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The Holy Vedas: Part - 8
Pandit Satyakam Vidyalankar

The Holy Vedas: Part - 8

 May the divine speech that

Perfect our understanding and divine knowledge,

 And all-satisfying divine culture

Be with us at our faultless Yajna and worship

And protect us for our welfare. (Rig.3.4.8).....

 

Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions - Part 11

Since the 9/11 attacks, successive US administrations have said that they are seeking to build relationships with American Muslim community leaders and groups, as they are critical sources of information to prevent terrorist plots. They have also said that they seek to help build American Muslim communities’ sense of cohesion and trust in law enforcement, to counter violent extremism. Many of the policies and practices we have described in this report, however, run counter to these purported goals: in some communities, they have generated fear of interacting with law enforcement......

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: 67 - The Purpose of Life (1)
Hazrat Inayat Khan

Every living being has a purpose in life and it is the knowing of that purpose which enables every soul to fulfill it. As it is said, 'Blessed is he who knoweth his life's purpose.' Be not surprised if you find many groping in darkness all through life, doing one thing or another, going from one thing to the other, always dissatisfied, always discontented. And everything they undertake remains without result. The reason is the absence of that knowledge, the knowledge of the purpose of life…..

 
The Holy Vedas: Part - 7
Pandit Satyakam Vidyalankar

The Holy Vedas: Part - 7

Work and live as an act of offering to achieve immortal fame and complete satisfaction of having lived a successful life. Remember you are the child of immortality and that all life is but an offering, Never forget that the nectar-honey of the flower of mercy is for those who sacrifice, and the life offered is the life accepted. Let the sacred flame of divine fire shine brightly in your soul......

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: 66 - The Aim of Life
Hazrat Inayat Khan

The main object of life can only be one object, though there may be as many external objects as there are things and beings. There is one object of life for the reason that there is only one life and this in spite of the fact that it appears outwardly to be many lives. It is in this thought that we can unite and it is from this thought that true wisdom is learned. No doubt that main object of life cannot be understood at once, and therefore the best thing for every person is first to pursue his object in life. For in the accomplishment of his personal object he will arrive some day at the accomplishment of that inner object…..

 

Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions - Part 10

Unlike other similarly situated Bureau of Prisons inmates,[700] prisoners are designated for a CMU and transferred there without prior notice or pre-transfer opportunity to contest their placement. Instead, within five days of transfer to a CMU, an inmate receives a “Notice of Transfer to Communications Management Unit.” Our review of these notices from several cases suggests they do not describe specific acts or evidence underlying a designation that would permit a prisoner to challenge them....

 

Bloodthirsty Islamic State Militants Threaten Iraqi Civilians with Genocide But Could Also Have Effects on West
Patrick Cockburn

The resurgence of al-Qaida-type groups is not a threat confined to Syria, Iraq and their near neighbours. What is happening in these countries, combined with the increasing dominance of intolerant and exclusive Wahhabite beliefs within the worldwide Sunni community, means that all 1.6 billion Muslims – almost a quarter of the world's people – will be increasingly affected. Furthermore, it seems unlikely that non-Muslim populations, including many in the West, will be untouched by the conflict.....

 

Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions - Part 9

As Human Rights Watch has previously documented,[592] jails and prisons across the United States often respond to prison or inmate management challenges by segregating individuals from the general population, often through prolonged physical and social isolation, for hours, days, weeks, or even years. Isolation for 22 hours per day or more, and for one or more days, fits the generally accepted definition of solitary confinement.[593] When it is prolonged, solitary confinement can constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment prohibited by human rights treaties to which the US is party....

 

Express Investigation Report of Riots in Uttar Pradesh
Appu Esthose Suresh

A third of all “communal” incidents recorded by police in Uttar Pradesh in the 10 weeks following the Lok Sabha election results have occurred in — or on the fringes of — 12 assembly constituencies that are scheduled to go to polls over the next few months. If a larger circle is imagined — covering broadly the region around these constituencies — this proportion rises to two-thirds, police records scrutinised by The Indian Express show. The records show a running strand of attempts made by an aggressive BJP, a desperate SP, and a flagging BSP to turn every clash involving individuals from the two largest religious communities into a communal issue. There is also clear evidence of provocation in areas where Dalits and Muslims live together, leading to communal polarisation……

All Parts of the Investigation:

Express Investigation Part-I: Over 600 ‘Communal Incidents’ In UP Since LS Results, 60% near By-poll Seats

Express Investigation Part-II: My Loudspeaker versus Your Loudspeaker

Express Investigation Part-III: Dalit-Muslim Divide Deepens, Goes Rural

Fighting Kids to Dhaba Bill: Takes Little To Keep Communal Pot Simmering

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: 65 - The Alchemy of Happiness
Hazrat Inayat Khan

The soul in Sanskrit, in the terms of the Vedanta, is called Atman which means happiness or bliss itself. It is not that happiness belongs to the soul; it is that the soul itself is happiness. Today we often confuse happiness with pleasure; but pleasure is only an illusion, a shadow of happiness; and in this delusion man may pass his whole life, seeking after pleasure and never finding satisfaction. There is a Hindu saying that man looks for pleasure and finds pain.…..

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: 64 - More on the Soul
Hazrat Inayat Khan

The word 'soul' is used by different people in different senses. But the manner of its connection with the body proves it to be divine. Therefore, the Sufi conception of the soul is that it is the divine part in man. The fire that comes from coal or wood is in reality the part of the sun that is in them. When the soul qualities arise in the heart of a man and show themselves, this proves that it is the divine part in him that rises, like the flame in the fire. Soul is in all objects, both things and beings.....

 

Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions - Part 8
Human Rights Watch

Sentences in terrorism and terrorism-related cases vary considerably. In the 494 terrorism and terrorism-related prosecutions we reviewed based on Department of Justice data, defendants who went to trial received a median sentence of 11.3 years, while those who took plea agreements received a median sentence of 3.2 years. More than one-third of those who took a plea deal received either no prison sentence or a sentence of time served. [546] However, 91 defendants received sentences of 15 years or more, including 19 life sentences...

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: 63- On Silence
Hazrat Inayat Khan

There is a saying that words are valuable but silence is more precious. This saying will always prove true. The more we understand the meaning of it, the more we realize its truth. How many times we find during the day that we have said something, which would have been better left unsaid! How many times we disturb the peace of our surroundings, without meaning it, by lack of silence….

 

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......

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