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Saudi-Spanish collaboration seeks to boost Islamic finance values in Europe and beyond

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 28 November 2011 | Posted in , , ,

By Mushtak Parker

Islamic finance in the European Union may be taking a back seat as the continent is gripped with a dire euro zone sovereign debt crisis which has even impacted on sovereign Germany's attractiveness as a bond investment asset class.

Similarly, London's role as a hub for Islamic finance, investment and trade - the declared ambition of the previous Labor government and the current Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition - is stalling because of the disappointment of the UK Treasury deciding not to raise funds in the wholesale sterling market through a debut sovereign Sukuk. Luxembourg and France have also introduced tax neutrality measures to facilitate sukuk and other Islamic financial products, but have yet to commit to issuing a debut sukuk, claiming as the UK does it is not the right timing nor at the right price.

Southern Europe has had hardly a look in. The reality is that Spain, from a historical context, should be spearheading the dialogue and cooperation with Islamic finance. And yet it is the UK that has been leveraging its vast colonial experience with the Muslim world and its pre-eminent position as the world's largest financial center. Not surprisingly, London in the early 1980's emerged as the major center for structuring Islamic financial transactions such as commodity Murabaha and structured finance out of Europe.

Perhaps times are changing. On Thursday, a new collaboration between the prestigious Instituto de Empressa Business School in Madrid and the Jeddah-based King Abdul Aziz University will get a second wind in the Spanish capital with the relaunch of the Saudi-Spanish Center for Islamic Economics and Finance (SCIEF), which was formerly the Center for Islamic Economics and Finance.

The launch will be held in conjunction with a one-day conference on “Islamic Finance in the 21st Century” at the Instituto de Empressa Business School in Madrid which will be inaugurated by Professor Osama Tayeb, president of King Abdul Aziz University and Professor Rafael Puyol, chairman of the board of directors of Instituto de Empressa. Ahmad Mohamed Ali, president of the Islamic Development Bank, is scheduled to give the keynote address.

Perhaps it is pertinent that the proceedings will also see the launch of a timely book, titled “Islamic Economics and Finance: A European Perspective” edited by Professor Cristina Trullols, director of SCIEF, and Professor Abdullah Turkistani, acting dean, Islamic Economics Institute, King Abdulaziz University.

There will also be a panel discussion on the role of Islamic finance in universities and its development and expansion; a presentation on investment opportunities for the Islamic finance sector in the Spanish economy; and a summing up by Celia de Anca, director, center for diversity in global management and a specialist in the Arabic language, and Hisham Bardesi, dean of distance learning at Instituto de Empressa.

"This week's event," explained Turkistani, "comes in a critical economic situation of the world and particularly Europe. The sovereign debt crises in different European countries call for not only liquidity but also for a new way of finance. Islamic finance could be one possible solution. However, it is a long run process to benefit fully from the principles of Islamic finance. Education, in fact is one important channel through which knowledge and awareness of these principles could be built, operated and transferred into the new generation of people and institutions. The Saudi Spanish Center for Islamic Economics and Finance is a collaboration between parties, one with the state of the art in technical know how and the other party with a rich natural resources of values and principles. Together they can draw a road map for economics and finance of the next century."

One of the challenges of SCIEF would be how to translate ambition into a coherent and pragmatic program of independent education, research and development.

One area beckoning to be leveraged is historical research. Muslims, for instance, ruled Spain for centuries. During this time, relations between the three Abrahamic faiths - Judaism, Christianity and Islam - flourished. So did scholarship, the arts and yes business and trade. At the same time there were extensive links with other rulers in Damascus, Istanbul and Baghdad.

One project for SCIEF could be to research the Islamic financial transactions prevalent in Al-Andalus and elsewhere in Spain during the rule of the Muslims, and to see what relevance they may or may not have for today's Spain.

There is a precedent. Turkish academics for instance are doing valuable work on similar financial transactions used during the Ottoman Empire especially relating to Waqf and Ushr (agricultural taxes). This has resulted in some pioneering books being published on this work. The Ottomans through its Mejelle were also the first to try to codify the Shariah, or at least some parts of it.

Perhaps in the Saudi-Spanish context, the challenge is even more daunting. Despite the fact that Saudi Arabia is arguably the largest market for Islamic finance and has the largest liquidity, Islamic finance and Fiqh Al-Muamalat (Islamic law relating to financial transactions) still needs to be demystified to both regulators and ordinary customers.

In Spain the task is even bigger especially in the context of the growing Islamophobia that has swept Europe and North American the post 9/11 era which wrongly associates Islamic finance with political extremism.

But the extent of Islamic finance's Spanish challenge at the frontline business level could not be better illustrated by the latest first half 2011 attributable profit of Banco Santander, the only Spanish global banking major. Some 50 percent of profits were generated from the US and South American markets; and the other 50 percent from retail Spain, Germany and the EU. Not a single euro was generated from the Middle East, Asia let alone Islamic finance.

(Courtesy: Arab News)

HWF presents awards to 100 meritorious students of Gaya, Bihar

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

IMO News Service

Gaya: Human Welfare Foundation (HWF), a national NGO, presented awards to 100 meritorious students of Gaya (Bihar) at Shatabdi Public School here on 26th November 2011 in an Award For Academic Excellence-2011 programme.

Jamaate Islami Hind Preident Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umri, Patron of Human Welfare Foundation, presided over the award ceremony.

Each student was given award, mementos and cash prize in the award programme.

Human Welfare Foundation has been organizing Award for Academic Excellence since 2009. The HWF organised the award programme in four states of India in 2009 and in the present year it has been organising the award programme in 15 places of India, including Katihar.

The purpose of organising Award for Academic Excellence every year is to encourage the meritorious Muslim students of the states so that they can do better in their career.

Besides Award for Academic Excellence Programme, Human Welfare Foundation also gives scholarship to poor Muslim students so that they can get higher studies.

Many important dignitaries participated in this meeting as guest of honour like Dr. Shreekant Sharma, Principal, Gaya College, Gaya; M.A. Kazmi, Retd. Inspector General of Police; Masood Manzar, Advocate, President, Mirza Ghalib College, Gaya; Dr. Farasat Hussain, Orthopaedic Surgeon; Sartaj Ali Khan, Senior Advocate; Shamimul Haque, Educationist, Gaya; Prof. Arun Kumar Prasad, Vice-Principal, Mirza Ghalib College, Gaya; Naiyyaruz Zaman, Chairman, Board of Islamic Education, Bihar; and Dr. M. B. Zaman, Director, Board of Islamic Education.

