Monday, May 30, 2016

Mamluks and maliks : Why Arab monarchies have survived uprisings better than republics --- The Economist --- May 14th 2016 | From the print edition

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The nature of the state

Mamluks and maliks

Why Arab monarchies have survived uprisings better than republics

May 14th 2016 | From the print edition

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Best of friends

IN HIS CAIRO office overlooking the Nile, a businessman keeps his mobile phone in a glass jar on his desk. Elsewhere in the city a writer keeps hers in the fridge. If smartphones were once the tools of young revolutionaries across the Arab world, the fear is that they have become the means for the mukhabarat, the secret police, to eavesdrop on dissenters by hacking into their telephones and turning them into bugging devices. These days a journalist working across the Arab world needs a phone packed with the latest encrypted communications apps. Egyptians like Signal; Saudis prefer Telegram; the Lebanese are content with the more common WhatsApp.
The deep state in Egypt was dislocated only slightly by the uprising that swept away Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Now it is back with a vengeance, the army having toppled the elected Islamist president, Muhammad Morsi. Under Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the general who claims to be a son of the revolution, Egypt is more repressive than it had been under Mr Mubarak, and the economy is doing considerably worse. Protests are growing, particularly over Mr Sisi’s deal with King Salman of Saudi Arabia (both pictured) to hand over two islands in the Red Sea.
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Many draw parallels with the repression during Gamal Abdel Nasser’s military rule, minus his heady rhetoric of Arab nationalism. Nasser, too, tried to crush the Muslim Brotherhood. And as with Nasser, there is a danger that Mr Sisi will turn political Islamists into violent jihadists. Islamic State (IS) has declared the Sinai peninsula, once a winter-holiday playground, one of its “provinces”. In October 2015 it brought down a Russian airliner that had taken off from Sharm-el-Sheikh.
Strikingly, all the Arab leaders who were overthrown in 2011 were heading republics, not monarchies. Arab presidents, it seems, are hard but brittle. Nasser’s Egypt was typical of what Jean-Pierre Filiu, a former French diplomat, calls the “Mamluk state”, after the self-perpetuating caste of slave-soldiers who ruled Egypt from the 13th to the 16th century. Mr Filiu applies the label to several other republics—among them Algeria, Syria and Yemen—with a long and mournful history of military domination of the state.
These “Mamluk” republics, mostly socialist-leaning with a penchant for central control of the economy, at first modelled themselves on the authoritarian nationalism of Turkey under Ataturk, though they did not fully share his militant secularism. Their internal-security systems, though, were more akin to those of the Soviet Union, with which they often aligned.
Radical nationalism also served to hide the sometimes narrow sectarian support base of the regimes: the minority Sunnis in Iraq and the Alawites in Syria. It is perhaps no surprise, then, that their regimes were among the most vile. Iraq was called the “Republic of Fear” by a dissident writer, Kanan Makiya; Syria was labelled “The State of Barbarity” by the late Michel Seurat, a French Arabist. Under Saddam Hussein, Iraq gassed the rebellious Kurds at Halabja in 1988; under Hafez al-Assad, Syria flattened the city of Hama in 1982 to crush an uprising by the Muslim Brotherhood. Algeria waged a dirty and bloody war against jihadists that started in 1992 and lasted a decade.
Fear and loathing
Under Mr Mubarak, Egypt was ruled with a lighter touch, perhaps because he was keen to maintain the support of his Western allies. Mr Sisi has had fewer scruples about shedding blood. Thousands have been killed in his suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood, and tens of thousands have been jailed.
According to one conspiracy theory, the Egyptian uprising of 2011 was manipulated throughout by the generals. They used the protesters to get rid of Hosni Mubarak, then the Muslim Brotherhood to sideline liberals, and finally exploited liberal protesters to get rid of the Brothers and introduce direct military rule. In reality their response seems to have been much more improvised, but the theory shows how the deep state is perceived.
And indeed the repression is both arbitrary and vicious. The courts are a law unto themselves. Mr Sisi’s quest for international respectability has not been helped by the torture and murder in February of an Italian PhD student conducting research on Egyptian trade unions, thought to have been committed by members of the secret police.
