'Muslim schools becoming Exam Factories in Britain'

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 06 October 2013 | Posted in , ,

British schooling and the British society is the home of institutional racism

By Iftikhar Ahmad

Almost all children now believe they go to school to pass exams. The idea that they may be there for an education is irrelevant. Leading companies are struggling to recruit teenagers with basic skills because schools have been turned into “exam factories”, business leaders have warned. Many employers had been left “disheartened and downright frustrated” by poor levels of literacy, numeracy, communication and timekeeping among school leavers and graduates. Overemphasis on sitting exams and hitting targets throughout compulsory education had robbed children of the chance to develop the “soft” skills needed in the work place. Business leaders believed the emphasis on passing exams at school meant children failed to develop other skills, including the ability to hold a conversation, display good work ethic, turn upon time and apply basic literacy and numeracy.

State, independent and faith schools have become exam factories and are only interested in A to C Grades. They do not educate children. The result is that anti-social behaviour, gun and knife culture, racism, drug addiction. binge drinking, high rate of teenage pregnancies and abortions, high divorce rate are common in society. Exam results do not reflect a candidate’s innate ability. Employers have moaned for years that too many employees cannot read or write properly. According to a survey, school-leavers and even graduates lack basic literacy and numeracy skills. More and more companies are having to provide remedial training to new staff, who can’t write clear instructions, do simple maths, or solve problems. Both graduates and school-leavers were also criticised for their sloppy time-keeping, ignorance of basic customer service and lack of self-discipline.

Even Muslim schools have also become Exam Factories, only interested in A to C grades just like state schools. There is a positive co-relation between faith, culture and language. Faith needs culture and languages to flourish. According to a research, children who study the language and culture of their parents may achieve more and become more involved citizens. Migrant Muslims speak variety of languages. State schools as well as Muslim schools give lip service to the community languages but majority of Muslim schools completely ignore or discourage community languages. The ex- chairman of the Association of Muslim Schools Mr.Idrees Mears, a native revert totally rejects the teaching of Urdu and other languages. The same opinion was expressed by the head of state funded Islamia School as well as by the ex- Chairman of the Nida Trust. They are not in a position to understand the needs and demands of the bilingual children because they are themselves monolinguals. It is a well known fact that social and emotional education comes with ones own language, literature and poetry. Pakistani children suffer more than other children. They speak different languages at home and when they go to the Masajid they are exposed to Urdu and Arabic. At schools they are exposed to English and at the age of 11 are exposed to European languages. Now European languages are introduced at Primary level, but Urdu is totally ignored and discouraged by the state as well as by the Muslim schools. English, Arabic and Urdu must be introduced at nursery level so that the children can grow up with three languages. We have already lost three generation and the fourth one is in the process of losing its linguistic and cultural identity by not learning Urdu. The Muslim community is suffering because of social and cultural problems of high rate of divorce, run away young girls, low academic achievements, drug addiction, drinking, teenage pregnancies, disrespect for their parents and elders, forced marriages and honour killings. It is all because our youth are cut off from their cultural roots and languages. I blame state schools because they have never been serious in the teaching of Urdu, Arabic and other community languages.

An American research reveals in 2005 that bilingual learners with no education in their first language take longer to learn English and a bilingual learner with a good education in their own language do best of all. Muslim schools are committing the same mistake by ignoring community languages. Even OFSTED is not serious about the importance of bilingualism and bilingual education. Their priority is the teaching of English language. No body is denying the importance of English as an economic language but equally important is the first languages of the children for social and emotional literacy.

The Muslim community has been passing through a phase of fourth Crusades. The battleground is the field of education, where the young generation will be educated properly with the Holly Quran in one hand and Sciences in other hand to serve the British society and the world at large. A true Muslim is a citizen of the world, which has become a small global village. We are going to prepare our youth to achieve that objective in the long run. A true Muslim believes in Prophet Moses and the Prophet Jesus and without them one cannot be a Muslim. My suggestion is that in all state, independent and Christian based school special attention should be given to the teaching of Comparative Religion and Islam should be taught by qualified Muslim Teachers to make the children aware the closeness of Islam to Christianity and Judaism which will help them to think about Islam, as “A Pragmatic and Modern Way of Life,” during their life time.

British schooling and the British society is the home of institutional racism. The result is that Muslim children are unable to develop self-confidence and self-esteem, therefore, majority of them leave schools with low grades. Racism is deeply rooted in British society. Every native child is born with a gene or virus of racism, therefore, no law could change the attitudes of racism towards those who are different. It is not only the common man, even member of the royal family is involved in racism. The father of a Pakistani office cadet who was called a "***" by Prince Harry has profoundly condemned his actions. He had felt proud when he met the Queen and the Prince of Wales at his son's passing out parade at Sandhurst in 2006 but now felt upset after learning about the Prince's comments. Queen Victoria invited an Imam from India to teach her Urdu language. He was highly respected by the Queen but other members of the royal family had no respect for him. He was forced to go back to India. His portrait is still in one of the royal places.

Children should be taught about the contribution Muslims have made to civilisation in order to combat threats of extremism and discrimination. It will help native children to develop positive attitudes towards Muslims. It will bring divided communities closer together, by teaching children about debt west owe to Muslims - coffee and pinhole camera to the three - course dinner and advancement in maths. The teaching will bring together science, history,RE, citizenship and community cohesion - some of the most pressing problems for the minister responsible for the curriculum.One of the major reasons for the alienation of British Muslims is a lack of clear identity. It is crucial for the British society to understand the hugely positive impact that Islamic inventors have had upon the world, and for Muslims to take pride in it. At present there is a widespread mis-conception among many people worldwide that the state of science and technology during the period known as "The Dark Ages" was that of stagnation and decline. The Muslim civilisation flourished and contributed to thousands of essential inventions that still affect western life style. The open recognition of the contribution of the Muslims should be reflected in the National Curriculum. The mainstream history of scientific ideas has failed to acknowledge numerous Islamic scientists and their great efforts and achievements throughout the centuries.