Human Welfare Foundation is a national NGO working for the educational, economical and social upliftment of minority community. It has mainly focussed on education and started many schools and started one multispeciality hospital in Delhi Alshifa Hospital which has recently inaugurated by Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit. The HWF is also trying to provide basic amenities like education, healthcare etc to deprived sections of the society especially of northern and north-eastern parts of India.

Popular Front of India to continue its mission to rebuild nation on justice: Chairman Abdul Rahiman

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

Grand Closure for Social Justice Conference

By Pervez Bari

New Delhi: It was a sea of humanity which descended on the Ramlila Maidan as the two-day Social Justice Conference, organized by the Popular Front of India, concluded with a mammoth public meeting here on Sunday, November 27, 2011.

The venue was overflowing with hundreds of thousands of Popular Front activists from all over India who converged at the historic Maidan in hordes raising spiritedly the slogans “Mulk Banao Insaf Par” and "Popular Front Zindabad", to express solidarity and resolve for a sustained struggle to attain social justice for one and all.

However, it was a shame to see that the two-day Social Justice Conference which attracted a huge gathering in the national capital was not news worth reporting for the mainstream media which ignored it with impunity. Despite the blackout stance of the media in general, and the smear campaign by those intolerant elements including certain section of the media and the bureaucrats, in particular did not sullen the spirits of the organizers who went about their business more spiritedly and firm commitment to work for the welfare of the minorities, dalits, OBCs and other marginalized sections of the society

The two-day long Social Justice Conference was held with the objective of reiterating the importance of equal justice to all citizens, as enshrined in the Indian constitution, and to impart an awareness among the general public about the value of social justice in the contemporary India, where the weak and marginalized minorities including the Muslims, Dalits and the Adivasis are persistently denied justice.

E.M. Abdul Rahiman, Chairman of Popular Front of India, who presided over the concluding Grand Public meeting, emphasized the need of equal justice to all citizens with all vigour at his command. Referring to the recent democratic protests and violent agitations around the world, from the Tahrir Square in Egypt to the Wall Street in the USA, he said the root cause is the denial of social, political and economic justice to the vast majority of the citizens. History is that whenever a nation failed to deliver justice on equal footing to all its citizens, the unity and integrity of those nations were destroyed, he said.

Mr. Abdul Rahiman said the message of this conference, “Build the Nation on Justice” is in fact a reminder to all centres of political power in India to take lessons from what is going on around us and what has happened in the past. India is awaiting a change, social and political, to put an end to this system of corruption and loot. The need of the hour is a movement for total social, political and economic change. This Social Justice Conference with the message “Build the Nation on Justice” is a reminder to all centers of power in politics to grasp the lessons from history and the contemporary developments around the globe, he continued.

The glittering articles of the constitution, that promise equal justice to all the citizens, just rest inside it. The backward classes, the minorities and the dalits never get the benefit of their constitutional rights, he said further. It is in this context, Popular Front decided to hold a conference to spread the message of social justice, and to enlighten the general public about their right to justice. The growth of Popular Front is generating animosity among groups with stakes to protect. Popular Front will continue its mission to rebuild the nation on justice, disregarding the intolerance of any, Mr. Abdul Rahiman thundered.

Without taking the name of Mr. Anna Hazare, Mr. Abdul Rahiman said the kind of unforeseen media patronage, the recent campaign ‘India against Corruption’ has once again brought to light an issue of people’s concern. However, the recent outburst of anger in the national capital and elsewhere against corruption reminded us of such theatricals staged by urban elites in the past in the name of meritocracy, and against giving quota reservation to backward classes. In addition, we have seen recently the benevolence and generosity of corporate and media houses controlled by them flowing through the streets of Delhi. A matter of more serious concern was the role of sectarian elements and outfits, overt and covert, in the anti-corruption campaign. We know that communalism is the worst form of corruption. Any agitation against corruption must start with fighting communal fascism and can stop only with its ultimate disappearance, he added.

Syed Shahabuddin, Ex-MP and President of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, addressing the gathering said: “It is now the government by the elite, for the elite and by the elite that rule our country”. Political parties give false promises during the elections. They pretend to be the protectors of the minorities including Muslims,

Mr. Shahabuddin strongly pleaded for a mass movement for obtaining proportional representation to Muslims in legislature. A change in the Indian political system will be a long drawn struggle which would go a long way to uplift them from the morass of backwardness in economic and social domains where they are still lingering even after 64 years of independence. And this task can be taken up Popular Front as it is capable of it which is evident by the huge unprecedented turn out in today’s public meeting.

The charge of terrorism has been falsely attributed on Muslims is nothing but to harass them and make them morally down so that the community remains fettered in poverty and illiteracy. This is apart from discrimination they suffer at every level, he said.

Dr. Mufti Muhammad Mukkarram Ahmed, Shahi Imam of the Shahi Masjid Fatehpuri, New Delhi, who spoke next, said that atrocities and injustice against Muslims in Modi’s Gujarat have crossed all the limits. Muslims should come forward in all the fields including politics. Muslim youths who are jailed on false charges of terrorism should be released immediately, and discrimination against Muslims should be ended, he demanded.

Editor in Chief of Rashtriya Sahara Urdu daily, Mr. Aziz Burney, in his speech demanded that Narendra Modi should be imprisoned in Ishrat Jahan and Sohrabuddin fake encounter killings, if justice needs to be established.

While chiding mainstream media, Mr. Burney said Media people should open their eyes and see that the massive gathering here now in the Ramlila Maidan is larger than those attended Anna Hazare’s programme. This crowd is from all over India, and the media should abstain from their blackout politics in reporting the strength and power of the backward and minorities, he pointed out.

In our country, where 25 per cent of the total wealth is in the hands of 100 persons, the basic needs and requirements of backward communities are ignored; In Gujarat the SC’s are driven out of their dwelling land, and in many villages in Rajasthan, there is no permission to the dalits to bury the dead bodies; this situation needs to be changed, and justice availed to all, irrespective of their caste or creed, said Mr. Abdul Khaliq, Secretary General of Lok Janshakti Party in his speech. President of the party Ram Vilas Paswan, who was to attend the meeting could not do so due to some other engagements but send a message of goodwill to the Popular Front.

Popular Front is a 3G organization like SDPI and some Dalit organizations. All other organizations in the country are either 1G or 2G organizations, commented Mr. E. Abubaker, President of Social Democratic Party of India, (SDPI). The second generation people were the descendants of those who didn’t get any opportunity to play their role in the rebuilding and formation of modern India. Yet apologetically they nodded their heads with approval to spare power exclusively to be handled by others!

The Third Generation people, in contrast, are those who have realized that “We too have the charisma required for the building up of the nation.” The realization of any kind of social justice and the liberation of the people, they have recognized by now, could be achieved only through the involvement in the political activities and sharing of the power by the concerned people, Mr. Abubaker added.

