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OPINION: India’s Kashmir policy is an expressway ride to nowhere

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 22 February 2020 | Posted in , , , , ,

By Syed Ali Mujtaba

India’s exercise to ferry a group of EU members to visit Kashmir to assess the situation on the ground is a calculated risk or a diplomatic miscalculation is a talk in the country.

Modi government after arguing that rescinding Article 370 and 35A is an “internal matter” of India is now engaged in public relation exercise ferrying International delegation to Kashmir.

The buffoonery of India’s Kashmir policy is at splendid display when after saying India would brook no third party interference, now for the second time is hosting a large number of foreign delegation to assess the situation in Kashmir

Now given the political affiliations of these European visitors, what does this exercise is going to achieve for India is another talking point in the country?  Will these European delegation report will put Kashmir in India’s kitty or will it have adverse impact India on India’s claim over Kashmir. 

Why India is doing this PR exercise to influence international opinion. Do not by doing so India covertly acknowledges that Kashmir has an international dimension which it cannot wish it away.

Modi government on August 5, 2019 by rescinding Article 370 and 35 A has removed the ambiguity that prevailed in India’s stand over Kashmir since 1948.

The Modi government did a game changer act on August 5 and essentially made three statements altering the classical view of India’s stand on Kashmir. 
First, Modi government claimed that the people of Kashmir have no role to play in deciding their future. Since the territory in question is inalienable part of India, the views of the people do not matter.  In other words a new definition of democracy was dished out on August 5, and democracy is of the state, for the state and by the state.

Citizenship of India was up for grabs for the Kashmiri people, while rest of India had to reel under new citizenship laws under CAA, NPA and NRC. It’s another matter, there were no takers for Indian bait and on the contrary it funneled anti India sentiments among the people living there.

Second statement India made on August 5, 2019 that Pakistan has no claim on Kashmir. The bilateral talks with Pakistan can only be held if the adversary wishes to talk on the modalities of vacating its occupied region. This gave a huge impetus to Pakistan claim over Kashmir and it ascended on the moral ground to canvass of India’s culpability.  

The third statement that Modi government made on August 5, 2019 was that India will not tolerate any third party intervention/ mediation on Kashmir issue.

All these three statements made on Augusts 5, 2019 was to fix up the Kashmir problem in India’s favor with the assumption India will have its way and by doing will set the Kashmir house in order.  

If Kashmir is an integral part of India and India will not tolerate any third party intervention/ mediation on Kashmir issue, then why India is inviting foreign delegation to Kashmir where common Indian’s are forbidden to travel?

India on one hand says it does not want international mediation or involvement in Kashmir, but at the same time wants a ‘no objection certificate’ (NOC) from some handpicked European delegates to blunt the international criticism building against India with regard to its Kashmir policy.

Modi government is also faced with another criticism as to why it prefers EU delegates over the US members. It is assumed that India can manage the EU delegation in a much better way than the US delegation. This in other words means US delegation may be difficult customers than the EU members.
India is taking a calculated risk. It may work or may not work in its favor. These very delegates whom the government is courting now may turn its back and target India for violating international laws in Kashmir. In such case what India may do, does it have a plan B.? 

Complication of India’s Kashmir policy is getting compounded with the visits of foreign delegates to Kashmir.

Modi government by taking the foreign delegates to Kashmir valley is self-contradicting its stand on Kashmir. It is deliberately internationalizing the Kashmir issue after saying it does not want any third party to interfere in the internal matter of the country.

As such, Modi government has fallen into Pakistani trap of internationalizing the Kashmir issue. It looks instead of strengthening its position on Kashmir Modi government has further weakened its grip over Kashmir. The visit of foreign delegations has compromised India’s new stand on Kashmir.

This public relation exercise that the current government is engaged in is nothing but a figment of imagination of that if it can get an NOC by some foreign delegates, and the international community will be pacified and support India’s wrong doing to the people of Kashmir.

India’s second statement made on August 5, 2019 was by rescinding Article 370, it has closed the dialogue with people of the Kashmir and have accept India’s diktat as fait- accompli. 

If this is so then the policy maker want to make Kashmir an Indian colony and they have to do the cost – benefit calculation to keep such colony under India’s suzerainty.

The second statement on August 5 India made was that Pakistan has no claim on Kashmir. In the new narrative Kashmir is inalienable part of India and in the talks to be held between New Delhi and Islamabad only the modalities to hand over the territories occupied by Pakistan can be discussed.

This again is highly contentious proposition and fraught with innumerable consequences. Instead of playing peace makers, India is openly war mongering challenging Pakistan claim on Kashmir. India’s this policy on Kashmir has many spin offs and may require full time occupation to plug in any fall outs from any such designs.

The last statement that the Modi government made on August 5 was that as statecraft it will use state terror to contain terrorism in Kashmir. In this new face of terrorism some nine lakhs guns is being used to hold hostage some 90 lakh people to maintain peace.  Can such state terrorism be de-linked with anti-state terrorism? In the context, can state terrorism be condoned to restore peace in Kashmir? Needless to say terrorism is terrorism, whether it is by anti-state actors or by the acts of state indulging in terrorism.   

To conclude, all the three statements made by India on August 5 rescinding Article 370 and 35 A are flying like muck on the Modi government’s face.

In fact, Modi government’s Kashmir policy has triggered several struggles at several levels against India.  The first one is it has triggered the Kashmiri’s people to struggle against India from the position of despair and total alienation. 

The second struggle it has ignited is Pakistan to take on India at every international forum. Indian officials in such case have no clue how to silence such voices when it has got moral ascendancy from India

Third, India’s Kashmir policy has incensed global community. The denial of human right, freedom of speech, internet and mobile access and the extra ordinary deployment of large number of Indian security forces in Kashmir has made the international community is too much worried about Indian state power abuse in KashmirIndia is finding it hard to counter this international struggle that it has ignited through its Kashmir policy.      

