi umani u l-impjegati, is-servizzi informatiċi u l-corporate services.

Għalxejn jittejjeb il-wiċċ tal-pubbliku jekk l-effiċjenza fil-mod kif joffru s-servizzi lil xilxin id-dipartimenti ma jitjiebx ukoll.

Nistaqsi wkoll kif se jitkejjel it-titjib fl-effiċjenza. Biex din tkun komputata jeħtieġ li tkun teżisti metrika trasparenti u ta’ min joqgħod fuqha tas-servizz offrut preżentement; biex it-titjib ikun imqabbel magħha. Jeżistu indikaturi u sistema ta’ kejl għal kull indikatur biex b’hekk ikun jista’ jitkejjel l-operat ta’ kull dipartiment? Jista’ jkun li teżisti, iżda allura kif ma saritx riferenza għaliha?
Tnaqqis fir-riżorsi umani

Nhar l-Erbgħa, fit-tweġiba tiegħu lill-Kap tal-Oppożizzjoni, il-Prim Ministru Dr Lawrence Gonzi stqarr li mill-2004 sa llum, is-Settur Pubbliku naqqas madwar 6,000 ħaddiem. Tradizzjonalment, is-Settur Pubbliku kien l-ikbar employer fil-pajjiż. B’madwar 47,000 ħaddiem, meta tqis li f’Malta skont l-aħħar ċifri tal-Uffiċċju Nazzjonali tal-Istatistika hawn madwar 145,000 ħaddiem, ifisser li ftit inqas minn terz tal-ħaddiema huma impjegati mas-settur pubbliku.

Hawn, b’settur pubbliku qed nifhem dipartimenti u ministeri li skond l-NSO, f’Ġunju kellhom 34,047 impjegat, entitajiet statutorji li f’Ġunju kellhom 10,020 impjegat u kumpaniji b’maġġoranza tal-ishma f’idejn il-gvern, li f’Ġunju kienu jħaddmu 3,008 impjegat.

It-tnaqqis ta’ ħaddiema mis-settur pubbliku, jew aħjar it-tnaqqis tar-rata ta’ impjegati fis-settur pubbliku bħala rata tat-total ta’ persuni f’impjieg fil-pajjiż hu pass pożittiv, għall-inqas bħala prinċipju. Finalment, il-pagi ta’ dawn jitħallsu mit-taxxi u għalhekk kull impjegat għandu s-salarju tiegħu mantnut mill-popolazzjoni – ovvjament, parti hi mwieżna mit-taxxi mħallsa minn impjegati fl-istess settur pubbliku!

Fl-istess ħin, iż-żamma ta’ amministrazzjoni pubblika hi ħtieġa. Skont it-teorija ekonomika hemm ċerti servizzi, imsejħa public goods (oġġetti li l-konsum tagħhom ma jnaqqasx lil ħaddieħor milli jikkunsmahom b’mod ekwivalenti). Xi uħud huma b’xejn (eżempju l-arja), oħrajn huma provduti mill-privat (eżempju t-televiżjoni – f’ċertu sens). Il-parti l-kbira huma provduti mill-gvern u jinkludu dawk is-servizzi kollha li l-privat mhux se jidħol għalihom minn jeddu, bħaż-żamma tal-ordni pubblika, jew il-ġustizzja jew it-toroq u ż-żamma ta’ spazji pubbliċi. Dawn kollha jeħtieġu impjegati biex ikunu jistgħu jingħataw.

