A musical journey to the mystique

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

By Syed Muthahar Saqaf

The New York City reverberated with soul-stirring fare presented by Najmuddin and Saifuddin.
Reverberation of sacred Qawwali, a popular and traditional Sufi musical form of the Indian sub-continent, at the inaugural of the Metropolitan Museum of Arts' New Galleries, in New York city recently, was a rousing tribute to the unique occasion meant to honour the diversity of cultures.

The rendering of Qawwali on the occasion of international significance exemplified its popularity worldwide.

The Morocco's Gnaoua music was the other musical concert selected for the occasion.

Qawwali, which has been part of India and Pakistan's Sufi tradition since the 13th century, was a perfect foil for Morocco's Gnaoua music that emanated from enslaved people who came into Morocco centuries ago through the slave route via Timbaktou.

The Gnaoua community is also known as Bilalis because they follow Hazrat Bilal, the Prophet Mohammed's Ethiopian muezzin, or caller to prayer.

The enchanting Qawwali performance rendered by famous Pakistani singers – Najmuddin and Saifuddin brothers, added in no small measure to the dazzle of the New Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia and later South Asia.

Popular across the world, Qawwali is a very interesting way of preaching the tenets of Sufism and serves as a guide and teacher through philosophical songs based on love and peace. The music from Qawwali is mystical and symbolises ‘Zikr,' which is taking God's name.

Captivating performance

People from various countries, who had come down to attend the inaugural, enjoyed and experienced the mystique power that perhaps only Qawwali can create.

The brothers captivated the audience with their soul-stirring Qawwali and the variety of Sufi songs that they presented in rich, deep voices provided an ideal setting for heavenly music.
Also, the way the troupe presented kalams, ghazals and nazams with ease and involvement enchanted the audience.

The repeated applause bore testimony to the popularity of Sufi music even in alien lands.
Saifuddin Mehmood and Zafeeruddin Ahmed on the harmonium, Mughisuddin on the tabla and Naseem Ahmed on the dhol (cylindrical drum) provided ample support.
Qawwal Najmuddin and Saifuddin, are the direct descendants of the leader of the first Qawwali chowki, or ensemble, formed by Amir Khusrao, a Sufi mystic and called as ‘Father of Qawwali,' in the 13th century.

The group consisted of young musicians, who came to be known as Qawwal Bachhey.
The current day ensemble continued in their family's musical tradition for more than 700 years.
Both the brothers are now based at Karachi, Pakistan, but often tour India to sing at Dargahs and Sufiana mahfils (gatherings). They were part of the U.S. National Caravanserai: A Place Where Cultures Meet U.S. National Tour.

“Qawwali enjoys a very good patronage in the U.S. and Qawwali groups from India and Pakistan perform in various parts of USA often. Every time, the hall is jam packed,” said Zeyba Rahman, creative consultant for public programmes of The Metropolitan Museum, New York, and artistic director for the U.S. National Caravanserai: A Place Where Cultures Meet.

The Gnaoua group that Moroccan-American musician Hassan Hakmoun brought together included his family members and friends, who are musically inclined, including the multi-instrumentalist Brahim Fribgane.

The musicians of both the ‘Qawwali' and ‘Gnaoua' forms, met for the first time before the Museum concert and were delighted to learn about each other's traditions.

Each group performed separately at first and then came together to perform the specially chosen sacred repertoire for the audience at the New Galleries, who gave the musicians a standing ovation thrice in the course of one evening.

“The occasion proved to be a unique inaugural concert programme that was a rousing tribute to the amazing new galleries and to the richness and diversity of Muslim cultures. It seemed most fitting to bring together two great traditions to show the distinctions and common grounds that are their hallmarks,” added Ms. Zeyba Rehman, who is also Creative Consultant of Public Programmes to celebrate the opening of the Metropolitan Museum's new galleries.

(Courtesy: The Hindu)

International seminar on ‘Contribution of Maulana Imran Khan Azhari in Arabic Language and Culture’

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

By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: The Department of Arabic in Barkatullah University is organizing a three-day International seminar on “Contribution of Maulana Muhammad Imran Khan Nadwi Azhari in Arabic Language and Culture” from December 27 to 29.

The inaugural function would be presided over by Prof. Nisha Dube, the Vice Chancellor of Barkatullah University, wherein Maulana Mohammad Saeed Mujaddidi (aka Peer Saeed Miyan) will be the chief guest. The Guests of Honour of the function will be Maulana Mohammad Wali Rahmani, secretary All India Muslim Personal Law Board, and Dr. Jalal Hafnavi, Professor of Urdu in Al-Azhar University, Egypt.

