EDITORIAL: Let’s sincerely table the Triple Talaq issue and find lasting solutions

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 28 February 2012 | Posted in , , , , , , ,

[These views are being presented in response to Soli J. Sorabjee's article "Proposed changes in Indian Muslim Personal Laws" in Indian Express published on February 26, 2012]

By Mike Ghouse

With a few exceptions, no group of humans has ever jumped and yielded to the demands of the rulers or majorities to change. There is a strong record of resistance to such a change, however, changes have come to be accepted and sustained through persuasion and referencing scriptures.

No one likes a change, not even you, the esteemed readers. You will tell me to go to hell if I told you to change the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the smile you have on your face or the way your talk. If we allow anyone to dictate changes, it amounts to forcing everyone in the society to change by the one who holds the laathi (the one who owns the Cain), owns the water buffalo.
There are plenty of stories of brave men and women in just every religious, ethnic, and nationalistic group where they fought the proposed changes valiantly and at times committed suicide en masse rather than surrender to the rulers. The exceptions are also there in China and Russia where religions were suppressed but when Russia splintered, religion surfaced right back.

The banishment of Sati, a practice where a Hindu widowed woman would throw herself into her husband’s funeral pyre and immolate to death, succeeded not because of the Mogul and British rulers, but because of the wisdom and persuasive Hindu leadership presenting alternate meaning of the scriptures.

The dawn of the 19th century produced two great Hindu thinkers and reformers; Swami Sahajanand who argued that the practice of Sati was not Vedic but a product of 4th century kings, and Raja Rammohan Roy, who saw his own sister-in-law forced to commit Sati, which prompted him to take up the issue strongly and go on a campaign of writing and quoting scriptures. Finally the practice was outlawed in 1829 and it is rarely practiced since then.

Now coming to the Muslim personal laws, the scriptures do not support triple Talaq in one sitting, it is suppose to be three periods of waiting to make sure the woman is not pregnant and more importantly, it gives the time for a couple to rethink and re-align before they make that final decision. Hilla, a docudrama illustrates the point well.

Indeed, in the United States, which is more Islamic than most Muslim nations, it takes 90 days to finalize the divorce proceedings after it is filed, just as the Qur’aan calls for it.

Permitting a man to marry four wives was rather a severe restriction at a time when men were marrying and divorcing women with no restrictions, this was the norm in most societies. Indeed, the restriction was a sign of change, a move to adapt to the needs of the society when Men to women ratio was lopsided. In the Indian context there are reports showing more Hindu men having a second woman than Muslim men having two wives.

The second part of the equation was prompted by the need for social justice, where women were forced to be single through wars and deaths of their spouse, father, brother or other financial supporter. A thousand years ago, women were dependent in all societies and in such cases, they only option dumped on them was to sell their flesh, as men in all societies look at a single women with ill-intent. It was to uplift the dignity of woman, that polygamy was permitted, it was for social justice and not lust.

Muslims are as open to change as any one, so we have to take steps and quote the scriptures in support of the change.

I suggest the Muslim organizations to hold symposiums, debates and conferences, and give a genuine room to people who have opposing views. We are holding a Sharia symposium in Dallas and inviting the nation’s foremost anti-Sharia activists along with the scholars. Let’s sincerely table the issue and find lasting solutions; when we bring the yes men who support our views, we fail in our integrity and our obligation to find the truth. We need to be inclusive of opposing views to find genuine solutions.

Prophet Muhammad has set a variety of examples in handling different situations. When he asked an opinion on an issue, he asked it to be different than what prevailed at that moment. There is a difference when you ask for support and ask an opinion, in the former you ask them to say yes to your opinion, in the latter you want to know if there is another point of view. Indeed, he accepted opinions of his associates even though they were different than his own during the battles of Trench and Uhud.

Let’s bring a closure to this gnawing problem that is constantly biting Muslims every few years.

[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 associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Foreign Editor. He can be contacted at MikeGhouse@aol.com]

2002 UP POLLS: President Rule proposition may prove counterproductive for Congress Party

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

By Mohammad Shahid Parvez

Lucknow: Amidst debate over who will form the government and what will be its nature after the elections in the state, Union minister and Congress leader Sriprakash Jaiswal’s statement in Kanpur reently hinting at the possibility of President Rule as a hung Assembly was on the card in the state has caused ripples in political circles. Needless to say that the opposition parties are furious and the Congress too has disapproved of the minister’s comment asking the party leaders to focus on how to get majority in the elections instead of giving such statements. The Election Commission, on complaints by BJP and SP, has issued a show cause notice to the Congress leader for violating the model code of conduct by attempting to threaten, by his statement, the voters going to poll in the sixth and seventh phases to either vote for the Congress or face the imposition of President’s rule in the state.

Jaiswal though later retracted his statement saying that he had only talked of the constitutional possibilities when asked by reporters about a situation where no party gets a clear majority but the damage was done. The opposition saw through his remarks the Congress design to indirectly rule the state which has kept it out of power for the last 22 years. The speculations of majority eluding the parties in UP and the assertions of Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi and Digvijay Singh, that the party will have no truck with any outfit in formation of the government after polls has only strengthened the opposition fears.

It is not that the constitutional option is anything new. In fact, a section of Congressmen were favouring the idea and some political observers were apprehensive of it but such a statement coming from a senior Congress leader who also happens to be a Central minister in the midst of polling can not be dismissed lightly. Jaiswal may have floated the idea deliberately to gauge the public mood or to draw benefits in the forthcoming sixth and seventh phases of polling as the Election Commission has charged him with, but the statement has shown him and his party in poor light. It is true that a hung Assembly is the most likely outcome of the state polls but that does not necessarily mean President rule. We live in a coalition era and Congress itself is heading a coalition government at the Centre. There is a constitutional provision that President rule can be imposed if after elections no party or conglomerate of parties is in a position to form a stable government. But this should be done only after exploring all the possibilities.

Those favouring the idea in Congress have an eye on the Parliamentary polls. They feel that if no party gets majority in the Assembly elections it would be better for the party not to extend support to SP but go for Central rule in the state. They argue that by pumping money into the state and taking up development works the party can improve its position in the state and get benefit in Lok Sabha polls. They also say that Rahul Gandhi having ventured so far with his vision of politics free from caste and community bias, can hardly afford to support Mulayam without denting his image. This notion in the Congress circles comes perhaps from the assumption that no government formation in the state will be possible without the support of the party. However, it is not necessary that the poll outcome is the same as the Congress thinks it. It will depend on the number of seats the parties specially the two main contestants-SP and BSP as also the success of smaller parties and independents.

