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The Middle East Crisis Has Just Begun

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 31 March 2011 | Posted in , , ,

For the U.S., democracy's fate in the region matters much less than the struggle between the Saudis and Iran

By Robert D. Kaplan

Despite the military drama unfolding in Libya, the Middle East is only beginning to unravel. American policy-makers have been spoiled by events in Tunisia and Egypt, both of which boast relatively sturdy institutions, civil society associations and middle classes, as well as being age-old clusters of civilization where states of one form or another have existed since antiquity. Darker terrain awaits us elsewhere in the region, where states will substantially weaken once the carapace of tyranny crumbles. The crucial tests lie ahead, beyond the distraction of Libya.

The United States may be a democracy, but it is also a status quo power, whose position in the world depends on the world staying as it is. In the Middle East, the status quo is unsustainable because populations are no longer afraid of their rulers. Every country is now in play. Even in Syria, with its grisly security services, widespread demonstrations have been reported and protesters killed. There will be no way to appease the region's rival sects, ethnicities and other interest groups except through some form of democratic representation, but anarchic quasi-democracy will satisfy no one. Other groups will emerge, and they may be distinctly illiberal.

Whatever happens in Libya, it is not necessarily a bellwether for the Middle East. The Iranian green movement knows that Western air forces and navies are not about to bomb Iran in the event of a popular uprising, so it is unclear what lesson we are providing to the region. Because outside of Iran, and with the arguable exceptions of Syria and Libya itself, there is no short-term benefit for the U.S. in democratic revolts in the region. In fact, they could be quite destructive to our interests, even as they prove to be unstoppable.

Yemen, strategically located on the Gulf of Aden, as well as the demographic core of the Arabian Peninsula and a haunt of al Qaeda, is more important to American interests than Libya. In Yemen, too, a longtime ruler, Ali Abdullah Saleh, has shot protesters in the street to keep order. Yemen constitutes the most armed populace in the world, with almost four times as many firearms as people. It is fast running out of ground water, and the median age of the population is 17. This is to say nothing of the geographical, political and sectarian divisions in the sprawling, mountainous country. However badly Mr. Saleh has ruled Yemen, more chaos may follow him. Coverage by Al Jazeera can help to overthrow a government like his, but it can't help to organize new governments.

In Jordan, at the other end of the Arabian Peninsula, democratic pressure will force King Abdullah to give more power to the Islamists and to urban Palestinians. The era of a dependable, pro-Western Jordan living in peace with Israel may not go on indefinitely. Bahrain, meanwhile, may descend into a low-level civil war. The country's Shia have legitimate complaints against the ruling Sunni royal family, but their goals will play into Iranian hands.

Yemen, Jordan, Iraq, Bahrain and the other Gulf states are all individually more important than Libya because they constitute Saudi Arabia's critical near-abroad. In this era of weakening central authority throughout the Middle East, the core question for the U.S. will be which regime lasts longer: Saudi Arabia's or Iran's. If the Saudi monarchy turns out to have more staying power, we will wrest a great strategic victory from this process of unrest; if Iran's theocracy prevails, it will signal a fundamental eclipse of American influence in the Middle East.

Criticize the Saudi royals all you want—their country requires dramatic economic reform, and fast—but who and what would replace them? There is no credible successor on the horizon. Even as Saudi Arabia's youthful population, 40% of which is unemployed, becomes more restive, harmony within the royal family is beginning to fray as the present generation of leaders gives way to a new one. And nothing spells more trouble for a closed political system than a divided elite. Yes, Iran experienced massive antiregime demonstrations in 2009 and smaller ones more recently. But the opposition there is divided, and the regime encompasses various well-institutionalized power centers, thus making a decapitation strategy particularly hard to achieve. The al Sauds may yet fall before the mullahs do, and our simplistic calls for Arab democracy only increase that possibility.

Democracy is part of America's very identity, and thus we benefit in a world of more democracies. But this is no reason to delude ourselves about grand historical schemes or to forget our wider interests. Precisely because so much of the Middle East is in upheaval, we must avoid entanglements and stay out of the domestic affairs of the region. We must keep our powder dry for crises ahead that might matter much more than those of today.
Our most important national-security resource is the time that our top policy makers can devote to a problem, so it is crucial to avoid distractions. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the fragility of Pakistan, Iran's rush to nuclear power, a possible Israeli military response—these are all major challenges that have not gone away. This is to say nothing of rising Chinese naval power and Beijing's ongoing attempt to Finlandize much of East Asia.

We should not kid ourselves. In foreign policy, all moral questions are really questions of power. We intervened twice in the Balkans in the 1990s only because Yugoslav dictator Slobodan Milosevic had no nuclear weapons and could not retaliate against us, unlike the Russians, whose destruction of Chechnya prompted no thought of intervention on our part (nor did ethnic cleansing elsewhere in the Caucasus, because it was in Russia's sphere of influence). At present, helping the embattled Libyan rebels does not affect our interests, so we stand up for human rights there. But helping Bahrain's embattled Shia, or Yemen's antiregime protesters, would undermine key allies, so we do nothing as demonstrators are killed in the streets.

Of course, just because we can't help everywhere does not mean we can't help somewhere. President Barack Obama has steered a reasonable middle course. He was right to delay action in Libya until the Arab League, the United Nations Security Council, France and Great Britain were fully on board, and even then to restrict our military actions and objectives. He doesn't want the U.S. to own the Libyan problem, which could drag on chaotically for years. President Obama is not feeble, as some have said; he is cunning.

