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What Makes a Good Judge?

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

And the Book (of Deeds) will be placed (before you); and thou wilt see the sinful in great terror because of what is (recorded) therein; they will say, “Ah! woe to us! what a Book is this! It leaves out nothing small or great, but takes account thereof!” They will find all that they did, placed before them: And not one will thy Lord treat with injustice. (Quran 18:49)

fedwa wazwaz

There is a story attributed to Abu Hurairah, a seventh-century narrator of hadith. He told of a cleaner who lived during the time of the Prophet, peace and blessings upon him.

It happened that the Prophet noticed this cleaner was suddenly missing from the mosque. When he was told the cleaner had died, the Prophet asked: “Why didn’t you inform me?” It seemed that the Prophet’s companions had found the matter trivial, but the Prophet went to the cleaner’s grave to offer prayers.

In this story, we learn about the attentions of the truly just—the sort of person who would be a good judge. The Prophet didn’t say: Was this person a high-achiever? Did they go to Yale? This person’s worth, for the Prophet, didn’t rest on having reached a particular station in life, nor having put together a stunning CV.

Although ways of measuring human worth have changed, much has stayed the same. It is important for us to remember that innocence and guilt are not built on a person’s place in the social hierarchy.

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Localizing the rule of law to end Syria’s civil war

By Omar Alansari-Kreger, Engage Minnesota

Here is a proposition well worth considering: what if a moderate majority rebellion unified around a cause based on universal respect for the rule of law?

omar
What is the best way to achieve a practical peace in a seemingly endless conflict? The Syrian Civil War continues unabated with no hindrances. The more information obtained, the more perplexing its reality. In Syria, each faction has paramilitaries that allege loyalty to a sectarian cause. Alliances are made with foes in order to marginalize a common enemy for tactical gain; hence, the battle lines are always changing. The carnage of Syria’s Civil War has proven one thing: there are no winners, only losers. Assad’s regime claims to be waging a war against foreign terrorism. Its campaign is best rendered as one of wonton repression that accepts nothing but unquestioned loyalty to the regime. There will never be a lasting peace under policies of state-sponsored terrorism. Torture combined with a longing for retribution is preserved by a thirst for revenge; both are timeless and destructive.

As an outsider looking into the Pandora’s Box of the Syrian Civil War, I cannot help but to feel overwhelmed by the plethora of informational resources that compete over its portrayal. It seems that each source is fighting its own war of legitimacy only to leave an observer lost and disillusioned with the facts as they are. Complexity is achieved through the diversity of opinions. It becomes highly unfathomable to imagine a world without either.  A man can make an opinion just as opinions make men, but are opinions alone truly indicative of intelligence, impartiality, and reason? Each perspective that has covered the Syrian Civil War is exclusively motivated by its own narrative.

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