In any event the Congress move to impose President Rule is a dangerous one and may prove counterproductive for the party. The people have participated in this election in large numbers and voted for a change and good governance. Anything counter to their aspirations may only attract a backlash from them. Besides if the Congress shows such an apathy with Mulayam even when he is ready to go extra mile to make adjustments with it he can withdraw his party’s support to the Centre leaving it solely at the mercy of Mamta who has already acquired threatening postures and giving sleepless nights to the Congress. Besides, the Congress image which has been dented by several scams and rising prices will get further beating if it tries to capture power by imposing Central rule against the people’s mandate.

[Mohammad Shahid Parvez is former News Editor, National Herald, Lucknow. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Uttar Pradesh). He can be contacted at mshahidparvez@gmail.com]

Islamic finance: An industry inclusive to all, irrespective of background

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

Highest standards applied each day to achieve growth and success

By Rushdi Siddiqui

Dr Mohammad Daud Bakr, president and CEO of Amanie Advisors, has the distinction of being both a globally-renowned Sharia scholar as well as an acclaimed entrepreneur.
His decades' worth of industry experience is both Amanie's pillar of knowledge as well as the focus of its clients' attention.

In an exclusive interview with Gulf News, Dr Daud provides insights into Arab Spring countries' potential for Islamic finance, scholars sitting on multiple Sharia boards and some of the challenges faced by the $1 trillion (Dh3.67 trillion) industry.

Gulf News: You sit on Sharia boards of many institutions in Malaysia/Asia, GCC, and Europe. Are you seeing a convergence on standardisation for Sharia interpretation and regulations?

Dr Mohammad Daud Bakr: The process of determining what you might call "global best practice" is a very gradual and long-term proposition.

Many esteemed groups are working on these initiatives and each year the consensus and understanding gets a few steps further along.

On the day-to-day level it is much more about finding the best Sharia interpretation for a given product, often comprised of unique features, and offered in markets that have country-specific laws that must be followed.

So in summary, while best practice develops across the globe, the highest international standards must be applied each day within the current frameworks for growth and success to take hold.

Dr Mohammad Daud Bakr
Your Sharia consulting firm, Amanie, has offices in Malaysia, Dubai, Luxembourg and most-recently Cairo. You are also looking at other Arab Spring countries. What is your assessment for Islamic finance in the Arab Spring countries?

We made a number of trips to these countries in recent months and the demand is strong from all sectors: general public, the business and financial community, and among regulators.
Whilst it will take some time for all of the pieces to come together, we are optimistic of the industry's success across North Africa and quite keen to play a constructive role in the process.
The total population in this region and the strong demand for Islamic finance add the flavour to the new market opportunities in these countries.

Much like the many small capitalised Islamic banks, there are many small capitalised Sharia consulting firms. Is consolidation needed amongst Sharia consulting firms to improve quality, accessibility and achieve economies of scale?

I do not believe so. There are relatively few such firms operating in the world today and like comparable professional service firms in the conventional world (tax advisory, legal firms, and accountancy firms), we are not a capital intensive industry.

The real ‘capital' for this Sharia advisory services is the intellectual capabilities in providing solutions and services to our clients in who are looking predominantly at Sharia-compliant structures in a timely manner.

Having said that, we are constantly doing the new recruitment to have more qualified consultants joing our firm, particularly in the new markets.

Does their small size present a risk to quality of their work, as such firms are trying to get clients while advising on exiting mandates?

Small can also mean fluid and dynamic and I believe it does in the case of advisory firms like ours.

Like many boutique advisory firms, we must be quick to react and responsive in our decision-making.

In the financial services industry, especially among banks and fund managers, there has been some appetite for engaging a boutique service provider that is efficient and effective in terms of time and work flow.

In many ways, being small (but functional) is our strength.

Malaysia is often tagged with the label of being too liberal on Sharia interpretations compared to the GCC/Pakistan. What is your response?

On many of the technical issues and in terms of the regulatory framework, you could make a case that Malaysia is more rigid in their interpretations.

It is hard to make a general statement in this respect and let us remember that there is broad consensus among geographic regions on perhaps over 90 per cent of the many contemporary issues of Islamic finance.

We are increasingly hearing the need to move form Sharia-compliant to ‘Sharia-based'. Would you please define what Sharia-based is and give some examples?

This is a frame of reference distinction which is somehow prevailing the industry to manifest a different approach to the industry.

Using the term ‘Sharia-based' implies taking a more organic or ‘bottom up' approach to industry development; as opposed to remedying or amending what presently exists in the largely conventional financial marketplace.

From my personal perspective, there is no solid intellectual basis to advocate the distinction between two behaviours of Islamic financial products.

While the distinction between the two may have some merits, the nomenclature of these two terms may be intuitively coined without having the academic justifications for these two terms.

There are a number of non-Muslim and Muslim countries that want to become an Islamic finance hub. What is the first step? Is it educating the regulator on Sharia modes of contract and accounting?

Surely education is among the first steps. A thorough and compelling legal and regulatory framework must underlie such initiatives.

Beyond that, there must be a compelling business-case and some evidence of pent-up demand for these initiatives to flourish. Our group is active in many such hubs, from Luxembourg to the DIFC [Dubai International Financial Centre] to Labuan and KL [Kuala Lumpur], and we try support all the worthwhile projects that we can.

What has been the most challenging aspect of Islamic finance for you?

The most challenging aspect is to convince the relevant authorities that Islamic finance is not detrimental to any taxation framework as Islamic finance should be treated equally with conventional finance.

Islamic finance would not require special taxation exemption but would only need a level playing field to co-exist in existing legal framework. As Amanie is active in many new markets, these are some of critical challenges to pave the way for Islamic finance.

What are you most proud about in Islamic finance?

Islamic finance is a profession and an industry that is inclusive to all irrespective of countries, religions, economic status, etc.

Islamic finance shows how Islam is the religion for life. Islamic finance never denounces the commercial aspects of any transaction but would require the financial behaviour of the transaction to be in tandem with certain principles of Sharia while seeking legitimate gains and profits.

[Rushdi Siddiqui is Global Head of Islamic Finance and OIC Countries at Thomson Reuters. Opinions expressed here are the writer's own and do not reflect those of his own organisation or those of Gulf News.]

