On the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

January 23, 2015

Nasir Khan, January 23, 2015

All the devils in Hell were much excited today to welcome a newcomer. Guess who was coming? A great king was coming to join them. When the short worldly sojourn ends here a long and upward journey to a new life starts, I was told as a child. Today was one such day for a great king to go upward.

So that was the end of that short worldly sojourn for the mighty king. There will be no more displays of gold, diamonds and emeralds to please any. That will bve a task for his successor now. But any fabulous gifts of golden chains and garlands with diamonds were only for the influential and the mighty ones. Not for any ordinary people. No worker from Asia or Africa received any such gift. They were mere workers, the raw material to keep the oil industry going.

The children of Gaza, hundreds of them, and thousands of adults were massacred by Israel in the summer of 2014. There was not a single concrete step taken by the great mighty king of Saudi Arabia to stop the killing of the Palestinians of Gaza. Netanyahu knew the great king was his ally, not an opponent. So the job of killing a besieged people and destroying Gaza’s infrastructure – its buildings, homes, hospitals, mosques – and causing misery in a captive people could go ahead unhindered. And it did.

Netanyahu wanted to do it. He had the support of America and his Arab allies, including the mighty king. So Israel did what it wanted to do. The reactionaries were all on one side. They had no fear from any quarter. Everything was crystal clear for the kill, the big kill. No problem. Some voices around the world? Some bloggers and internet activists included. But who cares when you have America and Saudi Arabia on board. Therefore when Israeli military and air force were in ‘full action’ the great king, didn’t stir a finger to stop the massacres and destruction of Gaza.

But his friends may have some thing to add. I have nothing more to add today. Sometimes later perhaps.

War criminals exploit the name of God

January 23, 2015

Nasir Khan, January 23, 2015

Some people like George W Bush, for instance, also believe in a Loving God. But he invaded Iraq and killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and destroyed a great country. Now he continues to assert not only what did was right but also that God had asked him to invade Iraq. It is obvious that warmongers and powerful rulers exploit and misuse the name of God that has different names in different languages or religions for their political and military objectives. Unfortunately, God does not stop them from doing so. So, there is no point in complaining about some attributes of God when in reality we should be more concerned with those who commit the crimes against others and our struggle to stop them. The faults lies with us, not God. (Here I am using the term ‘God’ that is commonly understood by the vast majority of people in the world. Whether there is any such entity or not is a different question that people may discuss at length in some other place.)

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https://www.facebook.com/dailykos/photos/a.416444264254.190398.43179984254/10152883020234255/?type=1&theater

Maulana Azad stood for a united, secular State of India

January 21, 2015

Nasir Khan, January 20, 2015

Maulana Azad, the Imam-al-Hind, was an outstanding Islamic scholar, a great orator and a prominent political leader of India during the British rule. He opposed the idea of the partition of India on the basis of religion and warned Muslim leaders of the dangers of a separate homeland for Muslims. This great scholar understood the problems Indian Muslims faced if the demands of an Islamic country (Pakistan) were accepted.

The events leading to the partition of India in 1947 and the subsequent history of Pakistan have shown the political sagacity and far-sightedness of this astute politician. But the upholders of the two-nation theory had won and the secularists and advocates of a united India had to agree to the partition plan.

However, it will be a lopsided view to blame only Jinnah. Many sections of Muslim community had fears of Hindu domination in an independent state of a united India. The top Hindu leaders, Gandhi and Nehru, did little to assuage such fears. As British historian Perry Anderson in 2012 in his three profound historical articles, ‘Gandhi Centre Stage,’ ‘Why Partition,’ and ‘After Nehru,’ had shown the situation was really quite complicated and any simplistic interpretations of history of the period that are quite common in India and Pakistan are of little value except for amateurish recriminations and misrepresentation of historical facts of the period.