The key-note address will be delivered by Prof. Abdul Ali and Prof. Yaseen Mazhar Siddiqui, both from Aligarh Muslim University. The welcome address will be given by Prof. Ayisha Rais and Prof. Mohammad Hassan Khan. The seminar shall be held in the university campus in the Sociology seminar hall.

Apart from inaugural and closing ceremonies there would be in all seven sessions wherein 39 scholars, writers and litterateurs of repute would present their papers on the subject. The foreign scholars coming for the seminar are from Canada, England and Egypt. The Indian scholars are from Delhi, Lucknow, Aligarh Muslim University, Hyderabad, Nagpur, Srinagar, Mumbai etc.

It may be noted here that Maulana Muhammad Imran Khan (1911-1986) was a distinguished luminary of Bhopal. He hailed from a prominent Ulama family. Besides being a well-grounded scholar of Arabic and Islamic sciences, Maulana Imran had immense administrative capabilities. He had in his personality the rare combination of a peerless educationist and a practical man of wisdom and vision with deep insights into human psychology. The crowning achievement of Maulana Imran Khan was the completion of the half-built Taj-ul-Masajid of Bhopal.

[Pervez Bari is a senior Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Madhya Pradesh). He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]

Mirwaiz launched website to check conversion of JK youth to Christianity

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

Srinagar: Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq today launched a website as part of efforts by several religious bodies to check alleged conversion of Kashmiri youths to Christianity.

Addressing a gathering of Islamic scholars and preachers, the Mirwaiz stressed the need to use technology and modern equipment for countering conversion attempts, he also urged the need to strength the religious institutions and Islamic banking.

Mirwaiz president of Mutahida Majlis Amal expressed serious concern over the activities of Christian missionaries and stressed the need for Baitul Maal committees to help and support needy people.

A pastor was arrested on charges of converting several Kashmiri youths to Christianity last month. After which Muslim leaders in the Valley got together under the banner of MMU and launched a campaign against ‘conversions’ in Kashmir.

The Mirwaiz also asserted that there was a need for the formation of committee consisting financial experts who would strengthen the Islamic Banking concept in the Valley as Jammu and Kashmir is a Muslim Majority state.

According to Agence India Press city reporter, Mirwaiz also appealed to religious scholars and preachers to play their part in spreading true meaning of Islam in its letter and spirit.

On the occasion Mirwaiz inaugurated a website ‘http://www.tahafuzeiman.org’ in order to curb the conversion menace in the valley.

He also said that some vested interests were hatching conspiracies to allure Kashmiri youth to social evils like liquor.

(Courtesy: Kashmir Watch)

Gains of peace process felt as investors’ confidence soars

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

By Romer S. Sarmiento

Koronadal: The “gains of the peace process” between the government and the Moro rebels have been felt in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), with record-breaking private investments posted this year in the impoverished region, an official said.

With 2011 almost over, the ARMM Regional Board of Investments (RBOI) posted for the first time private investments that exceeded the P1-billion mark, Ishak V. Mastura, the board’s chairperson, said in a statement on Tuesday.

“[The RBOI] attributed the record private investments in ARMM to the gains of the peace process, especially the peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF),” he said.


The value of investments registered in the autonomous Muslim region from January 2011 until mid-December reached P1.656 billion, the RBOI data showed. It said the P1.5-billion telecommunications project of EA Trilink Corp. was responsible for the single-biggest investment in the ARMM to date.

EA Trilink, a telecommunications company based in Marawi City, has secured a franchise from the ARMM regional assembly, Mr. Mastura said.

Its project was registered with the RBOI in the second quarter of 2011. The company is targeting to establish 2,000 electronic centers or “tele-kiosks” that will be set in 30 towns across the region.

In the third quarter, Matling Industrial and Commercial Corp. registered its P23.90-million project in Malabang, Lanao Del Sur, for the modernization and expansion of its cassava starch factory, particularly the setting up of a biomass power plant.

In the last quarter of the year, the RBOI registered the P132.34-million investment for the modernization and expansion of the palm oil mill of Agumil Philippines, Inc. in Buluan, Maguindanao.

Last year, Mr. Mastura, who is also a lawyer, said that investments registered by the board reached only P91 million. That included a biomass power project in Maguindanao and a construction project in Tawi-Tawi.

