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Muslims need a paradigm shift

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 30 September 2010 | Posted in

By Maqbool Ahmed Siraj

Soviet Russia disintegrated with the failure of Communism. Two decades of globalization-led capitalism is in bad health. With market forces having been given free run of the world, consumerism is taking heavy toll of the environment. Disparities are growing. Social unrest is spiraling. Mines, forest, rivers and hills of the developing world are up for grab by the multinational firms from the developed West. West is shifting its polluting industries to poor nations in the South where tax, environment and labour laws are lax and anyone can get away by bribing the corrupt politicians and bureaucracy. A henpecked world media monopolized by a few individuals in the West fails to report the havoc wrought by the MNCs and highlights non-issue to obscure the corporate loot of the world. The UN has been consistently pursuing a policy of peace without justice rendering the world into a chaotic place.

If indeed there is need for an alternative ideology, it was never more pronounced than today. One wonders if the Muslims would measure up to the task. I would certainly not use the word ‘Islam’ which in my perception, requires much rerailing and revision as what passes for Islam today is mostly fiqh based and ritualized to such an extent that its ideological essence has been lost. It requires much contextualization and fresh interpretation. With Allah having sent the final testament and the prophet, it will be Muslims alone who will be called upon to make fresh interpretation of the divine commands and the Holy Prophet’s directives.

There are two reasons why Muslims could be expected to provide the alternative. One because they are the recipients and bearers of the only book that carries the divine guidance in its pristine pure form. Second they are the underdogs in the current world. It is only the victims and underdogs who can look for alternatives, who should and can think and among whom urge to change is most vigorous.

Currently, Muslims form nearly 23 per cent of the world population. A sizeable percentage, i.e., 34 per cent of them is young, energetic and amenable to change. Majority of them inhabit the part of the globe that lies on the major thoroughfares, sea lanes and flight routes between the two hemispheres and major civilisations. If they could rise as a powerful and creative group with a vision for the humanity—opposed to one merely for themselves—they can certainly make some difference to the global situation.

They face a tall order. This would require the Muslims to develop a vision of the world which is people-centric. Currently they follow a highly ritualized Islam which in their own perception is God-centric and merely emphasizes accumulation of sawab for the hereafter. There are several believers among the Western nations, but they have never indulged in holy rhetoric as is witnessed currently in the Muslim world. It is where the Muslims need a paradigm shift from rhetoric to substance, from advocacy to activism, from following to thinking, from mere belief to action and struggle. The West came up the hard way. It discarded its religious mumbo-jumbo in favour of knowledge. It threw away the yoke of priesthood even though Christianity had religious sanction for it. It limited the ambit of belief and rituals and laid a firm foundation for development of knowledge based on reason and rationale. Blind beliefs were questioned without hurting the basic doctrine.

On another level, it replaced the excessive display of religiosity with values. Hence we see some modicum of rule of the law in the West which has however been weakened considerably due to the excesses of capitalism, consumerism and materialism and disintegration of family. Elections are held periodically, heads roll if misdemeanours are reported, political succession follows a smooth pattern, the administration holds someone accountable for lapses, moral turpitude gets penalized, irrational statements are questioned, chauvinisms find it difficult to penetrate, civil liberties of minorities are protected and economic benefits are assured for anyone who shows enterprise and research and creativity are rewarded. No wonder then why intellectuals from even the rich Muslim nations would like to kick the luxuries of their own lands and settle in the West.

The Muslim world makes a beg fetish of religiosity. Of course, the people are individually pious, respectful of others’ rights, generous, charitable, hospitable, modest and caring. But values that ensure a system based on justice are conspicuous by absence. Rulers and families continue in their seat for years without end, succession is never smooth, social, economic and political justice is seldom available as a rule. Fear of coups and civil unrest drives the rulers to steal national wealth and stack it in the Western banks. Women suffer in silence and minorities of all denominations—linguistic, ethnic and religious—can barely raise their voice against suppression of their rights. Halo of sanctity is such that issues of public interest cannot be discussed. Reformers live in perpetual fear of being dubbed heretics and excommunicated.

