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SPECIAL REPORT: Indian religious leaders strongly protest against South Korean government hounding of Shincheonji Church despite cooperation to contain COVID-19 spread

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 09 August 2020 | Posted in , , , , , , , , ,

By Danish Ahmad Khan

The government of South Korea is pursuing a discriminatory policy towards Shincheonji Church while accusing it of COVID-19 spread. The church authorities have alleged that this is nothing but a witch-hunt against the church despite its voluntary cooperation, including the largest blood plasma donation in the world. The government alleged that Shincheonji Church is responsible for the spread of COVID-19.

On March 26, former Seoul Metropolitan Mayor Park Won-soon revoked his permission to establish "the New Heaven and New Earth, the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony", which was registered in Seoul. Furthermore, on June 22, the city of Daegu, where the largest number COVID-19 cases were confirmed, filed a civil suit worth 100 billion won against Shincheonji Church. All the steps were taken by the government holding Shincheonji Church responsible for the spread of COVID-19 in South Korea.

On February 17, after the 31st patient was found infected in Shincheonji Church in Daegu, more than 5,000 church members tested positive for COVID-19. At the request of the government, the church provided a list of Korean and overseas church members. During a press conference the church also promised to cooperate with any request from the government. As soon as the first confirmed case in the church was found, Shincheonji Church shut down all of its buildings and facilities across the country for quarantine. It also switched all of its meetings to online.

In July, most of the church members recovered from COVID-19. Despite several voluntary cooperation including the largest blood plasma donation in the world, the government's discriminatory policy towards Shincheonji Church and the social conflict of fake news in the Korean media have resulted in more than 6,000 cases of religious discrimination and human rights violations against the church in just a few months, including forced resignation, domestic violence, compulsory conversion education, and breach and leak of personal information. With the prolonged COVID-19 crisis, members of Shincheonji Church are at war against another virus called "discrimination."

A recent statement issued by the families of the deceased and victims of COVID-19 stated: "The damage and deaths of Koreans reflect the failure of initial response by the government to contain the virus." It also states that the Minister of Justice, Choo Mi-ae “allowed COVID-19 patients from China to enter Korea, leading to a widespread outbreak of the virus across the country, which resulted in the deaths of the Korean people.” It also stated that the minister is trying to cover up her responsibility for the damage by “giving direct orders to prosecutors for raid and arrests against Shincheonji Church”.

Indian religious leaders condemn South Korean govt

Religious leaders in India have also come out strongly in support of Shincheonji Church and urged that the South Korean government should not handle the current pandemic situation with prejudice just because Shincheonji Church is a minority religious group.

Dr. Homi B. Dhalla, Founder President of World Zarathushti Cultural Foundation, said, “In February 2020, the South Korean government had permitted religious organizations to conduct gatherings as well as to hold religious services. At the same time, a number of tourists from China had also entered South Korea. It is now a known fact, globally, that the COVID-19 pandemic originated in China in October 2019. Therefore, it is crystal clear that the infection was brought into South Korea by these tourists. The citizens of South Korea have rightly blamed the government for permitting these tourists to enter the country. Under these circumstances, I would sincerely urge South Korean government to stop harassing Chairman Man Hee Lee and members of the Shincheonji Church.”

Allama Syed Abdullah Tariq, President of World Organisation of Religions and Knowledge, cited a similar case that happened in India in his condemnation letter to Moon Jae-in, President of South Korea. He said, “Politicians around the world are searching for scapegoats to hide their faults. Often, they need to create an enemy to mobilize the support. More often they portray enemy is minority religion or ethnic of the country to win the support of the majority community.” 

“In India, the earliest infected people by covid-19 belonged to a Muslim religious sect called Tablighi Jamaat numbering about 80, and the social media started an organized campaign spreading rumors through morphed images and edited video clips that Muslims were intentionally spreading the disease.” he added. Surprised at knowing that discrimination to the Shincheonji Church has been imposed by the South Korea government, he urged, “Let the Democratic Party of Korea be truly democratic by taking steps to stop the persecution of religious groups and let all people enjoy religious freedom.”

Dr. Chand Kanwar Bhardwaj, General Secretary of Sawan Adhyatmic Satsang Society of India, said, “Regardless of the church's unintentional role in spreading the virus, we cannot put the blame of an entire country on a single organisation. The entire world is reeling through COVID-19 and Shincheonji Church, including its members, is also a victim of it. Treating them with contempt and charging legal proceedings against their organization and their faith, just because they are a minority religious group is a clear violation of constitutional rights.”

“Aren't the governments elected by the citizens to protect their rights? Discrimination in any form shouldn't be acceptable. This is high time for the world governments to come together and protect each individual and provide facilities on humanitarian grounds rather than blaming and targeting an individual or an organization. A Democratic Government should stand by its principal and act accordingly. If the Lawmakers don't follow the laws they made, then what shall we expect from the public?” asks Md. Irshad Ahmad, President of Minorities Forum for Deepening Democracy.

Gautam Patil, the state vice president of The Buddhist Society of India, said, “South Korea's strategy to control the coronavirus outbreak has heralded an exemplary response which the whole world has witnessed today. However, it is saddening to know that the country is exploiting human rights in regards to religious discriminations. An organization or a religious group cannot be blamed as the spreader of the virus. The use of religion in politics always leads to violation, exploitation, and discriminations among the minority which solely affects the human rights of the citizens.”

Ramchandra Das, Secretary of International Goudiya Vedanta Trust, pointed out in his letter sent on July 15th that the treatment by the government towards Shincheonji Church is clearly religious discrimination. “In terms of the peace of religion, we all believe in the same God and need to be in harmony and balance. We shouldn't be biased by looking at one side. In fact, to be honest, the church members are victims of COVID-19 and not perpetrators,” he said in his letter.

Center for Studies on New Religions and HRWF jointly hold webinar

There is also a view that a close relationship between the conservative and fundamentalist churches and the South Korean government had influence on the unusual repression of the government against Shincheonji Church. On July 20, a webinar titled “COVID-19 and Religious Freedom: Scapegoating Shincheonji in South Korea” was hosted by the Center for Studies on New Religions and HRWF – Human Rights Without Frontiers.  The new Christian movement by Shincheonji has become a target of “persecution from fundamentalist protestants” because of its successful religious expansion “from the conservative and fundamentalist protestants who see Shincheonji as competitors and want to destroy it," said Massimo Introvigne as an Italian sociologist of religion who studied Shincheonji before and after the COVID-19 pandemic and published the first account of the religious group in English.

