Saturday, January 31, 2015

He Came, He Saw, He Advised – Badri Raina

Caravan Daily

Home / Comment / Badri Raina / He Came, He Saw, He Advised – Badri Raina

Dr Badri Raina is a distinguished commentator on politics, culture and society. A Fulbright Scholar and PhD from Madison, Wisconsin, Prof Raina taught English literature at the University of Delhi for over four decades and is the author of the much acclaimed "Dickens and the Dialectic of Growth." He has several collections of poems, essays and translations to his credit.

He Came, He Saw, He Advised – Badri Raina

in Badri Raina,

Editor’s Pick, Insight, WHAT'S HOT 2 days ago 0 509 Views

Michelle Barack Obama
Just when the visit was going so swimmingly saffron, imagine what this Obama fellow, during an address to India’s aspirating youth, chose to do: as if  poking  a finger in the  Hindutva eye, he made bold to say how “Michelle and I have been strengthened by our Christian faith.”


bama spent three whole days in India. He was welcomed like one of our own, complete with huggy hugs and the intimacy of first naming, even if one-sided, the erudite Indian Chief Executive going even to the extent of telling him the meaning of his first name, Barack, which now we know means “the one who is blessed.”

The 1894 triumph was mentioned—that  telling  moment when our Vivekananda took the Parliament of Religions at Chicago by storm and taught the world a thing or two about the per-eminence of our Vedas. Coming as he does from the very same Chicago, Obama had had the wit to present to the visiting Indian Prime Minister a year or so ago  a compilation of the speeches made at that watershed event in Chicago a century and a quarter  back  where Vivekananda “proved” to the Semitic world how the Vedas were the mother of all faiths, and how being Hindu meant being universal.

Just when the Obama visit was going so swimmingly, bathed in the  glow of the Vedas and sundry saffron accoutrement, imagine what this Obama fellow, during an address to India’s aspirating youth, proud of the Vedic  yore, even if by hearsay, but yearning for a Yankee future, chose to do: as if  poking  a finger in the  Hindutva eye, this Obama made bold to say how “Michelle and I have been strengthened by our Christian faith.”

No ghar vapsi (i.e. return to the all-encompassing original faith) there, you might well say, Vivekananda or no Vivekananda. Was he also insinuating that it might be wrong to vandalise churches etc.? In other words, teaching us tolerance on our own tolerant soil. Fingers crossed. We need his technology.

In fact, this cheeky Obama—he went all the way, as if you couldn’t stop him. Reminding his bright audience of how Gandhi had said all religions are branches of the same tree, how, in fact, Article 25 of the Indian Constitution guaranteed to all the right to profess, practice, and preach their own religions without fear of persecution, or discrimination. As if to say, “I have done my homework not just on Vivekananda but also on your Constitution, so don’t tell me.”

And, even more gallingly, how it is incumbent on governments to “protect religious freedoms” as well as on all citizens. Ergo, not enough for any government to say they have nothing to do with what their well-wishers may be doing here, there, and elsewhere to those “others” who practice faiths different from that of the majority, however peaceful and law abiding they may be, or however empowered to do so by the Constitution. Having learnt a trick or two from his bosom  friend, Modi, Obama went on to make that irrefutable and pulverizing appeal to his own experience of having been often “treated differently” in that land of the free and the brave.

Once said, how could you prevent any Dalit or Adivasi, or Muslim, or Christian in Bharat from thinking the American President might have been speaking for him as well? Not to speak of women who are not blessed with  vintage  fair skin, however  accomplished, handsome, and noble they be.

Come to think of it, Obama said a mouthful, as if he was enunciating a Methodist equivalent of the Vedic-Vivekananda peroration to an Indian audience—a sort of empire striking back you might say — a century or more in the making, secure in the knowledge that, being the most powerful man in authority worldwide, with plenty to give, there was nary a mischance of anyone saying with Bartleby “I would prefer not to” listen.

With the religious question dealt with, like it or not, Obama had the further gumption to aver that “our countries are not perfect.” This at a juncture in the modern history of India when everywhere perfection drips from the mouth of babes as much as it does from those they wish to emulate and celebrate. Indeed, look where you will, hear where you will, was India that is Bharat ever more perfect?

Even to the exclusion of the least demur which stands to be promptly subjected to the correctional clout that perfection now wields to orchestrated applause? Now, we might have agreed had the visiting persona limited his confession to his own land. After all, think what moral decrepitude obtains there where women may wear what they like, and where children leave their parents and go their own way, etc.; indeed, imperfections too numerous for our politeness to number, although their  sinful habits of eating beef and drinking liquor must receive mention. But to have included Bharat in his contemplation of imperfection—is this to be endured?

And what was his argument? That both in the US of A and in India great big “skyscrapers” exist cheek by jowl with great “poverty.”

This monumental hypocrisy at just the moment when we are poised to erase “socialist” from the Preamble of our Constitution so as we may plunge full scale into the American way of life—privatizing wealth and assets, maximizing profits, dismantling welfare, deepening inequality, eliminating subsidies to the poor and enhancing subsidies, nee incentives, to the rich—all in enlightened national and global interest!

So what a thing to say that economic rapacity and reformist expropriation equal imperfection. And from a bright man who went to Harvard. Asking us to “open up” from one side of his mouth, and preaching socialism from the other side. Alas, were we not so enslaved to the ancient edict of  Atithi Devo Bhava (a guest is god), what might our  Surjit Bhallas and Gurcharan Dases and others  of that evolved tribe of thinkers not have had to say to Obama about what does and does not constitute imperfection. But our mouths remained sealed; we need the reactors and the defence technologies.  Best to swallow the  crude homily and get on with Vikas (development).

But what if the reactors do not, after all, materialize? We may have agreed between the two great leaders to pass on the buck of liability to commercial types, but what commercial mind would risk insuring a nuclear disaster, you might well speculate. And what Westinghouse and suchlike might want to venture investing when the costs of producing nuclear energy escalate to a point where no one may buy?