It is where Muslims need to look at their own religion and public issues afresh. Reason, rationale and justice needs to be the criterion for legislation rather than holiness of the ancient text. The Quran and the Prophet’s sunnah provide ample space to be interpreted in all situations and societies. But the Muslim mindset has imprisoned itself into juristic schools of Abu Hanifa, Hanbal and Shafii and refuses to emerge out of it. So three utterances of talaq in one sitting is still binding, women cannot travel alone despite social mode of transport and moon’s visibility cannot be determined through astronomical data, zakath cannot be used for schools, modern education and media and hospitals and research. What a travesty of spirit of Islam! Even a cursory look at the Quran reveals that Allah has emphasized values of rahm (compassion), adl (justice), taqwa (God consciousness), haqq (truth) and ihsan (beneficence). But the ill-educated clergy still hangs on to the coat tails of what was said by the jurists in third century Hijrah. Islam was opposed to the priesthood from the day one. But spurious sayings with effect to the madrassa educated clergy are bandied about to prove that this set of ignoramuses have inherited the mantle of leadership from the Prophet, peace be upon him. Unless we look into the travesty of situation, no remedy could be found.

Overall Muslim must discard the culture of following the ancient text and learn to think. Most Muslim researchers believe in quoting rather than drawing inferences from what has been said and acted upon in the past in the light of the current circumstances. This attitude does not help in eliciting guidance. Following leads to mental stagnation while thinking leads to regeneration. The nations that think, march forward. But those who follow remain stuck in the groove.

[Maqbool Ahmad Siraj is a Bangalore-based Journalist and is associated with the BBC and Islamic Voice. He can be contacted at maqsiraj@gmail.com]

Fight for Babri Masjid is fight for justice and rule of law

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in

By Zaheer Ahmad

Is ownership of Babri Masjid the real issue? I think it should not be main issue; original issue is demolition of ancient Masjid that was not only a Masjid but also an ancient historical pride for India. Main issue is more than 2,000 innocent people are killed by some fundamentalists. Issue is some people try to make differences between two communities. Issue is not respecting our system and some fundamentalists not having trust on our constitution. So I think, this fight is not fight of any Hindu, Muslim or any specific community. This fight is for justice, for constitution, for our country, for our great civilization and every Indian should participate and raise their voice against some people who are using masses for their political benefit.

We cannot give permission to anybody to demolish any construction or fight and whatever you want you take yourself. If anybody thinks, there are any controversies for the ownership of anything then they can go with proper channel for the same and we have system to solve all the issues but these all are for those people who have trust on our judiciary and constitution. If anybody wants to do all the things as per their own rule, then they should be punished for the same, irrespective of their caste or community. If anyone doesn’t have trust on our system, our judiciary and our constitution, they can’t be Indian and they should be treated as anti-Indian.

According to my thinking, court should give decision on demolition of Babri Masjid, killing of more than 2,000 innocent people, destruction of peace of the country, riot etc and all the people involved in this should get punishment for their deeds. There should be strong message for all the fundamentalists from any community, we cannot afford any destructive action by anybody, if we fail to do that then I am sure this will happen again and again in the future also and then destruction will be more than our expectation.

After the first decision, we have to go for the ownership of the place and we have to think about that, what to do now of that land. As I think, this is very controversial place since last 60 years and still, we are not in position to give to anyone party. There are many suggestions for the ownership of the land and I think this place should not be given to any party. The government should acquire complete land and they should build an educational institution or world class hospital because these are the two things we really need and all the communities can use them. I believe both the parties will accept the same, without any ego problem.

[Zaheer Ahmad is a Mechanical Engineer associated with a company in Dubai. He can be contacted at zahmad_786@yahoo.co.in]

Bihar Elections: Muslims figure in 1st list of LJP, NCP & BJP

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in ,

By Manzar Bilal

Patna: After Congress party released its first list of candidates for Bihar Assembly elections on Monday, several other parties including LJP, NCP and BJP yesterday released first list of their candidates. All of them including BJP have given tickets to Muslim candidates also.

The Lok Janshakti Party led by Ram Vilas Paswan, who has been raising slogan for Muslim CM and then Dy CM, has disappointed the Muslim community as in the first list for 35 seats the party has given tickets to only 5 Muslims. The party is going to contest on 75 seats. The party is contesting the Bihar Assembly poll in alliance with RJD of Lalu Yadav.

