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Books and Documents

Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions - Part 7

The US government frequently imposes solitary confinement on suspects in terrorism cases prior to trial.[495] Prolonged pre-trial solitary confinement not only raises concerns of cruel and inhumane treatment or punishment, but it also has an impact on defendants’ ability to assist in their own defence, and may compel them to waive their trial rights and accept plea deals.[496].....

 

Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions - Part 6

However, in some terrorism cases, US courts have allowed the government to hide the identity of witnesses—including foreign agents and US officials—either for their own protection, or because the witness works in a sensitive position. At times the witness’ identity is hidden even from defence counsel, making it nearly impossible for the defence to investigate the person’s background. The use of anonymous witnesses raises concerns about adequate protections of the right to a fair trial.....

 

South Asia’s Apostle of Secular Humanism – Josh Malihabadi (Concluding Part)
Josh Malihabadi

Every reader of this essay almost certainly carries a passport: Pakistani, Indian, Canadian, American, or whatever. Our world is presently divided into nations, which we tend to think of as permanent entities while forgetting how utterly recent they are. The League of Nations in the 1930’s had a maximum of 58 members. This is less than one third of the current 192 members of the United Nations. In other words, about 80 years ago, two thirds of the world’s current nation-states did not exist......

 

...'it is impossible to speak of an interpretation of the Qur’anic text applicable to the whole world.' This opinion is hardly post-modern or even novel: it informed the jurisprudence of Najm al-Din al-Tufi and many  Shi'a Ghulat in the middle ages, and is a recurrent modernist theme in our century. Mustafa al-Siba'i, for instance, used it to enable his vision of the Qur'an as a kind of Marxist manifesto. But Esack, by querying the Hadith literature, has in fact closed this option against himself. The contexts of Qur'anic revelation are mediated entirely by the Hadith. Sira is merely a Hadith genre - and not the least precarious one; and if there is no Sira, there are no Asbab al-Nuzul....

 

Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions - Part 5

Terrorism cases in the US since September 11, 2001 have raised serious fair trial concerns. This is largely due to investigative and detention tactics that occur prior to trial including prolonged solitary confinement during pre-trial detention, as well as procedural impediments imposed by the US Congress or courts; use of prejudicial evidence such as evidence obtained through coercion; classified evidence obtained by warrantless wiretaps that cannot be fairly contested; and inflammatory evidence....

 

South Asia’s Apostle of Secular Humanism – Josh Malihabadi (Part 2)

Josh’s admiration for Bhagat Singh was not merely because this young man was a fighter, but also because he was a free-thinker and atheist. With a keen sense of history and commitment to his goals, Bhagat Singh had educated himself in matters of society and politics before picking up the gun. In this he differed from most others engaged infighting the British who had thought little about the contours of a post independence society......

 
The Supreme Jihad
M. Irfan, New Age Islam

Much confusion and ambiguity surround the term ‘jihad’. Radical fundamentalist self-styled Islamic outfits claim that the seemingly endless violence they have unleashed in different parts of the world are Islamically-sanctioned jihads. In contrast, their ideological Muslim opponents insist that this violence has nothing whatsoever to do with true Islamic jihad, and that; in fact, it is its polar opposite......

The Killing Equation
Henry Siegman

Both conservatives and liberals, including David Brooks of The New York Times and Leon Wieseltier of The New Republic, have criticized the movie and its director, as well as Tony Kushner, co-author of the screenplay, for failing to distinguish between terrorist groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad that deliberately target innocents, and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), whose retaliatory strikes—even when they cause “collateral damage” and kill civilians—target only terrorists......

 

Passive tolerance can often mean simple indifference to the religious ‘other’. A higher level of tolerance, Heredia says, is love and acceptance of people of other faiths. At this stage, there is a growing recognition that each of our religious truth-claims is necessarily partial and limited and needs to be complemented by the equally partial truth-claims of other faiths. But even here, the ‘other’ remains the ‘other’. However, at the highest—mystical or spiritual—level of tolerance that Heredia talks about—the ‘other’ and the ‘self’ cease to exist in contradistinction to each other and together merge into the One. This is the level reached by mystics in all religious traditions, for whom different religions as such no longer exist…..