This year, he said the mechanisms on the ground of the GPH-MILF peace process, such as the Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team, helped boost investors’ confidence.

The foreign truce monitoring team managed to reduce to a minimum the armed encounters between the two parties, “signaling the continuing stability of the region and the hopeful progress of the peace talks towards a just conclusion,” Mr. Mastura said.

“The meeting of President Aquino and MILF Chairman Murad Ebrahim in Tokyo last August perked up a lot of business interest in the ARMM because investors are always looking to be [the] first-movers in any green-field area,” he added.

Both parties have resumed formal peace negotiations, brokered by Malaysia, and are set to meet again in Kuala Lumpur next month.

Mr. Mastura said that 2011 is also the first time that the RBOI has registered private investments consecutively in the ARMM, from the second quarter to the fourth quarter of the year.

Madhya Pradesh to bring out first ever state industrial production index

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in ,

By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh is going to bring out the first state level industrial production index and the maiden index would come out in January 2012.
The index would facilitate more accurate and timely assessment of Gross Domestic Product, (GDP), of industries. Presently, in the absence of this index the All India index has to be depended upon, an official spokesman said.

The types of industries vary from state to state. Some states have maximum agro-based, chemical, machinery and transport related industries while others have large industries like steel and cement. It is, therefore, not appropriate to make an accurate assessment of industrial GDP based on the All India index. This more often than not leads to variation in progress rates which are different from actual rates.

The progress of registered industries impacts the progress of medium and small scale ones. Therefore, it is imperative to make accurate assessment of progress rate of organized industries. This is possible only through state level industrial production index. This would make available vital information regarding progress of different industries in different areas and their production to the planners, researchers and policy makers of state and central governments.

The state level index would provide the information of a month within two months. This would enable the government to take remedial measures in case there is shortfall in production of any product and to ascertain the main problem responsible for it. In case of unusual increase in production of any product the state government, armed with proper information, would be able to recommend to the Central government for export of that particular product. In the event of fall in production of any essential commodity it would be possible to import the required raw material for this to avert avoidable price hike.

[Pervez Bari is a senior Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Madhya Pradesh). He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]

EDITORIAL: Veena Malik, an alternate view on the Fatwa

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 24 December 2011 | Posted in , , ,

By Mike Ghouse and Najma Adam

The All India Muslim Tyohar Committee has issued a Fatwa (opinion) against Veena Malik declaring the social boycott of Veena Malik, a film actress who has allegedly posed nude for a men’s magazine and was performing a wedding ceremony on a movie set per the Hindu tradition.

Mr. Khurram, President of the group claims, “[T]he extreme step has been taken because the woman has openly revolted against the tenets of Islam and Prophet Mohammad. You are a Muslim only if you follow the rules of the religion. She has made a laughing stock of the community.”

It is time for Muslims to seriously think about the implications of this fatwa; this is a reactionary position that has consequences that will hurt Muslims, Muslim women and the Committee more than the person it is intended to hurt.

Consider that when the film “Mughl-e-Azam was released in the early sixties, the song “Pyar kya to darna kya” (why fear any one when you are in love) created a similar ruckus. It was a revolutionary song in a conservative society. Parents feared that their daughters will run off with men, did that happen out of the norm? No, there is no record of it. The movie was produced and directed by a Muslim, acted by Muslims, song was written and composed by a Muslim, but no fatwa was issued despite the phobias it generated. Perhaps that was a time of more security for Muslims?

It would seem that Muslims were more secure with their identity and believed in the teachings of Islam that "NO ONE but YOU" is responsible for your actions and NO ONE will come to your rescue on the Day of Judgment. You are on your own with the Creator and it is between you and Allah.

Your parents, siblings, kids, spouse or even Prophet Muhammad will not take responsibility for you on that day. They will be busy with their own accountability. Only Allah knows what is in your heart and he alone is the Malik-i-Yomiddin, the Master of the Day of Judgment, is he not?

As a society, it is our responsibility to keep law and order and faithfully guard the safety of every citizen. Our responsibility is limited to punishing for theft, rape, hoarding, not paying alimony, breaking a contract or lying - as it messes the trust and the delicate balance of the society. However, neither God nor the Prophet has given authority to judge one’s faith or Imaan, and ONLY God reserves that right.

We can gossip and express our opinions, but issuing a fatwa should be a serious responsibility. If Veena Malik is a bad example for our daughters, let us not make a big deal out of it and focus our limited time, energy and attention on her.

