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‘Arab Spring’:  Exploited and Misused
Ramzy Baroud

The so-called Arab Spring, although now far removed from its initial meanings and aspirations, has become just that: a breeding ground for choosy narratives solely aimed at advancing political agendas which are deeply entrenched with regional and international involvement. Note how in the new reading of the ‘Arab Spring’, people are mere pawns that are defined by their sectarian leanings ....

 

Al-Azhar’s Double Game To Islamize Egypt And Maintain Power
Samir Khalil Samir
For centuries, al-Azhar, has followed the ruling power. The rector of the University is appointed by the President of the Republic. The expenses of the organization and the formation of its imams are largely paid for by the government. As a result its support for the Constitution that binds civil law with Islamic law and its future support to the Muslim Brotherhood is not surprising.

 

Recent events demonstrate that Egypt since January 25, 2011 is still a land of unexpected developments and large mobilizations. The setback suffered by the Muslim Brotherhood and their retreat prove that the game is far from being settled in favour of the Islamist currents. However, they remain influential.

Maulana Hussain Umar Ji Died a Broken Man
Maulana Umar ji

Though Maulana Umar ji was the first to apologise on behalf of his community for the Godhra incident, he died tarnished, accused of being the mastermind even after his acquittal. “His mind could never free itself of the stain on his reputation. Even after he was acquitted, the media kept asking: how did the ‘mastermind’ go free?” “If this is the reward you get for doing social work, God save this country.”...

 

Tahirul Qadri Leads A Long March To Nonsense: Is He The Latest Puppet Propped Up By The Deep State To Lead Democracy Astray?
Ayesha Siddiqa
Qadri insists that a caretaker government, which is a constitutional requirement before the general elections, should include the military and judiciary as well. This demand would have a lot of traction among generals and judges, both of whom consider themselves as guardians of the State and its ideology. While the military used to think of itself as a supra-institution, the judiciary has been elevated to a similar self-perception after the restoration of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in 2008 as a result of the popular lawyers’ movement.

Syria’s Painful Stalemate
Tariq Ramadan
Syria, alongside Iran, is presented as an enemy of Western interests; as a country that cannot be trusted, and from which the worst is to be expected. But when Syrians began to take to the streets, and when civilians were dying in their hundreds at the hands of the regular army, it took the American administration and European governments more than eight months to change their tune and their Syria policies.

 

Mandalisation Of Muslims Essential For Social Justice And Secularism
Vidya Bhushan Rawat, New Age Islam
When Narendra Modi and Kalyan Singh can become chief ministers of states?  When Modi can think of becoming prime minister of India and being projected cleverly by media then who can stop Owaisis from not doing the same for Muslims? When Raj Thackray goes unpunished and continue with his hate propaganda challenging the very Indian state then what is that stop Owaisis family as they too want to be the Muslim ‘edition’ of Bal Thackray.

Pakistan: Military Mindset in Existential Transition,  Recognising Internal threats, not India as enemy number one
Najam Sethi

General Ashfaq Kayani, the army chief, recently made an extraordinary statement that puts this existential transition in perspective. HE SAID that the real threat to the country came from internal sources and not external enemies. He was referring to the threat to the state from a failing economy that is a breeding ground for a raging insurgency in Balochistan, organised crime in the cities and bloody sectarianism and terrorism across the country.

 

Akbaruddin Owaisi and the Cycle of Hindu-Muslim Relations
Saif Shahin, New Age Islam

The doyen of Hyderabad’s Owaisi dynasty has repeatedly maligned Hindu gods and goddesses, referred to Hindus as “impotent” and suggested that Muslims could destroy all Hindus in India inside 15 minutes. These statements are not simply ludicrous, they are an open call to civil war. Rarely has a Muslim politician sunk to such depths. Muslims have to remember that for all its recurring troubles, their life in India is far better than in most parts of the world―whether as the minority or the majority. Despite all their little differences, Muslims’ relations with Hindus are far more cordial than with any other religious community. People like Owaisi, or anyone who tries to sow seeds of discord, must be denounced clearly and categorically.

