Posts Tagged 'muslims'

Muslims preach RSS values in Lucknow

Muslims preach RSS values in Lucknow

By Indo Asian News Service | IANS – Wed, Feb 9 9:13 PM ISTtweet0EmailPrintLucknow, Feb 9 (IANS) Donning skull caps and armed with RSS literature, small groups of Muslims here are on a campaign to preach the values of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh among members of their community.

Under the banner of the Akhil Bharatiya Maha Sufi Sant Sewa Samiti (ABMSSSS), around 75 Muslims are on a door-to-door campaign to project ‘the spirit and values of RSS’.

‘You can call our exercise a campaign to link Muslims with the RSS, an organisation that has undertaken several rehabilitation programmes in the country,’ ABMSSSS president Mohammad Wahid Chisti told IANS.

Chisti, an editor of an Urdu daily, said that like him Muslims from different professional backgrounds were involved in the drive that started Sunday with RSS assistance.

‘Though most of those associated with the campaign are Muslim clerics, small traders, students and social activists are also involved,’ he said.

Chisti and his friends every morning fan out in different localities of the city to reach out to fellow Muslims. They hand over copies of a booklet published by the RSS.

‘Initially, we present an overview of RSS to the Muslims and then provide them the booklets,’ said Chisti.

‘In our interaction, we emphasize the experiences shared by prominent personalities including Mahatma Gandhi, B.R. Ambedkar and Zakir Hussain about the Sangh,’ said Chisti.

RSS and ABMSSSS members said the campaign was finalised a few months ago.

RSS ‘pracharak’ Umesh Kumar told IANS: ‘Involvement of the Muslims has immensely helped us. Had we directly approached the Muslims, we would have faced difficulties.’

Here Come the Pious – V K Shashikumar

http://tehelka.com/story_main47.asp?filename=Ne091010Coverstory.asp

ENGINEERING STUDENT Rayana Khasi returned home to north Kerala from Chennai four months ago, charmed and unaware that she was carrying deadly arsenal in her baggage. She had just finished with a course in aeronautical engineering, and was considering a career in the civil services. From Chennai she brought a few of her favourite things. Dreams. Knickknacks. Jeans. In Kasargod, northern Kerala, where she lived, Rayana got the shock of her life. They hated her jeans. They called her at odd times, men she didn’t know, and told her what they would do with her if she didn’t dump the jeans and put on purdah. Each time Rayana stepped out, they stared and said horrible things.

Then, four months later, she wrote to the Women’s Commission asking that she be allowed to wear what she likes. The state posted constables to protect Rayana so she could sport denim. Now, they stalked her. One day Rayana was returning after meeting her lawyer in Ernakulam, a town near the middle of Kerala. The constable got off midway. A group tried to block the car Rayana was in. She drove off. They chased the car and attacked her with stones. She had to drive to a town nearby, where the locals lent a touch of security. All this, because they didn’t like what she wore. Because they thought she was impious.

Hindus and Christians are beginning to feel uncomfortable with this brand of assertive, militant religion-centred politics of the Popular Front of India
THEY SAID they were from the Popular Front of India. Initially it was teasing and harassment. But harassment is worse than a threat to life. The comments and staring each time I ventured out, as if I was a criminal, was intolerable. They wrote to me saying they want me to wear purdah. They said what I did was blasphemy. But I don’t think it is a problem of Islam. This is an issue of the right over one’s body. It is sad that everybody is making it out as a religious problem, even those who support me,” says Rayana. Soon after the stone attack, she met Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan and the DGP. “They promised me they would do their best.”

The Popular Front of India (PFI), with its headquarters in Kozhikode, Kerala, is throwing up a curious test for India’s secularism. In classified central government reports, the PFI is accused of introducing an extremist pan-Islamist movement to India. In submissions to the High Court, the Kerala police claim it is linked to the Al Qaeda. Achuthanandan suggested the PFI has a 20-year plan to Islamicise Kerala. And then, Keralites were jolted out of their secular somnambulism on the first Sunday of July when a bunch of PFI cadres chopped the right palm of a college teacher, TJ Joseph, for setting a question paper that allegedly insulted Prophet Mohammad.

Faux power SDPI’s Abubacker inspects the guard of honour at a ‘freedom parade’
Hindus and Christians are beginning to feel uncomfortable with this brand of assertive, militant religion-centred politics. “They are the Indian Taliban, but they cannot overcome the syncretic culture of Kerala,” says Raveendran, a building contractor in Thrissur. According to him, the PFI is a temporary fad funded by petrodollars from Saudi Arabia. Mathew Nethumpara, a lawyer in Ernakulam, says he is not surprised because “intolerance has been brewing for several years”. Rayana’s struggle is a graphic illustration of the holes in Kerala’s secular net. This young student from Cherkalam in Kasargod has already received two death threats from the PFI for refusing to wear the veil. “I will not succumb to their pressure,” she says.

