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Islamic World News ( 16 Nov 2008, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Islam to emerge as the new world order, says Indian Scholar T K Abdullah


Unsettling Times for Jihadists

Muslims should be willing to change if they want progress

New Muslim TV channel to be launched in South Africa

The triumph of Salman Rushdie by Chauncey Mabe



Islam to emerge as the new world order: prominent Indian Islamic Scholar T K Abdullah

Nov 15, 2008

Doha: Islam will function as a catalyst in shaping up the future world. It is going to be the ultimate answer to Communism and Capitalism, said prominent Indian Islamic Scholar T K Abdullah

Addressing a public meeting organised by Indian Islamic Association Qatar (IIAQ), Abdullah, a noted orator from the southern Indian State of Kerala said Islam will soon emerge as a major threat to Capitalism.

“Be it against Islam or in favour of it, Islam is the most widely debated issue in the contemporary world; and it is going to be the ultimate answer to the world’s problems. Islam will emerge as new world order blurring the boundaries of East and West”, he said. Quoting prominent Islamic scholars, Abdulla recalled how these visionaries had predicted the collapse of Communism decades before its fall in erstwhile Soviet Russia and East Europe. Now, it is Islam versus Capitalism. The foundation of capitalism has already been shaken. The whole system is struggling for its survival; and in the shaping up of new world order, Islam will certainly play a major role, he said.

T Arifali, Ameer, Jamaate Islami, Kerala wanted the authorities in India to expose the real hands behind the recent series blasts in country.

Khalid Fakhroo, Head of Media and Public Relations, Qatar Charity; Mitab Al Waleed, Director, Guest Center; V T Abdullakkoya, President, Indian Islamic Association, Abdurehman Al Sayed and Abdurehman Purakkadu were among others who spoke. The full-day convention witnessed a huge participation of over 3000 pre-registered delegates in the morning session. Source:


Unsettling Times for Jihadists

By David Ignatius

Sunday, November 16, 2008; Page B07


Let's try for a moment to read the mind of an al-Qaeda operative in the remote mountains of Waziristan as he listens to the news on the radio. His worldview has been roiled recently by two events -- one confounding his image of the West and the other confirming it.

The upsetting news for our imaginary jihadist is the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States. This wasn't supposed to happen, in al-Qaeda's playbook. Its aim was to draw the "far enemy" (meaning America) ever deeper onto the battlefields of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Instead, the jihadists must cope with a president-elect who promises to get out of Iraq and whose advisers are talking about negotiating with the Taliban. And to top it off, the guy's middle name is Hussein.

Before the election, the radical Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradhawi even issued a fatwa supporting John McCain: "Personally, I would prefer for the Republican candidate, McCain, to be elected. This is because I prefer the obvious enemy who does not hypocritically [conceal] his hostility toward you . . . to the enemy who wears a mask [of friendliness]."

Obama makes the jihadists nervous because he is an appealing new face whose ascension undermines the belief that Islam and the West are locked in an inescapable clash of civilizations. "The Democrats kill you slowly without you noticing it. . . . They are like a snake whose touch is not felt until its poison enters your body," observes Qaradhawi.

"Even in the Arab world, Obama is very popular," explains Jean-Pierre Filiu, a French scholar of Islam. "The global jihadists leaned toward McCain because they hoped the confrontation would get worse."

The key constituency in this battle of ideas isn't al-Qaeda itself, a dwindling group whose harassed members have little time to think about politics. It's the potential recruits in mosques and madrassas around the world who are assessing which way the wind is blowing. Among this group, there is a new ferment, according to a U.S. intelligence official who monitors jihadist Web sites. He sees curiosity about Obama among Muslim militant groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban.

"If I were al-Qaeda, I would worry about the American election," says the intelligence official. He argues that the jihadists have benefited from overheated rhetoric about the "war on terrorism," which has given al-Qaeda more stature in Muslim eyes than it deserves. There is a national security opportunity, he argues, "to take advantage of a new face in Washington. The new administration has a chance to say, 'We're different.' "

Our imaginary jihadist may be singing the blues as he contemplates the Obama presidency. But when he looks on the bright side, there is the global economic disaster. The financial news brings daily evidence that Allah is smiting the infidels.

The radicals' message is that "the kufr [unbeliever] economy is collapsing," says Filiu. This riposte is especially sharp for the wealthy Arab nations of the Gulf, the "near enemy" for al-Qaeda strategists. The jihadists can argue, "You see! You have been collaborating with them -- your money is in infidel banks, and now look!" says Filiu.