A report by the Institute for Community Cohesion found that native parents were deserting some schools after finding their children out numbered by pupils from ethnic minorities. Schools in parts of England are becoming increasingly segregated. The study focused on 13 local authorities. Many of the schools and colleges are segregated and this was generally worsening over recent years. This is RACISM because British society is the home of institutional racism. My statement regarding Muslim schools where there is no place for non-Muslim child or a teacher is based on educational process and not on racism. Muslim children need Muslim teachers during their developmental periods. For higher studies and research, Muslim teacher is not a priority.

I have been campaigning for Muslim schools since early 70s because there is no place for foreign cultures, languages and faiths in state schools. Muslim children are victim of racial abuse and discrimination. Neither Muslim community nor the DFE paid any attention to my proposal. Muslim community kept on setting up Masajid for worshiping and for the education of their children. Masajid help Muslim children to recite the Holy Quran without understanding and teach them how to perform their prayers. DFE introduced Multicultural education for the integration and assimilation of the Muslims.

I regard Muslim schools not just Faith schools but more or less bilingual schools. I set up the first Muslim school in Forest Gate London in 1981. Special attention was given to Standard English, Arabic and Urdu languages along with National Curriculum. But due to its closure, it could not become a model school for others to follow. Islamia School, founded by Yusuf Islam became the model school where there is no place for the teaching of Urdu and other community languages and only Arabic is taught.

The sound knowledge of ones owns language would appear to help – not hinder the acquisition of a second language and bilingual children may even have cognitive advantages and that the ability to speak more than one language is going to be increasingly important for the world of the future. Therefore, Muslim children and young Muslims have potentially a major educational advantage, although sadly this is not being developed well at present. British policy makers now recognise bilingualism as an educational asset rather than a problem. Education plays a central role in the transmission of languages from one generation to the next. The teaching of mother tongues is essential in terms of culture and identity. Arabic is a religious language for the Muslims but for Pakistanis, Urdu is also essential for culture and identity. Blind Muslim children in Bradford are learning to read Arabic and Urdu Braille, by a blind teacher who travelled from Pakistan. Now blind Muslim children are not going to miss out on culture, religion, language and the social aspects and integration into their own community and identity.

Majority of Muslim children are from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India They need to learn Arabic and Urdu to keep in touch with their cultural roots and enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry. Urdu is a lingua frankua of the Muslim communities from the sub-continent. The young generation learn Urdu from Indian/Pakistani films, more than two dozens TV Channels and couple of radio stations broadcasting round the clock in Urdu/Hindi. They can speak and understand but are unable to read and write Urdu literature and poetry. Bilingualism and bilingual education should be part and parcel of each and every Muslim school. The problem is that most of Muslim schools are running by British educated Muslims who are made monolinguals by state schools. They do not feel the charm of bilingualism. They have never been given the chance to learn Arabic and Urdu along with English. An English man is proud of his language, culture and faith or no faith. In the same way a Muslim should be proud of his faith, languages and cultures. In my opinion at least three hours a day must be given for the teaching of English, Arabic, Urdu and other community languages from nursery level. The teaching of Standard English will help them to follow the National Curriculum and go for higher studies and research to serve humanity.

According to a recent report, Muslim schools performed best overall, although they constitute only a fraction of the country's 7000 schools. Muslim schools do well because of their Islamic ethos and a focus on traditional discipline and teaching methods. They teach children what is right and what is wrong, because young children need structured guidance.

Bilingual Muslims children have a right, as much as any other faith group, to be taught their culture, languages and faith alongside a mainstream curriculum. More faith schools will be opened under sweeping reforms of the education system in England. There is a dire need for the growth of state funded Muslim schools to meet the growing needs and demands of the Muslim parents and children. Now the time has come that parents and community should take over the running of their local schools. Parent-run schools will give the diversity, the choice and the competition that the wealthy have in the private sector. Parents can perform a better job than the Local Authority because parents have a genuine vested interest. The Local Authority simply cannot be trusted.

The British Government is planning to make it easier to schools to “opt out” from the Local Authorities. Muslim children in state schools feel isolated and confused about who they are. This can cause dissatisfaction and lead them into criminality, and the lack of a true understanding of Islam can ultimately make them more susceptible to the teachings of fundamentalists like Christians during the middle ages and Jews in recent times in Palestine. Fundamentalism is nothing to do with Islam and Muslim; you are either a Muslim or a non-Muslim. Muslim children suffer from identity crises because their parents teach them Islam and their schools teach them something else. There must be a positive co-relation between school and home, otherwise, children will suffer academically, spiritually , socially and emotionally. They are also unable to develop self-confidence and self-esteem.

You better teach your children in your own schools and let migrant communities teach their children according to their needs and demands. British Establishment and society should concentrate on the evils of their own society and stop trying to change the way of life of Muslims. Muslim community does not want to integrate with the British society, indulging in incivility, anti-social behaviour, drug and knife culture, binge drinking, teenage pregnancies and abortion. Prince Charles, while visiting the first grant maintained Muslim school in north London, said that the pupils would be the future ambassadors of Islam. But what about thousands of others, who attend state schools deemed to be "sink schools"? In education, there should be a choice and at present it is denied to the Muslim community. In the late 80s and early 90s, when I floated the idea of Muslim community schools, I was declared a "school hijacker" by an editorial in the Newham Recorder newspaper in east London. This clearly shows that the British media does not believe in choice and diversity in the field of education and has no respect for those who are different. Muslim schools, in spite of meager resources, have excelled to a further extent this year, with couple of schools achieving 100% A-C grades for five or more GCSEs. They beat well resourced state and independent schools in Birmingham and Hackney. Muslim schools are doing better because a majority of the teachers are Muslim. The pupils are not exposed to the pressures of racism, multiculturalism and bullying.

There are hundreds of state primary and secondary schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out to become Muslim Academies. This mean the Muslim children will get a decent education. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. Muslim schools give young people confidence in who they are and an understanding of Islam’s teaching of tolerance and respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role in society. Muslim schools are attractive to Muslim parents because they have better discipline and teaching Islamic values. Children like discipline, structure and boundaries. Bilingual Muslim children need Bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods, who understand their needs and demands.

