While minutely scrutinising the events after his first address to the Muslim world, a perception can be built up that there is a significant change in the attitude of the American policy planners in post-Cairo speech or in Obama's tenure so far. We don't see any visible signs of targeting the Islamic society or the Arab World in the foreign policy of the United States though it's also true that the Muslim World at large had not seen any progress in the solutions of the issues which are in the hearts of every Muslim and in which America has a significant role to play.
Before his address in Cairo, Obama might have envisaged the slow pace of the confidence building between America and the Muslims in his post-Cairo address period which might have prompted him to caution, “no single speech can eradicate years of mistrust. But I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly to each other the things we hold in our hearts .There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other, as the Holy Quran tells us”. -- Navaid Hamid
India: Urdu Press - Waiting for Obama
Rashtriya Sahara writes in its October 30 editorial: “Obama’s visit has extraordinary significance. All the etiquette of being a host, all diplomatic norms, have to be held as supreme. But the prudence of the Indian political leadership will be tested. The US will make a serious effort to take India along with it as it confronts international issues and problems, and enlist its active support in these matters. But we will have to ensure the preservation of our national interest in every manner. So far, friendship with the US has never been beneficial for anyone. Its tradition of taking too much and giving very little should teach us a lot. It is not necessary to experiment with everything. With all these reservations we extend a warm welcome to the head of the only superpower of the world.” -- Seema Chishti
New Delhi: Nov 1, 2010: Jamiat Ulema Hind’s Conference on the Kashmir issue held in Ram Lila Maidan here on Sunday unanimously called for the withdrawal of the army from Kashmir and putting an end to gross human rights violations by the state police and the security forces to restore peace and normalcy in the valley. It appealed to the leadership of the militants, calling them ‘mujahideen’, thus sanctifying their terrorism as Jihad, to take recourse to democratic process. No attempt was made to explain how Jihad could be waged democratically.
Most speakers displayed complete ignorance of or were willing to condone the treacherous policies pursued by Pakistan that has resulted in the present situation. Mufti Mukarram went to the extent of demanding the implementation of UN resolutions which could not be implemented in 1950s due to Pakistan’s unwillingness to withdraw its armed forces from the state of Jammu and Kashmir, as the resolution demanded. The late Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had practically rescinded these resolutions in the Simla Pact of 1972 calling for resolving Kashmir issue bilaterally and former President General Musharraf said repeatedly a couple of years ago that they are no longer applicable. Journalist M J Akbar, however, clarified, to loud cheers from the audience, that he was not with Kashmiris if they wanted another division of the country, but like every other Indian, he too would support them if they demanded justice.
The conference was presided over by the President of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind Maulana Syed Md Usman Mansurpuri and attended by its Secretary Maulana Mahmood Madani, Maulana Mujtaba Farooque, Secretary Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Maulana Abdul Wahhab Khilji, Secretary Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadis, Film Director and human rights activist Mahesh Bhatt, Journalist Dr Aziz Burney, Journalist M J Akbar, Swami Agnivesh, Renowned Gandhian Rajiv Vohra, K K Jain, Kamal Farooqi and Professor Tahir Mehmood along with other dignitaries and intellectuals. – New Age Islam News Bureau
According to intelligence reports, about 122 Chinese companies are operating in Pakistan at present, employing approximately 11,000 Chinese engineers and workers. In fact, China is involved in a big way in infrastructure projects — right from construction of roads and bridges, telecommunication, mineral exploration, construction of dams, hydro-power projects to water diversion channels — in PoK and the northern area of Gilgit-Baltistan. -- Bharti Jain
Recently, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, a powerful group of clerics from the seminary—not one to hesitate from engaging with issues of social or political significance—adopted a calibrated resolution on Kashmir. Unfortunately, it is bound to have no effect on both Islam-baiters and jehadi groups: the former will concoct conspiracy theories, the latter will ignore it altogether. But what the clerics have done is to courageously negotiate the complex and difficult space between the Indian establishment’s hawkish sentiment on the Kashmir issue, the majoritarian ‘nationalist’ sentiment, the separatist sentiment of Kashmiri Muslims, and the guardedness of Muslims in the rest of India. -- Neelabh Mishra
A CHARGESHEET filed on the 2007 Ajmer blasts, which refers to senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ( RSS) leader Indresh Kumar, exposes the role of top RSS officials in terror activities and vindicates the expose carried out by Headlines Today in July.