Like former President George H.W. Bush during the collapse of the Soviet Union, he intuits that when history is set in motion by forces greater than our own, we should interfere as little as possible so as not to provoke unintended consequences. The dog that didn't bark when the Berlin Wall fell was the intervention of Soviet troops to restore parts of the empire. The dog that won't bark now, we should hope, is the weakening of the Saudi monarchy, to which America's vital interests are tied. So long as the current regime in Iran remains in place, the U.S. should not do anything to encourage protests in Riyadh.

In the background of the ongoing Middle Eastern drama looms the shadow of a rising China. China is not a "responsible stakeholder" in the international system, as we proclaim it should be; it is a free rider. We are at war in Afghanistan to make it a safe place for China to extract minerals and metals. We have liberated Iraq so that Chinese firms can extract its oil. Now we are at war with Libya, which further diverts us from concentrating on the western Pacific—the center of the world's economic and naval activity—which the Chinese military seeks eventually to dominate.

Every time we intervene somewhere, it quickens the pace at which China, whose leaders relish obscurity in international affairs, closes the gap with us. China will have economic and political problems of its own ahead, no doubt, and these will interrupt its rise. But China is spending much less to acquire an overseas maritime empire than we are spending, with all our interventions, merely to maintain ours.

The arch-realist approach would be to forswear a moral narrative altogether and to concentrate instead on our narrow interests in the Middle East. The problem is that if we don't provide a narrative, others will, notably al Qaeda, whose fortunes will rise as the region's dictators, with their useful security services, struggle to survive. But we should craft our narrative with care. It should focus on the need for political and social reform, not on regime change.

Order is preferable to disorder. Just consider what happened to Iraq after we toppled Saddam Hussein. The U.S. should not want Iraq's immediate past to be a foretaste of the region's future.

[Robert D. Kaplan is a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and a correspondent for the Atlantic. He is the author of "Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power."]

Why are Muslim lands in miserable shape?

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , , ,

By Burak Bekdil

The Muslim world is in an awful shape. It's so sad that the Muslim region, despite its glorious past, today features poverty, misery, hunger, terror and (never-ending) clashes; it looks like a ruin. The situation in Afghanistan, Palestine, Pakistan and Bangladesh is well-known. Now, we have the same situation in Libya and Yemen. Let us not blame this on anyone else, my dear Muslim brothers. Before asking anyone else "why," we should direct the same question to ourselves: Why? Why are we in such a bad shape? We should look for the answer within us, and nowhere else.

I could easily guess the standard, never-surprising Islamist reaction to my comment in the paragraph above. Of course, I would be insulting my fellow Muslims since I am a "Zionist Muslim on the Israeli payroll." Hence the abundance of my insults... All sorts of pejorative adjectives and nouns coming before the word Muslim including miserable, poverty, hunger, terror, clashes and ruin... Putting the names of Muslim countries like Afghanistan, Palestine, Pakistan and Bangladesh in the same context with the same insulting adjectives and nouns... And, now, adding Libya and Yemen to my list of miserable Muslim countries... Putting the blame on Muslims for the miserable shape the Muslim lands are in today... Only a Zionist would do that? Like me? I beg your pardon; mea culpa!

But I apologize merely for deliberately omitting the "quotation marks" in the opening paragraph, since those words do not belong to this "Zionist" columnist. They, rather, belong to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan; quote-unquote... More adorably, Mr. Erdoğan said all that in the Mecca of the Muslim faith, literally, in Mecca... MaashAllah!

It is not a secret that I am not a fan of my country's most beloved personality – most, by the number of fans. And writing in this column, I have most often come under criticism for not acknowledging Mr. Erdoğan's metaphysical virtues – although there are many (non-metaphysical) of them that I do acknowledge. But his words in the opening paragraph of this column are my favorite so far. Yes, Mr. Erdoğan is right!

For decades, some Muslims and most Islamists fooled themselves with the idea that their misfortunes could only be blamed on Western/Zionist conspiracy theories. They have meticulously avoided self-criticism and, naturally, those "infidel Muslims" like this columnist who, perhaps in different wording, said the same thing the Turkish prime minister said just this week, were "Zionist spies."

I would hope that Prime Minister Erdoğan's piercingly realistic "let's-blame-ourselves-brothers" logic found echoes most among the people who are in his most inner circle, who make policy. But only last week, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu proudly said that thanks to new treaties for the removal of entry visas, "my citizens will now be able to pass freely through Syria and 'free Palestine.’"

Let's ignore for a moment why the foreign minister referred to Syria as Syria and to the Palestinian territories as “free Palestine.” But I would have expected Mr. Davutoğlu to sit down for a cool moment and ponder why "his citizens" wake up in the dead of the night to queue up in front of foreign embassies with the hope of getting a visa to travel to infidel lands and, preferably, to stay there for good, instead of rushing to "free Palestine." Because they, subconsciously, know that Mr. Erdoğan is right, that Muslims can only blame themselves for their failures – like all other non-Muslim faithful or atheists should do. Because they, subconsciously, know that if they end up as Gastarbeiter they can have a good living; but if they end up in the Libyan desert for a handful of dollars they will probably have to be evacuated – if they are lucky not to have been killed.

I shall wholeheartedly agree to and follow Mr. Erdoğan's Mecca teachings, and ask my fellow Muslims a couple of questions in the hope that we may thus explore where we may have gone wrong. Why, for instance, would a majority of Muslims around the world welcome a significant role for Islam in their countries' political life (Pew Research Center poll findings, December 2010) while Hindus or Shintoists around the same globe do not?

