December 8, 2008
Muslims in India Put Aside Grievances to Repudiate Terrorism
By ROBERT F. WORTH
MUMBAI, India — Throngs of Indian Muslims, ranging from Bollywood actors to skullcap-wearing seminary students, marched through the heart of Mumbai and several other cities on Sunday, holding up banners proclaiming their condemnation of terrorism and loyalty to the Indian state.
The protests, though relatively small, were the latest in a series of striking public gestures by Muslims — who have often come under suspicion after past attacks — to defensively dissociate their own grievances as a minority here from any sort of sympathy for terrorism or radical politics in the wake of the deadly assault here that ended Nov. 29.
Muslim leaders have refused to allow the bodies of the nine militants killed in the attacks to be buried in Islamic cemeteries, saying the men were not true Muslims. They also suspended the annual Dec. 6 commemoration of a 1992 riot in which Hindus destroyed a mosque, in an effort to avert communal tension. Muslim religious scholars and public figures have issued strongly worded condemnations of the attacks.
So far, their approach appears to have worked: the response has been remarkably unified, with little of the suspicion and fear that followed some previous attacks.
Hindu right-wing groups have been noticeably absent from the streets. Although leaders of the opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party have criticized the government’s handling of the crisis, they have not stirred anti-Muslim sentiment. The fact that some 40 Muslims were among the victims of the attackers may well have helped dispel any strife.
Still, many Muslims seem anxious, fearing that some of the anger unleashed by the attacks may be directed into the Hindu-Muslim violence that has often marred India’s modern history.
“It’s a pity we have to prove ourselves as Indians,” said Mohammed Siddique, a young accountant who was marching in the protest here on Sunday afternoon with his wife and mother. “But the fact is, we need to speak louder than others, to make clear that those people do not speak for our religion — and that we are not Pakistanis.”
The cluster of banners all around him, held aloft by marchers, seemed to bear out his point. Some read “Our Country’s Enemies are Our Enemies,” others, “Killers of Innocents are Enemies of Islam.” A few declared, in uncertain grammar, “Pakistan Be Declared Terrorist State.”
There were also slogans defending against the charge often made by right-wing Hindus that Muslims constitute a fifth column, easily exploited by terrorists. “Communalist and Terrorist are Cousins,” one sign read. Some of the marchers held up a sign with lines drawn through the names of various terrorist or extremist groups, including, notably, the acronym S.I.M.I.
That stands for the Students’ Islamic Movement of India, a radical group, now banned, that has come under suspicion after recent attacks. One of the men arrested earlier this year in what appears to have been a similar plot against Mumbai landmarks used to belong to the group. Unlike the most recent attackers, who are all believed to be Pakistani, four of six members of the earlier plot were Indian.
There is little doubt that jihadists — including Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistani militant group believed to be responsible for the Nov. 26-29 attacks — are seeking Indian recruits. Although such groups are rooted in the ideology of global jihad, many people fear that the Indians who join them may be motivated in part by essentially Indian grievances, like the 2002 mass killings of Muslims in the state of Gujarat that left 1,100 dead.
One of the gunmen in last month’s attacks referred to the Gujarat riots before he shot and killed a hostage at the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower hotel, apparently in an effort to identify his own cause with that of Indian Muslims.
He seems to have failed. The brutality of the attacks and the fact that many Muslims died have strengthened a sense of outrage among ordinary Muslims here, and even some sense of communal harmony, however precarious.
“After this attack, everything has changed; people now see the realities,” said Saeed Ahmed, 45, as he stood outside his stationery shop on Muhammad Ali Road, a working-class Muslim area. “This is something different from what we had before, it’s like your American 9/11. It is not about Hindus and Muslims; it is about the nation being attacked.”
Certainly, the violence has prompted many Muslims, including religious scholars, Bollywood figures and politicians, to speak out more urgently than they had in the past.
“Indian Muslims have often suffered twice: first from the terror, and then from the accusations afterward,” said Javed Akhtar, a Muslim poet and lyricist. “Perhaps because of that, they have been much more articulate and more unconditionally clear about condemning this attack.”