Given the arrests of RSS functionaries like Jharkhand Prant Pracharak Ashok Varshney and Central committee member Ashok Beri who had given shelter to main accused Devender Gupta, Sunil Joshi from Madhya Pradesh and Sandeep Dange from Maharashtra, it comes as no surprise that a top central leader like Indresh is alleged to be involved in coordinating the attack. The fact that Indresh was behind the Muslim wing of the RSS, as well as the Forum for Integrated National Security makes his involvement all the more sinister.
Instead of raising a hue and cry, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) must distance itself from the RSS, or at least pressurise it into taken action against these tainted functionaries. The party must allow the investigation to take its course rather than question its credibility. Furthermore, the BJP governments in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat must stop dragging their feet on the investigations, as many of the absconding accused are believed to be hiding in these states. It is of paramount importance that matters of national security be kept away from political partisanship. -- Editorial in Mail Today
CHARGESHEET NAILS TOP RSS LEADER ’ S LIE
By Sudhanshu Mishra in Jaipur
‘Purohit trying to divide the Sangh Parivar at behest of Cong leaders’
By Dalip Singh in New Delhi
How have the BJP and its extended family responded to the verdict? The VHP, as the principal arm of the Ayodhya movement, has taken a maximalist position. It has sought the entirety of the territory the 60 feet by 40 feet Mir Baqi used to build his shrine; the 2.77 acres that was the mandir-masjid complex; the 67 acres of land, much of it formerly owned by Hindu groups, acquired by the Union government two decades ago for a massive Ram temple. It has said a mosque can only be built outside this space, and indeed outside Ayodhya. -- Ashok Malik
Paradoxically, the Kashmir Valley where one now hears calls for ‘azadi’ was ruled ruthlessly for over 700 years by Mongols, Afghans, Mughals, Sikhs and Dogras before people experienced democracy and freedom under India’s Constitution. Moreover, while communal harmony has prevailed in the multi-religious Jammu and Ladakh regions, it is in the Kashmir Valley alone, which boasts of a proud history of secular ‘Kashmiriyat’, that 4,00,000 members of the minority community of Pandits have been forced to flee their homes by a Pakistan-sponsored jihad backed indirectly by the All-Party Hurriyat Conference. -- G Parthasarathy
The task for the Kashmiri leadership is clear. Improved policing has brought down the killing. The lull — and it must be recognised as no more than that — must be used to bring the people of the state, and the Valley in particular, towards participation in governance, with the concomitant official accountability which the rest of India is guaranteed. As for the Union of India, the answer is incredibly simple — allow to the Kashmiris the same respect and dignity that is considered a right by every Indian citizen. If we can do this, this agitation will be remembered only as a rude aftershock to the tremor of the ’90s. Failure risks a relapse into the reckless violence that we had hoped forever gone. -- Wajahat Habibullah
The Allahabad High Court's disregard of the political nature of the Ram movement is surprising, considering the ease with which it moved beyond the boundaries of law and reason to explore issues of faith. There is another compelling factor here: The dramatic unfolding of the political story within the pages of the court's own judgment. Indeed, the legal twists and turns outlined in the judgment are not merely episodic highlights in a marathon court battle fought between warring parties; an unmistakably strong political narrative binds them together, never mind that the court itself remains oblivious to it. -- Vidya Subrahmaniam
More disclosures relating to David Coleman Headley of the Chicago cell of Lashkar-e-Tayyeba embarrassing to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation have been brought out in two detailed investigative reports by Sebastian Rotella of ProPublica, a public service website which specialises in investigative reporting. These two reports titled “FBI was warned years in advance of Mumbai attacker’s terror ties” and “Feds confirm Mumbai plotter trained with terrorists while working for DEA”, which were published on the website on October 15 and 16, 2010, have also been used by the Washington Post, thereby adding to their credibility. -- B Raman
With Muslims constituting 16.5 per cent of the voters in the state (of Bihar), all the parties are going all out to woo them. Besides announcing special concessions for the community, many are banking on popular Muslim leaders to get the votes. So, if the BJP has Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, its ally, the JD(U), has roped in former RJD leader Mohammed Taslimuddin. This has made the BJP uneasy as the two Simanchal Muslim leaders don’t quite see eye to eye.... Like the RJD, the Congress has also given over 30 per cent tickets to members of the minority community. Perhaps the only mainstream party which does not have a prominent Muslim face is the LJP, after Baliyawai left the party. Still, LJP president Ram Vilas Paswan has picked 25 per cent Muslim candidates. -- Santosh Singh
There is however some good news. Those who think they can still milk hysteria are blind to an extraordinary change that has come about in India. The people, Hindu or Muslim, have risen above the negative politics of communal conflict; they want the positive politics of development. Faith and worship still matter to Indians; and it is a very limited, elitist, Delhi notion that the young have moved beyond religion. They have not. But they have moved beyond violence as a means to their horizon.