Hemm riskju fit-tnaqqis ta’ impjegati. Dejjem hemm fejn jitħaffew proċeduri burokratiċi u titnaqqas il-ħela ta’ ħin u l-użu ħażin ta’ riżorsi. Fl-istess ħin, hemm limitu kemm jista’ jsir tnaqqis. Jekk nassumu li hemm uffiċċju ta’ erba’ min-nies fejn kulħadd jagħti l-mija fil-mija tal-ġurnata tiegħu, it-tnaqqis ta’ persuna mit-tim tista’ tfisser żieda ta’ 33 fil-mija tax-xogħol fuq il-bqija tat-tijm, bil-konsegwenza li dawn jistgħu jitkissru; l-impatt faċilment ikun li dawn jgħaddu minn burn-out, u jibdew jitilqu huma ukoll. Ħarsa lejn dak li qed jiġri fis-settur tas-saħħa, fejn l-impejgati huma spiss mitlubin jaħdmu sigħat twal ħafna hu sintomatiku.
Miżuri oħrajn

Iż-żewġ miżuri l-oħrajn imħabbra jirrigwardaw żewġ elementi ta’ konsum: il-metodi u l-proċessi tax-xiri fis-settur pubbliku, u l-użu aħjar tal-mod kif ikun immaniġġjat it-trasport tal-Gvern. It-titjib fl-immaniġġjar tar-riżorsi disponibbli huwa dejjem utiq.

Ix-xiri tal-gvern spiss kien fl-aħbarijiet dwar allegati abbużi (ara l-każ tal-impjant il-ġdid għall-power station ta’ Dellimara). Huwa ukoll proċess tqil (biżżejjed tara tender document fil-websajt tad-Dipartiment tal-Kuntratti), li waħdu jesiġi ħafna investiment ta’ ħin u riżorsi biex jitwettaq. It-tħaffif ta’ dan kollu b’mod li titnaqqas il-possibilità ta’ abbuż u tisseddaq l-effiċjenza tal-proċess tgħin biss tista’.

L-istess jingħad għal dak li hu mmaniġġjar tat-trasport. Fi żmien fejn il-prezz tal-fjuwil qed jiżdied, fejn Malta għandha miri ta’ tnaqqis ta’ tniġġiż u t-trasport ġie identifikat bħala sors ewlieni ta’ dan, u minħabba li l-gvern innifsu għandu numru mdaqqas ta’ vetturi, allura l-immaniġġjar aħjar tat-trasport mis-settur pubbliku għandu l-possibilità li jgħin biex jintlaqtu diversi għasafar b’ġebla waħda!


Pharaonic inscription found in Saudi Arabia

The rock with a hieroglyphic inscription dating back to at least 1160 B.C.


Published: Nov 7, 2010 22:58 Updated: Nov 7, 2010 22:58

RIYADH: The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) announced Sunday that Saudi archaeologists have discovered an ancient hieroglyphic inscription mentioning an Egyptian pharaoh on a rock near the ancient oasis of Tayma, Tabuk province. The discovery, about 400 km north of Madinah and northeast of the ancient Nabatean site Madain Saleh, marks the first confirmed hieroglyphic inscription discovered in the Kingdom.

“The rock was bearing an inscription of King Ramses III, one of the kings who ruled ancient Egypt from 1192 1160 B.C.,” said SCTA Vice President for Antiquities and Museums Ali Ibrahim Al-Ghabban at a news conference on Sunday at the Commission on National Museum.

Al-Ghabban said the discovery was made in July. Since then researchers have posited that Tayma was on an important land route between the western coast of Arabia and the Nile Valley. Recent discoveries at the site prove Tayma was inhabited as far back as the Bronze Age (2,000 B.C.). The trade route has been used by caravans for centuries to carry goods such as incense, copper, gold and silver.

“The route connected the Nile Valley, Port Qulzum, the city of Suez, and then went by sea to Srabit near the port of Abu Zenima on the Gulf of Suez, where the archaeologists found a temple dedicated to King Ramses III, then across the Sinai Peninsula, where they also found several inscriptions similar to that found in Tayma,” said Al-Ghabban.

The land route passed through Aqaba, Jordan, where similar inscriptions have been discovered.

The find comes at a time when Saudi Arabia is working to implement a policy of promoting the country’s oft-ignored historical sites, especially pertaining to its pre-Islamic period.