But many remain anxious that foreign jihadists could take advantage of the divisions in Indian society to wreak more havoc here. India’s 140 million Muslims are generally much poorer and less educated than Hindus. Although some of the very rich and many Bollywood stars are Muslim, the faith is far less well represented in the professions and the middle class. Many have bitter memories of communal riots and violence, from the 2002 killings in Gujarat all the way back to the bloodletting that accompanied the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947.
“There is a very deep divide,” said Mahesh Bhatt, a well-known film producer and director who is half Muslim, half Hindu, as he sat on a plastic chair on the set of his latest film on Sunday morning, with actors strolling nearby. “And if the foreign element is using the indigenous clay, how can justice be done?”
Mr. Bhatt, who has the baroque manner of an old-fashioned Hollywood eminence, added that he saw in the crisis a chance for India to heal the religious and social fractures that make it vulnerable.
“In every danger there is an opportunity, a chance to look at the evil within,” he said. “If you’re going to do this fight against terror, you’d better start by fortifying your own house.”
Joined: 23 Mar 2008 Posts: 83 Location: London, England
Posted: Sat Dec 13, 2008 10:10 am Post subject:
BULLSHITT! I was like, damnit, that's just some minor gun accidents news...some guys accidentally push the triggers of their toys and killed a bunch of foreigners...oops! he he...what's the big deal? just bury or burn the deads and move on...there are literally more deaths occur everyday on the streets and railroads of Bombay and nobody gives a fiddle, rather Indians feel envy of those deadly statistics. I was actually hoping to see blown off buildings...seriously. and I hate this nuisance name Mumbai. it is Bombay.
Last edited by Mehreen1221 on Thu Dec 25, 2008 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total
BULLSHITT! I was like, damnit, that's just some minor gun accidents news...some guys accidentally push the triggers of their toys and killed a bunch of foreigners...oops! he he...what's the big deal? just bury or burn the deads and move on...there are literally more deaths occur everyday on the streets and railroads of Bombay and nobody gives a fiddle, rather Indians feel envy of those deadly statistics. I was actually hoping to see blown off buildings...seriously. and I hate this nuisance name Mumbai .it is Bombay.
At last someone with the guts to say this! Mehreen1221 is 100% right. The Hindus kill thousands of innocent Muslims in occupied Kashmir and elsewhere in India. Let's not forget how the Hindu fundamentalists are now targetting Christians, tribal peoples and low-caste groups. And, don't forget the communist insurgency in other parts of India as well as the Buddhist/Oriental groups in eastern India who are fighting to gain their indepedence from the Hindus.
Anyway, as Mehreen1221 said thousands of people die every year in the most horrific circumstances in Indian. The Hindu religion/culture is pretty much indifferent to people's suffering and poverty.
I too hate the ficitious name 'Mumbai'. The Hindu fundamentalists changed it from Bombay because 'Mumbai' is the name of some made-up Hindu god. Interesting that the fascist Hindu group Shiv Shena is in charge of Bombay. Apart from baiting Muslims in the city, look what they do to their own people who migrate from other parts of India to find work out of poverty:
Lying on a bed in a dingy ward of a government hospital in India's eastern state of Bihar, 37-year-old Srikishun Singh tries to cover what remains of his hands with a blanket.
He says his hands were chopped by a group of people in the western Indian city of Pune in Maharashtra state last month. They were demanding the removal of migrant workers like Srikishun.
It all began when the leader of a small right-wing regionalist party, Raj Thackeray, accused migrants of swamping Maharashtra, India's most industrialised state, in search of jobs.
Following his statement, his supporters attacked north Indian migrants like Srikishun in Mumbai (Bombay) and other towns in the state and damaged property associated with them.
Police arrested Mr Thackeray on charges of stoking communal tension. He has denied inciting violence.
The unrest forced many migrants to flee their neighbourhoods - in Nasik, a booming industrial city, several thousands were reported to have left.
One of millions of poor migrants from Bihar - India's poorest state with a per capita income of $165 - Srikishun Singh used to hawk savouries on the sidewalks of Pune for a living.
He had arrived in the city just one-and-half months ago from a neighbouring city where he had worked for a decade.