RSS has been playing certain vile tricks fielding Anna Hazare and certain other diminutive swami figures or the so-called little god-men exactly the way they played certain abominable tricks in the 1970s fielding the great Gandhian Jay Prakash Narain and misusing his public image. At the far end of the struggle against corruption spearheaded by Advani and RSS is lined up Narendra Modi with sword in hand, flanked by sanyasis or saints with the uniquely rare capability of blessing and blasting, he continued. It is believed that once a Mughal emperor said: “Dilli Dur Ast!” (Delhi is quite far off!). Today, the Popular Front is declaring on your behalf: “Dilli Qareeb Ast” (Delhi is indeed very near!), he concluded.

Narendra Modi is still alive, is the proof that there is no Muslim terrorism in India. Indira Gandhi was assassinated within no time after the Operation Blue Star, but Modi is still alive as well as those demolished the Babri Masjid, stated Ajmer Shareef Khadim, Mr. Syed Sarwar Chisty, Gaddi Nasheen. The blasts are carried out by the Brahminist Hindutva forces; names resembling Muslims like Huji, Indian Mujahideen, etc. are floated by the authorities immediately after the blasts. It has been proven that all the blasts including the Ajmer blast were the handiwork of the Hindutva forces, he continued.

Mr. Chisty urged the Muslims to stand united without involving in debating trivial issues that would weaken the society.

Ambedkar Samaj Party President Bhai Tej Singh said that, those who believe in Qur’an cannot be a terrorist, and it is futile to expect justice from the Manuvadis. Muslims are the inhabitants of this land, and they are not from any alien country. Muslims are not the masterminds of blasts, as propagated; Muslims and Dalits should work hand in hand to rebuild the nation on justice, he said further.

Extinguish the fire of hatred and spread the light of love, stated Mahant Acharya Satyendra Das Mahraj, Chief Priest of the Ramjanmabhoomi Temple, Ayodhya. Hindus and Muslims are from one parent and so they are brothers and sisters not enemies, he said further. Corruption could be ended only by strengthening moral values, he added.

Dr. Haseena Hashiya from Jamia Millia Islamia talked about the role of Muslim women in the freedom struggle and their rights. Sachchar committee report says that the state of Muslim women is much worse than the women in other communities. Constitution gives special privileges to the women. Fundamental rights are not for the men only, the constitution ensures it for the women as well, she continued. She further asked the women to be vigilant and grab the rights from the rulers.

Though injustice is prevailing all over India, in general, the most affected is the Muslims, stated All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Secretary, Moulana Mohammad Wali Rahmani. If we do not raise our voice against this, it will extend its tentacles to all of us.

“When the constitution gives us the right to run educational institutions, the Parliament is trying to curtail this right through Right to Education Act, (RTE Act). A bill to impose income tax on religious institutions is mooted, in violation of the Constitutional provisions. We need to be fully aware of our rights and fight to get it”, he concluded.

George Bush and Narendra Modi are the two in the world whose hands are stained with the blood of the innocents, said Moulana Dr. Yaseen Usmani, Vice President of All India Milli Council. Muslims, Dalits and other backward communities should unite to get their rights, including proper share in administration. No community could be prestigious unless they have proper representation in the government. Prayer alone is not enough to solve the problems; hard work also is required, he opined.

Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav, MP, the President of Samajwadi Party, criticized the Central Government for its inaction on the Rangnath Misra Commission Report and Sachchar Committee Report. The Prime Minister was silent about it when asked. Congress was given two chances by the Muslims, still it is not interested in dealing with the issues faced by the Muslims. If stand united, Muslims are capable of deciding the future of the country, he said. He promised Samajwadi Party’s unstinted support to Muslims in all their endeavours in pursuits for social justice.

Moulana Usman Baig Rashadi, President of All India Imams Council, Ms A.S. Zainaba, Vice President of National Women’s Front, and Mr. Aneesuzzaman, President of Campus Front also spoke.

Meanwhile The Delhi Declaration, reiterating the mission of Popular Front in establishing a New India of Equal Rights to all Indians, through non-violent struggle, in cooperation with like-minded organizations, was read out by Popular Front of India, Vice President, Mohammed Ali Jinnah.

Popular Front General Secretary K.M. Shareef welcomed the gathering and Mohammad Shafi, Rajasthan State President of Popular Front, proposed the vote of thanks.

Meanwhile, it may be pointed out here that the Conference, the first of its kind at the Ramlila Maidan by any Muslim organization in the independent India, was kicked off in the morning on Saturday, the 26th of November, as the Chairman of Popular Front, Abdul Rahiman hoisted the tricolor flag of the organization in the presence of thousands of delegates chanting “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the Great). National Milli Convention followed, which was attended by prominent community leaders and social activists in India.

A National Seminar on “People’s Rights to Justice” was the highlight of the afternoon on the first day. Papers on various topics that are very relevant in the contemporary Indian scenario were presented by known human rights and social activists. First day ended with the cultural program by the delegates.

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

Kerala govt's Shariah finance firm nears start

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

By Manu P Toms

Mumbai: The Kerala government-promoted Shariah-compliant Al Barakah Financial Services Ltd hopes to start operations from next fiscal, pending RBI licence for non-banking finance company (NBFC). Al Barakah is also trying to get Security Exchange Board of India (SEBI) approval to float Shariah-compliant private equity and venture capital funds and portfolio management services.

"The RBI has sought a few additional information and we have provided that. With the Kerala high court stay order getting vacated we hope we will soon get approval," T Balakrishnan, former additional chief secretary of Kerala, who is now a nominee of the state government on the board of Al Barakah told Hindustan Times.

Earlier this year, Kerala HC had dismissed petition filed by Janata Party president Subramanian Swami against this initiative.

Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC), a state undertaking, has 11% stake in Al Barakah while the rest is with a few Gulf-based Keralite businessmen. Balakrishnan said the proposed NBFC has an investment commitment of Rs 1,000 crore.

Adhering to religious guidelines, many in Kerala's muslim community do not take interest on their bank deposits.

"We want to attract them with Shariah-compliant investment products and our borrowers will be mainly entrepreneurs," Balakrishnan said.

The company would start with leasing and hire purchase using own fund before going for deposit taking and money lending.

However, according to Islamic finance expert Zafar Sareshwala, MD, Parsoli Corporation, the scepticism within regulatory authorities will be a challenge for these initiatives. "Some small initiatives were there in the past in Kerala, Mumbai and Lucknow. They did not really take off," he said.