Some Muslim commentators argue that the economic crisis is divine punishment, the equivalent of the collapse of the Soviet Union. "We are happy that the U.S. economy has come across difficulty," roared Iran's radical Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati last month. "The unhappier they become, the happier we get."

Filiu says that among radical Muslims, there is a growing belief that we are entering an apocalyptic "Battle of the End of Time" foretold in a famous saying of the prophet Muhammad. This hadith predicted that the climax would come in the land known as Khorasan, which today includes Afghanistan, the tribal areas of Pakistan and parts of Iran. Filiu has gathered evidence of this Muslim eschatology in a new book called "L'Apocalypse dans l'Islam," which will be published soon in English.

So here's the challenge for Obama: Seize the moment; "turn a page" and thereby transform the intellectual battlefield; keep the military pressure on al-Qaeda's hard core, but discard the "war on terrorism" rhetoric; remind the world that al-Qaeda's victims have been overwhelmingly Muslim and that its brutal jihad has brought only ruin.

And while you're at it, Mr. President-elect, fix the global economy, which is feeding the dream of those men hiding in the caves of Waziristan that the foundations of the West are crumbling and that they can still win.

The writer is co-host of PostGlobal, an online discussion of international issues. His e-mail address is



Muslims should be willing to change if they want progress: Tun Sakaran Dandai, president United Sabah Islamic Association (USIA)


Muslim missionaries should adopt a more sophisticated, professional and well-planned approach to keep abreast with the needs of globalisation and progress in information and communication technology, United Sabah Islamic Association (USIA) president Tun Sakaran Dandai said today.

He said Muslims should be willing to change if they want progress.

“Muslims who are suspicious of progress will face problems,” he said at the opening of the association’s 22nd annual assembly here.

Sakaran said that steps were being taken by USIA to enhance its role in furthering the Islamic cause.

“Today, our (Usia) role is to correct the inaccurate views and perceptions on Islam by the non-Muslims,” he added.



New Muslim TV Channel to be launched in South Africa

Suthentira Govender, Nov 16, 2008

An international Islamic-focused satellite TV channel that aims to give non-Muslims a better understanding of the faith will be launched in South Africa early next year.

The UK-based Islam Channel, which beams to European, Middle Eastern and North African countries, will be broadcast locally on DStv from February.

With its headquarters in central London, Islam Channel provides alternative news, current affairs and entertainment programming from an Islamic perspective.

Broadcast in English, it first took to the air in 2004. It is available on a basic bouquet in South Africa.

CEO Mohamed Ali said the channel acted as an “interface between Muslims and non-Muslims”.

“We decided to come to South Africa because there is a Muslim community here and we are an English-speaking channel that targets English-speaking nations,” said Ali.

“We are happy that we reach a wide audience. We have plenty of non-Muslims who watch our channel for the entertainment.

Ali said the channel was family-oriented with a “no harm, no offence” policy.

Through its annual Global Peace and Unity event in the UK, it tries to stimulate debate and create awareness among different cultures about Islam.

Ali has also been trying to tackle Islamaphobia through the channel’s programming.

“There is a perception in the minds of non-Muslims about the status of women in Islam. We have quite a few programmes run by women, targeting women.”



The triumph of Salman Rushdie

Chauncey Mabe, November 12, 2008

The remarkable thing about Salman Rushdie is not that he is indisputably the most important world novelist of the past 30 years, but that he wears the mantle of fame so lightly.

Sitting in the rabbi’s office at Coral GablesTemple Judea last July, he sipped vodka while greeting well-wishers with a disarming mixture of intelligence, curiosity and self-deprecating humour.

About to take the stage before an audience of 660, he had just learned that his masterpiece, 1981’s Midnight’s Children, was to be named the Booker of Bookers, an honour bestowed on the best novel of the first 40 years of Britain’s Man Booker Prize — making it the only title to win the award three times.


 “The thing about winning prizes,” Rushdie says with a look of mischief in his hooded eyes, “is that it is better than losing.”

It’s only appropriate that Rushdie, who survived the infamous fatwa of Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini, has returned to South Florida so soon to close out this year’s edition of the Miami Book Fair.

The best thing about the third Booker Prize, Rushdie says, is that it came as a result of a readers’ poll — and a large percentage of those readers weren’t even born when the book was published and won the first time. (The second triumph was in 1993, when Midnight’s Children’s was named the best novel of Booker’s first 25 years.)

“I wish I knew the secret of its popularity,” he adds with a smile. “I’d do it again.”

Midnight’s Children, Rushdie’s second novel, is a post-modern, magical realist account of the founding of contemporary India. Its popular not only in the West, but in his native country, where it has given rise to a younger generation of writers.