Points to ponder, points to ponder. And what canny American war-making firm may consent to co-produce to a “make-in-India” tune, when such co-production may involve sharing not just finished technologies but letting on how they are arrived at? And permanent membership of the Security Council, ha, wait to hear from the Chinese, the Germans, and the Japanese, as well as the Brazilians before you saddle your horses, mate. Have you read your American history well? We are afraid not—reason why you tend to mistake one-sided hugs and chummy camaraderie for strategic conquests.  And from a President who is not only lame duck but has both Houses of Congress opposed to him. Not to speak of a Pentagon, always willing to make war with alacrity but never fool enough to give away ascendancy of wherewithal.

As to depending on our fifth column, namely our bustling NRIs, more effervescence, less substance or clout there. And surely not after our Hindutva exertions have been so roundly rebuked by a Christian Head of State on our own home turf. Annoyance and mayhem, down and out there.

But it was a great success, the Obama visit—a great success. Reason why for four days round the clock we saw little else on the electronic channels but guffaw and good will, and heard philosophy and reminiscence, suffusing our real lives and our real needs with  syllables of promise and the shimmer of zest.

That over, shoulder to the wheel, for the prices keep going up and the only commodity cheaply available  is  religion—that which cannot fill the belly, or plaster the bone, or keep the hovel from the rain, or protect children and women from slavery and rape.

Soon we may be only a “sovereign democratic republic”, neither “socialist” nor “secular”, even in name.

That indeed will be perfection.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Obama Warns India on Persecution, Muslims Elated - By Rudabah Simrah -

Obama Warns India on Persecution, Muslims Elated

By Rudabah Simrah
OnIslam Correspodent
Thursday, 29 January 2015 00:00

Obama warned that the prosperity of the country would be hampered if everyone did not have the freedom to follow his religion.

KOLKATA – Falling victims to religious persecution at the hands of extremist Hindu groups, India Muslim and Christian leaders have widely welcomed the caution given by US President Barack Obama to India’s leaders on offering religious freedoms to all sects and groups.

“It is imperative for all Indians to heed President Obama's call to resist any divisions along sectarian lines,” Umar Malick, the President of Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), the largest advocacy group of Indian American Muslims, told

“The deepening relationship between India and the US will be strengthened further when human rights and religious freedom are included in the framework of the US-India Strategic Dialogue.”
Indian Muslims, Christians Seek Obama’s Help
On the final day of his three-day visit to India, in a public speech in New Delhi, after pledging that US would be “India’s best partner”, Obama sounded a note of caution to India’s leaders that the prosperity of the country would be hampered if everyone did not have the freedom to follow his religion.

“Every person has the right to practice his faith without any persecution, fear or discrimination. India will succeed so long as it is not splintered along the lines of religious faith — so long as it’s not splintered along any lines, and is unified as one nation,” Obama said in his speech, hours before leaving the country on Tuesday.
Before the US President Barack Obama left the US for India, Christians and Muslims had urged him to raise the issue of growing Hindu extremism and the concerns of India's religious minorities while he was in India.

Christians posted a petition for Obama on the White House portal. And, on behalf on Indian Muslims Indian American Muslim Council wrote to him directly.

Representatives from both communities narrated in their letters to Obama how they are being targeted by the Hindu extremist groups in different ways in India.

Hindu activists are "forcibly" converting the Christians and Muslims, violently attacking the church workers and Muslims, and their leaders are openly threatening to turn India "100% Hindu", the letters said.

According to an associate editor of a major national English language newspaper, who spoke to on condition of anonymity, the news of the Christian and Muslim appeals to Obama was largely ignored by the mainstream media, notes
“Many, including some senior journalists, in India believed that Obama would avoid a sensitive issue like the accusation of persecution of the religious minorities in India because the ruling national government is led by a Hindu nationalist party (of Bharatiya Janata Party),” the editor said.

“Obama proved them all wrong. In his parting shot he has not only noted that he was aware of the rising Hindu extremism in India, in a fine diplomatic way he has noted that Modi was silent on the issue and sent out a suggestion to the Indian prime minister that he should act fast to rein in the divisive forces in the country.”


Fr Dominic Emmanuel, director of New Delhi-based Sadbhavana- Institute for Communication and Inter-religious Dialogue, said that as an activist working for the rights of the minorities he was “delighted” that Obama addressed the issue of concerns of the religious minorities.

“In his speech he covered most of the important issues between the two countries, from business cooperation to clean energy, to women's empowerment. The icing on the cake, however, was his rattling off of the Article 25 (1) of the Indian Constitution, reminding everyone around how religious freedom is the bulwark of a mature democracy,” Fr Emmanuel said to

“We have welcomed his speech as wholeheartedly as we welcome the truth from any corner of the world.”

Although persecution of Muslims has taken place in Hindu-majority India for many decades with many thousands of Muslims being killed in scores of anti-Muslim Hindu riots, Christians too have become a target of Hindu extremism in recent years.

With many of their leaders claiming that they would turn India “100% Hindu”, the Hindu right wing groups have stepped up their drive to convert Muslims and Christians in a controversial Hindu Gharwapsi (Homecoming) or “reconversion” program across the country in recent months.

As Christians and Muslims raised voices of protest against the Hindu Gharwapsi programs, the news of the allegedly forcible reconversion to Hinduism by the Hindu groups have found space in the international media.

Shillong-based North Eastern Hill University professor Prasenjit Biswas said Obama's comment on preserving religious tolerance and the matrix of harmony between religions in India “is a clear hint at recent atmosphere of majoritarian religious violence by the far right”.