The fourth struggle India has ignited is within the peace loving people of this country. A large number of countrymen are at pain to see the trial and tribulation and sufferings of the common Kashmiri people. India’s ill-conceived Kashmir policy has anguished and saddened many Indians.   

The responsibility of triggering all these struggles solely rest on the Prime Minister of the country. Many feel that he has got away with his ‘demonetizing act,’ but his ill-conceived Kashmir policy may have a price to pay.

With all these struggles germinating against India, the only summery that can be made is; India’s Kashmir policy is an expressway ride to nowhere.

[Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba2007@gmail.com]

OPINION: History and the Plight of Muslims in India

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

By Waheeduddin Ahmed

"In the year 997, a Turkish chieftain by the name of Mahmud became sultan of the little state of Ghazni, in eastern Afghanistan. Mahmud knew that his throne was young and poor, and saw that India, across the border, was old and rich; the conclusion was obvious. ------ Each winter Mahmud descended into India, filled his treasure chest with spoils, and amused his men with full freedom to pillage and kill: -----Six years later he sacked another opulent city of India, Somnath, killed all its fifty thousand inhabitants, and dragged its wealth to Ghazni." So writes Will Durant in his "The Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage". His reference to this narrative is: "History of India" by Mountstuart Elphinstone (1841). He was a Scotsman, who had become a civil servant in the East India Company and later the governor of Bombay in the early 1800s. What Elphinstone's source of information is, I do not know but what we do know is that India lacked historians in the ancient and Middle Ages. There was no Herodotus, Plutarch, Gibbon or Carlyle in India. If there was any mention of historical events, it was not written in chronicles but sung in epic poems like Ramayana and Mahabharata, potpourris spiced with myths and flavored with fantasies. It is significant to note that Eight hundred and fifteen years elapsed between Ghaznawi and Elphinstone, while the story of Somnath was told and retold, mouth to mouth.

On the other hand, synchronous historical narratives are more likely to have originated in Khurasan where Firdausi was writing Shahnameh and such giants of science and literature were at work as Al-Biruni and Bayhaqi. Small wonder therefore that Mahmud, a patron of arts, science, literature and architecture was capable of such extraordinary cruelty as has been depicted! This is not to say that the Invaders' incursion into India was benign and they came to India to distribute sweets. Ghaznawi had only one purpose of these incursions: to enrich Ghazni at the expense of Mathura and Somnath. The dynamics of this plunder will be explained later.

So, what is history? Some historiographers divide it into two categories: Speculative and Analytical. Analytical history is philosophy, whose greatest exponent was Ibn Khaldun. He changed the often superstitious, unrestricted acceptance of historical data and introduced "the scientific method".
An ancient as well as medieval concept of history was that it is cyclical: "History repeats itself". This concept prevailed even up to the time of historian Spengler. Later, in the age of Enlightenment, history began to be seen as linear rather than cyclical. Axioms such as: "History was irreversible". "You cannot step into the same waters twice in a flowing stream", began to define the irreversible march of events.

The most talked about concept of history however, is that of Hegel. He proposed that history evolves due to contradiction between two systems: old and new, through a process of thesis and antithesis, known as Dialectics. Marx illustrates the process by the example of French Revolution. He points out that in the Eighteenth century France, the Napoleonic period emerged as a result of contradiction between the age of Louis XVI and the French Revolution. He reformulated Hegel's into an economic theory, that proved to be speculative and crashed in front of our eyes.

In our own times, Samuel Huntington predicted culture wars between Muslims and Christians in post-cold war period and infamously called them "Clash of Civilizations", a bitterly toxic viewpoint, which has already been invalidated. Naef Al-Rodhan, an American neurosurgeon and philosopher of Saudi origin has repudiated this theory by asserting that civilization should not be thought of as consisting of different competing civilizations but an ocean into which all the sub-cultures flow.

History can be classified into two groups by virtue of how it is looked at by a narrator: from bird's-eye view or from worm's-eye view. A philosopher of history, like Ibn Khaldun looks at history from the bird's-eye view and sees its trajectory, its dynamics, its twists and turns, the causality of events and the factors which drive its engine. He gives more importance to the nature of governance than the relationships between Mahmud and Ayaz; Raja Bhoj and Gangu Teli and Akbar and Birbal.

The worm's-eye view however, is more down-to-earth. Its scope has small dimensions of time and space. Most of the history of India falls within this category as told by foreign travelers and explorers, who landed in an area at a certain time in history, met certain rulers and witnessed certain cultures. Megasthnes was the Hellenic ambassador to Chandragupta Maurya's court; Fa Hien and Hiuen Tsang were Chinese travelers, who came to India in search of knowledge about Buddhism. Ibn Battuta was a Moroccan traveler who came to India during the Mongol invasion. Al-Biruni, a polymath, who visited India in 1017 A.D. from the south coast of the Caspian Sea, was a contemporary of Mahmud Ghaznawi, and wrote "Tarikh-al-Hind". Firishta, who came from the south coast of the Caspian Sea to the Deccan Sultanates, wrote treatises about Muslim India and its rulers. The chronicles that these visitors wrote and from which our knowledge ensues, are limited to their own experiences in the company of their patrons and mentors and must be thought of as worm-like intrusions into the body politic of the Indian society.

It is imperative that we view the arrival of Islam in the subcontinent of India in the light of the Philosophy of History, whether the carriers were the horsemen of Mohammad Bin Qasim, Mahmud Ghaznawi; the cargo boats, which landed at the Malabar coast or the Sufis, who followed the trails of the conquerors. It must be understood that history rolls under its own weight, driven by "pressure differentials". These differentials are generated by  military, political and social imbalances as well as by the dynamics of opportunism. Winds of conquests have blown from the nomadic cultures to the sedentary cultures, from riders on horses' backs to the unsuspecting people at ease in their civic dwellings, from the deficient to the sufficient, from the austere to the opulent and from high density areas to the low density areas. When the storm settles and the curtain is lifted, new vistas open in the aftermath and new social dynamics unfold. New history begins; the Old becomes irrelevant and the New becomes a starting point of another era. Such is the linearity of history's progression. If you try to regress it, history fights back, causing physical and social destruction.