The PFI is a four-year-old organisation that has thrived on the controversy it generates. It was formed in December 2006, when three organisations, the National Development Front (NDF) of Kerala, the Manitha Neethi Pasarai (MNP) of Tamil Nadu, and the Karnataka Forum for Dignity (KFD) merged to form the new entity. The NDFwas involved in the Marad Beach carnage, Kerala, in May 2003. Its cadres killed eight Hindu fishermen after a scuffle over drinking water at a public tap spiraled into a communal conflict. In 2009, a special court sentenced 65 NDF cadres to life imprisonment for this. The MNP is believed to be the new avatar of Al Umma, accused of attacking an office of the rightwing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Chennai in November 1993. Eleven RSS cadres were killed here. The PFI considers the members of Hamas, Taliban, and Al Qaeda as freedom fighters. In one of its publications, it says: “We declare solidarity to the freedom fighters in Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq.”

The PFI is expanding because there is a feeling among Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis that they have been cheated, says chief Nasrudheen Elamaram
Confidential missives of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the Kerala Police accessed by TEHELKA suggest the PFI is the fastest-growing cadre-based Muslim organisation in India. It held its first political conference in 2009 in Kozhikode, where it came out with its influential Kozhikode Declaration. In it, the PFI said: “The War on Terror is a US agenda. It is a political tactic shaped by hegemonic forces bent upon world domination. The Muslims are the victims of the war on terror. The Indian government supports the WOT and makes available the county’s machinery for implementing the plan hatched by the US-Israel axis. It’s in the wake of this alliance that we witness the increase in bomb blasts in the country.

“The Muslims, on the other hand, have been pushed down by inferiority complex created by peculiar historic developments. They are under the wrong impression that any political move of their own is wrong. While the national secular parties are anxious to use the Muslim votes, they have been reluctant to take them in as equal partners. They have failed to secure the rights of the Muslims as citizens and refused to give even legal protection to them during communal riots which are a byword for collective anti-Muslim attacks. When the administration joined hands with anti-Muslim forces it created fear in Muslim minds. There is strong suspicion that plans are being hatched and implemented deliberately to break the Muslims economically and socially.

“The denial of basic needs and willful negligence of their just demands have imposed social slavery. No political party can shrug off responsibility for creating this situation. So it is imperative that Muslim organisations come to the forefront for the advancement of the community and to create awareness about their rights.”

It is impossible to judge whether the PFI has really sown the seeds of Talibanisation in India. For instance, Kerala’s Director General of Police Jacob Punnose says, “I realise the danger but I don’t want to exaggerate it.” Unnikrishnan, a well-known Malayalam filmmaker and culture critic says educated Muslim youth in Kerala cannot be seen in a monolithic context. “But we cannot deny that the consolidation of pan-Islamism can be seen in Kerala.” He considers the PFI’s militant retaliation for perceived injustices “a dangerously romantic imagery”. He says Muslim radicalisation in Kerala would have a big impact.

Forward march The parade, which was held in 2008 and 09, was banned this year
THE PFI’s Kerala head Nasrudheen Elamaram says his organisation is expanding because there is a feeling among Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis that they have been cheated. The PFI sees the State as the enemy. That there are visible signs of Islamisation is accepted by all. Unnikrishnan describes this as “hybrid Islamisation”. Suddenly, over the past decade, Kerala’s 26 percent Muslims appear to be twice their number. That’s because the dress code of Kerala Muslims has been made Arabic. All across Kerala most Muslim women wear head scarves or purdah or hijab. “It is fashionable to wear hijab,” says Salima, a student of BSc, Applied Statistics, in Kozhikode’s Ferook College. When first-generation educated Muslims went to the Gulf countries, they returned far more conservative than they might have been when they left India. This has been subsequently imbibed by friends, relatives and neighbours. While Elamaram admits “Gulf influence” is a factor, he adds, “Purdah is matter of faith. There is no compulsion.”

Sunil Kumar KK, is an administrator in Calicut University. He has been an anti-communalism activist working primarily among students. “In the past few years I have seen more women, and more educated women, for instance my neighbour who has a Phd, take to the hijab. There is radicalisation but that would be in small pockets. Also, one must not underestimate the role of the mafia in fuelling terror activities or easing recruitment. Go to a remote town and promise jobs or college admissions or just money. Tell people that ‘another community’ has lots of college seats and Muslims don’t. This seems to be what works for groups like the PFI,” he says.

PART OF the PFI’s growth is because it has a separate media company, the Inter Media Private Limited, held by the Thejas Publishing Charitable Trust. Thejas is the name of the PFI’s Malayalam daily that started publishing in January 2006. Since then the PFI has launched four news publications in Malayalam, Tamil and Kannada. It also has four book publishing ventures in the same languages. It has a website and a dedicated web team. It has set up an ‘Empower India Press’ to publish titles in English, Hindi and Urdu. Another organisation, called ‘Media Research and Development’ produces audiovisual products and documentaries. “We see the media as a vehicle for political empowerment,” says NP Chekkutty, Executive Editor of Thejas. “The PFI’s membership is only for Muslims because a cadre-based organisation is important for social mobilisation. So, it is not the Talibanisation or radicalisation in the sense of what is happening in Pakistan and Afghanistan,” he adds. Soon Thejas will start an edition in Saudi Arabia. So far, Thejas has employed more than 400 media professionals and is working on a Saudi Arabia edition.