In fact, in this instance, the committee could have used the opportunity to focus instead on the plight of girls and women in India and Muslim women everywhere as they struggle for basic human rights. Why can’t the Committee use their power instead to declare that all women should be allowed the right to live once born? Does the committee recognize that infanticide of girls is equivalent to murder? Is this permissible in Islam? Or perhaps the Committee can consider issuing a fatwa against domestic violence so that Muslim women do not have to experience this haram practice? Fatwas that are consistent with Islamic teachings are likely to gain credibility and respect for the committee and better achieve the goals of Islam than the ridiculous fatwa currently in place.

As Muslims we need to feel secure about ourselves and our faith. I urge the Tyohar committee to have faith in God who alone can protect his Deen, we don’t need to pre-empt God. He definitely doesn’t need our help.

It is not Veena Malik, but fatwa’s such as the one against her that has make us a laughing stock. Please take the fatwa back and spare us all the shame that comes with such declarations. Most of all, understand that Allah reserves the right to judge us all, including the committee that has taken to issue the fatwa.

India is the world’s largest democracy and we should learn to live freely and let people be. Let Veena Malik do what she wants to do and let’s mind our own business and take care of the many urgent and pressing needs of our society.

[Mike Ghouse is committed to building cohesive societies where no Indian has to live in anxieties, discomfort or fear of the other. He is a frequent guest at the TV, radio and print media offering pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His work is indexed at www.MikeGhouse.net and his current articles at www.TheGhousediary.com. Mike Ghouse is now associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Foreign Editor. He can be contacted at MikeGhouse@aol.com. Najma Adam is a social activist, educator, and therapist who is committed to social justice. Her website is www.adamandassociates.com]

Now Vietnam Victims of Agent Orange write to LOCOG to drop Dow Chemical from London Olympics’ sponsorship

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

By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: After the Indian Olympic Association demand to drop Dow Chemical from sponsorship of 2012 London Olympics following the clamour by the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy victims, now the Vietnam Victims of Agent Orange have written to the Chairman of LOCOG to remove Dow Chemical as a sponsor for the London Olympics.

Nguyen Van Rinh, president of Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/ Dioxin, (VAVA), wrote a letter dated November 30, 2011 which was hand delivered on December 22 to the office of LOCOG on behalf of 300,000 members of VAVA and three million victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam which asked to drop Dow Chemical as a sponsor for the Olympics.

The letter said: “Allowing such a company to sponsor Olympics/Paralympics – a cultural event of global magnitude is an affront to the conscience of humankind. Such sponsorship offers an incentive to commit other misconducts. For the sake of Olympic ideal, we urge you to drop Dow Chemical as a sponsor of these events”.

Mr. Van Rinh, who is also member of national Assembly, Vietnam, in his letter from Hanoi wrote that the Olympics and Paralympics stand for the triumph of the human mind and body as athletes engage in competition. Dow Chemical, however, has and continues to violate this spirit by manufacturing deadly chemicals that destroy the human mind and body.

He said in the letter that despite public outcry in many countries around the world Dow refuses to compensate its victims and clean up the lands it despoils. “We feel it is incumbent on the organizers to refuse a sponsor responsible for such misery and environmental devastation", he said.

The letter recalled that during the Vietnam war, from 1961 to 1971, Dow was one of the main companies that produced and supplied toxic chemicals to the US military for use in South Vietnam. These herbicides collectively called Agent Orange contain Dioxin, one of the most toxic poison known to science. Dow and other companies deliberately made Agent Orange with high levels of Dioxin to maximise its profits, even though it knew it could seriously devastate ecology and environment in Vietnam, and harmed many Vietnamese people. Millions have died and others left writhing in pain from lethal diseases. Several hundred thousand children have been born with serious birth defects.

The letter lamented: “It is ironic that Dow is allowed to sponsor sporting events including Paralympics athletes when it is responsible for creating three generations of severely disabled children and refused to do anything to help them. For decades, American, European and international public opinion have denounced Dow’s immoral actions and their violations of international law demanding it and other companies to compensate the victims of Agent Orange, not only in Vietnam but also in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Korea”.

It may be mentioned here that during the Vietnam War the United States military sprayed nearly 20,000,000 US gallons (75,700,000 L) of chemical herbicides and defoliants in Vietnam, eastern Laos and parts of Cambodia, as part of the aerial defoliation program known as Operation Ranch Hand. The goal was to defoliate rural/forested land, depriving guerrillas of food and cover and clearing in sensitive areas such as around base perimeters. The program was also a part of a general policy of forced draft urbanization, which aimed to destroy the ability of peasants to support themselves in the countryside, forcing them to flee to the U.S. dominated cities, depriving the guerrillas of their rural support base.