(Courtesy: Gulf News)

LIFESTYLE & HEALTH: Secret Dangers of Tattooing

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

By Dr. Vivek Sharma

"Ink to paper is thoughtful and Ink to flesh, hard-core. If Shakespeare were a tattooist we'd appreciate body art more." ~ Terri Guillements

The word tattoo is said to have two major derivations - from the Polynesian (from Greek) word 'ta' which means striking something and the Tahitian word 'tatu' which means to mark something. Centuries before rock stars and celebrities, tattoos were used by tribal men and women across the world, whether it was Maoris of New Zealand or the Apatanis of Arunachal Pradesh, to mark out identity and territory.

Tattoos and Piercing are hot and happening today with more and more youngsters getting tattoos done on the body and getting various parts of their body pierced. Today, people with tattoos, body piercing and brands are everywhere. They are shown in advertisements on television shows and in magazines and newspaper photographs. Even a glamorous toy icon, Barbie Doll, comes with temporary tattoos.

If you are thinking of getting tattoos done then it is always advisable that you are totally informed about the pros and cons. Learn whether it is safe, how to care for tattoos and much-much more. It is always advisable to be more aware of its method, precautions, consequences etc.

Know the Risks

"Keeping in mind that tattoo parlors and piercing venues are not held to the same sterility standards as doctors' offices and hospitals." (Body Piercing and Tattoos, www.mayoclinic.com)
Tattoos breach the skin, which means that skin infection and other complications are possible, specific risks include:

I. Allergic reaction – Tattoo dye, especially red dye, can cause allergic skin reactions that cause an itchy rash that may continue for years after you get the tattoo.

II. Blood Born Diseases – If the equipment used to create your tattoo is contaminated with infected blood, you can contact blood borne diseases, including Hepatitis-B, Hepatitis-C, Tetanus and HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) even with the use of a new needle, tattooing equipment is still difficult to sterilize.

III. Skin Infection – Tattoos can lead to bacterial infection, these are characterized by redness, swelling, pain and pus like discharge.

IV. Skin Problems – Sometimes lumps known as granulomas form around.

V. Tattoo Ink - especially red ink. Tattooing can also lead to raised areas caused by an over growth of scar tissue (keloids)

VI. MRI Complications – Tattoos or permanent makeup may cause swelling or burning in the affected area, during magnetic resonance imaging. In some cases – such as when a person with permanent eye liner has an MRI of the eye – tattoo pigments ay interfere with the quality of the image.

VII. Removal Problem – Despite advances in laser technologies, removing the tattoo is a painstaking process, usually involving several treatments and considerable expense.

Key Tips and Warnings

• Don't take tattoo's lightly : If they get infected, it could become very serious.

• Indication that an infection has occurred include : swelling, redness, heat or tenderness around the tattoo ; red streaks extending from the tattoo area, pus coming from the wound ; swollen or tender lymph nodes : or fever.

• Use an antibiotic ointment to treat your infected tattoo.

• Treating an infected tattoo by keeping it dry at all times, water is the biggest enemy of your tattoo when it is healing.

• If there is minimal damage to the skin, the speed of healing will depend on the amount of moisture in the area.

• Make sure to keep your tattoo out of Sun. The Sun will agitate it and the heat from the Sun will make it hurt plus it will cause your tattoo to fade. Whether it's color or black it will fade if exposed to the sunlight.

• As tattoos are placed on different part of body, some areas will be more prone to infection. A few of the things that cause infection are, clothes rubbing against it causing irritation and causing dirt to get into it.

• During the healing process, if you pick at your scabbing tattoo, it can cause infection as well. Your fingers and under your fingernails can get very dirty and full of bacteria.

Think Before you Ink

Dr. Vivek Sharma
A tattooing machine can puncture the skin 3,000 times a minute and everyone of these thousands of punctures create a hole 1/64 to 1/16th of an inch into the dermis that literary invites infection and disease. Every single puncture of the tattoo needle opens up the real possibility of AIDS, Hepatitis-B, Hepatitis-C, Tetanus, Tuberculosis and about any other blood borne diseases. With the average tattoo taking about 60 minutes that equals 1,80,000 tiny "Russian Roulette" punctures wounds providing a potential path to deadly infectious diseases.

However, with the rising demand of tattooing it is important to consider the risk factors and the safety concerns as well. It is not necessary that every person, who impressed tattoos will suffer from skin infections and other complications but it shouldn't ignored.

[Dr. Vivek Sharma is Consultant Paediatrician based in Jaipur. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Health Editor. He can be contacted at drvivek_sharma@rediffmail.com]

Is Hijab Compulsory?

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

By Ibrahim B. Syed

One of the verses in the Quran protects a woman's fundamental rights. Verse 59 of Surah A1Ahzaab reads: "O Prophet! T'ell thy wives and daughters and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when outside) : so that they should be known (as such) and not molested".

According to the Quran, the reason why Muslim women should wear an outer garmcnt when going out of their homes is that they may be recognised as "Believing" women and differentiated from streetwalkers for whom sexual harassment is an occupational hazard. The purpose of this verse was not to confine women to their homes, but to make it safe for them to go about their daily business without attracting unsavoury attention.

Older Muslim women who are past the prospect of marriage are not required to wear "the outer garment". "Such elderly women as are past the prospect of marriage, there is no blame on them if they lay aside their (outer) garments, provided they make not wanton display of their beauty; but it is best for them to be modest; and Allah is One Who sees and knows all things". (24:60).
The Quran does not suggest that women should be veiled or they should be kept apart from the world of men. On the contrary, the Quran is insistent on the full participation of women in society and in the religious practices.

Morality of the self and cleaniness of conscience are far better than the morality of the purdah. No goodness can comc from pretence. Imposing the veil on women is the ultimate proof that men suspect their mothers, daughters, wives and sisters of being potential traitors to them. How can Muslim men meet non-Muslim women who are not veiled and treat them respectfully, but not acccord the same respectful trcatmcnt to Muslim women?

To wear the Hijaab is certainly NOT an Islamic obligatory on women. It is an innovation (Bid'ah) of men suffering from a piety complex who are so weak spiritually that they just cannot trust themselves!

Muslim women remained in mixed company with men until the late sixth century (A.H.) or 11 th century (A.C.). They received guests, held meetings and went to wars to help their brothers and husbands, and they defended their castles and bastions.

