Tarek’s Translations

A reference guide for making sense of the evidence presented in the Tarek Mehanna trial, wherever there is a link to a blog post from Tarek’s own blog (http://iskandrani.wordpress.com/) where he discusses that particular topic.  This is a work in progress.  It is interesting that the prosecution has failed to cite anything at all from Tarek’s blog, especially considering how they stated they were prosecuting him because of what he translated.

  • One of the topics introduced by the defense has been Tarek’s emphasis on the importance of Aman, an Islamic concept referring to the pact of security that places constraints on when the use of violence is permitted and prohibited, whether violence in a defensive form or otherwise.  Here are two documents Tarek translated to share with others what he believed to be the proper way to interpret this pact.  This first translation takes the form of a dialogue, a conversation that took place between Sheikh Azzam and a Muslim arguing with him.  The individual “Brother” is trying to argue that Muslims can disregard the laws of non-Muslims.  Azzam is quite adamant that “the issue isn’t as simple as you think.”
  • This post discusses martyrdom, the Islamic obligation for Muslims to spread knowledge, and other things.  The imperative to spread knowledge is one of the reasons Tarek translated texts; the definition of martyrdom provided here may shed light on what the defense has discussed in the courtroom.
  • The prosecution trumpeted a recording of Tarek saying that his parents knew he did not go to Yemen to graze goats, as their supposed evidence for his reasons for going to Yemen; for context, check out this post on an ancient Muslim who similarly did not go to another land to “look at elephants.”

This is a work in progress.  More to come as more is found.

2 Comments on “Tarek’s Translations”

  1. joeytranchina April 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

    “All art, like all morality, begins by drawing a line.” ~ Fr. John Rutledge, S.J., Loyola University of Los Angeles 1963

    “The Bill of Rights is not a suicide pact.” ~ American saying.

    I am constitutionally opposed to the concept of putting poets in prison for writing, translating or discussing controversial texts — especially since such legislation could have put me in prison throughout much of the early part of my young-adult life, in the 1960s.

    Over the intervening decades, I have come to have greater respect for the power of poetry. Words have consequences — it is the blessing and the curse of poetry to inspire passion. Passion is not the answer to every problem. Especially in politics, passion often leads to bad answers for common sense questions. The slaughter of innocents does not lead to justice it merely perpetuates injustice.

    In confession, it’s taken me ages to harness rage to the productive power of non-violence. I grew up as a counter-puncher. I’m not a fight-starter, but it is not in my nature not to hit back. Certainly, it is within our contemporary experience to see that hitting back out of anger leads to perpetual conflict. It is also within our powers of observation to see that the al-Qaeda model has led to the massive slaughter of innocent Muslim men, women and children. Any rational analysis of forces can project that unfortunate trend into the imaginable future.

    Free speech holds up to the point of yelling “FIRE” in a theater. There is a line between free expression and the conspiracy to incite violence against groups of people — groups are always innocent – only the killers among them are guilty. I confess, I do not know where that line is and without analyzing “intent” — always a mirky area — I do not know how to define that fragile line. Given an optimistic vision of human nature, I would mark that line as close to absolute free speech as is possible.

    “A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad.” ~ Albert Camus

    “All executioners are of one family.” ~ Albert Camus


  1. Conundrum: Protect speech or society? « Craig Eisele on ….. - April 21, 2012

    […] Mehanna translated documents from Arabic to English and posted his controversial views online. Click here for the translated document . . . . A poem Mehanna wrote is also the background of […]

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