Why would majorities in Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan and Nigeria favor changing their current laws to allow stoning as a punishment for adultery, hand amputation for theft and death for those who convert from Islam to another religion? Why would 85 percent of Pakistani Muslims support segregating men and women in the workplace (and 25 percent of Turkish Muslims, or nearly 20 million Turks)?

Why would, for example, a local member of Mr. Erdoğan's party declare that "women without the Islamic headscarf are like houses without curtains: They are either for rent or for sale”?

Or why would "Muslim warriors" explode a bomb in Jerusalem's central bus station as the evening rush hour begins and kill one woman and injure 50 people, including two pregnant women?

Most importantly, why would a Muslim as wise as Mr. Erdoğan, who thinks Muslims should blame themselves for their failures, not follow his own preaching?

IDB approves funding Muslim institutions

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

By Faizan Ahmad

Patna: A meeting of the Central panel of India for Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) was held here on Monday and Tuesday at which several educational projects were approved for funding. The meeting was chaired by panel chairman Zafar Javeed of Hyderabad. IDB representative Hossam Bahgat also attended.

The IDB provides financial assistance to educational institutions for their smooth running and cater to the academic requirement of the Muslims. "The IDB had been financing institutions only in the Muslim countries, but since 1984 they decided to extend finance to educational institutions in India also," said panel east zone convener Dr A A Hai. "So far, about 265 projects in India have been funded by the IDB," he added.

However, Bihar's Muslim educational institutions remained far behind in seeking this assistance. Dr Hai saidever since the scheme started, about 70 projects of eastern zone have been approved of which more than 25 have been completed. The IDB gives a maximum of Rs 3 crore to one institution.

This is second time such a meeting is being held here. At Tuesday's meeting about 18 projects came up for consideration of which nine belonged to the eastern zone.

"It is the moral support and not the quantum of money that is imporant," said Javeed explaining the procedure for selection of running greenfield projects exclusively in education sector. He said it is necessary that such institutions should cater to the needs of the Muslims and should be located in Muslim concentration areas.

Once the project is approved by the panel, it is referred to the ministry f home for clearance and only then sent to the IDB headquarters in Jeddah ( Saudi Arabia) for financial approval, said Dr Hai. The Indian panel has 14 members, including conveners of four zones and a chairman.

West zone convener and prominent educationist P A Inamdar said the Muslim society should come out of inferiority complex and negative attitude. "Poverty is not the bane for only the Muslims. Poverty is a national problem and all communities are facing it and this factor should not be blamed for educational backwardness of the community," he told TOI.

Inamdar, who runs large educational institutions in Pune, said in Andhra Pradesh alone 53 engineering and 272 professional institutions by Muslim societies are being successfully.

After the Monday evening interactive session on Muslim education, organized by Flame, Advantage Support and International School Foundation, an action plan was chalked out. Khurshid Ahmad of Advantage Support said that a positive change is being reflected in Muslim education since last one decade like 15-20 per cent growth in girls' education.

At the invitation of Inamdar, it has been decided to organize training for the teachers of madrasas in Pune. For the development of their skills and motivating them for quality education and modernization, noted facilitator Sultan Ahmad from Bangalore has been invited to train them at workshops.

These three organizations have also decided to encourage establishment of good NGOs and societies for the development of the community and motivate them with regard to quality education and also help establish institutions of excellence with the help of government schemes and get them to know about right to information and right to education facilities.

(Courtesy: The Times of India)

MSA speaker argues Jesus was a Muslim

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , , ,

Scholar claims that Christ embodied Islamic values

By Ian Whitaker

A noteworthy Christian scholar and author, a guest of the Muslim Students Association, compared the beliefs of Jesus Christ to Islamic theology on Friday at UNLV.

Robert Shedinger is an associate professor of religion at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and the author of “Was Jesus a Muslim?” — an academic examination of the life of Jesus Christ from the standpoint of Islamic theology.

Himself a Christian, Shedinger has a background in Islamic studies from Temple University.
He taught a course focusing on Islam to students curious about the history and roots of the religion following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and the emergence of Islam in mainstream political discussion in the West.

However, as Shedinger made his way through the curriculum, which set out to examine Islam by comparing and contrasting it with other monotheistic religions, he found that the way he was teaching the class was not resonating with some students.

One student, a Muslim woman from Morocco, told Shedinger that she felt the course fundamentally misunderstood her religion.

Islam, she argued, was not a religion at all.

Her words inspired Shedinger to analyze Islam from a different perspective and scrutinize his own Christian beliefs more closely — an effort which culminated in his book.

“We talk about religion all the time as if we know what it is and what it means,” Shedinger said, “but it turns out that religion is really an undefinable term.”

“By teaching Islam as if it was one of the world religions using a comparative religion framework, I was unintentionally distorting the tradition in the way many Muslims experience it,” he said.

His lecture centered around the premise of the book, which is that the life and teachings of Jesus Christ fit comfortably into the Islamic teaching of Tawheed — the belief that God permeates every facet of existence such that it is impossible to separate religion from everyday life.

It is this teaching, Shedinger said, that informs the daily actions of Muslims from financial matters or family concerns.

“Jesus was a Muslim,” Shedinger said.

“Jesus understood the world in a way much like Muslims have throughout history.”
He said that Jesus’ opposition to the prevailing rule of the Roman military and the Jewish clergy that existed in historically biblical lands was indicative of Christ’s belief in social justice and communal solidarity.

Shedinger said that tawheed was an undercurrent throughout Jesus’ life, whom he argues dispensed with traditional conceptions of religion as ritualistic in favor of promoting radical chance in society.