It is part of the growing feeling on the part of Muslim men and women that they no longer wish to identify with the West, and that reaffirmation of their identity as Muslims requires the kind of visible sign that adoption of conservative clothing implies.

For these women the issue is not that they have to dress conservatively, but that they choose to. In lran, Imam Khomeini first insisted that women must wear the veil and chador, but in response to large demonstrations by women, he modified his position and agreed that while the chador is not obligatory, MODEST dress is.

[Dr. Ibrahim B. Syed is Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville. He is also President, Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Science Editor. He can be contacted at irfi@iname.com. His works can also be seen on his website http://www.irfi.org]

Hundreds march in Jamia Nagar against illegal arresting

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

IMO News Service

New Delhi: Hundreds of peoples demonstrated on February 26, 2012 in Jamia Nagar against illegal arresting, kidnapping and harassing of local residents by the police.

Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR) Delhi secretary, Syed Akhlaq while addressing to the protest-march said, “Police is for people’s safety not for terrorizing them and it is their prime duty to respect civil rights while arresting or nabbing any person and Supreme Court should take action if its given guidelines are not being followed by any law enforcement agency.” He added, “People should aware and come out to protect their civil rights.”

Adv. Feroz Gazi vice president of APCR, Delhi chapter said, “No one is allowed to take law into his hand either police or common people and every person has right to protect himself from illegal detention.”

Engineer Saleem, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind Public Relation secretary said, “APCR has taken right step on right time to aware people about their civil rights.”

About 200 persons including advocates, social activists and students marched through Okhla Police Station, Jamia Millia Islamia University, Zakir Nagar to Batla House.

This march was a part of APCR’s week-long civil rights awareness campaign.

In Darul’s home, no party has fielded a Muslim candidate

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

By Faisal Fareed

Lucknow: Deoband is home to India’s largest Islamic seminary, and the eponymous hub of a globally influential stream of Islamic scholarship. Odd then that this constituency in Saharanpur will vote Tuesday to elect a non-Muslim to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly.

No mainstream political party has fielded a Muslim candidate for this Muslim-majority seat which after delimitation has 90,000 Muslim voters.

Anil Tanwar is the Congress candidate; SP has fielded old loyalist Rajinder Singh Rana. Sitting BSP MLA Manoj Choudhary is defending his seat. BJP has given its ticket to Rajpal Singh.
Deoband Nagar Palika Parishad chairman Abdul Haseeb Deobandi was thought to be the frontrunner for the BSP ticket for some time. “Two people from the BSP met me and took all my details. I gave them everything they desired. Perhaps my files did not reach Mayawati and nothing materialised,” Haseeb said.

Haseeb added that he had also failed to qualify in the “money aspect”.

The seat has in fact been won by a Hindu on every occasion except one since Independence. Haseeb recalled that Deoband’s only Muslim MLA was elected in 1977, when Mohd Usman of the Janata Party defeated Congress candidate Mahabir Singh. “Usman was with H N Bahuguna... No Muslim has since won from Deoband,” he said.

Maulana Arshad Madani, a senior member of the faculty at Darul Uloom Deoband and leader of a faction of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind, had tried this year to persuade the Congress to give its ticket to local youth Saad Siddiqui.

“I tried to reason with them,” Madani said. “The leaders had agreed, but Rasheed Masood vetoed it.”

Masood is a member of the Rajya Sabha who joined the Congress from the SP recently. He backed Anil Tanwar, the richest candidate in Deoband with declared assets of over Rs 7 crore. Tanwar was earlier a general manager at Deoband Sugar Factory.

“It would have been easy for a Muslim to win from Deoband this time,” Madani said. “Though we do try to ensure that secular votes are not divided as that is good for both the minorities and the country,” he said.

Of the 19 candidates in fray in Deoband, five are Muslims, including two independents. None of them is a serious contender.

(Courtesy: The Indian Express)

Muslim-American Terrorism: Instilling Fear for the Sake of a Budget

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

By Wilfredo Amr Ruiz

Does Muslim-American terrorism pose a significant threat to our nation? Do the alarm, alert and warning levels depicted by the heads of our Homeland Security apparatus and our politicians match the purported threat?

Dr. Charles Kurzman recently authored an interesting report: "Muslim American Terrorism in the Decade Since 9/11" published by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security, a project of Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and RTI International (Research Triangle Institute). This is the third yearly report of its kind published by the Center. One noteworthy finding is the fact that in recent years the nation has experienced a constant decline in violent plots as well as the number of Muslim-Americans indicted for support of terrorism and related crimes. Dr. Kurzman's findings concluded that Muslim-American terrorism in 2011 continued to be a miniscule threat to public safety.

We bring the attention to this scientific study mainly to contrast its findings with the inconsistent, embellished and disproportionate warnings continuously issued by our Homeland Security heads, politicians and a new breed of self or media-monikered "terrorism experts." Purportedly among them are national leaders such as attorney General Eric Holder, who happens to be the ultimate authority to whom the FBI director reports; and Janet Napolitano, the Department of Homeland Security's secretary. The line-up of alarmist politicians includes Allen West (FL) and Peter King (NY), frequent automated instruments of paid public relations media professionals who make their living from orchestrating xenophobic campaigns against Islam and Muslims.
Robert Greenwald, in his article, "The Grave Threat of Homegrown Terrorism," makes an assessment similar to Kurzman's, in which he exposes our national security leaders' flatulent and unsubstantiated warnings about alleged homegrown Muslim-American terrorism.
Dr. Kurzman specifically brought the case of FBI's director Peter Muller, who testified before Congress in March 2011, stating that homegrown terrorism has become a threat even more complex and difficult to combat as "we are seeing an increase in the sources of terrorism, a wider arrange of terrorist targets, and an evolution in terrorist tactics and means of communication." Kurzman went on to expose Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano echoing Mr. Muller's concern in her 2011 State of America's Homeland Security Address, in which she stated: "the terrorist threat facing our country has evolved significantly in the last 10 years -- and continues to evolve -- so that, in some ways, the threat facing us is at its most heightened state since those attacks."