[Iftikhar Ahmad is associated with London School of Islamics, an Educational Trust, at 63 Margery Park Road London E7 9LD (http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk). He can be contacted at info@londonschoolofislamics.org.uk]

Allama Mashriqi: Educationist and Founder of Islamia College Peshawar

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

In commemoration of 100 years of Islamia College

By Nasim Yousaf

Allama Mashriqi was one of the founding fathers of Islamia College (Peshawar). His long association with the said college, first as its Vice-Principal and later as Principal, brought about a revolution in education and gave new dimensions to one of the most educationally backward provinces of British India, the North West Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa). Mashriqi’s tenure (1913-1930) with the Government of British India’s education department, in different capacities, including as Under Secretary of Education (British India), is yet to be brought to light.

One hundred years ago (1913), Islamia College, established at the gate of the famous Khyber Pass, opened its doors to the students of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Peshawar, a Muslim dominated province. Allama Mashriqi joined the said college when the project was in its infancy and when the doors of this institution had yet to be opened for enrollment by students.

In 1912, Allama Mashriqi completed his education at the world-famous University of Cambridge (U.K). At the said institution, Mashriqi had created history through his unprecedented academic achievements (which were a great honor for Asia). Mashriqi’s achievements were praised by many daily newspapers in the United Kingdom.

For example, The Star, London, 1912 stated: “It was hitherto considered not possible at Cambridge that a man could take honours in four Triposes in a short period of five years but it is credit to India that Inayatullah Khan of the Christ’s College has accomplished the feat.” The Yorkshire Post, June 13, 1912 wrote: “Inayatullah Khan, of Christ’s, has proved himself the best all-round Indian student ever at Cambridge…He is believed to be the first man of any nationality to obtain honours in four different subjects.”

News of his academic successes was not only publicized in the United Kingdom, but spread all across India.

Mashriqi was showered with job offers (including the Premiership of Alver State in British India) with lucrative salary and benefits. Based on his performance, Sir George Roos-Keppel, the Chief Commissioner (equivalent to Governor) of the North West Frontier Province appointed Mashriqi as the first Vice-Principal of Islamia College. Mashriqi accepted the position to bring about a revolution in the field of education. With his appointment, Mashriqi became part of the planning process and later officially joined the College in April, 1913 and worked rigorously with the other founders (Nawab Sir Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum, Sir George Roos-Keppel, and L. Tipping) to launch the college. Finally, the college opened its doors on October 01, 1913 and began flourishing (at the time, most people throughout the region were illiterate). In 1916, Mashriqi was appointed as the officiating Principal and in 1917 he became the permanent Principal. It is important to note that at the time, providing education, particularly to females in the said region, was considered a sin by orthodox Muslims, but Mashriqi changed their outlook and opened the doors for women! The spread of education (including among females) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa can be seen from official reports. This would not have been possible without Mashriqi and the Islamia College team’s hard work.

In the same year (1917), Mashriqi was again promoted to Under Secretary of Education and sent to Delhi, where he worked at the Secretariat of the Viceroy of India (Lord Chelmsford). In 1919, he became a member of the prestigious Indian Education Service (I.E.S.) and was sent back to Peshawar (where he held various positions in the education department). He remained in Peshawar for a long time, until he resigned from Government service (in 1930) and went on to form the Khaksar Tehrik (also known as Khaksar Movement).

Though Mashriqi was directly associated with Islamia College for the first five years (i.e. from 1913-1917), he remained closely connected with the college thereafter and the management continued to seek Mashriqi’s guidance on various issues and development projects.

Islamia College continued to grow in its influence and prominence. For example, the University of Peshawar was founded as an extension of the College in 1950. Today, Islamia College is rated as one of the best in Pakistan. Its magnificent buildings (which are also printed on Pakistani currency notes of different denominations as well as on postage stamps) are considered among the marvelous monuments of Pakistan.

In order to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of Islamia College (to be celebrated in November 2013 by the college administration) and to enlighten the public about the contributions made by reformer and revolutionary Allama Mashriqi to build the college and promote education in the province, I have also published a booklet entitled “Allama Mashriqi: A Founder of Islamia College (Peshawar, Pakistan).” The work is about the contributions of one of the founders of Islamia College to this historic institution in Pakistan.

[Nasim Yousaf has thus far written 12 books and many articles (including in peer-reviewed academic journals: “Harvard Asia Quarterly” and “Pakistaniaat) and presented papers at scholarly conferences in the USA. His most recent book is entitled “Mahatma Gandhi & My Grandfather, Allama Mashriqi” – a groundbreaking narrative of India’s partition. He is working on additional books and articles. He can be contacted at infomashriqi@yahoo.com]

A Tribute: Remembering Pakistan's First Prime Minister Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan on his 118th Birth Anniversary

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

By Rohail Khan

Barrister, Statesman, Philanthropist, Right-hand of Quaid-e-Azam, and Pakistan’s First Prime Minister Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan is a towering personality of South Asia. His contribution, from 1923 to 1947, to liberate India from the British empire is written in golden words and remains unmatched.

Born on 1st October 1895 in Karnal, East Punjab, as second son of Nawab Bahadur Rustam Ali Khan, Liaquat Ali Khan was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Raised like a Prince, young Liaquat‘s early education included Islamic studies and social sciences in Urdu, Persian, Arabic, and English languages. Master chess-player, the youthful Liaquat was a champion in swimming and horse-riding.

His father, Nawab Bahadur Rustam Ali Khan, decorated with the titles of Rukun Al-Daulah and Shamsher Jang by the British Government, was one the most respected and affluent landlords whose estate (300 villages) expanded across Eastern Punjab and the United Provinces.

The Nawab family had deep respect for the teachings of Sufi Master Shah Waliullah and the eminent Muslim thinker and educationist Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. With natural admiration for the famous Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), young Liaquat was admitted to AMU from where he graduated in 1918 with a law degree and another in political science.