Prior to the COVID-19 incident, two members of Shincheonji Church lost their lives by coercive conversion program operated by Christian Council of Korea. According to the Coalition for Victims of coercive conversion, the number of victims of this deprogramming is 1,507, and they have been exposed to assault, kidnapping, confinement, and forced leave from their work and schools. A voice of criticism for the coercive conversion program was also raised. Speaking about the discrimination towards Shincheonji Church by the Christian Council of Korea, Allama Syed Abdullah Tariq, President of World Organisation of Religions and Knowledge, also mentioned, “I fail to understand why the Christian Council of Korea opposes it tooth and nail when there are more than 25,000 registered denominations among the Protestants and every one of them at some point of time was a new entrant.”

“Freedom of religion is a fundamental human right of all people. In contrast, the act of the forced conversion of religion is the greatest violation of this right. The act of the forced conversion of religion has nothing to do with religion at all,” said Dr. Kamini Gogri, Head of Research on Ancient Scriptures, Eikam Resonance Foundation said. “We request to stop the violations of right and the atrocities committed by mainstream Christian churches to violate the same,” she added.

Recovered COVID-19 patients from Shincheonji Church donate $83 billion worth of Plasma for Vaccine development

The world should appreciate the $83 billion worth of Plasma donation for vaccine development by the 4,000 recovered COVID-19 patients from Shincheonji Church. Despite continuous discrimination, more than 4,000 members of Shincheonji Church showed their willingness for plasma donation for the development of a vaccine for COVID-19. The recovered patients voluntarily decided to donate their plasma and even refused to receive any monetary expenses including transportation charges. Starting from 17 July, 500 church members completed their donation. More members are waiting for their turn.

Dr. Avtar Singh Sethi, Advisor of The Kalgidhar Trust/Society, said, “The 4,000 infected members of Shincheonji Church voluntarily donated plasma after recovering from the virus. Their contribution to fighting the pandemic should be appreciated. At these times of crisis, let us all come together and fight the pandemic of COVID-19. I condemn the scapegoating of Shincheonji Church, and I urge the government to stop blaming any section of the society for spreading the virus, and to respect religious freedom,”

Rev Dr, C S Gabriel, the president of Christhava Nallenna Iyakkam says, “Although there is hatred towards them, I appreciate the sincere efforts made through the blood plasma donation by Shincheonji Church members, who were cured of the virus. This is alarming as it threatens other minorities in the country and globally too amid the pandemic. The infected ones are those who need to be protected, not blamed, and discriminated against.”

Religious persecution and stigmatizing must stop in the name COVID-19

The world is in a grave crisis now as it continues to battle Coronavirus pandemic. Fatalities continue to mount with several thousands having already lost their lives and many being affected by the disease. Millions of jobs have already been lost and the world economy is in dire straits. Whether it’s the United States, India or South Korea, the governments have miserably failed to effectively contain COVID-19 spread and lessen fatalities. According to reports, racism of the worst kind was on display in the USA. Black people were specifically targeted and allowed to die mercilessly due to the pandemic. In India, the largest Muslim minority group has been constantly under attack. The Coronavirus pandemic brought even more miseries for Indian Muslims as a religious sect Tablighi Jamaat was systemically targeted and its followers hounded while being accused of spreading the disease. And, the community’s stigmatization continues even today. What happened lately in South Korea by targeting Shincheonji Church is even more depressing and deplorable. Such anti-people behavior can only be expected from the governments who continue to fail to deliver. It’s high time that the world governments should stop religious persecution and stigmatization in the name of fighting COVID-19 pandemic.

[Danish Ahmad Khan is Founder-Editor of India’s First Online Muslim Newspaper IndianMuslimObserver.com. He can be reached on his Mobile # 9990179721 or at indianmuslimobserver@gmail.com]

Send foreign Tablighi Jamaat members home, appeals Islamic Federation in Tamil Nadu

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 26 June 2020 | Posted in , , , , , , ,

By Syed Ali Mujtaba

Chennai: The Federation of Tamil Nadu Muslim organizations and political parties have vehemently appealed to the state government for release 129 foreign Tabligi Jamat (TJ) members lodged in Puzhal Central Prison complex here.

The Tamil Nadu government has designated the Juvenile prison within Puzhal jail for the detention of 129 foreign TJ members who have violated Visa regulations.

These are 53 citizens from Indonesia, 17 from Malaysia, 14 from Bangladesh, 14 from Thailand, 13 from Myanmar, 8 from Ethiopia, 5 from France, 3 from Cameroon, 1 from Congo, 1 from Belgium.

Addressing an online press conference, the Islamic Federation has asked the Tamil Nadu government to drop all cases against the foreign TJ members and set them free from the illegal dentation and send them to their respective countries. 

The online press conference was addressed by the Islamic Federation's President and Jamathul Ulama Council President, Moulana P.A Haja Moinudeen Hazrath, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi President M.H.Jawahirullah, SDPI President Nellai Mubarak, Coordinators M Manzoor Khasifi, Alhaj M Basheer Ahmed and others.

There were 129 foreign TJ members including 12 women belonging to 9 different countries who were arrested by Tamil Nadu police from the various places of the state following the discovery of coronavirus linkage with TJ members and Nizamuddin Markaz world conference in New Delhi.

The Madras High Court and its subsidiary courts granted bail to 98 TJ members arrested in 12 cases. Similarly, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court granted bail to other 31 foreign TJ members.

All these foreign TJ members who were earlier put up at Saidapet sub jail but after being given bail, were shifted to Juvenile prison within the Puzhal Central jail complex.

This included 31 foreign TJ members who were arrested from the Southern districts of Tamil Nadu and their bail plea was heard by the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court.

While granting bail to 31 TJ members on June 12, 2020, the Madurai Bench of Madras High court stated that it is not fair to detain them in the Special Camp within Puzhal Prison complex and the government should consider keeping them in any other good place.
The court further stated that “these people have served maximum sentences for violation of Visa rules and there is no proof that these people have spread Coronavirus. In such a situation, if the petitioners execute appropriate affidavits expressing their regret for having violated the visa conditions, proceedings against them shall be concluded by filing final reports recording the same,” the court said.

The Islamic Federation Based on the judgment of the Madurai Bench of Madras High court held a online press conference where it said; “It is contempt of the Judgment given by the Madurai Bench of Madras High court to illegally keep 31 foreign TJ members in Puzhal prison, whose case have been closed and have been acquitted and absolved of all cases against them.”

“Further, those 98 people including 8 women who have got bail from court but their cases are still not disposed of and are still kept in detention even more than 60 days of their arrests are illegal.”

The Islamic federation appealed to the state government to drop all pending cases against the remaining 98 foreign nationals and stop their illegal detention in Puzhal prison complex and house them in some better place.

A member of Islamic Federation and President Manithaneya Makkal Katchi, M H Jawahirullah pointed out that the central government has given clear guidelines about these special camps as to how they should function.