Tayma is mentioned in ancient Assyrian texts dating back to the 8th century B.C. and referred to numerous times in the Hebrew Bible. Babylonian King Nabonidus spent 10 years in Tayma. His royal complex is currently being excavated. Last year a fragment of a cuneiform text mentioning Nabonidus was discovered there.


Abū Muḥammad ʿAlī ibn Aḥmad ibn Saʿīd ibn Ḥazm (Arabic: أبو محمد علي بن احمد بن سعيد بن حزم‎; also sometimes known as al-Andalusī aẓ-Ẓāhirī;[3] 7 November 994–15 August 1064[1] (456 AH[2])) was an Andalusian philosopher, litterateur, psychologist, historian, jurist and theologian born in Córdoba, present-day Spain.[4] He was a leading proponent of the Zahiri school of Islamic thought and produced a reported 400 works of which only 40 still survive, covering a range of topics such as Islamic jurisprudence, logic, history, ethics, comparative religion, and theology, as well as The Ring of the Dove, on the art of love.[4]

“Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart and the senses.”

– Lao Tzu quotes


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The first book of Maccabees is a book written in Hebrew by a Jewish author after the restoration of an independent Jewish kingdom, about the latter part of the second century BC. The original Hebrew is lost and the most important surviving version is the Greek translation contained in the Septuagint. The book is held as canonical scripture by some Christian churches (including Catholic, Orthodox and Copt churches), but not by most Protestant groups. Such Protestant groups consider it to be an apocryphal book (see also Deuterocanon). In modern-day Judaism, the book is often of great historical interest, but has no official religious status.

The setting of the book is about a century after the conquest of Judea by the Greeks under Alexander the Great, after Alexander’s empire has been divided so that Judea was part of the Greek Seleucid Empire. It tells how the Greek ruler Antiochus IV Epiphanes attempted to suppress the practice of basic Jewish religious law, resulting in a Jewish revolt against Seleucid rule. The book covers the whole of the revolt, from 175 to 134 BC, highlighting how the salvation of the Jewish people in this crisis came from God through Mattathias‘ family, particularly his sons, Judas Maccabeus, Jonathan Maccabaeus, and Simon Maccabaeus, and Simon’s son, John Hyrcanus. The doctrine expressed in the book reflects traditional Jewish teaching, without later doctrines found, for example, in 2 Maccabees.

In the first chapter, Alexander the Great conquers the territory of Judea, only to be eventually succeeded by the Seleucid Antiochus IV Epiphanes. After successfully invading the Ptolemaic kingdom of Egypt, Antiochus IV captures Jerusalem and removes the sacred objects from the Jerusalem temple, slaughtering many Jews. He then imposes a tax and establishes a fortress in Jerusalem.

Antiochus then tries to suppress public observance of Jewish laws, in an attempt to secure control over the Jews. He desecrates the Temple by setting up an “abomination of desolation” (an idol). Antiochus forbids both circumcision and possession of Jewish scriptures on pain of death. He forbids observance of the sabbath and the offering of sacrifices at the Temple. He also requires Jewish leaders to sacrifice to idols. While enforcement may be targeting only Jewish leaders, some Jews (and children) are killed as a warning to others. Antiochus introduces Hellenistic culture; this process of Hellenization included the construction of gymnasiums in Jerusalem. Among other effects, this discouraged the Jewish rite of circumcision even further, which had already been officially forbidden; a man’s state could not be concealed in the gymnasium, where men trained and socialized in the nude. But 1 Maccabees also insists that there were many Jews who sought out or welcomed the introduction of Greek culture. According to the text, some Jewish men even engaged in foreskin restoration in order to pass as fully Greek.