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 MAULANA ABUL KALAM AZAD:  The 1947  SPEECH TO MUSLIMS OF INDIA (video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySLJDKy-KwM


January 21, 2015

A Study of the Perceptions and Misperceptions of Islam and the Prophet

January 18, 2015

Perceptions and Misperceptions of Islam

Nasir Khan, January 18, 2015

In the wake of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo’s publishing of the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that many Muslims world-wide regard derogatory and provocative, and the killings of the staff of the weekly and international reactions to these events, I am posting the ‘preface’ to my book ‘Perceptions of Islam in the Christendoms: A Historical Survey (2006)’. This book provides a historical context of perceptions of Islam for the last thirteen/ fourteen centuries.

As the price of the book in Norway, USA and UK is somewhat high for many readers, I have put it for free downloading on my website Peace and Justice Post <https://sudhan.wordpress.com/free-download-of-the-book-per…/>
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Preface

This book is a historical survey of the views and perceptions of Islam that emerged in the Christendoms from the eight-century to the present time. My main purpose has been to investigate the historical role of the polemical writings of Christian writers who confronted Islam as a religious and political enemy of Christianity on the basis of their own theological pre-commitments. Consequently, they succeeded in creating and reinforcing a distorted picture of Islam that became deeply rooted in the culture and psyche of the West, and had far reaching consequences for the relations between the power-blocs of Christianity and Islam since the Middle Ages.
During my research-work on this theme over a number of years, I became aware that, although, some prominent Western scholars and historians such as Sir Richard Southern, William Montgomery Watt, Albert Hourani, Norman Daniel, Bernard Lewis and Maxime Rodinson, have made enormous contribution to our understanding of the Western attitudes towards Islam in the Middle Ages, there was a need for a full survey of such views and perceptions over the last fourteen centuries of Christian-Muslim encounters. To meet this need, I undertook this historical survey, and have broadened both the subject matter and the time span for this book. In order to cover a wide range of issues within the compass of a single volume I also had to delimit the number of polemicists and other writers who wrote on Islam. However, instead of a cursory mention of some of the leading Christian apologists of the early centuries, I have given them more space within the following major geographical divisions and specific polemical tradition: (a) the Oriental Christians under Muslim rule, (b) the Byzantine Empire, (c) Catholic Spain under the Muslim rule, and (d) the Catholic West and Protestant countries. I have used original texts, wherever possible, for the exposition of these writers’ views. In this way, these writers speak for themselves. My reason for following this approach was the conviction that we can best comprehend the history of Christian-Muslim encounters from the early times by examining concrete circumstances and particular writers whose views became influential in shaping the attitude of one religious tradition towards the other.
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I have made frequent use of direct quotations from both the primary sources and the secondary literature. Moreover, I have tried to place anti-Islamic polemic within the context of major historical events and movements. On the other hand, I have not thought it appropriate to refer to all the vulgar calumnies of the apologists directed against the Prophet Muhammad and Islam, specific charges that might shock the sensibilities of a reader, no matter what his or her own orientation towards religion or the founders of religions. Still, it is possible that some may feel offended. But historical facts have to be faced as they stand. If I had omitted all such horrid views, I would have missed the whole point of explaining how the distorted images of Islam took shape.

Every writer is a product of the social and cultural matrix of his age. The polemical writers against Islam had their own theological presuppositions, convictions and concerns. In a like manner, such pre-commitments do not disappear in modern writers either. For instance, Professor Montgomery Watt, a priest of the Episcopal Church of Scotland, and Dr Norman Daniel, a committed Catholic, who have written with great sympathy and understanding a number of scholarly works on Islam, are also believers in the ultimate truth of Christianity, that is, its fundamental dogmas. As a result, when it comes to the question of judging the fundamental Islamic belief in the unity of Godhead, they measure it against the doctrine of the Trinity. Since the two theological doctrines seem to be at variance with each other, they uphold and justify the Trinity to be the truth about One God. It can readily be admitted that such a perspective, deeply subjective as it inevitably is, is difficult to avoid or overcome.