Frist, such a detention center should not be located within the prison complex which is not in this case. Second, the food for such detainees should be prepared in a separate Kitchen but in this case, foreign TJ members are served food meant for the prisoners of Puzhal Jail. Third, the guidelines say the detention place should have proper ventilation for air and sunlight but that’s not there in this detention center, M H Jawahirullah said.

He added; “the Juvenile prison within Puzhal jail can accommodate only 30 to 40 persons but there are 129 TJ members cramped in an inhuman condition in such detention center that too at the times Covid crisis is huge violation of social distancing norms begs human attention.”

The MMK leader demanded that Tamil Nadu government should house these foreign TJ members in a ‘near human’ conditions and suggested keeping them at Jamia Qasmiya Arabic College in Washermanpet locality, till they are sent to their respective countries.

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

Opinion: Has Coronavirus Changed the Veil Debate in Europe

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

Will Face-mask Modify the Veil Debate in Europe?

By Dr. Irfan Raja

Throughout the world, governments can easily sell and buy two slogans: “Public interest” and “For Your Safety”. And, exactly that is what European democracies are doing now for public safety against the Coronavirus. 

In a similar bid, the French President Macron Emmanuel introduced a Coronavirus safety face mask to French public as “National pride” because it is 100% made in France.   

Hang on a minute! Is not the same France that once banned face veil for only a handful of Muslim women including French reverts? But at that time in the best interest of French society, it was revealed to the public that Muslim women face veil is a “Symbol of oppression”, “Health risk” and a “Threat” and even it could be a “National shame” because it is outdated and misfit for a modern secular society. 

Fair enough! I do remember the day in 2006, I was a MA journalism student at the University of Leeds. Like many other students and academics, I was shocked to know that the British parliamentarian Jack Straw had provoked anger and outrage among the British Muslim community by saying that “Visible statement of separation and difference”, was actually one of the former students union presidents. 
I found that the University of Leeds, students banned him “in protest at what they said were his anti-libertarian policies”. 

Since then, never ending veil debate has started, people have written Ph.D. thesis and thousands of newspaper and journal articles, books, manuscripts, hold public discussions and debates, delivered lectures and made documentaries, films and produced teasing caricatures. 

More worryingly, European newspapers and broadcasters ran disgraceful campaigns to demonized Muslim veil wearing women 24/7 to an extent that countries including France banned it. 

My own research on veil shows how British Conservative and Liberal broadsheets and tabloids published a series of articles, editorials, features and comments pieces on the veil that made it a “national debate” bigger than Britain’s illegal wars and climate change. 

The press perceives the veil as a clash between Muslims and non-Muslims and presents it as a “terror threat”. Besides, several leading European parliamentarians have made it a regular habit to attack the veil that is an easy way of getting media publicity. 

Today, the veil is a talk of the town. Still, the majority of the people are confused and ill-informed on this subject.  Thomas Sealy raised an important question: “Is there a difference between the niqab and a face mask?” 

So what is that so special in a piece of cloth which makes it a “National pride”? Obviously, if it fits into government policy it’s a pride otherwise veil can be regarded as a “Shame” and “Outdated”. 

So if the veil is an outdated practice and a terror threat, then why France is driving the entire nation to adopt it? In the words of George Orwell, the veil is a perfect example of “Double Speak”. 

In France, it is prohibited for a Muslim women to cover the face but she will also be fined for not wearing a face mask -- Is it forcing a Muslim woman not to wear a veil is nothing less than a mental torture and abusive?.    

Pity though, how a piece of cloth fosters divisions in Coronavirus crisis? It is mainly because Muslims are easy targets as Richard Adams summed it: “Hijab ban attempt is ‘racism dressed up as liberalism”.  

When James McAuley, Washington Post, Paris correspondent posted an article, along a comment, “On the ironies of mask requirements in the country that brought you burka ban” via The Washington Post article: “France mandates masks to control the coronavirus. Burqas remain banned”.  

Within minutes, a thread @Washingtonpost started that turned Twitter into a battleground between supporters and opponents of veil wearing women. Everyone seems to be a scholar of Islam, a usual practice during Muslims related discussions and debates. But, how many Twitter warriors have read a chapter of the holy Qur’an An-Nisa to understand what exactly veil is?  

Veiled Women Image in British Press 

Mostly, the western media portrays veil wearing women as “oppressed” and “backward”. The conservative press support ban on veil while the liberal press suggests that women should be free to decide. 

But, is the West really concerned about oppressed women? Because many European countries have treated the veil wearing Muslim women as badly as the oppressed ones elsewhere.

That is banning Muslim women wearing burka and bracketing them as “letterboxes” and “bank-robbers”. These are thoughts of the British PM Boris Johnson, so what can you expect from others? 

Now compare French and Taliban views of Muslim women veil. Are they any different? Both did the same that is forced women to adopt their way of wearing, French banned veil wearing and the Taliban made it mandatory. 

Isn’t the politics of veil?  Because if the west truly value women freedom it should not force them to wear or not to wear but rather give women a choice. 

But it’s all politics, Katharine Viner equated, “Feminism as imperialism” and unknotted false claims of the western leaders, especially George W. Bush who “bombed Afghanistan to liberate women from burkas” then used the same logic to bomb Iraq because he did not bear the pain of Iraqi women in suffering. 

Viner raised a logical point that women sufferings are everywhere, so “To justify another war. Where next? China because of its anti-girl one-child policy? India because of widow-burning outrages? Britain because of its criminally low rape conviction rate?” 

Janine Rich disclosed the popular western discourse on Islam and Muslims as of the “Oppressed Muslim Women”. For decades, Western powers are successfully using it to legalize their attacks on Muslim countries. Too often, sections of the western media push the debates on Muslim women using “oppression” as fascination.

Rich argues that “The complex discourses surrounding women in the Islamic world have a long and deeply political history, and this narrative has been renewed and re-utilized numerous times to garner widespread public support for Western military intervention in the Middle East”. 

What the western media and polity missed to share with their public at home is that Muslim women's rights and duties are far more in order as described in al-Qur’an. Moreover, the Afghan women were allowed to vote long before the European women. 

Truth has always been there but the real issue is people don’t want it because sometimes it contradicts with their self-designed way of life.    

Perhaps, a best-concluded sentence would be that it is the apolitical weapon of Europe that shows nothing but “Double Standards”. One rule for a minority and the other rule for the elites. 

If the European democracy has reached to such lower level then Europe must rethink and revisit its ideas of human rights and personal freedoms. 

What is Still Misunderstood in Europe? 

Underneath the thread of French Macron argued that we Europeans are embracing face masks to save lives. Of course, any sensible person would agree with this argument, but what exactly is that Islam says about the veil? What does it require from a believer? What is the wisdom behind its teachings? What are their impacts and relevance to modern societies?   