According to Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to Agent Orange, resulting in 400,000 people being killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth defects.

Children in the areas where Agent Orange was used have been affected and have multiple health problems, including cleft palate, mental disabilities, hernias, and extra fingers and toes. In the 1970s, high levels of dioxin were found in the breast milk of South Vietnamese women, and in the blood of the U.S. soldiers who had served in Vietnam. The most affected zones are the mountainous area along Truong Son (Long Mountains) and the border between Vietnam and Cambodia.

[Pervez Bari is a senior Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Madhya Pradesh). He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]

India urged to promote interest-free banking system

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

By P. K. Abdul Ghafour

Jeddah: A senior leader of the ruling Congress Party of India has emphasized the need to introduce an interest-free Islamic banking and financial system in the country in order to improve the economic condition of its poor through microfinance and mobilize funds required for the country's infrastructure projects.

"If we are able to make Islamic finance available it would bring great benefits for our country and people," said M. M. Hassan, who is also a former state minister of overseas Indians' affairs.

“The Kerala government intends to make use of Islamic finance for infrastructure and industrial development in the state,” he said.

Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy
Hassan said his party, under the leadership of Chief Minister Oomen Chandy, would work for promoting Islamic finance in the state and press on the central government and Reserve Bank to get approval for the purpose. The previous LDF government in the state had taken the initiative to establish an Islamic finance company, with state-owned Kerala State Industrial Development Corp. (KSIDC) contributing 28 percent of the capital.

Hassan also spoke about his Janasree Sustainable Development Mission, a non-banking financial institution, to fund small and medium enterprises (SMEs) of its members.

“We are thinking of making use of Islamic finance for this venture. The availability of interest-free loans would be a big blessing for common people,” he added.

Janasree Microfinance has won approval from the Reserve Bank to operate as non-banking finance firm with a capital of 50 million rupees mobilized from 200,000 shareholders. It will provide microfinance services to small-scale projects including agriculture and industries. "I think our company can operate in accordance with Islamic banking principles,” he added.

The Jeddah Chapter of the Indian Forum for Interest Free Banking (IFIB) recently submitted a memorandum to State Minister for Overseas Indians' Affairs K. C. Joseph in the presence of Hassan, conveying the feelings of 2 million Indian expatriates working in Saudi Arabia to take a better decision on investment of their hard-earned money in financial institutions of their choice.

The memorandum was presented by V.K. Abdul Aziz, director of Al-Hayat International School, and O. P. K. Kutty, regional financial controller of AA Turki Group, both are members of IFIB. They also presented a copy of the memorandum to Hassan.

The memorandum, addressing Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Reserve Bank of India Governor Subba Rao, Minister for Overseas Indians' Affairs Vayalar Ravi, and the general manager, State Bank of India, Jeddah Branch, requested that a notification may be published in the Official Gazette of India to include interest-free banking as a form of business and advise the Reserve Bank to issue necessary instructions to all banks to introduce interest-free banking or open interest-free banking windows.

Speaking to Arab News, Kutty said: “Being a pluralistic society India should welcome the interest-free finance system as it would benefit the country's poor a lot.”

He called for changing Reserve Bank regulations to make Islamic finance available on a wide scale.

“The Islamic financial system can operate as a parallel system in the country,” Kutty said, adding that it would help attract funds from NRIs working in the Gulf.

He urged Indian authorities to take quick steps to make use of these huge funds.

(Courtesy: Arab News)

Anti-minority education in Pakistan

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

By Ryszard Czarnecki

“As long as minorities are loyal to the State and owe true allegiance and as long as I have any power, they need have no apprehension of any kind.” These are the words of Quaid-e- Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The tragedy is that he left this world just a year after the establishment of Pakistan and since then, there has not been a single leader of his calibre or wit. One, who could make the minorities feel like they belonged and were valued just like the rest of the majority population.

The anti-minority sentiment is alive and kicking not only in the socio-economic and political spheres of Pakistan it is growing in leaps and bounds thanks to the very education system and books that create a nation’s character.

When a country has its citizens being brought up on a biased education system, then, it shouldn’t be surprising to find that they have grown up with a jaundiced outlook. After killing Salman Taseer (Governor of Punjab) the police guard who had killed him, clearly confessed to the crime and gave the reason as the Governor’s open support for amendment to the infamous ‘Blasphemy Law’ and for defending Asia Bibi (A Christian woman accused of blasphemy).