In the Indian subcontinent, the two-nation theory is attributed to Mohammad Ali Jinnah. This is like saying that the heliocentric solar system is the invention of Copernicus. The reality is that it has always been so. If you follow Hinduism or you follow Islam, you fall into two distinct belief systems and cultures but are they two different nations? That depends on how you define nations. Switzerland is a country (nation) with three different subcultures: German, French and Italian. Each of these three have their own separate countries. In Afghanistan, there are five different ethnic groups: Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbek, Hazara and Turkmen. Three of them have their own separate countries and the largest group of them all: Pashtuns, has a larger part of the group living in Pakistan. Although countries are carved out artificially due to geopolitics, colonialism and imperialistic wars, all these people have developed systems in which they have learnt to cooperate with each other and live peacefully, as the alternative is death and disaster. In doing so, they define nations with varying qualifications and merge the colors of the rainbow into a monochrome. Not so in India, says the Rashtria Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Hindu nationalist party.

The RSS and its Hindu nationalist forerunners like the Hindu Mahasabha preexisted the Nehru Report of 1928 in the All India Congress Committee, proposing outlines of a constitution for the future independent India, based on a majoritarian system of government, which Jinnah opposed and all others, including a majority of Muslim leadership supported. It was "politically correct" and in keeping with the progressive world view, fashionable with the intellectuals at that time. It was also beautiful in isolation, provided you shut out the "vengeance" sentiments of the RSS. It is only now, almost a century later that the dark aspects of the majoritarian system have dawned upon the stalwarts of Democracy, vindicating Jinnah and exposing Nehru's miscalculation. Those were the circumstances which caused Jinnah"s exit from the Congress and the promulgation of the Pakistan Resolution of 1940 (Lahore Resolution).

Muslims in India are in a unique position. Their population is estimated to be about 200 million. If they were to inhabit one country, it would be the sixth most populous country in the world between Pakistan and Brazil and yet they form a minority of only 16% in India. Only seventy-three years have passed since they were separated from their co-ethnic compatriots in the east and the west. There is a glue of culture and religion, which still joins them sentimentally together. They are asked not only to readjust their sentiments but hate the people across the borders, who one generation ago were their kin and creed. The fact that such a reversal of sentiment is unnatural should be recognized and acknowledged. Anything other than that would be hypocrisy.

So, where do we go from here? I gave the example of two countries above: Switzerland and Afghanistan. There are many more, which can be put in the same category. As I have argued, history is linear; you cannot roll it back. You can only correct the course and go forward. You cannot abolish Radcliffe Line, Durand Line or McMahon Line by driving tanks over them. You can only erase those lines by joining the people's hearts. In order to do so, you must settle your disputes by providing justice; detach the present from the past. I am not a product of Mahmud Ghaznawi or Babar. I am a product of the soil, which has been made beautiful by both you and me, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Parsis. You built Ellora and Ajanta; I built the Taj Mahal. You gave the world Buddha and the sophistication of philosophy contained in Geeta and Upanishads. I brought the spices and gave you the cuisines you love. We both brought India to where it is today. You produced Aryabhata; I found Al-Khwarizmi and carried mathematics to the world, without which there would have been no science and no space ships. Let us work together: you and me, Indians and Pakistanis and Bangladeshis so that the Radcliffe Line gradually fades into oblivion and a new, mighty and prosperous subcontinent emerges.

[Waheeduddin Ahmed Ph.D. is a researcher and freelance writer. His works can be seen on his website at www.mjournal.org]

IoT Middle East 2020 to address business aspects of digital transformation

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


Event to highlight how collaboration is the new competition with eco-systems replacing traditional industry boundaries

IMO News Service

Dubai, UAE: An impressive line-up of partners and speakers will be addressing how to manoeuvre the IoT landscape for higher profits at the 5th Internet of Things 2020, held at Armani Hotel Dubai on the 24th of February, 2020.

According to Johan Ehrstrom, CEO of 5th IoT Middle East 2020, “The conference will focus on how to generate business out of IoT as AI, ML, 5G and Intelligent Automation will fuel IoT adoption and grow exponentially over the coming years. Attendees will have the opportunity to gain the latest knowledge on how to create new revenue streams, market segments, reduce costs and get accuracy into their strategic direction."
Speakers on board include Jihad Tayara, CEO at Evoteq, Dr. Sven Korner, NLP/AI/Deep Learning Researcher from Germany, Anni Iso-Mustajarvi, Head of Business Development at Finlands biggest hospital group Mehilainen, Jassem Nasser, Chief Strategy Officer, Thuraya, Marwan Bindalmook SVP Smart City Operations at du, Christophe Vloebergh Implementation Director at DAIMLER,

New tech like AI and ML needs the data of IoT to deliver accurate analyses and output. IoT adoption is hence expected to grow by two-digit numbers and reach $18 billion in MEA related IoT investments by 2023, as both governmental and private sector companies ramp up their digital transformation capabilities.

The 5th Internet of Things 2020 is a game-changing platform, attracting a full house yearly, addressing the business relevance of technology across multiple verticals. IoT Middle East 2020 is for all who are less interested in the tech-aspects, but eager to future proof strategies, grow the bottom-line impacts and set the direction for the new decade.

Participants can register on www.iot-dxb.com. Registration is still open for USD 745 for conference passes, including materials, case examples, food & beverage and valet, ask for group and management team tickets discounts.

OPINION: The rise of the new Indian Muslim woman

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 14 February 2020 | Posted in , , , , , , ,

Muslim women are challenging both the conservative Muslim clergy and the Hindu Right’s politics of polarisation

By Zakia Soman

In recent years, we have seen the emergence of a new Muslim woman. She is bold and articulate. She is not willing to be confined to the four walls of her home and wants to participate in the democratic discourse taking place in the country. Importantly, she does not trust the orthodox clergy to represent her. She is aware of her rights as a citizen and as a Muslim within her religion. She does not tolerate violation of her rights by anyone.