Going back to Life-saving argument, remember that Islam talks about life after death that is everlasting and perpetual, so why would anyone risk an everlasting loss?  

Dr. Irfan Raja
They should disregard a modest practice only because a fraction of conservative Europeans don’t like it? Think if someone demands to ban drinking, smoking and drug use because it all kills and cost NHS £2.7 billion each year. Does veil cost anything to the NHS?

The irony is that we take what we like and leave what we don’t like. Think about Christianity, Judaism, and other religions that preach modesty- So why Europe is so worried about a Muslim woman only? After all, it is just a piece of cloth, isn’t it? 

[Dr. Irfan Raja is academic, analyst and activist based in the U.K., masters of arts in international journalism at the University of Leeds, holds a Ph.D. at the University of Huddersfield. He can be reached at irfan.journalist@gmail.com] 

(Courtesy: Daily Sabah)
 

विदेशी तब्लीगी जमाअत के लोगों की रिहाई के लिए इम्पार का गृह सचिव को पत्र

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

मद्रास हाई कोर्ट के आदेश के बाद आने वाली बाधा को गृह मंत्रालय से दूर करने की अपील 

नयी दिल्ली: इंसानी बुनियादों पर विदेशी तबलीगी जमात के लोगों को छोड़ने के लिए भारत सरकार के होम सेक्रेट्री अजय कुमार भल्ला को इंडियन मुस्लिम फॉर प्रोग्रेस एंड रिफॉर्म्स (IMPAR) की ओर से एक पत्र लिखा गया है, जिसमें करोना को लेकर भारत सरकार की कोशिशों की प्रशंसा करते हुए कहा गया है कि भारत सरकार ने अर्थव्यवस्था को बूस्ट करने के लिए जो कदम उठाए हैं वह सराहनीय हैं। साथ ही साथ इस पूरी महामारी में सरकार की ओर से जो कदम आम जनता के हितों की रक्षा में लिए उठाये जा रहे हैं इम्पार उसकी प्रशंसा करता है।  

पत्र में भारत सरकार के गृह सचिव का ध्यान आकर्षित करते हुए कहा गया है कि चेन्नई तमिलनाडु में फंसी 12 महिलाओं सहित 125 विदेशी तबलीगी जमात के लोगों की रिहाई को लेकर आप से अपील करते हैं। पत्र में कहा गया है कि माननीय न्यायालय द्वारा उनकी रिहाई का आदेश दिया गया है लेकिन राज्य के वरिष्ठ पुलिस और जेल अधिकारियों ने कहा है कि MHA ने इस दिशा में आदेश जारी कर रखा है। जब तक गृह मंत्रालय आदेश वापस नहीं लेता है तब तक यह संभव नहीं है। अहम बात यह है कि उन्होंने किसी भी वीजा की शर्तों का उल्लंघन नहीं किया है या किसी भी ऐसी गतिविधियों में लिप्त नहीं थे जो FIR में उल्लिखित हैं क्यों कि इन्हीं बिंदुओं पर एचसी ने संज्ञान लिया है। 
पत्र में कहा गया है कि अच्छी बात यह है कि देश के किसी भी राज्य में इस तरह का कोई सवाल उत्पन्न नहीं हुआ और तबलीगी जमात के लोगों को न्यायालय से न्याय मिलने के बाद उन्हें उनके देश भेज दिया गया लेकिन चेन्नई तमिलनाडु में जो परेशानी आ रही है उसको लेकर के इम्पार चिंतित है और सरकार से अपील करती है कि सरकार तत्काल प्रभाव से कार्यवाही कर के उनको न्याय दिलाये। इम्पार इस मामले को मानवीय आधार पर उठाते हुये राज्य के अधिकारियों को आवश्यक निर्देश जारी करने के लिए गृह मंत्रालय की ओर देख रहा है, क्योंकि कोविड-19 के अचानक प्रकोप में इनकी थोड़ी सी गलतियों की इनको बड़ी सजा मिल चुकी है। 

इम्पार ने कहा है कि यह बताना उचित होगा कि तब्लीगी जमात के लोग अपनी यात्रा के दौरान या मस्जिदों में रहने के दौरान, किसी भी उपदेशात्मक गतिविधियों में लिप्त नहीं थे, क्योंकि मामले की सुनवाई के दौरान ऐसी कोई रिपोर्ट प्रस्तुत नहीं की गई थी। किसी की धार्मिक, सांस्कृतिक प्रथाओं के अवलोकन की इस प्रक्रिया को उपदेश के रूप में नहीं माना जा सकता है और न ही उन्हें जारी किए गए वीजा की शर्तों के उल्लंघन का आरोपी बनाया जा सकता है। अहम बात यह है कि मद्रास के माननीय हाई कोर्ट ने व्यक्तिगत सुरक्षा बांड पर ही उनको राहत दी है।  

'World naive to believe that China has good intentions'

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

By Joseph D'Souza 

The recent killing of 20 Indian soldiers by the Chinese military at the Himalayan border should not surprise the world. Though it's true these are the first casualties at the border in over 45 years, this brazen act of aggression fits within China's modus operandi. Unfortunately, the world has far too often naively believed the best of China's intentions.

Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister, attempted a diplomatic approach to the border dispute with China before the Sino-Indian War broke in 1962. While in retrospect, Nehru's actions come across as too trusting, the truth is that a diplomatic approach was probably never going to work with China. For China, it has always been Chinese interests first.

Now, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with his goodwill towards the Chinese leadership, sits in a similar position to his predecessor. His bonhomie with Chinese President Xi Jinping, carefully built over the years, appears to have come to an awkward halt following the recent border incident—pointed out by keen observers who noticed that Modi failed to wish Jinping a happy birthday for the first time in five years. Since the deadly clash at the border, Modi has felt increasing pressure from the public to assert India's sovereignty.
India should have read the signs and known better, as it shares in the Asian culture where the well-being of family and community is supreme. Unspoken values around communal self-interest drive decision-making at the highest levels. As long as the community interests are upheld, individual rights can be negated, ignored and devalued. This is why China doesn't balk at trampling individual rights in Hong Kong, or disregarding the sovereignty of its neighbors and throughout the South China sea.

Western nations, deeply influenced by Judeo-Christian principles that place a high value on individual rights, have a hard time understanding China's behavior. The entire legal framework of constitutional democracies—in this case, India included—revolves around protecting the rights of individuals. Religious liberty, free speech and freedom of assembly, among other rights, are the cornerstones of these nations. But for the Chinese, communist doctrine dictates that laws are made for the greater communal good—even when it means individual rights have to suffer. Thus, China can impose a full lockdown on a city such as Wuhan, virtually cutting it off from the rest of the world, and not face any consequences for it.