“It’s very curious to have written a book that’s considered a classic,” says Rushdie, who was 33 when Children came out. “Usually, that’s the kiss of death. Maybe it’s because it has a youthful spirit. I think it has a lot to do with people finding it funny. Funny lasts.”

Of course, it is not only Rushdie’s prodigious literary accomplishments — 15 novels since 1976 — that make him more famous than Stephen King, more politically significant than Václav Havel, more honored than almost anyone.

The international furor that greeted 1988’s The Satanic Verses, his fourth novel, prefigured the East-West cultural divide that followed — from the rise of al-Qaida to the uproar over the Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad.

An ambitious comic fantasy that submits Islam to the rough handling of satire, Verses was met with mixed but mostly enthusiastic reviews in the West.

The affronted Muslim world, however, reacted with riotous protests, attacking publishers and booksellers. The Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa proclaiming it the duty of all Muslims to murder Rushdie on sight. It carried a $2 million bounty.

Rushdie says he didn’t intend the novel to be sacrilegious, but only an attempt to engage the world from which he came — Pakistan and India. The Satanic Verses is, he says, “the best reckoning I could make with faith and revelation from the point of view of someone who is not a believer.”

The biggest problem for Rushdie as a writer was that the storm over Verses caused people to assume, on the one hand, that the book is about religion and, on the other, that it is humorless and hard to understand.

“That’s the damage to my reputation,” Rushdie says. “The book is not about religion; it’s about two Indian actors coming to live in England, two South Asian immigrants living in the Britain of the 1980s.”

Given the Booker of Bookers award, and the enthusiastic critical reception to his latest novel, The Enchantress of Florence, Rushdie says he hopes his literary reputation is slowly recovering — that people realize anew that his books, however challenging they sometimes can be, are fun to read.

Indeed, while Rushdie rues the loss of any public life during the decade he spent in hiding under the protection of British authorities — his 40s — he remained busy, writing several novels, including The Moor’s Last Sigh and an acclaimed children’s book, Haroun and the Sea of Stories.

Rushdie emerged, at first tentatively, in 1998 when Iran, seeking renewed diplomatic relations with Britain, promised to no longer seek to enforce the fatwa. Although it has never been officially rescinded, Rushdie now lives openly in New York and travels without bodyguards.

“I returned to public life just by wanting to,” Rushdie says. “Yes, there is an agreement with Iran, but in the end it’s your head. If I wait for the moment when it’s 100 percent fine, that moment will never come.

“I think that has a wider implication than me. There’s nothing like 100 percent security, only levels of insecurity. Once you accept that, you’re free.”

Born in India to a secular Muslim family, educated from a young age in Britain, Rushdie is perceived as a postmodern novelist, an immigrant writer who bridges East and West, a magical realist — and he delights in denying all categories, thwarting all expectations.

True, he’s written novels on the immigrant experience, but he’s also written about rock ’n’ roll (The Ground Beneath Her Feet, 1999) and New York (Fury, 2001). Earlier this year he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth — making him Sir Salman Rushdie — yet he says he thinks of himself an Indian novelist.

“I’ve done the bridging-the-schism thing,” Rushdie says. “I don’t see myself as a programmatic writer. My only agenda is to find a way to not write a book I’ve written before. I seek to surprise myself rather than my readers.”

Rushdie’s return to the public gaze is so complete he’s become tabloid fodder, as when his fourth wife, Indian actress and TV personality Padma Lakshmi, left him in 2007. It’s also enabled the unexpected fulfillment of a youthful ambition — to become an actor.

In the film adaptation of Bridget Jones’s Diary, he appeared as “Salman Rushdie.” “[Author] Helen Fielding is an old friend and she called up to ask if I’d like to make a fool of myself,” Rushdie says. “And I think I did so with great skill.”

More puzzling was the call to audition for Helen Hunt’s directorial debut, Then She Found Me. He nailed the audition, getting the role of a psychiatrist over some professional Indian actors of his acquaintance.

The nicest moment of the experience, Rushdie says, came when an impressed Matthew Broderick approached after a day’s shooting to ask if he had done much acting before.

“I can die happy,” says Rushdie, who briefly studied the craft as a young man before becoming a writer. “Matthew Broderick doesn’t think I’m totally terrible. But I don’t intend to give up my day job.”

If you go Salman Rushdie closes out the Miami Book Fair today at 6 p.m. in the Chapman Auditorium at the downtown Miami campus of Miami Dade College, 300 NE Second Ave. Dozens of other national and international authors will speak, lecture and sign books beginning at 10 a.m. For more information, call 305-237-3258 or visit Source: