Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Israeli ‘Democracy’ – an oxymoron concept

As I have noted many times Israel gives a bad name to democracy. In spite of all its pretensions, it has always been an apartheid state with rules and laws that discriminate people based on religion and ethnicity. Israel's 'equality under law' simply doesn't apply to Palestinians, even to juveniles. According to a report published last week by B'Tselem (the Israeli human rights group), just one Palestinian juvenile defendant out of 835 was acquitted of stone-throwing over the past six years. (That is like 0.1 percent! Even the murderers in the USA have a much better statistics on getting acquitted!) The others were convicted, mostly through plea bargains. About 60 percent of the convicted minors served prison terms of four months or more. Among those who served sentences of a few days and up to two months in prison were 19 defendants who were 12 to 13 years old.

It should be noted here that the Palestinian juveniles are not the only ones throwing rocks. The Israelis do throw, too, against the Palestinians, and sometimes against their own security forces. But when was the last time you read or heard about an Israeli juvenile or adult put behind the prison for rock-throwing against Palestinians? The violent Israeli youth who attacked soldiers and policemen who had been sent at the government's behest to Gaza and the northern West Bank to evacuate settlements six years ago did not have to wait long before their sentences were mitigated. As noted in a recent Haaretz editorial, Israel's pretension to be a country in which equality under the law prevails appears ridiculous in the face of the other justice system that applies to juveniles that are not Palestinian.

The Arab citizens of the state of Israel are routinely discriminated in everything from the housing permits and share of water and natural resources to the wages earned, and from job opportunities to jail sentences. This discriminatory practice is not just limited to the leading rabbis who routinely call on their followers not to hire Arabs for work, but also to the government sector. Last week, Israel’s Civil Service Commission's annual report on employment of Arabs in the service, unveiled the fact that only 7.52 percent of Israel's 62,719 civil-service employees are Arabs. This figure is far below the Arab citizens' 20-percent representation in the population as a whole. More disturbingly, most of those employed in civil service are in the lower echelons of the job. The proportion of Arabs in the top three pay grades of the service is below 1.5 percent. Arab women are massively underrepresented, constituting less than 3 percent of civil-service employees.

Recently the government of Israel passed a politically opportunistic and antidemocratic law that is sure to transform Israel’s legal code into an alarmingly dictatorial document. The Boycott Law, approved in a 47-to-38 vote by the Knesset, effectively bans any public call for a boycott — economic, cultural or academic — against Israel or its West Bank settlements, making such action a punishable offense. This law would enable Israeli citizens to bring civil suits against people and organizations instigating such boycotts, and subject violators to monetary penalties. Companies and organizations supporting a boycott could be barred from bidding on government contracts. Nonprofit groups could lose tax benefits. The NGO probes bill will investigate the funding sources and activities of leftist NGOs deemed by Israeli hardliners as harmful to Israel. This McCarthite bill will allow Knesset members to serve as both investigators and prosecutors, and also judges.

It is obvious that Israel’s ultra-conservative and racist government is determined to catapult the state into an era in which gagging people becomes accepted legal practice. It also aims to crush a growing push by Palestinians and their international supporters for boycotts, disinvestment and sanctions against Israel. Since last year, many Israeli artists and intellectuals, as well international artists, have canceled performances and programs in Israel and the West Bank to protest the illegal settlements. The advocates said the law was needed to prevent efforts to “delegitimize” Israel. Why should anyone be concerned about delegitimization of Israel, if it was a true democracy and not a fake one since no country can be delegitimized if it holds true to its democratic principles?

Anastasia Michaeli, an MK from Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu, speaking of herself and her many party colleagues born in the former U.S.S.R., declared that the NGO probe bill "shows how patriotic we are." Like her communist ancestors in the days of Lenin, she and her Soviet expatriate colleagues are obviously more ‘patriotic’ than the indigenous people for the ‘good’ of the nation!