“ I do not think there is a state in Egypt today,” says Yezid Sayigh of the Carnegie Middle East Centre, a think-tank in Beirut. “There is a coalition of interest groups and institutions, each of which is above the state. They are working at cross-purposes and often undermining Sisi.”
The legitimacy of many republics has rested on two objectives: Arab unity and the liberation of Palestine. Neither has been achieved. And for all their republicanism, their rulers often succumbed to the temptation of establishing their own dynasties. In Syria, Hafez al-Assad was succeeded by his son, Bashar. Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak wanted to install his son, Gamal. In Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh was thought to be grooming his son, Ahmad. In Tunisia, the ousted president, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, was reckoned to be rooting for his son-in-law, Sakher El Materi.
Some mock these states as jumlikiyat, an Arabic neologism combining jumhuriyat(republics) and malakiyat (monarchies). “It reached the absurd point that the state became like a car or apartment that they could give to their kids,” says Ghassan Salamé, professor emeritus at Sciences Po, a university in Paris. “This was a big trigger for the uprisings.”
The genuine Arab dynasties have fared much better, at least so far. In the days of nationalist tumult they seemed an endangered species: five Arab monarchs were toppled, from King Farouk of Egypt in 1952 to King Idris of Libya in 1969, and the rest felt threatened for decades. But now there seems to be something in the nature of Arab monarchy—maliks, emirs and sultans—that is more resilient than presidential autocracy.
Mr Salamé sees three main sources of legitimacy for Arab rulers: representation (none is freely elected), achievements (most republics have few to boast about) and provenance (currently the best qualification). “I rule you because I created you,” as Mr Salamé puts it. That is certainly true of the Saudi royal family, which, uniquely, has given its name to its country and can trace its rule in the central Nejd region back to the 18th century.
For the six oil-producing states of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC)—Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman—the key to survival has been money. Throughout the turbulence of the Arab spring the monarchies were splurging out, raising salaries and launching new projects to maintain popular support.
Moreover, all GCC states enjoy unspoken diplomatic and military support from outside as allies of the West (Qatar has a large American air base and Bahrain a naval one). After widespread protests in Bahrain, where a minority Sunni family rules a mostly Shia population, other Gulf states sent forces to the island to help shore up the monarchy.
Morocco and Jordan do not produce oil, but their kings, Mohammed VI and Abdullah II, derive some authority from religion, pointing to their descent from the Prophet Muhammad. They also claim political legitimacy: Morocco’s former sultan, Mohammed V, was exiled to Madagascar by the French, and the demand for his return became the rallying cry for Moroccan nationalists. The Hashemites, for their part, raised the flag of revolt against Turkish rule (with British help) in 1916.
Perhaps more important than heritage, though, has been the ability of both monarchies to adapt to changing times. Unlike the ruling families of the Gulf, where royals hold posts throughout the government bureaucracy, those of Morocco and Jordan tend to stand more aloof from day-to-day government. They have also shown a knack for co-opting some critics, or at least maintaining dialogue with them. During the Arab spring both made a show of responding to demands for greater freedom. Both countries introduced limited constitutional reforms and held parliamentary elections. Jordan is more tense. The Muslim Brotherhood boycotted the ballot, and the government is trying to split the movement. In Morocco, the Brotherhood-inspired Justice and Development for the first time won the largest number of votes of any party. Its leader, Abdelilah Benkirane, became prime minister at the head of a four-party coalition.
Arab history since the emergence of Islam in the 7th century is dominated by three empires: Umayyad, Abbasid and Ottoman. “The idea of dynasties is in the mindset of the people. If you held a referendum in Jordan, a vast majority would vote for the monarchy,” says Oraib Rantawi, director of the Al-Quds Centre for Political Studies, a think-tank in Jordan. Political parties in Jordan and Morocco have mostly agreed to abide by the rules, above all acceptance of the monarchy. Elsewhere, says Mr Rantawi, “bloody regimes create bloody oppositions.”