I was looking for material to explain Sania Mirza’s trauma with Hindutva’s ultra-nationalists when I remembered that Dilip Kumar had undergone similar experiences, of being called a Pakistan sympathiser, even a Pakistani agent. It is another matter that Muslim zealots in both countries have targeted India’s most emulated movie icon for adopting a Hindu screen name instead of sticking to Yousuf Khan, which came with his Peshawari Muslim identity….

 

Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions - Part 4

The law empowers prosecutors to prosecute conduct that might seem otherwise innocuous— translating books and publishing them online, or storing ponchos and socks, as described in two cases below—for the ostensible purpose of preventing terrorism. While US courts have interpreted this law as criminalizing conduct only—and not as infringing on freedom of association—many scholars disagree. David Cole, a law professor who also served as counsel for plaintiffs in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, has written, “what good is it to have a right to join or associate with a group if the government can make it a crime to do anything whatsoever on the group’s behalf?”[....

 

South Asia’s Apostle of Secular Humanism – Josh Malihabadi (Part 1)
Josh Malihabadi

Those steeped in the high culture of Urdu poetry do not really care. They know well the power and exhilarating beauty of Josh’s literary creations. His dexterity and genius in transposing thoughts into words created new thoughts and expressions. Poetry flowed from his pen like water from a bubbling spring – he is said to have authored well over 100,000 A’shaar (couplets) and more than one thousand Rubaiyyats. Some among them represent the finest that Urdu poetry has to offer. This puts him into the pantheon of Urdu poets alongside giants like Ghalib and Iqbal......

Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions - Part 3

In some cases we examined, a government agent appears to have taken on the role of a religious authority figure for a target who was searching for guidance about Islam because he was young, a recent convert, or socially outside the mainstream Muslim community due to race or ethnicity. These cases are particularly troubling to many in American Muslim communities, where members feel law enforcement is exploiting the very paranoia described in detail in section VII. In some cases, the FBI employed versions of Islam when interacting with the target that led targets towards specific mindsets and actions.....

 

We have been asked by our academic colleagues in Gaza – whose universities have been destroyed a number of times in the last six years, who are unable to teach or study, and who are also in growing need of food and medicines, like the rest of the almost two million Palestinians living in Gaza – to urge you to act urgently, to make your voice heard in Israel and abroad against what the Israeli government is inflicting on the Gaza population. More than 650 people have been killed already in Gaza by the IDF since the start of the Israeli operation on July 8th, 2014, and the number will be bigger by the time you read this message......

 
The Holy Vedas: Part - 6
Pandit Satyakam Vidyalankar

The Holy Vedas: Part - 6

 Pious souls, may you sing sacred hymns with intense devotion, like flying swans and associated with Nature's bounties, partake in the sparkling glory of the Supreme Lord.....

 

Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions - Part 2

Fears of home-grown terrorism and radicalisation theories have driven federal agencies to treat American Muslim communities as uniquely susceptible to terrorist propaganda and to subject them to greater government scrutiny.[22] Yet this assumption is unsubstantiated. As a 2009 Pew study put it, “[v]iolent jihad is discordant with the values, outlook and attitudes of the vast majority of Muslim Americans, most of whom reject extremism.”.....

 
The Holy Vedas: Part - 5
Pandit Satyakam Vidyalankar

He knows truth who knows This God as One.

Neither second nor third Nor fourth is He called; Neither fifth nor sixth Nor seventh is He called; Neither eighth nor ninth Nor tenth is He called.

He surveys all that breathes And that breathes not.

He possesses the Power Supreme He is the One, The One Alone.

In Him All divine powers Become the One Alone. (Atharva.13.5.14-21)…..

 

Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions - Part 1

Muslims are a fundamental part of the American family. In fact, the success of American Muslims and our determination to guard against any encroachments on their civil liberties is the ultimate rebuke to those who say that we’re at war with Islam.