“Obama held the present central government responsible for violation of religious freedom of minorities especially the Muslims. His caution against misuse of religion bears positive impact on strengthening India's liberal-secular traditions,” Prof Biswas, who is also known as a human rights campaigner, told

Noting that Washington recently lifted the visa ban on Modi, Prof Biswas cautioned that intolerance will effect economic growth of India by creating multiple social and economic rifts both at home and internationally.

“India's dependence in energy sector on the Gulf nation will be its first casualty. It will also create home grown terror that would cost more lives than the country can ill afford,” he said.
Related Links:
Muslims Protest Schools' Hindu Prayers
Halal Gains Ground in India
Hindu Mobs Burn Muslims to Death
Hindus Flare India Reproduction Wars
India’s Sun Worship Infuriates Muslims

Why is Amit Shah being allowed to make MPs out of bigots? - By Ramchandra Guha - The Telegraph - Calcutta , INDIA

A Good Cop [?] / Bad Cop  act gone awry

The Telegraph

Front Page > Opinion > Story

In the latter part of 2014, four members of Parliament made provocative statements. Yogi Adityanath, the MP from Gorakhpur, claimed that young Muslim men had launched a "love jihad" to entrap Hindu women, by marrying and converting them to Islam. Sakshi Maharaj, the MP from Unnao, said that the murderer of Mahatma Gandhi, Nathuram Godse, was a true patriot. Sadhvi Jyoti Niranjana, MP from Fatehpur (and who had been recently inducted into the council of ministers), said that all those who did not worship Lord Rama or vote for her party were " haramzadon" (a term that we can politely translate as 'rascals', although the original Hindustani admits of more pejorative connotations). Satish Gautam, the MP from Aligarh, proclaimed his support to a programme of converting Muslims and Christians to Hinduism.
The four MPs all belonged to the Bharatiya Janata Party, the party that is running the Union government. As a result, the Opposition asked the prime minister, as head of government, to clarify his stand on the MPs' remarks. The Rajya Sabha was stalled for days on end, with the prime minister first declining to appear and then making a statement, which, in the Opposition's view, was not sufficiently condemnatory of his errant MPs.

In the vast press coverage on these controversies, one salient fact seems to have been obscured. This is that the four fire-raising MPs of the BJP had all been elected from the state of Uttar Pradesh. They had all been chosen to contest for Parliament by the then general secretary of the BJP, Amit Shah, who had been given sole charge of the campaign in India's largest state. Remarkably, neither the press nor the Opposition had noticed the connection.

While the prime minister was repeatedly asked to state his stand, no one - whether inside Parliament or outside it - directed their criticisms to the man principally responsible for having made MPs out of bigots.

The mainstreaming of Amit Shah is one of the more worrying aspects of public discourse in India. This is a man who was the first serving home minister of any state to be arrested; the man who was sent away from his own state for two years by the Supreme Court for fear he would tamper with the evidence in important criminal cases; the man who many say so completely politicized his state's police force that those who did not toe his line were punished.

The controversial background of Amit Shah was forgotten when his party won the Lok Sabha election, their victory owed in good part to their near-clean sweep in Uttar Pradesh, where they won 71 out of 80 seats. The BJP's spectacular showing in India's largest state, and the majority gained overall, prompted the party to elevate Amit Shah to the post of president. Meanwhile, his role in fashioning a BJP victory led to a flurry of appreciative pieces on Amit Shah in the press. 

The man with a distinctly dodgy past was now celebrated as a political genius, as the modern Chanakya, and more.

The pundits in the press particularly praised Amit Shah for his "candidate selection". The candidates he selected included Yogi Adityanath, Sakshi Maharaj, Sadhvi Jyoti Niranjana and Satish Gautam. And yet no one has called the BJP president to account for the statements of his MPs from Uttar Pradesh. Meanwhile, other members of the extended sangh parivar have made their intentions very clear. The head of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has declared that India is a Hindu rashtra, and that everyone who is a citizen of this country must acknowledge that he is of "Hindu" origin. In keeping with this ambition, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad has launched a series of conversion programmes. Its president, Pravin Togadia, has said that their ultimate goal is to make every Indian a Hindu by faith.

Narendra Modi was, for many years, a fervent believer in a Hindu rashtra himself. In his first years as chief minister, he made disparaging remarks about Muslims and Christians. However, from about 2008 or so he began to fashion a more moderate image. He was now a vikash purush, a man of development, who wished to take all of Gujarat along on the road to prosperity. Once he launched his prime ministerial campaign, he further sought to present himself as a politician of the future, rather than of the past. Although his penchant for polemic remained, the barbs were now directed at individual politicians opposed to him, rather than at communities per se.

Narendra Modi's adroit re-branding, along with his brilliant oratory, played a major role in the success of his party in the Lok Sabha elections. Although such things are impossible to quantify, it does seem that a large number of those who voted for the BJP do not subscribe to the view that India is or must be a Hindu rashtra. They cast their votes as they did because (a) they were (rightly) disgusted by the corruption and dynastic culture of the ruling Congress, and (b) they saw in the energetic, charismatic, self-made Narendra Modi a viable alternative, who could meet their aspirations for a safer, more prosperous, and less corrupt India.

The presentation of Modi as a modernizing, go-getting, growth-and-good-governance-generating reformer was widely shared by the electorate. It may indeed be that Modi has undergone a genuine ideological transformation. Is that also true of his second-in-command? Here the scepticism must run deeper. During the election campaign, Amit Shah was reprimanded by the Election Commission for remarks he made urging Hindus to take 'revenge' through the ballot box.
 The statements made by his chosen MPs from UP show that they take no part in the professed agenda of the government, but subscribe still to the reactionary, polarizing view of India that it was thought (or claimed) that the prime minister had himself left behind. Shah's own failure to publicly reprimand Yogi Adityanath and Sadhvi Jyoti Niranjana suggests that he is not entirely averse to their worldview. When asked by reporters to comment, he has offered anodyne remarks such as "our party stands for social harmony".