It was a heinous crime, but the buck didn’t stop there; the next in line was Shahbaz Bhatti the Christian Minorities minister who was killed for the same reasons.

The studies and reports that have come out after researching the Pakistani education system, have all laid bare, the partisan and biased anti minority education system of Pakistan. An independent study by US federal government commission came out with the findings that the Pakistani children are taught to differentiate between the mainstream Muslim majority and rest of the religious minorities.

US federal government commission, UIRF (US Commission on International Religious Freedom) has released a report that describes Pakistani education system and its handling of religious minorities. The report was culled out of a string of interviews with teachers and students as well as an extensive examination of textbooks, used in both the Muslim and secular schools of Pakistan.

According to spokesman Knox Thames: "There's a lot of negativity and discrimination in both systems in the textbooks. And what the ultimate consumers, the students, are learning is that minorities are less valuable, are not full citizens, and are generally not viewed as a part of the social fabric of Pakistan."

In the secular schools, Hindus are looked down upon and treated as sympathisers of India; doing India’s bidding in Pakistan. While, in Muslim schools "views of religious minorities, such as Christians and Jews and ... other faith groups, were negative, and they weren't taught that these human beings have inalienable human rights that people everywhere should enjoy".

The commission’s advice for Pakistan was to bring changes to the curriculum and educate the teachers to give better values to the students. Because, the students were simply saying whatever the teachers had told them about the minorities, who are often painted as the enemies of Islam.

The study, the title of which is Connecting the Dots: Education and Religious Discrimination in Pakistan, carried out an examination of Islamic studies Urdu text books, social studies and pedagogical methods used in Pakistan’s madrassas and public school system. It was a year-long study that explored the connection between the depiction of religious minorities and the biases that continue existing against the religious minorities and the violence and extremism that results from this anti minority education system.

Director of the Dominican Peace Center in Lahore, Dominican Father James Channan described the report as "completely correct", adding that there was a requirement for "urgent reform of the education system". According to Channan: "The teaching of religious intolerance in schools is at the root of the rise of violent religious extremism in Pakistan, the weak religious freedom and national instability."

The education system is crucial to a country’s character building and image. When a country happens to have a mix of religious, cultural and ethnic minorities the role of education should be to bring the various social elements together. The education system and educators should be respecting and accepting minorities rather than making them feel like aliens in their own homeland.

[Ryszard Czarnecki is a Polish European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) MEP.]

(Courtesy: NewEuropeOnline)

Ameer-e-Shariat Northeast condemns kidnapping and brutal killing of innocent people in Assam's Barak Valley

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

IMO News Service

“The Island of Peace - Barak Valley in the northeastern state of Assam comprising three districts of South Assam namely Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj has quite recently turned into a land of kidnapping, robbery and crimes. Every morning, we see the newspapers filled with news regarding serial kidnapping, looting, robbery and killing of innocent people in the area. I cannot imagine how a human being can be so cruel to kill a schoolgoing child for a small amount of money. All these incidents are taking place in the confines of the district and state administration remains a mute spectator. I strongly condemn these bloodsheds & cruelty and demand exemplary punishment for the offenders who are the real guilty so that no other person dares to follow this route in near future,” said Maulana Tayeebur Rahman Barbhuiya, Ameer-e-Shariat, Imarat-e-Shariah, Northeast India, in a press release.

Maulana Tayeebur Rahman Barbhuiya remarked, “Certainly, there are some loopholes in our district or state administration. The people responsible to maintain law and order are actually busy in fulfilling their self interest and negligent about the cause of common people. As a result, criminals, opportunists and anti-social elements are taking advantage in performing such inhuman activities. As reported by local media, some police officers of Barak Valley maintain friendly relationship and provide shelters to a few miscreants, which boost their confidence to threaten the innocent people in broad day light resulting in gradual deterioration of law & order in the valley every day. I request the Honorable Chief Minister of Assam to have immediate control over the situation and take stern action against the culprits and ensure safety & security of the life and property of the common people.”

“The criminals are roaming freely across the length and breadth of the entire northeastern states. In order to put an end to it, the administration should trace out and publish their whereabouts as soon as possible. There is urgent requirement for the administration to have a dedicated phone number for public reporting about their movement. All the Incoming calls to this number should be recorded so that the police cannot escape from their responsibility by making lame excuses. I request the Chief Minister of Assam to replace the existing ACS and APS officers of Barak valley with competent IAS and IPS officers,” the Ameer-e-Shariat said.