"I was sleeping on the road close to the railway station when a group of people shouting 'Go away, go away, Biharis go away' attacked me and I fell unconscious," he said.
"Later when I regained consciousness I found both my hands chopped off and an old man bandaging them. The man told me to flee as soon as possible."
A terrified Srikishun rushed to the railway station and travelled home in excruciating pain after changing a couple of trains.
In his home village of Siwan, Srikishun was treated by a local doctor until he was admitted to the local government hospital.
Since then he has been lying there meeting a stream of visitors, mostly politicians, policemen and journalists.
A police team from Pune have also visited the hospital to investigate the attack.
Being the only earning member of his family, Srikishun now appears helpless.
"I do not know how my family will survive now. My two little children and wife will starve to death," he said, as his wife Durgawati Devi weeps at his bedside.
"But now I'll never return to Maharashtra".
Siwan is among the 100 poorest districts of the country. Migrants from the district send some $389m home every year.
An independent study on migration in collaboration with the London-based Overseas Development Institute found that migrants from Bihar send over $2bn back home every year.
Srikishun Singh is not the only one who has to bear the burnt of anti-migrant protests in Maharashtra.
Most of the villagers of around Siwan have also returned home - over 80% people from this village work in Maharashtra, mostly in Nasik-Pune industrial area.
One of them, Phulena Pandit, says he has never been afraid to work outside Bihar before.
"We have never faced such fear. We had to flee leaving behind all our belongings and money in the bank, " said Phulena, who was the first villager to migrate from his village in 1970.
Similarly Hari Kumar Rai, who had been living for the last 17 years in Nasik, locked his flat in the city and fled home.
"One night a group of local political activists came to my apartment and told us to leave the place immediately otherwise they would burn down my flat," he said.
"The next day I locked my flat and took a train for Bihar. I do not know what they have done with my property there."
Sri Krishna Prasad too has been living in Nasik since 1982 along with his son, Chetan Kumar, and two grandsons, Raju and Rahul.
"I purchased a house there with my savings but our world crashed in a single day when they forced us to leave the place. We left leaving everything out there. Here I have nothing to eat, no place to live," he said.
There are many more migrants in Siwan who have returned home to tell similar tales.
Almost all of them worked as a masons in Nasik.
Hundreds of villagers from neighbouring villages have also returned home after the anti-migrant campaign in Maharashtra.
According to a one estimate, there are 2.5 million Bihari migrants working in Mumbai and about 4 million in the capital, Delhi.
But those numbers will fast decrease if present trends continue.
Joined: 23 Mar 2008 Posts: 83 Location: London, England
Posted: Sun Dec 14, 2008 7:53 pm Post subject:
actually this whole BS is not about muslim, hindu or any other religion...it is about political and social issues though...so I say this is pretty petty comparing to the whole countries being destroyed like Iraq...so its worthless to talk about anymore....
December 15, 2008
Mr. Obama’s First Trip
By MICHAEL FULLILOVE
DURING the presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised that in the first 100 days of his administration he would “travel to a major Islamic forum and deliver an address to redefine our struggle.”
Egypt, Turkey and Qatar have been suggested as possible sites for such a speech. But the best candidate is the country in which Mr. Obama lived as a child: Indonesia.
Choosing Indonesia would throw light on the diversity and richness of Islam, which is not, contrary to lingering perceptions, practiced solely by Arabs or only in the Middle East. The country, home to the world’s largest Muslim population, does a reasonable job of managing its considerable religious heterogeneity. Going there would help Mr. Obama to reframe the debate in the West about Islam and terrorism.
An Indonesian audience would also make sense. Indonesians have been both victims and perpetrators of terrorist attacks, including the deadly Bali bombings. The government in Jakarta is an important partner in the effort against terrorism.
Selecting Indonesia would demonstrate that Mr. Obama takes democracy seriously, given that Indonesia is a rowdy democracy — the third-largest in the world. It would show that President Bush’s misshapen democratization agenda has not turned his successor into an icy realist.
Reminding the world of Mr. Obama’s origins could help counter anti-Americanism. Who would have thought the United States would elect a president with memories of wandering barefoot through rice paddies and “the muezzin’s call at night”?