At the same time, I am aware that any attempt to answer questions about the truth or falsity of a belief or religious doctrine falls beyond the scope of historical analyses. But this does not mean that a historian should also avoid the question of how and why some belief arose and in what ways it has influenced society. What, to a believer, may be an unquestionable and sacrosanct truth is very often shaped and conditioned by social and cultural traditions. In the final analysis, such phenomena are a matter of belief, opinion and perspective, very often seconded by an appeal to
authority in one shape or the other. I make no attempt to adjudicate between any opposing theological formulations, interpretations or claims. My approach to such controversial issues is primarily historical. Apart from pointing to some obvious
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logical inconsistencies that I have come across in the arguments of polemicists, I have not analysed the rationale of their religious or theological presuppositions, nor have offered any alternate solutions. I have also intentionally avoided any discussion or critique of religious propositions in their various forms, which nevertheless can meaningfully be subjected to a rational scrutiny in analytic philosophy.
But the question of Christian theological presuppositions has an important bearing on historiography. Some modern Christian historians, who, in the last few decades have looked at the history of the misperceptions of Islam in the West, have been and are committed to the truth of Christian dogmas. Apart from giving traditional explanations about how these sacred dogmas have roots in the New Testament, and were given definitive formulations and shape by the Fathers of the Church, they simply gloss over modern research in the history of early Christianity that has thrown new light on how Christian dogmas came into existence. As such important bodies of research have remained confined only to a small community of specialists and academics, most readers are unaware of their existence. I find laudable
the historical inquiries, approach and concerns that have solely focused on the theme of the Western attitudes to Islam. Nevertheless they fall short of presenting a full picture. My own view is that to understand Christian-Muslim encounters in the theological sphere, of which the polemical writings of the Christians form only a part, the reader should also have a clear historical picture of how the Christian dogmas evolved, because these became the theological presuppositions of Christian belief and the criteria for repudiating Islam and the prophetic mission of Muhammad. This also enables us to compare the standpoints of two religious traditions towards each other, and thus we can situate the polemical views in their proper place and settings. In this light, I have presented the history of the rise of Christianity and the conflicts in the early Church in the first two chapters of this book. These form an essential part of the present book for understanding the subsequent attitudes in the Christendoms towards other faiths. But they can also be read on their own. They deal with an immensely exciting area for study and reflection. Due to the shortage of space, I have presented only in a summary form the views and results of the research of some leading scholars on the history of the early Church. I believe that this information will enable readers to form their own opinion on how Christianity’s doctrines evolved and assess their role as essential presuppositions that played a major part in shaping the outlook of
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Christian apologists towards Islam in a wider historical perspective. It also shows how religious doctrines about the realm beyond the material world are conceived and shaped by human agency.
What are the Qur’anic views of Jesus and the Christian dogmas? Unfortunately, even some of those Western writers who have approached Islam with greater sympathy have hesitated to bring forth openly what the Qur’an says on the matter, while some others have offered their interpretation of the Qur’an with a view to defending Christian dogmas for which one finds little support in the Qur’an. Obviously, such views are motivated to defend and preserve what one believes to be the true dogmas. In Chapter 5, I have outlined the Qur’anic views of Jesus and some of the Christian dogmas. Whether or not one agrees with these views is the least of my concerns, but the Qur’anic texts are quite explicit on these points, and it is only fair that the Qur’anic perspective as an expression and culmination of pure monotheism should be judged on the basis of what it clearly proclaims.
It is commonly assumed that one’s religious beliefs are not subject to any objective scrutiny or assessment, but that does not mean that common sense and basic principles of logic presupposed in all human thought and discourse should be discarded to uphold what to a believer may be a ‘religious truth’. Neither am I advocating that the dogmas of one religious tradition in some esoteric way are superior to or better than the other. Intellectual honesty requires that a proposition that is logically inconsistent and contradictory should not be passed on as logically valid.
In the case of both Christianity and Islam, an old monotheistic tradition is their common root and denominator. But how did the concept of One God and his attributes come to be looked at and interpreted in two religions, and set them up at odds against each other? Obviously, the emphasis had shifted to highlighting their differences, not their many similarities and agreements.