“Everything in life is integrated together when you think about the world in the context of tawheed,” Shedinger said. “When one views the world this way… it has profound implications.”

According to Shedinger, tawheed compels Muslims to be involved in political, economic and social concerns to better their communities and society.

Those concerns, he believes, are the reason that the narrative of Jesus Christ and the record of his actions and teachings appeals to Muslims as well as Christians.

“While [encouraging] Christians to develop a tawheedic Christianity, I also want to encourage Muslims not to move away from tawheedic Islam,” Shedinger said.

He pointed to Latino and Black liberation theology as examples of political movements using the figure of Jesus Christ to rally communities for social change and said that he feels Christians should take a more active role in resisting what he believes is predatory capitalism and the rise of Islamophobic ideology in the form of the Tea Party movement.
“Islamophobia is a real problem,” he said. “It’s the only socially acceptable form of bigotry today.”

Imam Steve Mustapha Elturk, who is president of the Islamic Organization of North America, which assisted in organizing the event, joined Shedinger on stage after his lecture to speak and take questions from the audience.

Elturk echoed Shedingers statements about tawheed and said that he feels that Christians and Muslims have a lot more in common than either group realizes.

“We can assess without a doubt that the world is an unjust world,” he said.

Elturk cited examples of dictators in overwhelmingly Muslim countries like Egypt being supported by Western countries as an example of the type of injustice that Muslims and Christians could unite against.

And while he said he believed that the problems facing the Muslim and Christian communities may be discouraging, he maintains faith in the ability of believers to affect change in the world.

“Good things are coming,” Elturk said. “God willing, good things are coming.”

(Courtesy: UNLV Rebel Yell)

OPINION: Muslim violence a fact, not prejudice

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

By Mark Durie

Those who denounce critics of Islam should allow that, like all global faiths, Islam has its detractors and a religion will be judged on what its followers say and do.

There is a debate going on about Islam. The question being asked is: Does Islam itself - not just poverty or social exclusion - provide ideological fuel for extremism and violence?

It is all too tempting to promote one-dimensional explanations of religious violence. Monash University doctoral candidate Rachel Woodlock said on this page on Wednesday that social exclusion was the root of Islamic radicalism.

On one hand, there are those who, like Woodlock, demand that critics of Islam be stigmatised as ignorant, right-wing racists. On the other hand, Islam's problems cannot be simplistically reduced to social or economic factors.

Violence in the name of Islam is well-attested in nations in which Muslims are dominant, and it is non-Muslim minorities that suffer the exclusion. It does not do to argue that religion has no relevance to such events.

In Muslim-majority Pakistan on December 3, Pakistani imam Maulana Yousuf Qureshi, in his Friday sermon, offered a $6000 bounty to anyone who would murder Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who has also been accused of ''blaspheming Allah''. Pakistani minister for minorities Shahbaz Bhatti and Punjab governor Salman Taseer were subsequently assassinated because of their opposition to Pakistan's blasphemy laws.

These laws are supported by Pakistan's Islamic elites. The killer of Salman Taseer, Mumtaz Qadri, was praised by religious leaders from mainstream schools of Pakistani Islam, and when he was being led to court on January 6, 400 Muslim lawyers showered him with rose petals, offering him their legal services free of charge.

There has also been a rush of recent assaults on Copts and their places of worship in Egypt, sparked by a wild tirade by a leading Egyptian cleric.

Closer to Australia, there have been well-publicised attacks on Ahmadiyah Muslims in Indonesia, including brutal murders. These were undoubtedly influenced by a theological belief that Ahmadiyah adherents are apostates from true Islam. Although prominent Indonesian leaders were quick to express abhorrence for the attacks, many Indonesian Muslims have called for Ahmadiyahs to be outlawed.

These events demonstrate the ugly effects of stigmatising minorities, and it would be deplorable to simple-mindedly extrapolate the religious views of Pakistani, Egyptian or Indonesian Muslims and apply them to Australia.

However, it is irrational to insist that any and everyone who seeks to expose the religious roots of such hatred must themselves be decried as haters.

All over the world, every religious belief is disliked by someone or other. Christianity has its prominent detractors, too, from Bertrand Russell to Richard Dawkins. A Google search for ''Evils of Christianity'' yields tens of thousands of hits.

Australians can be thankful for a culture of tolerance, which has been carefully nurtured over decades. Tolerance is strengthened when people are able to debate ideological issues freely - especially those which impact profoundly on human rights - without being shouted down.

Victorian Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Nettle, in his findings on the case of the Islamic Council of Victoria v Catch the Fire, pointed out that criticism - or even hatred - of a religion should not be conflated with the hatred of people who hold those beliefs. It is one thing to promote tolerance, quite another to mandate it.

Perhaps the most powerful evidence against Woodlock's thesis - that it is exclusion, and not religion, that drives some Muslims to terrorism - is the fact that across the globe the most diverse religious minorities do not resort to violence, even when persecuted.

There are no Falun Gong terrorists in China, despite all the bitter persecution. The same can be said for persecuted Christians in many nations.

Even in Australia, many ethnic and religious groups have been subjected to disadvantage and exclusion, but none have produced the level of terrorist convictions of our own home-grown Islamic radicals.

It is a bitter pill for the vast majority of Australian Muslims to swallow that their faith has been linked, globally and locally, to religious violence.

Unfortunately, this link cannot be dismissed as the product of media prejudice or ''Islamophobic'' propaganda. It is in part an issue of some Muslims behaving very badly, and their often strident claim is that they do this in the name of religion.

Taking such claims seriously and debating them publicly must not be equated with stigmatising law-abiding and peaceable Australian Muslims.

[Mark Durie is a Melbourne Anglican vicar, human rights activist, and author of The Third Choice: Islam, Dhimmitude and Freedom.]

(Courtesy: WAToday.com.au)

Left's worries in Bengal include disenchanted Muslims

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

By Monideepa Banerjie and Um-e-Kulsoom

Kolkata:  As the Left in West Bengal heads into what's being described as its toughest election in the state, it must contend with its growing gap from the Muslims, who once were on its side.

The minority community makes up 25% of the state's population. In 2006, the report of the Sachar Committee said West Bengal was among the worst states for Muslims to live in. Headed by retired judge Rajinder Sachar, the committee was appointed by Dr Manmohan Singh to assess the social, economic and educational status of Muslims in India.

Days ago, a member of that committee, Abu Selah Shariff, who is an eminent economist, dealt a heavy blow by declaring that Muslims are better off in Gujarat than in Bengal. Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee dismissed that allegation. "In our state, minorities live in peace and harmony but in Gujarat they live with fear and mistrust. You should not compare Gujarat with West Bengal," he said.

As part of his argument, Mr Shariff pointed out that in Bengal, Muslims hold 2.1% of government jobs. In Gujarat, that figure is 5.4 per cent. Mr Shariff also said that half of Bengal's Muslim children don't go to primary school. Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen has said that there is 99% enrollment in Bengal's primary schools. Mr Shariff says that while Muslim parents may sign their children up for school, they're not attending class.

The Left has long argued that the Sachar report - is based on incomplete statistics. Even if that is the case, the general elections of 2009 showed that there was a 9 per cent swing in Muslim votes away from the Left.

"This is correct. This is a factor. The Sachar and Ranganath Mishra reports showed a terrible picture. That's why Muslims are depending on us. The people of Bengal want us in politics," said Siddiquallah Chowdhury, a leader of the People's Democratic Alliance of India that is contesting 40 seats this election.

It could be the results of the general election that have nudged both the Left and its political rival - Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress - to field a record number of Muslim candidates this time around - 56 for the Left, 42 for Ms Banerjee's party.

(Courtesy: NDTV)

OPINION: Technology determines power status

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 30 March 2011 | Posted in , , , ,

By Dr Samiullah Koreshi

In modern times there is a clash of civilizations- The world is divided not only into countries but also into civilizations and races. This is a hard fact of international community. The more the world is advancing in technology the more the place of civilizations of the Whites, the Yellows, the Browns and the Blacks is drastically undergoing change. Today technology is determinant of power-status of countries/peoples – this is a hard fact of life, since countries are part of certain civilizations. The propounder or discoverer of this Clash of Civilization had his own classification but in a more simplified manner one can say that peoples can be divided into four kinds on the basis of their colour describing the groups more or less in different categories of technology – which determine their inter- power equations. This is not being racist but realist in understanding the game of power players . Sorry I am a hard eyed diplomat who was for four decades in diplomatic career, and still tries to understand the game going on and not get deceived with superficial slogans or sugar quoting on sinister dirty power- games like one going on by NATO crusaders in Libya. It is for starry-eyed inexperienced persons to get swayed by slogans. Not for“chocolate diplomats” to borrow a terminology from Bernard Shaw. He spoke of chocolate soldiers. I will come to it later also.

The point being made is that, as is well known, education or technology is a matter of survival. There are various levels of education, the elementary, the advanced and the creative- which means contributing to existing knowledge by discoveries- those working on the higher frontiers of knowledge. The level of knowledge in science and technology is the higher stage of education. Pakistan is most backward in science and technology. We in Pakistan are borrowers and not creative in technology – except in some defence- technologies, nuclear and missiles. Which only shows that Pakistanis are not backward, capable of research and discoveries under pressure. In case some cynic says that these are destructive avenues of technology let it be said here right away that these acquisitions have caused relaxation in Pakistan’s posture towards India. In pre-Nuclear days Pakistan was mortally afraid of India’s military might and searching for a “balancer” with India’s military might. The fear of Indian military power dominated our foreign policy planning, in our foreign policy phase upto 1998 ( when we in fact acquired N-capability) but after the nuclear explosion Pakistan has acquired confidence in its security related issues, and consequently changed its posture with India exploring co-existence through diplomacy and dialogue. This is why it wants to have its N-deterrence updated to keep its new self- confidence. This is a distinct land-mark in our second phase diplomacy in post N-explosion. There is little similarity in Japan and Pakistan in matter of dangers to the Nuclear installations. Japan is an islands country, Pakistan’s nuclear assets are not open to risks by Tsunamis. Few people have noted why suddenly from India centered confrontationist diplomacy, we shifted to dialogue diplomacy with India. No one asked why? This N-capability has removed from our concern inability to face India. This was to show the relation between technology and national power. But there is a second element of technology as national power which is missing. Because as Ghazzali has said in his book Nasihat-ul-Muluk, people bring to the market the merchandise for which there is demand. In the new political system in Pakistan the learned and the scientists are not in demand. Pattaey baz politicians who are not even graduates of universities are reaping all favours and monopolizing national main stream. Their cronies have taken over all the institutions. This accounts for assassination of technology, learning etc. In the Subcontinent the eternal competition is between Muslims and Hindus, if I avoid the words such words as conflict, rivalry for power, hostility etc- Even if the situation of belligerency is ignored for the time being – in a way this is true for today’s world – there is competitiveness between nations . Hindus are far superior to Muslims in every field except perhaps Nuclear capability There is not one single institute in Pakistan comparable to the five IIT ( Indian Institutes of Technologies); no universities like Calcutta, Allahabad, Madras, etc, My late friend General Ali Nawab an Engineer took a delegation of experts to India in early 90s to study their technical university education. He found the Indian professors far more dedicated to their profession than their Pakistani counterparts. Today go to any university, take a text book in any technology subject you will find that the text books used by our students were written by some Hindu expert. Where are Pakistani teachers? Do they not produce any work worthy of being taught in our universities? Go to any book exhibition in Pakistan. Whose text books in technical subjects are available for our universities, Indian!