Qadri demands a caretaker government in three weeks when it is already poised to take charge in a matter of three months; his idea of delaying elections is swiftly followed by a denial. And last but not least, he raves on about the merits of democracy while soliciting the army’s resistance towards the directives of an elected administration.

The Rapid Encroachment Of An Islamic State In Egypt
Nezar AlSayyad

None of the Muslim Brotherhood’s actions, before or after the Egyptian uprising, demonstrate that that the organization has truly embraced democracy.  Having failed to gain power through their almost 80 years of existence, initially through violent means and later through limited opposition, the Brotherhood came to accept that the only way to acquire it is through the democratic process. Their ultimate objective however is to revive the Islamic Caliphate, a system they consider to be an alternative political structure to the democracy that brought them to power.

 

Ostracize Akbaruddin Owaisi: He has denigrated Hindu divinities, something even Sangh Pariwar did not do in respect to Muslim divinities
Dileep Padgaonkar

The parivar bigots have been condemned, especially by secular Hindus. But the worst of these bigots have not done what Owaisi has done: he has denigrated the divinities that Hindus hold with utmost respect. Not once has any Hindu bigot attacked Allah or his Messenger (Peace Be Upon Him.) But this riff-raff of a politician has spoken in the most venomous terms about the divinities that are dear to the Hindu community. This affront will not be forgotten.

 Regardless of what the courts have in store for him, public opinion should bring pressure to bear on political parties to ostracize this man who spouts venom not just against Hindus but against citizens of all faiths who owe their primary allegiance to the Constitution. Doom stares the Congress, and other political parties that wear the secular badge on their sleeve, if they refuse to read the writing on the wall. And the writing on the wall is: Owaisi is a threat not only to inter-community harmony but to the security of India. He is, for all practical purposes, a fifth columnist.

No Justice In Pakistan
Eric S. Margolis

No Justice In Pakistan
Eric S. Margolis

Benazir and I met in Washington during the early 1990’s at a mutual friend’s home. She was exiled from Pakistan and quite alone in Washington, low on both money and hope. I offered to help her. Perhaps it was her beauty and charm, or my weakness for underdogs. Some Pakistani readers wrote in claiming I had been “bewitched” by Benazir. I confess she was indeed quite bewitching.

 

Ten Arab Lessons From The Past Year
Rami G. Khouri

First, it is now clearer than ever that there is no such thing as a cohesive, single “Arab World,” as every Arab country follows a different path in pursuing its own political reconfiguration. For the first time ever in their history, ordinary Arab men and women are driving the political changes under way, revealing the variety of identities, sentiments, legitimacies and conditions in different Arab countries, with their own character, nuance and agency.

 

It is intriguing and at the same time disappointing that the Egyptians who had put up a formidable fight against the modern day pharaoh, Hosni Mubarak, fighting and laying down lives for the cause of democracy and freedom, demonstrated unexplainable indifference when the time to choose or reject the draft constitution to give final shape to their destiny arrived. Only 33 per cent of the population exercised their votes that too on such an important referendum that could determine their future, raising questions on the legitimacy of the outcome. Out of the people voted, about 66 per cent said they wanted the country to have Sharia law as its guiding force. It means a considerable section (at least 35 per cent) wanted a secular constitution. It is important to note that majority in Cairo, the capital of Egypt opposed the Sharia based constitution.

Communalism And The Two-Nation Theory
Saad Hafiz

Press Council of India Chairperson Justice (Retd) Katju was quoted recently as saying that “Before 1857, there was zero percent communalism. Today 80 percent Hindus and 80 percent Muslims are communal.” Justice Katju is also reported to have said, “The cause of the Kashmir problem is the partition of India on a totally bogus basis — the two nation theory — that Hindus and Muslims are separate nations.”

 

The Challenge of Muslim Youth: A Yearning For Democracy, A Deep Sense Of Loss, Not Just Of Personal Or Political Freedom, But Of Opportunity
Najib Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia

The Arab awakening was driven by youth, organized by technology, and fired by a hunger for political change. In seeking more open societies and more responsive governments, young Arabs demonstrated a yearning for democracy. But they also expressed a deep sense of loss — not just of personal or political freedom, but of opportunity.

