Modi theory fails, all accused in Haren Pandya case acquitted by the High Court

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

In a landmark judgment giving relief to a dozen innocent Muslim youths, Gujarat High Court remarked, “What clearly stands out from the record of the present case… has all through been botched up and blinkered and has left a lot to be desired… The investigation officers ought to be held accountable for their ineptitude resulting into injustice, huge harassment of many persons and enormous waste of public time of the court.” The court order was related to the murder of former home minister of Gujarat Haren Pandya in a Maruti car on 26 March 2003. The father of the erstwhile top BJP stalwart of Gujarat and other family members have been crying innocence of the accused long back stating that it was a political murder committed on the instance of Narendra Modi the state chief minister. We demand that the case should be investigated afresh since the real culprits are still at large. In the interest of our readers we are publishing here a full story how the family members of Haren Pandya reacted to the court order. The judgment also vindicated the scrape of POTA the forced confessions under which had been misused against the accused themselves as was in this case. IMO

Long before court verdict, family ruled not guilty

In the years between BJP leader Haren Pandya’s murder and the dropping of murder charges against the 12 arrested, his family kept maintaining that these were not the real killers.

Till he died this year, the leader’s father Vitthaldas Pandya had campaigned relentlessly against the police and CBI theory on the 2003 murder — that it was part of a reprisal by Muslims against the 2002 riots. His own theory was that it was a fallout of a deposition that Haren Pandya had made against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Pandya had fallen out with Modi in 2001 after he refused to vacate his Assembly seat of Ellisbridge for the Chief Minister. Later, Modi would hit back by ensuring Pandya was denied a poll ticket in 2002. What Vitthaldas Pandya believed actually led to the murder, however, was his son’s deposition before a Concerned Citizens’ Tribunal that Modi, following the Godhra train carnage in 2002, had ordered the police to go slow on rioting Hindu mobs.

Pandya’s wife Jagruti was equally unconvinced by the police and CBI theory. Last year, she wrote to Modi seeking a fresh probe and questioning the roles of IPS officers D G Vanzara and Abhay Chudasama.

Now, she has welcomed the judgment, saying, “We have always respected the judiciary, and have full faith in it. The ruling has reaffirmed our faith.”

Jay Narayan Vyas, Gujarat government spokesperson, suggested that the CBI challenge the High Court verdict in the Supreme Court and expressed the hope that the CBI would make sure the culprits are brought to book. Asked to comment on Jagruti Pandya’s allegations, he stressed that the matter should first be allowed to complete the judicial process.

Shaktisinh Gohil, Leader of the Opposition, demanded a special investigating team appointed by the Supreme Court and said it is “a well-known fact that Modi was behind the political assassination”. “Pandya’s father, a hardcore RSS worker, stuck to this claim till his last breath,” he said.

Vitthaldas Pandya, a retired college teacher, kept alleging that it was a political murder, that his son “had been removed by Modi”, and that this was perhaps because of the deposition — which Haren Pandya had reportedly made with a request that his name should not be divulged. Haren Pandya is said to have named all who had attended Modi’s meeting, detailed also in the court affidavits of IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt who has since been suspended.

The senior Pandya, who also targeted BJP leader L K Advani, appeared in court and a POTA review tribunal, went on a protest fast to be allowed an audience, and even contested as an Independent against Advani in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls.

It was during the father’s lifetime that Modi sought to put the rift with the son behind him. The 
Chief Minister shared the dais with Keshubhai Patel, whose camp Pandya had been part of in a faction-ridden BJP, and other rebels at a function where Advani unveiled Pandya’s statue. Pandya’s father and sisters were elsewhere, chanting slogans against Modi.

Jagruti Pandya, mother of two sons, broke her silence till then by writing to Modi in 2010, while the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter was being investigated. She sought a fresh probe and questioned the role of some of the encounter case’s key players in her husband’s murder. Modi has never responded to the letter, she said.

She cited the statement of Azam Khan, Sohrabuddin’s one-time aide and witness in the Pandya murder case, in questioning the roles of IPS officers Vanzara and Chudasama. She said Azam Khan had told the CBI that Chudasama had promised Sohrabuddin he would save him (Azam) in the Pandya murder case. This, she said, suggested that either Sohrabuddin knew details of the murder or Chudasama himself was involved.

She also alleged that Vanzara, then Crime Branch head, had helped Mufti Sufiyan, the main accused, to flee Gujarat, personally escorting him to the Bangladesh border. Sources said Vanzara, however, had helped the CBI track down alleged hitman Asghar Ali from Hyderabad in April 2003. Vanzara had led the investigation for three days before the CBI took over.

A POTA court sentenced nine of the 12 accused to life in 2007; they then appealed in the High Court.