We are very much backward compared to India in every branch of knowledge. We are going down, down, down. The question for Pakistan is what kind of existence it wants : equal or subordinate to India. This will continue to determine our relative position on global level. People who claim Pakistan has great respect in the world or even region are living in a make belief world.

Now look at the world. I will speak in a wider perspective. The Whites and Yellows are on the top of the ladder in higest technology. In US the technical industry is dominated by the Yellow and Indians experts. In UK even Indians are working at top positions in every technically field. Pakistani is far behind because he is far less equipped with technical knowledge. His degrees are no where equated with Indian universities’ degrees. There is competition between nations and races as part of clash of civilization . Because Muslim is not competitive with the Yellow races and the Indians, he has been elbowed out. Darwin was right in explaining this as “Survival of the fittest “ to described this situation. Muslims were not backward in education even in the days of decadence of their rule. William Darlymple n his book “The Last Mughal” says that at the advent of the 1857 Ghaddar “ Delhi had the largest number of educational institutions in this side of Eastern World and “ Delhi was in 1857 one of the largest, most beautiful and certainly the richest cities in Hindostan” ( p 311.) Muslms became perhaps backward after the British rule in post 1858 years.

Now look at the emerging scenario on the field of technology in the world. It is clear that the white monopoly is broken by the Yellow races, below them but quite up on the scale are the Hindus. The future seems to belong to them Down the ladder would be the Muslims and the Black lowest. White and Yellow will compete with each other followed by the Brown Hindus to speak in wider terms. They will compete with each other. The Black and the Brown Muslims are already marginalized. They will be at the lowest rung of the ladder of technical expertise. We will be sounding our trumpet that we are this and that and a great “democracy” as if the word was not coined in Greece but in South Pakistan..

It is time to clarify, since some readers have misconstrued my last column on Libya as a defence of Ghaddafi’s rule. Certainly Pakistanis had good relations with him, but this is not a material point in condemning NATO barbarian and highly condemnable , most deplorable military action and igniting local armed rebellion. It is for the people of any country to decide the fate of its rulers not for foreign neo-colonialist crusading NATO coveting Libyan oil fields under absolutely bogus claim of humanitarian mission, . transparently bogus claim. It is naked imperialism and one wishes that the Arabs would see it as such. If Arab solidarity becomes a matter of the past, then today NATO’s target is Libya, tomorrow whom. Arabs have only one shield , their solidarity. The Western sources have claimed that some Muslim countries are likely to join their slaughter of the Libyans. One hopes NATO does not find Muslim Quislings or neo Mir Jafar and Mir Sadiq. Such agents of neo-imperialism will be remembered in history as traitors , if any join them, and as part of a conspiracy to break the OIC entity as well as Arab solidarity. One hopes this will not happen.

(Courtesy: Pakistan Observer)

India’s Hindu Terror: Can it be tamed?

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , , , , ,

By Bibhu Prasad Routray

Synopsis

The arrests of individuals linked to fringe Hindu groups for involvement in several terror attacks present an opportunity for the Indian government to show that it is not soft on terror.

Commentary

The reality of terror attacks by Hindu groups is gradually registering in the minds of Indians, although the extent of the damage potential of these fringe formations remains a matter of debate.

According to available information, persons associated with the Hindu terror groups, such as the one ironically named Abhinav Bharat (Modern India) and the other Sanatan Sanshtha (Eternal Organisation), carried out explosions in several places across the country. Prominent among them were two blasts in Malegaon in Maharashtra state in 2006 and 2008; an explosion targeting a train that runs between India and Pakistan in 2007 in Haryana; a blast in the Sufi shrine of Ajmer Durgah in Rajasthan in 2007; and a blast in a mosque in Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh in 2007. Collectively these five attacks claimed the lives of at least 126 civilians, mostly Muslims.

Criminal Planning

Investigations into all these attacks reveal the details of planning that went into them. They were carried out by a compact group of men and women, ostensibly to take revenge for the ‘Muslim terror acts’ against  the country. A member of the group, a colonel in the Indian army, provided technical expertise and explosives from the Army’s supply, which were then placed under concrete slabs, bicycle/ motorcycles and tiffin boxes to create mayhem. The conspirators even killed one of their main organisers -- to get rid of evidence of their involvement.

Paradoxically initial suspicion for the attacks had fallen on Muslim groups. For instance, nine Muslims were arrested and continue to be detained for their involvement in one of the blasts that took place in 2006. Experts then had sought to explain the attacks on Islamic places of worship as being driven by the larger objective of Pakistan-sponsored militants to drive a communal wedge between the Hindus and the Muslims in India. Curiously the confessions recorded of the arrested members of Abhinav Bharat justify the death of Hindus in such attacks as collateral damages the majority community must suffer in order to “teach the Muslims a lesson”.

