Archive for March, 2018

Terrorist attack in France

March 24, 2018

— Nasir Khan, March 24, 2018

An attack on a supermarket in France yesterday in which three innocent people were killed and 16 injured was carried out by a Muslim, who was a petty criminal but became radicalized by ISIS. The ISIS declared that the attacker was a “soldier of the Islamic Sate”. Thus, once again one Muslim commits an act of terrorism in the name of a terrorist ideology that uses the name of Islam and brings dishonor and disgrace to the Islamic religion and its followers.

Once again, Muslim communities and new immigrants living in the western countries become suspect in the eyes of many people.

What we need to keep in mind and tell others that such individual acts of terrorism and the killing of people have nothing to do with Islam or with the vast majority of Muslims living in Europe or in other western countries.

Muslim people are as much victims of such crimes as others. What ISIS did in Iraq and Syria, and now is targeting people in many other countries, such as Libya, Afghanistan, etc. etc., and other countries is directed against the ordinary Muslim people. The victims are both Muslims and non-Muslims.

On behalf of many like-minded people and friends, I strongly condemn the brutal murders and the harm to the innocent people at the hands of a misguided and pathetic individual, and the people using people like him to commit such dastardly crimes.

Along with many other politically active people, I have also opposed and wrote against the roles of imperialist powers, their policies, their wars and war crimes, and their criminal support for dictators, oligarchs and terrorists for many years. However, we should never use the policies of these governments to justify any individual acts of terror as in the present case in France.

Terrorism in the name of any religion or religious ideology (Islamism, Hindutva militarism, Christian fundamentalism, Zionism, anti-Muslim Buddhist mafia) is vicious and should be fought against by all democratic forces, and we should never compromise on this because some brainwashed maniacs and social oppressors are using the names of religions or religious symbols to advance their objectives.

 

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The Idea of One Democratic, Secular State in Classic Palestine

March 20, 2018

Nasir Khan, March 19, 2018

In the whole of classic Palestine, one democratic, secular and progressive state is a possible solution to end the long-standing imbroglio and non-ending oppression against a captive population by Israel, otherwise extremist nationalists and theocratic vandals will continue to play havoc and cause more polarization among the Palestinians and Israelis that will bring only more bloodshed and misery for all. However, the Zionist rulers of Israel will hardly accept this solution.

In theory, a two-state solution is still possible if the rulers of Israel (and USA) accept the 1967 borders as the demarcation lines between the two states and thus start a new chapter in bilateral relations to seek reconciliation and show an honest resolve to solve the remaining issues, such as the return of the Palestinian refugees, but in practice things stand on a very different level. The West Bank has largely been colonized by the expansion of the illegal settlements in the occupied territories and the Gaza Strip has been isolated and kept under siege by the Israel.

All the feigned clatter of ‘peace talks’ was meant as a ruse that allowed Israel to expand further into the occupied territories. Will Israel reverse its policies, withdraw to the 1967 borders and seek a sincere solution to a two-state solution? In my assessment that is not going to happen.

The remaining viable and humane alternative is the creation of a single democratic, secular and progressive state in historic Palestine, where Jews, Muslims, Christians, the followers of other faiths and legitimate political ideologies could live together. That is possible, and we have some examples of such democracies functioning superbly well in the Nordic countries.

The exploitation of religion by using the blasphemy laws in Pakistan

March 10, 2018

Nasir Khan

People around the world have become increasingly aware of the blasphemy laws in Pakistan. In fact, in a country where the 95-98% people are the followers of Islam, there was never any danger to this religion, its founder or its holy scripture. Then, why were these laws promulgated in this Islamic country? That has more to do with that limited number of people who have ruled Pakistan since 1947. That ruling elite has frequently played the ‘Islam card’ to bolster their power on the masses. In fact, it has been quite easy for them to do so because the people were rather too eager to accept anything presented to them as being in the service of Islam and God!

Because of the state policies, a vast network of religious preachers and clerics have mushroomed throughout the country. These people comprise the religious establishment that has a real grip on the people. Its influence has also grown enormously in the overseas communities of Pakistanis and their descendants.