Why the case fell

Not trustworthy: Court discounts sole eyewitness Anil Patel’s testimony. The snacks vendor claimed to have seen accused Asghar Ali fire on Pandya but the court finds his account inconsistent with the evidence

Bullets: Seven injuries, five bullets recovered; court says, citing discrepancies, that these might not be the same as the bullets eventually examined by the ballistic expert

Time: 7:30 am is prosecution case, court cites contrary evidence and observes that many witnesses, who could have given a different version, were not examined

Confession: Prosecution relied a lot on statements of accused, court says this raises questions of veracity and “voluntariness”

Forensics: Blood in clothes, none in car; no fingerprints lifted from car or from weapon

Calls: No effort made to track records from Pandya’s mobile

Versions: The POTA court that held the 12 guilty had relied on the investigating officer’s version rather that of experts on the aspects concerned.

ANALYSIS: Exposing the real face of Vibrant Gujarat

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

The face of so-called Vibarant Gujarat has been constantly exposed.The state is piled up with numerous scams. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi seems to have robbed Gujarat in the most shameful manner. Our senior colleague Abdul Hafiz Lakhani has written many times that Vibarant Gujarat is the hype of Modi frenzy. We are presenting yet another story on so-called Vibrant Gujarat. – Danish Ahmad Khan, Executive Editor, IndianMuslimObserver.com

By Abdul Hafiz Lakahni

Ahmedabad: When the central leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party is supporting a strong Jan Lokpal at the Centre to curb corruption, however in its own model state of Gujarat it wants to rule by taking bribes and commissions. Who’s afraid of the allegations of corruption as long as the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952 exists?

The stage seems all set for an open confrontation between the Gujarat government and Governor Kamla, with the latter deciding to appoint retired High Court judge R.A. Mehta as the new Lokayukta.

The Narendra Modi-led government has filed a petition in the Gujarat High Court against the appointment of retired judge R A Mehta as Gujarat's Lokayukta (anti-corruption ombudsman) without consultation with the state government. The state government has sought urgent hearing on the manner in which the governor was trying to force the centre's agenda on the state government.

The appointment was announced in the wee hours of Friday by state governor Kamala Beniwal, an appointee of the Congress party, which is in control at the central government but in the opposition in BJP-ruled Gujarat.

"The hearing on the issue was inconclusive and will be resumed on 30 August," state government pleader in the high court Prakash Jani said later.

Under the Lokayukta Act, the governor has special powers to appoint a Lokayukta. Mehta was chosen with the concurrence of the chief justice of the state high court.

The post had been lying vacant for the past seven years since justice S M Soni resigned in 2003, soon after Narendra Modi and his BJP government was re-elected with a thumping majority.

The state government had earlier rejected the name of justice S D Dave; and refused to notify the appointment of Mehta in spite of two reminders from the governor.

There has been considerable controversy over the vacant post following Anna Hazare's movement for a central Lokpal. Mehta is considered a Hazare supporter; he had hosted Hazare at his residence during his last visit to Ahmedabad in May and has been closely associated with the 'India Against Corruption' movement in Gujarat.

The ruling party has blamed opposition leader Shaktisinh Gohil for avoiding discussion on the issue.

On the other hand, the opposition maintains that the government has no role in the appointment of a Lokayukta, as the recommendation has to be made by the chief justice, the governor, and the leader of the opposition.

State pleader Jani said the government's contention was that Beniwal had no power to act on her own and had to consult the council of ministers. The Governor was "required to act only after the chief minister had concurred with the suggestion".

The appointment assumes significance as the Congress has levelled serious allegations of corruptions in 17 instances involving money to the tune of Rs1,00,000 crore, against the Modi government.

The state government appointed its own commission to probe the charges against it. The Congress has alleged that the government appointed the team to escape an independent inquiry by the Lokayukta.

Cabinet spokesman Jaynarayan Vyas claimed that the state government had been trying to appoint a Lokayukta since 2006, but for one reason or another "beyond its control" the appointment could not be completed.

"The process of consultation is not yet over and right in its middle such an order has come," he said.

The governor's order came within a couple of hours of Beniwal's talks with three senior state ministers who came to Raj Bhavan (the official residence of the governor) with a selection criteria that she ridiculed and rejected outright.

The governor then took action under Section 3 of the Gujarat Lokayukta Act, 1986, which gives her the right to appoint Lokayukta without consulting the government. She based her decision on legal opinion given by the Attorney General of India, while avoiding talking to the Advocate General of Gujarat.

Impeccable credentials

On the face of it, Mehta (74) has excellent credentials for the Lokayukta post. As a young advocate, he assisted the Justice B K Mehta Commission which probed the Machhu Dam disaster in Morbi district of the state in 1976.

He was appointed judge of the Gujarat high court in 1984 after about 10 years of legal practice. He remained in that position for 14 years; during which he passed some significant pro-poor judgments.

These included abolition of carrying of night soil on the head by low-caste workers and regularisation of street hawkers in Ahmedabad. His judgements after the post-Godhra massacre of Muslims in 2007 were also considered judicially sound.

The then Chief Justice of India, A M Ahmedi, had offered him the position of high court chief justice anywhere in India. However, he chose to stay on in Gujarat to take care of his ailing mother.

He is said to be instrumental in modernising the Gujarat high court with computerisation before his retirement in 1998.

He then served as chairman of Gujarat State Judicial Academy.

Conducting a public hearing into the Surat floods in 2006, he gave a report indicting the then irrigation minister Narottam Patel for a "man-made crisis". This is perhaps one of the reasons why the present government is not in his favour.