All this has caught the Centre’s attention. A letter classified as secret issued by the union home ministry on 25 November 2009 states: “Thejas is part of a pan-Islamic publication network catering to the communal agenda of certain organisations. The publication invariably takes anti-establishment views on issues like plight of Muslims, Kashmir, and India’s relations with the US and Israel. Occasionally, it describes the government’s counter-militancy effort as state-sponsored terrorism, thereby endorsing the stance of militant elements. More importantly, contemporary developments and issues are invariably projected with a communal slant.” The Kerala Government took this seriously and withdrew all advertisements from Thejas on 14 May this year. “In the past financial year we got more than Rs 80 lakh as revenue from government advertisements. The decision to withdraw them from Thejas is a political decision aimed at destroying the newspaper,” says Chekkutty. But, in strange twist, the Centre’s Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity revived government advertisements in Thejas. The first one was an appeal by the central government to maintain calm and peace in the aftermath of the Allahabad High Court’s Babri Masjid verdict!

Black rage Activists of the NWF protest in Mysore against the Gaza blockade
In the period after the Babri Masjid verdict, the PFI is gearing up to bring all Muslim groups in India under its banner. At its Kozhikode conference, Zafaryab Jilani, the convener of the Babri Masjid Action Committee, articulated a long-cherished dream. “The Front should make sure that under its banner all the suppressed sections close ranks.” The Kozhikode Declaration also called for the unification and consolidation of Muslims, Dalits and Backwards as a ‘genuine Third Force’ in Indian politics.

The PFI has garnered rapid support within the Muslim community because it has been able to demonstrate its organisational capability. Its ‘Freedom Parade’ is the shining showpiece of its cadrestrength. On 15 August in the past two years, PFI cadres dressed in uniforms similar to paramilitary organisations staged a perfectly synchronised march in cities across Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Muslims in Kozhikode thronged the roads and packed into the city stadium to watch the march. In 2008, the PFI chose to stage the Freedom March in Mangalore, a town known for its Hindutva extremist groups like the Sri Ram Sene. PFI seniors take pains to explain the rationale of the Freedom Parade. “The Muslim community needs to show its strength for political mobilisation. A disciplined cadre-based organisation is necessary for the progress of the community,” says Elamaram.

Some Muslims admire the PFI for its educational, social and public health initiatives. But the biggest inducement for the youth to join the outfit is jobs
This year the Kerala Government banned the parade. Kerala police officers point to a few curious features of the PFI’s show of strength. It was always held in the afternoon or evening after the official Independence Day functions were over. No PFI senior has ever turned up for official I-Day functions. The PFI has consistently refused to furnish the list of names and contact details of its marching cadres to the police so their strength is not precisely known. Police officers claim the cadres have been trained by former police and army personnel. The police claim that within the PFI, there is an Ideology Wing, Intelligence Wing and an Action Group.

SOME SOUTH Indian Muslims admire the PFI for its educational, social and public health initiatives. It offers career counselling, distributes educational aids and study material, and runs motivational programmes like the ‘School Chalo’ campaign every summer. Its medical camps are also popular. But the biggest inducement for Muslim youth to join the PFI is jobs. “We have been fairly successful in building an organisation. There was a change because employment was given to Muslim girls, boys and Dalits,” says Elamaram. The police claim PFI goes beyond providing jobs. “All Muslim youth joining the PFI are given mobile phones, motorcycles and money. The organisation also assists in job recruitments in the Gulf,” says Vinson M Paul, ADGP, Crime.

The PFI says it tapped into the anger of the Indian Muslim community after the release of the Sachar Committee Report. The official admission by the government that the Muslim community is the most backward in India set the ground for the PFI’s spectacular growth. Its assertive, militant brand of politics aimed at acquiring political power at the national level appealed to Muslims who felt powerless. The PFI’s political rationale, that the Indian Muslim community’s absence in the corridors of power is the root cause for genocidal attacks on Muslims, has resonated deeply within the community. This powerlessness leads to systematic killings of Muslims in fake encounters and communal pogroms, the PFI holds.

The Babri Masjid demolition, the riots in its wake and the Gujarat genocide are often cited in PFI literature. The organisation believes the American war on terror and India’s new-found friendship with Israel has furthered weakened Muslim “servility”. They claim that India’s security and strategic establishment have been irreparably influenced by American and Israeli intelligence and security agencies. PFI claims that Indian Muslims are victimised by Hindus for eating beef. The media constantly questions their patriotism and unquestioningly accept the role of Muslims in terrorist activities.

United front PFI leaders in a show of strength during the Kozhikode meeting
Much of this is true and a decision by Indian Muslims to consolidate themselves as a self-confident political force, partaking of democracy as equal players not second-class citizens dependent on “appeasements”, could have been a welcome move. Like the social churn Lalu Prasad and Mayawati brought in their wake, it could bring positive yield: more jobs, more education, more leverage. What makes the growth of the PFI and its associate organisations worrying though is its undertow of violence and Islamic fundamentalism.

Says Hameed Chennamangalur, former Calicut University professor and social commentator, “It’s not just the PFI. There are many other groups that share their Islamist ideology. They are like the Al Qaeda and similar groupings in Egypt, Pakistan or Bangladesh. They oppose America not because it is imperialist but because it is Christian imperialism and they see Islam as the only truth. The PFI, unlike older avatars, is extremely well funded and has been steadily building institutions — newspapers, publishing, schools.

