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Showing posts from 2009

The Origin of Christmas

Christmas is usually linked with Jesus Christ’s birthday on 1 C.E. (Common Era). However, the Christian gospel accounts don’t support this common myth. So how did this celebration originate? Before we find that answer, it may be proper to discuss Jesus’s year of birth.
The year of Jesus’s birth was determined by Dionysius Exiguus, a Scythian monk, abbot of a Roman monastery. His calculation in ca. 533 C.E. was based on the following information:
a. In the pre-Christian Roman era years were counted from ab urbe condita (“the founding of the City” [Rome]). Thus 1 AUC signified the year Rome was founded.
b. Dionysius received a tradition that the Roman emperor Augustus reigned 43 years, and was followed by the emperor Tiberius.
c. Luke 3:1 and 3:23 indicate that when Jesus turned 30 years old, it was the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign.
d. If Jesus was 30 years old in Tiberius’s reign, then he lived 15 years under Augustus (placing Jesus’s birth in Augustus’s 28th…

Christmas, Jesus and Islam

This year the Christmas fell on Friday, which is also a day of Jumu’ah or the weekly gathering for Muslims when they pray together in mosques. To the Muslims, the Ashura, the tenth day of the blessed month of Muharram, falls on Sunday. Christmas is a holiday for most Americans who love to celebrate the occasion indoors with their loved ones. With colleges and universities closed and students returning homes to spend their winter vacation, air traffic during this time of the year is always very heavy and tickets are more expensive.
In my neighborhood there are quite a few churches. Most of these churches are non-Catholic ones. This explains why most of the parking lots were empty on this cold December day.
To a serious student of Christianity, much of Jesus’s life – from his birth and ministry to ascension unto heaven are all shrouded in mystery and myths. There is no way even to coincide Christmas with the actual birth day of Jesus. Christianity preceded Islam by roughly six centuries…

Disturbing news about Awami League Minister's involvement with a convicted criminal land-grabbing syndicate

Yesterday (Friday) was a very hectic day for me. My sleep was broken by an early morning call from my brother-in-law in Chittagong who mentioned that he had been called by the DC-North for a meeting to discuss Ansar deployment in our Khulshi properties. Some background information is necessary here to understand the issue.

After the land-grabbing goons were removed from our Khulshi properties in Chittagong in a Police raid more than four years and a half ago in June, 2005, we learned the hard way that we needed to have Ansar deployed to protect our properties from land-grabbing criminals that often prey upon the most vulnerable folks within our society. So, we had a contingent of armed Ansars deployed to secure our properties from evil land-grabbing criminals like Jaker Chowdhury (an ex-Rajakar and madrasa daptari), Ekramul Hoq Kaderi, Md. Shahjahan, Mahtabuddin, Momtazuddin, Manjurul Ahsan, Babul Haji, and many others.

In April 2005, during the BNP rule, the crime syndicate was able t…

Climate, Tiger and Health

For the last few days, I have been pondering what to write about for a weekly column in an Internet site. It is not always easy to find a topic to write about. Well, the climate summit in Copenhagen where both President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton participated is definitely an important one for all, and surely for someone like me who was born in Bangladesh – a country that has been projected as one of the worst potential sufferers of the climate change. But the subject seemed too boring with all the coverage it already had received from the media. Very few readers may not have known or read about it. If you still have not, here is the latest news. The U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said Saturday that a "deal has been reached" that could be the framework for a binding global climate change treaty. "Finally we sealed the deal and it is a real deal. Bringing world leaders to the table paid off," Ban said. "The Copenhagen Accord may not be everything that everyon…

Obama’s Nobel Speech - explaining the doubts to his selection

This year when the Norwegian Nobel Committee decided to confer its much cherished Peace Prize on President Barack Husain Obama, many people were caught by surprise, including the president himself. After all, Obama has just become the president of the USA -- a country that has been at war since the Bush days of 2001. Those wars are still raging on. The much promised shut down of the Guantanamo Bay prison site, an election campaign promise, has not happened; it is still operating. To most folks, peace seems an illusion today. There’s hardly anything substantial achieved that could have justified bestowing such an honor to a sitting president, and surely not of the USA, except probably one – selling an idea - hope to the entire world. And this he sold rather brilliantly not only during his hard-won election campaign against Hillary Clinton and John McCain - the sure choices for the war party, but also during his first few days in the oval office.
And who could forget Obama’s speech last…

The BNP National Convention, 2009 - some questions that beg answers

I have some questions for the BNP leadership.
What is your comment about life-long chairwomanship of the BNP party that has been bestowed on Madam Zia by altering party's constitution?
Don't you think you are setting precedence for a dictatorial practice through endorsing such a process in your latest national convention?
Don't you also think that by making Tareq Zia the Senior Vice President you are ensuring his eventual leadership should the Madam retire?
Is this anything short of a dynastic rule? Is it desirable for our country?
How are these newer changes different than your accusation against BKSAL?
Don't you think that our people can read through the changes to see the obvious parallel?