(Courtesy: Hindustan Times)

Rajasthan Chief Minister releases Dr. Vivek Sharma’s awareness poster on PICA

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

IMO News Service

Jaipur: Ashok Gehlot, Chief Minister of Rajasthan, recently released an awareness poster on PICA designed by Dr. Vivek Sharma, Health Editor of IndianMuslimObserver.com. The poster was released on the occasion of Childrens' Day. PICA (Eating Non Food Items) is a common illness found in children. Dr. Vivek Sharma is well known and prominent Child Specialist of Jaipur.

The Chief Minister while commenting on the poster said that such posters are beneficial for the common man in spreading awareness about common childhood illnesses. He also said that technocrats should come forward to create a public opinion and awareness which would benefit society at large.

Dr. Vivek Sharma said that PICA is an illness where the child eats clay, lead, chalk, paint etc. He said that this poster is specially designed to make aware the parents and caretakers about the causes and prevention of PICA. To further the cause the poster will be translated into Telgu and Nepalese language and it will be displayed at play schools, disability centres and hospitals.

IMO EXCLUSIVE: Battered by Naxals, ditched by Rajputs, discriminated by Laloo Yadav, Rohilla Pathans rue their fate under Nitish Kumar

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 26 November 2011 | Posted in , , , , , , ,

By H.R. Ahmad

Patna: Who suffered most in Bihar in the cycle of violence unleashed by Naxalites, then called MCC (Maoist Communist Centre), now rechristianed as Maoists? They are none other than the members of leaderless, fearless and brave Rohilla Pathan community, who lived solely on land in the interiors of Imamganj assembly segment currently represented by high-profile speaker of Bihar legislative assembly Uday Narain Chaudhry.

When the Siddharth Shanker Ray government in West Bengal took repressive measures against the Naxalites, they sneaked into the jungles of Bihar and started organising the weaker sections of society against the landlords. After a short while, they built up a strong base among the deprived sections of society and managed to send one of their cadre and sympathiser Ramadhar Singh to the Bihar assembly from Gurua with the tacit support of the then Bihar government.

Naxal movement started in the early 80s in Gaya was taken with a pinch of salt by the gullible Rohilla Pathans, while the far-sighted Rajputs of the area managed to shift to the nearby towns and cities not only to save their life but also career of their kids who might turn reactionary after growing young. They also invested their money in different kinds of business and got their sons and daughters modern contemporary education. On the contrary, Pathans had no inkling into what was happening in the nearby forest and dismissed the movement as a flash in the pan. Their inflated ego always stood as a stumbling block in their way to success as well as progress. They clung firmly to the land they had inherited from their forefathers. Being ill-educated and careless of consequences, they took pride in being called "babu" and receiving "salam" from the illiterate rural folk.

The Naxal movement, however, targetted the Rajputs of the area. The killing of Vinod Singh of Bisrampure under Imamganj police station in the presence of a dozen passengers at Baltharwa under Imamganj police station sent the chill down the spine of the Rajput community. Though strong and well-connected, they realised Naxalites' numerical strength and did not challange their supremacy, while the Bhumihars in Jehanabad gave them a tough fight in which they lost heavily in terms of life.

Brother of Ashique Bari Khan of Nanai living at Sherghati
Politically conscious Rajputs immediately organised the Pathans of the area under the banner of the Sunlight Sena. They exhorted them to gang up against the Naxalites in order to protect life and property. They also provided a few hot-headed wayward Pathan youths with arms and ammunition to challange the organised Naxalites and thus turned their ire against them. Later, they witdrew themselves from the movement and left the gullible Pathans to fend for themselves. Consequently, they started eliminating Pathan landlords who had now two options – either to surrender before them or fight to the finish. Their arrogance prevented them from entering into any truce with the Naxalites. They broke, but did not bend. Regardless of consequences, they decided to fight against the organised strength and heavily-armed ultras and subsequently lost immensely both in terms of life and property. Around 265 Pathans were put to death in a brutal manner and also dispossessed of thousands of acres (approximately 6500) of fertile land.

Mozammil Khan, Ekhlaque Khan, Ashique Bari Khan and Sarwar Khan, to name a few, were eliminated. But their near and dear ones rested only when they bumped off their killers. Had the Rajputs stood by them, they would have finished off Naxalism from the entire Imamganj assembly segment.

Two dominant backward castes of the area – Koeries and Yadavs who called the shots in the outfit – occupied their maximum land and wantonly killed their youths, thanks to the overt and covert support of the Laloo-Rabri government. The situation came to such a pass that many families shifted to Sherghati, Gaya, Patna, Daltonganj, Ranchi and Delhi. The family of Ashique Bari Khan of Nanai under Pratapure polce station (now in Jharkhand) had to settle at Sherghati after his cold-blooded murder.

Naxalites targetted even those who were totally unconcerned with the movement. Syed Hasnat of Chak under Manatu police station alongwith his son was hacked to death on the pretext that he had a good reationship with the Bhishma Narain Singh family, whom the Naxalites intensely disliked. Mr. Hasnat himself was soft-spoken, gentle, courteous and compassionate and so were his brothers. He had not imagined even in his wildest dream that those whom he had fed with his hand and looked after like his own children would conspire against him and his family.

He never challanged the supremacy of Naxalies as well. After his murder, his entire family left Manatu and settled at several places like Gaya, Daltonganj and Delhi. His land was largely occupied by Yadavs, who have become today's zamindar with their numerical and political strength as well as the support of gun-weilding ultras of their caste. Later, caste clash led to the break-up of Naxalites, then called MCC (Maoist Communist Centre) and a faction known as RCC (Revolutionary Communist Centre) was formed by the Koeries who are far more shrewd than the Yadavs. Subsequently, a chain of murders of both castemen started.

Laloo Yadav did not act as a seasoned politician and shamelessly discriminated against Muslims in doling out ex-gratia payments. He was generous enough to give compensation to his castemen like Sahdeo Yadav alias Juwala of Tanrhwa under Pratapure police station, who was bumped off by the members of the Sunlight Sena and Baliram Yadav of Dobhi under the same police station, who was killed by Paswan. The then Gaya Member of Parliament Rajesh Kumar was held responsible for Baliram's murder by the Yadavs in Gaya, who was later eliminated by Naxlites in Imamganj during his election campaign in 2005.

Laloo Yadav himself airdashed to Sahdeo Yadav's village and anounced an ex-gratia payment for the near and dear ones of the deceased and gave a good amount of money for the marriage of his two daughters, but he never bothered to visit any village where a Muslim was murdered. Castigating Laloo Yadav for his discriminatory attitude, a local poet wrote, " Yadav martey lakhon patey roz ka aap akhbar dekhiye, Musalman, Harijan marker bhi ho jaten lachar dekhiye" (Yadav gets lacs of rupees after his death, but Muslims and Hrijans become helpless after death). Most of the kids of uprooted Pathan families are uneducated and doing menial jobs at different places. Not a single family got any compensation or any overnment job. Even Muslim ministers like Shakeel Ahmad Khan in Laloo-Rabri cabinet never made any sincere effort to get the Pathan widows compensation.