The people who need to worry in Kerala are the liberal Muslims. Those who supported the professor who had his hand chopped off, the pro-Rushdie types…
“Mainstream Muslims in Kerala may not come out and applaud them when they do things like cutting the professor’s hand but they support them inwardly. They have supported them quietly earlier when, as the NDF, they conducted similar moral policing. The question paper incident was a small issue that they blew up because groups like them do not tolerate criticism or perceived criticism of Islam. Just like the Ram Sene or the Shiv Sena they are geared to blowing up tiny incidents.

A MUSLIM school in Kannur that took boys and girls out on a normal school excursion gets attacked. Their bus gets blocked because the NDF does not want boys or girls to mix. Or in Malapurram they tell Muslim owners of restaurants that they cannot open during Ramadan. Or decades ago in the same region the NDF burnt movie theatres they suspected were showing pornographic films. The people who need to worry in Kerala are liberal Muslims. The people who supported the professor who had his hand chopped off, pro-Rushdie people, pro-Taslima Nasreen people … they are the ones who need to watch out. People like the Chekkanur Moulvi who was a progressive cleric who was kidnapped and killed in 1993 … those are the kind of people who need to worry.”

There is evidently big following for the PFI even in states other than Kerala. In the past two years the PFI and its political wing, Social Democratic Party of India, have set up committees in 15 states and already have a significant following in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The PFI’s formulations of “total empowerment” for Muslims, Dalits, Adivasis and Backward Castes have connected with other Muslim political groups and parties. The Asom United Democratic Front (AUDF), led by perfume magnate Maulana Badruddin Ajmal, has declared solidarity with the PFI. The AUDF, with 11 MLAs in the 126-member Assam legislature, is a significant player in Assam politics. Political midgets like the Milli Ettehad Parishad in West Bengal and the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhgam (TMMK) have joined the PFI-led national alliance of Muslim groups and parties. Much of this comes from the Kozhikode conference. There, Ebrahim Rasool, then advisor to the South African President, energised the PFI leadership with a simple proposition: “Muslims in South Africa account for 3 percent of its population, but have 15 percent representation in Parliament. If we can do it, why can’t the 13 percent Muslims in India do the same thing?”

Dress code Rayana Khasi has been hounded for wearing jeans in Kasargod
Stuff like this is raising an alarm in New Delhi and Thiruvananthapuram. Achuthanandan said the PFI was trying to make Kerala a “Muslim country.” “How can we convert all the people of Kerala to Islam in 20 years?” rebuts Elamaram. “If this is true, then Achuthanandan and his children too will have to change their religion.”

Taking a cue from the freedom guaranteed in the Indian Constitution to propagate religion, the PFI has set up religious propagation and education centres in Theni and Ervadi in Tamil Nadu. While Kerala police officials allege that these Arivagam centres for men and women are basically conversion centres, the PFI claims these are institutions for teaching the basic tenets of Islam over four months to those who voluntarily accept it as their religion. The course covers “reading Quran, performing salah, learning basic duas and hadiths and also conveys the message of Islam to the people. Accommodation, food and other basic requirements are given free for those who undergo these courses.” The ‘Q’ (intelligence) Branch of the Tamil Nadu Police has despatched several missives to the government alleging that the PFI is conducting a conversion campaign through its Arivagam centres.

The PFI also mobilised the Imams in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to form the Imams Council “for unity among the ulema”. The eventual aim is to string together a National Imams Council “to undertake (Muslim) social causes more effectively. But this is being viewed suspiciously by central intelligence agencies and the Kerala police because one of the first acts of the Imam Council was to republish a controversial 55-page book, ‘Asavarnarkku Nallathu Islam’ (Islam is Good for Non-Savarnas).

This book was first published by the Thiyya Youth League of Kochi in 1936. It contained essays by well known Ezhava and Thiyya intellectuals like Sahodaran K. Ayyappan, K. Sukumaran, K.C. Vallon and AK Bhaskar. They advocated mass conversion to Islam because of stubborn denial of temple entry rights to backward castes by the rulers of Travancore. The Kerala Police claims that in the present circumstances this book is “highly inflammatory”. The police interrogated the President of the Imam Council, Abdul Rehman Bakhiq, on the grounds that the Council was promoting communal discord. “What I am seeing is not radicalisation in the traditional sense. We understand what we are doing here is very effective. We are giving voice to a segment of people who have been ignored. We are becoming assertive through reasoned argument,” says Chekkutty. “And keeping it within the limits of the Indian Constitution.”

One argument the PFI is making is the implementation of Sharia or Islamic Banking in India. In early September, a team of Islamic scholars assembled by the PFI met RBI officials to present their case on Islamic Banking. According to the PFI, banking in accordance with Sharia laws “is the answer to abolish economic inequality and discrimination”. But RBI officials have already informed the government that under the current banking laws and regulations, Islamic banking cannot be legally implemented. The World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) and the Muslim World League (MWL) or Rabitha, both funded by Saudi Arabia’s royal family are actively engaged in the propagation of Islam and Sharia banking in India.

Muslim politicians from Kerala, like Minister of State for Railways E. Ahmed and PV Wahab have been pushing the agenda of Islamic banking. WAMY’s representative Abdul Rahman and the MWL or Rabitha’s advisor Khalaf Bin Sulaiman Namary have also been in touch with Kerala Government and Muslim politicians for this. “The PFI is one of the beneficiaries of WAMY and Rabitha largesse,” says a police officer involved in investigating the PFI’s alleged terror linkages. For the sake of context, it is instructive to recall that American and European governments have severely curtailed the activities of WAMY and MWL on grounds of “terror financing”.