The Cultural Coolies in our midst - an observation on some new immigrants to the West

A couple of days ago I was forwarded the link to an article written about the Swiss ban on the minarets by a migrant researcher, refugee from Bangladesh who immigrated to Canada, and now works for the APCSS, a US government funded institute that looks into security issues of the Asia-Pacific region. The article was posted in a familiar site - Averroes Press, managed by a very controversial Canadian Muslim of Pakistani extract. The site has been trying to present itself in the post-9/11 era as a voice of "moderate" Muslims of Canada. In the post-9/11 era, I have come to know about few of those "moderate" zealots, and found them to be no better than other violent extremists. They claim to be great proponents of moderation, modernity, reform of Islam and its people, which are all great virtues, but a discussion with them show their ignorance; they don't know what all those high sounding words mean. They like immigrant Muslims to appear and behave like the natives …

More on the Swiss minaret controversy

I beg to differ with the writer of an article "When Church Bells sound in Saudi Arabia, then Minarets can rise in Europe" that was published in a website in Canada: AverroesPress.com. The greatest disservice the article does is in terms of comparing apples to oranges. The two countries in the title - Switzerland and Saudi Arabia - are different in so many ways. I could have believed such a provocative title from a hateful moron from the Pipesland (the xenophobe lackeys of Daniel Pipes, e.g., Dr. Khorshed A. Chowdhury who writes under pseudonym Syed Kamran Mirza; Abul Kasem and the MM/FF brigades of Ali Sina) but not from a serious thinking Muslim. Comparing the two countries and trying to say that if the Saudis had done "X", the Swiss would do "Y" is not analysis but paralysis of the ability to think rationally.

The Swiss action by the electorates show that the constitution of a country can be hijacked by the whims of a rogue majority. I don't here d…

Swiss Ban on Minarets

The Al-Jazeera (http://english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2009/12/200912142216681985.html) and the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/01/opinion/01Tue3.html?th&emc=th) today reported that Switzerland in a referendum vote backed a constitutional ban on the construction of new minarets.
The ban on the minaret in Zurich again demonstrates how hateful and xenophobic the Europeans are. And this is happening in a place which for decades has been considered to be a neutral progressive country, away from nasty politics of Europe and America. Through this ban, the ugly face of Europe is unmasked once again for all to see. They talk about human rights and freedom of religious practices, but all such talks are hollow and hypocritical. Bangladesh can teach these hypocrites a thing or two about religious pluralism.

Many years ago, when I was writing a piece on European racism, my research brought to my attention the fact that in Greece there was no single Masjid. Government there had…

Tom Friedman’s Dishonest Narratives

In his more recent article "America vs. the Narrative", the New York Times columnist Tom Friedman writes, "Major Hasan was just another angry jihadist..." (NY Times, Nov. 28, 2009). I beg to differ with such an assertion, which sounds so moronic and unbelievable. One could have accepted such a pronouncement from a simpleton, but when it comes from someone like Tom Friedman it is quite unnerving or discomforting. I am inclined to think that Friedman’s allegation here is rather symptomatic of his general anti-Muslim, or more specifically anti-Arab, bias, which he has been displaying more frequently.

I must admit that I have never been a fan of Tom whose opinion pieces appeared too shallow and flimsy, lacking thorough research or analysis. When it comes to Israel, he is a very biased individual, always forgiving, let alone overlooking, the horrendous crimes of his co-religionists – the Zionist usurpers against the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. I can remem…

Comments on Shorish Kashmiri's 1946 interview of Mowlana Abul Kalam Azad - the case of Pakistan and India

[Note: After posting my comments, I was told that the entire interview was a hoax and not a real one. That explains why the purported predictions of the Mowlana was made to appear so perfect, almost unbelievable. Still I shall leave the original posting for the time being. So the posting below still is based on before-the-fact kind of information, i.e., assuming that there was such an interview.]

Recently my attention was drawn to an interview with the Mowlana Abul Kalam Azad that was conducted by journalist Shorish Kashmiri for a Lahore based Urdu magazine, Chattan, in April 1946. It was a time when the Cabinet Mission was holding its proceedings in Delhi and Simla. In that interview the Mowlana is credited with the prediction for dismemberment of Pakistan and even the military rule there.

I have been an avid reader of Mowlana's writing for many years. Many of my essays on Islam, esp. my short commentary of Surah al-Fatiha: The Meaning behind the Beginning of the Beginning - have …

The Real Story behind the Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day is the most observed holiday in the USA, which is celebrated by people of all races, colors, ethnicities and even religions. It is a day in which family members gather to eat turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. According to some estimates, nearly 40 million turkeys are eaten over this long weekend. Thanksgiving holiday falls on the last Thursday of November. There is even a White House event in which the President pardons a turkey on Wednesday. That lucky turkey gets to live — and fly first class to Disneyland, where it is grand marshal in the Thanksgiving Day parade. Unfortunately, another nameless bird gets slaughtered in his place. Of course, many would find something wrong with this concept, which sounds like “A Tale of Two Cities!” The turkey-pardoning is supposed to be a long-running national tradition, but it officially only dates back to George H. W. Bush and 1989.
Like every other major popular celebration in our world, Thanksgiving has its history, and i…