The party fielded Zakir Alam from Araria. Alam had contested last Lok Sabha election unsuccessfully from the Araria constituency on the party ticket and Dr. Shahnawaz Ahmad Kaifi has been allotted ticket from Hayaghat. He had contested 2005 Assembly election unsuccessfully from Darbhanga. Outgoing Bihar Assembly had only one LJP Muslim MLA Izhar Ahmad from Ghanshyampur. Ahmed last week resigned from the party after he was denied ticket and joined JD-U which has given green signal to field him in Gaura Bauram.

LJP Muslim Candidates
1. Zakir Alam from Araria
2. Shahnawaz Alam from Kasba
3. Naushad Alam from Thakurganj
4. Dr. Shahnawaz Ahmad Kaifi from Hayaghat
5. Nek Ahmad from Dhaka

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) of Sharad Pawar which is ally of Congress in Central Government is all set to contest Assembly election here alone. It will contest on selective seats out of total 243. The Party general secretary Tariq Anwar announced the name of 16 candidates for the first phase which includes 5 Muslims. This is highest percentage given to Muslims by any party which has announced their nominees so far. The party did not give chance to its lone sitting Muslim MLA Abdul Jalil from Kadwa.

NCP Muslim candidates
1. Shahjahan Shad from Narpatganj
2. Murshid Alam from Jokihat
3. Mohammad Shakoor Alam from Barari
4. Jamshed Alam from Rupauli
5. Ghulam Hussain from Purnia

The CPI (ML) also released its first list of 48 candidates for first three phases, 16 for each phase. The list has 6 Muslims, 13 Dalits and 4 women. The party has decided to contest on 109 seats out of 243. So far, the party high command has cleared the way for 48 and rest of them will be finalized soon. All the parties of Left Front except CPI-ML (L) did not have any Muslim MLA in the outgoing Bihar Assembly. The CPI-ML (L) had one Muslim MLA Munnaf Alam from Barsoi.

CPI-ML Muslim candidates
1. Niaz Ahmad Siddiqui from Bajpatti
2. Mehboob Alam from Balrampur
3. Serajuddin Ahmad from Barauli
4. Naimuddin Ansari from Siwan
5. Javed Begh from Darbhanga
6. Mohammad Shamshad Ahmad from Mahua

BJP which is going to contest on 102 seats has also released its first list of 87 candidates. Surprisingly, the list has one Muslim candidate Mazharul Bari who will contest from Amour. The constituency has 74.3% Muslim population. Abdul Jaleel Mastan of Congress is sitting MLA from here and this time also he is party’s candidate.

Interestingly, the Bihar Governor has issued notification for the first phase on 27th Sep. and for the second phase today but two major parties--RJD and JD (U)— are yet to officially announce their candidates.

(Courtesy: TwoCircles.net)

Two judges for dividing Ayodhya land, but one favoured temple

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in ,

By Sharat Pradhan

Lucknow: The much-awaited verdict in the decades-old Ayodhya litigation has finally gone in favour of the Ramjanmabhoomi temple. The three-judge special bench was unanimous in declaring that the idol of Lord Ram would remain installed where it was and they have also not disputed that Ayodhya was Ram's birthplace.

While Justice S.U. Khan and Justice Sudhir Agrawal chose to divide the disputed land into three parts, giving one-third share to the mosque and allowing two-thirds of the property to remain with two different Hindu parties, the third judge, Justice Dharam Veer Sharma, however, ruled that the entire land should go to the temple.

Justice Khan and Justice Agrawal also gave three months for the two parties to work out the modalities of sharing the disputed land, all parties were told to maintain status quo during that period.

Justice Khan has gone a step further by adding: "Even though all the three parties are declared to have one-third share each, however if while allotting exact portions some minor adjustments in the share is to be made, then the same will be made and the adversely affected party may be compensated by allotting some portion of the adjoining land which has been acquired by the central government."

Significantly, there was no difference of opinion among the judges over the fact that the disputed structure was a mosque.

However, Justice Sharma has expressed his reservations about the mosque being built in accordance with the tenets of Islam. According to him: "The mosque came into existence against the tenets of Islam, therefore it could not be treated as a mosque."