Based on his scholarly double graduation, the British authorities offered him an illustrious position in the Indian Civil Services which he politely declined. After marriage to his first cousin Lady Jahangira Khan in 1918, he went to England and joined the Oxford University. In 1921, he was awarded a Law degree from Oxford and was called to the bar at the Inner Temple, London.

With the burning desire to serve his homeland, Barrister Liaquat Ali Khan returned to India in 1923 and joined mainstream politics. Firm believer of Indian Nationalism, he was vocal and hands-on in his efforts to liberate India from the British empire.

Despite insistence from senior Congress leaders, the far-sighted Liaquat Ali Khan chose to join All India Muslim League. Inducted into Muslim League in May 1924 personally by Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the industrious Nawabzada instantly became the Quaid’s confidante’ and remained with him like a shadow all his life. Notably, his financial contribution towards the Pakistan movement remains second only to the Nizam of Hyderabad.

Throughout his political career Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan was known to stick to his opinion even in the face of severe odds. He took active part in Muslim League’s legislative and administrative affairs and was widely accepted at all ranks and levels. A key person of Muslim committee to evaluate the 1928 Nehru Report, the Nawabzada along with Quaid e Azam, was one of the first to unwrap the British initiatives to convert the Hindu Congress leaders against the Muslims.

Nawabzada’s second marriage took place in 1933 with Lady Rana Liaquat Ali Khan - a well-known social worker, diplomat, and economist. She stood by her husband through his political career and even accompanied him to England in 1933 to persuade Quaid e Azam to return to politics when he was living in self-exile.

Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan's contribution to the struggle for independence is incalculable.

After the Quaid's return in 1934, the Muslim League was reorganized and Nawabzada was elected its Honorary Secretary. In 1940 he was promoted as “deputy leader” of the Muslim league. Quaid e Azam being pre-occupied in strategic matters and travel to mobilise the league across India, the operational management of Muslim league was performed by the able Nawabzada.

After India-wide success of Muslim League in the central legislative election in 1945-46, Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan assisted the Quaid in negotiations with British-led Cabinet Mission and the Congress for the “Partition of Pakistan”. Lord Mountbatten, British Viceroy, recognising his abilities, made Nawabzada the Finance Minister of the interim government.

After independence on 14th August 1947, Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan was every one’s favourite choice to be appointed as the first Prime Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

In this capacity, Nawabzada had to work against the wind and forced to tackle a vast number of difficulties that Pakistan faced in her early days. He helped Quaid e Azam in managing the country’s finances, negotiating with the Hindu-Sikh consortia to refrain from killing the Muslim emigrants, led the rehabilitation of millions of incoming refugees, and organized effective defence, judicial and administrative system for the new born country.

Nawabzada was entrusted with the task of drafting Pakistan's foreign policy. He selected qualified and meritorious members for the first legislative assembly and took practical steps to appoint the country-wide civil administration. He set up the National Bank of Pakistan and the first currency printing press. He persuaded leading industrialists to jump-start mercantile activities across the country.

After the untimely demise of Quaid e Azam on 11th September 1948, the Nawabzada led the country with extra ordinary zeal and devotion. He took measures to enforce writ of the state and was the man behind “The Objectives Resolution” - a prelude to Pakistan’s first constitution. Passed unanimously by the national assembly on 12th March 1949, it is considered to be "Magna Carta" in Pakistan's constitutional history.

Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan called the making of Pakistan’s constitution "the most important occasion in the life of this country, next only to the achievement of independence".

During his tenure, he focussed on economic development and strengthening of internal matters of Pakistan. He successfully persuaded his Indian counterparts to resolve the dispute of Kashmir in a peaceful manner. In an agreement in January 1948, both neighbours mutually decided that a free and impartial plebiscite would be held under the supervision of the UN.

In May 1950, the Nawabzada visited United States and set the course of Pakistan's foreign policy towards closer ties with the West. Thus, he laid the foundation of international diplomacy and economic cooperation between Pakistan and the rest of the world.

In the words of US President Harry S. Truman: "Pakistan's Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan was the first elected head of Government of a Muslim State whom I invited to pay an official visit to the United States of America in May 1950. He and his wife, First Lady Rana Liaquat Ali Khan, made an excellent impression on us".

On 4th May 1950 in a historical address to US Senate in Washington D.C, Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan delivered one of the finest orations of his life before the US Senators, identifying the raison d'etre for Pakistan, the meaning of the Islamic way of life and the die-hard commitment of Pakistani Muslims to it, Pakistan's policy of protecting all minorities, and the Muslims' heroic struggle for Pakistan under the wise leadership of Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. In resonant words, the Nawabzada articulated Pakistan's resolve to promote peace and goodwill in the world and her wish to foster friendly relations with all neighbours.

During the May 1950 visit, General Eisenhower, Chairman of Columbia University and future US President, decorated Nawabzada with a doctorate degree in recognition of his passionate concern for world peace and tangible efforts to build enduring US-Pakistan friendship.

In an address to US Congressmen, removing common misunderstandings about “Women in Pakistan”, Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan officially clarified: "Today the women of Pakistan enjoy the same status and rights as those enjoyed by their sisters in any other country of the world. The part which our womenfolk played and the services which they rendered in the achievement of Pakistan are by no means less than those rendered by men. There is no aspect of our life in Pakistan in which our women are not doing their share of work. They have not only the right of adult franchise but they have also been elected to the legislative assemblies and are performing their duties very efficiently."

Throughout his US tour spanning twelve cities, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan's effort was to portray Pakistan as a politically and economically stable country. In his meetings with top American business magnates, he stressed their role to boost industrialisation in Pakistan and provide advanced industrial technology to the new country.

Along with his US tour, Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan also paid an official visit to Canada where Prime Minister Mackenzie King gave him and his team an enthusiastic welcome. Together, the two Prime Ministers laid the foundations of Pakistan-Canada friendship and economic cooperation.

Senator Strom Thrummed, one of the longest serving US Senators, considered Nawabzada “one of the ablest leaders from Asia” and recalled his remarkable command over the socio-political and economic issues of sub-continent.

Speaking of Pakistan with warmth and friendship, President Truman in an interview reiterated that the US Government was one of the first countries to recognise the new State of Pakistan. He recalled that him and his Secretary of State, George Marshall, had rushed the US Consul General in Morocco to Karachi to represent US at the Pakistan Independence Day ceremony on 14thAugust 1947 goodwill gestures from the White House.

President Truman recalled how Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan articulately projected the Pakistani viewpoint on Kashmir in his speeches in the US and his insistence that, “created on Islamic ideology, the people of Pakistan have adopted Islamic ways in all matters and manners of life”.

Four weeks before his US tour, Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan, in order to prevent deterioration of Indo-Pakistan relations, flew to New Delhi on a high-risk mission of peace and signed the famous “Liaquat-Nehru Pact” with Premier Jawahar Lal Nehru of India on 8th April 1950.

Bold stroke of statesmanship on his part, this achievement was extensively covered in the US and International media. Under this Pact, the Governments of India and Pakistan pledged to safeguard the rights and security of religious minorities in their respective countries. While expounding Pakistan's case on the Kashmir issue, Liaquat Ali Khan, using temperate language, emphasized Pakistan's resolve to abide by the UN Security Council's Kashmir plebiscite resolutions.

Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan was unfortunately assassinated on 16th October 1951 during a public address in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Breathing his last, he whispered: “O Allah, Please Save Pakistan”.

The security forces immediately shot back the assassin, who was later identified as Saad Akbar, an Afghan National.

Just like the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the question of who was behind this conspiracy to eradicate Pakistan’s first Premier still remains an enigma. He is buried at Mazar-e-Quaid, the grand mausoleum built for Founder of Pakistan Quaid e Azam in Karachi. The Municipal Park, where he was assassinated, was renamed Liaquat Bagh in his honour. Incidentally, it is the same location where ex-Prime Minister Ms Benazir Bhutto was also assassinated in 2007.

The Nawabzada was posthumously declared “Shaheed e Millat - Martyr of the Nation”.

In one of his public speech, the Nawabzada had stated he had no wealth or property and that he would lay down his life to safe guard Pakistan. And he stayed true to his words. His assassination pushed Pakistan in a state of anarchy that still can be felt. In his book “Servants of God”, Historian

Chaudhary Zafarullah declares that “whoever pushed the trigger of the gun that killed Liaquat Ali Khan is also responsible for killing democracy in Pakistan”.

Let us re-visit what Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan, in his life time, unequivocally stated in his June, 1950 broadcast from Radio Pakistan, after returning from his US trip:

"When the fundamental principles of Islam were explained to the people of America, they experienced a pleasant surprise. We explained to them our belief that Islam represented the highest stage of human evolution. Islam is a religion, which inculcates the spirit of equality, fraternity and democracy.

God loves the diligent and every man should be allowed to get the fruit of legitimate labour. No religion considers the acquisition of knowledge as necessary as Islam. Minorities in Pakistan have the same rights as the Muslims in the country".

[Rohail Khan, a Canadian-Pakistani with strong parental roots in India as well, is a Senior Banker and CFO based at Jeddah. He is also Chairman, Urdu Academy International (UAI), Washington, D.C. He can be contacted at rohailkhan00@gmail.com]

Muslim Kiwi out to make history

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in ,

By Craig Hoyle

A Waikato mother of two aims to make history in the upcoming local body elections by becoming the first elected Muslim woman in New Zealand.

Chartered accountant Anjum Rahman says she has received strong support for her campaign for Hamilton City Council.

"I’ve been working in the community for years now, and there were quite a number of people who encouraged me to put my name forward," she says.

Ms Rahman was born in India, and moved here with her parents when she was five.

"I consider myself to be a Kiwi," she says. "I’ve lived here for over 40 years, so it’s about being seen as a New Zealander like everyone else."

Retiring three-term councillor Daphne Bell says it is important local government in Hamilton shifts to reflect the increasingly diverse population of the city.

"If we look at who sits around the council table we don't have a great record of representing our diverse community," she says.

"We have one Maori councillor at the moment, but we had a 15-year drought before she was elected this term, and we've had no representatives from the Asian or African new arrivals, or Pacific Islanders."

Waikato University political scientist Priya Kurian says the needs of all constituents should be reflected by the city council.

"Diversity matters if you want good governance and appropriate representation," she says.

"The research tells us that the more diverse the council, the more likely it is to be able to respond to the needs of a diverse community."

Ms Bell says the Hamilton City Council has made progress in recent years.

"When I came onto council we only had Christian prayers opening council meetings, and they were only delivered by male clergy," she says. "Then we broadened that to include women clergy from Christian faiths, but we're a very diverse community and it seemed important to me that we publicly acknowledge that."

At the beginning of this year the council introduced interfaith prayers, which are led each month by representatives from faiths as diverse as Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Quaker, Bahia, Muslim and Sikh, in addition to the more traditional Catholic and Anglican churches.

Todd Nachowitz of the Waikato Interfaith Council says this reflects the growing diversity of the region.

"This is significant nationally because as far as we're aware, Hamilton is the only city to have an interfaith prayer rather than just a Christian prayer," he says.

Ms Kurian says it would be a step forward for Hamilton to have a Muslim woman elected to council.

"Just having someone like Anjum on the council would be a huge statement," she says. "It's a statement about the diversity of Hamilton; she represents the diversity that is Hamilton."

However Ms Rahman wants people to look beyond her background, and says she is standing on her merits.

"I work as a chartered accountant, which means I can bring some strong financial governance skills to the council," she says.

"I’m committed to the fact that many people are struggling with rates, so it's about finding that balance and making sure we have a sustainable growth model and sustainable rates."

Whatever the outcome of the local elections, Ms Bell says Ms Rahman deserves credit for standing.

"It takes a brave person to stand for council, and probably even more courage if you come from a different background, so I admire her for doing that."