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Islamic banking set to launch in India amid controversy - By Samanth Subramanian - The National, English Daily, Abu Dhabi, AE.

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Islamic banking set to launch in India amid controversy
Saudi King Salman (R) welcomes India's prime minister Narendra Modi in Riyadh last month. During Mr Modi's visit to Saudi Arabia, his delegation signed an extensive agreement with the Islamic Development Bank, which included its launch in India. SPA/HO/AFP Photo

Islamic banking set to launch in India amid controversy

May 29, 2016 Updated: May 29, 2016 09:36 PM
NEW DELHI // India will get its first taste of sharia-compliant banking when the Saudi Arabia-based Islamic Development Bank launches operations in the western state of Gujarat.
No date has yet been announced for the opening of the IDB’s first branch in India, but already complaints have emerged within the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.
The IDB, an international investment organisation based in Jeddah, was established to channel funds into infrastructure in the Islamic world, as well as social and educational development. Though India is not typically seen as being part of the “Islamic world", its 180 million-strong Muslim population makes it an attractive place for the IDB to set up shop.
Like other Islamic banks, the IDB does not charge interest on loans or pay interest on deposits. It also follows a code of ethical financing, refraining from investing in industries that are considered harmful in Islam. These include businesses involving liquor, pornography or gambling.
Prominent BJP politician Subramanian Swamy says Islamic banking goes against India’s principles of secularism, however, and has been vocal about his opposition to the IDB opening a branch in the country.
The Harvard-trained economist and member of the upper house of parliament, the Rajya Sabha, has gone so far as to call for the immediate dismissal of central banker Raghuram Rajan, blaming him for the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)’s decision to allow Islamic banking.
The IDB counts 56 Islamic states as its shareholders. Saudi Arabia holds roughly a quarter of the bank’s shares, while the UAE was its fifth biggest shareholder as of last October.
When prime minister Narendra Modi visited Saudi Arabia in April, his delegation signed an extensive agreement with the bank, which included its launch in India.
Under the agreement, the IDB will establish its first Indian branch in the Gujarat city of Ahmedabad and go on to open more branches in India in the future. Gujarat, Mr Modi’s home state, has six million Muslims, as well as a thriving mercantile community.
It was also agreed that India’s state-owned Exim Bank would extend a US$100 million (Dh367.3m) line of credit to facilitate exports to IDB member countries. In addition, the IDB pledged $55m to provide medical treatment to India’s rural poor. The first 30 of 350 medical vans, donated by the IDB as a social initiative, will be rolled out in Gujarat later this year.
“IDB’s entry into Gujarat and India is likely to boost long-term private finance from its member countries on a large scale," said Zafar Sareshwala, who will lead the IDB’s Gujarat operations.
The RBI has been considering Islamic banking’s entry into India for nearly a decade now. In 2007, a working group appointed by the central bank recommended that India not permit Islamic banks to operate in the country.
But the arguments for Islamic banks were revived in 2012, when the state-appointed National Minorities Commission lobbied India’s finance ministry.
Then, last December, an RBI committee tasked to study financial inclusion in India recommended that Islamic banks should be allowed to operate.
India’s Muslims, the committee said, might be more inclined to access “formal finance" if interest-free avenues of banking were open to them.
“Globally, interest-free banking, also known as Islamic banking, has witnessed a significant increase, especially in the wake of the [2008] financial crisis," it said.
Abdur Raqeeb, general secretary of the Indian Centre for Islamic Finance, a New Delhi-based non-profit that promotes Islamic banking, welcomed the advent of Sharia-compliant banking in the country.
“India needs investment from outside, and there are many Islamic countries that are willing to invest here but that would like a Sharia-compliant way to do it," Mr Raqeeb told The National.
Sharia-compliant banking could offer Indians – both Muslims and non-Muslims – other benefits too.
Agriculture expert and economist M S Swaminathan said Islamic banking could break the cycle of high debt and interest payments in which small entrepreneurs, farmers and artisans often find themselves.
“Zero-interest lending ... could solve the crisis of indebted farmers committing suicide," he said.
Meanwhile, a 2014 study by Ernst and Young found that assets under management by Islamic banks grew at an annual rate of 17 per cent between 2008 and 2012 – three times as fast as those under management by standard commercial banks
None of this seems to be enough to convince BJP politician Dr Swamy, however.
In 2010, after a Kerala government agency permitted a financial services firm to operate in compliance with sharia, Dr Swamy petitioned the high court to revoke the firm’s registration. But the following year, the Kerala high court ruled against him.
If the company wished to conduct its business in accordance with sharia “in addition to complying with the law of this country, this cannot be condemned as either promoting a religion or aiding a religion", the court said in its verdict.
Mr Raqeeb also rejected the notion that sharia-compliant banking only serves to promote Islam and help Muslims.
“This is banking that is based on justice and ethics," he said. “It prizes the basic needs of common people."