Finally, a trip to Indonesia would indicate that Mr. Obama was serious about rebalancing America’s foreign policy. It would show that he understands the shift of global power eastward, and telegraph that Washington was finally going to take the nation — the linchpin of Southeast Asia — seriously.
Mr. Obama was criticized in the campaign as offering speeches rather than solutions. Cynics will say this time that you can’t fight terrorism with cue cards. But there is no better way to make an argument than with a speech — and for this speech, there is no better place to make that argument than Indonesia.
Michael Fullilove, the program director for global issues at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Australia, is a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Isaac Newton is, as most will agree, the greatest physicist of all time.
At the very least, he is the undisputed father of modern optics, or so we are told at school where our textbooks abound with his famous experiments with lenses and prisms, his study of the nature of light and its reflection, and the refraction and decomposition of light into the colours of the rainbow.
Yet, the truth is rather greyer; and I feel it important to point out that, certainly in the field of optics, Newton himself stood on the shoulders of a giant who lived 700 years earlier.
For, without doubt, another great physicist, who is worthy of ranking up alongside Newton, is a scientist born in AD 965 in what is now Iraq who went by the name of al-Hassan Ibn al-Haytham.
Most people in the West will never have even heard of him.
As a physicist myself, I am quite in awe of this man's contribution to my field, but I was fortunate enough to have recently been given the opportunity to dig a little into his life and work through my recent filming of a three-part BBC Four series on medieval Islamic scientists.
Popular accounts of the history of science typically suggest that no major scientific advances took place in between the ancient Greeks and the European Renaissance.
But just because Western Europe languished in the Dark Ages, does not mean there was stagnation elsewhere. Indeed, the period between the 9th and 13th Centuries marked the Golden Age of Arabic science.
Great advances were made in mathematics, astronomy, medicine, physics, chemistry and philosophy. Among the many geniuses of that period Ibn al-Haytham stands taller than all the others.
Ibn al-Haytham is regarded as the father of the modern scientific method.
As commonly defined, this is the approach to investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge, based on the gathering of data through observation and measurement, followed by the formulation and testing of hypotheses to explain the data.
This is how we do science today and is why I put my trust in the advances that have been made in science.
But it is often still claimed that the modern scientific method was not established until the early 17th Century by Francis Bacon and Rene Descartes.
There is no doubt in my mind, however, that Ibn al-Haytham arrived there first.
In fact, with his emphasis on experimental data and reproducibility of results, he is often referred to as the "world's first true scientist".
He was the first scientist to give a correct account of how we see objects.
He proved experimentally, for instance, that the so-called emission theory (which stated that light from our eyes shines upon the objects we see), which was believed by great thinkers such as Plato, Euclid and Ptolemy, was wrong and established the modern idea that we see because light enters our eyes.
What he also did that no other scientist had tried before was to use mathematics to describe and prove this process.
So he can be regarded as the very first theoretical physicist, too.
He is perhaps best known for his invention of the pinhole camera and should be credited with the discovery of the laws of refraction.
He also carried out the first experiments on the dispersion of light into its constituent colours and studied shadows, rainbows and eclipses; and by observing the way sunlight diffracted through the atmosphere, he was able to work out a rather good estimate for the height of the atmosphere, which he found to be around 100km.
In common with many modern scholars, Ibn-al Haytham badly needed the time and isolation to focus on writing his many treatises, including his great work on optics.
He was given an unwelcome opportunity, however, when he was imprisoned in Egypt between 1011 and 1021, having failed a task set him by a caliph in Cairo to help solve the problem of regulating the flooding of the Nile.
While still in Basra, Ibn al-Haytham had claimed that the Nile's autumn flood waters could be held by a system of dykes and canals, thereby preserved as reservoirs until the summer's droughts.
But on arrival in Cairo, he soon realised that his scheme was utterly impractical from an engineering perspective.
Yet rather than admit his mistake to the dangerous and murderous caliph, Ibn-al Haytham instead decided to feign madness as a way to escape punishment.
This promptly led to him being placed under house arrest, thereby granting him 10 years of seclusion in which to work.
He was only released after the caliph's death. He returned to Iraq where he composed a further 100 works on a range of subjects in physics and mathematics.