By the same token, Glenn Greenwald cites Secretary Napolitano stating before Congress that domestic terrorism and homegrown radicalization is "a very large focus of the Department of Homeland Security." Greenwald also cites Attorney General Eric Holder, in an ABC interview back in December 2010, expressing his concern about the "alarming rise in the number of Americans who are more than willing to attack and kill their fellow citizens." In the same article, the author mentions the most recent Congressional report on this matter published in December 2011 and released by Congressional staff of the known Islamophobe Peter King (R-NY). Greenwald highlighted this report's findings that "Homegrown Islamic terrorists -- possibly including radicalized American soldiers -- who target U.S. military communities in the homeland" are a "severe and emerging threat." This, once again, runs contrary to Dr. Kurzman's findings.
Unfortunately Islam and the Muslim community in the United States are regularly utilized as a ball in the political game to try to score a few votes, kickbacks and financial contributions. Very often, a number of politicians adopt and promote media campaigns focused on irrational critics to the principles of Islam and its followers. In these campaigns, Islam and Muslims are systematically associated to anti-social behaviors, extremism and violence.

If you find these actions unacceptable, it is even more appalling to find the highest ranking individuals from the most important Homeland Security agencies magnifying alleged imminent homegrown threats coming from the Muslim American community for the main purpose of justifying the multi-billionaire budgets that their agencies amass. The inexcusable exaggerated discourse portraying the Muslim American community as a growing danger causes an irreparable damage not only to that specific community, but to all spheres of our society in general. What rationale do these high-ranking public servants have when they vainly represent the Muslim American community as a growing threat other than taking political advantage, preserving their positions, and justifying the assignment of more financial and operational resources to their agencies?

Dr. Kurzman concludes his report imploring all Americans to be "vigilant against the threat of homegrown terrorism while maintaining a responsible sense of proportion." Indeed, let us all be vigilant against fear mongers who invoke phantom terrorists everywhere we look and nuclear bombs around every corner. We will not rest until we defeat and denounce their dubious damaging agendas. Together, we will defend, protect and preserve our most treasured civil rights, which cost many of our real patriots, like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, their blood, sweat and tears.

(Courtesy: Huffington Post)

Single-religion studies grow at colleges in Kentucky, Indiana

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

New approach aims to help students understand

By Peter Smith

James Adams took a course on Islam at the University of Kentucky because he wanted to learn more about the background of the 9/11 attacks and about the Muslim immigrants he had lived near while studying in Germany.

Then he kept taking classes as his interest in Islam grew.

“In order to understand why people do what they do in other countries, we need to understand the way they can think,” said Adams, a 2009 graduate from Maysville who ended up minoring in Islamic studies.

Adams, who later worked for the Peace Corps in predominantly Muslim Kazakhstan and plans graduate studies in diplomacy, is typical of a growing trend in religious studies at state universities — where students focus on a single religion.

Traditional religious-studies programs at state universities, most of which arose in the 1960s and 1970s, generally cover such topics as the philosophy of religion and comparing the beliefs and practices of different faiths, along with religion-specific classes.

But UK, the University of Louisville, Indiana University and other state universities have in the past decade launched a new fleet of majors, minors and endowed professorships aimed at “area studies” that are either oriented toward one religion, such as Judaism or Islam, or around specific parts of the world that are strongly defined by their religious heritages, such as India and the Middle East.

Courses include the history, culture and ideology of these religions; sacred texts; and languages such as Hebrew, Arabic and Sanskrit.

Such an approach reflects the recognition that religions can’t be neatly compared on a chart, because each one involves a unique set of practices, beliefs, history and culture, said Mary Ann Stenger, a religion-studies professor in the Division of Humanities at U of L, where a religious studies program dates to 1972.

“Religion lives in people, lives in culture,” she said. “If you’re going to take that seriously, then area studies in religion makes sense.”

The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the persistent Middle East crisis and other historical events have also raised interest in specific religious studies, professors said.

“As a human race, we have fought wars under ethnic identities and political identities and religious identities,” said James Turner, a humanities professor at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., and author of “Religion Enters the Academy: The Origins of the Scholarly Study of Religion in America.”

“At various moments one sees a resurgence of (identification) around religion, as we’re now experiencing in the Middle East,” Turner said.

While seminary and similar programs have historically been based on faith and divine revelation, academics have for centuries studied religion through secular disciplines such as sociology, philosophy, psychology and the arts.

Those studies began flourishing at state-sponsored universities nearly 50 years ago.
“It was a response to the 1960s awareness of the East,” Stenger said, plus a recognition that professors “could teach religious studies in a nonsectarian way.”

A 1963 U.S. Supreme Court case — best known for banning school-sponsored devotional Bible readings — also played a role, said David Haberman, professor and interim chair of the religious studies department at Indiana University in Bloomington, one of the nation’s largest such programs.

The court said that “education is not complete without a study of comparative religion or the history of religion” and that the Bible could be studied as literature.

With that constitutional clearance, religious studies “became the fastest-growing discipline in the history of the American academy,” Haberman said.

Such programs — and the trend toward area studies in such areas as gender and ethnicity — spawned the later generation of studies in specific religions. And funding has followed: Area Catholic, Jewish and Islamic donors, for example, have helped endow studies in their fields at public universities.

Professors say they navigate tensions in the classroom when students learn about researchers’ challenges to traditional views regarding the actions of religious figures or the authorship of sacred texts.

“It can be harder because it’s so personal,” Stenger said. But the “goal is not that you agree, it’s that you can think critically.”

David Hunter, chair of Catholic studies at the University of Kentucky, has more than 100 students enrolled in a course he’s teaching on early Christianity.

“We’re not about advocacy, we’re really just about trying to understand the early Christians on their own terms,” he said. Hearing alternatve views helps students “to reflect more on their faith. That can be a good thing.”

Ihsan Bagby, professor of Islamic studies at UK, finds himself speaking to former and future military servicemen, diplomats in training, those curious about the Muslim world — and a minority of Muslims.

Students often come in with strong opinions about Islam, pro or con.

“It actually makes the class fun,” Bagby said. “Students are a little more willing to talk and ask questions and discuss issues. … That’s what liberal arts is all about. It’s not about imposing a mindset; it’s really developing an inquiring mind.”

Little represented in the area studies of religion is the religion held by more Americans than any other — Christianity.

The closest thing in this region is Hunter’s professorship at UK, which was endowed by the donation of a local couple. Even with the endowment, however, UK doesn’t have a minor in specifically Catholic studies.

A search for any degree programs in Christian, Protestant or evangelical studies at public universities in Kentucky, Indiana and several other states’ flagship schools came up empty.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers a minor in the Study of Christianity and Culture. Its website calls it “the only one of its kind in the United States.”

Scott Thumma, a professor at the private Hartford Institute for Religion Research in Connecticut, said he has often wondered about the shortage in Christian-studies programs.