The signs are ominous - more so because in the communalizing of UP, Shah and his party have a willing ally in Mulayam Singh Yadav and his party. Both sides have a vested interest in further polarization. As the next assembly elections in UP come closer, the worry is that the likes of Mulayam and Azam Khan will stoke fear among insecure Muslims, and that the likes of Yogi Adityanath and Sadhvi Jyoti Niranjana will stoke fear among insecure Hindus. Further stoking the sectarian pot will be Asaduddin Owaisi and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen. The BJP under Shah's leadership might then play a double game - getting the prime minister to give stirring speeches promising jobs to all young men and 24x7 power to all rural homes, while on the ground the cadres work at consolidating "Hindu pride".

Shah's defenders have made much of the "clean chit" recently given him by the CBI. The discourse on clean chits (given in this case by an agency notorious for bowing to the wind) obscures a fundamental question, namely, whether association with, or endorsement of, statements and actions so manifestly at variance with our Constitution are at all compatible with the presidentship of India's most important political party.

Shah's career as home minister in Gujarat, his management of the campaign in UP during the general elections, and his conduct as party president all suggest that for him ends are far more important than the means. That is why we must be troubled by the mixture of deference and adulation by which he is currently treated by large sections of the media.


Monday, January 26, 2015

It Is Time For Iran To Tell The West ‘Goodbye’ — Paul Craig Roberts | MODI OFFERS INDIA TO USA ON A PLATTER -- Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai


The great hoopla that Modi is making covering US President Obama visit, is to fool the people of India, while INDIA is being offered to the predator USA on a platter. This is second coming of the East India Company, who had come as traders and ended up ruling India and inflicting millions of death of India's civilians to consolidate their hold on the acquired territory. The same class of traders are now in the forefront of selling India cheap to a neo-colonial super-power that will never relinquish INDIA from its predatory grip for centuries to come.The merchants of Gujarat are known to even earlier century foreigners to sell commodities at commissions. These commission agents are once again getting their upper hand to offer our great country to exploit its resources and use its cheaply acquired man-power as canon-fodder for their wars that are certain to be unleashed in the region.

Modi the savior of India is the biggest commission agent that has mesmerized its people to rob them of their country, their identity, their independence, their true standing in the comity of nations. Like Iran, India too is a great civilisation and any Superpower worth its salt will have to subdue each and every visage of earlier great civilizations with the notion, that it may be exposed to an existential threat from any such resurgent civilisation. That's their agenda of 'clash of civilisation'.
Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

It Is Time For Iran To Tell The West ‘Goodbye’ — Paul Craig Roberts

It Is Time For Iran To Tell The West ‘Goodbye’

Paul Craig Roberts

From all appearances, the Obama regime’s negotiations with Iran, overseen by Russia, were on the verge of ending the contrived nuclear issue. An end to the confrontation is unacceptable to the Zionist Israeli government and to their neocon agents in America.

The Republicans, a political party owned lock, stock, and barrel by the Israel Lobby, hastily invited Netanyahu, the crazed ruler of both Israel and America, to quickly come to tell the Republican Congress, which the insouciant American voters put in place, how to prohibit any accommodation with Iran.

Observing the Israeli-controlled Republican Congress, a collection of warmongers, taking steps to prevent any peaceful resolution of a fabricated issue, Iran’s leader, Seyyed Ali Khamenei sent a letter to Western youth advising the youth of the Western world of the mischaracterization of Islam by Western propagandists.
I respect Khamenei’s effort to reach out to Western youth in order to help them differentiate the reality of Islam from the demonized portrait painted of Islam by Western politicians and media.
The question is: How much impact can Khamenei have?  

Khamenei’s voice is important, but it is small in comparison to the Western liars and propagandists.  Even an important representative, such as Khamenei, of a demonized country and a demonized religion can hardly be heard over the din of propaganda against Iran and Islam.

Moreover, secret Western black op organizations can conduct terrorist operations in the name of Islam, such as possibly occurred with 9/11, the Boston Marathon Bombing, and Charlie Hebdo.  The world is told that Islam is behind these attacks, but experts note that no real evidence is ever supplied.  Just official assertions, such as those that proved incorrect about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Assad’s use of chemical weapons in Syria, the false accusations against Gaddafi in Libya, and the false accusations against Russia in Ukraine.  The makers of this propaganda have many voices, and their trumpets overwhelm the voice of Iran’s leader.

Instead of appealing to the West, Iran needs to turn away from the West.  The historical time of the West has passed.

The West has devolved into a police state in which government is no longer accountable to law or to the people.  There are no jobs for young people, and no income security for the elderly. The West is actually in the process of looting itself.  Just look at what is happening in Greece. In order to guarantee the profits of the private banks from outside Greece, the Greek people have had their pensions cut, their employment cut, their social services cut, and they have had to sell their valuable public properties at low prices to private purchasers from outside their country. The same looting is now going on in Ukraine, and Italy, Spain, and Portugal face the identical fate.

In America the entire economic policy of the country is conducted only for the benefit of the super-rich One Percent.

If we use J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings as a metaphor for the West, the West is Mordor and Washington is Sauron.

It is pointless for Iran to negotiate with the West in hopes of gaining acceptance. Iran is on the same list as Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, and Assad. The only way Iran can be accepted by the West is to consent to being an American puppet state. Suspicion about Iran’s nuclear energy program is a contrived issue. If it were not the nuclear issue, it would be some other contrived issue, such as weapons of mass destruction, use of chemical weapons, terrorism, and so forth. Iran’s leaders should understand that the real problem is Iran’s independence of Washington’s foreign and economic policies. Washington cannot say that the US wants regime change in Iran because Washington wants a puppet state, so Washington pretends that Iran represents a threat that must be overcome.
If Iran so much admires the decadent and corrupt West that it is willing to be a servile vassal in order to enjoy Western acceptance, all Iran needs to do is to capitulate and align with Washington’s hegemonic policies.

