2. Qaeda scorns Obama with racial slur
3. New enrolment rules will benefit thousands of Madrasa students in
4 The President-Elect Barack Obama and
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Taliban's Spiritual Fathers Denounce Terror. Could Taliban Be Next?
By Jeffrey Donovan, Abubakar Siddique
What would happen if the Taliban’s spiritual fathers denounced terrorism? That, in effect, is what has taken place in Deoband, the northern Indian hometown of the austere form of Sunni Islam followed by the Taliban.
In May, Darul Uloom Deoband Madrasah, located north of New Dehli, issued an unprecedented fatwa, or religious decree, against terrorism. Earlier this month, 4,000 senior Indian ulema and muftis -- Muslim clerics with the authority to interpret Islamic law -- backed the fatwa in a mass gathering in the city of
Now, the Deobandi political leader in
It looks set to be a hot debate.
“The killing of innocents or atrocities against them is terrorism,” Maulana Mahmood Madani, general-secretary of Jamiat Ulama-i Hind (JUH), the conservative political party founded by Darul Uloom Deoband, told RFE/RL in explaining the May 31 fatwa. “That is how terrorism is defined.”
The fatwa was issued in a strictly Indian context. In recent years, amid a series of terrorist attacks,
But given Deobandi influence on Muslims across the subcontinent, the fatwa is seen as having a potentially significant regional impact.
Darul Uloom Deoband was formed about 150 years ago as a spiritual resistance movement to British rule. Over the years, its austere form of Sunni Islam, which harkens back to the early days of the faith, spread across northern
With their teachers now coming out against terrorism, will the Taliban in
“I don’t know what [the Taliban and clerics who support them] will say,” Madani said. “But my intention is that this issue must be debated. I am trying to bring together the ulema and muftis from all SAARC countries in
The Deobandi efforts come at a critical stage of the Afghan conflict, which has spilled over into the bordering tribal regions of
On November 16, Karzai offered to provide safe passage to Omar and other Taliban leaders to take part in any peace talks. Taliban sources said they were considering a response.
Late last month, Pakistani and Afghan politicians and tribal leaders met for two days of talks in
The jirga process, which is continuing, is a positive development, according to Maulana Syedul Aarifeen, who heads a major Deobandi Madrasah in
In the 1980s, Aarifeen’s late father -- Maulana Rahat Gul -- was instrumental in bringing together ulema to issue a fatwa declaring the fight against
“This jirga should be held among Muslims,” Aarifeen said, “because Allah and his Prophet [Muhammad] said that when two Muslims have differences among themselves, you should seek rapprochement among them though consultation. And this process is called jirga in Pashto [language]. Now we see that there are differences among Muslims, who were united before. Now, the jirga is a good forum for us to unite again.”
Alongside the jirga process, the Deobandi effort amounts to a parallel track on the theological front.
Francesco Zannini, an Italian author and expert on South Asian Islam, says the Deobandi fatwa appears aimed at condemning Al-Qaeda-style tactics -- atrocities against civilians -- while clearly leaving intact the Koranic concept of jihad, which among other things legitimizes defending Muslims against aggression.
“I believe it’s a big step forward in the sense that the Deobands are now promoting in some way a movement that goes against what Al-Qaeda is doing. This is a positive point,” said Zannini, a professor at
The Deobandi fatwa comes amid other recent developments in Muslim countries that have condemned terrorism and embraced tolerance.
Saudi King Abdullah has led ongoing efforts to promote inter-religious peace and tolerance, including a United Nations meeting last week in
Zannini, who took part in the
Perhaps the most dramatic shift within radical Islam came last May, when Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, the Egyptian ideological father of Al-Qaeda, published a major condemnation of the tactics used by Osama bin Laden’s terror network.
“We are prohibited from committing aggression, even if the enemies of Islam do,” al-Fadl wrote.n RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan contributed to this report. Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/Talibans_Spiritual_Fathers_Denounce_Terror_Could_Taliban_Be_Next/1350341.html
Qaeda scorns Obama with racial slur
Nov 19, 2008, By Randall Mikkelsen
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Al Qaeda's deputy leader accused Barack Obama of betraying his race and his father's Muslim heritage on Wednesday and urged more attacks, as the group tried to counter the incoming
Osama bin Laden's second-in-command Ayman al Zawahri attacked Obama as a "house Negro," a racially-charged term used by 1960s black American Muslim leader Malcolm X to describe black slaves loyal to white masters.
"You represent the direct opposite of honorable black Americans like ... Malcolm X," Zawahri said in an 11-minute recording publicized on the Internet on Wednesday. It was al Qaeda's first high-level commentary on Obama's election on November 4. Bin Laden could also release a message on Obama within the next two weeks or so, one analyst said.
Zawahri criticized Obama's support for
The recording was distributed on a videotape that carried pictures of Obama at the Western Wall in
They cast Zawahri's message as an attempt to shift al Qaeda's focus from U.S. President George W. Bush and maintain an enmity against the
"They're faced with what is by any accounting a change in this country," said one
OBAMA BRINGING CHANGE
"The way they're dealing with the change represented by the election of an African American as president of the
Obama's transition office declined to comment.