“It is like the separation of church and state at state universities really does mean ‘church’ not mosque, temple or synagogue,” he said in an email.

But professors in religious studies say Christian history and theology are so closely intertwined with Western culture that it’s already embedded in course work in religion, history, the arts, literature and other subjects.

And it’s not for lack of individual courses. Area professors said courses in Christian topics and the Bible are often packed.

“It’s just built in” to many core courses, said Haberman, adding that IU considers one of its strengths the study of American religion — which is largely a story of Christianity.

(Courtesy: Courier-Journal.com)

Muslim investors seek Shariah-compliant RRSPs

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

Shariah-compliant investing involves excluding all financial products that do not comply with Islamic law, which is based on the Qur'an.

The deadline for RRSP contributions is nearing, but there's another important investment concern for Muslims — ensuring the products they rely on for their retirement income comply with Islamic principles.

With nearly a million Muslims in Canada, forming nearly three per cent of the country's population, there has been an emphasis over the last decade in investment products that adhere to the strict dictates of Shariah law.

So-called Shariah-compliant investments have been growing in popularity, due in part to investor interest in working with the Middle East as oil prices continue to rise.

The key elements of Islamic investing are the avoidance of interest, or Riba, and that investment products have no ties to:

  • Interest-charging companies, including banks.
  • Pork producers.
  • Casinos.
  • Alcohol producers.
  • Tobacco companies.
  • Companies that produce media such as gossip columns or pornography.
  • Companies that deal with firearms or any sort of ammunition.

Mining, technology common sectors

As a devout Muslim, Mohammad Khalid, a retired economist living in Oakville, Ont., says Muslims must be careful about their investments, such as securities and equities.

Khalid, who manages his own portfolio, invests in sectors such as mining, forestry and technology, and is helping his older children save for their retirement. He says that unless Muslim investors are careful about where their money is going, they could end up in non-compliant products.

"The way I actually look at Shariah-compliant products is mainly as a subset of ethical, or socially responsible investing [such as avoiding the adult entertainment industry or any company that may negatively impact the environment]," he told CBC economics correspondent Mike Hornbrook.

"The whole market is essentially available, excluding some of the major ones [such as insurance companies and banks]. ...There are so many different companies which which will keep giving you dividends year after year."

Rehan Huda, a director with Amana Canada Holdings, a niche financial firm that sells Shariah-compliant investment funds, says Islam prohibits explicit loan contracts where you just lend someone money and they pay it back with interest, so that means investing in bank or insurance company stock, or in bonds of any sort that generate interest, is not allowed.

Huda's Shariah-compliant funds are focused on mining, forestry and technology.

"We've assisted in getting the Shariah-compliant certification for a couple of the mutual funds that are in Canada right now," he says. "There’s one fund – a bullion fund – that’s a fairly large fund that has gold, silver, platinum stored here, and it’s a purely Shariah-compliant fund.
"Since we're heavily in resource and technology-weighted [funds] ... when those do well, the Shariah funds generally do well."

TSX has Shariah stock index

Huda says that as Muslims make up a growing proportion of Canada's population, the demand for Shariah-compliant investments will only grow.

"An inordinate amount of cash is found among Muslim investors that I know ... and they are waiting for Shariah-compliant products," he says.

"In the future, there’s going to be a lot more products because the population is increasing here."

A testament to the growing interest in Shariah-compliant investing is Standard & Poor’s introduction of its Shariah stock index (S&P/TSX 60 Shariah Index) into the Canadian market in 2009. The index recategorizes equities on the S&P/TSX 60 and excludes all equities that do not comply with Islamic law, which is based on the Muslim holy book, the Qur'an.
While sometimes there's the impression that there are few strong Shariah-compliant investment products, Khalid says there are many "wonderful companies" that can help investors reap big dividends, including technology companies.

"Absolutely nothing is holding them back," he says. "If they don’t [invest], obviously they’re losing something big time. You can reduce your taxes big time."

(Courtesy: CBC News)

जामिया नगर में नागरिक अधिकारों के लिए विषाल मार्च

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 26 February 2012 | Posted in , , , , ,

नर्इ दिल्ली  एसोसिएषन फार प्रोटेक्षन आफ सिविल राइटस एपीसीआर की दिल्ली षाखा के द्वारा जामिया नगर थाने से ओखला हेड, तिकोना पार्क बटला हाउस जाकिर नगर होते हुए मसिजद खलिलुल्लाह तक एक विषाल रैली का आयोजन हुआ।

एसोसिएषन फार प्रोटेक्षन आफ सिविल राइटस (एपीसीआर) की दिल्ली षाखा के सचिव श्री एखलाक़ अहमद ने रैली को संबोधित करते हुए कहा कि पुलिस जनता की रक्षा के लिए है उनको डराने एवं उनका अपहरण करने के लिए नहीं। उन्होंने लोगों का आहवान किया कि वे  अपने अधिकारों के प्रति जागरुक बनें और उनकी सुरक्षा के लिए खड़े हों 

सभा को संबोधित करते हुए एपीसीआर की दिल्ली षाखा के उपाध्यक्ष एडवोकेट फिरोज़ ख़्kन ग़ाज़ी ने कहा कि कानून ने नागरिकों को जो अधिकार दिए हैं उनकी रक्षा करना राज्य सरकार, प्रषासन और पुलिस की जि़म्मेदारी है। लेकिन आज यही नागरिकों के अधिकारों का हनन करने में लगे हैं। जनता को इसका विरोध करना चाहिए। क़ानून तोड़ने का अधिकार किसी को नहीं है।

मार्च को संबोधित करते हुए जमाअत इसलामी हिन्द के राष्ट्रीय सचिव इंजीनियर मोहम्मद सलीम ने कहा कि एपीसीआर की दिल्ली षाखा ने सही समय पर जन जागरुकता अभियान छे्रड़ा है। वर्तमान में जबकि नागरिक अधिकारों का हनन बढ़ रहा है आवष्यक है कि लोगों को उनके अधिकारों के प्रति सचेत किया जाए। मार्च को छात्र संगठन स्टूडेंटस इस्लामिक आर्गेनाइजेषन आफ इंडिया के प्रदेष अध्यक्ष श्री अनीसुर्रहमान ने भी संबोधित किया।

एपीसीआर की दिल्ली षाखा की ओर से छेड़े गए नागरिक जागरुकता अभियान के अन्तर्गत नुक्कड़ सभाएं, हैंडबिल वितरण, और मसिजदों के एमामों से मुलाकात करके उन्हें नागरिक अधिकारों के बारे में बताया जा रहा है ताकि लोगों में जागरुकता पैदा हो सके और वे अपने संवैधानिक अधिकारों को जान सकें और उनकी रक्षा के लिए प्रतिबद्ध हों।

मार्च में लगभग दो सौ सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता वकील एवं छात्रों ने भाग लिया।

Akhlak Ahmad 
Association for Protection of Civil Rights(APCR)
108-III Floor,Pocket-1
Behind Living Style Mall
Jasola Vihar
New Delhi-25
Phone # 011-64639388
Mob # 9899384358

The Islamic Revolution

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

By Ibrahim B. Syed

The Tawheed, which Muhammad (s) propagated, was distinct from all other ideas because it was based on two principles.