Anyone opposing the clerics is in danger of being stigmatized as ‘infidel’ and then made a target. The blasphemy laws have become a fertile ground for many to take revenge for personal disputes against another person by accusing him/her of having insulted Islam, God or the Qur’an! To make such false accusations is so easy. Right from the start, the law is on the side of complainant. The penalties imposed on the victims are incredible – death and life imprisonment. For minor offences, the prison term is three years, fine, or both.

Just for the sake of giving an accurate information what such blasphemy laws contain, I am posting them for the readers to see for themselves.

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Blasphemy laws in Pakistan

Offenses relating to religion: Pakistan Penal code

295-B Defiling, etc., of copy of Holy Quran. Whoever will fully defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the Holy Quran or of an extract therefrom or uses it in any derogatory manner or for any unlawful purpose shall be punishable for imprisonment for life.

295-C Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet. Whoever by words, either spoken or written or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.

298-A Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of holy personages. Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo or insinuation, directly or indirectly defiles a sacred name of any wife (Ummul Mumineen), or members of the family (Ahle-bait), of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), or any of the righteous caliphs (Khulafa-e-Rashideen) or companions (Sahaaba) of the Holy Prophet description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

298-B Misuse of epithet, descriptions and titles, etc. Reserved for certain holy personages or places.

1. Any person of the Qadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves Ahmadis or by any other name) who by words, either spoken or written or by visible representation:

a. refers to or addresses, any person, other than a Caliph or companion of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), as “Ameerul Momneen”, “Khalifat-ul-Momneen”, “Khalifat-ul-Muslimeen”, “Sahaabi” or “Razi Allah Anho”;

b. refers to or addresses, any person, other than a wife of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), as Ummul-Mumineen;

c. refers to, or addresses, any person, other than a member of the family (Ahle-Bait) of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), as Ahle-Bait; or

d. refers to, or addresses, any person, other than a member of the family (Ahle-Bait) of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), as Ahle-Bait; or

e. refers to, or names, or calls, his place of worship as Masjid; shall be punished with imprisonment or either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.

2. Any person of the Qadiani group or Lahore group, (who call themselves Ahmadis or by any other names), who by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representations, refers to the mode or from of call to prayers followed by his faith as “Azan” or recites Azan as used by the Muslims, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.

298-C Persons of Qadiani group, etc, calling himself a Muslim or preaching or propagating his faith. Any person of the Qadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves Ahmadis or any other name), who directly or indirectly, posses himself as a Muslim, or calls, or refers to, his faith as Islam, or preaches or propagates his faith, or invites others to accept his faith, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or in any manner whatsoever outrages the religious feelings of Muslims, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.

Happy International Women’s Day!

March 8, 2018

— Nasir Khan, March 8, 2018

There are millions of women in poor countries where they have to struggle hard to survive. They are subjected to domestic violence, sexual abuse, and in some cultures treated more like chattels that can be bought and sold. In many countries, misguided and ignorant people fight against their education and want to keep them in traditional social bondage. Child brides are still common in many countries.

On this day, we should renew our common struggle for the equal human rights of all women everywhere and to end the systemic oppression they are subjected to.

 

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Dictatorship of the proletariat?

March 6, 2018

Nasir Khan, March 6, 2018

(A short note on a complicated theoretical theme.)

A veteran Pakistani Communist and political activist Jam Saqi died on March 5, 2018, aged 73. At a later stage in his life, he rejected the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat, as irrelevant to our present times. That was something with which I concur with him.

There have been enormous political developments and changes in the system of government and the extension of people’s representation in many western countries since the nineteenth century, when Marx and Engels formulated the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat to replace the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. The way democracies function at this time in the Nordic countries is the best example of that sociopolitical change.


However, in many Afro-Asian countries the ruling power is still mostly in the hands of feudal lords, old aristocratic families, religious politicians and comprador and raw capitalists. In these countries the form of government may be seemingly democratic, but the power stays in the hands of a minority of the powerful people and exploiting groups that I have briefly referred to.

 

 


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