Ms Rahman is one of 26 candidates standing for the East Ward in Hamilton – others include Javed Chaudry, Ian Henley and Karina Green.

Postal voting papers must be returned no later than 12pm on Saturday, October 12.

(Courtesy: 3 News)

Remembering Waheed Murad -- The Superstar of Pakistan Film Industry

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

By Rohail Khan

Waheed Murad, Pakistani film super star, producer and script writer, is well-known for his charming expressions, tender voice, and unusual talent for acting. His romantic style of acting made him one of the most loved and popular Pakistani film artist.

Waheed Murad remains the only actor of South Asian film industry to secure the highest number of Platinum, Diamond, Golden and Silver Jubilees.

Born on 2nd October, 1938, the iconic film legend died on 23rd November, 1983, when he was 45 years old. The only child of renowned film distributor Mr. Nisar Murad, young Waheed received his early education from Karachi Grammar School, his bachelors degree from S.M. Arts College Karachi, and Masters in English literature from the Karachi University. Strong family and educational background provided Waheed Murad clear advantage over other film producers and actors of his time.

One of his first block buster films “Armaan”, produced by him in 1966, broke all box office records at that time and completed straight 75 weeks in theatres, giving Waheed Murad the elite status of the first superstar of Pakistani films. Armaan made a phenomenal impact on the entire sub-continental film industry such that the Pakistani film industry was considered as the rising sun after Indian film industry. Armaan, making Waheed Murad an overnight superstar, placed him next to Indian film titans such as Dileep Kumar, Raj Kapoor, and Dev Anand.

Waheed Murad started his film career in 1961 as producer of the film: “Insaan Badalta Hai”. As an actor he appeared in a supporting role in 1962's “Aulad” directed by S.M. Yousuf. This debut film got the Nigar award for the best film for the year. “Heera Aur Pathar” in 1964 was his first movie as lead actor and his major breakthrough film. He received the coveted Nigar award in the best actor category for the same film.

Waheed Murad is considered a pioneering “Rock n' Roll” star of Pakistan. Due to his unique romantic style of acting, he became famously known as the 'Chocolate Hero' and 'Lady Killer'.

His hair style and even his conversation style were very popular among the youth. One can say he was the cultural icon of the Pakistani Film Industry.

A real “heart throb”, once he went to downtown Saddar area of Karachi in his white Cadillac.

Realizing it was his car, a group of 30 college girls covered the entire vehicle with lipstick kisses.

Waheed Murad enlivened the silver screen with his extraordinary talent in acting specially in romantic and tragic songs. His ever-green songs are:

1) Bhooli Huee Houn Dastaan

2) Tumhain Kaisay Bata Doon

3) Kuch Log Rooth Ker Bhee

4) Dil Tumko Dey Diya Hai

5) Koko Koreena

6) Beetay Huey Kuch Din

7) Mujhe Tum Nazar Say

8) Youn Kho Gaye Teray Pyar Main

9) Socha Tha Piyar Na Karengay

10) Khamosh Hain Nazaray

11) Aey Abre Karam Aaj Itna Baras

12) Meray Dil Kee Hai Awaaz

13) Bheegi Bheegi Raatoun Main

14) Kertay Hain Mohabbat Sabhi

15) Dil Ko Jalana Humnay Chore Diya

Waheed Murad’s top films are: Heera aur Pathar, Armaan, Ehsaan, Doraha, Jahan Tum Wahan Hum, Naseeb Apna Apna, Ishaara, Dever Bhabi, Maan Baap, Insaniyat, Andaleeb, Anjuman, Neend Hamari Khuwab Tumharay, Mastana Mahi, Baharo Phool Bersao, Ishq Mera Naa, Shama, Jab Jab Phool Khiley, Shabana, Saheli, Parakh, Khuda Aur Mohabbat, Awaaz, Behan Bhai, Naagmani, Mastani Mehbuba, Laila Majnu, Izzat, Dilruba, Raaste Ka Pathar, Parastish, Aadmi, Wadey Ki Zanjeer, Raja Ki Aaye Gi Baraat, Zameer, Badnaam, Kiran Aur Kali, Gherao, Aahat, Maang Meri Bhar Dou. Two films Hero (1985) and Zalzala (1987) were released after his death.

Waheed Murad married his college-days-love Salma on 17th September 1964. They had two daughters (Aaliya and Sadiya) and one son (Adil). Sadiya died an infant. Aaliya and Adil are carrying his name.

Waheed Murad, during his 25 year career, paired with all top actresses like Zeba, Shamim Ara, Rani, Naghma, Sangeeta, Kaveeta, Aasiya, Shabnam, Deeba, Babra Sharif, Bahar and Neelo.

He was decorated with Life Time Achievement Award and Sitara e Imtiaz. The Super star acted in a total of 124 films of which 38 were black and white and 86 were in colour. He earned 32 prestigious film awards, for best actor and best producer.

The rise and fall of Waheed Murad is quite similar to that of Elvis Presley; since many incredible analogies have been drawn between these two icons. According to a film critic, Waheed Murad was like Elvis Presley who enjoyed early success and status of being the most mesmerising personality of his country. He earned great fame and then faced a sudden fall and had an untimely death.

Despite hardships in Waheed's later life and suffering an untimely tragic death, Waheed is born again. His movies are repeatedly shown on film festivals, Cinemas and TV and are well received. Ilyas Rashidi, the founder of Nigar Awards, wrote in his magazine: "Waheed Murad was a born hero."

Ghulam Mohiuddin, a top Pakistani film actor, said: "Waheed Murad was not an individual but he was an era in his own right which ended when he was sidelined by those who took over the industry in early 1980s. He was a great artiste, who recreated the image of a romantic hero. His acting was natural. He had a great deal of musical sense and was immaculate when it came to picturizing songs."

Rajesh Khanna, Bollywood super star, said in his interview with Shama magazine:"After seeing a lot of movies of Waheed Murad, I admit he was a great actor and admire his matchless performance."