If Iran, one of the two oldest civilizations and cultures on the planet, wishes to continue its existence without coming under the rule of the “exceptional” Americans, Iran must turn its back to the West, ally with Russia, China, India, and the other BRICS countries, and have nothing whatsoever to do with the Western criminals. It is beyond explanation why a civilization as old as the Iranian one would see anything in the West worthy of being associated with.

Above all, Iran should stop fighting other Muslims, even extreme ones who betray the Prophet Mohammed and soil Islam. Iran should not accept the role of being Washington’s mercenary in the fight against the Islamic State. Iran should never help Washington kill Muslims, even misguided ones who betray the Prophet. Instead, Iran should understand that the Islamic State, even if it should be a creation of Washington, is enjoying its success because Muslim peoples are tired of being ruled by the West, which uses the antagonism between Sunni and Shi’ite to rule them both.

If the Islamic State is a Western creation, the Muslims who support it are not. The Islamic state is supported by Muslims because the Muslim people are tired of being ruled and ruined by America, Great Britain, and the French.

Khamenei should forget about America, where evil has taken hold and about which Khamenei can do nothing. Khamenei should try to unify the Muslim peoples and turn them in a new direction.
Islam is weak because it is not unified. For centuries Muslims, divided by ancient political claims, have permitted their religious differences to make them pawns of other powers. It requires leadership to repair a sectarian split, and that is the leadership Iran should attempt to provide. Iran cannot provide leadership by imposing its view. A unifying compromise among Muslims must be made. Fighting on the side of the Americans against the Islamic State perpetuates the split and seals the fate of Muslim peoples as colonies of the West.

The problems that Muslims face might be too large for leadership to rectify. Not only are Muslims afflicted by their internal split, Muslim populations in the West are now positioned by propaganda such that their leaders are compelled to support war against the Islamic State and Iran in order to protect Muslim communities from pogroms. Have history and propaganda made Muslims forever a colonized people?

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts' latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Kerry issued summons in rights group move against RSS - Written by Narayan Lakshman - The Hindu, English Daily, Chennai, India

Return to frontpage


Washington, January 23, 2015

Kerry issued summons in rights group move against RSS

Narayan Lakshman  

A U.S. court has issued summons to Secretary of State John Kerry calling for his response within 60 days to a lawsuit demanding that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) be designated a “foreign terrorist organisation.”

Judge Laura Swain of the District Court of the Southern District of New York said in her summons that Mr. Kerry was required to answer the “declaratory lawsuit” filed by Sikhs for Justice, a human rights group that had earlier filed a case against Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging culpability for his role in the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat, which occurred when Mr. Modi was the Chief Minister.

This week’s lawsuit, which acquires significance in the context of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to India over the weekend to join its Republic Day celebrations, called for the Foreign Terrorist Organisation tag for the RSS “for believing in and practicing a fascist ideology and for running a passionate, vicious and violent campaign to turn India into a ‘Hindu’ nation with a homogeneous religious and cultural identity.”

In its 26-page complaint, SFJ alleged that the “crimes of the RSS” included the targeting of religious minorities of India, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians, citing incidents of violence against these groups in Gujarat, Punjab and Orissa, respectively.

Lawsuit calls for the Foreign Terrorist Organisation tag for RSS ‘for believing in and practising a fascist ideology’

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Ji, I’m a bhangi! But you’re an Insan, too!

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 09:30 AM PST
Maulana Sayyid Nurul Hasan Bukhari writes and the scribes these lines(Amin Gilani) also heard it directly from Shah Saheb. 

Ataullah Shah BukhariAtaullah Shah Bukhari
The occasion was a public meeting at Darul Uloom Khayr-ul Madaris, Jalandhar. At lunchtime when everybody sat on the meal-spread, a young sweeper by the name of Prithi was also standing by.

Sayyid Ataullah Shah Bukhari asked him to join at the meal.
 Humbly, he said, ‘Ji I’m a bhangi, meaning lowliest of the castes in Hindu social order. Shahji said sympathetically, ‘but you’re an Insan, too’ – a human-being, ‘and feel hunger as well, don’t you?’ Saying that, Shahji stood up from his seat, washed young man’s hands and made him sit by his side. Prithi was trembling with fear and shame. It had never occurred to his wildest dreams that he could ever sit beside a Sayyid who would feed him like his own child. 

The poor sweeper kept repeating ‘Ji, I’m a bhangi’ – ‘Sir, I’m a sweeper’( an untouchable in Hindu caste hierarchy). Not listening to him, Shahji broke the bread, dipped it in gravy and put the morsel in Prithi’s mouth. As the young sweeper felt a bit comfortable, Shahji took a potato from the broth and put that in Prithi’s mouth. 

After the boy cut part of it by his teeth, Shahji ate the remaining half of the potato. After Prithi drank water, Shahji drank the remaining water from the same bowl. Prithi disappeared soon after taking his meal with Shahji. He was crying. He was no longer a man of this world. 

Hours later, at the time of Asr prayer, he returned with his young wife who had an infant in her lap. ‘Shahji, for Allah’s sake, make us Musalman’, he urged 

Maulana Ataullah Shah Bukhari. The couple embraced Islam just because Prithi had tasted human dignity for the first time in his life, and also for the first time in the memory of his caste.
Lifted from:

Muhammad Ismail Shuja’abadi
Sayyid Ataullah Shah Bukhari – Sawaneh o Afkar p269
(Sayyid Ataullah Shah Bukhari – Biography and Thoughts)
Idarah Talifat i Khatm i Nubuwwat, Lahore
As reported in the monthly Ar-Rashid, Darul Uloom Deoband Number

English: Mohammad Tariq Ghazi
Also read:

Ameer-e-Shariat Ataullah Shah Bukhari on Shi’a-Sunni differences

The post Ji, I’m a bhangi! But you’re an Insan, too! appeared first on Urdu Media Monitor.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Islamist violence stems much more from recent history than from the faith’s essentials - The Economist, UK

Economist may be regarded as a more sober, mature and academic than other Western propagandist media. However, the following article, though forcefully putting out Western views, is too confused to be branded either propaganda or serious academic exercise to draw practical conclusions to address Muslim grievances. Its focus is more on wrongs 'committed' by Muslims and Islam, rather than the West and Zionists.