A few of the Pathan youth reportedly took to crime and ended up in jail. A vetran journalsit and social worker, S. Ahmad is of the view that if the government had extended financial support to the Pathan youth, they would have turned over a new leaf. Nitish government, of course, deserve kudos for what he has done for the victims of Bhagalpur riots, but it paid no heed to the plight and predicament of Muslim widows. Sikender Khan of village Baseta under Kothi police station, whose brother was also murdered by Naxalites said that they had lost all hope for compensation and justice.

[H. R. Ahmad is a Journalist based in Bihar. He is a Press Correspondent with Hindustan Times. He is also associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Bihar). He can be contacted at hafizruknuddin@gmail.com]

SPECIAL REPORT: Narendra Modi’s Sadbhavna Gift – Saffronised Universities of Gujarat

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

Even as the survivors of the 2002 anti-Muslim riots, which claimed 2,000 lives, are still waiting for justice, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has been boasting that he is doing a lot for the welfare of the Muslims. However, on the contrary despite claiming that minorities were not having access to important welfare schemes of the government, Modi government instead had been “sending back” the central funds for minority students’ scholarship programs.And, as usual Muslims of Gujarat continue to suffer on all fronts, particurlarly educational. Today, most of the Vice Chancellors of universities in Gujarat are BJP men with saffronisation of eduction taking place at a frenetic pace, reports our colleague Abdul Hafiz Lakhani, Bureau Chief (Gujarat) of IndianMuslimObserver.com.

Ahmedabad: Both Governor Dr Kamla and Chief Minister Narendra Modi have just completed the politicisation of universities across Gujarat. On one hand, the Governor is filling up the posts of Vice Chancellors with Congressmen, while on the other Narendra Modi is obviously choosing people with strong BJP leanings.

Even as the survivors of the 2002 anti-Muslim riots, which claimed 2,000 lives, are still waiting for justice, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has been boasting that he is doing a lot for the welfare of the Muslims. However, on the contrary despite claiming that minorities were not having access to important welfare schemes of the government, Modi government instead had been “sending back” the central funds for minority students’ scholarship programs.

And, as usual Muslims of Gujarat continue to suffer on all fronts, particurlarly educational. Today, most of the Vice Chancellors of universities in Gujarat are BJP men with saffronisation of eduction taking place at a frenetic pace. The situation in the state looks glimmer.

Both the Governor and Chief Minister are damaging the university education in Gujarat through such brazen political appointments. It is almost as if Gujarat does not have a single reputed academician fit enough to become Vice-Chancellor.

Successive committees and commissions set up to reform higher education in the country have spoken against increasing politicisation of appointments in universities.

As it is, quality of education in Gujarat is very poor. By appointing Vice-Chancellors who lack merit, the government is only playing with the careers of the younger generation.

Here is the list of political appointees as Vice-Chancellors:

Hemaxi Rao, North Gujarat University, Patan – Last year, the Governor shot down Modi's proposal to appoint Mahendra Padalia as VC of North Gujarat University. Instead, she chose Hemaxi Rao, wife of former Congress MLA Chandrakant Vaghela, for the job.

Mahendra Padalia, Saurashtra University, Rajkot – A BJP Rajkot district president, he was named the new Vice-Chancellor of Saurashtra University last week. The government wanted him as V-C of North Gujarat University but did not succeed.

Durlabhaji Korat, Bhavnagar University – The Governor appointed Korat in early October. Korat had earlier contested assembly polls from Palitana on the ticket of Janata Dal (Gujarat) which later merged with the Congress.

Parimal Trivedi, Gujarat University, Ahmedabad – A former BJP ward leader in Bodakdev and convenor of the Ahmedabad district 'intellectual', he is enjoying his second term as V-C. Earlier this year, the government appointed Dr Mukul Shah as pro-VC of Gujarat University. Shah is a former mayor of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.

Shashiranjan Yadav, Kutch University, Bhuj – A former convenor of state BJP's media cell, he was appointed Vice-Chancellor of Kutch University during the tenure of Nawal Kishore Sharma as Gujarat Governor. Yadav used to head a 'cyber cell' which used to campaign extensively for Modi.

Akshay Kumar Agarwal, Gujarat Technological University, Ahmedabad – He has had strong links with the ABVP. He was in Canada when the government invited him to head GTU. The state government amended regulations to raise the age limit from 65 to 70 years to accommodate Agarwal.

Yogesh Singh, MS University, Vadodara – He was appointed in July. Singh's family has strong connections with the Sangh Parivar. Singh's maternal grandfather Thakur Kewal Singh is an ex-MLA while his maternal uncle Narender Kumar Bhati is district vice-president of BJP in Kurukshetra.

Manoj Soni, Ambedkar University, Ahmedabad – Soni was earlier V-C of MSU. He was hand-picked by Modi after he wrote a paper justifying post-Godhra riots as a Hindu backlash. Modi even lobbied for a second term for Soni at MSU. But following objections by the search committee, he was accommodated in Ambedkar University.

Harish Padh, Sardar Patel University, Vallabh Vidyanagar – He is considered to be very close to Modi and Anandiben Patel, besides having strong ties with Sangh Parivar. He is a regular invitee at ideological discussions of the RSS. He got this prize posting last year.

Daxesh Thakar, South Gujarat University, Surat – He was active in the BJP for long. He had been close to education minister Ramanlal Vora, who he used to help actively during elections in Sabarkantha. He was principal of Modasa College when he was picked up as V-C of South Gujarat University.

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

MBT leaders meet Andhra Pradesh Governor, submit memorandum over attacks on Muslim youths by Hindu Vahini activists

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

By Danish Ahmad Khan

Hyderabad: Majlis Bachao Tehreek (MBT) leaders Adam Mallik (Adv), Dr Khayam Khan (Convener), Amjed Ullah Khan Corporator and Syed Tariq Qadri (Former Member APSMFC) met E.S.L. Narasimhan, Governor of Andhra Pradesh, and submitted two memorandums demanding immediate action to stop attacks on Minorities in Hyderabad by Hindu Vahini activists. The MBT delegation also demanded a high level inquiry into the illegal arrest and detention of Amjed Ullah Khan, Corporator Azampura Division, by Hyderabad police on the instruction of A.K.Khan, Commissioner of Police Hyderabad.