Mattathias calls upon people loyal to the traditions of Israel to oppose the invaders and the Jewish Hellenizers, and his three sons begin a military campaign against them. There is one complete loss of a thousand Jews (men, women and children) to Antiochus when the Jewish defenders refuse to fight on the Sabbath. The other Jews then reason that, when attacked, they must fight even on the holy day. In 165 BC the Temple is freed and reconsecrated, so that ritual sacrifices may begin again. The festival of Hanukkah is instituted by Judas Maccabeus and his brothers to celebrate this event (1 Macc. iv. 59). Judas seeks an alliance with the Roman Republic to remove the Greeks. He is “succeeded” by his brother Jonathan, who becomes high priest and also seeks alliance with Rome and confirms alliance with Areus of Sparta (1 Macc. xii. 1-23). Simon follows them, receiving the double office of high priest and prince of Israel. (Simon and his successors form the Hasmonean dynasty, which is not always considered a valid kingship by the Jews, since they were not of the lineage of David.) Simon leads the people in peace and prosperity, until he is murdered by agents of Ptolemy, son of Abubus, who had been named governor of the region by the Macedonian Greeks. He is succeeded by his son, John Hyrcanus.

The name Maccabee in Hebrew, means “hammer”. This is properly applied to the first leader of the revolt, Judas, third son of Mattathias, whose attacks were “hammer-like”. The name Maccabee also might have been derived from the battle cry of the revolt, Mi Kamocha B’elim, YHWH (“Who is like you among the heavenly powers, YHWH!” – Exodus ch. 15:11.) In Hebrew, the first letters of this four word slogan form the acronym MKBY (Mem, Kaf, Bet and Yod). This became synonymous with the revolt. The name came to be used for his brothers as well, which accounts for the title of the book. Scholars infer that in the original Hebrew, the term used for “abomination of desolation” would have sounded similar to “Lord of heaven”, so that this term might refer to an image or altar of Zeus.

The narrative is primarily prose text, but is interrupted by seven poetic sections, which imitate classical Hebrew poetry. These include four laments and three hymns of praise.

The text comes to us in three codices of the Septuagint: the Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Alexandrinus and Codex Venetus, as well as some cursives.

Though the original book was written in Hebrew, as can be deduced by a number of Hebrew idioms in the text, the original has been lost and the version which comes down to us is the Septuagint. Some authors date the original Hebrew text even closer to the events covered, while a few suggest a later date. Because of the accuracy of the historical account, if the later date is taken, the author would have to have had access to first-hand reports of the events or other primary sources.

Origen of Alexandria[1] gives testimony to the existence of an original Hebrew text. Jerome likewise claims “the first book of Maccabees I have found to be Hebrew, the second is Greek, as can be proved from the very style” (per Prologus Galeatus). Many scholars suggest that they may have actually had access to a Biblical Aramaic paraphrase of the work — most Christian scholars of the time did not distinguish between Hebrew and Aramaic. In either case, only the Greek text has survived, and this only through its inclusion in the Christian canon. Origen claims that the title of the original was Sarbēth Sarbanael (variants include Σαρβηθ Σα[ρ]βαναι ελ “Sarbēth Sa[r]banai El” and Σαρβηθ Σα[ρ]βανέελ Sarbēth Sa[r]baneel), an enigmatic Greek transliteration from a Semitic original. Various reconstructions have been proposed:

  • Book of the Prince of the House of Israel” or “the Prince of the House of God (El)“, from the Hebrew שַׂר בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל, Sar Beit-Yisra’el or בֵּית אֵל‎ שַׂר, Sar Beit-El, respectively,
  • History of the House of the Warriors[2],
  • Book of the House of the Princes of God[3],
  • the Book of the Dynasty of God’s resisters[4], perhaps from סֵפֶר בֵּית סָרְבָנֵי אֵל, Sefer Beit Sarevanei El (“Book of the House who strive for God”).

