Archive for September, 2013

Nasir Khan: The Liberation of Women in Islamic Societies

September 30, 2013

Nasir Khan, September 30, 2013

In various old cultures and religions women were reduced to a low status for thousands of years. The male-dominated system or patriarchy imposed inhuman chains on them and they (men) justified these by appealing to social customs, traditions and religious mantras, which however remained under  their control. But only over the course of the last 150 years or so the movement for women’s rights started in earnest and gradually gained important civic and political rights for women in Europe and North America. The struggle for the gender equality and gaining proper social status for women in all spheres of life including jobs and professions is still continuing in Europe and America.

But Islamic world has remained outside such liberating movements and influences. The task of gaining full human rights of women is a human task, a task in which both both men and women have to take part. Women are marginalised in Islamic world; therefore they need the support of enlightened men in struggle for the liberation of women and thus help break the inhuman chains of degradation and discrimination. We can’t expect ignorant clergy and conservative people to do much in this area; they stand for status quo and continued oppression of women. The role of progressive women in making Muslim people aware of the situation is immensely important because without their active work nothing much will change. It takes time to realise that the liberation of women is also the liberation of men from their nefarious role of domination and control. Thus the liberation of women is also the liberation of men and this social reality needs to be publicised widely.

Advertisements

The Sharia laws or modern legal system

September 28, 2013

Nasir Khan, September 28, 2013

Those who are well-acquainted with the Sharia laws and modern legal systems should be in a position to show what the Sharia laws of Islam are and how they are inadequate to protect and safeguard people and their rights in these times. No doubt, during the early period of Islamic rule, the system of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqah) that developed had its basis in the Qur’anic legislation and they were progressive and innovative according to the standards of those times. Prominent Muslim juristists (fuqhah) used various devices, such as ijtihad, analogy, istihsan, ijma, istidlal, to extend the laws and their application. But around the 13th century things changed and Islamic jurisprudence came to a standstill. It was no more able to move with the changing times. And that condition still prevails. In addition, the Sharia law has become more regressive and inequitable in places where it has been enforced, especially in matters of women’s rights, male domination, criminal offences, etc. etc.

Many ordinary people who have their traditional Islamic identity and customs don’t have the slightest clue about the Sharia laws. Their way of thinking is shaped not by any independent thinking or observation but by what they hear in the sermons of their clergy and religious preachers. Their thinking in such matters is very simple: The Sharia laws are made by God; therefore they are always the best for all! Once they become the laws in our countries, justice and truth will prevail; injustice and violations of human rights will disappear. The true rule of God on earth will appear. The lion and the goat will drink water from the same pond!

In sum, this is all what they think and nothing more. But unfortunately all this is illusory and has no basis in reality. Now the big question is: How to remove such day-dreaming and misunderstandings? The answer lies in giving the correct information. That involves a gradual and systematic educational process. This can be performed by those who know the inadequacy of the Sharia laws that don’t and can’t meet the needs of people in this age. To do so is not an easy task for many reasons. However, it is essential to impart such information in a polite and humane way without resorting to abusive or aggressive language or making any attacks on traditional religious beliefs and customs.

Ishtiaq Ahmed: Splitting India II

September 27, 2013

September 27, 2013

Editor’s Comment: In this article Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed continues to explore various political issues that led to the unfortunate partition of India whose consequences have proved to be only negative from the point of view of the common people on both sides of the border. The events leading to the partition and the role of Muslim and Hindu leaders are presented in a judicious manner, without the usual bravado we often meet in writers who surpass in embellishing their narratives with emotive rhetoric while consigning historical authenticity to some dark corner.

Some of the facts the author presents are known to old historians and observers but the younger generations in Pakistan and India are hardly aware of these historical facts. In a clear and methodical way, the author shows the true picture of the role of the Muslim League, the Congress and their leaders. In Pakistan it may also come as a surprise to some that what they have learnt in their history books was so different from what Dr Ahmed says!

Clearly our iconic figures do not seem to have been so far-sighted or great minds, whose concern was the interest of the masses and the downtrodden. They represented elitist classes and power politics that was to ensure the domination of feudal and propertied classes over the vast majority. And in the new land but with ancient historical and cultural roots, politics was to become a power game in the hands of a tiny minority, civil and military. And they all played the ‘Islam Card’ for their personal ends but pushed the country into the abyss of ignorance and darkness. That’s where we find us now.