The delegation in its memorandum submitted to the Governor on November 25, 2011 expressed resentment over highhandedness of Hyderabad Police and alleged violation of human rights.

Amjed Ullah Khan (2nd from Left) and other MBT leaders with Governor (Middle)
Amjed Ullah Khan presented the memorandum and stated: “This is my second term as a Corporator. My party MBT is known for representing issues of Minorities and Backward Class community people. I would like to submit that on 15th Nov 2011 as I along with Qader Ali (injured on 9th Nov 2011 in attack at Kachiguda), Khizer Mohammed Khan (Deccan News – Photographer), Munawer Ali, Raheem Khan (Driver), were proceeding to attend a Press Meet called by my party at News Service Syndicate (NSS), Hyderguda, regarding a social issue and incompetence of Hyderabad Police in maintaining law and order and to safeguard the interest of minorities. I was going to address media for compensation to the injured persons in attacks on 9th Nov 2011and for a through investigation on series of attacks on Minorities by Hindu Vahini workers. Around 1.20 pm when I was near Old MLA Quarters and a team of police officers led by Asst.Commissioner of Police (Abids), Inspector of Police Narayanguda, Inspector of Police Abids and Task Force officials stopped me and searched my vehicle. They said that they were taking me in custody. When I tried to ask the reason for my arrest the Police officer in a high-handed behavior using filthy language lifted me and pushed me in a Tata Sumo vehicle and started beating the other persons accompanying me in which my driver sustained injuries. I was then taken to Bolarum Police Station and kept in illegal detention. The injured Qader Ali was taken in another vehicle and after about 5 hours he was left to his house at Malakpet with dire consequences if he comes again in front of the Media. The other three persons were taken in a separate vehicle and after 4 hours they were also brought to Bowenpally Police Station. I along with 3 persons was left around 8.00 pm with dire consequences not to raise the issue in media of continued attacks on Minorities by Hindu Vahini workers in Hyderabad and failure Hyderabad Police in taking action against the attackers.”

Mr. KIhan further stated in his memorandum: “Addressing a Media Conference on issues pertaining to Minorities does not violate any law. Stopping me from addressing a Media Conference is violation of Fundamental Rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India and also violation of Human Rights.”

Mr. Khan has appeaed to the Governor to conduct an inquiry into the high-handness of Hyderabad Police and punish the guilty. He has also appealed to the State Human rights Commission to order an inquiry with a report from the Director General of Police Andhra Pradesh. He also said that the matter has been brought to the notice of Director General of Police Andhra Pradesh also.

In a separate memorandum submitted to the Governor on November 25, 2011, Amjed Ullah Khan brought to notice highlighting the inaction of Hyderabad Police on series of attacks on Muslim youths.

Recalling the incidents, Mr Khan stated in his memorandum: “On 9th Nov 2011 when the entire Hyderabad was on a high alert due to Telangana Movement and Bakrid festival there was series of attacks on Muslim youths in which among 20 injured 2 were seriously injured. There have been continuous attacks even after 9th Nov 2011 on daily basis. All the attacks are common with Sickle being used by the attackers and the victims being hit on head or neck. The initial investigations by Police showed the involvement of Hindu Vahini workers from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharastra. In spite of the attacks going on since the past 17 days, the kingpin of the attacks is still to be identified. There was no response from the Government of Andhra Pradesh in helping the injured. No Minister or government officials visited the injured in the hospital. Rubbing salt on the wounds was the statement of A.K.Khan, Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad that “such type of incidents do happen in big cities (which was published in Times of India).”.

Mr Khan said that this is not the first time that Muslims are being targeted in Hyderabad. As such, the incident of road widening at Khoti, Sultan Bazar on 11th December 2008 when the walls of an illegal temple were being removed by the GHMC to make Bus Stop, the Muslims who happened to pass by were mercilessly beaten and women roughed up. A Computer Engineer Syed Ibrahim was stabbed and a Muslim Home Guard Syed Aijaz who was on duty was mercilessly thrashed under the watchful eyes of higher police officials sending a loud and clear message that Muslims in police uniform even though in the presences of higher officials too cannot remain physically safe.

Amjed Ullah Khan (Middle) and other MBT leaders going to meet Governor
“The inaction of police in Khoti, Sultan Bazar incident by not tracing the culprits from the video clippings in contrast to firing on 18th May 2007 post Mecca Masjid Bomb Blast on hapless terrified citizens running for safe cover, coupled with subjecting innocent Muslim youths to inhuman treatment by keeping them illegally confined in private tourcher cells on cocked up charges for their alleged imaginary involvement in Mecca Masjid Bomb Blast definitely paints partisan attitude of Hyderabad Police. The incident of March 2010 where sporadic attacks on Muslim properties and mosques which took place in city specially in Begum Bazar, Kachiguda and Musheerabad areas of city in connection with Hanuman Jayanthi celebration procession in which 5 Mosques were damaged. The Andhra Pradesh State Wakf Board had estimated Rs/ 3.46 lakhs expenditure for repairs in addition to 50 Muslims getting injured. Even the Hon’ble
Justice Gulam Mohammed, the present Judge of Andhra Pradesh High Court, inspected one Masjid Chand Tara located at Begum Bazar and expressed anguish over police mishandling the situation and the attitude of hooligans can well be gauged by the fact that they had unbuttoned their pants and showed disgraceful gesture to the Police, signaling that police cannot take any action against them. Yet the police remain a silent spectator till this day, without initiating any punitive action. It is really amazing that 73 Muslim boys were arrested by Falaknuma Police in draconian sections when 2 cows were electrocuted due to short circuit on 28 March 2010 at a Gowshala near Jahanuma whereas the arrest of a mere 6 persons in smaller sections in 7 incidents of attacks occurred on 9th Nov 2011 in which 20 Muslims injured among them two seriously injured. It is astonishing that despite murderous attacks by using lethal weapons on several Muslims within twin cities in a planned manner, FIRs are being registered belatedly upon pressure of the public or Media without any follow up action of arrest,” Mr Khan said.

Here are the details of the cases in which FIR has been filed:

1) FIR NO: 311/2001 Dated 9th Nov u/s 307 of Kachiguda Police station. The complaint Md Omer Farooq was seriously injured and his Blood Nerve to Brain cut off and advised bed rest for six months. The attackers have been booked in only 307 section of IPC.The arrested 6 persons were secretly sent to judicial remand without any interrogation and the customary press briefing by the Police officers. The remand report does not contain the name of organization (Hindu Vahini) which planned the attacks.

2) FIR NO: 433/2011 Dated 9th Nov 2011 u/s 324, 34 IPC of Chikadapally Police station. The accused booked under lighter sections so that they can get bail soon after arrest. There is no mention of communal attack or the Hindu vahini involvement in the FIR.