While travelling through the Middle East during my filming, I interviewed an expert in Alexandria who showed me recently discovered work by Ibn al-Haytham on astronomy.
It seems he had developed what is called celestial mechanics, explaining the orbits of the planets, which was to lead to the eventual work of Europeans like Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler and Newton.
It is incredible that we are only now uncovering the debt that today's physicists owe to an Arab who lived 1,000 years ago.
Professor Jim Al-Khalili presents Science and Islam on BBC Four at 2100GMT on Monday 5, 12 & 19 January
Sultans of Science: 1000 Years of Knowledge Rediscovered
Opens February 5, 2009
Did you know that the first piloted flying device soared well before Leonardo da Vinci took flight in the 15th century? In the ninth century on a hill near Cordoba, Spain, a scholar and inventor named Abbas Bin Firnas harnessed himself to a feathered glider and briefly took flight, amazing his spectators.
The glider is just one of the inventions recreated for Sultans of Science: 1000 Years of Knowledge Rediscovered, an international touring exhibition making its Canadian premiere at the Ontario Science Centre.
The exhibition celebrates the scientific and technological breakthroughs made by scholars during the Golden Age of the Islamic World (eighth to 18th centuries) and their lasting influence on modern science and technology.
Developed by Cape Town and Dubai-based MTE Studios, this engaging and thought-provoking exhibition will show visitors how a great civilization created prosperity across large areas of the known world from Spain to China. Knowledge was valued and innovation encouraged, leading to high levels of achievement in science and technology.
Architecture, optics, medicine and flight are among the disciplines examined in this beautifully designed presentation. Covering over 700 square metres, it is divided into 10 sections with hands-on activities, large-scale models and interactive maps that will take visitors on a journey back through time.
Organized by Liberty Science Center and MTE Studios.
This is a striking video highlighting the uplifting cultural dimensions of Islam.
Paradise Found: A Documentary on Islamic Architecture
Paradise.. We imagine many things when we think of this word. However, we do not think about Islamic Architecture, which influenced the ar...all » Paradise. We imagine many things when we think of this word. However, we do not think about Islamic Architecture, which influenced the art of Europe so profoundly. This documentary tours through the Muslim world, in search of that "atmosphere of Paradise," hidden away in mosques and palaces.
End of the Clash of Civilizations
On his visit to Turkey last week, President Obama made important progress toward recalibrating America’s relations with the Islamic world. The president steered away from the poisonous post-9/11 clash of civilizations mythology that drove so much of President George W. Bush’s rhetoric and disastrous policy.
He told Turkey’s Parliament that the United States “is not and will never be at war with Islam” and promised that its relationship with the Muslim world will be founded on more than opposition to terrorism. An opinion poll last year said that only 12 percent of Turks had a favorable view of the United States. While there were some protests, Mr. Obama’s overall reception in Turkey was enthusiastic. Muslims in other countries also seem willing to listen.
Mr. Bush often voiced respect for Islam and rightly insisted that “the enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends” but the “radical network of terrorists” and governments supporting them. But he and his Republican allies also used words like “crusade” and “Islamic fascists,” feeding fears that the so-called war on terrorism was really a war on Islam. The horrors of Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo, and Mr. Bush’s unnecessary war in Iraq, greatly compounded the problem.
Not only are Mr. Obama’s words and tone better, his policies are better. He opposed the Iraq war and has begun planning an orderly withdrawal of American troops. He is trying to engage Iran after 30 years of mutual isolation. And he has promised an active effort to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and reaffirmed support for a two-state solution — a goal that Israel’s newly elected prime minister says he does not share.
Mr. Obama’s credibility is enhanced by personal experience. He is Christian, but his father was Muslim; the president lived part of his childhood in Indonesia, the most populous Muslim-majority nation.
While he played down this background during the 2008 campaign, it was a compelling line in last week’s speech. “The United States has been enriched by Muslim-Americans,” he said. “Many other Americans have Muslims in their family, or have lived in a Muslim-majority country. I know, because I am one of them.”
Aides say Mr. Obama is still planning a bigger speech to the Muslim world. The next one will have to acknowledge not just common ground but important differences with many Muslim countries — including the issues of women’s rights and freedom of religion — that are not easily bridged.