 

Objectives Resolution Secularism-13: Sikhs Opposed the Bifurcation of Punjab
Wajahat Masood

The founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, pleaded for a separate country for Muslims but his political upbringing in a pluralist society prevented him from declaring Pakistan an Islamic state. Contrary to the general perception in India, Mr. Jinnah was arguably a secular and liberal Muslim who wanted a Pakistan where all citizens would be equal in the eyes of the constitution irrespective of their religion, caste or creed, although one then justifiably wonders why did he demanded a separate nation for Muslims in the first place. Several top leaders of the Hindu Right in India too acknowledge his secular credentials now. Jinnah may have wanted a secular Pakistan but leaders like Liaqat Ali Khan and power hungry, opportunistic religious leaders, particularly Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi, the founder-ideologue of Jamaat-e-Islami, wanted it to be otherwise. In this beautifully written series titled, "Objectives Resolution and Secularism", Pakistani journalist Mr. Wajahat Masood delves deep into history to find out how Jinnah's dream of a secular and democratic Pakistan was shattered. – Editor

All hell broke loose on the Sikhs of Pindi, Jhelum, Chakwal, Taxila, Wah and Gujar Khan on March 4, 1947. They were slaughtered and burnt alive; their heir was trimmed; they were circumcised in public; they were forced to convert to Islam. The modesty of Sikh women was enraged. The wells in the Pothuhar region were stacked with the dead bodies of Sikh girls. In Kahuta village alone, 2000 Sikhs were burnt alive. -- Wajahat Masood

Objectives Resolution and Secularism –14: When Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs Became Beasts
Wajahat Masood

The founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, pleaded for a separate country for Muslims but his political upbringing in a pluralist society prevented him from declaring Pakistan an Islamic state. Contrary to the general perception in India, Mr. Jinnah was arguably a secular and liberal Muslim who wanted a Pakistan where all citizens would be equal in the eyes of the constitution irrespective of their religion, caste or creed, although one then justifiably wonders why did he demanded a separate nation for Muslims in the first place. Several top leaders of the Hindu Right in India too acknowledge his secular credentials now. Jinnah may have wanted a secular Pakistan but leaders like Liaqat Ali Khan and power hungry, opportunistic religious leaders, particularly Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi, the founder-ideologue of Jamaat-e-Islami, wanted it to be otherwise. In this beautifully written series titled, "Objectives Resolution and Secularism", Pakistani journalist Mr. Wajahat Masood delves deep into history to find out how Jinnah's dream of a secular and democratic Pakistan was shattered. – Editor

After mid-July both the cities became a part of such a communal confrontation that can be called the duet of barbarism. The irresponsible inflammatory oration of the religious leaders of two communities was reaching its crescendo. The cut-off organs of Muslim victims would be sent to Lahore in brass containers (the circumcised organs would indicate the religious identity of the dead). The next day, the brave men of Lahore would despatch a gift of similar nature to Amritsar. A train of Muslim refugees coming from east Punjab was slaughtered in Amritsar, and the next day a whole train of non-Muslim refugees was massacred. When a procession of nude girls was taken out in Lahore, the Muslim girls were meted out the same treatment in the streets of Amritsar the following day. When the Muslim localities were burnt down in Amritsar, the incidents of burning down of non-Muslim localities started in Lahore. A number of Muslim authors have written in their books without any regret or remorse, rather with a little pride that in the non-Muslim locality of Lahore called Shah Almi which was a marvel of architecture, the Hindus had made proper arrangements for protection against the attacks of the rioters. But some Muslim youths sneaked into Shah Almi through underground drains, and the locality comprising beautiful timber framed homes turned into ashes in no time. -- Wajahat Masood

 

Objectives Resolutions and Secularism – Part 12: In Those Days, Indulging In Riots Was Considered By Muslims an Islamic Duty
Wajahat Masood

The founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, pleaded for a separate country for Muslims but his political upbringing in a pluralist society prevented him from declaring Pakistan an Islamic state. Contrary to the general perception in India, Mr. Jinnah was arguably a secular and liberal Muslim who wanted a Pakistan where all citizens would be equal in the eyes of the constitution irrespective of their religion, caste or creed, although one then justifiably wonders why did he demanded a separate nation for Muslims in the first place. Several top leaders of the Hindu Right in India too acknowledge his secular credentials now. Jinnah may have wanted a secular Pakistan but leaders like Liaqat Ali Khan and power hungry, opportunistic religious leaders, particularly Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi, the founder-ideologue of Jamaat-e-Islami, wanted it to be otherwise. In this beautifully written series titled, "Objectives Resolution and Secularism", Pakistani journalist Mr. Wajahat Masood delves deep into history to find out how Jinnah's dream of a secular and democratic Pakistan was shattered. – Editor

“(During that period), Sardar Shaukat Hayat called me and told me that serious riots were going to happen for which weapons must be collected. Those would come from the Frontier Province but the co-operation of the railway staff was required. I gathered the Muslims of the line staff. They showed their readiness and swore that they would not retreat even if they had to go to jail or even lay down their lives. A committee was formed and responsibilities were distributed. I gave all the details to Sardar Shaukat Hayat. He told me to go to Delhi at once and apprise Liaqat Ali Khan of the developments. I reached Delhi the following day. Liaqat Ali Khan was the Finance Minister in the Muslim League-Congress coalition government. He probably had before-hand information of my arrival. Seeing my card he called me and listened to all the details attentively. He promised me further instructions and asked me to keep it a secret. During the same time I was appointed the deputy secretary in the Finance ministry and shifted from Lahore to Delhi. I do not know how useful the organisation formed by me was but from the large scale killings that took place afterwards; I can guess that it must have helped to an extent.” -- Wajahat Masood

 

Objectives Resolution and Secularism—Part 11: Riots Were Incited By Muslim League Who Distributed Petrol Coupons to Cadres to Burn the Houses and Shops of Hindus in Calcutta
Wajahat Masood

The founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, pleaded for a separate country for Muslims but his political upbringing in a pluralist society prevented him from declaring Pakistan an Islamic state. Contrary to the general perception in India, Mr. Jinnah was arguably a secular and liberal Muslim who wanted a Pakistan where all citizens would be equal in the eyes of the constitution irrespective of their religion, caste or creed, although one then justifiably wonders why did he demanded a separate nation for Muslims in the first place. Several top leaders of the Hindu Right in India too acknowledge his secular credentials now. Jinnah may have wanted a secular Pakistan but leaders like Liaqat Ali Khan and power hungry, opportunistic religious leaders, particularly Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi, the founder-ideologue of Jamaat-e-Islami, wanted it to be otherwise. In this beautifully written series titled, "Objectives Resolution and Secularism", Pakistani journalist Mr. Wajahat Masood delves deep into history to find out how Jinnah's dream of a secular and democratic Pakistan was shattered. – Editor

The governor of Bengal Fredrick John Brose, in his confidential letter (IOR:L/P&J/8/655f.f95.96-107) written on August 22, 1946 to the Viceroy Lord Wavell gave some details of the events that occurred August 16, 1947 onwards. According to him the Muslim League had organised a meeting at the Ochterlony Monument in Calcutta at 4 P.M. which was supposed to be addressed by Prime Minister Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardi and Khwaja Nazimuddin. However, the reports of tensions had started pouring in in the police headquarters from as early as 10 in the morning. The Muslim League activists were forcing the shops to shut down. Most of the people coming towards the place of meeting were carrying lathis, rods and spears. Muslim League ministers had distributed petrol coupons to the office bearers of the Muslim League so that the houses and shops of Hindus could be burnt. The rations enough for ten thousand workers for a month had been stored. -- Wajahat Masood

Objectives Resolution and Secularism— Part 10: Newly Formed Pakistan Had Ample Opportunities for Muslim Officers
Wajahat Masood

The founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, pleaded for a separate country for Muslims but his political upbringing in a pluralist society prevented him from declaring Pakistan an Islamic state. Contrary to the general perception in India, Mr. Jinnah was arguably a secular and liberal Muslim who wanted a Pakistan where all citizens would be equal in the eyes of the constitution irrespective of their religion, caste or creed, although one then justifiably wonders why did he demanded a separate nation for Muslims in the first place. Several top leaders of the Hindu Right in India too acknowledge his secular credentials now. Jinnah may have wanted a secular Pakistan but leaders like Liaqat Ali Khan and power hungry, opportunistic religious leaders, particularly Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi, the founder-ideologue of Jamaat-e-Islami, wanted it to be otherwise. In this beautifully written series titled, "Objectives Resolution and Secularism", Pakistani journalist Mr. Wajahat Masood delves deep into history to find out how Jinnah's dream of a secular and democratic Pakistan was shattered. – Editor

As the news of riots in West Punjab and the subsequent forced evacuations started to pour in, the Muslim officials became increasingly worried about the grand houses, shops, factories and fertile fields the non-Muslim population was leaving behind. It is true that the motives of all the Muslim officials could not be called in question. It can undoubtedly be said that the Muslim officials did not display high moral values. Many intellectuals believe that the political anarchy, moral degradation and corruption in Pakistan started with the plundering of the abandoned properties. -- Wajahat Masood

Objectives Resolution and Secularism—9: Maulana Maudoodi Did Not Care If Muslims in India Were Treated Like Malechchas and Shudras
Wajahat Masood

The founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, pleaded for a separate country for Muslims but his political upbringing in a pluralist society prevented him from declaring Pakistan an Islamic state. Contrary to the general perception in India, Mr. Jinnah was arguably a secular and liberal Muslim who wanted a Pakistan where all citizens would be equal in the eyes of the constitution irrespective of their religion, caste or creed, although one then justifiably wonders why did he demanded a separate nation for Muslims in the first place. Several top leaders of the Hindu Right in India too acknowledge his secular credentials now. Jinnah may have wanted a secular Pakistan but leaders like Liaqat Ali Khan and power hungry, opportunistic religious leaders, particularly Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi, the founder-ideologue of Jamaat-e-Islami, wanted it to be otherwise. In this beautifully written series titled, "Objectives Resolution and Secularism", Pakistani journalist Mr. Wajahat Masood delves deep into history to find out how Jinnah's dream of a secular and democratic Pakistan was shattered. – Editor

In his historical statement he (Maulana Maududi) further said: "If we establish an Islamic government in Pakistan, we will not have any objections if the Muslims are treated like Malechhas and Shudras, the laws of Manu are applied to them and they are not entitled to the rights of the citizens and participation in the governance in India."....

This is a fact worthy to be noted that Qaid-e-Azam Md Ali Jinnah had appointed Joginder Nath Mandal, a Hindu as the first Law Minister of Pakistan and Zafarullah Khan the Foreign Minister in December 1947. No Maulvi had the guts to demand the removal of Joginder Nath Mandal or Zafarullah Khan on the basis of belief during Qaid-e-Azam's life. One interesting aspect of the whole episode is that the Ulema’s stance was that the foundation of law-making should be laid on Sharia and Mohammad Ali Jinnah was appointing a Hindu as the law minister. -- Wajahat Masood

 

Perennially Enraged Society Should Find No Angst to Spare
Barkha Dutt

Sixteen years after they were first charged in the 1996 Delhi blasts, the high court set aside the death sentence slapped on Mahmud Ali Bhatt and Mirza Nissar Hussain, both from Kashmir - dismissing the prosecution case as one built on "grave lapses". Though both young men were acquitted by the judges who felt that "minimum standards of probe were not maintained",...

Babri Masjid Demolition That Rebuilt a Community
Mazher Hussain

Coupled with this was the structural exclusion of the Muslim community from the general domain of development by the establishment and society at large, restricting access to educational, economic and development opportunities that reduced the community’s circumstances to a level below that of Dalits, according to available data. Even the Constitution of India excludes Muslims from the domain of entitlements by extending reservations on religious lines...

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