[Rohail Khan, a Canadian-Pakistani with strong parental roots in India as well, is a Senior Banker and CFO based at Jeddah. He is also Chairman, Urdu Academy International (UAI), Washington, D.C. He can be contacted at rohailkhan00@gmail.com]

Ethica launches Islamic Finance Certification in Oman

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in

Ethica Institute of Islamic Finance partners with Excel Institute to resell Ethica’s Islamic finance certification in Oman

IMO News Service

Dubai: Oman’s move towards establishing Islamic finance picked up pace today as Ethica Institute of Islamic Finance in Dubai today announced signing Excel Institute for Administrative Training to exclusively resell Ethica’s Islamic finance certification in Oman. The exclusive partnership means that all of Ethica’s certification, including the award-winning Certified Islamic Finance Executive (CIFE), will be marketed through Excel in Oman.

Mohammed Al Barwani, CEO of Excel Oman, said, “Through partnering with global players in Islamic finance like Ethica, we believe that our services will comply to best practices, meet AAOIFI-standards, and be recognized for partnering with the best and most trusted Islamic financing programs.” Excel Oman is a subsidiary of Safety Technical Services which has a country-wide network across Oman and also operates in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, India, and the United Kingdom.

“What makes this partnership special is that Oman is one of the most important Islamic finance markets in the world today: stable, well-supported by the government, and substantial unfulfilled demand. We were looking for an on-the-ground partner who would help galvanize the Omani training market and decided on Excel because of their long-term commitment to Ethica through this exclusive partnership,” said Ethica’s spokesperson.

Ethica’s Islamic finance training and certification is ideally suited to Oman’s rapid entry into Islamic finance: banks in Oman have a choice between e-learning and face-to-face training depending on how many professionals need to be trained and certified. E-learning suits large banks who are looking to training thousands of bankers, similar to Ethica training 1,000 Mashreq bankers in the past. While face-to-face training suits institutions looking to have smaller groups of high-level professionals trained.

Russia welcomes Islamic finance

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in ,

Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, may become the center of attraction for investors from Muslim countries.

By Tatyana Lisina

The Tatarstan Investment Development Agency (TIDA), in conjunction with the Thomson Reuters Agency, has developed a five-year plan for the creation of a Regional Center for Islamic Finance of Russia and the CIS in Kazan. According to estimates developed by Thomson Reuters, the CIS countries during this period may raise about $28 billion in investments from Malaysia and countries of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (CCASG). To co-ordinate the financial flows, the developers plan to create a regional regulatory bank in Kazan.

According to the press-service of TIDA: “The main objective of the project is to stimulate the development of Islamic finance in the Russian Federation, by providing an alternative to traditional banks, not just for the Muslim population, but also for people of other faiths. The experience of the UK has already shown this, as 70% of borrowers of funds from Islamic banks are non-Muslims. Moreover, Islamic financial instruments are a means of attracting investments from Muslim countries. This is not a matter of investments into industry, but rather of attracting financial flows through financial institutions.”
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Innovation, legal reforms turn Tatarstan into a magnet for foreign investment

According to the proposed plan, the creation of the center will require $11 million in investments into educational, counseling, methodological and other programs. Project ideologists have not yet named their sources of funding.

It is quite clear why Kazan has been chosen as the hub for Islamic investments. Tatarstan has accumulated considerable experience in international projects and contacts with investors from Muslim countries. Kazan has repeatedly hosted major international events, devoted to Islamic business and finance. Support and widening of investments will be one of the key issues at the upcoming 5th International Economic Summit of Russia and the countries of the OIC, which will be held in the capital of Tatarstan in October of this year.

According to the experts, Islamic investors are showing interest in Russia both due to economic and geopolitical factors. Alberto Brugnoni, chairman of the Italian non-profit organization ASSAIF, says: “Muslim investors simply cannot ignore Russia due to its huge size, raw material resources, the size of its Muslim population and its proximity to several strategic Muslim countries in Central Asia.”

“According to various estimates, the potential size of the retail market of Islamic finance in Russia ranges from a modest 10% of the total number of religious Muslims to the entire Muslim population (10–15% of the population of Russia as of today, which is forecasted to reach 30% by 2050). Muslims returning to their religion, and experiencing a growing desire to live and work in accordance with Islam, is sure to give impetus to Islamic financial instruments,” adds Mr. Brugnoni.

However, some experts are not convinced that all the ambitious plans of the Kazan center will be implemented. According to Alexander Akimov, head of the Department of Economic Research of the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, the idea of establishing a center for Islamic finance is not new, it emerged five years ago, but was never been developed. He does not rule out the possibility that Islamic finances will simply purchase existing assets, instead of creating new projects.

As for the areas of investment, according to the experts, it will be the real sector; primarily this will be infrastructure and oil refining. “Islamic finance is closely linked to the real sector of the economy. It has been estimated that Russia needs more than $1 trillion of investments into infrastructure over the next 10 years, and Islamic finance fits perfectly well into these volumes,” says Mr. Brugnoni. According to Mr. Akimov, investments into agriculture may be attractive to Islamic partners, for example, in the Volga Region, where they can participate in small inexpensive projects.

However, this plan may face some legal challenges. “First of all, lending in Russian banks is based on the principle of serviceability, maturity and repayment. Serviceability implies payment of accrued interest on a loan, which according to Islamic law, is forbidden for financial institutions and individuals. In addition, one of the instruments of Islamic banking is the so-called “Murabaha”– a contract for the sale of goods between a seller and buyer at an agreed price, which also indicates the amount of the profit or markup. This form of transaction is prohibited by Russian law. As long as the law does not change to allow for Islamic banking and financial products, consumers will have to use investment and leasing tools,” said the press service of TIDA. Business can become the driving force for stimulating changes in the law, but so far, it has not displayed the proper degree of activity.

(Courtesy: Russia & India Report)

WAME & Expo2015 - The New Association for World Access to Modern Energy

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in ,

Eight leading Italian and European energy companies and Expo2015 have come together to create the association ‘World Access to Modern Energy & Expo2015’, promoting access to modern energy for all

IMO News Service

Milan: WAME & EXPO2015, the new association World Access to Modern Energy & Expo 2015 is the result of an alliance between Expo 2015 S.p.A. and eight leading Italian and European energy companies – A2A, Edison, Enel, Eni, E.ON Italia, Gas Natural Italia, GDF SUEZ Energia Italia and Tenaris.