Ordinary women led the democratic movement against triple talaq, and they are now protesting against a discriminatory and unjust law that makes religion the basis of citizenship. Muslim women are proudly saying that we are Indians and we are Muslims. Several petitioners against triple talaq invoked gender equality provisions based on the Constitution. Women are yet again seeking to uphold the Constitution by protesting the religion-based Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which is seen in conjunction with a possible National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Women are challenging the long-established tradition of all-male clergy claiming leadership of the Indian Muslim community. Women are also challenging the rightist politics of religious polarisation. They are building a new narrative invoking democratic values of justice, equality and secularism enshrined in the Constitution. This is refreshingly different from the calls to protect the Shariat and Islam commonly attributed to the Muslim leadership.

Census and other official data suggest that Muslims have consistently slid into backwardness and poverty since Independence. They have been treated as votebanks by seemingly secular political parties. There has been not much done towards genuine welfare and participation in democratic spaces. Muslims live in ghettoes with low education levels, without formal jobs, without access to government facilities on credit and health care provisions. Only four in 100 Muslims are graduates, and merely 13% hold salaried jobs. People have been paying the price for the communal politics practised by different political parties in collaboration with the conservative ulema. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accuses the Congress of politics of appeasement, but thrives on religious polarisation to build its own vote bank.
The image of a conservative religious male as spokesperson of the country’s largest minority has been hugely problematic not just for Muslims but for India’s democracy. It has helped build a perception that Muslims are different from the rest of Indians. It has furthered the stereotype of a community given to religious fundamentalism and a separate identity. This perception has brought about a distance between Muslims and those from other faiths. Communal riots have been a persistent feature in our polity. It has helped the right-wing politics of hate and division as witnessed in the brutal incidents of mob lynching in the name of gau raksha (cow protection). It has divided our plural society.

It has been difficult for ordinary Muslims to cast-off the stranglehold of the clergy, which has consistently enjoyed political patronage. The absence of a democratic leadership within the community has contributed further to the problem. Rightist politics has hugely benefitted from this phenomenon. But women’s democratic leadership can possibly change things.

Muslim women have always been caught between political considerations and personal marginalisation. They have suffered in matters as such triple talaq and polygamy, owing to patriarchal misinterpretations of religion. The Shah Bano episode is just one example of Muslim women being denied their rights under the family law. It is shocking that this was done in the name of secularism. Between 1986 and now, things have changed for the better. A new voice has been taking shape, particularly in the present decade. It has been a voice seeking mutual respect, harmony and justice for all. But the political parties and the clergy have been unmindful, even dismissive, of this voice. The Congress does not want to anger the ulema and the BJP benefits from demonising the Muslim. It is an ode to our democracy that fellow citizens are welcoming this voice.

Women’s voice has been gaining strength and finding support within the community as well. The movement against triple talaq received huge support from the wider public. The nightly debates on TV channels saw women bravely taking on the ulema who were all arguing for perpetuating the patriarchal status quo. They have always stonewalled any effort to reform Muslim personal law. The women openly questioned their understanding of religion, and spoke eloquently about the Koran and the gender justice principles contained in it.

The Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid declared that there was no threat to Muslims when the CAA was passed. Many among the ulema said that there was no cause for concern. But ordinary women sensed the threat to their citizenship from the combination of the CAA and NRC.

They asserted their Indianness by joining the protests led by students in different parts of the country. Muslim women protesting alongside fellow compatriots waving the national flag is a wonderful and patriotic image. It is a celebration of India’s diversity and pluralism. The political class will have to rethink its politics if this collaboration of citizens from diverse backgrounds continues. This can have lasting consequences for our multi-faith, multicultural democracy.

[Zakia Soman is Co-founder of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan. She is based at Mumbai, Maharashtra, and can be contacted at zakiasoman@gmail.com]

Digital Health Middle East Conference 2020 to be held on Feb 24, line-up of partners and speakers revealed

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

IMO News Service

Dubai, UAE: Digital Health Middle East 2020 will be held at the Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa, on February 24. A line-up of partners and speakers at the event has also been revealed. The conference will highlight new approaches to healthcare with preventive information and new care solutions, which is set to reform the industry.

Partners on board include PwC, Iqvia, Evoteq, du, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, PTC, Cigna, Anker Innovations, Haltian, Thuraya, Business Finland and Business Sweden.

Blending Nordic experience with local excellence, experts at the conference hail from Finland, Sweden, Norway and GCC. Experts include Dr. Sven Korner, NLP/AI/Deep Learning Researcher from Germany, Anni Iso-Mustajarvi, Head of Business Development at Mehilainen from Finland, Live Bøe Johannessen from the Norwegian Directorate of Health, Magnus Clarin, Dean - School of Information Science at Halmstad University in Sweden and Ben Furneaux, Global Head of Affordability at Cigna.
Regional speakers include Amit Sadana, General Manager & SVP AMESA at IQVIA, Atif Albraiki, CEO at Malaffi, Lina H Shahid, Healthcare Practice Lead at PwC, Dr. Osama El Hassan, Head of eHealth at Dubai Health Authority, Nadine de Clercq, Rehabilitation Lead at Amana Healthcare and Haytham El Sahat, surgical oncologist and Medical director at Mediclinic.

The event will address intelligent design, pioneering technologies, advance clinical services and personalised care to improve outcomes, reduce costs with a focus on prevention while using information and technology to drive integration across the healthcare ecosystem.

“The events has been held in Scandinavia over the past 5 years and gathers for the first time in Dubai to blend key learnings from the Scandinavia sharing their experience in using digital to improve quality of care, patient journeys and population health,” said Johan Ehrstrom, CEO of Digital Health Middle East 2020.