They were also in agreement on the issue that the idol of Lord Ram was placed under the central dome of the disputed structure on the intervening night of Dec 22-23, 1949.

(Courtesy: IANS, September 30, 2010)

Muslim MLAs with pending criminal cases: Time to dump them

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 29 September 2010 | Posted in

By Mumtaz Alam Falahi

Patna: Politicization of crime or criminals is a pan-India phenomenon now. With each election, number of criminals becoming legislators is increasing – Bihar has lion’s share. It makes even serious crimes less heinous – a grave threat to the society. It’s time to reject candidates – irrespective of their caste, class or creed – if they have pending criminal cases against them.

As many as 117 current MLAs (i.e. 50%) in Bihar had pending criminal cases when they contested Assembly elections in 2005. That year, 358 candidates (39% of total 919 candidates) with pending criminal cases contested elections from major parties including LJP, RJD, JD(U), BJP, BSP, INC, CPI(M)(L)(L) and CPI. Of 358 candidates, 213 had serious criminal cases like murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, robbery, extortion etc. pending against them.

Religion, it seems, hardly makes a difference at this count.

Of 234-member Bihar state Assembly there are only 15 Muslim MLAs today. But about 50% of them had pending criminal cases against them during the 2005 elections, some of them very serious IPC counts including murder.

Four of the 7 Muslim MLAs with pending criminal cases against them, had serious IPC counts.

Sr. No.
Assembly Seat
Name
Party
Cases Serious
IPC Counts
1.
Sikta
Firoz Alam
INC
5
4
2.
Pupri
Shahid Ali Khan
JD(U)
-
-
3.
Bahera
Abdul Bari Siddiqui
RJD
-
-
4.
Ghanshyampur
Izhar Ahmad
LJP
2
3
5.
Jokihat
Manzar Alam
JD(U)
1
0
6.
Bahadurganj
Md. Tousif Alam
INC
2
3
7.
Kishanganj
Akhatarul Iman
RJD
-
-
8.
Amour
Abdul Jalil Mastan
INC
-
-
9.
Baisi
Syed Ruknudin
IND
-
-
10.
Kadwa
Abdul Jalil
NCP
3
0
11.
Barsoi
Munnaf Alam
CPI(ML)
2
7
12.
Manihari
Mubarak Hussain
INC
2
0
13.
Rafiganj
Md. Nehaluddin
RJD
-
-
14.
Gurua
Shakeel Ahmad Kha
RJD
-
-
15.
Simri–Bakhtiarpur
Ch.Mehboob Ali Kaiser
INC
-
-

Congress MLA Firoz Alam had highest 5 pending criminal cases according to his own declarations in the 2005 elections. In total he carried 4 serious IPC counts involving IPC sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 364 (kidnapping or abducting in order to murder) and 379 (theft).

CPI(ML) MLA Munnaf Alam from Barsoi had 7 serious IPC counts in 2 criminal cases pending against him. They included IPC sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), and 324-326 (voluntarily causing hurt with dangerous weapons).

Muslims hardly take into account caste factor when they vote. They are more concerned about new government in every election, and thus chose to vote in favor of a so-called secular party candidate, putting their bid to form a secular government. But will they dump even Muslim and secular candidates with criminal cases pending against him? It is to be seen.

Meanwhile, the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) have jointly appealed to political parties and voters to keep this Bihar assembly election free of candidates having criminal backgrounds. Candidates with pending criminal cases against them should not be given tickets by political parties.

“An attempt must be made to change the trend which existed in the Bihar assembly election 2005. Parties before releasing their list of candidates for the elections should make sure that they do not field any candidates with criminal backgrounds. They should be able to find clean candidates to represent their parties and hence give the voters a choice to choose non tainted candidates,” the groups said in an appeal on September 25.

(Courtesy: TwoCircles.net)

SBOE adopts resolution regarding Islam

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in

By Josh Hinkle

Austin: The State Board of Education is sending a message to textbook publishers: Don't promote one religion at the expense of others.

In a tough call, the Board adopted a resolution about just what part Islam should play in schools' textbooks.

In a process that drew national attention to the capital city, the members approved the religion resolution by a vote of 7-6 to create a “better balance” of religious teachings.