“I appeal to all the peace loving people of this valley to help the administration in maintaining law and order situation in order to ensure peace and harmony in the society. The culprits should be boycotted socially irrespective of their caste, creed and religion. I am very much disappointed to see the inactiveness of some political leaders. The People have entrusted their faith on them by their franchise with great hopes to live in safety and security where they failed miserably. The recent kidnapping of Dr. Bidyut Nath, kidnapping & subsequent murder of Naaz (Grandson of freedom fighter Gazi Sikander) and innocent school boy Shahadat is heart rendering. The entire episode of mass kidnapping & murder compels us to think differently and accept the fact that everything is going on under political conspiracy as reported by local dailies. The island of peace (as stated by late prime minister Smt. India Gandhi) is on fire now and the innocent people crying for help. So, I request the Government of Assam to come forward and restore peace, ensure safety & security for common people at the earliest. I would also invite our national leaders, especially the Honorable Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, to please come and visit our place Barak Valley, as our late Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi used to do in her lifetime,” demanded Maulana Tayeebur Rahman Barbhuiya.

Bhopal gas survivors condemn MP CM of going back on promise to set up ‘impartial’ probe into Dec 3 violence

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

Even 80-year-old women survivors slapped with attempt to murder charge

By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: The leaders of the five organisations working for the welfare of the victims and survivors of the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy, the world’s worst industrial catastrophe, have demanded dropping of criminal charges against 2000 survivors. They have been framed to have allegedly taken part in the violence that ensued following the “Rail Roko” agitation on December 3 last, the 27th anniversary of the disaster.

 Addressing a joint press conference the leaders of the five NGOs here on Thursday said that 14 men have been arrested under false charges of murderous assault and other serious offences without a shred of evidence. The organisations claimed to have photographic and video evidence to show that violence on the 27th anniversary of the disaster was initiated by unprovoked attack on defenseless women survivors by armed policemen under the orders of the District Collector.

In addition to 14 people arrested, of which 11 are incidentally Muslims, there are many other gas victims who are facing serious charges like attempt to murder (IPC 307). Ms Batul Bee, Ms Rampyari Bai are over 80 years old are facing such serious charges. Ms Bano Bee, Balkrishan Namdeo, Ms Hazra Bee all over 60 years old are also facing same charges, the NGOs pointed out.

The organisations said that by criminally charging gas victims, some older than 80 years and most with health problems, the government was trying to suppress the survivors legitimate demand for adequate compensation from Union Carbide and Dow Chemical. They condemned the Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s going back on his promise of setting up “impartial” investigation into the violence on the 27th anniversary of the Bhopal gas disaster.

The organisations said that none of the 14 arrested on December 3 2011 ever had had any previous criminal case against them. They presented work place records to demonstrate that 6 out of the 14 arrested were not even present at the time of violence. They said that the police did not have any photographic or video graphic evidence to show that the 14 persons indulged in any attack on the police or public property.

Maulana Mufti Abdul Razzaq, a well-known spiritual leader of Bhopal Muslims, joined the conference and called for end of tyranny by the state. He said that he supports the demand for adequate compensation from the American companies and said that the false charges on innocent victims must be dropped without delay. He said that the disaster and police atrocities on the 27th anniversary have affected Hindus and Muslims alike and laid the blame for the violence on 3rd December on Chief Minister and Collector.

However, it may be mentioned here that police administration have denied the charges levelled by the gas victims’ organisations saying that on the basis of concrete evidence arrests have been made and they have not been tortured as alleged. Senior Superintendent of Police Yogesh Choudhary has refuted the claims of the gas victims bodies.

Meanwhile, the organisations praised the Madhya Pradesh State Human Rights Commission, (MPSHRC), for issuing notice to the district and police administration on the violence of December 3. They said they have filed a complaint with the MPSHRC on the violation of legal and constitutional rights of the arrested persons. Family members of the arrested persons narrated that the arrested young men were beaten up, stripped to their underwear and kept in the lock up for over 48 hours before being produced in front of a magistrate. The arrested persons were also not told about their charges, given food or any protection from cold and were denied access to their lawyers or family members.

The organisations said that contrary to the Chief Minister Chouhan’s publicly stated promise of revising the figures of death and trying to ensure maximum compensation for all gas victims, the state government had taken no steps to correct the figures of deaths and injury in the Curative Petition before the Supreme Court. They said that instead of supporting the demands of the survivors’ organisations as promised in his public statement on the anniversary, the Chief Minister was harming the gas victim’s cause by demanding the inclusion of residents of 20 non affected wards in the list of claimants for compensation.