Gustaf Dalman, meanwhile, suggests that the title is a corruption of the Aramaic “The Book of the House of the Hasmoneans“.[5]

The book’s author is unknown, but is assumed to have been a devout Jew from the Holy Land who may have taken part in the events described in the book. He shows intimate and detailed geographical knowledge of the Holy Land, but is inaccurate in his information about foreign countries. The author interprets the events not as a miraculous intervention by God, but rather God’s using the instrument of the military genius of the Maccabees to achieve his ends. The words “God” and “Lord” never occur in the text, always being replaced by “Heaven” or “He”.

Ibn Hazm was born into a notable family. His great-grandfather Hazm was a convert to Islam, his grandfather Sa’id moved to Córdoba and his father Ahmad both held high advisory positions in the court of the Umayyad Caliph Hisham II.[5] The family claimed to be of Persian descent.[6] However, some modern day scholars believe that there is evidence that Ibn Hazm was a descendant of a Christian Iberian family in Manta Lisham (near Sevilla).[6]

Ibn Hazm lived among the circle of the ruling hierarchy of the Umayyad government, produced an eager and observant attitude in young Ibn Hazm, he gained an excellent educational opportunity at Cordoba. His talent gained him fame and entered service under the Caliphs of Córdoba, and was known to have worked under Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir, Hajib (Grand Vizier) to the last of the Ummayad caliphs, Hisham III. He was also a colleague of Abd al-Rahman Sanchuelo.

After the death of the Grand Vizier al-Muzaffar in 1008, the Umayyad Caliphate of Spain, became embroiled in a civil war that lasted until 1031 resulting in its collapse of the central authority of Córdoba and the emergence of many smaller incompetent states called Taifas.

Historic map of Majorca and Minorca by the Ottoman admiral Piri Reis.

[6] Ibn Hazm’s father died in 1012 and Ibn Hazm continued to speak in favor of a centralized Political Structure he was accused of supporting the Umayyads, for which he was frequently imprisoned.[6] By 1031 Ibn Hazm retreated to his family estate at Manta Lisham and had begun to express his activist convictions in the literary form.[6] According to one of his sons, Ibn Hazm produced some 80,000 pages of writing, consisting of 400 works, only 40 of those works are still existent. A varied character of Ibn Hazm’s literary activity covers an impressive range of Anthropology, Jurisprudence, Logic, History, Ethics, Comparative Religion and Theology. He is also known to have been fond of adventure and travels, he wrote about his visit to the island of Majorca and its capitol Medina Mayurqa near Palma, and gives interesting insight into the invention and construction of Caravels.

According to a saying of the period, “the tongue of Ibn Hazm was a twin brother to the sword of al-Hajjaj (an infamous 7th century general and governor of Iraq)[6] and he became so frequently quoted that the phrase “Ibn Hazm said” became proverbial.[6]

He opposed the allegorical interpretation of religious texts, preferring instead a grammatical and syntactical interpretation of the Qur’an. He granted cognitive legitimacy only to revelation and sensation and considered deductive reasoning insufficient in legal and religious matters. He did much to revitalize the Zahiri madhhab, which denied the legitimacy of legal rulings based upon qiyas (analogy) and focused upon the literal meanings of legal injunctions in the Qur’an and hadith and governance. Many of his rulings differed from those of his Zahiri predecessors, and consequently Ibn Hazm’s followers are sometimes described as comprising a distinct madhhab.[citation needed]

Main article: List of works by ibn Hazm

  • Al Kitab al-Muhallā bi’l Athār (The Book Ornamented with traditions), only existing book of his legal rulings
  • Ihkam Al Ahkam fi Usul al Ahkam, usul al fiqh
  • Mukhtasar al-Muhalla li Ibn Hazm, an abridgment of Ibn Hazm’s fiqh manual[7]
  • Ṭawq al-Ḥamāmah (The Dove’s Necklace or The Ring of the Dove);[8] In classical Arabic literary tradition, the dove represented love, or romance, while the ring refers to a necklace. In essence, it is the “necklace of love”. The book is meant to adorn one’s love. It is inspired by ‘ishq (defined by Hakim Bey as “crazed, hopeless passion”), and treats equally of desire both for males and females, but cautions the reader against breaking religious injunctions and praises remaining chaste.