In Gujarat the post of Lokayukta which was lying vacant for more than seven years, has been filled by the Governor. In such a situation Chief Minister and Gujarat government should stop coming in the way of appointment of Lokayukta.

Gujarat has debt of more than Rs 1.7 lakh crore. Chief Minister is giving public property to handful people at throw away price fraudulently. However, using all kind of publicity and propaganda Chief Minister is presenting false picture of a successful administrator.

During his visit of Gujarat, Anna Hazare was shocked to see the level of corruption and remarked that Modi has turned Gandhi’s Gujarat into Ghotale kaa Gujarat. When Annaji uttered this truth, one of his confidants Swami Agnivesh was attacked by a person who is a BJP MLA. This shows autocratic personality of Gujarat Chief Minister who cannot tolerate a remark of even people like Anna Hazare.

Chief Justice of Gujarat had suggested the name of former High Court judge R A Mehta for the post of Lokayukta. Anna Hazare had stayed at the place of R A Mehta during his Gujarat visit. This shows that he is honest and upright. Today when the entire country accepts Anna Hazare, why R A Mehta is not acceptable to Gujarat Chief Minister?

Chief Minister has appointed a Commission to inquire charges against him. Through this ploy he is making desperate effort to take his corruption cases outside the purview of Lokayukta. This shows that he is the most corrupt person in the country.

The day when people will raise their voice against highly corrupt Gujarat government, it will have no place to hide. Gujarat Chief Minister should take lesson from history and see the fate of people whether it is Kans or Hitler or Ravan or Musharraf. As an act of repentance, he should stay away from the way of Lokayukta and allow it to probe corruption cases. In Gandhi’s land some Anna will certainly show up.

In Gujarat the post of Lokayukta which was lying vacant for more than seven years, has been filled by the Governor. In such a situation Chief Minister and Gujarat government should stop coming in the way of appointment of Lokayukta.

Gujarat has debt of more than Rs 1.7 lakh crore. Chief Minister is giving public property to handful people at throw away price fraudulently. However, using all kind of publicity and propaganda Chief Minister is presenting false picture of a successful administrator.

During his visit of Gujarat, Anna Hazare was shocked to see the level of corruption and remarked that Modi has turned Gandhi’s Gujarat into Ghotale kaa Gujarat. When Annaji uttered this truth, one of his confidants Swami Agnivesh was attacked by a person who is a BJP MLA. This shows autocratic personality of Gujarat Chief Minister who cannot tolerate a remark of even people like Anna Hazare.

Chief Justice of Gujarat had suggested the name of former High Court judge R A Mehta for the post of Lokayukta. Anna Hazare had stayed at the place of R A Mehta during his Gujarat visit. This shows that he is honest and upright.

Today when the entire country accepts Anna Hazare, why R A Mehta is not acceptable to Gujarat Chief Minister?

Chief Minister has appointed a Commission to inquire charges against him. Through this ploy he is making desperate effort to take his corruption cases outside the purview of Lokayukta. This shows that he is the most corrupt person in the country.

The day when people will raise their voice against highly corrupt Gujarat government, it will have no place to hide. Gujarat Chief Minister should take lesson from history and see the fate of people whether it is Kans or Hitler or Ravan or Musharraf. As an act of repentance, he should stay away from the way of Lokayukta and allow it to probe corruption cases. In Gandhi’s land some Anna will certainly show up.

[Abdul Hafiz Lakhani is a senior Journalist based at Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Gujarat). He can be reached at lakhani63@yahoo.com or on his cell 09228746770]

Anna Hazare the Pied Piper of India

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

By Syed Ali Mujtaba

Anti graft campaigner Anna Hazare ended his 288 hours of fast on Sunday August 28, 2011, and by doing so he gave the nation a sigh of collective relief. The 74-year-old social activist began his fast on August 16 and continued for 12 days uninterrupted.

It was a rare show of unanimity and purpose that saw unprecedented mobilization of the people across the nation. It resulted in special session of the Parliament to hold discussion on the Lokpal bill, stretching over nine hours in the Lok Sabha and eight hours in the Rajya Sabha.

Going beyond party lines at the Parliament passed a resolution agreeing to his three core demands of Anna Hazare for Citizens' charter, Lower bureaucracy under Lokpal through appropriate mechanism and establishment of Lokayukta in states. Parliament also passed a resolution to forward the proceedings of the House to the Standing Committee for its perusal while formulating its recommendations for a Lokpal Bill.

There are few very seminal points that have emerged out of the twelve days agitation led by Anna Hazare. The overwhelming response of Anna Hazare’s call to end corruption has set a precedent of sorts for mass mobilization in the country. In near memory there are three events that stand out for mass agitation.

One was the mobilization of the masses against rising prices, unemployment that led to the proclamation of national emergency in 1975. Then the agitation against it that was led by Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan, and Achrya Kirplani, the veteran freedom movement leaders, that led to the ending of the dark days in India. The anti emergency stir caught the imagination of the nation and people from wide spectrum of society came on the streets and rested only when the proclamation was withdrawn.