The organisations vowed to continue with their struggle for adequate compensation from Union Carbide and Dow Chemical and against the violation of their human rights by the police and district administration.

The five organisations which addressed the Press conference are: Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh, Morcha, Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Group for Information & Action and Children Against Dow Carbide.

[Pervez Bari is a senior Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Madhya Pradesh). He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]

The list of persons in custody for the December 3, 2011 incident of violence, which has 11 Muslims out of 14, are as follows:-

S No.
Fathers name
Gas Victim
Details of Arrest
Amir Ahmed
Aqil Ahmed
25000 to all family members
Apprentice Tailor
He was returning home after watching 12-3 PM show at Sangam Cinema. At 3:30 PM arrested from Pul Patra by police.
Faiz aka Bushra
Azeez Khan
Timber mill worker
Faiz was trying to extinguish the fire in timber mill and was caught by the police and beaten up till he became unconscious and then dragged and thrown into police vehicle.
Mohammed Imran
Mohammed Irshad
Egg shop in Naveen Nagar
He was returning home and was caught near his house. When he started running away he was chased on a jeep till he fell down and was beaten up again and put in vehicle
Mohammed Qamar
Banne Khan
Self Employed Electrician
He was watching the incident standing near Taj Shadi Hall. Police came running towards him and he got scared and started running and was arrested.
Naresh Vishwakarma
Chunnilal Vishwakarma
He was working on a site with his contractor 14 km away from Bhopal. He left work early that day and was arrested around 3 pm on his way back home. His contractor testified to this.
Mohammed Afzal Ansari
Mohammed Shareef
Loading Auto Driver
Going to A1 Star Shadi hall for his sister’s daughter’s wedding with his friend on a motorcycle and was arrested at the petrol pump at 3 PM.
Mohammed Rizwan
Mohammed Jameel
Loading Auto Driver
Was going to the wedding hall with his friend on a motorcycle.
Mohammed Irshad
Supervisor of Timer Mill
The owner of the timber mill, one Nafees Bhai asked him to close down the mills and let the workers go home. On his way to home at Pul Patra after violence started in the area.  Around 2:00 pm he was caught and beaten up by the police and then arrested. His employer is willing to testify.
Naveen Jain
Babulal Jain
Ice-cream Vendor
He works at Campus Ice Cream shop at Barkhedi. At 12 pm he came to open the shop and was told not to . He went to his friend’s house behind Taj Shadi Hall and was having tea. All of sudden police came into the house and started hitting him and his friend. Naveen was dragged out of the house and taken to police station.
Tariq Khan
Layeeq Khan
Never Received
Security Guard at Veterinary Hospital
His shift was from 7 AM -3 PM. While coming back from his duty he was arrested from behind Aishbagh Stadium at 3:30 PM.
Mohammed Javed
Mobile Shop near Bharat Talkies
He was working in the mobile shop with the owner. The shop was shut down at 2:30 pm due to trouble in the area. He was coming back home and was caught by police at Pul Patra. The owner of the shop is willing to testify
Naved Ali
Masood Ali
Details not available
Nayeem Khan aka Bhaiya
Fazal Khan
Details not available
Mulchand Kori
Details not available

Meanwhile, details of False Criminal Charges against 2000 gas victims are as follows:-

2 years imprisonment and fine
Rioting Armed with deadly weapons
3 years imprisonment
Unlawful Assembly
All members of unlawfully assembly will be guilty of same offences
Obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions
3 months imprisonment and fine
Obscene acts and songs
3 months imprisonment and fine
Attempt to murder
10 years imprisonment and fine
Causing hurt
1 year imprisonment and fine
Causing hurt to deter public servant from duty
3 years imprisonment and fine
Wrongful restraint
One month imprisonment and fine
Assault on public servant to deter from discharge of duty
2 years imprisonment and fine
Causing damage to property
2 years imprisonment and fine

7 years imprisonment and fine
Railways Act
Wrecking or attempting to wreck a train
10 years to life imprisonment
Railways Act
Destruction of railway property
5 years imprisonment and fine
Railways Act
Obstructing of running of train
2 years imprisonment and fine
Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act
Damage to public property
5 years imprisonment and fine
Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act
Damage to public property by fire or explosive substance
10 years imprisonment and fine

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