The impoverished have understood a simple, important, over-riding reality: poverty is not communal. There is no shortage of places for prayer in our country. There is, however, a shortage of self-respect, since every hungry stomach in our country is a sharp slap on the face of the idea of India. 2010 is a hundred years away from 1992. -- M J Akbar
The crucial divergences and competing interests between the US and Pakistan are no secret. If Bob Woodward’s newest book Obama’s Wars is accurate, the White House regards Pakistan as “the cancer” that must be cured and on which success or failure in Afghanistan rests. Just when it seemed that things could not get worse, they did. One would have thought that given the ongoing catastrophic floods, conditions in Pakistan were at a nadir. But last week, several incidents lowered even that bar regarding US-Pakistani ties. -- Harlan Ullman
The verdict claims that there was a temple of the 12th Century AD at the site which was destroyed to build the mosque — hence the legitimacy of building a new temple. The excavations of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and its readings have been fully accepted even though these have been strongly disputed by other archaeologists and historians. Since this is a matter of professional expertise on which there was a sharp difference of opinion the categorical acceptance of the one point of view, and that too in a simplistic manner, does little to build confidence in the verdict. One judge stated that he did not delve into the historical aspect since he was not a historian but went to say that history and archaeology were not absolutely essential to decide these suits! Yet what are at issue are the historicity of the claims and the historical structures of the past one millennium.
A mosque built almost 500 years ago and which was part of our cultural heritage was destroyed wilfully by a mob urged on by a political leadership. There is no mention in the summary of the verdict that this act of wanton destruction, and a crime against our heritage, should be condemned. The new temple will have its sanctum — the presumed birthplace of Rama — in the area of the debris of the mosque. Whereas the destruction of the supposed temple is condemned and becomes the justification for building a new temple, the destruction of the mosque is not, perhaps by placing it conveniently outside the purview of the case. -- Romila Thapar
The verdict of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court on the title suits related to the disputed site in Ayodhya makes you wonder whether anything straight can ever emerge from the crooked timber of the majoritarian mind. The three parties involved in the suits the Nirmohi Akhara, the Sunni Central Board of Waqf and the Ramlalla Virajman had expected, on wholly reasonable grounds, that the court would rule in favour of one or the other side without a trace of ambiguity.
The silver lining in all this is that the country has by and large heeded the appeal of political parties and religious leaders to remain calm after the verdict. With the exception of a few hotheads, who have again raised the spectre of Kashi and Mathura, their own reactions have indeed been muted. Does this augur well for an out-of-court settlement? Much would depend on the outcome of a criminal case related to the demolition of the mosque that is being heard in another court. -- Dileep Padgaonkar
The Allahabad high court judgement may not bring closure to the Ayodhya dispute. The Sunni Waqf Board has indicated that it intends to move the Supreme Court on the judgement, which says that the land where the Babri masjid stood must be divided between Hindu and Muslim groups. -- The Times of India
The majority verdict of the Allahabad High Court on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute is a compromise calculated to hold the religious peace rather than an exercise of profound legal reflection. -- The Hindu
By ordering a three-way split of the disputed 2.7-acre site in Ayodhya between the Hindu Mahasabha, the Sunni Waqf Board and the Nirmohi Akhara, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court has perhaps delivered the only possible verdict it could have on the vexed case that has dragged on for 60 long years. -- The Asian Age
The feral, giant creature of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute has been finally placed where it belongs: within the solid and safe confines of India’s legal system. This is no mean feat. -- Hindustan Times
The Lucknow bench’s verdict on Ayodhya is far from simple. And that is unsurprising: the judiciary was asked to respond to an entire block of issues, by one judge’s count as many as 30. -- The Indian Express
IT would be somewhat premature to arrive at a considered view of the Allahabad High Court’s judgment on the title suit over the Babri Masjid site given that it is such a voluminous verdict but a few of its strands are unmistakable. -- Mail Today
‘They should not have destroyed mosque’, he replies, referring to the Hindu hordes who tore down the Babri Masjid in 1992, unleashing a deadly dance of violence across India in which thousands of people, mainly Muslims, were slaughtered. ‘But, on the other hand, some Hindus claim that Babar had destroyed a temple to build the mosque in the first place. If a temple is built on the spot the Muslims will feel bad, and if the mosque is rebuilt Hindus will be angry. It is best to let the site be as it is.’ I nod, somewhat, but not entirely, in agreement.
As we shake hands and I am about to depart, Ram Kumar adds, ‘Only if, and when, Hindus and Muslims both come to realise that Allah or Ishwar—call Him what you will—cannot be captured in a building made of stone, and that He resides in the heart of every person, in every particle of the universe, in fact, that we can finally solve the Ayodhya conflict to everyone’s satisfaction.’
Ram Kumar is right, of course, but, I wonder, justifiably pessimistically, will Hindus and Muslims ever arrive at that very simple realisation? -- Yoginder Sikand, NewAgeIslam.com
The details of the murders – of the women beheaded, burned to death, stoned to death, stabbed, electrocuted, strangled and buried alive for the "honour" of their families – are as barbaric as they are shameful.
Many women's groups in the Middle East and South-west Asia suspect the victims are at least four times the United Nations' latest world figure of around 5,000 deaths a year. Most of the victims are young, many are teenagers, slaughtered under a vile tradition that goes back hundreds of years but which now spans half the globe.
A 10-month investigation by The Independent in Jordan, Pakistan, Egypt, Gaza and the West Bank has unearthed terrifying details of murder most foul. Men are also killed for "honour" and, despite its identification by journalists as a largely Muslim practice, Christian and Hindu communities have stooped to the same crimes. Indeed, the "honour" (or ird) of families, communities and tribes transcends religion and human mercy. But voluntary women's groups, human rights organisations, Amnesty International and news archives suggest that the slaughter of the innocent for "dishonouring" their families is increasing by the year. -- Robert Fisk
There is no getting away from the current polarization. I used to kid myself that some of my Muslim friends were being ‘paranoid’ when they talked about ‘the problem’ (as we had dubbed it). That ‘problem’ pretty much covered everything — from getting a job to finding accommodation. At the time (post- 26/11), we believed it was a passing phase that would disappear once everything ‘settled down’. Except that nobody quite knew what was meant to settle down or whether it would ever happen. But we consoled ourselves, saying sensitivities at the time were running high -- people were angry and afraid. More than that, people were confused. Two years down the line, there are no alibis, no screens to hide behind. Positions have obviously hardened to such a degree that now city colleges have begun to follow their own quota system and turn down eligible students because they are Muslims. We are a few weeks away from the anniversary of one of the most devastating and tragic events that ripped the city apart. No, we cannot and must not forget what happened. That awful attack was the work of hardcore terrorists. What we are doing may be much worse — we are killing the spirit of innocents. The latter crime may have far more lethal repercussions! -- Shobhaa De
Finally, we arrive in the vicinity of the former Babri Masjid, this being indicated by layers of barbed wire, sand bags untidily heaped on each other, and rows of policemen loitering about and acting busy. I join a serpentine queue a mile from what is euphemistically termed the ‘disputed site’, but it takes a good one hour, and several rounds of frisking, before I finally stand before the miserable little knoll for whose sake tens of thousands of people have lost their lives, and probably many more will in the days to come, as Hindus and Muslims lay claim to its possession all in the name of the divine and communal identity. Nothing at all remains of the original structure that I saw two decades years ago—the three breast-shaped domes with their nipple-like tips that balanced on massive black stone pillars carved with round bottomed kalashes and flowers. In its place now stands a decrepit hut built on stilts, flimsily covered with a canvas sheet, rendered inaccessible by an enormous wire walls and layers of metal railings. -- Yoginder Sikand
A New Age Islam Exclusive
The Partition of India in 1947 created a massive refugee problem. Millions of people were forced to flee across the newly-created border that divided India and Pakistan. In the years that followed, numerous minority groups from neighbouring countries who faced different forms of persecution migrated to India. Many also came for economic reasons. Yet, despite the relatively large number of refugees living in India, the country still does not have a precise refugee policy and nor is it a signatory to United Nations Convention on Refugees of 1951 and its Protocol for Refugees of 1967.