THE FUNDING requirements are channeled through these representatives, often through the hawala route. Union Home Secretary GK Pillai, during a recent visit to Kollam in Kerala, told journalists that “the funding (for Muslim organisations) seems to be more from outside than from locals.” These funds are then apportioned by WAMY and MWL’s local representatives to mosques and local Muslim community organisations for religious propagation, relief activities and education. More often than not these funds are used for religious indoctrination and radicalisation.

Taking a cue from the freedom guaranteed to propagate religion, the PFI has set up religious education centres in Theni and Ervadi in Tamil Nadu
Remittances to Kerala via legal channels show a 135 percent growth in the past five years. In 2003, remittance from the Gulf was $38 billion. In 2008 it was $90 billion. It is well known that funds transferred through hawala are 300 times the officially documented remittance. The Kerala Government has also come up with a curious nugget on land purchases. In several districts nearly 70 percent land ownership is held by Muslims, of which a considerable chunk is held by Muslim religious institutions and organisations through proxies. “We do not have a mechanism to monitor these activities. India will be taken by surprise,” says Dr Siby Mathew, ADGP Intelligence, Kerala Police. There are 25 lakh Malayali expatriates in the Gulf. More than half are Muslims. A significant amount of funding to fundamentalist and religious organisation is through their donation. A classified home ministry report alleges that rich Muslim businessmen in India and abroad fund PFI activities.

Also, the Internal Security Investigation Team (ISIT) of the Kerala Police is probing PFI activities. They claim to have seized Talibanic material, videos and “highly communal” and subversive literature, in raids conducted across Kerala. In an affidavit submitted to the Kerala High Court by R. Rajashekharan Nair, Deputy Secretary (Home), the government claimed the ISIT found CDs linked to the Al Qaeda. The court was also informed of the PFI’s alleged connections with the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT). The suspected PFI terror links were backed by revelations made the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad when it arrested LeT operatives Mirza Himayat Baig and Shaikh Lal Baba Mohammad Hussain Farid, alias Bilal, for carrying out the German Bakery blast in Pune. According to the Maharashtra ATS, Baig was an active PFI cadre and was involved in arranging recruits for the LeT. None of this has been proved, of course, and PFI leaders rubbish the investigations as a fallout of India’s proximity to the US.

The Indian government believes that Kerala is turning into a cauldron of competing religious and communal interests. “Kerala should be concerned about religious fundamentalism,” warned Home Secretary Pillai in the first week of September. Surely, Kerala’s citizenry are aware of their responsibility. Only they can goad their political representatives to find a power-sharing solution for its large-sized religious minorities. It might become a role model for rest of India.

(With inputs from Shahina KK in Thiruvananthapuram)

Some Muslims open to moving mosque

Some Muslims open to moving mosque
The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Some-Muslims-open-to-moving-mosque/articleshow/6669107.cms#ixzz11BmIEaUK

MUMBAI: A day after the Allahabad high court verdict on the Ayodhya title suit, a section of Muslims have started looking at the option of taking their mosque away from the Ram Janmabhoomi site. Some prominent clerics, peace activists and Islamic scholars feel that by not appealing in the Supreme Court and paving the way for Ram temple in Ayodhya, Muslims will earn a great deal of Hindu and secular Indians’ goodwill. Significantly, the option is not un-Islamic.

“The Sunni Waqf Board and All India Muslim Personal Law Board should show a gesture and vacate the land the court has allotted them. It should not be seen as surrender,” said Islamic scholar Zeenat Shaukat Ali. Ali added that there are precedents in Muslim history where Muslims had showed generosity and given up their places of worship once they found that these were built on places of worship of other religions.

She further said, “In the 8th century, the Ummayid caliph Ummavi Waleed surrendered the land of a mosque to Christians which his predecessors had grabbed. In Ayodhya, even if Muslims believe, and even if the court has vindicated their stand that the Babri mosque was not built on razed temple, they should be practical and build a mosque away from the temple site.”

The fear of Muslims is that once they give up their claim on the Ayodhya land, Hindutva organisations might raise the issues of Mathura and Kashi. Leading Islamic scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan said this fear was removed once the Places of Worship Act 1993 was brought which says that the status quo of all the place of worship, except Ram Janmabhoomi- Babri Masjid, will be maintained as on August 15, 1947. Moreover, the Maulana maintained, several mosques have been relocated in countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

“It’s not in Quran and Hadith that once there’s a mosque, it’s always a mosque. It was later made part of Muslim belief by some fuqhas (Islamic jurists). Nobody is saying that Muslims should give up their claim on the mosque. They can relocate it,” said Khan.

Javed Anand of Muslims for Secular Democracy (MSD) argued that even if the SC endorsed the HC verdict and Muslims got their share in the disputed land, it was almost impossible that Muslims would ever be able to rebuild a mosque on the same site. “The best option is that they gift the land to the Hindus and set an example of magnanimity. It will open a new chapter of Hindu-Muslim unity,” said Anand.

Echoing this, Dongri-based businessman and president of Ekta Welfare Association Iqbal Memon Officer said a petition in the Supreme Court would only keep the issue boiling.

Three Different Reports – One Common Theme

Read an interesting article on growing islam in the west and threat as perceived by thinkers in west. We too have the same situation in india. I think, the world started realizing the danger of islam.

http://www.mediasyndicate.in/medsyn/1260379825.htm

Afghanistan’s marginalised Hindus

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2009/aug/02/afghanistan-hindus/print

Afghanistan’s marginalised Hindus
Reza Mohammadi (guardian.co.uk, Sunday 2 August 2009 12.00 BST )

Perhaps Radha wasn’t the most beautiful girl in Afghanistan. But such were this Hindu girl’s looks and kindness that all of Kabul’s bachelors fell in love with her. Her fame was such that the people of Kabul composed a famous song for her. The song says: “We have made Lala promise not to cremate Radha”. Nearly 80 years later, this song is still sung in Afghanistan. Lala, meaning brother, is the term Afghans use to refer to Hindus. In the song, the people ask Lala not to cremate Radha’s beautiful body after her death, as is required by Hindu tradition.

During the reign of King Amanullah Khan (1919-1928) Radha’s father, Ranji Das, was finance minister, a role that had long been filled by the Hindus of Afghanistan. But the growth of religious fundamentalism has now pushed the Hindus out of government offices, forcing them into the bazaars. It is now many years since a Hindu held a government post in the country. But they are still running a major part of the Afghan bazaars, and come second in trading medical products.

Overlooking Kabul is a mountain called Asmayi. The name is apparently a Hindu term, deriving from the godess Asha. Today, the mountain has become the largest pilgrimage centre for Hindu worshippers. According to a Hindu tale, an eternal fire burns at the summit of Asmayi, a fire which has refused to die out for 4000 years. There are two other centres of worship in Kabul, the Harshari Natha temple in Kabul’s Baghban Kucha, and the Shorbazaar Temple. These are Kabul’s oldest temples, where Hindus celebrate divali and naradatar. They are also the meeting places of the Sikh and Hindu religious associations. In addition to these, Kabul today has many other newer and larger temples scattered in different parts of the city.

According to Professor Rajesh Kochhar’s book, The Vedic People, Afghanistan is one of the oldest Hindu centres of the world. Kochhar says that a large part of Rigveda was written in Afghanistan, with Helmand and Arghandab being mentioned as sacred rivers in both the Rigveda and Mahabharata. The Surya temple, dedicated to the god of sun, and the Yogi of Panjshir, which represents a worshipper turned into stone, north of Kabul, are both ancient Hindu sites. And yet, if foreigners were to travel to Afghanistan today, they would encounter so few Hindus that they would assume the Hindus are either from elsewhere or recent immigrants. They would encounter a community that is neither playing its part in politics nor getting involved with the rest of the world.

Hindus are clearly among the oldest inhabitants of Afghanistan. They are the native people, whom Islamic fundamentalism has turned into unprotected strangers. Strangers, who this year found themselves forced to argue for days with Muslims in the centre of Kabul in order to be allowed to cremate their dead in line with their tradition. Strangers who never dare to send their children to school for fear of mockery.

In February 2001, during the Taliban’s reign, Hindus found themselves forced to wear a distinguishing yellow stripe on their arm. Even though the Taliban have been removed, Abdurrab Rasul Sayyaf, presently an MP in Karzai’s administration, has expressed a similar opinion on TV:

The Sikhs and Hindus of Afghanistan are considered part of the dhimmi in line with sharia law. The government has an obligation to protect them but they are required to pay a poll tax. They can hold civilian occupations, such as doctors, but they cannot be in charge of a governmental body or office. Upon meeting a Muslim, a Hindu is required to greet the Muslim first. If a Muslim is standing and there is a chair, the Hindu is not allowed to sit down on the chair.

According to MP Anarkali Honaryar, a representative of Sikhs and Hindus in the Afghan parliament, the majority of the country’s 200,000 Sikhs and Hindus are now living abroad, and the number of people leaving Afghanistan for India, Europe and or Pakistan grows by the day.

Friends of Afghanistan’s cultural heritage increasingly fear that these ancient inhabitants of the country might one day meet with the same fate of other peoples of Afghanistan, including Jews and Buddhists, and so vanish from the the country altogether.

Translated by Nushin Arbabzadah

NGOs, Teesta spiced up Gujarat riot incidents: SIT

NGOs, Teesta spiced up Gujarat riot incidents: SIT

14 Apr 2009, 0413 hrs IST, Dhananjay

Mahapatra, TNN

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/NGOs-spiced-up-Gujarat-riot-cases/articleshow/4396986.cms

New Delhi: The Special Investigation Team responsibile for the arrests of those accused in Gujarat riots has severely censured NGOs and social activist Teesta Setalvad who campaigned for the riot victims.

In a significant development, the SIT led by former CBI director R K Raghavan told the Supreme Court on Monday that the celebrated rights activist cooked up macabre tales of wanton killings.

Many incidents of killings and violence were cooked up, false charges were levelled against then police chief P C Pandey and false witnesses were tutored to give evidence about imaginary incidents, the SIT said in a report submitted before a Bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam.

* A pregnant Muslim woman Kausar Banu was gangraped by a mob, who then gouged out the foetus with sharp weapons

* Dumping of dead bodies into a well by rioteers at Naroda Patiya

* Police botching up investigation into the killing of British nationals, who were on a visit to Gujarat and unfortunately got caught in the riots

Rohtagi said: “On a reading of the report, it is clear that horrendous allegations made by the NGOs were false. Stereotyped affidavits were supplied by a social activist and the allegations made in them were found untrue.”

Obviously happy with the fresh findings of the SIT which was responsible for the recent arrests of former Gujarat minister Maya Kodanani and VHP leader Jaideep Patel, Rohtagi tried to spruce up the image of the Modi administration, which was castigated in the Best Bakery case by the apex court as “modern day Neros”. He was swiftly told by the Bench that but for the SIT, many more accused, who are freshly added, would not have been brought to book .

The Bench said there was no room for allegations and counter-allegations at this late stage. “In riot cases, the more the delay, there is likelihood of falsity creeping in. So, there should be a designated court to fast track the trials. Riot cases should be given priority because feelings run high having a cascading effect,” it said and asked for suggestions from the Gujarat government, Centre, NGOs and amicus curiae Harish Salve, who said the time had come for the apex court to lift the stay on trials into several post-Godhra riot cases.

While additional solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam agreed with the court that public prosecutors should be selected in consultation with Raghavan, counsel Indira Jaising said there should be a complete regime for protection of witnesses as the same government, which was accused of engineering the riots, was in power now.

Salve said that he would consult Raghavan and let the court know about a witness protection system for post-Godhra riot cases. The court asked the parties to submit their suggestions within a week.

India and Israel: Common Allies; Common Targets – By Dr. Richard L. Benkin

India and Israel: Common Allies; Common Targets

By Dr. Richard L. Benkin

Along with the United States, India and Israel are the nations most prominently in the crosshairs of Islamists everywhere. Superficially, the two countries could not differ more: population, area, poverty levels, urbanization, and so forth. Their more essential commonalities, however, make them natural allies against the same enemies: genocidal Islamists from the outside; and a politically ascendant moral weakness from the inside.

They came into being within a year of each other shortly after World War II. Both waged a protracted resistance against European occupiers, which along with the post war collapse of the British Empire won both peoples independence on their ancient soils. Neither birth was without trauma, however. Both nations faced partition demands from South Asian Middle Eastern Muslims who refused to live under Hindu or Jewish leadership. Though it was a blatantly racist demand, the international community capitulated and offered to partition the new countries. While it did not even debate the legitimacy of these Muslim demands, we can only imagine how it would have reacted if the situations were reversed and Jews and Hindus refused to live in Muslim countries. Quite differently if history is any guide. Ancient Jewish communities in newly created Syria and Iraq were in immediate danger, yet found no protection or even support for autonomous status.

In South Asia, Muslims accepted the partition, and the largest and most rapid migration of people in history that accompanied it; while exact figures have been elusive, estimates of at least 30 million people are considered reliable with an additional 500,000 killed. Thus were born the nations of Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan, part of which later became Bangladesh. Yet, Muslim leaders to this day do not recognize India’s legitimacy as a Hindu country. They argue that since there were periodic Muslim leaders in the pre-British era, the entire nation is Muslim in accordance with Muslim law.

Whether out of pique, overconfidence, or religious hatred, Middle Eastern Muslims rejected partition. They vowed to destroy the Jewish state and carry out a massive genocide. Several Arab nations jointly tried just that, but newborn State of Israel prevailed against all odds and with the hostility of that same international community. The Muslim Arabs miscalculated badly, something they would do again and again. Several subsequent Arab attempts at genocide were equally disastrous, despite international passivity (save the United States in 1973). Instead, Muslim race hatred was rewarded with massive amounts of aid and an attempt to re-write some sort of historical legitimacy for the Arabs. The Muslims of the Middle East, like their South Asian brethren, still refuse to recognize this non-Muslim state’s right to exist.

As a result, both nations face the danger of a potential fifth column. Indian Muslims hold clearly identified “Muslim” political positions, often at odds with “Hindu” ones; and a large part of the Israeli Arab community has made clear its loyalty to Arab positions that undermine the Jewish state. Moreover, both Israeli Jews and Indian Hindus need to wake up to the fact that, no matter how just their cause or how defensive their actions, they cannot expect anything but opposition to their fight against radical Islam from all but an oppressed minority of Muslims. The goal of Islamists and their clients remains the same for India and Israel: their total eradication and replacement by an Islamic State. For decades, Arab states made no secret of their intention to destroy Israel; some still do. Europe’s always lurking Antisemitism made marginalizing the world’s only Jewish state easy; India is just too big. The Muslim states tried aggressive warfare against both nations, but failing at it time and again changed tactics so that Israel and India face terrorist attacks by their surrogates. Israel has had to deal with terrorism longer, and many Indians believe that the success of Israeli counterterrorism makes it a model for them. But the most curious and significant fact is that both nations have the power to destroy their enemies; yet, both nations refrain from doing so.

Neither country needs to suspend the rule of law or otherwise become like their enemies to succeed; they are better than that and need to remain so. Their enemies make it clear that they can’t wait to get their hands on some weapons of mass destruction so they can use them against these two great democracies. On the other hand, both India and Israel have had them for decades and have never used them. Alone they can achieve success, but together they could be an indomitable force against Islamist terror and the nations that support it. Moreover, they both have to cast out the same demons and follow the same strategy for it to happen.