There is no shortage of ghosts of Joseph McCarthy in the ruling coalition. Danny Danon, who is a member of the ruling party and an MK, has been the guests of the loonies of the American right - Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck - during their visits to Israel. He got a law passed: Security prisoners who have been pardoned and have committed any sort of offense will be returned to prison without trial. He also called for throwing Balad MK Hanin Zuabi in prison, with or without trial. As for the Palestinians who are already there, he has demanded the cessation of their visits and "benefits.” So much chatter for the Middle East’s ‘only democracy!’

Well, in spite of such monumental failings with democracy, the state of Israel still enjoys much support within the Christian evangelicals who believe that their selfish support for the apartheid state will expedite the second coming of Jesus Christ. For the last few years they have been hosting an annual event in Washington D.C. This year is no different.

Over 5000 Christians, mainly Evangelicals, gathered this week at the Convention Center in Washington D.C. for the annual conference of the organization CUFI (Christians United For Israel). Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the Christian Zionist conference via satellite, telling them to support Israel. Michael Oren, Ambassador to the U.S., compared the participants' support of Israel to British military officer Orde Wingate’s training of Jewish paramilitary units before the establishment of the State of Israel. News commentator Glenn Beck worked the audience into a frenzy calling upon the conference attendees to declare that they, too, are Jewish. He exhorted, "Let us declare 'I am a Jew’.” Pastor John Hagee, the founder of CUFI, told the audience, many of whom were waving both Israeli and American flags, “We gathered here with one message: Israel today, Israel tomorrow, and Israel forever.” "If the US Administration forces Israel to divide Jerusalem – God will turn his back to the United States of America. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is watching America," Hagee continued.

For the Zionist heirs of Jabotinsky and Begin, the founding dream has been two-fold: First, a vision of Israel as an authentic democracy; second, doing everything possible to see to it that the West Bank and East Jerusalem remain in Israeli hands forever (as part of Jewish ‘real estate’ handed over by God). As noted by many area experts, however, Israel cannot be a democracy and a Jewish state at the same time when it refuses to return to the 1967 border. And this is where a serious debate is necessary for the world Jewry. Already many progressive minded Jews – living both inside and outside the apartheid state -- are refusing to accept the utterly suicidal and wickedly chauvinistic narratives scripted by their chauvinist friends inside Israel and the vultures and hyenas of the Christian Zionism waiting in the fringe.

A J Street poll published last Thursday shows that 57% of U.S. Jews back a Middle East peace plan based on 1967 borders with mutually agreed-upon land swaps, while 43% oppose such a move. According to the poll, 83% of the American Jews support a U.S.-brokered solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while 70% want the administration to offer a peace plan that proposes set borders and security arrangements. J Street’s poll, which was conducted in mid-July among 800 American Jews, showed nearly a third in favor of recognizing a Palestinian state in the UN, while another 18% who are hesitant of American recognition.

Suffice it to say that the tides are changing, hopefully, for the right reason.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

What about Kashmir?

Last week, the UN welcomed South Sudan as its latest member. For nearly half a century the Christian missionaries have championed the cause of the south Sudanese, mostly animist and Christian, to break into pieces the largest African republic. Their efforts paid off when President George W. Bush elevated Sudan to the top of his foreign policy agenda after coming to office in 2000. In 2005, the American government pushed the southern rebels and the central government to sign a comprehensive peace agreement that guaranteed the southerners the right to secede. An American-backed treaty set the stage for a referendum in January in which more than 98 percent of southerners voted for independence. Last Saturday the southerners officially proclaimed their independence.

For the last 63 years, the Palestinians have also been seeking independence – much like the south Sudanese. So have the Kashmiri people for the last 64 years. And their plight continues, in spite of the repeated promises made by India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to hold a plebiscite on the question of Kashmir’s accession to either India or Pakistan!

Jammu and Kashmir, the northwestern region of the Indian sub-continent, has a population that is predominantly Muslim. For nearly five hundred years since 1349, Kashmir was ruled by Muslim rulers. In 1819, however, the region came under the oppressive rule of a Sikh ruler who imposed unbearable taxes and many anti-Islamic laws, including banning of cow slaughter, closing down of mosques and stopping the call to prayer (adhan).