Ibn Hazm also wrote more than ten books on medicine.

A number of his works have been translated, including:

  • Al-Akhlaq wa al-Siyar fi Mudawat al-Nufus (Morals and Right Conduct in the Healing of Souls”) [9]
  • Maratib al-`Ulum (“The Categories of the Sciences”)
  • Al-Mujalla
  • Al-Fisal fi al-Milal wa al-Ahwa’ wa al-Nihal (“The Separator Concerning Religions, Heresies, and Sects”).[10]

In his Fisal (Detailed Critical Examination), a treatise on Islamic science, philosophy and theology, Ibn Hazm stressed the importance of sense perception as he realized that human reason can be flawed. While he recognized the importance of reason, since the Qur’an itself invites reflection, he argued that this reflection refers mainly to revelation and sense data, since the principles of reason are themselves derived entirely from sense experience. He concludes that reason is not a faculty for independent research or discovery, but that sense perception should be used in its place, an idea that forms the basis of empiricism.[11]

Ibn Hazm wrote the Scope of Logic on logic in Islamic philosophy, in which he stressed on the importance of sense perception as a source of knowledge.[12] He wrote that the “first sources of all human knowledge are the soundly used senses and the intuitions of reason, combined with a correct understanding of a language.” Ibn Hazm also criticized some of the more traditionalist theologians who were opposed to the use of logic and argued that the first generations of Muslims did not rely on logic. His response was that the early Muslims had witnessed the revelation directly, whereas the Muslims of his time have been exposed to contrasting beliefs, hence the use of logic is necessary in order to preserve the true teachings of Islam.[13]

In his book, In Pursuit of Virtue, ibn Hazm had urged his readers with the following:

Do not use your energy except for a cause more noble than yourself. Such a cause cannot be found except in Almighty God Himself: to preach the truth, to defend womanhood, to repel humiliation which your creator has not imposed upon you, to help the oppressed. Anyone who uses his energy for the sake of the vanities of the world is like someone who exchanges gemstones for gravel.[14]


  • The Ring of the Dove by Ibn Hazm, translation and preface by A. J. Arberry ISBN 1-898942-02-1 [15]
  • al-Fasl fi al-milal wa-al-ahwa’ wa-al-nihal, by Ibn Hazm. Bairut: Dar al-Jil, 1985
  • Abenházam de Córdoba y su Historia crítica de las ideas religiosas vols. 1–5, by Miguel Asín Palacios. Madrid, 1928–1932
  • Muslim writers on Judaism and the Hebrew Bible : from Ibn Rabban to Ibn Hazm, by Camilla Adang. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1996. ISBN 90-04-10034-2
  • Ibn Hazm et la polémique islamo-chrétienne dans l´histoire de l´Islam, by Abdelilah Ljamai. Leiden: Brill, 2003. ISBN 90-04-12844-1
  • Kitab al-‘axlaq wa-s-siyar ou Risala fi mudawat an-nufus wa-tahdib al-‘axlaq wa-z-zuhd fi r-rada’il / Ibn Hazm al-‘Andalusi ; introd., éd. critique, remarques par Eva Riad. Uppsala : Univ. ; Stockholm : Almqvist & Wiksell international (distr.), 1980. ISBN 91-554-1048-0
  • The Zahiris, Their Doctrine and Their History: a contribution to the history of Islamic theology by Ignaz Goldziher, trans. and ed. Wolfgang Behn. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1971.
  • “Ibn Hazm of Cordova: on Porphyry’s Isagoge”, by Rafael Ramón Guerrero, in J. Meirinhos – O. Weijers (eds.): Florilegium mediaevale. Études offertes à Jacqueline Hamesse à l’occasion de son éméritat, Louvain-La-Neuve, FIDEM, 2009, pp. 525-540.

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