1. The long headline --- Islamist violence stems much more from recent history than from the faith’s essentials --  appears to counter the argument more vehemently advanced by Jewish propagandists that it is Islam by its very nature and essentials, that is violent and destructive. Economist proposes to focus on the current world movements to explain why Jihadists have sprung up. (The Neocon's New World Order that unleashes the idea of clash of civilisation to justify war on Islam as a potential global adversary and Muslims as new targets, now that Communist Russia has been effectively decimated.) Economist writer has tried to open a new line of investigation, as according to Economist, possibly taking on Islam as a religion will be too stupendous a job without any measurable immediate results.)
2. Economist warns Western media and policymakers, not to call for any reform in Islam, or they will end up bringing most stringent Salafi Islam into the play. Any idea to bring forth an Islam in tune with West's own interest, will find an ongoing and ever intensive reaction that probably will sap West's own energies.

3. Economist acknowledges that Islam does not allow for separation of religion and state; however it is strange that in addressing Islam and Muslim World, West persist in fashioning its own response to Muslim world mingling religion with state policies. The religion of Islam is the main target by Jewish and Zionist warmongers and it is the Zionists that keep manipulating western policymakers and media propagandist to attack both the religion of Islam and Muslim world. Their notion of survival extends to destruction of entire world.
4. Economist seems to agree to Muslims trying to work out their own formula, adjusting modern parameters to Islamic fundamentals. It therefore is against West trying to force any such changes in the process, that may rebound in problems for the West, without any productive results. The element of hate and phobia has to be exposed and condemned.
5. Economist compares Shia and Sunni hierarchy that ends up a grudging endorsement of a Church like authority that characterizes Shia strain exemplified by Iran, while Sunni religious Ulama without any such authority have been sidelined by 'despots' who virtually separated Islam from the state, (under Left liberal influences?). It mentions Salafis as working towards such a central authority and one of their contribution, according to Economist is, the formulation of 'Jihad' as a violent struggle to confront the rest of the world as well as those that do not follow their strict version of Islam, thus legitimizing 'apostasy' killings and increasing stress to punish the wrongs.
6.Economist persists in branding 9/11 as a Muslim attack, that provoked US attack on Iraq and Afghanistan. The world does not believe that propaganda and both Iraq and Afghanistan had been a disaster with long term consequences for the Western armed invasions. The worst part is that each and every anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic move is couched in religious terms to hide and camouflage West's capitalist exploitation of Muslim resources. Jewish media has been very successful in covering up the truth and propagating the untruth.
7. Economist laments that lack of central authority in Islamic world, effectively appointed INTERNET as the source of formulating a global consensus of Jihadist to confront the West as well as their own kind.
8. Economist opines that factors behind Jihadism will only abate when region's Muslim majority societies become prosperous and politically and socially free. Economist does not assign any active role for the western states to work against that eventualities.
9. This Economist article is directly in response to Charlie Hebdo attacks. Economist being very much aligned to Jewish interests has no word in the article making out that provocation to Muslims need to be condemned to buy peace. A spate of articles both in US and EU and Australia are trying to divide 'radicals' and 'mainstream' Muslims as favour to the overwhelming majority that is not involved in any violence. However, that is more in the manner of divide and rule policy, as long as West itself is not ready to any self-analysis and self-correction.
Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

The roots of jihadism

A struggle that shames[?]

Islamist violence stems much more from recent history than from the faith’s essentials

Jan 17th 2015 | CAIRO | From the print edition
  • Timekeeper

MANY in the West take the Paris attacks as evidence that Islam needs reform, or indeed a full-on Reformation. They should be careful what they wish for. The reforming of religions is a messy business, and does not necessarily make them gentler or more biddable. Indeed the jihadists from whom the Paris murderers took their lead see themselves as reformers, tasked with a mission to strip their faith of centuries of arcane jurisprudence and non-Islamic practice and bring it back to its fiercer, truer original form.

Their goal is nothing like the tempering outcome hoped for by those calling for a Reformation along the line of Europe’s five centuries ago, but the process has at least one similarity. As in the religious wars that followed on from Europe’s Reformation, the worst of the violence perpetrated by jihadists has been felt by their co-religionists. Most of the victims of resurgent Islamic fundamentalism have been Muslims.

In this section
Related topics
Islam has never acknowledged a separation of religion from the state: from the time of the Prophet both developed together. The challenge of reconciling this with the workings of the post-colonial states set up in the Middle East during the 20th century has proved a difficult one. It is made more so when those modern states fall into a despotism which combines political repression with economic stagnation. Such stagnation is particularly hard on the young people who make up most of the population in most Arab countries. It leaves them without the money to start a family and deprived of a sense that their life has much meaning outside religion.
To the religious, Islam cannot be blamed for these miserable conditions. Hence the argument that, rather than mimic the modernised West, and rather than allow it to intervene in their affairs, as it has done through much of recent history, Muslims should create new forms of politics and government proper to their faith. The Islamists who hold such ideas take their faith as providing ultimate guidance not just in the personal realm but in the social and political realms, too.

For those in the Shia branch of Islam, the high-water mark of such feelings was the Iranian revolution of 1979, which turned a somewhat repressive modernising monarchy into a thoroughly repressive theocracy. Political Islamists of the Sunni strain, frequently marginalised, oppressed or manipulated by authoritarian rulers, do not yet have any comparable landmark.