Nasir Khan,
Oslo, 2006

This book can be downloaded by clicking on the…
sudhan.wordpress.com
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How bigotry distorts our thinking

January 10, 2015

Nasir Khan, January 10, 2015

If the Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik (for more on Breivik, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anders_Behring_Breivik) were a Muslim, then all Muslims would have been blamed for his crime and the lives of Muslim population of Norway made a living hell. (I live in Norway and I had seen how the Muslim people of Norway, including myself as a humanist and secularist [!], were blamed and treated in the wake of September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States of America. It was as if Muslims from Norway had attacked the Twin Towers in New York and they suddenly had to face the hatred, revulsion and hostility of so many native Norwegians against them.)

But Breivik was a white Norwegian, a white supremacist, an anti-Muslim ‘Knights Templar’ and a cold-blooded killer. Therefore no one ascribed his crime to the Norwegian people or to Christianity. That’s how we categorise ‘our terrorists’ and ‘their terrorists’ so differently. Such is the nature of bigotry that rules the passions of many people who have traditional ethno-religious blinkers.

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Muslim shooter = entire religion guilty
Black shooter = entire race guilty
White shooter = mentally troubled lone wolf
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Anders Behring Breivik (Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈɑnːəʂ ˈbeːrɪŋ ˈbrɛiviːk];[6] born 13 February 1979) is the perpetrator of the 2011 Norway attacks. On 22 July 2011, he bombed government buildings in Oslo, killing eight people. He then killed 69 more people, mostly teenagers, in a mass shooting at…
en.wikipedia.org

The danger of using the Paris killings against Muslim people

January 8, 2015

Nasir Khan, January 8, 2015

Any person who commits a premeditated murder is held accountable for culpable homicide under the rules of criminal law. If any such murderer thinks his actions are in the service of some cause or has some other motives then he will still stand accused of the crime of unlawful killing. Only a court of law can find out about all the surrounding circumstances including the state of mind or the intention of the accused, in legalese the mens rea of the crime to ascertain his guilt.

The abominable killings of twelve people in Paris by two men who are still at large has shaken the conscience of the world. That is a good thing that the world has reacted in this way. But unfortunately the world does not always react in this way when some powerful countries attack and kill innocent people in hundreds, thousands or hundreds of thousands.

At the same time, it is also important to remember that the actions of these two men in no way can be ascribed to other people who by religion are Muslims and are spread all over the world. It is very easy for the media and some officials to blame Muslims and their religion, Islam, for any ghastly crimes by some individuals.

In fact, the Paris killings are already being used by anti-Muslim forces to spread hatred and hostility against the Muslim people, who have nothing to do with these murders. The tragedy of the Paris murders should not be used to provoke hostility towards innocent Muslim people.

The Paris Massacre January 7, 2015

January 7, 2015

Nasir Khan,

Today’s cold-blooded massacre of 12 people was a deeply shocking, reprehensible and horrible massacre of journalists and employees of Charlie Weekly. The misguided killers have committed the most despicable crime in the name of a great religious figure.

But countless millions of ordinary, peace-loving and hard-working Muslims around the word have nothing to do with these criminals and murderers. There is also the danger of inter-ethnic and inter-religious tensions because many neo-Nazis, political extremists and right-wingers in Europe will use the tragic killings to stir hatred against Muslim communities living in European countries, put the blame on Muslims and provoke people against them.

Let’s hope and pray that all people with religious and non-religious affiliations and identities stand united and condemn the Paris murders and uphold the banner of freedom of expression and speech for all, everywhere. No religious maniacs, hoodlums or murderers should be allowed to dictate and impose their barbaric views on free and secular people and societies.

The Kashmir Conflict and the Indo-Pakistan military confrontaions

January 6, 2015

Nasir Khan, January 6, 2015

There has been not tangible move to resolve the Kashmir issue that had started at the partitioning of India in 1947 when the British raj came to an end there. Soon military hostilities started between the two new neighbours, India and Pakistan, over the princely State of Jammu and Kashmir. It was only through the UN mediation that the hostilities between the two countries were brought to an end and the parties occupying the areas were accepted as de facto powers. The temporary border-line between these powers was demarcated as the Line of Control.