While the world may look askance at China's behavior, writing it off would be a grave mistake. To start off, China's complete disregard for freedom of speech and information allowed the government to clamp down on any efforts to raise the alarm about the coronavirus, effectively allowing it to spread undetected and become a global pandemic. Now the whole world is suffering because free nations didn't take China's human rights abuses seriously enough.

Additionally, China's rise as a major economic, technological and military power also has allowed it to project its influence abroad, across Asia and as far as Africa and South America. The COVID-19 pandemic has made nations even more vulnerable to Chinese interference, especially in the developing world. Many nations, including developed countries such as the United States, have become dependent on China for their economic and even health care security.

For India, the biggest challenge is the economic foothold China has in India. From nuclear plants to electronics to textiles and food, Chinese presence is noticeable. As India faces grim prospects for its economic recovery, it will become even more difficult to untangle financial ties with China.

As COVID-19 reshapes our world's order, nations such as the U.S. and India will need to face Chinese influence at home and abroad. Ironically, this may require taking a page out of China's playbook and putting distinct American/Indian national interests ahead—a strategy President Donald Trump seems to have embraced with his "America First" policy. This doesn't mean caring only for one's national needs at the expense of others—which is China's approach—but giving these needs the proper priority in order to protect the individual rights and freedoms of one's own citizens. One place the U.S. and India could start is by returning manufacturing and production jobs and processes, especially in the health care industry, back to their home countries.

For too long, the world has been misreading China's intentions. It's time for nations to smarten up and begin confronting the threat Chinese aggression represents to our democracies and way of life.

[Joseph D'Souza is a Christian theologian, author and human and civil rights activist. He is the founder of Dignity Freedom Network, an organization that advocates for and delivers humanitarian aid to the marginalized and outcastes of South Asia. He is archbishop of the Anglican Good Shepherd Church of India and serves as the president of the All India Christian Council]

Coronavirus Impact: No Hajj pilgrimage for international pilgrims in 2020

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

Millions of pilgrims from all over the world will not be able to reach Makkah while reciting the hymn of Hajj (Labbaik)

By Dr. Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi

At the beginning of the month of Dhu al-Qaeda, the Saudi government has announced that only limited number of people from different countries living in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to perform Hajj this year (1441-2020) with all precautionary measures for their safety and integrity. The decision has come under the current pandemic situation. So, Zuyoof-ur-Rehman (Hajj Pilgrims) from all over the world will not be able to perform Hajj in 2020.

Like Salah, Fasting and Zakat, Hajj is an important pillar of Islam. It is obligatory once in a lifetime for every person to whom Allah has given so much wealth that he can travel from his home to Makkah and can bear the expenses of his family till his return. Allaah says: “Pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe to Allah,- those who can afford the journey; but if any deny faith, Allah stands not in need of any of His creatures" (Surah Al-Imran 97)

The restriction on performing Umrah since March and the non-performance of Hajj by pilgrims from abroad this year would have cost the Saudi government and the Saudi people billions of riyals. For the past few years, about 2.5 to 3 million pilgrims have been performing the Hajj, and the number of those performing Umrah in Ramadan is much higher. The Saudi government has lifted the three-month lockdown across the country due to the corona epidemic, even lifted the ban on sports from June 21, although the Masjid Al-Haram (Mecca) has not yet been opened to the public.

The Ka'bah (House of Allah), located in the middle of the Masjid Al-Haram in Makkah, is the first house established by Allah on earth for mankind. “Indeed, the first House [of worship] established for mankind was that at Makkah - bessing and guidance for the worlds.” (Surah Al-Imran, verse 96) And this is the Qiblah of Muslims till the Day of Judgment. It was first built by angels before the birth of Adam (peace be upon him). The construction by Hazrat Adam (PBUH) and Hazrat Sheesh (AS) is also mentioned in some books. About four thousand years ago, Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) along with his son Hazrat Ismail (AS) rebuilt the Kaaba. The construction of the house by Hazrat Ibrahim (peace be upon him) is of special importance which has been mentioned in the Holy Quran وَإِذْ يَرْفَعُ إِبْرَاهِيمُ الْقَوَاعِدَ مِنَ الْبَيْتِ وَإِسْمَاعِيلُ رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ (Surat al-Baqarah: 127) And [mention] when Abraham was raising the foundations of the House and [with him] Ismail, [saying], "Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the Hearing, the Knowing.

The greatness of this holy house can be gauged from the fact that Allah Almighty has made the Ka'bah, which is a very sacred house, a source of peace for the people, ie, as long as the Ka'bah remains honorable, the Hour will not come. Before the last hour, the House of Allah will be lifted, as the divine command says: جَعَلَ اللَّهُ الْكَعْبَةَ الْبَيْتَ الْحَرَامَ قِيَامًا لِلنَّاسِ (Allah has made the Ka'bah, the Sacred House, standing for the people.)
With the construction of Baitullah about four thousand years ago, Allah Almighty ordered Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) to announce Hajj among the people. Therefore, Allah Almighty conveyed the proclamation of Hazrat Ibrahim (as) not only to the living people of that time but also all the souls in the spirit world heard this voice. The person who said Labbaik in response to this proclamation was destined to visit the House of Allah. Hajj has been performed ever since the time of Hazrat Ibrahim (as) and even in the time of Jahiliyyah people continued to perform Hajj. Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) considered the occasion of Hajj as an opportunity in the life of Makkah and invited the delegations from outside to Islam. Therefore, by meeting the delegations during the days of Hajj, the land of Madinah was paved for Islam. And he migrated to Madinah with his companions. When Mecca was conquered in 8 AH, Baitullah was cleansed of all idols. Hajj became obligatory in 9 AH. He sent Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq as Amir al-Hajjaj and Hajj was performed according to Islamic law. In 10 AH, the Holy Prophet (SAW) performed the first and last Hajj of his glorious life (Hajjatul Widaa) with about one lakh twenty four thousand companions. Since then, Hajj has been performed every year according to the teachings of the Holy Prophet. The number of pilgrims has sometimes reached three million. Baitullah Sharif, which is a very sacred place of worship and a sacred house, is covered with a garment for its external adornment. The process of shrouding the Ka'bah continues in the same way as that of Hazrat Ishmael (as).

Just as Tawaaf of Bait-ul-Allah (House of Kaaba) is performed in the world, there is the house of Allah in the heavens which is called Bait-ul-Ma'mour, the angels do tawaaf it all the time. Concerning this house, Allaah says in the Holy Qur'aan: وَالْبَيْتِ الْمَعْمُورِ (Surat at-Tur, verse 4) And [by] the frequented House. When the Holy Prophet (SAW) was taken to Bait-ul-Ma'mour on the night of Ascension, the Holy Prophet (SAW) asked Gabriel (AS) what is this? Hazrat Gabriel said that this is Bait-ul-Ma’amour, everyday, seventy thousand angels do tawaaf it daily, then their turn will not come again till the Day of Resurrection. This hadith is found in the famous books of hadith.  According to the narration of Tabari, Bait-ul-Ma'mour is in the sky just above Bait-ul-Allah (the Ka'bah).