“We are delighted to feature experts highlighting how exponential technologies will increase access, improve how care will be delivered with the highest levels of safety and patient experience with the lowest cost in the future,” said Johan Ehrstrom, CEO of Digital Health Middle East 2020.

The event gathers 250+ peers from across the ecosystem, and 20+ speakers for a dialogue, vital insights and networking as this C-level hub facilitates knowledge exchange and game-changing strategies. Digital Health Middle East brings C-level attendees including executives and CXO’s, governmental department heads, hospital leaders, nurse leaders, regulators, technologists, futurists and entrepreneurs.

Private sector participants can register on www.digital-health.me for USD 795 including materials, case examples, food & beverage and valet. Public sector attendees can register for USD 495.

Singapore to launch mega campaign in March to attract Muslim travelers

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

IMO News Service

Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has joined hands with booking platform Have Halal Will Travel (HHWT) and research company CrescentRating to launch a series of marketing collaterals and tourism products in a bid to attract Muslim travelers from around Asian countries. The STB is now focusing on the need to aggressively tap halal travel boom.

The STB is association with CrescentRating has developed a 44-page guide book providing details about halal dining offerings as well as other cultural activities in the country. 
Media reports quoted Fazal Bahardeen, CEO of CrescentRating & Halaltrip, as saying that the guide book will be released in English in March, and will later on published in Bahasa Indonesia and Bhasa Melayu as well.

HHWT has also tied up with companies like Klook and Traveloka for developing online promotions and tour products targeted at Muslim millennials and families.

A study conducted by HHWT said that though Singapore has consistently been a high-ranking destination among Muslim travelers, but it hasn’t been prominently highlighted and its authentic offerings and stories showcased to the Muslim market.

Singapore’s multicultural characteristic holds immense potential to attract even more Muslim tourists in a big way.

Slovenia’s first mosque opens in capital Ljubljana after 50 years

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

IMO News Service

Ljubljana, Slovenia: The first mosque in Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana recently opened after 50 years when the request for its construction was initially made. The construction faced right-wing opposition and financial hurdles, Arab News reported.

Islamic community head Mufti Nedzad Grabus has expressed happiness at the mosque’s opening saying that it was “a turning point in our lives.”
Slovenia has now become the last former Yugoslav state to get a mosque. The request for building a mosque was first filed by the Muslims in the predominantly Catholic Alpine country in the late 1960s when Slovenia was still a part of the former Communist Yugoslavia.

The permission was finally given by the Slovenia government 15 years ago. The construction of the mosque could only begin in 2013, and completed at a cost of 34 million euros, with a major portion of donation from Qatar (28 million euros).   

The mosque is a part of the Islamic Cultural Center, and can accommodate up to 1,400 worshippers at a time. The mosque’s dome is similar to that of Istanbul’s Blue Mosque.

The Islamic Cultural Centre is also comprised of offices, an education centre, a library, a restaurant, a basketball court, and housing for the Muslim clerisy.

Muslims in Slovenia, who make up 2.5 precent of the country’s two million people, had so far been worshipping and holding ceremonies in rented buildings or halls. Muslims also constitute the second biggest religious group in the country, and their population is currently estimated at around 80,000.

Equality Labs chases the Mother of Inequality (Brahminism) in America

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

By Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd

To the utter shock of American Brahminism an unusual organization called Equality Labs came into being in New York. IT was  established by second generation, American born, Dalit women activists to chase it in America in every sphere of life, including in the digital media. Thenmozhi Soundararajan and few other US born citizens with amazing talents and were told by their parents that they belong to Dalits who suffered untouchability, caste brutality and poverty in their native land. Sharp young educated Dalit women and men were shocked that the caste discrimination operates in several subtle ways even in America in every sphere where brahminic people work.

These women and men are intelligent enough to understand the trauma of their parental history and identity when they were in their under-graduate and post-graduate courses in their respective universities. For example, Thenmozhi was a University of California Berkeley student who realized that their Brahminic teacher’s attitude changed towards her once she revealed her caste identity. Now she is dead bent on chasing Brahmnism in America along with others by establishing the Equality Labs.

The founding fathers of America declared that “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness….”. But the Indian Brahminic forces carried their God’s principle of unequal creation of human beings—the Brahmins from his head, Ksatriyas from shoulders, Vaishyas from thighs and the Shudras from feet. The untouchables according to their spiritual theory were born without their God’s sanction hence need to be treated barbarically even in America. The Indian Dalits/Shudras/Adivasis never knew what is life, liberty and happiness till today. A few of them came to America in pursuit of them. But there too the brahminism is haunting them.

The agents of brahminism in that country hardly acquired any civilizational change with all their modern English education and American life where there is a strong Christian ethic. Some of them are liberals but that liberalism does not go against caste and untouchability in a serious way. Brahhmism is quite safe in the garb of liberalism, a sad story indeed.

The brahminic forces are spreading into every structure of the American society. They do not have any respect to their Christian ethic of compassion, grace and humanness. They also do not have any historical sense of shame and guilt. If their ancestors committed sins of practicing human untouchability and graded inequality like the White Christians who felt shame for slavery and segregation of blacks and native Americans in earlier decades. The whites tried to fight it out, the evidence which could be seen in African American museum of Washington D.C

In spite of number of Brahmin female and male writers emerging from that land no one wrote like Harriet Beecher Stowe did in her Uncle Tom’s Cabin about the life and trauma of blacks in the US. When there are so many Brahmin women academics and writers doing a lot of writing on India from American land why they too did not write a single book about caste and untouchability, is million dollar question? The worst part is the caste and untouchability menace is spreading in America and it worries conscientious whites too.

They spread brahminism of food, bed and everyday life inequality as their cultural character. Worst, they are spreading anti-Christian idol worship which the ancient slave Moses fought against and brought them into monotheism of high civilization. America is a direct beneficiary of the progressive Protestant ethic. If idol worship with brahminism of caste purity spreads and persists the capitalist-democratic structure of America will come in conflict with the ideals of  its founding fathers’ philosophy who inscribed it on every major Government building —including on the building of the Supreme Court that –All Men Are Created Equal. It was this principle that gave enormous scope to blacks to liberate themselves from slavery and white racism. Many white women and men were collaborators in the fight against racism, including Abraham Lincoln. It was in this background that Martin Luther King emerged as young hero of liberation with whites giving him Nobel Peace Price before he died at the age of 39. That is grace.