Politics over Terror

Persons involved in the attacks have in some way or other been connected to the Hindu right-wing revivalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Swami Aseemanand, arrested in connection with five of these explosions has indicated the direct role played by some of the RSS leaders in the attacks. The RSS, to date, however, remains defiant and characterises investigations into the acts of ‘Hindu terror’ as attempts by ‘anti-Hindu’ forces to weaken the efforts to counter jihadi terrorism. The RSS claims that “a Hindu cannot be a terrorist”. The main opposition political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is closely connected with the RSS, cautiously remains supportive of the government’s actions, but maintains that the government must do more against the jihadi terror.

With 83 percent of its population being Hindu, any reference linking terror acts to the majority group is bound to be controversial and politically sensitive in a country where many political parties use religion to garner votes. That consideration compelled Home Minister P Chidambaram to backtrack from his ex-pression ‘saffron terror’ in 2010 in parliament. In addition to the BJP, some of his colleagues within the Congress party too objected to raking up the issue.

NIA Investigations

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), set up after the November 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, is currently probing two cases involving the Hindu extremists. The government in New Delhi is supportive of the NIA examining all the cases wherever the role of the Hindu outfits is evident.

In the first week of March 2011, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) wrote to the state governments and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India’s criminal investigative agency, soliciting their views whether they would like to hand over all ‘Hindu terror’ cases to the NIA. Given the political nature of the issue this step would lead to an impartial and ‘single agency’ investigation of the cases. Currently, some of the cases are being investigated by individual state-level Anti-Terrorism Squads (ATS) and some by the CBI.

Moreover, giving all these cases involving the Hindu outfits to the NIA makes practical sense, since most of these attacks involve common conspirators. Notwithstanding the objections raised by some of the states, especially those ruled by the right-wing BJP, the NIA Act allows New Delhi to take over from the state police any case with terror linkages, with or without their explicit consent.

India’s secular fabric

Effective steps to counter terror acts by the Hindu outfits will have wider ramifications for India’s secular fabric as well as its intent to be a part of the global anti-terror efforts. Any dilution in the initiative would not only weaken its claims of being targeted principally by externally-sponsored terror groups, but also would bring to the fore the latent prejudices towards the minority Muslim community. The Indian government would do well to curb the rise of such a trend, through an impartial, objective and professional investigation process, while it is still in its infancy involving fringe elements.

The Congress government in New Delhi, just two years into its five-year term, and thus not facing the communal electoral considerations of an election year, is well positioned to pursue the investigation to its conclusion. It is an opportunity for the Indian government to assure its Muslim citizens and the international community that it is not soft on terror.

[Bibhu Prasad Routray is a Visiting Research Fellow in the South Asia Programme of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. He previously served as a Deputy Director in the National Security Council Secretariat, Prime Minister’s Office, New Delhi.]

(Courtesy: RSIS Commentaries)

CLMC demands to present Bhaskar Rao Commission Report on Makkah Masjid police firing in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , , , , ,

IMO News Service

Lateef Mohd. Khan, General Secretary of Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee (CLMC), in a press release has alleged that there is connection of Makkah Masjid blast in Hyderabad and the subsequent police firing. He has appealed to Muslim politicians who claim to represent their community to open their mouth on this grave issue. He demanded that the state government present Bhaskar Rao Commission Report on Makkah Masjid police firing in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly and fulfill its responsibility.

The CLMC press release stated: “On Friday, 18th May 2007, the RSS terrorists planted bombs at historic Makkah Masjid and immediately after the bomb blast, a group of communal minded policemen started firing on the people who were helping the injured people in the blast. 9 people were killed and hundreds got injured in the blast. The sharp shooter policemen were chosen for firing on the people who came for prayers and who came forward to help the injured and this communal group of policemen was monitored by the then Additional Commissioner of Police(crime). Civil Liberties in its fact finding report had then itself clearly stated that there is connection of Makkah Masjid blast and subsequent police firing and the Makkah Masjid bomb blast is unique from all the other blasts that took place at various places in the country because after the blast another terrorist attack took place in the form of police firing. The investigation was diverted on other track by registering the bomb last case and the Muslim youth were targeted on the name of investigation. Whereas the police firing case was handed over to the commission headed by former Judge Bhaskar Rao and a Hindutva minded lawyer was appointed to represent the policemen and it tried to prove by ridiculous argument that the firing was needed to protect the petrol pump and a wine shop. The commission was delayed to such an extent that the people should forget it.”

Lateef Mohd. Khan charged that when the commission submitted its report to the government, the Congress government as usual dumped it in cold storage. “The government fears to put the facts before people. It was the responsibility of the government that the Bhaskar Rao commission report, on which lakhs of rupees were spent for three years, should have been presented before people. People want to know as to what are the findings of the Bhaskar Rao commission about the police firing in its report. People were expecting that the government would present this report in this Assembly budget session. It seems from the attitude of the government that it does not want to bring this report before the people. However, it is very sad that the Muslim public representatives present in the Assembly are also maintaining silence on this issue and this silence is very strange. In fact these public representatives themselves must have raised questions on Bhaskar Rao commission. But this did not happen. However, the Muslim people’s representatives failed in carrying their responsibilities regarding the Makkah Masjid bomb blast and the incidents that took place after it and their role is suspicious. On the other hand they gave such statements that the Muslim youth had to undergo severe torture,” said Lateef Mohd. Khan.

The Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee in its press release has appealed to all the political parties and the responsible persons of all the organizations to build pressure on the government to present the Bhaskar Rao Commission report before the people. We demand the government of Andhra Pradesh to present the report in the Assembly so that the public representatives can debate on it. The facts can be known to the people and the victims can get justice.