The months of Hajj have been started. The whole month of Shawwal has come to an end and Dhu al-Qaeda has begun. But this year, millions of pilgrims from all over the world will not be able to reach Mecca while reciting the hymn of Hajj. Millions of pilgrims used to leave the worldly ornaments and adornments to pay homage to the fifth most important pillar of Islam and reach the holy shrines (Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah) in love of Allah. They used to associate themselves with the great sacrifices of Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) and Hazrat Ishmael (AS). This is why Hajj is called romantic worship because every action of the Hajj drips madness and madness. Hajj is a very significant act of worship in the sense that it consists of three aspects at the same time, spiritual, financial and physical. This feature is not found in any other form of worship. The special importance of this fifth pillar of Islam "Hajj" has been mentioned in the Qur'an and Hadith. Thus, on one occasion, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: Whoever performs Hajj merely for the sake of Allaah and does not commit any vain thing or sin during it, he returns (cleansed) as on the day of birth from the womb. (pure). (Bukhari and Muslim)

Tawaf, Umrah and Hajj of this holy house have been performed since the existence of this world and this process will continue till the Baitullah is taken to the heavens before the Day of Resurrection. Of course, in some cases the performance of Hajj had been stopped. But it is clear from hadith mentioned in Sahih Bukhari and other books, that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The Hour will not come until the Hajj to the House of Allaah is stopped.” Stopping Hajj or stopping the pilgrims is not a good sign in any case, for whatever reason. May Allah protect us all, Amen.

[Dr.  Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi is an Islamic scholar. He can be reached on his Mobile # 0091-7017905326 or contacted on his email at najeebqasmi@gmail.com. His WhatsApp No. is 00966-508237446]

India warned over violations of religious freedom

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 23 June 2020 | Posted in , , , , , , ,

By Dr Mike Ghouse

The Center for Pluralism and the supporting organizations welcome the Press Release by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and the Annual report released by the U.S. Department of the State (DOS) in June 2020.

The USCIRF made a recommendation to the DOS about the gross violations of religious freedoms in India and listed India as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) and suggested penalties against India’s Home Minister Amit Shah, the man behind the violations.

The CPC designation has severe consequences for India. The major global corporations that are interested in India’s prosperity will hesitate to do business in India due to social and political unrest. Most companies in the world want to do business in a stable nation.

The biggest economic threat to India is the loss of prosperity gained by the employees and the companies in the information technology sector. The employees and employers stand to lose all the gains they have made in the last twenty years. In the end, every Indian stand to lose.
Prime Minister Modi earned the CPC title by his calculated silence. He has a record for letting the bad guys do whatever they want. He had once said at the beginning of the Gujarat Massacre to his men, “You’ve three days to finish the job.” meaning kill as many as you can. It resulted in the killing of over 1000 people in February 2002.

Modi lives on with his three days formula – An 8-year-old girl Asifa was gang-raped and butchered into pieces, Modi did not speak until the whole nation was agitated. Ansari was brutally beaten with crowbars; Modi did not talk until the entire country condemned it. There were 114 such incidents during his six-year reign. In March this year, his men placed the saffron flag on their homes to identify Muslim homes who did not have the flag – they burned several houses and killed nearly 50 people. Modi did not speak or even had the courtesy to visit.

Christians and Muslims are given an ultimatum by a few members of the ruling BJP Party, that they (230 Million) have three options. Convert to Hinduism, live as 2nd class citizens, or disappear. Mr. Modi has not said a word to allay the fears.

Prime Minister Modi needs to repeal the unnecessary Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), and the protests will stop at once, and the nation’s social and political stability will return. The demand for birth certificates is to separate Muslims as the Jews in the Holocaust were pinned Megan David on their sleeves. As per the provisions of the law, if one is a Hindu or of other faith, he/she gets automatic citizenship, but Muslims will go to the detention camps. The great Indian people of all religions have joined the protests, and they have realized, discrimination to one is discrimination to all. The demonstrations are identical to the George Floyd protests across the world.

The Modi government arrested a pregnant woman Safoora Zargar for protesting. She was slapped with false charges. Mr. Amit Shah has extensive experience with making up charges against the people he doesn’t like or, worse, killing them in fake encounters.

Kaleem Kawaja of Association of Indian Muslims of America (AIM) adds, “We hope the Government of India heeds the reports issued by the Department of State and work on correcting the course and save India from the destruction of social structure leading the economic disaster.”

We offer the following solutions to restore sanity and democracy, take back the title of CPC, and recognize all citizens are equal under the law.

We urge the Indian government to issue the visas to the Commissioners of USCIRF to verify the truth and make the recommendations to rectify the wrongs heaped on Indian Citizens, particularly the Kashmiri citizens.

We urge the Prime Minister to speak up and tell the nation that he will not tolerate lynching, cow vigilantes, raping, and harassment of fellow Indians. The calls for Christians and Muslims to convert to Hinduism or live as second-class citizens will be pushed back, and the callers will face serious consequences.

The report in its entirety can be read Here

[Mike Ghouse is the founder and president of the Center for Pluralism. He is a speaker, thinker, author, consultant, pluralist, activist, newsmaker, and an interfaith wedding officiant. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions to the media and the policymakers. He blogs at TheGhousediary.com] 

“Greater Nepal” -- A powerful slogan echoing in India's backyard

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

By Syed Ali Mujtaba

The idea of Greater Nepal is a new brand of nationalism that is being packaged in the Himalayan state against India. Greater Nepal wants an idea to extend its boundaries into the territories like Sikkim, Kumaon, Garhwal and Kangra region of India.

Cities like Darjeeling, Nainital, Almora and Dehradun and few others are supposed to be part of Greater Nepal. They say these territories were ceded to the East India Company under the Sugauli Treaty of 1816 due to the defeat of the Gurkha king in the Anglo-Nepalese War of 1814–16. It was an unjust treaty that was held between shareholders of the Company and the King of a state. Such a treaty has no relevance in the age of democracy and people’s sovereignty.  

The Treaty of Sugauli in 1816 caused Nepal's rulers to lose about 105,000 km of territory and left Nepal as it is today, with 147,181 km of present total area.

The British government in December 1923 superseded the Sugauli Treaty with a "Treaty of Perpetual Peace and Friendship.” The Indian government further ratified this Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950.
However, those behind the idea of ‘Greater Nepal’ want to scrap the 1950 agreement with India. Behind this there is a NGO called Greater Nepal Nationalist Front (GNLF) headed by Phanindra Nepal that wants to achieve the goal of Greater Nepal. There are also some political parties like Greater Nepal Nationalist Front that endorse such ideas.