The Indians spread brahminism into that progressive ethic not only in high end offices, white house portals, Capitol Hill corridors and also into all channels of digital media. They appear to be obedient to the whites, while cracking their civilization of equality from inside and want to see that the Dalits/Shudras do not enter those structures as their prejudices against them are spiritually ordained and unreformable. The Shudras do not confront them but the Dalits, though small in number, are fighting them with the weapon of Ambedkarism.

The Equality Labs has taken that fight to a higher level of modern operation in all sectors of life. Thenmozhi and Maari Zwick Maitreyi(a co-founder of the Lab) match them in all spheres of their operation. The power of their American education and realization of their ancestral oppression forced them to focus on casteism in that country and take them on in Twitter, Facebook  campaigns , Wikipedia editing and so on.

The brahminic false nationalism of standing against the development of any other person of Indian ethnicity except the Brahmins is brought out in graphic details in a recent report that the Equality Lab brought out called Caste in the United State.

Equality Labs along with Ambedkar Association of North America, The Ambedkar International Mission, Ambedkar-King Study Circle, Boston Study Circle, Ambedkar-Periyar Association have started an impressive work of countering the spread of brahminism in America. The Shudras are still to wake up, as they are back in India. But they too will realize soon that their ancient productive and universally validated spiritual and food culture— meat, chicken, fish and so on—is being humiliated there too. Look at what a Shudra woman said:

“We are a Shudra Caste family. At Diwali and other festival potluck parties, I am really nervous about what I cook. The “upper” Caste folks may ostracize me for bringing nonvegetarian dishes on their “auspicious” day. One time, I cooked a chicken curry and they set my dish aside, all the way on the other side of the table, in a corner and labeled it “NONVEGETARIAN” in large letters. No one ate my curry and avoided me the whole night. I go to the parties for my kids so they won’t be isolated from their friends but I’d really rather not go altogether and I am considering that option more and more.

It is this pure vegetarian brahminism that is destroying India ever since the BJP/RSS came to power at Delhi in 1999 and 2014. Dalits and Muslims are being lynched for eating beef or for possessing cows as their property. The BJP/RSS use the Shudra muscle power for such inhuman acts without even granting them spiritual equality in the religion that they run as its custodians—Hinduism. No Shudra can become priest in Hindu temple even now. Once the Shudra self rebels against this ‘ vegetarian eating great’ culture as all Shudras are historically meat and fruit eaters foregrounding their multi- cuisine culture and civilization from the days of Harappan city civilization brahminism will be buried once for all. However, they still follow brahminism as God’s dictum.

But the Dalits world over are fighting brahminism in all its manifestations. The Equality Labs report recorded the statements of many Dalits living in America. It tells the world what strategies they adopt to discriminate them and practice new forms of untouchability in foreign lands too.

See the kind of school and college level caste humiliation that brahminic caste youth practice with their college or school mates. One college going boy told: “Friends who came over to our house did not eat when they saw books on Dr. Ambedkar at my home and guessed my Caste” 
Another person narrated: “Most Indians in my school were upper Caste Hindus and Brahmin families, so I never felt connected to them through “Indian culture”. They would make fun of the fact that I ate meat and was Christian. In that way, my religion and family history sort of alienated me from them. I did not know it at the time but they were Brahmin… and my parents hid from me that I was Dalit. But if I had known I could have called out their Caste bullying for what it was.”

Bullying a school child in America is a big crime. It is strange that the American brahminic mothers teach their children to bully the meat and chicken eating children. All American children, apart from the Dalit/Shudra American children, whether white or black are also meat, chicken and beef eaters. The Chinese and all Middle Eastern settlers are meat eaters. If all these children begin to bully the Brahmin/Bania children of Indian origin they will face a miserable life there. But they are gracious as that principle is taught to them as part of their Christian/liberal upbringing.

The Brhamin/ Banias of India once used to think that crossing the sea is a sinful act. Even learning English was thought to be sinful. But they overcame these hurdles but not casteism and pure vegetarianism which are not at all common human characteristic. Pure vegetarianism or pure meatarianism is an animal characteristic. For example, cow, buffalo, sheep, goat and so on eat only grass/leaves. But lion, tiger, jackal and so on eat only meat. But all humans eat both. Pure vegetarians should have understood this globally practiced food culture, at least while living in Euro-American soils. Constructing anything pure in food culture leads to cultural conflicts . If a counter bullying, based on universal food culture starts against them their life becomes miserable both in India and abroad.

The Equality Labs report tells several stories of Dalit discrimination of women and men in America. Such discriminatory practices are not uncommon in Canada, UK and other places. The question therefore is how to overcome this inhuman behavior of casteists and pure vegetarians who do not live a normal life. Brahminism seems to be an unreformable cultural construct. To understand why brahminism is behaving the way it does worldwide we need to examine how it reshaped itself up in nationalist English education period in India.

North America is a dream land of English educated Indian Brahmins ever since Lord Macaulay, whom they hate in home land, structurally instituted English medium education in India in the nineteenth century. Ever since the first English medium school was started in 1817 in Calcutta they only admitted their children in that school. They left their Sanskrit to their gods/goddesses and priests. This was sheer hypocrisy! Their children, youth, men and women should get easy wealth without soiling their hands in agrarian sector, which involves hard physical work. Avoiding labour as life and living leisure as life was/is their spiritual design. That forced them to play all kinds of tricks possible. But that process of life endangers any productive culture and civilization. That is what they are experimenting in America whose philosophy is labour is life. They do not believe in a God who tells people to live by the ‘sweat of their brow’.