April 25, 2009
Indonesia’s Voters Retreat From Radical Islam
By NORIMITSU ONISHI
JAKARTA, Indonesia — From Pakistan to Gaza and Lebanon, militant Islamic movements have gained ground rapidly in recent years, fanning Western fears of a consolidation of radical Muslim governments. But here in the world’s most populous Muslim nation just the opposite is happening, with Islamic parties suffering a steep drop in popular support.
In parliamentary elections this month, voters punished Islamic parties that focused narrowly on religious issues, and even the parties’ best efforts to appeal to the country’s mainstream failed to sway the public.
The largest Islamic party, the Prosperous Justice Party, ran television commercials of young women without head scarves and distributed pamphlets in the colors of the country’s major secular parties. But the party fell far short of its goal of garnering 15 percent of the vote, squeezing out a gain of less than one percentage point over its 7.2 percent showing in 2004.
That was a big letdown for a party and a movement that had grown phenomenally in recent years, even as more radical elements directed terrorist attacks against Western tourists and targets. The party had projected that it would double its share of seats in Parliament even as it stuck to its founding goal of bringing Shariah, or Islamic law, to Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous nation, with 240 million people.
Altogether, the major Islamic parties suffered a drop in support from 38 percent in 2004 to less than 26 percent this year, according to the Indonesian Survey Institute, an independent polling firm whose figures are in keeping with partial official results.
Political experts and politicians attribute the decline to voters’ disillusionment with Islamic parties that once called for idealism, but became embroiled in the messy, often corrupt world of Indonesian politics. They also say that the popular president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who is expected to be re-elected in July, appropriated the largest Islamic party’s signature theme of clean government through a far-reaching anticorruption drive.
On a deeper level, some of the parties’ fundamentalist measures seem to have alienated moderate Indonesians. While Indonesia has a long tradition of moderation, it was badly destabilized with the end of military rule in 1998, which gave rise to Islamist politicians who preached righteousness and to some hard-core elements, who practiced violence. The country has only recently achieved a measure of stability.
Although final results from the election on April 9 will not be announced until next month, partial official results and exit polls by several independent companies indicate that Indonesians overwhelmingly backed the country’s major secular parties, even though more of them are continuing to turn to Islam in their private lives.
“People in general do not feel that there should be an integration of faith and politics,” said Azyumardi Azra, director of the graduate school at Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University. “Even though more and more Muslims, in particular women, have become more Islamic and have a growing attachment to Islam, that does not translate into voting behavior.”
By Tarek Fatah, For the Calgary HeraldMay 23, 2009
As if we North American Muslims have not had enough scrutiny of our community due to the actions and words of the Islamists among us, a new group of jihadis has emerged, this time from inside the U. S. prison system, a product of the extremist teaching of Islam by some Islamic chaplains.
Earlier this week, New York Police arrested four ex-convicts, all African Americans who converted to Islam inside prison and charged them with a plot to bomb a Jewish synagogue, blow up planes and in general wage jihad against the United States. When the politically correct media simply reported the names of the accused--James Cromitie, 44; David Williams, 28; Onta Williams, 32, and Laguerre Payen, 27, --I heaved a sigh of relief. Phew! For once a group accused of terrorism was not Muslim--at least judging from their names.
However, my relief was short-lived. It turned out the four were 'brothers' who had embraced my faith at the hands of prison chaplains. Could these men be the first jihadis who owe their existence to the American tax payer?
At a news conference outside the Bronx temple Thursday, New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly quoted one of the men as saying, "If Jews were killed in this attack ... that would be all right."
The four Muslim converts, who face charges of plotting to bomb Jewish sites and shoot down military planes, were arrested after planting what they thought were explosive devices near a synagogue and community centre, authorities say. Three of the defendants are U. S. citizens and one is of Haitian descent, officials said.
The men had planned to detonate a car with plastic explosives outside a temple in the Bronx neighbourhood of Riverdale and to shoot military planes at the New York Air National Guard base at Stewart Airport in Newburgh with Stinger surface-to-air guided missiles, authorities said. The defendants planned to "destroy a synagogue and a Jewish community centre with C-4 plastic explosives," Acting U. S. Attorney Lev Dassin said.