His election was greeted with broad hope in the Middle East, where
Daniel Benjamin, a counterterrorism official under former President Bill Clinton, said Obama's election on a platform of breaking with Bush policies was a boost to American "soft power," or nonmilitary international influence.
"I think they (al Qaeda) are deeply threatened by the fact there is a new American president and that he has come to office saying he wants to have a more constructive relationship with the one billion Muslims in the world."
Zawahri, he said, "feels like he has a competitor for the hearts and minds."
Zawahri referred to Obama's Kenyan father, who was raised Muslim but became an atheist. Obama is a Christian. "You were born to a Muslim father, but you chose to stand in the ranks of the enemies of the Muslims," Zawahri said.
The Malcolm X reference probably reflects the influence of American-born al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn, believed to be close to Zawahri, said a
Zawahri has employed the "house Negro" insult before; when in 2007 he used it to label Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her predecessor, Colin Powell, who are both black.
"And in you and in Colin Powell, Rice and your likes, the words of Malcolm X ... concerning 'House Negroes' are confirmed," Zawahri said in the message released on Wednesday.
His spoken remarks could also be translated as "house slaves," but al Qaeda's accompanying English translation, distributed by the IntelCenter Web monitor, used "house Negroes."
(Additional reporting by Inal Ersan and Firouz Sedarat in
(Editing by David Storey)
New rules will benefit thousands of Madrasa students in India
19 November 2008
The notification issued by NIOS secretary D. S. Bist states that any learner has to just state that "I have studied enough to be able to pursue Secondary level course." This eliminates the need for having any formal school education and therefore a school-leaving certificate is also not required. The notification specifically clarifies that the new provision "will also be applicable for those learners who wish to enrol themselves in Secondary course of NIOS through Madarsas."
In an earlier notification issued in June of this year, NIOS stopped insisting on madrasas and maktabs being registered society or be affiliated/recognized by any Board. It also accredited all Madrasas and Darul Ulooms which are recognized by other institutions.
Established in 1989 and initially known as
NIOS's Secondary Course is equivalent to the Xth standard. Students are required to successfully complete a minimum of five subjects to get the certification. Subjects offered at this level are Mathematics, Science, Social Science, Economics, Business Studies, Home Science, Word Processing, and Typewriting in English, Hindi, and Urdu. Many language courses are also offered including in English, Hindi, and Urdu.
Students who successfully complete Secondary course are eligible to enroll in Senior Secondary which is equivalent to XIIth standard.
Link: http://www.nos.org/ Source: http://www.twocircles.net/2008nov18/easier_open_school_enrollment_rules_will_benefit_thousands_madrasa_students.html
The President-Elect Barack Obama and
November 19, 2008 - 4:40pm.
By Martha Nussbaum
President-elect Barack Obama will face many challenges in foreign policy, but forging a productive relationship with
President Bush, by contrast, focused his efforts on the nuclear deal, more or less neglecting issues of poverty and development. One bright spot in the generally dismal record of his dealings with
What course will President Obama choose? Will he, like
Instead of pursuing that question further, however, I should like to focus on a letter written by then-candidate Obama to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, dated September 23, 2008, and published in India Abroad, the October 10 issue. I address these remarks to my former University of Chicago Law School colleague in the spirit of the type of respectful yet searching criticism that I know he will recognize as a hallmark of our faculty workshops and discussions.
The Obama letter has three slightly disturbing characteristics.
First, the letter gives lengthy praise to the nuclear deal, without acknowledging the widespread debate about the wisdom of that deal in both nations. Perhaps, however, this silence simply reflects politeness: Obama is surely aware that Singh has been an enthusiastic backer of the deal, risking much political capital in the process.
Second, the letter speaks of future cooperation that will "tap the creativity and dynamism of our entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists," particularly in the area of alternative energy sources, but never mentions a future partnership in the effort to eradicate poverty and illiteracy. This silence, unlike the first, cannot be explained by politeness, since Singh has devoted a great deal of attention to issues of rural poverty, and it is plausible to think that he could have gotten a lot further had he had more help from abroad.
Third, and most disturbing, the letter commiserates with Singh for the
"my condolences on the painful losses your citizens have suffered in the recent string of terrorist assaults. As I have said publicly, I deplore and condemn the vicious attacks perpetrated in
Obama's use of the word "terrorism" to describe acts thought to be perpetrated by Muslims, while not using that same word for acts perpetrated by Hindus, is ominous. Muslims suffer greatly in
Obama's letter was written during a campaign. Perhaps it reflects awareness of the priorities of NRI's who were working hard in that campaign. At this point, however, he can start with a clean slate and decide how to order his priorities regarding
President Obama has repeatedly shown a deeply felt commitment to the eradication of a politics based upon hate. Can we have confidence that he will carry that commitment into his relationship with
Martha Nussbaum is the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at The University of Chicago, and the author of The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and