While sending letter to the Chief Minister, Mr.Kiran kumar Reddy and Home Minister Ms. Sabita Indira Reddy, the Civil Liberties Committee has demanded that the Bhaskar Rao Commission report be presented before people immediately, so that the further course of legal action can take place which is pending in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh.

[Lateef Mohd. Khan, General Secretary of Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee, can be contacted at clmci@hotmail.com]

Delhi’s Scholar School organizes its first Annual Day celebrations

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , , ,


New Delhi: Scholar School held its first annual day celebrations on 27th March 2011 at the school campus in Jamia Nagar, Okhla. Students performed nicely on stage and presented various programmes to entertain the guests, students, teachers and guardians who were present in the annual function.

The students presented Nazm, Tarana, Poems, Drama and Speeched with their melodious voice and received blessings and applause from the audience.

The scholar school gives education till Class Vth and it is making efforts to increase the classes and give the education to secondary level.

The Chief Guest of the Programme was Naib Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind Mohd Jafar Saheb. The students who performed well in sports were also felicitated with prizes and they were encouraged to get position in their studies also.

On this occasion, Prof. K. A. Siddique Hassan appreciated the efforts of teachers for providing best quality education to students and making them eligible for getting good results and performing satisfactory in the annual exams. He thanked the guests and teachers who were present in the annual function.

The guests appreciated the efforts of all teachers of the school mainly the programme incharge, Miss. Ambreen Siddiqui. On this occasion, School Principal Zar Nigar Khan, and other teachers Nuzhat Bano, Fauzia Khan, Afreen Noor, Ayesha Khan, Razia Lateef participated in this programme.

H. Abdur Raqueeb, ICIF, Assistant Secretary of JIH, Rafeek Ahmed, Managing Secretary of School, Javed Iqbal Khan, and school incharge, Qazi Mohd. Miyan and a large number of parents were present in this programme.

Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation bags 3 National Awards

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in ,

By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation has bagged three awards in different categories i.e. Best State in the Country, Best Civic Management of a Tourist Destination in India and in the category of Innovative/Unique Tourism Project in the country.

The award was given at a function of National Tourism Award 2009-10 organised by Ministry of Tourism Government of India at convocation Hall Ashoka Hotel, New Delhi. Mr. Tukoji Rao Pawar, M.P. Tourism Minister, Mr. Dhruv Narayan Singh, Chairman M.P. Tourism and Mr. Hari Ranjan Rao, MD M.P. State Tourism Development Corporation received the awards on behalf of the State Government.

The function was chaired by Mr. Subodh Kant Sahay, Union Tourism Minister, while Mrs. Meira Kumar, Speaker Lok Sabha, was the Chief Guest. Bollywood star Ms. Priyanka Chopra was also present as a Special Guest on the occasion. The award was presented in recognition of their performance in their respective fields and also to encourage healthy competition with an aim to promote tourism. A committee constituted for the purpose by the Ministry of Tourism makes the selection of awardees.

An official Press release said that Madhya Pradesh has been awarded as the best State in the country in the field of Tourism. The State has touched new heights during the year 2009-10. With an annual revenue growth rate exceeding 25 per cent in consecutive years. The performance on the tourist infrastructure development front is even more striking. The utilization of central grants, quality and pace of construction activities, computerized monitoring and project management systems are highly appreciable.

The highly creative promotional campaign on TV, Radio and in the print media have also attracted nationwide attention. The M.P. State Tourism Development Corporation's performance is comparable with the best in the private sector. With over a dozen ISO certifications and eleven of its properties acquiring 3 star/ heritage status, vigorous expansions, improvements, innovations, new services and corporate culture, it is easily the foremost Tourism Corporation in the country.

Khajuraho was awarded in the category of Best Civic Management of Tourist Destination in India. The Award was received by Mr. Bihari Lal Patel and Mr. Vishnu Dutt Mishra of Khajuraho Municipal Corporation. In 1999 the Madhya Pradesh Government considering the great historical and tourist importance of the town set up Municipal Council. This council is dedicated to the overall development of the town and has exceeded the established standards of performance of a normal civic body with active participation of local community and civic bodies.

The Council has identified the most effective way to dispose garbage both biodegradable and non biodegradable by door to door collection in specially built tricycle rickshaw in a segregated form. Sanitary staff engaged in collection is provided with uniform and other protective gears. The City Sanitation Committee has been anchoring the sanitation initiatives in the town and is providing crucial support.

In the category of Innovative/Unique Tourism Project, Caravan Buses introduced by Madhya Pradesh received the Award. Madhya Pradesh Tourism is the first State in the country to introduce 'Caravan Tourism', which has enhanced the image of Madhya Pradesh. Caravans are unique tourism products, which promote family oriented tours to any circuit or any tourist destination, where permanent construction is not permitted or feasible. It provides excellent facilities to the tourists. With these 'Holiday on Wheels' packages, the tourists are provided with air conditioned vehicles with all modern facilities such as Wi-Fi Connectivity, Mini bar, TV besides studio-style bedroom and washrooms.

Madhya Pradesh Tourism introduced this innovative project to meet the growing tourist demand, while ensuring adherence to quality, standards and safety norms. Caravan tourism would attract a wide range of market segments including young people, families and international tourists.

Madhya Pradesh was appreciated for utilisation of central grants, quality and pace of construction activities, computerised monitoring and project management systems, the release added.

[Pervez Bari is a Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]

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