With the collapse of the Mughal and Afghan rule, and after the First Anglo-Sikh War of 1845, Kashmir was first ceded by the Treaty of Lahore to the East India Company, and shortly after sold by the Treaty of Amritsar to Gulab Singh (a Dogra Hindu), Raja of Jammu, who thereafter was given the title Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir. The Dogras administered the region under the British tutelage, a process that was to continue until 1947 when India and Pakistan were partitioned off from British India.
In the British census of India of 1941, Kashmir registered a Muslim majority population of 77%, a Hindu population of 20% and a sparse population of Buddhists and Sikhs comprising the remaining 3%. In the 1901 Census of the British India the population of the princely state of Kashmir and Jammu was 2,905,578. Of these 2,154,695 were Muslims (74.16%), 689,073 Hindus (23.72%), 25,828 Sikhs, and 35,047 Buddhists.

For almost a century a small Hindu elite had ruled over a vast and impoverished Muslim peasantry, who were abused like slaves. Much like East Bengal (today’s Bangladesh), these Hindu absentee landowners (of Jammu and Kashmir) extracted unbearable taxes and revenues from the local Muslim peasantry. Driven into docility by chronic indebtedness to Hindu landlords and loan-sharks or moneylenders, the Muslim peasants had no political rights. Prem Nath Bazaz, a Kashmiri Hindu journalist, wrote in 1941: “The poverty of the Muslim masses is appalling. ... Most are landless laborers, working as serfs for absentee [Hindu] landlords ... Almost the whole brunt of official corruption is borne by the Muslim masses.” [Kashmir: roots of conflict, paths to peace by Sumantra Bose]

When the British Raj decided on partitioning its crown jewel into Pakistan and India it left the status of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir (similar to the Muslim ruled Hyderabad) unresolved in spite of its overwhelming Muslim population. After rumors spread that the Maharaja supported the annexation of Kashmir by India, in October 1947 Muslim revolutionaries in western Kashmir and Pakistani tribals from Dir entered Kashmir, intending to liberate it from Dogra rule. Unable to withstand the invasion, the Maharaja signed the Instrument of Accession on 25 October 1947 that was accepted by the government of India on 27 October 1947.

According to Burton Stein, a scholar on India, "Kashmir was neither as large nor as old an independent state as Hyderabad; it had been created rather off-handedly by the British after the first defeat of the Sikhs in 1846, as a reward to a former official who had sided with the British. The Himalayan kingdom was connected to India through a district of the Punjab, but its population was 77 per cent Muslim and it shared a boundary with Pakistan. Hence, it was anticipated that the maharaja would accede to Pakistan when the British paramountcy ended on 14–15 August [1947]. When he hesitated to do this, Pakistan launched a guerrilla onslaught meant to frighten its ruler into submission. Instead the Maharaja appealed to Mountbatten for assistance, and the governor-general agreed on the condition that the ruler accede to India. Indian soldiers entered Kashmir and drove the Pakistani-sponsored irregulars from all but a small section of the state. The United Nations was then invited to mediate the quarrel. The UN mission insisted that the opinion of Kashmiris must be ascertained, while India insisted that no referendum could occur until all of the state had been cleared of irregulars." [History of India]

In the last days of 1948, a ceasefire was agreed under UN auspices, but since the plebiscite demanded by the UN was never carried out by India, relations between India and Pakistan soured. The rest is history!

In a broadcast to the nation on 3 November 1947, Nehru said, "We have declared that the fate of Kashmir is ultimately to be decided by the people. That pledge we have given not only to the people of Kashmir and to the world. We will not and cannot back out of it." That statement was later collaborated by his letter No. 368, dated 21 November 1947, addressed to the Prime Minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan, in which Nehru said, "I have repeatedly stated that as soon as peace and order have been established, Kashmir should decide of accession by Plebiscite or referendum under international auspices such as those of United Nations."