Nasir Khan, Editor

 

***************************

Splitting India II

By Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed, The Friday Times, Sept. 27 – Oct. 3, 2013 Issue

In my article dated 20 September 2012, I had inadvertently given February 1940 as the date for the fall of Singapore. It was February 1942. That mistake, however, does not detract from the fact that the British were determined from the very start of WW II, and especially after the Congress ministries resigned in September 1939, to crush any challenge to their hold over the Indian empire which was a matter of great pride for them and a major supplier of troops for the war. These resignations were a major Congress miscalculation whose damage to their political influence was second only to the even more disastrous Quit India movement they launched in August 1942. These two decisions greatly undermined their ability to influence the course of the freedom struggle as all their cadres were incarcerated from August 1942 to June 1945.

During that absence from the political arena the Muslim League swept the key north-western provinces of Punjab and Sindh and made inroads into NWFP with their message that the creation of Pakistan would bring to an end the tyranny of the caste system and the economic exploitation of the moneylender. Thus the creation of Pakistan appeared to be a rational choice to the Muslims and they expressed it in the 1946 provincial elections when they voted overwhelmingly in favour of Pakistan.

– See more at: http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta3/tft/article.php?issue=20130927&page=24#sthash.X4tdiD2X.7PLvFZyY.dpuf

Islamists and their distorted version of Islam

September 26, 2013

 

Nasir Khan, September 26, 2013

For the last two three decades the term ‘Islamist’ has commonly been used in political discourse. It stands for those misguided and indoctrinated ignorant Muslims whose aim is to impose their fanatical versions of Islam on others. But we should keep in mind that Islam as a world religion is followed by people with different world-outlooks who are divided into numerous sects. Furthermore, these followers have varying interpretations of the role of political power, about the leaders of the Islamic community (the Ummah), rights and obligations of the rulers and the ruled, etc. etc. These view of Islamic law, Sharia, cover civil and criminal law that again are subject to four main schools of jurisprudence within the Sunni jurisprudence while the Shias have their own jurisprudence. There is little chance of any unity of ideas amongst them.

What is most alarming about the Islamists’ general world-view is their negation of the universal dimension and inherent tolerance of this great religion. Instead they put forward a narrow and anti-social version that goes against all principles of democracy, respect for religious minorities and inculcate discrimination against the followers of other faiths. The whole process can be termed as creating mental and religious ghettos, absolutely closed to rational thought but hell-bent on myopic divisions. In such a suffocating universe there is no room for mutual accommodation, acceptance of secularism in a multi-religious and multi-cultural world in which we live in Europe and some parts of America. The Islamists misuse of Islam is a dangerous phenomenon for democracy and common social and political values of the present age.

Islamist Terror in Pakistan and Religious Minorities

September 22, 2013

Nasir Khan, September 22, 2013

Yet another dastardly mass slaughter of 78 Pakistani Christians at the hands of Islamist criminals has shaken many of us. But this abominable crime is  not an isolated episode; it repeats a familiar pattern within Pakistan where Islamist suicide bombers target religious minorities.

Today they chose Christians and perpetrated one of the worst mass killings of these poor, marginalised and discriminated people within the so-called ‘Islamic’ (!!) Republic of Pakistan. The bombers struck when the worshippers went out of the church to get a free meal of rice. Had the bombers chosen the congregation within the church, the death toll could have been in hundreds.

Such killings and rampant violence against others such as Shias, Ahmadis, and also some Left-wing political activists, have been going on unabated for a long time in Pakistan. It is no secret that the people behind these actions are mostly religious extremists and fanatic rogues. However, we should bear in mind that the Christians of Pakistan fall in a special category. In a caste-ridden society that prevails Pakistan, they have been at the lowest level of social ladder. Most of them are discriminated and seen as a people with ‘low social status’. Traditionally, the jobs they have done for generations have been cleaning, sweeping and other menial jobs.

Today’s barbarous crime is a major tragedy for all those people in and outside Pakistan with a human conscience who want to see an end to such bestial actions and have respect towards all human beings  and security of human life in this country. We side with our Christian fellow citizens at this time and condemn what the criminals have done. But the real danger is that such crimes will be committed again. Such inhuman crimes have become so common in Pakistan that people take them as a matter of routine and say such was the ‘Will of God’.

After every such crime, political leaders and government officials offer a ritualistic condemnation and express their sadness but no concrete actions are taken to address the root cause of the Islamist terrorism in Pakistan. Unless there is a clear policy how to deal with this threat on a long-term basis leading to a general mobilisation to cope with the Islamist threat that is destroying the social fabric of this unfortunate country, nothing is going to change. Sadly, our anger and grief will not change the facts on the ground. Because the Islamist rogues are free to strike whenever they want or whoever they choose as their next target.