The second mass mobilization was seen in India during 1998, primarily from the youth of upper caste who were opposed to the implementation of the Mandal Commission report that gave 27 per cent reservation to the other backward caste categories of the Hindu society. This agitation was primarily confined to north India, where upper caste youth came out in large numbers and some even immolated themselves for the annulment of the law. “It was mass hysteria with the underpinning of suicidal impulses on the lines,” French sociologist David Émile Durkheim proponed in his study, ‘Suicide: A Study In Sociology, published in 1895.

The last was the Sangh Parivar’s mass mobilization centering on Ram Janamboohmi. A wounded civilization came out in large numbers to destroy the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992. As the angry agitators pulled down the three domes of the Muslim’s place of worship, in that carnival of rebellion, it seems the three domes, on the Parliament, on the Supreme Court and on the Rashtriapathi Bhavan, crumbled. In hindsight, the mobilization of the masses was more for destruction than actually for construction, as the intended purpose thereafter could not mobilize the masses.

Contrary to all of them, Anna’ Hazre’s agitation was unique in many sense. It demonstrated to the world that even in this age, there are pied pipers who can bring the people on the streets. The charismatic figure of Anna Hazare, caught the imagination of the nation many equate him with Mahatma Gandhi and his method of agitation.

Some may point out that the mass mobilization was due to spread of the social media, others may say it was the handiwork of the television channels, that went gone gung-ho telecasting this reality show, some may also credit the organizational acumen of team Anna, the fact is there was unprecedented mobilization of the masses never seen, since the independent movement of the country.

The other feature of the movement was the discipline shown by the agitators and volunteers’ having a total control of the situation is something remarkable. Skeptics had cast doubts over the agitation and some even predicted it may end up in Chauri Chaura way, and like Mahatma Gandhi, Anna Hazare too calling off his fast in a dejected mood. However, every thing went of the scripted way of the reality show and this something laudable.

However, it’s not that every thing was picture perfect in Anna Hazre’s agitation. There were many flaws in it as well. The twelve days agitation of Anna Hazare has able to dictate the content of the Lok Pal bill. The government was forced to bow down to the pressure that was applied on it through the strength drawn from the street, even though it took eleven days to do so. This is unprecedented.

It has set a new precedent for future political discourse in the country and the future governments have to be prepared to handle such dictate from the so called people’s parliament.

Imagine a situation when the farmers of the country march to New Delhi, to press their demands or the Hindutva forces muster such strength and pressurize the Parliament to build the Ram temple or in wake of terror attack, the people’s Parliament ask the government to go to war with Pakistan. Let’s leave it for propriety as imagination stops to build future scenarios.

Certainly, Anna Hazare should have avoided the ill advised call to his followers to gherao the Prime Minister, MPs and MLAs. He and some of his spokespersons called people’s representatives as dacoits and thieves and that amount to spreading hatred. Apologies on this count in the closing speech were dished out, but the damage done certainly lowered the dignity of the movement.

Another matter of extreme concern was the source of funds for sustaining the movement for twelve days. Even earlier to that, the members of team Anna were flying at different locations in the country and there were huge shows being organized. All that needed money, where did it come from? Many people visiting Ram Lila grounds are reported to have been fed with snacks and food. All these would not have come without money? It is quite possible that such money may have come from the followers of Anna Hazare but the country need to know the people who have funded them.

In the closing speech, it was said that the money spent during the agitation were from public donations and from admirers of Anna Hazare. To some this sounded more like a politician’s comment then the words of a social activist. It leaves an element of deep suspicion among the civil society about the movement it represents.

In such issues, transparency is a very important. In a rare show of solidarity countrymen belonging to a cross section of the society have given unstinted support to Anna Hazare’s protest against corruption. Team Anna should clearly make public the names of the people who have funded the twelve day agitation. Keeping the curtains over the faces, would go against the noble cause that the movement represents.

Even before the agitation has begun allegations of impropriety came forth regarding all the NGOs to which category Anna Hazare and his team belong, that they are not corruption free. A few of them have been accused of swindling large amount of money and misusing the NGO portfolio for ulterior purposes. The fact of the matter is; Anna Hazare has missed to comment on this disturbing fact for whatever reasons.

Anna Hazare’s practice of giving a free hand to his hand picked people has raised eyebrows. There are certainly many more knowledgeable people in the country with great credentials that Anna should spot and utilize them for the larger good of the nation. Keeping the tainted faces in the crusade against corruption takes away the sheen out of the movement.

Finally, the claim that the battle against corruption has been half won seems bit exaggerated. The fact is that the battle against corruption has only just begun. The movement still has a long way to go. What is required is to fine tune it to a substantial extent to provide dignity to the campaign.

The bitter truth is that during the twelve days of fast, team Anna have not been able to elevate the quality of the campaign to the lofty level necessary to sustain such movement. It’s imperative to plug the loopholes in future.

In the end, let’s hope and pray that human greed is over powered in our country and corruption is banished from this land. If and when it happens, Anna Hazare will be hailed as the pied piper of India.

[Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba@yahoo.com]

Deepening European Economic Crisis

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

By Dr. Abdul Ruff

The ongoing terror wars in Islamic nations being waged illegally by the NATO terror syndicate led by the USA-UK terror twins have deadly impacted upon not only the climatic conditions with extra air pollutions, but also on the economies and finances of the western nations themselves.

The bitter experiences of the 1930s threaten to repeat themselves in a more monstrous manner. The public purse in Europe and elsewhere is being looted in order to save the banks and the assets of the wealthy, while education, health and old age care are being destroyed and the youth pushed onto the streets with no prospects.

Western powers have resorted to austerity measures to cut social expenditures. One farcical austerity measure follows the next, aggravating the recession, which in turn rips new holes in the public sector. The decline of the world economy is accompanied by growing national tensions, threatening the continued existence of the EU, and increasingly brutal imperialist wars, as in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Libya.

Governments in Europe have refused to tax speculative profits, high incomes and wealth. Offenders of all sorts like the stock exchange gamblers and speculators who have driven entire national economies to the wall, without being in any way held accountable for their crimes. The markets, and particularly the financial markets, have demonstrated their destructive power. Speculators are driving governments and dictating policies that plunge society into ruin and destroy the livelihoods of broad layers of the population..

The economic conflict in Europe does not run between nations, but among various layers of society, between classes. Those western nations talking about democracy refuse to see that the financial institutions and large corporations are expropriated and put under democratic control.

In Europe, governments and parties are arguing over whether the insatiable appetite of the financial markets can be satisfied by the creation of so-called euro bonds, or whether the euro should be abandoned. The introduction of euro bonds would extend the brutal austerity measures, to which countries such as Greece, Ireland and Portugal have had to submit, throughout the rest of Europe. Many others are prepared to abandon the euro, break up the European Union and follow the path of national rivalries, conflicts and wars.

The unilateral USA emerged from the World War II as the dominant economic power. Today, the US is itself the focus of the crisis, and no country or alliance can assume its role as the anchor of the world capitalist economy. The demise of the USSR in 1991 was proclaimed as proof that socialism had failed and the unrestricted capitalist market had triumphed. The current financial crisis is even more fundamental than eighty years ago when Europe slid into fascism and war, and the American bourgeoisie responded with a program of social reforms, in the form of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal.

For the first time in history, western governments are being driven by financial developments which they are unable to influence, as crisis of the world’s stock exchanges and financial markets is increasingly spiraling out of control that might force the governments with further budget cuts. The panic on the stock markets shows that traders are expecting a deep recession, already heralded by stagnating growth and rising unemployment rates. European leaders Angela Merkel and Jewish Nicolas Sarkozy, the leaders of the fourth- and sixth-largest economies in the world, met at an emergency summit with the aim of calming the markets.

Economic life in capitalist nations is not planned according to the needs of society but according to the anarchy of the market and the profit interests of the owners of capital. The prerequisite for the defense of social and democratic rights is a socialist program but the western terrocracies spun socialist mode. Worst, the trade unions and social democratic parties continue to enjoy countless state privileges and are less serious about working people. They work in tandem with government to divide, paralyze and suppress all opposition from below.

The world's public debt crisis, simmering for months and market upheavals in the USA and Europe being witnessed almost put a seven-decade economic experiment to the premature end. As the debt ceiling in the U.S. Congress raised the prospect of a default by the world's biggest borrower, the crisis has threatened to engulf nearly everyone. Since massive doses of deficit spending constituted the only possible cure for the global economic collapse, even small countries such as Greece and Ireland have enacted plans to sharply cut their budget deficits.

But war in energy rich Islamic world for more assets is not the answer. The strategy of continuing the wars (and adding one in Libya) is that ending them would cause a rise in unemployment, a drop in spending and the loss of jobs in the arms sector industries.

Too much of energy and resource consumption is leading to a rise in energy and commodities prices. The world is now controlled by the arms traders, liquor-drug dealers, real-estate controllers, commodity traders, casino owners, bankers, insurance companies, irate members of the Saudi Royal Family, dictators, oil companies, media outlets and lords, hedge funds, pension funds.

As long as the special interest firms can buy the greedy politicians nothing will ever change and monetary policy will always be in favor of big business, in good times or bad. I believe the worst is yet to come in terms of a long recession and a continuing debt crisis worldwide.

America and its allies have been at war with Islam and Muslim nations on the pretext of 9/11/2001, when the country was attacked allegedly by a group of “radical extremists” but the recent developments show CIA is behind the attack. NATO chose to “retaliate” by going to war against an Islamizing country that was a seen as a threat even by hypocritical Arab nations: Afghanistan is a country that the then US President Bush Jr. disliked for political reasons. .

The war on terror that enabled bush Jr to get reelected to White House, ruin many Muslim nations, kill millions of Muslims, terrorize entire world, also has totally depleted the US treasury - to the point that the White House and Congress are now immersed in a titanic battle over a $4 trillion debt ceiling.

The Obama regime is engaged in finding answer as to how much money can be borrowed for the War on Terror. Unfortunately the decision was made to finance this war by debt instead of taxes. This decision is one of the prime reasons USA and Europe are in the current financial mess. The other prime reason is the decision that was made to eliminate regulation of Wall Street and corporations by the same administration, which allows corporate greed to run amok. Unfortunately USA did not learn any lessons from the last ten years as they are still fighting the “invisible”, fake enemies and those wars financed by debt and are still allowing Wall Street and corporate executives to enrich themselves.