However, the parties agreed to hold plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir to ascertain the will of the people, whether they would join India, Pakistan or become independent. That promise has remained unfilled. Despite resorting to military confrontations that led to much bloodshed and misery, the people of Jammu and Kashmir have been the main victims.

During the period of insurgency against the Indian rule in Kashmir some 100,000 (India says around 70,000) people were killed. At his time there are some 700,000 Indian soldiers in Kashmir to suppress the people who are asking for the end of the Indian rule and demanding their freedom (Azaadi).

But India has a different view of the conflict. According to this view Jammu and Kashmir are an ‘integral part of India’ and there is no problem in Jammu and Kashmir except for the terrorists operating there with the help of Pakistani authorities and militant groups.

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http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/06/thousands-flee-homes-in-kashmir-as-india-pakistan-clashes-spread?commentpage=1

Thousands flee homes in Kashmir as India-Pakistan clashes spread

About 6,000 civilians in Indian-controlled region leave homes as intense shelling reported along border

Thousands of Indians have fled their homes as fighting between India and Pakistan spread along a 124-mile stretch of the border in the disputed region of Kashmir.

Continues >>

Richard Falk: The Irrelevance of Liberal Zionism

January 5, 2015

Editor’s remarks:   In this article eminent scholar and peace activist Richard Falk shows the delusional side of the liberal Zionism and debunks all the claims made by its vocal advocates. His penetrating analysis cuts across the deception and misleading projections that are tossed around as a way forward in the present situation. Diverse views and opinions offered by the liberal Zionists are meant to cover-up the designs of the Israeli government and facilitate the expansionist policies in the West Bank by illegal settlements and marginalising the Palestinians to the extant that they have nothing left but to accept what the occupier decides for them. It is easy to see that the ‘two-state solution’ has been a useful tool in the hands of Israel while expanding its illegal settlements and thus making a viable Palestinian state virtually impossible if it didn’t relinquish the land it occupied in 1967. We have to keep in mind that Israel has not planted 600,000 militant Jewish settlers in the West Bank with the idea of dislodging them at some time. On the contrary, they have been put there as an essential part of the colonisation of the occupied Palestine. Their numbers are increasing and new settlements are expanding. The Palestinians have hopes and aspirations for self-determination and creating a sovereign state in their own land. But Israel has the military power and the backing of the United States to impose its will on a captive people.

Nasir Khan, Editor

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Richard Falk, MWC News, January  5, 2015

refuseniks

Frustrated by Israeli settlement expansion, excessive violence, AIPAC maximalism, Netanyahu’s arrogance, Israel’s defiant disregard of international law, various Jewish responses claim to seek a middle ground. Israel is criticized by this loyal opposition, sometimes harshly, although so is the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, and activists around the world. Both sides are deemed responsible in equal measure for the failure to end the conflict. With such a stance liberal Zionists seek to occupy the high moral ground without ceding political relevance. In contrast, those who believe as I do that Israel poses the main obstacle to achieving a sustainable peace are dismissed by liberal Zionists as either obstructive or unrealistic, and at worst, as anti-Israeli or even anti-Semitic.

Listen to the funding appeals of J Street or read such columnists in the NY Times as Roger Cohen and Thomas Friedman to grasp the approach of liberal Zionism. These views are made to appear reasonable, and even just, by being set off against such maximalist support for Israel as associated with AIPAC and the U.S. Congress, or in the NY Times context by comparison with the more conservative views of David Brooks (whose son currently serves in the IDF) who published a recent ‘balanced’ column lionizing Netanyahu, “The Age of Bibi” [Jan. 2, 2014]. Of all the deformed reasoning contained in the column, perhaps the most scandalous was comparing Netanyahu to Churchill, and to suggest that his story has the grandeur that bears a resemblance to Shakespeare’s MacBeth, an observation that many would find unflattering.

Continues >>

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