First, stop pandering to the enemy, both inside and outside of the country. Indians call it pseudo secularism. Israelis just call it appeasement. Both democracies bend over backwards to show the world that they are sensitive to their Muslim minorities; but let’s remember that they are minorities in both countries. While free governments have no moral right to deprive them of basic rights or of social or legal equality. But that same system of morality does not require the majorities—Hindus in India, Jews in Israel—to show their compassion by giving into every alleged slight, merited or not.

Second, be unyielding in goals and principles. Leaders in both Israel and India (as well as many in the United States) have a basic misunderstanding how our enemies and their potential allies—who also are out potential allies—understand our actions. Too often, they confuse “understanding” with moral relativism. For instance, neither they nor their cohorts in Europe spoke of “the white man’s burden” to bring civilization to the rest of the world. Yet, how different is that discredited concept from an Imam’s call to bring the rest of the world under Islam or peoples of all faiths under Sharia law? And they have never publicly condemned that imperialistic and racist policy. For decades, democracies have prided themselves on inclusion and lowering barriers that previously limited interaction among ethnic and religious groups. Yet, in India, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere, Muslims are given free reign to apply Sharia law in various matters even if it conflicts with natio
nal principles of freedom and decency. Those leaders who believe they are showing their compassion are showing nothing more than weakness. For if we are willing to look the other way when our enemies routinely violate our principles we claim to hold dear, we appear to have no principles at all—something that Islamists claim in order to seduce converts to their cause.

Third, characterize the enemy with the inflammatory rhetoric that accurately reflects what they are. Imagine even one Jewish Sabbath service at which the Rabbi exhorts the congregation to seek out all Muslims and slaughter them; even imagine an Israeli Rabbi saying the same thing about all Arabs. You can’t; it doesn’t happen. And we know that because if it did, there would be world wide outrage, newspaper condemnations, cries or outrage from every human rights NGO, and maybe even a UN investigation. Rabbis and the Israeli government would be even quicker to condemn it. Yet, the converse occurs every Friday at mosques throughout Israel—that’s every Friday—official PA and other Muslim radio stations even carry those racist and murder-inciting statements. But the Israeli government does not issue equally loud condemnations or apply laws against incitement to religious hatred (which it surely would apply to Jews). It does not protest to the United Nations or to the various
Arab governments that claim to be “peace partners.” Why not? Every time a Muslim leader—secular or religious—uses the language of hate, Israeli, Indian, and US leaders must loudly condemn it as such. Call on Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the UN to investigate it. Plaster every airwave with our outrage and the indecent statements of imams and tyrants. Remain strong together and others will join. Make those who would rather skulk away in silence stand in front of television cameras and justify hatred again and again and again until their duplicity and moral cowardice force a change.

Recently, I was part of a US Congressional briefing about minority oppression in Bangladesh. When I rose to spoke, I expressed my own outrage that I was the first speaker to call the action against Bangladeshi Hindus what it really is: ethnic cleansing. I also asked if there could be any doubt that Bangladesh’s Vested Property Act is racist? Yet, no one calls it what it is. Every time that hated law is mentioned, it should be described as the “racist” Vested Property Act. Every time the plight of Bangladesh’s Hindus is noted, it must be called ethnic cleansing. Our enemies use hyperbole all the time to paint themselves as victims, and the world buys it. How much more important is it that we use the same language to describe events that actually fit it!

Fourth, reject outdated perspectives and the self-interest of governments in trouble. Indian and Israeli governments both seek approval from Europe like it is some sort of moral arbiter in this world. Yet, Europe’s one consistent response to evil has been silence; appeasement. Indian leaders especially need to drop their Euro-centric bias. For Europe has never modeled moral behavior in the face of immorality. All of Europe either participated or was complicit in the Nazi holocaust of the Jews; it did nothing to stop genocide in its former African colonies of Nigeria (Biafra), Rwanda, the Sudan, and in countless other places where the body counts have been ignored. Can we really expect Europe to do anything but express regret after Israel’s 6 million Jews are murdered; or after there are no more Hindus in Pakistan or Bangladesh?

Moreover, we have seen weak governments in both countries choose the course of appeasement in the false hope of strengthening their own position. In India, the left-center Congress Party has entered into agreements with Indian communists upon whom they are now dependent. In Israel, a Prime Minister facing imminent indictment has just concluded a deal that broke Israeli pledges never to release terrorists who had Israeli blood on their hands. Indians and Israelis must let them know that in an effort to save their own skins, they are willing to sell out their children. And they must do so with profound outrage.

Fifth, use the military power at your disposal to dispatch those who are killing your own children—and generally calling those who do heroes!

One final bit of perspective. Some years back, my mother, wife, and daughter were enjoying a meal in a Jerusalem pizza parlor. Several weeks later, an Arab terrorist walked into that same pizza parlor and exploded a bomb, murdering 15 people including seven children. I realized that if my mother, wife, and daughter were there that day, the people who dispatched the murdered would have rejoiced in their deaths; and further that anyone who would rejoice in the death of my mother, wife, and daughter, is an enemy with whom peace is impossible.

And the time to act on that realization is now; tomorrow might be too late.