Why Media Blacked Out Rana Ayyub And Her Incisive Book On Gujarat Riots? Narada Desk -

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Why Media Blacked Out Rana Ayyub And Her Incisive Book On Gujarat Riots?

Narada Desk | May 28, 2016 7:47 pm Print
Most news outlets chose to ignore the book which details the role of BJP leaders in the cover up of 2002 riot cases and fake encounters in Gujarat
Rana Ayyub Book launch function
Second Heading
#Amit Shah #Gujarat Fake encounter cases #Gujarat riots #narendra-modi #Rana Ayyub
It was unusual for a sultry Friday afternoon…..
Unmindful of the heat, scores started flocking to New Delhi’s India Habitat Centre.
A small crowd assembled, and very soon all of them stood in a queue to enter the auditorium for a book launch.
By 6.30 pm, the hall was filled to the capacity. Many sat in the foyer, some perched themselves  on the sides and steps.
Even as the event began there were over a hundred people milling outside looking to enter the auditorium.
But conspicuous by their absence was the media corps, especially the TV cameras.
It was an event which no assignment editor would have chosen to miss.
“The Caravan Conversation” with  Rana Ayyub on her book ‘Gujarat files: Anatomy of a Cover Up’ is a must cover assignment for any news outlet, be it print, TV or new media.
One could spot former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, Ahmed Patel, former MPs Mani Shankar Aiyar and Sandeep Dikshit waiting to get into the hall.
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Image Courtesy : Mayank Austen Soofi/thedelhiwalla
A battery of media persons were also there, minus their camera persons.
There was Saba Naqvi, now a regular on Times Now’s shouting show ‘The News Hour”, her uncle Javed Naqvi, TV journalists Shekhar Gupta, Barkha Dutt, Jyoti Malhotra, Sankarshan Thakur of the Telegraph, Seema Chisti of the Indian Express, Girish Nikam, Editor of Rajya Sabha TV, Abhinandan Sekhri of News Laundry and Ellen Barry of the New York Times.
Writers Arundhati Roy, Raghu Karnad, Shudhabrata Sengupta, academic Zoya Hasan were among those attended.
All had come to hear investigative journalist speak about how she went about doing a sting to unveil how the ruling dispensation used local BJP politicians, their affiliates like the VHP to neutralise the state machinery during the 2002 communal riots and a series of fake encounters that followed.