Four members of the Board have proposed this resolution to warn textbook publishers to speak of the world's major religions equally. In the resolution, they said textbooks favor Islam over Christianity.

The Board said those are just the examples highlighted, but other people who testified Friday said you shouldn't single out any religion and rather be balanced across the board.

"Embrace the notion of religious freedom, provide respect and dignity for all faiths for students and the world's religions, and would direct publishers to provide accurate an balanced portrayal of those religions," said Kathy Miller, with the Texas Freedom Network.

"If it's an example of bias that exists, it gives the Board an opportunity to send a message not only in that context but any other context of any other religions to not allow that to happen," said Jonathan Saenz, with the Liberty Institute.

The resolution said in textbooks, Islam is mentioned more than Christianity - favoring Islam while casting Christianity in a bad light.

The Texas Education Agency said the books looked at by the Board were phased out a decade ago.



By law, the board cannot include currently adopted textbooks in the resolution. To do that, it would have to be within 90 days of their adoption.

So, the past books are the most recent the Board had to go on. The Board said it just wants to make sure the unbalance doesn't happen again.

"In going forward, as the books might be developed and paid for in the future, insuring up front that some of these potential imbalances or potential biases are taken care of before they ever reach the textbook review stage at the end," said SBOE Chair Gail Lowe.

The board adopted new history and social studies textbooks earlier this spring.

The Board proposed the resolution, stating the following points:

* “Pro-Islamic/anti-Christian bias has tainted some past Texas Social Studies textbooks.”
* “Pro-Islamic/anti-Christian half-truths, selective disinformation, and false editorial stereotypes still roil in some Social Studies textbooks nationwide.”
* “More such discriminatory treatment of relation may occur as Middle Easterners buy into the U.S. public school textbook oligopoly, as they are now doing.”

Citing a string of religious mentions in Texas textbooks in use from 1999-2003, the proposal cited the following:

* “World History: Patterns of Interaction (McDougal, 1999): The proposal said the book devoted “120 student text lines to Christian beliefs, practices, and holy writings, less than half its 248 on Islamic beliefs, practices, and holy writings.” It also said the book “dwelled for 27 student text lines on Crusaders’ massacres of Muslims at Jerusalem in 1099, while censoring Muslims’ massacres of Christians there in 1244.”
* World History: Connections to Today (Prentice, 1999): The proposal said “Christian beliefs, practices and holy writings received 82 student text lines of coverage, just over half of Islam’s 159.” It also stated, “Three passages charged medieval Christianity with sexism; one said the Church ‘laid the foundations for anti-Semitism…It described Crusaders’ massacres of European Jews but not the Muslim Tamberlan’s massacre of perhaps 90,000 fellow Muslims at Baghdad in 1401, and of perhaps 100,000 Indian POWs at Delhi in 1398.”
* World History: The Human Odyssey (West, 1999): The proposal said the book “devoted 176 student text lines to Islamic beliefs, practices, and holy writings but only 139 to Christian beliefs, practices, and holy writings.” It furthered “that Islam ‘brought untold wealth to thousands and a better life to millions,’ but that ‘because of [Europeans’ Christian] religious zeal…many peoples died and many civilizations were destroyed’ in the 1500s.” Finally, the book contrasted “the Muslim concern with cleanliness” with the Swedish Rus, who were the “filthiest of God’s creatures.”

The Texas Education Agency noted that those references come from books phased out nearly 10 years before, or were never used in Texas.

Regarding the “Middle Easterners” buying into the U.S. textbook industry, the resolution only stated business between Dubai-based Istithmar World Capital and the Education Media and Publishing Ground. The Istithmar’s website says:

* “In 2008, Istithmar World partnered with EMPG to create EMPGI, a joint venture to pursue education opportunities in emerging markets.”

(Courtesy: KXAN.com)

Sentenced as Pakistani, jailed man finally finds Indian identity

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in ,

By Jaideep Sarin

Amritsar: A man from Bihar's East Champaran district who was branded as a Pakistani national and was even convicted for a terror attack in Punjab has finally found his Indian identity.

The district administration and prison authorities in Amritsar, where Wasil Khan, 43, is lodged in the Central Jail for the last many years, have now completed the formalities to release him to his family from Bihar.