The great debt experiment has left the Western world with a problem that has no easy solution. The outcome is hard to predict, but in the end it is likely to involve the reduction of both private and public debts to levels that the markets consider sustainable

If the West sneezes, the East catches cold and when western terrocracies are caught in economic and financial crises or facing other problems, that deadly affects eastern economies as well. West has several supporting agencies like G7, G8, G20, WB, IMF etc to cushion up the weakening economies. UNSC is being exploited by them to squeeze eastern economies. Western powers after draining Japan now depend too much on China for its resources to ward off economic and financial crunches.

Needles to remind Obama and his terror colleagues from Europe that they are responsible for serious climatic troubles as well as human annihilation in now occupied Muslim nations from Afghanistan to Libya and it is time is indeed fast running out for them to wind down all wars in Islamic world.

Save humanity, earth and climate!

[Dr. Abdul Ruff is Specialist on State Terrorism. He is Chancellor-Founder of Center for International Affairs (CIA). He is former university Teacher, Analyst in International Affairs and an Expert on Middle East. He can be contacted at abdulruff@gmail.com]

Muslims in Britain Demand Sharia-Compliant Student Loans

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

By Soeren Kern

Muslim students in Britain are protesting government reforms to higher education that would raise tuition and increase interest rates on student loans.

Muslims say the changes are discriminatory because Islamic Sharia law prohibits them from paying interest on student loans. They are now demanding that the British government put in place a scheme that would enable Muslim students to finance their degrees in a way that complies with Islamic principles.

The dispute over interest-bearing student loans follows stepped-up demands for Sharia-compliant banking and insurance as well as credit cards, mortgages and pension funds. Taken together, they reflect the gradual establishment of parallel Islamic financial and legal systems in Britain and other parts of Europe.

A long-awaited review of higher education in Britain, also known as the Lord Browne Report, recently concluded that raising tuition and shifting the financial burden from taxpayers to graduates was the best way to ensure the financial sustainability of the British university system.

As part of the reforms, the new system requires graduates who earn above £21,000 ($35,000) to pay interest on student loans of up to 3 percent above inflation.

According to the London-based Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS), this is unacceptable for the estimated 90,000 Muslim university students in Britain. In an interview with the Independent daily newspaper, a FOSIS spokesman said: "Under Islamic law interest is seen as something that is prohibited. Previously, the interest rate was at the market rate of inflation. The problem now is that the interest is above the market rate. Because the rate of interest is above the rate of inflation, it is quite blatant usury."

FOSIS says young Muslims are unfairly being forced to abandon certain principles required by their faith in order to attend university. Others could be forced to sacrifice higher education as a result of the higher rates of interest.

One Muslim student interviewed by the Independent said the increased tuition fees will deter him from applying to university next year. "I'm Muslim and loans are against my religion," he said.

FOSIS is working with the National Union of Students (NUS) to formulate an alternative to interest-bearing student loans. "It is important that we ensure complete equity for Islamic students but disappointingly the final framework looks unlikely to be in place until the 2013/14 academic year," according to a NUS spokesman.

One idea being considered is a new kind of loan scheme where education could be "rented" in a manner similar to Islamic mortgages, where banks buy properties and then lease them to the customer in a rental agreement.

The controversy over student loans is just one example of how British finance is being transformed to comply with Sharia law.

In June, a British company launched a Sharia-compliant pension fund that will enable Muslims to save for retirement in compliance with Islamic principles. Pointon York, an independent financial services company based in Leicestershire in central England, said it would begin offering four Sharia-compliant Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPP) products that do not bear interest or invest in companies that trade in alcohol, gambling, pornography, tobacco or weapons.

As of 2012, the British government will also begin offering Muslim workers a Sharia-compliant pension fund in the public sector. A new government agency, the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST), will give Muslims who do not already have a company pension the option of investing in the HSBC Life Amanah Pension Fund, a Sharia-compliant pension scheme.

Muslim families in Britain can already acquire Sharia-compliant baby bonds under the British government's Child Trust Fund scheme. In 2008, Britain's Financial Services Authority (FSA) authorized the establishment of the country's first Islamic insurance company as well as the country's first Sharia-compliant MasterCard, called the Cordoba Gold MasterCard.

The new financial products are seeking to fill the growing demand for Sharia-compliant financial products in Britain in the wake of Muslim mass immigration to the country.

Britain is now home to an estimated 2.8 million Muslims, which is equivalent to about 4.6% of the overall population. In absolute terms, Britain has the third largest Muslim community in Europe, after Germany (4.1 million, 5.0%) and France (3.6 million, 5.7%). According to a survey recently conducted by the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Research Center, the Muslim population in Britain is forecasted to nearly double to 5.5 million within the next 20 years.

Islamic banking is growing faster in Britain than it is in many Islamic countries in the Middle East and Asia. According to the "Global Islamic Finance Report 2011," Britain has emerged as ground zero for Islamic banking in Europe; and London is now the main center for Islamic finance outside the Muslim world.