The GNLF has launched a signature campaign demanding the return of territory belonging to Nepal. According to ‘The Rising Nepal', a government-owned national daily, the campaign was initiated by the Greater Nepal Nationalist Front coinciding with Nepal National Unity Day. The signatures collected were supposed to be handed over to the Nepal president Bidya Devi Bhandari, UN secretary general, the five members of the UN Security Council, and to the SAARC secretary general.  

The concept of Greater Nepal stands on two legs. One is Nepal’s treaty with the East India Company that GNLF says has become redundant. Second, the areas that form the parts of Greater Nepal are inhabited by Nepalese people who speak Gorkhali language and are ethnically and linguistically more closer to the people of Nepal than to the Indian mainland.

As far as the government of Nepal is concerned it does not subscribe to the idea of “Greater Nepal” nor do the major political parties of Nepal. However, the fact remains that “Greater Nepal” is a powerful slogan that is gaining ground in the neighboring state.

Recently, both houses of Nepal’s parliament approved a new map including territory controlled by India. The National Assembly or upper house unanimously voted to endorse the new political map issued last month that shows the disputed areas of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as part of Nepal.

The Indian side has said Nepal’s “shifting” claims are contrary to the Treaty of Sugauli signed in 1815 by Nepal and the British, a ruling by the British governor general in 1817, and Nepal’s boundary treaty with China of 1961 and protocols signed by these two countries in 1963 and 1979.

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

UK Diaspora Groups demand Home Minister’s resignation over Delhi pogrom

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 11 March 2020 | Posted in , , , , , , ,

IMO News Service

The UK Diaspora Groups – South Asia Solidarity Group, SOAS India Society, South Asian Students Against Fascism, Federation of Redbridge Muslim Organisations (FORMO) and Co-ordinating Committee of Malayali Muslims – have issued a statement condemning the recent state-sponsored pogrom against Muslims in India’s capital New Delhi recently during the visit of the United States President Donald Trump. Hindutva nationalists supported by the ruling BJP had threatened Muslims to call off their peaceful protests against the implementation of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and proposed National Population Register (NPR) census and National Register of Citizens (NRC). The statement reads: 

We demand:

  • The resignation of the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, for his gross failure to maintain peace.
  • The immediate arrest of the BJP politicians and leaders who instigated the pogrom – Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Singh Varma and others and that all the perpetrators of the pogrom are brought to justice.
  • That the injured are given appropriate medical care and the victim families are rehabilitated and compensated for the loss of lives and livelihood.
  • That the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his AAP government play their constitutional role by taking effective measures to ensure peace and  justice for the victims and survivors.
  • That the UK government immediately issues a strong condemnation of the Narendra Modi government for sponsoring the anti-Muslim pogrom in Delhi


While Narendra Modi was feting US President Donald Trump, Delhi was ablaze in the fire of a targeted anti-Muslim pogrom which has already claimed 38 lives and left hundreds critically injured. Vast areas of North East Delhi have been devastated with hundreds displaced, their homes burnt and livelihoods destroyed. The fire of genocidal violence was lit and stoked by the ruling BJP over the last six years but triggered, more immediately, by the poisonous anti-Muslim rhetoric and the 'Desh ke gaddaro ko goli maro’ (‘shoot the traitors’) call to action by a series of BJP leaders. Many were reminded of the genocidal violence against Sikhs in 1984 and against Muslims in Gujarat in 2002. 
The attacks have been overwhelmingly targeted against the poorer sections of the Muslim community in Delhi. The Delhi Police, which is controlled by the ruling BJP, have destroyed CCTV cameras to protect the identities of the leaders of the violent anti-Muslim mobs, used Islamophobic abuse, publicly humiliated and beaten Muslims, arrested Muslims on false pretexts, and broken into Muslim homes to allow anti-Muslim mobs to plunder them. They have also allowed these mobs to prevent the injured from reaching hospitals. It was only after the Delhi High Court ordered the police to ensure safe passage to ambulances that the wounded were transferred to hospitals with adequate medical facilities.

Why did it happen?

The underlying causes for the unleashing of genocidal violence at this point appear to be:

(a)  the entirely legitimate dissent of ordinary people against a fascistic citizenship law- the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and its accompanying registers of citizenship, the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR) -  which acting together will leave Indian Muslims disenfranchised - and constitute a first step to ethnic cleansing. The powerful countrywide wave of protests against the CAA-NRC-NPR found a strong and resilient citadel in Delhi with continuous sit-ins by thousands of Muslim women, which are still continuing. The rattled Modi-Shah regime is now trying to drown the peaceful power of protests in blood; (b) the spectacular snub given by the Delhi electorate to the BJP's viciously Islamophobic Assembly election campaign.  It is significant that the centres of the pogrom are precisely the few areas where the BJP managed to win in the Assembly elections.

However, there have been many heartening instances of Hindus, Dalits and Sikhs protecting their Muslim neighbours, and Sikh gurdwaras opening their doors for victims fleeing violence.

We stand in solidarity with the survivors of the Delhi Pogrom and with the courageous citizens of Delhi as they fight for justice and peace!

“As members of the Indian and South Asian diaspora in the UK, we stand with the survivors of the Delhi pogrom and the courageous anti-CAA movement. We condemn the close relationship between the Boris Johnson government and Narendra Modi’s genocidal BJP government. This alliance of far-right regimes has been deepened by the appointment of British Indian Modi supporters including Priti Patel and Rishi Sumak to key cabinet positions. They do not speak for us!” - Nirmala Rajasingam, South Asia Solidarity Group
“The Delhi Pogrom has already killed 38 Indian Muslims, with many injured. This is no accident, Modi has led India here and the horrific scenes in Delhi show BJP ideology in action. British Indians will not be silent.” - Nadia Whittome MP

"The violence in Delhi must not be seen as a riot. What has happened is a state-sponsored pogrom against the city's Muslim communities. There is a mountain of evidence showing how BJP leaders and their media ecosystem incited mobs to commit violence, how the police either stood by or actively participated in this violence, and how the courts have completely abdicated responsibility" - South Asian Students Against Fascism

"India is now a fascist Hindu dictatorship where the rule of law has been suspended. If the world does not take note and react urgently, the consequences will be disastrous."– SOAS India Society

“We are shocked by the horrific anti-Muslim pogrom spearheaded by the Hindutva right this week. But we are truly inspired to see that the women of many areas of Delhi have returned to their sit-in protests. These women have been occupying these sites like Shaheen Bagh for the past two months in the bitter North Indian winter cold. We in the UK and across the world must learn from their strength and courage in these turbulent times of increasing fascism” - Anjum Mouj, London Black Women’s Project

More details: 07846873341 / southasiasolidaritygroup@gmail.com.