Khan is likely to be released in a day or two, after spending nearly 10 years in Punjab jails.

"We have completed all formalities and paper work regarding Khan's release. He would be released from jail tomorrow (Tuesday) or day after tomorrow (Wednesday)," Amritsar District Magistrate K.S. Pannu told IANS.

"His family members had come from Bihar around three-four days back to get him released. Our administration is providing them every kind of assistance here," Pannu added.

While Indian authorities labelled him a Pakistani, his family maintained that he was every bit an India. Khan's release became possible after Justice Mehtab Singh Gill of the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered his release.

The authorities have now acknowledged that Khan is an Indian national after his family provided proof.

The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) had last week taken notice of Khan's plight and sought a report in this regard.

Khan was detained by security forces in 2000 from near the India-Pakistan international border in the frontier district of Gurdaspur after he failed to explain his presence in the border belt. He was branded as a Pakistani who had illegally crossed over into India.

Sources say that as Punjab Police did not know what to do with him, initially a police officer kept him in his home as a cook.

In March 2002, the police named him for involvement in a bomb blast in Sirhind town near Ludhiana. After a trial, he was convicted and sentenced to eight years in jail for the incident.
While he languished in jail as a Pakistani and Indian authorities waited for his repatriation to Pakistan, Mohazra Khatoon, who claimed to be Khan's sister, landed up here last week and said that Khan was her brother.

"After a minor altercation, Wasil left home 10 years ago and we haven't seen or heard of him since. We gave up all hope but we recently received a letter from him from the jail here. A jail guard had helped him post it," said Khatoon, who hails from Nekerdehi village in Bihar's East Champaran district.

After arriving here, Khatoon had an emotional reunion with her brother inside the jail last week.
She and her lawyer-husband, Shahid Raza Khan, later met Amritsar's District Magistrate K.S. Pannu and handed him a bunch of documents that prove Khan's Indian identity.

Pannu enquired into Khan's past from the Nabha Jail near Patiala town, where he had spent most of the time following his conviction in 2002.

(Courtesy: IANS, September 27, 2010)

Association of Indian Muslims of America celebrates silver jubilee

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 28 September 2010 | Posted in

Washington DC: The Association of Indian Muslims of America (AIM) observed the 25th anniversary of its founding in 1985 with a panel discussion and dinner attended by over 300 people from the community last week in Washington DC.

Along with heads of major Indian-American organizations, several prominent Indian-American leaders attended the event and participated in the panel discussion entitled, “Being a Muslim in India and in America”.

Another attractive feature of the event was a poster exhibition tracing the chronology of the growth of the Muslim community in various spheres in India, starting in the eighth century when the then Arab-Muslim traders introduced Islam in Malabar, Kerala.

The dinner event moderated by Kaleem Kawaja, one of the founders of AIM, saw a string of star speakers enliven the evening with interesting observations about the Muslim and Indian communities in the US.

Datta Paslikar, secretary for community affairs at the Indian Embassy in Washington DC, spoke on behalf of the Government of India and India’s ambassador to US, Meera Shankar. He congratulated AIM for 25 years of meritorious service to the community and for bringing the Indian-American community together. He also expressed his desire to work closely with AIM in his tenure in Washington DC that has just started.

The star attraction at the event was the young Indian-American Muslim, Mohammad Hameeduddin who became the mayor of the city of Teaneck, New Jersey, a few months ago. Hameeduddin who is originally from Hyderabad in India described his quick road to success in American politics as the result of a well thought out strategy of making special efforts to become a part of the mainstream and making alliances with diverse ethnic groups.

Virginia State Delegate from Fairfax County Jim Scott was another attraction whom the audience asked to tell them how to become a part of mainstream America. Scott advised the Indian-American community that perseverance was the key to success in American political system. He told the aspirants for public office that they must work for every single vote and take nothing for granted, as in reality every vote does count. He narrated his own experience of winning the Virginia state Delegate seat by a single vote. Scott told the Muslims in the audience not to be fazed by some anti-Muslim media news reports as Americans at large hold very positive views about the Muslim community.