With $19 billion in reported Islamic banking assets, Britain's Islamic finance sector ranks number one in Europe, and number nine in the world. It dwarfs those sectors of some states where Islam is the main religion, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey and Egypt, according to a new report titled "The City UK Islamic Finance 2011."

More than 20 banks in Britain now offer Islamic finance products and there are five fully Islamic banks in the country. More than 30 Islamic funds are managed from Britain, and over 20 law firms supply services in Islamic finance. In addition, there are 55 colleges and professional institutions offering education in Islamic finance in Britain – more than anywhere else in the world.

The establishment of London as a global center for Islamic finance is being actively promoted by the British government, which has extended tax relief on Sharia-compliant mortgages to companies and has made it easier to trade in Islamic bonds known as Sukuk. There were five Sukuk listings at the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in 2010 and three so far in 2011, bringing the aggregate total at the LSE to 33 listings worth nearly $20 billion.

A British government investment promotion agency, the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), recently formed the UK Islamic Finance Secretariat (UKIFS), a lobbying group to further the industry's development and push for the issuance of the first British sovereign Islamic bond. For the first time ever, the UKTI and the UKIFS set up a fully fledged British pavilion at the recent World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) in Bahrain.

The growth of Islamic finance comes as other aspects of Sharia law are becoming enshrined in the British legal system. At least 85 Islamic Sharia courts are now operating in the country. A recent study titled "Sharia Law or 'One Law for All'?" found that scores of unofficial tribunals and councils regularly apply Islamic law to resolve domestic, marital and business disputes, many operating in mosques.

The report warns of a "creeping" acceptance of Sharia principles in British law.

(Courtesy: Hudson New York)

Riba free Islamic Microfinance

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

Microfinance in Islam is a hot topic these days as it has been for a couple of decades. This is in part due to the fact that governments in Islamic countries have starting focusing their attention, albeit half-heartedly, towards poverty alleviation and the well being of the lower segment of the society in their countries.

Poverty is common in societies around the world and man has been battling it as long as he inhabited this planet. The poor live in miserable conditions, unable to feed or cloth themselves or their families adequately and often go to bed hungry. The situation is especially precarious in Muslim countries where it is estimated that more than half of the world’s poor live. The worst part for the poor comes when many of them lose hope in a good life and their lives are gripped by hopelessness that knows no bounds.

However, Islam does not approve of poverty; Islam does not approve of a situation in which the winner takes all and all others are left to watch and starve. Islam encourages a system where everyone has his due share being awarded to him such that there is no enmity or hostility as a result of unfair distribution of resources. Many psychologists believe that animosity between Muslims is a major reason why many of the “well-off” Muslim nations are unwilling to help other poor nations from the Muslim World.

Qarz-e-Hasana is an example of Microfinance in Islam; an ideal example because Islam encourages Muslims to help each other financially but disapproves of interest based loans. This is because the loan taking party is probably never able to pay back the amount in full it is because they are bound to repay interest on the principal by virtue of their agreement with the loan giving party. Qarz-e-Hasana involves the lender giving out a loan to a needy Muslim to cover his expenditure. The agreement says that “If and only If the loan seeker is able to pay an amount exceeding the principal, at regular intervals as compensation for the good gesture of the lender, he can pay it at Will”. This amount however is not mandatory on the loan seeker and is only a means of returning a favor to a fellow Muslim. This solves the two sensitive issues that Islam is touchy about, i.e. not allowing interest to be taken forcefully and two, making an effort to reduce poverty in Islamic societies.

Compassion however is a major ingredient of this form of Islamic lending as without this solid virtue, such lending out is impossible. No Muslim would be willing to help a fellow Muslim by giving out his money on which he may or may not receive a surplus in absence of such a respectable quality. This is one reason why Muslims are encouraged again and again in many different verses of the Holy Quran to show pity and concern for the sufferings of fellow Muslims and to make an effort to alleviate it as much as possible.

(Courtesy: IslamOnline)

UAE university to offer MBA in Sharia-compliant banking

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

By Gillian Duncan

Islamic banking is one of the world's fastest-growing financial sectors, and one UAE university is preparing to capitalise on its popularity.

The Canadian University of Dubai will launch its MBA in Islamic banking at Najah Education and Careers exhibition in Abu Dhabi in October.

The course will teach traditional MBA topics such as business strategy and managerial finance, in addition to those specific to Islam such as accounting in Islamic financial institutions.

"The MBA in Islamic banking has been introduced in response to the increasing popularity of this type of banking in the region," said Dr Muhammed Kabir, the university's vice president, academic affairs.

"(The course) aims to equip postgraduates with the necessary skills to manage banking activity that is consistent with the principles of Islamic law."

The sector experienced a surge in interest after the last global financial downturn.

A report released by the IMF last year found that Islamic banks tended to be more versatile during the crisis because Sharia principles precluded them from financing or investing in the kind of instruments that affected conventional banks. Islamic banks also have smaller portfolios and lower leverage.