—US President Barack Obama, May 23, 2013

This community is under siege. And even if they’re not under siege, they think they are.

—Tom Nelson, attorney, Portland, Oregon, August 13, 2012

Terrorism entails horrifying acts, often resulting in terrible losses of human life. Governments have a duty under international human rights law to take reasonable measures to protect people within their jurisdictions from acts of violence. When crimes are committed, governments also have a duty to carry out impartial investigations, to identify those responsible, and to prosecute suspects before independent courts. …. However, since the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, DC, the United States government has failed to meet its international legal obligations with respect to its investigations and prosecutions of terrorism suspects, as well as its treatment of terrorism suspects in custory......

The Origins of War
Gwynne Dyer

Some 59 skeletons were found in 1964, lying together in a gravesite beside the Nile Rıver, near what is now the Egyptian-Sudanese border. They died between 13,000 and 14,000 years ago, and some of them seemed to have died in battle. That was big news half a century ago, when most people still believed organized killing was an invention of civilization. Now they are back in the news, billed as evidence of the world’s oldest-known battle……

 

A Life inside Al Qaeda

When he fled to London to avoid angry members of his former gang, he ended up in central London’s Regent’s Park mosque; then he was offered a Saudi-funded scholarship to study Arabic and his new faith at an ultra-conservative religious school in Yemen. He accepted and this first trip to the Middle East marked the real start of his extraordinary journey through 15 years of extremism in Britain, Denmark and Yemen…..

 

The stand of the Union of India is that Fatwas are advisory in nature and no Muslim is bound to follow those. Further, Dar-ul-Quaza does not administer criminal justice and it really functions as an arbitrator, mediator, negotiator or conciliator in matters pertaining to family dispute or any other dispute of civil nature between the Muslims. According to the Union of India, Dar-ul-Quaza can be perceived as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism, which strives to settle disputes outside the courts expeditiously in an amicable and inexpensive manner and, in fact, have no power or authority to enforce its orders and, hence, it cannot be termed as either in conflict with or parallel to the Indian Judicial System. The Union of India has not denied that Fatwas as alleged by the petitioner were not issued but its plea is that they were not issued by any of the Dar-ul- Quaza. In any event, according to the Union of India, few bad examples may not justify abolition of system, which otherwise is found useful and effective……

The Smiling Face of Iraq’s Islamic State

The magazine carries pictures of crowds cheering IS militants as they parade through Syrian and Iraqi towns with the black flag, graphic photos apparently of Sunni civilians slain by the “Rafidhi,” a derogatory term for Shias, and of Shia soldiers “heroically” killed by the Mujahideen. Dabiq also features a long and complex theological article essentially justifying the caliphate and Baghdadi’s position as both religious and political leader.....

Dialogue in a Pluralistic World

Desiderio Pinto’s essay covers a wide historical canvas, focusing particularly on noted Indian Muslim figures who promoted interaction with, and understanding of, people of other faiths. These include early Arab and Persian scholars who translated Buddhist and Hindu texts into Arabic and Persian, and several Sufis who unhesitatingly adopted certain ‘Buddhist’ and ’Hindu’ practices, not seeing this as in any way contradicting Islam.....

 

The Sufi Movement: East and West

Hazrat Inayat Khan was a man with a mission to bridge the gap between East and West and between people who claimed to follow different religions. This he sought to do through the message of mysticism that transcends humanly-constructed barriers of communal, ethnic and national differences. He was the one called to bring Sufi wisdom to the West, as was made clear by his Murshid or guru, Hazrat Abu Hashim Madani.  Hazrat Inayat Khan described Sufism as “a mother of the coming reform in the religious world.”.....

 

Hafeez Naumani: My Story of Captivity
Hafeez Naumani

As is obvious from his autobiographical account the policy of harassment, intimidation, humiliation and implication of Muslims (specially the youth) in fabricated and baseless cases has been in place since 1947 and continues to be followed till today no matter which government is in power......

 
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