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Senior lawyer Indira Jaisingh and  India Today TV consultant editor Rajdeep Sardesai  were the speakers who were a part of the Conversation hosted by Caravan’s political editor Hartosh Singh Bal.
It was arguably the biggest event, this summer.
But then, what kept the media away?
A few who reported, buried the item in the inner pages.
Why were they reluctant to cover the same?
Many news outlets send their camerapersons and TV crews to cover most events that happen in the city.  While some get used in the broadcasts, most find their way to the library. But here the absence makes one wonder whether the media houses/ news agencies did not want to be seen as covering it!
A fine example of self-censorship?
Rana Ayyub said that she did the sting on then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi at his high security.  Gandhinagar residence wearing a camera on her watch. As he showed her around, an aide had even offered her six books, authored by Modi.
She told that in all the sting she did, what has been proved is the role of BJP president and the then home minister Amit Shah in the fake encounter cases and the elaborate cover up.
The book details the sting she did on former Gujarat home secretary Ashok Narayan, senior police officers G L Singhal, P C Pande, G C Raighar, Rajan Priyadarshi, Y A Shaikh among others. She did the sting posing as an NRI film maker from US, who was making film on “Vibrant  Gujarat.”
The officers were explaining the details of the fake encounters and how it was covered up at the behest of the BJP leaders.
She said she was forced to write the book, because “Tehelka,” the magazine, she was working for had refused to publish it, citing political pressure.
Ayyub said she is ready to hand over the sting videos to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) if they ask for it.
Indira Jaising, lawyer who represented the CBI in the fake encounter cases said Ayyub’s book corroborates what the CBI sleuths had found during their inquiry. She expressed the hope that all is not lost in the fake encounter cases and the guilty will be punished.
She also detailed how the ruling dispensation is going about changing the contours of the judicial system.
Rajdeep Sardesai said Ayyub’s book is another testimony to the fact that how the politician-bureaucrat nexus is jeopardising the justice system in India.
He also recalled how a retired judge who headed two inquiry commissions, blatantly bared his prejudice about  Muslims.
” These Muslims are never going to change. This was bound to happen to them,” the judge had told him. Sardesai said he wished he had a camera to record the judge. There were requests from the audience to name the judge, but the journalist deflected the query.
Asked why the mainstream media is not giving coverage to the events which has all the potential to snowball into a major political controversy, Sardesai said it may be because no media want a disconnect to develop between them and the top politicians.
This turned out to be true Rana Ayyub’s book release function also.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Kejriwal: A Hindu by faith, a Muslim by practice By Syed Zuber Ahmad --MUSLIM MIRROR

Kejriwal: A Hindu by faith, a Muslim by practice

January 27, 2014 in Home SliderIndian MuslimViewpoints | 254 Comments
Arvind Kejriwal