Bernard Weisberger: Taking Exception to Exceptionalism

September 19, 2013

Editor’s note: This is a timely analysis of American exceptionalism by an eminent historian that  may attract the attention of  many  writers and journalists. I think, Professor Weisberger could have explained a bit more about the present role of American imperialism and its unbridled militarism – evidenced in the killing of millions of people in Vietnam and more recently in Iraq – because American military power serves only the interests of arms producers and their elitist beneficiaries; it has become a great threat to the weak nations and countries, which American rulers perceive as obstacles to American hegemony and domination.

Nasir Khan, Editor

————————————

President Barack Obama addresses the nation in a live televised speech from the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013. President Obama blended the threat of military action with the hope of a diplomatic solution as he works to strip Syria of its chemical weapons. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)

President Barack Obama addresses the nation in a live televised speech from the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013. President Obama blended the threat of military action with the hope of a diplomatic solution as he works to strip Syria of its chemical weapons. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)

In the speech last week that put on hold his request to Congress to authorize the bombing of Syria’s chemical weapons sites, President Obama — no mean orator himself — faced a familiar orator’s problem. How would he end on a strong and upbeat note while announcing what was in fact a sensible retreat from his “red line” pledge dictated by clear and overwhelming evidence that both Congress and the public at large had no appetite for any more Middle Eastern interventions? How could he still defend America’s assertion of its role as the enforcer of the “civilized world’s” conscience even as he stepped back from the brink?

Continues >>

George Monbiot: Obama’s rogue state tramples over every law it demands others uphold

September 17, 2013

For 67 years the US has pursued its own interests at the expense of global justice – no wonder people are sceptical now

US fire white phosphorous at Taliban

US troops fire a white phosphorous mortar towards a Taliban position on 3 April 2009 in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Photograph: John Moore/Getty

You could almost pity these people. For 67 years successive US governments have resisted calls to reform the UN security council. They’ve defended a system which grants five nations a veto over world affairs, reducing all others to impotent spectators. They have abused the powers and trust with which they have been vested. They have collaborated with the other four permanent members (the UK, Russia, China and France) in a colonial carve-up, through which these nations can pursue their own corrupt interests at the expense of peace and global justice.

Continues >>

Paul Craig Roberts: The US Government Stands Revealed to the World as a Collection of War Criminals and Liars

September 6, 2013

 

By OpEdNews.com, Sept 5, 2013

  

Does the American public have the strength of character to face the fact that the US government stands before the entire world revealed as a collection of war criminals who lie every time that they open their mouths? Will Congress and the American public buy the White House lie that they must support war criminals and liars or “America will lose face”?

The obama regime’s lies are so transparent and blatant that the cautious, diplomatic President Putin of Russia lost his patience and stated the fact that we all already know: John Kerry is a liar. Putin said: “This was very unpleasant and surprising for me. We talk to them [the Americans], and we assume they are decent people, but he [Kerry] is lying and he knows that he is lying. This is sad.”

When Secretary of State Colin Powell was sent by the criminal bush regime to lie to the UN, Powell and his chief of staff claim that Powell did not know he was lying. It did not occur to the Secretary of State that the White House would send him to the UN to start a war that killed, maimed, and dispossessed millions of Iraqis on the basis of total lies.

Continues >>

Subsidy, a poem by Badri Raina

September 1, 2013

This madam Sonia ji—

She full of subsidy.

She not consider the difficulty

Of the rich and also famous;

She encourage the riff raff to tame us.

Really, subsidy  so much shame us

Among  Amreekan  diaspora

Which make us so proudy

At  antarrashtriya fora.

This Sonia of Italy desh think

All  india must have food;

What is she knowing about fasting

Which for health is so good?

Or about  karma which it is for sure

Makes god’s beloved rich

And all others poor?

Does she know vyavastha is meant

To serve those that have vaibhav,

Not to be wasted on dol, gavaar,

Shudra, pashu, naari,

Who are all, what does she know,

Only  taadan kei adhikaari?

This  Christianism plus Socialism—

It  very ghaatak for country;

Here  pandit and maulvi  they

Have no entry.

Now, land too not grabbable,

So  how  multiplex will spread?

Or  Mall and  Big Bazaar come up

When   kisaan  is well fed?

Next may come the  Vendor Bill,

Then daridra will rule  the street;

And  not one   kambakht  at hand

Whom  the kothi vaalaas might beat.

New shastra she is writing,

And  all voting with her;

Yeh kya ho raha hai,

Nahi hai kissi ko darr

Ki  bharat mei aayegi samta

Jo  nahi chaahatei Ishwar?

—Badri Raina,  Sep. 1, 2013