Salafis, Sunnis who take their name and inspiration from the salaf, the Prophet’s original followers, have played on these grievances. Decades ago some of them reformulated jihad—a term which means struggle of various sorts—as a justification of political violence. Combined with the view that apostasy merits death the idea of jihad has been used to justify everything from the assassination of Anwar Sadat, Egypt’s president, in 1981 to the slaughter of Syrian and Iraqi Muslims who neglect to pray five times a day, or smoke, or disagree with any other part of the perverse interpretation of Islam favoured by the so-called Islamic State (IS).

From Peshawar to Paris

The first great growth opportunity for modern jihadism came with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. After fighters backed by Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and America expelled the enemy they found new targets, with those who created al-Qaeda taking a new interest in the “far enemy”: America and the rest of the West.

In attacking America in 2001, and thus provoking a new invasion of Afghanistan and, later, Iraq, al-Qaeda created an environment where the sort of jihadism it inspired could spread much further than before. Fed by ideology, opportunity and the ready availability of frustrated young men holding their lives cheap the conflagration shows no signs of abating or lessening in its depravity. From Nigeria (see article) to Pakistan, the month that saw 17 slain in Paris saw hundreds more killed elsewhere (see chart).

In many minds IS has now overtaken al-Qaeda as the most notorious current exponents of jihadism. Although IS shares much of its forerunner’s ideology, it is far less discriminating about whom it kills; even al-Qaeda’s leaders have criticised its brutality. And although its leaders call for killing in the West, their main aim is ruling the territory of a new caliphate.

The ability of Sunni Islamists to pick and choose religious concepts and take them out of context is partly down to the absence of respected religious authority in Sunni Islam. Nearly every Shia bows to one of a handful of Grand Ayatollahs, but Sunni institutions such as Cairo’s al-Azhar have limited authority. And the internet allows the masses of alienated youth to listen to the most radical preachers rather than the imam at their local mosque. State attempts to control preachers only increase mistrust of them. Scholars trying to set Islamic teachings in their historical or cultural context, whose work might inspire ways of better accommodating political Islam to the contemporary world, find themselves drowned out.

The relative prosperity, peace and democracy of Muslim-majority countries such as Indonesia show that today’s Islam can be tolerant. And there may be positive signs amid the bloodshed in the Arab world—from the popular distrust signalled by Egypt’s rejection of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group that briefly ruled after the 2011 revolution, to the way that Ennahda, Tunisia’s Islamist party, relinquished power after recent elections. But most scholars reckon that the factors behind jihadism will only abate when the region’s Muslim-majority societies become prosperous and politically and socially free. None of the Arab world’s leaders are making much progress towards that.

From the print edition: Briefing

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Crucial Time for Islam and West – Prof Akbar Ahmed -

Link to Caravan Daily
Home / Comment / Akbar S Ahmed / A Crucial Time for Islam and West – Prof Akbar Ahmed

Ambassador Akbar S Ahmed is Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington DC. Ahmed, who has served as Pakistan's envoy to Great Britain, is “the world’s leading authority on contemporary Islam,” according to the BBC. He has some seminal books to his credit including 'Living Islam.'

A Crucial Time for Islam and West – Prof Akbar Ahmed

The solidarity march with ‘Charlie Hebdo’ in Paris last week

It is a troubled time in Europe, and it will require wisdom, courage and compassion in both Muslim and non-Muslim leaders


The sense of absolute horror at the terrible tragedy that took place in Paris has not yet abated. The enormity of what happened — an attack on the foundations of the idea and practice of a free press — is unprecedented. France grieves and so should all right-thinking people who value democracy and human rights. We commiserate with the families who have suffered such tragic loss.

The president of France, Francois Hollande and his political rival and former president, Nicolas Sarkozy,  appeared together  in a show of unity to condemn what had happened in the strongest words. They faithfully reflected the defiance, anger and shock that the nation felt. World leaders from President Obama to the prime minister of the UK rallied around in a show of solidarity with France, vowing to stand by it.

Both Hollande and Sarkozy cast the attacks in Paris in terms of the Huntingtonian thesis of the clash of civilizations between the West and Islam. Hollande condemned the  ”exceptional barbarism”   and Sarkozy declared this to be a  ”barbaric”  attack on civilization itself. It was “ a war on civilization ,” said Sarkozy. Implicit in such statements was Huntington’s idea of the clash.

It was precisely to look at what is happening in Europe in the context of Islam that I, along with my research team, conducted fieldwork across Europe, which concluded this week. We were in France a fortnight ago.
During fieldwork for the research project called “Journey into Europe,” we visited about 50 towns and cities and 50 mosques, interviewed over 30 imams, across the length and breadth of Europe. We talked to students and professors, taxi drivers and shopkeepers, presidents and prime ministers, archbishops and chief rabbis.

The relevance — indeed urgency — of our project to study the Muslims of Europe was underlined as we traveled last summer. Geopolitical developments in the Middle East — and elsewhere — were linking European Muslims directly to world events. The media were reporting that several thousand European Muslims were involved with the battles raging in Syria and Iraq. Of these, the British government  claimed some 400 were from Britain .

In mid-August, when James Foley, the American journalist, was brutally beheaded by a man who spoke with a British accent and wore a mask, the media frenzy to uncover his identity was the focus of the news. American air strikes began and there was talk of greater military involvement in the Middle East. In some senses, it appeared that it was déjà vu. But this was a substantially changed situation with new players. The theater of conflict was no longer Afghanistan, and the Taliban were no longer the protagonists. The media were now talking of European Muslims being the threat, a Trojan horse. The media discussed   “Jihadi John”  as they had earlier talked of ”Jihad Jane.”

It was now a matter of life and death to understand the European Muslims. From the prime minister of Britain down to ordinary journalists, the question on people’s minds was how to convert Jihadi John to Malleable Mustafa and Jihad Jane to Loyal Leila.