By Syed Zubair Ahmad,
When Arvind Kejriwal was delivering his inaugural speech as Chief Minister of Delhi I was sitting in another  room and listening to him. All of a sudden I heard him saying ‘Mai Allah Ka Shukrya Ada Karta Hun’, I got confused and went to the room where the TV set was on. O my God, it was Kejriwal who uttered this sentence of gratefulness. I did not hear such words of praise of Almighty even from the mouth of a Muslim politician in India.
When I see Kejriwal’s sacrifice and his struggle for the cause of common man, when I see his austerity, his simple life style, his honesty and his straightforwardness i assume him  a Muslim by faith because whatever he calling for or doing is absolutely the teachings of Islam.I don’t think any religion of the world advocates in such a clear terms except Islam  about what Kejriwal is practicing and doing  for the welfare of humanity although all religion of the world teach us to be good and to do good.
Prophet Muhammad said: ‘The best among the people is the one who does good to the people’. It’s Kejriwal who is doing good to the people, who is striving for the betterment of people, who is fighting for the upliftment of the people from  long time.
Prophet Muhammad said that ‘Your worst enemy is your ego’.
Kejriwal in his inaugural speech as the CM asked his supporters to shun all kind of ego otherwise a new movement may start to end our ego.
Prophet Muhammad said ‘Those who take bribe and those who give bribe, both will go to hell’. It’s Kejriwal who is fighting against all kinds of bribe and corruptions. It is Kejriwal who took oath from the people to neither take bribe nor give bribe to anyone.
Prophet Muhammad said ‘Cleanliness is the part of Imaan. When Kejriwal was income tax commissioner he used to clean his  table, when he became politician he took the broom and started cleaning the system.
Prophet Muhammad said ‘Simplicity is the part of Imaan.’ Look at the simplicity of Kejriwal. He is the simplest person by any standard.
Once Prophet Muhammad was sitting on his foot, one of his companions asked ‘why are you sitting like this? The prophet said ‘I am a servant of Almighty Allah and I sit like a servant’. Kejriwal always says ‘meri koee auqaat nhi’  ‘meri koee haisiyat nahi’ I am nothing, I have no status.
Prophet Muhammad said ‘The best form of jihad is to say the truth before the oppressive rulers’. Kejriwal is telling the truth before the rulers.
Muslims believe that the time of death is fixed, and no power of this world can put off  it for a moment. By refusing his security Kejriwal has proved that he also believes in the fixed time of death. He told media persons that if God wants to kill him, no one can save him. And if does not want, no one can kill him.
Islam is the greatest advocate of brotherhood, and it declares all mankind the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. Kejriwal gave the massage of brotherhood by singing the song…insaan se insaan ka ho bhaee chara yahi paigham hamara’
Kejriwal is one of the few Hindu politicians in my knowledge who don’t follow the unethical policy of Chanakya who advocated to ignore all kinds of ethics to grab the power at any cost.
The way Kejriwal and his ministers are roaming freely and contacting people in a move to redress their grievances and solve their problem reminds us the Caliphs of Islamic history when Muslim Caliphs used to roam into the streets to know the problems of the masses.
If Kejriwal really wants to eliminate the corruption from the society he must know that legislation can never and will never end the corruption from the society. The legislation on rape is before us. In spite of most stringent legislation after 16 Dec incident last year the crime against women rose to 400% in Delhi itself.
Kejriwal needs to apply the following model to end the corruption from the society if he really wants to do so.
During one of his frequent disguised journeys to survey the condition of his people, Caliph Umaroverheard a milkmaid refusing to obey her mother’s orders to sell adulterated milk. The mother reportedly told her daughter to add water to the milk as Caliph Umar is not there looking at them. The girl shot back that though Caliph Umar is not looking at them, Allah is always watching over everyone. Next morning Omar sent an officer to purchase milk from the girl and learned that she had kept her resolve; the milk was unadulterated. Umar summoned the girl and her mother to his court and told them what he had heard. Then he offered to marry the girl to his son Asim as a reward. She accepted, and from this union was born a girl named Layla that would in due course become the mother of Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz  (682 A.D.) who is known as Omar II in the Islamic history .
Caliph Omar II was the mightiest ruler of his time on the planet whose authority was spread in three continents – but  Umar died in Ra jab 101 AH at the age of 38 in a rented house at the place called Dair Sim’aan near Homs in Syria . He was buried in Dair Sim’aan on a piece of land he had purchased from a Christian. He reportedly left behind only 17 dinars with a will that out of this amount the rent of the house in which he died and the price of the land in which he was buried would be paid.
Once his wife found him weeping after prayers. She asked what had happened. He replied: “I have been made the ruler over the Muslims and I was thinking of the poor who are starving, and the sick who are destitute, and the naked who are in distress, and the oppressed that are stricken, and the stranger that is in prison, and the venerable elder, and him that had a large family and small means, and the like of them in countries of the earth and the distant provinces, and I felt that my Lord would ask me about them on the Day of Resurrection, and I feared that no defense would avail me (at that time), and I wept.”
The Facebook page of Kejriwal describes him as Gandhis’ Talisman. If  Kejriwal really wants to solve the problems of the masses then he must follow the advice of   Gandhi .Just after the independence in his speech delivered in Kolkata  Mahatma Gandhi said ” that if India finds a man like Omar ibn Khatab all the problems will be solved”.
Gandhi was the greatest supporter of Caliphate Movement and was much influenced by the second Caliph Omar.
Anyway what is supposed to be done by Muslims, Kejriwal is doing,what is responsibility of a Muslim is being performed by Kejriwal , that is why i say ‘Kejriwal is a Hindu by faith and Muslim by practice’  because Islam is a all about  worshiping  God and serving  the  humanity .