3) FIR NO: 384/2011 Dated 9th Nov 2011 U/s 307 of Bowenpally police station. No arrest has been made. There was no action to draw a sketch of attackers when the complainant was showing some features of resemblance.

4) Rashed Khan r/o Bagh-E-Jehara who was attacked at Jumerath Bazar under Shahinathgung Police station 17th Nov 2011, No FIR has been issued against 8 attackers on his complaint till today. His both Jaws fractured, Right Hand fractured with entire Body beaten by Iron Rods. The attackers thought him dead and left. The incident happened within 100 meters of Police Station. In the name of investigation he was tourtured and lured by Asst.Commissioner of Police Goshamahal and Inspector of Police Shahinathgung to withdraw the complaint against the Hindu Vahini or to sign a statement that accident occurred while he was drunk, as the Police succeeded in the case of Hussaini Alam.He was lured to give a statement against the MBT and Siasat Urdu Daily Newspaper also.

5) Two Muslim Women attacked by assailants entering their residential house at Vithalwadi under Narayanguda Police Station on 22nd Nov 2011 with no arrest in the above case.

6) Mr.Shaik Yaseen (Auto Driver) was stopped and beaten up near Kottahpet fruit Market on 23rd Nov 2011.No action taken by Police.

7) In an incident at Langer House a Muslim youth was attacked on 23rd Nov 2011 while he was returning from his duty.

8) In an attack under Nalla Kunta Police Station limits Two Muslims Moulana Sagheer Ahamed and his companion were attacked when they were returning from a marriage at Moula Ali.

The MBT leaders in their memorandum to the Governor have appealed to him to direct all concerned to take immediate corrective and punitive actions against all the wrong doers.

The MBT leaders have also demanded the following:

1) Persons and organizations involved in such systematic attacks periodically be taken to task and strict action be taken againt them.

2) Their source of funds and their links with extremist organizations thoroughly investigated.

3) Periodic attacks on Muslim, their property and religious places be probed and stringent security provided.

4) Medical expenses towards treatment of victims and compensation of Rs 5 lakhs to injure seriously and Rs 1 lakhs to persons with minor injuries.

5) Action against negligent and erring police officials by debarring such officials from being posted to maintain law and order.

6) Formation of a special cell in State Intelligence Department to keep an eye on growing Hindu militancy especially in Telangana region.

7) Restrict RSS, Hindu Vahini, Bajrang Dal, VHP leaders from giving inflammatory communal speeches especially during Ganesh, Ramnavami and Hanuman Jayanthi celebrations.

8) Investigation of series of attacks in Hyderabad and surrounding areas be handed over to National Investigation Agency (NIA) which is competent to probe Hindu Militancy periodically reviewing the reports.

[Danish Ahmad Khan is Founder-Editor, IndianMuslimObserver.com. He can be contacted at indianmuslimobserver@gmail.com or danish_a_khan@rediffmail.com]

Publicity campaign of Social Justice Conference in NCR highly successful

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

By Pervez Bari

New Delhi: The concerted efforts put in by the Popular Front of India’s volunteers in the campaigning for the Social Justice Conference in the Delhi National Capital Region, (NCR), has had overwhelming response with people crowding over the PFI bandwagon wherever it went.

Many among the masses were so impressed by the theme of “Social justice” and the slogan “Build the Nation on Justice” that they have been inviting the PFI volunteers to elaborate and explain to their near and dear ones and community at large in detail. Many others in the rural areas of the NCR, which is about 150 kms around Delhi, offered their homes to the volunteers to stay back at night and continue campaigning the next morning from their areas of abode.

With such an excellent response to the publicity campaign from the masses in the NCR and various other parts of the country, the Social Justice Conference, which is being held as scheduled on November 26th and 27th at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi, is expected to be a roaring success. It has certainly warmed the cockles of the heart of the organizers who have left no stone unturned to reach out to the people at the grass-root level, especially those who have been marginalized and have almost lost hopes to lead a dignified life with justice.

Four teams of the PFI cadres comprising of 17 persons divided NCR into four zones and fanned out to the urban and rural areas both while inviting people to the conference explained to them the need of Social Justice with Popular Front's initiatives and the importance of the conference at Delhi. They were told that though Social justice is the fundamental right of every society but unfortunately the dream of achieving social justice is still unfulfilled. The masses were educated about the violation of their fundamental rights and the need to come forward and struggle for justice. The target group included Muslims, Dalits, OBCs (Other Backward Classes) and other marginalized groups who continue to suffer even after more than 50 years of India’s Independence.

As part of the campaign the PFI cadres resorted to “Nukkad Natak”, corner meetings, street campaigns in the markets, door-to-door campaign to reach every house, public meetings, get-together, distribution of handbills, folders & brochures, mobile video shows etc. to create momentum and to convey the importance of social justice.

The video mobile show unit screened a 10-minute documentary while “Nukkad Natak” staged a street play enacted by drama troupe comprised of volunteers from all over India. The drama theme focused on current issues such as communalism, fascism, American interference in government working of various countries including India, India’s relation with Israel, Hindutva terror, contribution of Indian Muslims in the freedom struggle and in the world of science etc. and the ever growing yawning gap between the haves and the have-nots despite India’s Independence being more than 60 year old. The facts brought out and the myths bared during the enactment of the play left many a common man bewildered and cursed the forces which deprived him of social justice to lead a life of honour and respect.

More than 60 corner and public meetings were held since November 13 last when a sustained publicity campaign for the Social Justice Conference took off. These were held in Mullah Colony, Inderlok, Jafarabad, Okhla Head (Jamia Nagar), Shaheen Bagh, Seelampur etc. The meetings were addressed by Maulana Usman Baig Rashadi, Maulana Naushad Nadwi, Maulana Majeed Qasmi, Abdul Lateef, Abdul Haleem, Dr. Aftab Ahmad etc.

With the PFI cadres putting out their heart in the campaigning the people also did not disappoint them and earnestly promised to attend the conference in droves with friends and relatives carrying the spirit of Social Justice from their native place to the capital to voice the demand for Social Justice from the stage of Ramlila Maidan.

During the publicity campaign four types of posters were brought out, conference bulletin in different languages issued highlighting the publicity thrust in various cities all over the country.

Meanwhile, volunteers from different parts of the country have been reaching the national capital since last week to oversee the arrangements of the conference.