The keynote speaker of the evening, Sayyid Mohammad Sayeed, National Director of the Office of Interfaith and Community Alliances, spoke about the future of the Muslim community in US. He repeatedly told Muslims that the world has changed much in the last few decades and has embraced diversity as its motto. He exhorted Indian Muslims in America to utilize their pre-existing bonds of growing up in the diverse multi-religious society in India, by forging closer bonds with non-Muslim Indian-Americans who are experiencing resurgence in US. He told the Muslim community that the old days of empires are long gone, and that instead of thinking of past glory, today they have to take greater initiative in building alliances and bridges with a wide range of people of diverse nationalities and religions. He narrated his own political journey from organizing Muslim students in the university where he studied in 1960s to organizing the Muslim community at the national level in US twenty years later.

Earlier in the afternoon Dr AQ Shaikh, the first President of the Association moderated a very thought provoking panel discussion highlighting the current problems that the Muslim community in India is facing and the approaches to resolving them. Panelists included: Padamshree Prof Iqbal Hasnain, former vice-chancellor of Calicut University, Calicut; Dr Omar Khalidi of Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Dr Ahmad Meer, former senior official with the US Foreign Service and NASA.

While some panelists highlighted the lack of government protection of the Muslim community from the sectarian violence perpetrated by some anti-Muslim forces, others exhorted the Muslims to dedicate themselves whole-heartedly to imbibing higher education even if they have to go through physical hardships. Professor Hasnain argued that while Muslims in South India are now competing well with others in acquiring quality education, the Muslims in north India, where most of the Muslims live, are still embroiled in other issues and are still not giving high priority to higher education.

Padamshree Rajan Devdas, Dr and Mrs Ram Singh, Mr and Mrs Kumar Singh, Mr Jay Bhandari and Mr and Mrs Ashok Batra were some of the heads of Indian Associations who attended the event.

(Courtesy: TwoCircles.net)

Media owners should see Vakkom Moulvi as their role model – Kerala CM

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in ,

Kannur: The media owners should make Vakkom Abdul Qader Moulvi their role model just as media persons should make ‘Swadeshabhimani’ Ramakrishnapilla their model, said Kerala Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan. He was inaugurating the concluding function of the observance marking the 100th year of the exile of the great journalist ‘Swadeshabhimani’ Ramakrishnapilla. He also released the complete works of ‘Swadeshabhimani’ at the function held at the Jawahar Library Hall in Kannur.

VS Achuthanandan
VS said that ‘Swadeshabhimani’ (as Ramakrishnapilla was popularly known) was the ignited words against corruption and despotism. Equally important is the support given to him by Vakkom Abdul Qader Moulvi. In the present times when media activity has become a business, it is relevant to ask whose freedom of expression is media freedom. Swadeshabhimani paved a new way in the field of journalism by presenting the sorrows and hardships of the society. Had he subjected himself to kingship and bureaucracy, he would have been flooded with awards and praises. But he announced that he would report even if the wrong was committed by god. It cannot be said all his ideas were right. However, it is indeed epic that he had opposed corruption and injustice vehemently and that he introduced Gandhiji and Karl Marx to Malayalis.

The CM recollected another great journalist Kesari Balakrishnapilla who entered the field decades after Swadeshabhimani was exiled. Divan Sir CP sealed his newspaper ‘Kesari’ and Balakrishnapilla had to leave the place. The fiftieth anniversary of the death of Kesari is observed at the occasion of the observance of the 100th year of the exile of Swadeshabhimani. Mr Achuthanandan added that the life of Swadeshabhimani and Vakkom Moulvi should be a light in the social and political fields.

State Minister M Vijayakumar presided over the function. Central Ministers E Ahmed and Mullappally Ramachandran, and State Ministers KP Rajendran and Kadannappally Ramachandran were present at the function.

‘Swadeshabhimani’ Ramakrishnapilla was the editor of the newspaper ‘Swadeshabhimani’ owned by Vakkom Abdul Qader Moulvi. The editor was given complete freedom and the owner did not interfere in the matters of the newspaper, instead he encouraged the editor to publish the truth whatever it may be. The newspaper soon rose to be a strong weapon of the freedom struggle as well as social changes. The newspaper wrote against the despotism of the Kings of the states as well as the misrule of the British. It also fought against the social evils prevailing in the society at that time. All these prompted the King to put an end to the publication of the paper.

(Courtesy: TwoCircles.net)

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