Tawheed Rububiyyah, which means that Allah, is One, without any partners or associates.
Tawheed 'Ulluhiyyah, which means that Allah must be worshipped alone in everything, and total slavery must be to Allah alone in everything ranging from the spiritual to the political.

It was this call for Tawheed, which provoked the anger of the Makkan political authority because they realized that Muhammad (s) posed a threat to their societal setup with this call. The response of Ja'afar ibn Abi Talib (r) also illustrates this understanding which the Makkan authorities feared:

"He summoned us to worship the One True God and to reject the stones and idols we and our fathers had been worshipping in addition to Allah. He ordered us to be trustful in speech, to fulfill all the duties that were entrusted to us, to care for our relatives, to be kind to our neighbors, to refrain from unlawful food and consumption of blood. He forbade us to engage in lewdness and lying, the devouring of the money of the orphan and the defamation of married women. He commanded us to worship the One God and to assign no partners unto Him, to pray, to pay the purifying tax and to fast. We deemed him truthful and we believed him, and we accepted the Message he brought from Allah."

This understanding of the spiritual-political nature of the Message of Islam can also be found in many verses of the Qur'an.

Neil Armstrong walked on the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969. Why did it take thousands of years for man to land on the moon?

Non-Muslims ask, "If Islam had never come into existence, would there have been anything seriously lacking in world history?" The answer is yes.

Polytheism and superstition looked upon things and creatures as deities, and encouraged their worship. Before the advent of Islam, polytheism dominated the entire world. Man considered the moon, the sun other planets, wind, river, snake, cow, fire, mountain, etc. as deities. These natural objects inspired man to bow before it rather than try to conquer it. Holding the moon to be sacred was a major obstacle to even thinking of conquering it. The supremacy of polytheism was brought to an end by the Islamic revolution, which replaced it with monotheism, making it the dominant creed of the times. What is revolution?

Revolution is defined as a sudden, radical or complete change; especially the overthrow or renunciation of one ruler or government and substitution of another by the governed. To change fundamentally or completely. To turn over in the mind: reflect upon: ponder.

In the Muslim world this revolution was brought about through the influence of religion. The western world began its revolution by separating the secular sciences from religion culminating in the landing of man on the moon. Modern science is a part of the Islamic revolution. Because of the polytheistic view natural sciences had become forbidden territory and natural phenomena were given sanctity. The Islamic revolution of monotheism opened the doors of research and investigation by displacing nature from its sacred pedestal. Modern science is wholly the gift of the Islamic revolution-directly in its initial stages, and indirectly in its later stages. Modern scientific revolution was set in motion by Islam, which was sent by the Almighty for the guidance of all mankind for all eternity. Henri Pirenne author of "History of Western Europe" says, "Islam changed the face of the globe. The traditional order of history was overthrown." Islam is complete truth. All-pervasiveness of superstition served as a hurdle to all kinds of human development. The kings or rulers exploited the masses through polytheism and superstition. The kings represented God on earth. Some kings like Nimrod, Pharaoh claimed as gods.

Dr. George Sarton, a former Professor of History of Science at Harvard University, stated in his book, "The Life of Science" that the foundations of science were laid for us by the Mesopotamian civilization (present day Iraq) whose scholars and scientists were their priests. The second development of science came through the Greeks. The Third Stage of development, however, is to be credited to the meteoric rise of Islam. For nearly four hundred years Islam led the scientific world as from one end of Islam to the other, from Spain to India, the great body of past knowledge was exchanged between her scholars and the torch carried forward with the new discoveries. Scholars of Christendom from about the eleventh century were mainly occupied for over two hundred years in translating from Arabic into Latin. Thus Islam paved the way for the Renaissance, which in turn led to science's fourth great development in the modern world.

It was God's decree that Prophet Muhammad (s) to be a da'i (missionary) as well as a mahi (eradicator).

The Qur'an says: "We have revealed to you this book so that, by the will of their Lord, you may lead men from darkness to light. (Quran, 14: 1)

The Nile Goddess

In Egypt, it was an ancient and pagan custom that sometime in July a virgin decorated with bridal clothes was thrown in the Nile river as an offering to propitiate (or to do something to get favors) the Goddess of the river Nile. After the advent of Christianity, the Egyptians became Christians, however they continued to follow the ancient custom of sacrificing a virgin to the Goddess of river Nile.

During the time Hadrat Omar (r), Egypt came under the Muslim rule and Amar bin Al-Aas was appointed Governor of Egypt. The Egyptian elders waited on the Governor in July, and wanted his permission for continuing the old custom of throwing a virgin in the river to seek the pleasure and favors of the Nile Goddess.

The Governor said that such a practice was offensive and revolting to Islam and hence he disallowed such practice in an Islamic State. He further argued that Islam knew of no Goddess of the Nile and the question of any expiation did not arise. Islam knew of only One God-Allah and Allah did not stand in need of any propitiation.

After listening to this argument the Egyptian elders were not satisfied. They warned the Governor Amr bin Al-Aas that unless the sacrifice was made, the Nile River would not rise in flood and the entire countryside would get dry. Governor Amr was however, unyielding and inflexible that floods or no floods human sacrifice could not be permitted. The Egyptian leaders returned home in a gloomily mood.

The month of July came and passed away. No sacrifice was offered, and there was also no rise in the level of the river Nile. The month of August came and still the river did not rise. The Egyptians were trembling at what would happen if the river did not rise. The month of August passed away and still there was no flood in the river. The Egyptian leaders grieved and said, " That is all due to Islam. The Muslims have brought this fate on us."

The month of August was gone and September came, and still there was no sign of any rise in the level of the river Nile. The Egyptians lost hope and most of them were thinking of migrating elsewhere. That made Amar bin al-Aas worried. He reported the facts of the case to Hadrat Umar (ra) and wanted his instructions. Hadrat Umar approved of the action of Amr in not permitting the human sacrifice. Along with the letter, Hadrat Umar (ra) sent a card on which it was written: "In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. From the slave of Allah, Umar the Commander of the faithful to the Nile of Egypt.

"Everything in the Universe is subject to the will of Allah. The rise in your level is subject to the will of Allah, and we pray to Allah (SWT) to command you to rise in level."

Hadrat Umar asked Amr that the card should be thrown in the middle of the river. On the eve of the Feast of the Christian Day of the Cross, Amr had the Christians assemble on the river bank and after reciting some verses from the Noble Qur'an and taking the name of Allah, he threw the card of Hadrat Umar in the middle of the river. Then the Muslims assembled on the riverbank lifted their hands in prayers seeking the blessings of Allah, in making the river rise in level. The card of Hadrat Umar floated on the surface of the Nile for some distance and then it disappeared.

The next morning the river rose to its full flood height. Verily Allah had commanded the river to flow, and that was the end of the evil custom of sacrificing a virgin to secure a rise in the level of the river. That was the vindication of Islam. Many Egyptians now came to believe that Islam was a blessing and a true religion. They hastened to the Muslim camp and were converted to Islam.

Islamic Revolution

Before the time of the Prophet of Islam, the ancient civilizations such as Greek, Egyptian, Roman and Persian- all were polytheistic (shirk) in their beliefs. That is they worshipped natural phenomena such as the earth (Goddess Gaiga now in the west), rivers, mountains, sun, moon or stars. Only Islam was able to displace them from the pedestal of worship and created the intellectual frame of mind, which is known as the scientific revolution.

The polytheists believed the river to possess divine attributes. They believed the goddess of river caused the water to move and made it useful or harmful. In Islam the river is a creation of Allah and not a creator and it was a servant of Allah and not the Lord. Thus the Muslims found ways and means to exploit the rivers on a large scale. The history books tell us that there is no precedent in any nation to the large-scale irrigation system developed by the Spanish Muslims. The Spanish Muslims developed agriculture and created Departments of agriculture science and irrigation in the universities. They studied trees and carried out research on the properties of soil. The infertile lands were converted into orchards and lush green fields, in today's terms -a green revolution. Before this people treated rivers, springs and sea as gods. But the Muslims brought the green revolution because of their monotheistic thinking.

Polytheism (shirk) was prevalent until the 7th century. It was replaced with monotheism (Tawhid) by the Islamic Revolution. This in turn opened the doors of research and investigation by abolishing the practice of worshipping the natural phenomena. Modern industrial progress owes its existence to the Arab Muslims due to their creed of monotheism, which instilled them a mental and practical revolution. Islam changed the thinking of the Muslims and contributed to the modern scientific revolution. Historians acknowledge that Islam changed the face of the globe. Polytheism and superstition blocked the progress and advancement of human development. Islam encouraged the investigation of nature and destroyed the sanctity of nature.

Islam also destroyed the concept of intermediaries between God and man, such as the Kings and priests who claimed as God's representatives on earth or even the incarnations of God on earth. Polytheism (shirk) curbed freedom of thought. Polytheism and superstition were the major obstacles to all kinds of progress. Superstitious beliefs were an obstruction in the pat of free enquiry. The search for new truths and discovery of nature's secrets remained forbidden areas for them for centuries. Before the Islamic revolution, the world had been swept by superstitious beliefs and idolatry. The revolution based on monotheism of Islam put an almost complete end to polytheism (shirk) The Greeks excelled in the fields of art and philosophy. Their contribution to the field of science (except Archimedes' hydrostatics) was actually quite negligible. Plato's teacher, Socrates (may be construed as a Haneef) never worshipped the pagan gods which were worshipped by the Athenians in Greece and instilled free enquiry among the youth of Athens and for that he was forced to drink hemlock as a punishment in 399 BC. Archimedes was killed by a Roman soldier in 212 BC failing to recognize him. The atmosphere for scientific progress did not exist in ancient Greece. Similarly, the mighty Roman Empire never produced a single scientist.

In Islam with its foundation of monotheism created an atmosphere and environment which stimulated scientific research that lead to the conquest of natural phenomena. The modern age which is the age of science and industry, of freedom and equality is the direct consequence of the Islamic revolution rooted in the Qur'an.

From the sixth century to the 10th century Europe was in dark ages while the Islamic civilization attained the pinnacles of science and technology. After the crusades the Europeans came in contact with the Islamic civilization. They went to Muslim universities in Spain, Sicily, Cairo, and Baghdad. They translated the Arabic works into Latin for over two hundred years. The European Renaissance started in the 15th century and culminated in the emergence of the modern industrial civilization. Islamic revolution is responsible for the emancipation of the human thought.

During the Abbasid era, paper was being manufactured on a large scale and so books could be produced without the dearth of paper. There were more than 400,000 books in the library of Cordova (Spain) in the tenth century, whereas in Europe at that time, the library of Canterbury- the top of the list of the Christian libraries- contained only 1800 books in the 13 the century.

In many countries scholars were born with creative minds who could think independently of the their fellow citizens. But due to the unfavorable atmosphere and hostile environment of times, their efforts could be brought to fruition. Their knowledge withered away before they could flower. On the other hand Islamic revolution produced favorable atmosphere, it unleashed a mighty flood of knowledge which had been kept pent up for thousands of years by the dam of polytheism (shirk) and superstition. For progress of Science and Technology an atmosphere of free investigation is essential. One may be surprised to know that even today there are some people and societies who believe that the earth is flat. Even today the Hindus with MD and Ph.D. degrees worship the Sun as god and believe that the lunar and solar eclipses are caused when the snakes Rahu and Ketu swallow them. One thousand years ago Abu Rayhan Al-Biruni explained how the solar and lunar eclipses are caused by the shadows of moon and earth falling on the sun and moon respectively. The Hindus believe in 320 million gods and goddesses. Even if one spends one minute in reciting the name of a god, the whole life is not enough to recite the names of 320 million gods and goddesses.

[Dr. Ibrahim B. Syed is Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville. He is also President, Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Science Editor. He can be contacted at irfi@iname.com. His works can also be seen on his website http://www.irfi.org]

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