While apologists for America's well organized Islamist network immediately rolled out the predictable press releases condemning the four accused and asking Americans to not judge Islam by the actions of these jihadis, they missed one more opportunity to distance themselves from the Islamic doctrine of Jihad. Nowhere in the statement by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an Islamic organization labelled as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Texas Terror Trial by the U. S Justice Department, was there any inkling of a message that said "jihad is a medieval doctrine that is ill-suited and inapplicable in the world of the 21st century."
The usual gobbledygook of "inter-faith dialogue" was dished out without acknowledging the fact that anti-Jewish and anti-Christian rhetoric is part of the vocabulary of most clerics and chaplains who serve the Muslim community, both inside and outside prisons.
What is interesting is that most of America's prison chaplains that serve the Muslim inmate population are trained to varying degrees at the Islamic Chaplaincy Program of the Hartford Seminary. Guess who has been the leading force behind this program, including its curriculum? None other than Ingrid Mattson who today heads the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) another group labelled as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Texas Terror Trial.
The question is often asked: What should be done?
To answer this question requires that we first agree that this is a battle of ideas and values before it becomes a war of weapons and terror. To fight the ideology of jihad and Islamism, we need to challenge it as a medieval construct and expose Islamism and its supporters as a threat to the separation of religion and state, which has been a cornerstone of Western democracy and liberalism and for which countless people have toiled and died for nearly 400 years.
Not until we stand up to the carriers of soft-jihad will we succeed in stopping the suicide bombers and terrorists who take the ideology of Islamism to its logical extreme.
Tarek Fatah is founder of the Muslim Canadian congress and author of chasing a mirage: the tragic illusion of an Islamic state (Wiley 2008).
August 13, 2009
Yale Press Bans Images of Muhammad in New Book
By PATRICIA COHEN
It’s not all that surprising that Yale University Press would be wary of reprinting notoriously controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a forthcoming book. After all, when the 12 caricatures were first published by a Danish newspaper a few years ago and reprinted by other European publications, Muslims all over the world angrily protested, calling the images — which included one in which Muhammad wore a turban in the shape of a bomb — blasphemous. In the Middle East and Africa some rioted, burning and vandalizing embassies; others demanded a boycott of Danish goods; a few nations recalled their ambassadors from Denmark. In the end at least 200 people were killed.
So Yale University and Yale University Press consulted two dozen authorities, including diplomats and experts on Islam and counterterrorism, and the recommendation was unanimous: The book, “The Cartoons That Shook the World,” should not include the 12 Danish drawings that originally appeared in September 2005. What’s more, they suggested that the Yale press also refrain from publishing any other illustrations of the prophet that were to be included, specifically, a drawing for a children’s book; an Ottoman print; and a sketch by the 19th-century artist Gustave Doré of Muhammad being tormented in Hell, an episode from Dante’s “Inferno” that has been depicted by Botticelli, Blake, Rodin and Dalí.
The book’s author, Jytte Klausen, a Danish-born professor of politics at Brandeis University, in Waltham, Mass., reluctantly accepted Yale University Press’s decision not to publish the cartoons. But she was disturbed by the withdrawal of the other representations of Muhammad. All of those images are widely available, Ms. Klausen said by telephone, adding that “Muslim friends, leaders and activists thought that the incident was misunderstood, so the cartoons needed to be reprinted so we could have a discussion about it.” The book is due out in November.
John Donatich, the director of Yale University Press, said by telephone that the decision was difficult, but the recommendation to withdraw the images, including the historical ones of Muhammad, was “overwhelming and unanimous.” The cartoons are freely available on the Internet and can be accurately described in words, Mr. Donatich said, so reprinting them could be interpreted easily as gratuitous.
He noted that he had been involved in publishing other controversial books — like “The King Never Smiles” by Paul M. Handley, a recent unauthorized biography of Thailand’s current monarch — and “I’ve never blinked.” But, he said, “when it came between that and blood on my hands, there was no question.”