South Asia Solidarity Group is an anti-imperialist, anti-racist organization based in Britain. We are committed to supporting, publicising, and building solidarity with people’s struggles for justice and democracy and against exploitation, imperialism and war in the countries of South Asia. We are involved in developing links between these movements and  similar struggles in Britain. Our activities and analysis make the links between the global, US-led ‘war on terror’, neoliberal economic policies which mean corporate plunder of the people and resources of South Asia and the current human rights violations, attacks on basic services  and intense racism of the British state. We aim to develop and project an understanding of the resistance to these processes taking place in South Asia, Britain, and globally from a revolutionary left perspective. 

PEOPLE: Mohamed Jinna wins accolades for being one of the top 50 influential personalities in the Islamic Economy

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 02 March 2020 | Posted in , , , , , ,

IMO News Service

Mohamed Jinna, based in Singapore, has been identified as one among the top 50 influential personalities in the Islamic Economy.

Mohamed Jinna is the dynamic chairman of the United World Halal Development that has dedicatedly created global awareness about the Halal way of life. 
He is the peace ambassador for Bosnia and the recipient of the Islamica 500 award, conferred to 500 most influential Muslim leaders across the world, He holds the accolades as the Honorary member of European Asian Financial policy forum and Advisory Board Member ANZ Business Chamber for India, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore.

In United world Halal development, Jinna joins forces with Halal Industry giants, environmental scientists, theological scholars and governments to host the ‘World Halal Day’ on 1st of November, every year.
World Halal Day is Instrumental in bringing several government bodies to invest in various countries for various projects and initiatives in the field of Islamic (Ethical) banking, Food, Travel, Tourism & Medical Tourism through which manufacturers, Traders, Investors & entrepreneurs meet at one common platform to create businesses and networking between business people,  entrepreneurs and government bodies. This will upsurge the economic condition and infrastructure of the nation which he believes will in turn eradicate poverty as a whole.

World Halal Day will be crucial by bringing in Islamic (Ethical) Banking in a very easy format with digital technology that will be of utmost reach for every person even the down trodden to help them financially, growth sustainability will be the key.

This event facilitates investment in industries like Food & Beverage, Cosmetics, Pharmaceuticals, Islamic (Ethical) banking system, Travel & Tourism and Medical Tourism alike, for the overall economic growth of the Hosting Country. The core objective of the event is to Create Awareness & Trade Promotion. The Trade Promotion is done by creating platforms to showcase Products & Services with B2B networking opportunities, with International Buyers, Suppliers, Sellers and Traders & Distributors.

The World Halal Day focuses on increasing the export market thereby creating an upswing in the economic development, creating more job opportunities eradicating poverty and unemployment.
Continuing in his selfless path, he has announced plans to hold the 2020 World Halal Day in Durban, South Africa. Just like the previous years, United World Halal Development (UNWHD) recognizes the World Halal Day on 1st November, celebrated in different parts of the globe every year. UNWHD has successfully organized the “WORLD HALAL DAY” celebrations since 2014, in Singapore, India, Croatia, United Kingdom, South Korea, and Russia.

Much contrary to the general conception that halal is only limited to a religion or its food, especially meat or meat-based products, Halal is actually the ethical lifestyle of the mankind in entirety. Mohamed Jinna aims to bring holistic societal development that bridges disparity between the rich and the poor, the endowed and the deprived.

The efforts of Mohamed Jinna is paving way for Halal to be rightly understood as synonymous with a peaceful, ethical and harmonious lifestyle. It is a coherent parameter designed for health, safety and human welfare.

About ISLAMICA 500

Published annually, the ISLAMICA 500 is THE reference providing hard-to-find biographical details for 500 of the world’s most prominent and influential personalities in the Islamic world and economy. It has become the industry benchmark. The ISLAMICA 500 is supported by the WIEF (World Islamic Economic Forum).

The ISLAMICA 500 is a fully independent source of information, multidisciplinary and market-driven, cooperating with media giant as Forbes, Dinar Standard, Oxford Business Group, CNBC Arabia and more.

The research and strategic partners include Forbes Middle East, Dinar Standard, Oxford Business Group and ISFIN.

Germany: HALAL HANNOVER conference to be held March 6-8

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

For the first time ever, the world’s largest summit on the Islamic economy is coming to German-speaking Europe. Global Islamic Economy Summit to hold Round Table at HALAL HANNOVER.

IMO News Service

Hannover, Germany: Halal Hannover conference will be held from 6th to 8th March 2020. The 3-day conference is set to attract the 56 member states of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The conference was first announced by Deutsche Messe in the summer of 2019, HALAL HANNOVER, a new business and knowledge-sharing platform for the German-speaking halal community, has already made a name for itself well beyond Germany.

The event’s conference programme has been officially endorsed by Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) and has garnered further international influence with the addition of a Global Islamic Economy Summit (GIES) Round Table, set to take place on 6 March 2020. 
The event has assumed greater significance as it will mark the first time the international series of round tables on the Islamic economy, which is establishing a presence in German-speaking Europe.

Each GIES round table that takes place outside the UAE features experts from the UAE and the host region, providing an opportunity for dialogue and knowledge exchange between the Muslim and non-Muslim stakeholders of the Islamic Economy.

Owing to their geographic location, many Islamic countries are reliant on food imports from the West. The UAE is a case in point. As the home of a major international airport and some of the world’s leading seaports, the emirate of Dubai serves as the entry point for the large volume of goods – including halal products – that the country imports from Europe. Since 2013, DIEDC has been successfully working on implementing the strategy of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to establish Dubai as the global capital of the Islamic economy.

The GIES round table at HALAL HANNOVER will serve as a precursor to the next Global Islamic Economy Summit (GIES), to be held in Dubai on 9 and 10 November, 2020 on the sidelines of Expo2020 Dubai, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

“The GIES round table is a major boost for HALAL HANNOVER,” said Christoph Schöllhammer, Deutsche Messe’s director for HALAL HANNOVER. “Dignitaries, thought leaders and decision-makers from the international halal industry will gather at the event to discuss the benefits, opportunities and challenges of the international market for halal products and services.”

The round table will take place from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on 6 March 2020 in the conference area of Hall 19/20 at the Hannover Exhibition Centre.

The conference component of HALAL HANNOVER will feature a varied and well-balanced line-up of speakers and topics. Spanning three full days, the event will provide a unique opportunity for attendees to explore current trends and developments in the halal economy and network with industry experts from Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the UAE, Germany, Malaysia, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey. The programme will offer a strong focus on certification and quality assurance of halal products, retail, logistics, Muslim travel and Islamic banking. The conference presentations will be in both German and English.

For further information on the conference programme, please visit https://halal-messe.de/en/conference/

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]

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