The problem was that this question could not be answered without some knowledge of the Muslim community — its definition of its own identity, its leadership patterns, its religious and political players, the role of the imams, the position of mothers and women in the family in influencing the young men, and relations with government and the broader public. While few people had the answers, these were precisely the questions which needed to be addressed.

That is why our study assumed a greater topicality than had been intended when it was designed. It is an up-to-date study of the Muslim community in Europe in the context of its impact on the world. Because the study is based on fieldwork conducted in the community, it is as authentic as possible, and because it aims to present a holistic picture of the Muslim community throughout the continent, it is able to juxtapose the whole range and diversity of Muslims, from Edinburgh in the north of Great Britain down south to Melilla, a Spanish possession in North Africa, from Cordoba in the west to Xanthi in the east in Greece near the border with Turkey.

Muslims fall into three broad categories in the context of Europe today: they are indigenous or native (like the majority of Bosnians); immigrants (many of them come to the country that colonized their land so feel they have a right to be there as a fact of historical reciprocity — North Africans, especially Algerians, to France, South Asians to Britain; although exceptions include Germany as it invited “guest workers” mainly from Turkey a country that it did not colonize); and converts (especially the young seeking answers to their spiritual problems).

I suggest we examine these different categories of Muslims in Europe in three distinct phases of its history: Muslims have been in Europe since 711, which can be taken as the start of the first phase of the Muslim presence in Europe. It was a time in certain places and for certain periods of what the Spanish call La Convivencia — The Co-Existence   . This phase ended in 1492 with the fall of Granada,  the last independent Muslim kingdom , and the eventual expulsion of Muslims (and Jews) from the Iberian Peninsula.

The second phase of Muslims in Europe starts around the 15th century and lasts until the 20th century and is formed by the clashes between European Christian forces and Ottoman armies. Ideas of Islam as alien and predatory are settled in European minds as a result of this phase.

The third phase starts when European countries colonize Muslim lands in the 19th and 20th centuries and immigrants arrive in Europe to work and find better lives from the second half of the 20th century onwards. A second and third generation of Muslims is now coming of age in Europe. There are many issues around these generations that create debate, controversy, anger and even hatred in the majority population. Issues of “terror”(such as the attacks in Paris), Sharia and the hijab are broadly associated with Islam in the popular imagination.

Here are some preliminary conclusions:
  • What happened in France was shocking and tragic, but not entirely surprising. While we were in the country there were at least three incidents of Muslims committing acts of violence. Most Muslims live in ghetto-like and impoverished “rough” areas. There were entire areas in Marseille, a city in which about 30 percent of the population is Muslim, which seemed to be “no-go” areas. Gangs involving Muslims sold drugs freely. Violence therefore emanating from communities like this is not surprising.
  • The relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims across Europe also feeds into the sense of Muslims feeling under siege today. Over 17,000   Germans marched in Dresden against Islam and  three mosques  were attacked in rapid succession in Sweden. Muslims were being depicted as “non-Europeans” and “barbarians” who had no place in a “civilized” Europe.
  • Muslims throughout the continent were touched by a sense of uncertainty. While there was a significant counter push — for example, the  historic Cologne Cathedral darkened its lights  against the protests in Dresden — it did little to calm the sense of anxiety.
  • We noted a clear-cut double failure: Muslim leadership and organizations have dramatically failed because murderers such as those in Paris are coming out of the Muslim community. Without strengthening the Muslim leadership and community, these tragic incidents will continue. For example, there is no central mosque in Marseille. There is thus no focal point for social organization and action. Muslim leaders should be underlining the fact that the community lives in a different social and cultural context from the ones that they originally inhabited in Algeria or Pakistan; that Muslims everywhere would be unhappy with perceived insults to their faith and their prophet but that the way to protest is not through violence.
  • Local European administrations have also failed. Otherwise, such attacks would not be happening with such frequency. Effective strategies need to be worked out in close coordination with the Muslim community in order to check violence in the future. Violence will not be controlled unless both Muslim and non-Muslim leaders work together. The sense we had was of haphazard initiatives in one place and the excessive use of force in another.
  • We often forget in the United States how close Europe is to Africa and Asia. The continents actually meet; both in the west, with Spain and Morocco, and in the east with Turkey and Greece. This means that borders are “porous.”  Some 150,000  immigrants landed in Italy in 2014.  Some 1,300 were rescued  from the sea while we were on the island. As long as there is political chaos in North and Central Africa and the Middle East, people will flee their homes to find shelter abroad and Europe will remain a destination. A long-term policy to deal with refugees needs to be worked out as soon as possible or local resources will be overwhelmed very soon.
  • Considering the various incidents happening at the same time across Europe, it is not difficult to conclude that the issue of Muslims in Europe will pose a huge challenge to society, including the question of law and order, in the coming time. Dealing with it is a matter of top priority.
  • The president of France and the imam of the main mosque in Paris both rightly condemned the murderers, saying they would go to hell, etc. The problem is the assumption that these actions are religiously motivated. Muslims may have been using religious rhetoric, but these attacks are a consequence of the sociological environment of their lives in Europe today. Therefore, the response needs to be to prevent effectively such incidents in the future rather than getting involved in futile theological discussions. Besides, the strategy and policy to deal with the minority community needs to be set in an all-European context.
  • It is a troubled time in Europe, and it will require wisdom, courage and compassion in both Muslim and non-Muslim leaders. Fortunately, there are men and women of extraordinary vision who we were privileged to meet — from Bent Melchior, the former chief rabbi of Denmark, to Rowan Williams, the former archbishop of Canterbury, to Mustafa Ceric, the former grand mufti of Bosnia-Herzegovina. In their messages of interfaith and intercultural cooperation, dialogue, and understanding, they reflected the Jewish notion of tikkun ulam – to heal a fractured world. We should heed them.
Prof Akbar S Ahmed’s latest book and film project is Journey into Europe: Islam, Immigration and Empire