In 1978 the Government of India granted Indian citizenship to the refugees living in the camps, including both those who had arrived in 1965 and 1971. It authorized the District Magistrates in Gujarat and Rajasthan to do so on the basis of Citizenship Act of 1955. Immediately after the completion of the citizenship process the Government of Rajasthan, in collaboration with the Government of India, declared a rehabilitation package for the refugees of 1971.
Most of the 1965 refugees had been allocated villages inhabited by Muslims who migrated to Pakistan during 1965 war. The declared rehabilitation package for the 1971 migrants included land and a total of 90 million rupees cash from the Centre. According to the rehabilitation package, each family was supposed to be allocated either 25 bighas of land in the canal area or 75 bighas of barren land in the desert. However, in reality refugee families received only a part of their total allocated land due to administrative corruption and ignorance. The rest of the land was included in the National Desert Park or occupied by the local people. In several cases, due to fear the migrants could not protest. – An exclusive report for NewAgeIslam.com by Pak Visthapit Sangh, Yoginder Sikand & Hindu Singh Sodha
The floods have further exposed the regional, political and ethnic divisions in Pakistan.
One day in mid-April, Dr. Bernard Rieux spotted a dead rat in the building he lived in the Mediterranean city of Oran, Algeria. Thousands of rats staggered out of their hideouts in the following days and died on the streets gripped by violent convulsions, spitting blood. A fortnight later Michel, concierge of Rieux's building, was down with a strange illness. While the rats suddenly disappeared, Michel died within two days. -- M.K. Bhadrakumar
The dominant form of Islam in Kashmir is Sufism. In its peculiar Kashmiri variety. The religiosity of the Muslims reflected in equal, if not more, measure in the countless Sufi shrines as in mosques. Real, hardcore, Taliban style-extremism, simply, is alien to, and untransplantable on, the Kashmiri DNA, as it were. A section amongst Muslims does exist which disapproves of some rituals in Sufi shrines. But that, in Kashmir, doesn’t translate into a rejection of the Sufis themselves. Indeed, even the disapprovers hold the Sufis themselves in respect. In effect, then, the thought of the vast majority of Kashmiris ‘changing over’ to extremism is akin to asking someone to actually convert. An Islamic [Islamist? --SZ] view of things exists in Kashmir, but it is just one of the viewpoints. The drive to seek, invoke, an Islamisation of Kashmir is insidiously linked to regurgitating, within Indian public opinion, the sub-continental history of partition and the creation of Pakistan. It is also an act of dissolving the Kashmiris and electing the ‘Muslim anti-national’. That done, Kashmir can be presented as reflecting the danger of that partition, again. Which then becomes a major roadblock in even attempting to articulate to the wider Indian public what Kashmir is really about, leave alone seeking a solution to the problem. -- Najeeb Mubarki
Like veils, Azaadi takes on several layers of meaning in Kashmir. You can never really tell how many. It's something I first learned more than 15 years ago — going to buy walnut macaroons at the Jan bakery in Srinagar. It was closed and as I asked around, each explanation left me more confused. The first passer-by told me that curfew was on, the second attributed the closure to a hartal called by the Hurriyat, another added the bakery employees were picked up by security forces after firing in the area, and yet another told me that a militant group had issued threats. Eventually, it turned out that the owners were bereaved. I did not get my macaroons, but I took home the simple lesson — the truth has many versions in a conflict zone. -- Suhasini Haidar
While Pakistan drowns, Karachi burns yet again. The city has been turned into a parallel universe in which chaos rules and lives are cheap. It is high time the state woke up to the alarming disconnect between Karachi and the rest of the country. The Sindh government is clearly incapable of dousing the fire and as such the response must come from somewhere else. No solution may be in sight right now but one must be found sooner than later. -- Editorial in Dawn, Karachi
The pattern of Obaidullah Yousafzai’s murder is shockingly similar to many of those carried out earlier, followed by widespread violence. Although the police have claimed to have arrested two members of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi involved in the MQM MPA’s murder, the root cause of the brewing violence in the city, it has done little to calm sentiments. The latest incident appears more of a tit-for-tat killing. If indeed the proscribed outfits are using the rivalry between the two parties to their advantage, there is an urgent need to renew efforts for reconciliation. -- Editorial in Daily Times, Lahore