Reza Aslan, a religion scholar and the author of “No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam,” is a fan of the book but decided to withdraw his supportive blurb that was to appear in the book after Yale University Press dropped the pictures. The book is “a definitive account of the entire controversy,” he said, “but to not include the actual cartoons is to me, frankly, idiotic.”
In Mr. Aslan’s view no danger remains. “The controversy has died out now, anyone who wants to see them can see them,” he said of the cartoons, noting that he has written and lectured extensively about the incident and shown the cartoons without any negative reaction. He added that none of the violence occurred in the United States: “There were people who were annoyed, and what kind of publishing house doesn’t publish something that annoys some people?”
“This is an academic book for an academic audience by an academic press,” he continued. “There is no chance of this book having a global audience, let alone causing a global outcry.” He added, “It’s not just academic cowardice, it is just silly and unnecessary.”
Mr. Donatich said that the images were still provoking unrest as recently as last year when the Danish police arrested three men suspected of trying to kill the artist who drew the cartoon depicting Muhammad’s turban as a bomb. He quoted one of the experts consulted by Yale — Ibrahim Gambari, special adviser to the secretary general of the United Nations and the former foreign minister of Nigeria — as concluding: “You can count on violence if any illustration of the prophet is published. It will cause riots, I predict, from Indonesia to Nigeria.”
Aside from the disagreement about the images, Ms. Klausen said she was also disturbed by Yale’s insistence that she could read a 14-page summary of the consultants’ recommendations only if she signed a confidentiality agreement that forbade her from talking about them. “I perceive it to be a gag order,” she said, after declining to sign. While she could understand why some of the individuals consulted might prefer to remain unidentified, she said, she did not see why she should be precluded from talking about their conclusions.
Linda Koch Lorimer, vice president and secretary of Yale University, who had discussed the summary with Ms. Klausen, said on Wednesday that she was merely following the original wishes of the consultants, some of whom subsequently agreed to be identified.
Ms. Klausen, who is also the author of “The Islamic Challenge: Politics and Religion in Western Europe,” argued that the cartoon protests were not spontaneous but rather orchestrated demonstrations by extremists in Denmark and Egypt who were trying to influence elections there and by others hoping to destabilize governments in Pakistan, Lebanon, Libya and Nigeria. The cartoons, she maintained, were a pretext, a way to mobilize dissent in the Muslim world.
Although many Muslims believe the Koran prohibits images of the prophet, Muhammad has been depicted through the centuries in both Islamic and Western art without inciting disturbances.
Rather than sign a joint editor’s note for the book and the removal of the images, Ms. Klausen has requested instead that a statement from her be included. “I agreed,” she said, “to the press’s decision to not print the cartoons and other hitherto uncontroversial illustrations featuring images of the Muslim prophet, with sadness. But I also never intended the book to become another demonstration for or against the cartoons, and hope the book can still serve its intended purpose without illustrations.”
Other publishers, including The New York Times, chose not to print the cartoons or images of Muhammad when the controversy erupted worldwide in February 2006.
Ms. Klausen said, “I can understand that a university is risk averse, and they will make that choice” not to publish the cartoons, but Yale University Press, she added, went too far in taking out the other images of Muhammad.
“The book’s message,” Ms. Klausen said, “is that we need to calm down and look at this carefully.”
Minister Kenney Issues Statement on the Month of Ramadan
OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 21, 2009) - The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, issued the following statement recognizing the start of the month of Ramadan:
"The holy month of Ramadan, which begins tomorrow, takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, the month in which the Qur'an is believed to have been revealed to the Prophet Mohammed.
"It is a time of great reflection for Muslims as they are called upon to fast, worship, pray, and read the Qur'an. Fasting during the month of Ramadan is, in fact, one of the five pillars of Islam.
"Such observance is intended to foster generosity and understanding, as Ramadan is also a month of giving, sharing, and socializing.
"I encourage all Canadians to use this month as an opportunity to learn about Islam, and to reflect on the tremendous contributions that Muslims have made to this country's rich and diverse heritage.
"As Prime Minister Harper has said, 'Our government considers diversity one of this country's greatest assets and we are committed to strengthening both our pluralism and our national unity.'
"As Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, I wish a solemn and peaceful Ramadan to all Muslims.
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