The first unofficial initiation of teaching English to Indians was made by William Carey, an English cobbler turned Christian missionary, only to be hated by the English educated Bengali Brahmin pundits later. However, they adopted Rajarammohan Roy as  the father figure of brahminic renaissance who co-operated with Carey and learnt English in the process in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries .

Roy was too eager to lift his own Sanskrit insulated Brahmin community to learn the so called colonial language and cross the seas to become modern and become global flying squads   to spread birth based inequality in theory and practice in the world. He himself died in England only to be made the father of Brahminic nationalism after his death in 1833. They never recognized Mahatma Jotiorao Phule and his wife Savitribai Phule who initiated English education among the productive communities in Bombay province.

As I said Roy learnt English with the help of William Carey. This led to many Brahmins going to England and learning English not to give up Brahminism but to control the Dalit/Shudra/Adivasis masses of India at home and earn Pounds/Dollars from the West. But a parallel educational revolution was initiated by Dr.B.R.Ambedkar by studying in America and rose to write the Indian constitution and also many books to liberate the oppressed castes of India. The Equality lab is working with his banner in America.

By the time the Bharatiya Janatha Party came to power with full support of national and global money of Bania/Brahmin forces in 2014 they spread the poison of caste in the West—USA, UK, Canada—to create a crisis in the transformed culture of human equality. The Western intellectuals so far have not seen that danger to their civilization. The Dalits, however, are letting the world know what kind of poison of inequality can be spread in the Western civilization that taught the notion of equality and grace to the world that it would face.

Brahminism in the post-colonial India adopted a double edged strategy to see that the oppressed castes do not get English education and compete with them in the national and global markets. It kept English medium in private sector and saw to it that all the Government schools teach only regional languages to the working caste/class children.

The RSS/BJP recruited most Shudra youth into the muscle power squads, not to learn English in schools, but to persecute minorities in India. Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizenship (NRC) are best examples of that process.

In the urban areas the very Brahmin/Bania children studied in the best Christian schools and best institutes of India and went abroad settled in America and UK. They themselves were/ are in touch with Western liberal/left educationalists. The West hardly had any knowledge of the other side of India.

According the report of the Equality Labs the first man who took American citizenship in late nineteenth century was A.K.Mozumdar, who obviously was an Indian Brahmin by claiming that he was an Indian Aryan born in a high caste blood pool, which according to him was very close to the European Caucasian blood. The then racist Americans agreed to give him citizenship on that ground. Since then they began to move there with their temples and priests and caste system with them.

The white racism has now changed so much that many whites fought for liberation of the blacks from slavery and segregation. But hardly any major Brahmin/Bania intellectual worked for abolition of caste. They have not shown that grace. William Wilberforce, a British white parliamentarian turned against the barbaric slave trade by using the same Bible and became the harbinger of ‘Amazing Grace’ in the Christian civilization. Why not a single Brahmin used their own spiritual texts against human untouchability and caste based slavery in India? Why for three millennia the Brahminic men and women never showed such grace?

In America there are extreme right wing brahminic intellectual forces like Rajiv Malhotra and other members of extreme right wing supremacists working from American Hindu Foundation , Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh and other spiritual institutional structures. They are spreading the poison of caste, untouchability pure castesist vegetarianism into the Western world with a clear long term design. The Equality Lab and other Dalit organizations are chasing them but the brahminism’s future in the West depends on how and when the Westerners realize the real danger to their civilization itself with the spread of caste, untouchability and pure vegetarianism.

[Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd is a political theorist, social activist and author of many books, the latest being From Shepherd Boy to an Intellectual—My Memoirs. Kancha Ilaiah’s works can be seen on his Website]

Al Wahda Mall to host Mobile Roadshow activations for UAE’s top professional football league

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

Engaging and interactive experiences to promote the Arabian Gulf League

IMO News Service

Abu Dhabi, UAE: Al Wahda Mall will be hosting activations for the Arabian Gulf League, UAE’s top professional football league consisting of 14 football clubs from across the country from the 20th to 22nd February 2020 as they tour with engaging and interactive experiences aimed at promoting the league. 
The 2019/2020 season will witness a total of 182 exciting matches being played until May 2020 with football clubs battling for victory in their bid to win the Arabian Gulf League 2019/2020 season title at Match of The Week.

Navaneeth Sudhakaran, General Manager, Al Wahda Mall, said, “Al Wahda Mall is known to attract a sporty and active customer base who frequent the mall regularly to use the gym and the mall’s sports lounge and gaming areas. It is hence an ideal location for a sports campaign to generate awareness and we hope the activations also attract more sports fans to our mall.”

Al Wahda Mall is a leading shopping, entertainment and leisure destination in the heart of Abu Dhabi city, with over 350 brands spanning across a total size of 3.3 million square feet.

The award-winning Al Wahda Mall has over 400 tenants offering a superb retail mix of fashion, jewellery, electronics, food court, home improvement, family entertainment, beauty, gym, sports lounge, renowned high-street brands, kiosks, and over 50 mouth-watering world class F&B outlets.

The mall also offers a comprehensive selection of service outlets to include a large hypermarket, prominent banking services and telecom operators, and a Tasheel centre to provide Ministry of Labour services.

14th World Islamic Economic Forum to be held in Qatar in October

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 10 February 2020 | Posted in , , , , ,

IMO News Service

The 14th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) will he held in the State of Qatar in October this year. A MoU was signed between Qatar’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Kuala Lumpur-based World Islamic Economic Forum.

The MoU signing was attended by Nasser Mohammed Al-Mohannadi, Director of the Financial and Administrative Affairs Department at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Syed Abu Bakr Al-Mahdar, Managing Director of the World Islamic Economic Forum Foundation, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported.  