WAME & Expo2015 aims to raise world awareness about the lack of access to modern forms of energy between now and the Universal Exhibition in Milan in 2015. It will do so by launching initiatives for scientific, technological, economic and social research into how to eliminate and overcome the barriers that make modern energy inaccessible, and by contributing to the awareness and dissemination of good practices, case-studies and projects already in place.

Today, 1.3 billion people still do not have access to electricity. In addition, 40% of the world's population use biomass for cooking and heating, with serious consequences for health and domestic pollution, which each year result in more than a million premature deaths.

Increasing access to modern forms of energy can help facilitate the availability of food resources and drinking water, and significantly reduce the levels of extreme poverty in the world, making it a real factor in the development of humanity.

WAME will open up the debate and project participation to NGOs, government and international agencies and everyone involved in developing this issue. All participation will be scientifically tested and will be made available on the website www.wame2015.org.

"I think it is a duty and a responsibility also of the worldwide energy sector”, commented Professor Pippo Ranci, appointed Chairman of WAME & EXPO2015, “to be the driving force of the ambitious project announced by the United Nations to make access to energy universal by 2030. It is for this reason that WAME & EXPO2015 proposes to be a source of dissemination and information about this emergency and an analytical cornerstone of practical projects for breaking down the barriers standing in the way of access to modern energy. "

WAME & EXPO2015 is an important part of the topics being explored at Expo2015”, said Giuseppe Sala, CEO of EXPO2015 SpA. This initiative, along with other theme-related projects, will place EXPO2015 at the center of the global debate on the crucial issues of food, water and energy for sustainable human development."

Journey to Islam Triggered by Cat Stevens Interview: “Don’t Worship Me!” That’s What Buddha Said

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

By Dawood Kinney

The existence of God was so simple to understand! How could I have been so stupid all this time???

As far back as I can remember as a child, I was always astounded by this universe in which we live; how everything works perfectly.

I used to lie outside at night on my parent's lawn, staring up at the stars, just amazed at the unfathomable size of the heavens.

And I also used to be amazed at how the human body just ticked along, heart beating, lungs pumping, with no help from me.

And from that early time, I always in some way knew, there just had to be a Creator responsible for all this.

But then as I segued into my teens, it was much easier to succumb to peer pressure, and I lost interest in the Divine and instead devoted my time to alcohol, sex and the immature games of a young male growing up in America. Growing into young adulthood, my obsessions became money, power, a better house, a faster car, and a prettier woman--all shallow pursuits.

I lived this way for many years, slowly losing control of my life, thinking I was pursuing happiness when all I was getting was more depressed, more confused, and making more and more of a mess of my life.

The Need of Spirituality

At some point, my life just sort of spiraled to the bottom and I cracked. My immediate response was to turn to God, and, having been raised Catholic, it was to that church that I turned. At the time, I had been divorced and remarried and came to find out that the Catholic Church didn't want me. Hurt and angry, but also realizing a need for a spiritual order in my life, I turned to Buddhism.

The Buddhist sect I became involved with and followed a Tibetan tradition, where importance is placed on gaining empowerments, which are basically blessings from various Buddhas. At some point I realized I was not really bettering myself, just running around gaining empowerments, performing elaborate rituals. All of a sudden, I realized that one of the last things the Buddha said before passing away was "don't worship me". I realized this whole practice was based on worshipping not only "the" Buddha, but also all these other Buddhas.

I became very discouraged and reverted to my old ways of indulgence in alcohol and other forbidden pleasures. And once again, I became very depressed, only this time with emotional side effects that began to manifest in very frightening ways and self-destructive ways.

Cat Stevens Was Not a Terrorist!

When I was a young man, I was very much "into" the music of Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam). When I heard he had embraced Islam, I was in the U.S. Navy at the time and this was during the "hostage crisis" in Iran. So, I immediately drew the conclusion that Cat Stevens has become a terrorist, and I kept that belief for many years.

A couple months or so ago, i heard he was going to be interviewed on TV, and I wanted to hear about this crazy man who had left a great life to become a terrorist. Well, needless to say, I was just floored by the interview, because he was certainly no terrorist, but a soft-spoken, articulate, peaceful man who radiated love, and patience, and intelligence. The very next day, I began researching Islam on the Internet. I came across a lecture in RealAudio by a brother, Khaled Yasin, and well, this lecture really put me over the top.

(You may want to check out the lectures on this web page: http://islam.org/Radio/ch600.htm. The first one by Br. Khaled is really the one that did it for me, but the other two by Br. Yusuf (Cat Stevens) really speaks to those of us who did not grow up in a Muslim society.).

It all made so much sense, the existence of God was so simple to understand! How could I have been so stupid all this time???

Well, the more I learned the more I was convinced that this was truly the path I had been searching for. It contained the discipline -physical, mental, and spiritual- that leads to true peace and happiness. But most importantly, it contains that path to Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.

Finally a Muslim!

Pronouncing my Shahadah was such a cleansing experience, and since this time, I have often just felt the presence of God and just cried and cried and cried. How wonderful! Al-Hamdulillah!

I have received such a warm and embracing welcome from all Muslim brothers and sisters from around the world; I take great comfort in this, knowing that, despite any adversity or setback, I am literally surrounded by my Muslim family that will never abandon me as long as I remain Muslim. No other group of people has ever treated me in this way.

I still have a very long and arduous path ahead. Accepting the reality of Islam is the easy part, walking the Straight Path is the hard part, especially once one had firmly implanted himself in a society of unbelievers. But I pray to Allah every day for strength and guidance, and I just take it one day at a time, trying to improve in Islam little by little each day.

May Allah guide us, may He have mercy on us, and may He forgive us all our transgressions, both past and future.



(Courtesy: OnIslam.net)

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