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

Freedom of Expression in Arab World

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 25 November 2011 | Posted in , , , ,

By Syed Zubair Ahmad

In December 2002, I was in Damascus. One day one of my Syrian friends said, "Let's go and pray Asr in a nearby mosque. The objective of praying there was to see the Imam. See him carefully but do not try to talk to him”. He warned me. ‘I will tell you the reason later on’. So in the mosque both before and after the salat I tried to sneak a peek at the Imam. His face was calm and glowing. Outside the mosque, the story, which the Syrian friend narrated to me, was enough to chill the bone even of a cold-blooded person. He said that the incident is 11 years old but it concluded three years back in the tragic and painful death of an innocent child. Eleven years ago a 12-year old child of the Imam disappeared. The Imam went to the police department but they were not supportive. Then he went to the intelligence department where an officer warned him in strict words, "Go back and never ask anything about your child. Also never discuss it with anyone nor try to find him or else you would get in a big problem." After eight years of this incident and exactly on the day the boy completed 20 years of age, someone from secret services arrived and said to the Imam to go to a specified place and take his child. The Imam was ecstatic. He ran to give the good news to his wife and informed her that their son had completed 20 years of age and was coming home after eight years. So reception must be grand. A fabulous feast will be given. He went to market and bought a sheep, slaughtered it and went to the place where he was instructed to go. At the office, he inquired about his son. An officer took him inside and pointed towards a body, which was covered by cloth. When the Imam uncovered the face, he could hardly recognize the face of his son. When secret agents picked him up he was 12 years of age and 50 kg in weight but that day when his father was loading him into the car he was almost half of the weight. The child could not bear the atrocities meted out to him and had left for the heavenly abode. When the Imam reached his household, the festive mood was turned instantly into mourning. His wife asked, "You had gone to bring our son, why are you carrying this body?" The child was hardly recognizable. Marks on his body were telling the whole story. People believe that a couple of sentences of Imam had caused the death of his son.

The people who live in Arab countries are aware of such incidents. Saudi Arabia is also very notorious in punishing those who disagree with the rulers of so called Islamic system. Every now and then, Imams, religious scholars, writers, preachers, and Islamists who are critics of the rulers or the system ‘keep vanishing’ paying the price of their lively conscience. Even imams of Kaba and Masjid e Nabawi are not exempted. Disappearance of Masjid e Nabawi's Imam Abdurhman al Huzaifi is very well-known incident in this regard. If a person dares to talk about freedom of speech and expression or freedom of dissent or criticize the policies of the rulers or its time tested ally 'America', he gets punishment, and a grave one indeed.

A few more incidents are enough to show that how freedom of speech and expression is curtailed in Arab countries in general and Saudi Arabia in particular.

One of my friends was working in King Abdul Aziz Defense Academy. One day he said that a few days ago he got into trouble. He sarcastically commented while talking to the captain, "Baba (King Fahd) is only talking about treating the wounded o Palestinians while Palestinians need armaments the most to defend themselves from Israel’s atrocities." The captain was furious, "By God, you will not be able to see the sun, you are talking against the Baba (king Fahad)". Sensing the seriousness, his friends came to the rescue and intervened saying that he (my friend) is comedian and must be kidding, forgive him, please. Only then the captain calmed down.

One day one of my Indian friends was talking to a Saudi friend. They were talking of freedom and democracy in the country. The Indian friend argued that there was no democracy and no personal independence there. Hearing this, Abdullah Al-Harthi, the Saudi friend, cautioned him, "You talk about democracy; if a spy overhears, he will pull you away by leg."

Whenever I talked to my Saudi friends regarding monarchy or freedom of expression, everyone sympathized with me and cautioned me saying, "Zubair, don't talk like this here or else you would get into trouble."

A Saudi friend told me that if I inform mukhabiraat (secret agencies) about you, you will be behind bars and I will receive cash awards.

One day when I was talking on such sensitive issues, a Saudi friend Saad recorded my voice in his mobile phone and said "If I give it to mukhabiraat, you will get into trouble, next time be careful, don't discuss such things here."

Forget about me even father and son doesn’t discuss such issues with each other in Saudi Arabia fearing of being spied.

These references are just to indicate how scared Saudis are. Talking about freedom of expression, even thinking about such matters is a sin in the Saudi society. The society in which healthy criticism is not tolerated, how can it be an 'Islamic' society?

During the last century or so in many countries freedom of expression played a pivotal role in their development. Muslim countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and Sudan where freedom of expression was allowed to some extent, had developed a lot. The Arab dictators and Sheikhs, who are truly westernized by nature, do not give freedom of expression to their own people. In Arab countries rulers are exercising undue and illegitimate coercive power to mentally enslave their own people that resulted in their own humiliation before the world and put the nations in chaos and anarchy.

Here it is better to clarify that by freedom of speech and expression I do not mean the concept of freedom that is prevalent in Europe and America, where it is hard to distinguish between human being and animals. Sometimes animals score over humans in humanistic considerations. Where in the name of freedom, women had been made sexual slaves, they are treated like tissue papers .Under the pretext of women's liberalization they are being used, misused or better said abused by men on the daily basis. Forget about Prophet Muhammad even Jesus and Mary (May peace of ALLAH be up on them) are not spared. While Prophet Muhammad is painted like a terrorist, Mary is depicted like a prostitute and Jesus is presented as homosexual. By “freedom of expression” here I mean to say that there must be that kind of freedom of expression where every citizen of the country feel free to ask any thing that comes in their mind regarding the state and its ruler’s way of ruling the country. The irony is that the Arab rulers and their families are the sole owners, proprietors and share holders of the whole national resources of their respective countries and nobody has the right to question with them.

Today, in 21st century the people came to know or demand ‘the right to information’ which Islam granted 1450 years back.Dont we remember the question asked by a commoner when Omar (the second Caliph) was delivering a sermon regarding his lengthy shirt?

One day Omar was addressing the people. While addressing, he paused for a moment and asked, "If I deviate from the right path, what will you people do?" After a few moments a youngster stood and answered, I will straighten you with our sword!" Hearing this, the Caliph thanked to Allah and said, "Praise be to Allah, in my nation there are people who dare straighten me with sword if I deviate from the right path."

And history bears witness that when such freedoms were usurped, rulers of bad character were imposed who asserted their authorities and committed heinous crimes and crossed all limits of barbarity and savagery. Today's Muslim rulers are their own example in oppressive, suppressive and repressive acts. They are the beasts for the flocks. They were supposed to be shepherds but they are hunting the sheeps (the Muslim masses) themselves and inviting monsters to join the feast. They were assigned the responsibilities of protecting their people but they are killing them and above all inviting the lion (American) and fox (British) to slaughter their own people. They are paid-servants of their western masters. They realize their powers and authority over their own hapless people but before enemies they become lambs. (From " Zionist Conspiracies in the citadel of Islam).

[Syed Zubair Ahmad is a Writer & Journalist. He can be reached at smzubairahmad@gmail.com]

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