The WIFE was established in 2005 in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur with the prime objective of enhancing the economic well-being of Islamic peoples and communities in different countries of the world by facilitating and expanding trade and investment exchanges among them. The WIFE also offers itself as a platform to encourage dialogue and strengthen cooperation between businessmen around the world and to strengthen bridges of communication between the Islamic countries and others for achieving peace and prosperity for the whole world.
The 14th session of World Islamic Economic Forum will be bringing together heads of government, managers of global companies, businessmen, specialists, regional experts, academics and researchers for discussing opportunities to build new business partnerships between Muslim and non-Muslim societies around the world. The WIFE is also constantly endeavoring for reaching a consensus on practical and innovative methods in order to meet the social and economic needs affecting Islamic and non-Islamic societies.

The intra-trade between Islamic countries has expanded significantly in the past years. The volume of the Islamic economic market is expected to exceed USD 3 trillion in 2023. The economies of Islamic countries offer tremendous growth opportunities because of their huge size and increasing purchasing power.

The 14th session of the WIEF will be held amid a sensitive and delicate global scene confronted with a host of major challenges, such as growing disputes over international trade policies, the tightening of global financial policies, economic risks and decision-making, and destabilizing technology for markets.

The 14th session of the World Islamic Economic Forum will be held for three days, and prominently feature several bilateral meetings and complementary programs, as well as an exhibition showcasing brands and products by the participating countries and entrepreneurs.

OPINION: Indian Muslims have to make fresh political strategy to survive in India

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

By Syed Ali Mujtaba

Indian Muslims are at the crossroads. The current situation in the country has given enough indications that Muslims are unsafe in India. In such a situation it is being hotly debated among Muslims that what they should do to safeguard their interests.

Muslims have always been a law abiding and peace loving citizens of this country. After Partition they adopted defensive postures because they feared any communal regimentation from their side can incur backlash from the majority community. So since 1947 Muslims have always flocked under the banner of some or other so-called secular parties.

They have forfeited their pan-Indian political identity and split themselves into regional identities. They lived under the hope that the secular parties will protect them from anti-Muslim forces.

They also hoped that secular parties can create a climate of trust and their well being would be protected. Further, they hoped under such political arrangements they may flourish.

However, Muslims aligning with the secular parties have seen their future in jeopardy. In last 70 years or so none of the secular political parties has given them any share in the political power. What maximum they could offer is lip service of providing them protection and security to them. The secular political parties have failed to create a political climate where Muslims can flourish.

Instead the so-called secular parties have helped in creating a situation where the identity of Muslims is at stake. The current turmoil in the country centering on Muslims makes it clear that they are a defenseless community in India. The government, the court and secular parties, all have failed to protect their identity. The current wave of Hindutva radicalism is hellbent to disrobe them from their life, honor and liberty being hitherto enjoyed as citizen of this country. 
If the media’s anti-Muslim rhetoric is to be believed, the entire country’s energy is geared to extricate Muslims from their own motherland. The situation has come to such a pass that Muslims have become the most vulnerable species in India.

In such a situation the dilemma before the Indian Muslims is what to do? The choice before them is to either rely on some or other political parties to defeat the anti-Muslim forces, or they need to make political strategies to protect their interests.

Some feel the time has come for Muslims to make choices. The choice is to either rely on some or other secular parties or to live in a political climate where they have to hear anti-Muslim rhetoric day in and day out.

The other choice is either to live in a climate of fear and insecurity or become the captain of their own ship and master of their destiny and steer their ship in the choppy waters of the country.

It’s time Muslims should unite under one banner and milk the electoral cow of the country. If somehow they can produce a substantial block of MPs under one leader then they may be able to secure their future in this country.
The best bet for Indian Muslims is to go for the formation of a political party that has a pan India identity. Under such a political outfit Muslims can converge both at the regional and national level. This they can do by doing some serious electoral arithmetic exercise and produce a block of at least 15 MPs.

Once such a Muslim block of MPs is created at the national level, it can always be in a bargaining position to protect Muslims interests. Such political outfit can always be in power by aligning with whichever party rules the country.

An example of Lok Janshakti Party is before us. It has no pan India identity yet this political outfit has always shared political power with whichever government is in power. Even though it represents an insignificant number of electorates, it has held cabinet portfolios. If LJP can do it, what is stopping Muslims to form such a strategy of their own?

Some may ask which political party and political leader can lead them. In the current situation, the leader of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), Asaduddin Owaisi is the only Muslim who is heard speaking for the Muslim interests. Now imagine if he has a backing of more than 15 MPs, what could be the impact on the politics of the country.

It is clear that the kind of politics that is shaping up India, Muslims in the country have to decide whether they want to suffer catching the coattails of the political parties or have a political outfit that maybe powerful enough to stand on its own and share power in the political system of the country.

There may be some apologists who may argue Muslim communal politics would be detrimental for the community as it would invite Hindu backlash. This seems to be an argument more convincing in the fifties and sixties when Muslims were reeling under the trauma of Parturition of India.

Now, the situation is very different. Hindu India is trying to make its last ditch effort to stitch its open belly from where its caste groupings are oozing out. It has created a specter of Muslims to keep a semblance of Hindu religious identity intact. The other trick they have is selling the hyper nationalist agenda to keep their folks united.      

However, now the time is on a different roll call. It’s all about gaining electoral muscle and gain political mileage. If the case groups are busy doing such exercise, the religious groups like the Sikhs under Akalis in Punjab and the Christians under various political outfits in North-East are doing the same.

So, if the Muslims do the same there is nothing communal about it. The current political order in any case has demonized the identity of the Muslims. It has engaged in communal program and aided and abated Muslim’s lynching in broad day.

So, all these developments have given Indian Muslims enough food for thought to develop a political strategy to safeguard their interests.

Now if Indian Muslims goal to share political power in the country, they must mobilize themselves to achieve such goal.

The CAA, NPR, NCR, Babari Masjid verdict, post Godhra communal riots verdict, anti-human moves on J&K etc has given the Muslim community enough ammunition to and ponder about the future political strategy of living in India. The message is simple, if politics is going to decide the future, then Muslim should think about the kind of politics they want to safeguard their future.    

[Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba2007@gmail.com]

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