"In the post-financial crisis world, people are looking for more resilient and ethical alternatives to conventional interest-based financing," said Atif Khan, the managing director of the Ethica Institute in Dubai, which offers an online Islamic finance training certificate.

Hamdan Bin Mohammed University also offers a Master of Islamic Banking and Finance.

(Courtesy: The National, UAE)

Return of the Colonists to their former Muslim-Arab Colonies

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 29 August 2011 | Posted in , , ,

By Kaleem Kawaja

Soon after World war I the Europeans (Britrish, French, Italians) with help from their advanced technology snuffed out the Muslim Ottoman empire's rule from the Muslim-Arab countries. They installed puppett regimes with figurehead Muslim rulers in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt, Jordan and the Arab peninsula. The puppets served their colonist masters well. The colonists dictated policies to these Muslim countries, stationed their troops there and made the namesake Muslim rulers subservient to them. Their loot continued. Then in 1950s a series of nationalist revolutions occured in these Muslim countries. The Bath party's Muslim leaders overthrew the kings in Iraq and Syria. Col Jamal Nasser and other military officers overthrew King Fouad in Egypt. Col Qaddafi overthrew King Idris in Libya.

These nationalist Muslim leaders were steeped in the love of their country and wanted to bring power and the country's wealth back in the hands of their people. They were young and idealistic and full of patriotic ferver. They literally threw out the western colonizers and thumbed their collective noses at the mighty colonial powers. Muslims all over the world were overjoyed that finally Muslim-Arabs were incharge of their own lands. The discovery of oil in the region became a boon to some of the new nationalist rulers and they set about implementing a new order. To develop their countries they hired western companies for their technology but gave employment to a large number of people from the third world, many of them Muslims.

That was a relief and an opportunity for the poor Muslims of third world countries like Egypt, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Philipines and the stateless Palestinians. They flocked to these Muslim-Arab lands of opportunity. In these lands they were in the midst of a Islamic society everywhere. They felt comfortable and adjusted to living in the Arab lands under the reassuring sway of Islamic culture. It lasted for about half a century.

Then as the 21st century dawned the western powers started planning to recapture power in their former Arab -Muslim colonies and get a hold on their vast oil wealth. They played strange games, sowed seeds of hatred and put the Muslim countries at eachothers' throats. Thus Muslim Iraq and Iran were made to fight a very damaging 8 year war in which about a million Muslims were killed and much losses to the infrastructure and economy of these countries took place.

Then came the western invasion of Iraq on a totally false and builtup allegation and the ruse that they wanted to bring democracy to Iraq. Half a million or more Iraqis were killed, many at the hands of Al Qaeda that mindlessly bombed the Muslim citizens themselves. At the end, the oil rich country of Iraq came under the sway of the western colonists who maintain a weak fig-leaf Iraqi government that claimes to be democratically elected.

The next shoe dropped in Libya where the colonists similarly instigated a disenfranchised tribal minority population to rebel against the erratic 40 year old regime of Col Qaddafi. The western colonists bombed the smithrens out of Libya and strangled the country from all sides in the support of the ragtag rebels. So now oil rich Libya is again under the control of the western colonists.

The next scenario is being played out in Syria. Syria has no oil but it is a very strategic country with very rich Arab and Muslim heritage and history. It is a thorn in the paw of the Israeli Zionists. It remains to be seen how this game of democracy and human rights plays out in Syria.

The question arises why the Arab-Muslim nationalist renaissance that lasted fifty long years, and that was endowed with huge oil wealth did not help these countries to build durable, modern, democratic, industrially advanced nations? Nations that could sustain themselves on their own. Why did they suffer such bitter divisions, tribal rivalries, religion based (Shia-Sunni) internecine feudal conflicts and so much violent fighting? Why did the rulers not give opportunities to all and remove complaints of discrimination? Why did the rulers become so brutal against those whom they considered their rivals? Why did the rulers impose one-family dynastic rule without letting other people rotate in top leadership positions of power and let democracy flourish?

As far as can be surmised the nationalist young leaders of 1950s and their successors who had thrown away wetern colonizers, squandered away a great opportunity to build their Muslim nations as among the most egalitarian nations on earth. The western colonizers were laying traps for them all along and they did not take actions to undo those traps. Instead of distributing power among their people they concentrated power in their own hands and tried to perpetate their and their family's rule. When the western colonizers were sowing seeds of discord among their people the rulers took no countermeasures.

Now that in the name of democracy the western colonists have forced themselves on their former colonies in Arab middleeast, one wonders how long this western colonial rule will last in Arab-Muslim lands. What is the worth of the so called Arab Spring when Arab lands are again about to become colonies, albeit under the facade of democracy, and not be the masters of their own destiny. Is the Arab-Spring being exploited by the colonizers? Perhaps a long time will pass until another set of messiahs have the requisite ability, courage and foresight. Meanwhile the lands of the Muslims continue to remain under the sway of others, the ordinary Arab-Muslims remain disenfranchised and the Muslim ummah laments the loss of five decades of opportunity to make the Muslim commonwealth first among equals among the comity of nations.

[Kaleem Kawaja is a community activist in Washington DC. He can be reached on kaleemkawaja@gmail.com]

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