In his statement in the Indian Constituent Assembly on 25 November 1947, Nehru said, "In order to establish our bonafide, we have suggested that when the people are given the chance to decide their future, this should be done under the supervision of an impartial tribunal such as the United Nations Organisation. The issue in Kashmir is whether violence and naked force should decide the future or the will of the people."
In his many letters and declarations, Nehru often cited the “request” of Kashmir’s Hindu Maharaja’s government towards “Kashmir’s accession to India,” which was accepted by his government. However, later, Nehru did send Indian army to occupy princely states of Hyderabad and Junagarh against the wishes of their Muslim rulers who had decided to join Pakistan. So much for the empty promises and wishes or requests of the ruled and rulers! As we all know by now, none of those promises made by Nehru or those who came to power after him honored the international obligations promised to the Kashmiri people and the rest of the world.

Over time the Indian government has increasingly relied on military presence and a curtailment of civil liberties to achieve its aims in Indian Occupied Kashmir, which is to prolong its illegitimate occupation of the territory by hook or crook. People there have no political rights. Sham and rigged elections are held to support the ongoing occupation by the Indian government. It is not difficult to understand, how people’s agony and frustration have given rise to armed insurgency movements against India, which has stationed nearly 700,000 of its troops in the disputed territory. These troops have engaged in widespread humanitarian abuses and have engaged in extra-judicial killings - often for entertainment against boredom. The "Armed Forces Special Powers Act" grants the military, wide powers of arrest, the right to shoot to kill, and to occupy or destroy property in counterinsurgency operations. Published reports suggest that at least 40,000 Kashmiri Muslims were murdered by the Indian occupation forces. A 2005 study conducted by Médecins Sans Frontières also found that Kashmiri women are among the worst sufferers of sexual violence in the world, with 11.6% of respondents reporting that they had been victims of sexual abuse by Indian forces.

Since 2000 the ‘insurgency’ has become far less violent and has instead taken on the form of peaceful protests and marches. Certain groups have also chosen to lay down their arms and look for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. And yet such Gandhian non-violence movement has not generated any kind of change of heart from the Indian government. Even peaceful activists like Arundhati Roy are harassed by the government on sedition charges for so-called anti-Indian speeches and writings. In her speech, Roy rightfully claimed that Jammu & Kashmir valley had never been integral part of India and that it is a historical fact. She pleaded with Indian government to abide by the wishes of Kashmiri people.

There is no alternative to resolving this most agonizing of conflicts of our time without allowing the people of the disputed territory to decide their fate in conformity with the original pledges made by the Indian government, under the UN supervision, much like what has happened with South Sudan. Unfortunately, like the other ‘democracy’ - Israel, after 64 years the Indian government is much stronger today both economically and militarily, thanks to the billions of dollars poured from outside. And with the support it enjoys within the ‘Amen Corner’ of the Capitol House, the Pentagon and the White House, it is in no hurry to do what is right. Like Israel, with America’s foreign and defense policy so much skewed in its favor, it fancies that time is on its side and it can use every trick to delay holding the plebiscite in the occupied territories.

The poor Kashmiris, unfortunately, don’t have a powerful partner that the south Sudanese had to redress their grievances and must learn the ugly truth that there is too much hypocrisy in our world and the difference between a democracy and an autocracy is often an elusive one. It is easy to get rid of an undemocratic monster than a ‘democratic’ demon that uses the veneer of democracy to oppress a minority and confuse others.

Monday, July 4, 2011

My Response to Geert Wilders

In his website, Geert Wilders, the Dutch politician, posted an article – My message to Muslims, which deserve some response. Here below is my response to him.

Mr. Wilders,
In your message to Muslims you mentioned about your unpleasant experience visiting Egypt in 1982 as an 18-year old almost penniless student. Any wise person would have advised you not to undertake such a journey into a foreign land when you can’t speak the language of the people you visited and don’t have any local guide or acquaintance to help you, let alone being penniless. It was a stupid decision. And yet, as your first impression you were ‘overwhelmed by the kindness, friendliness and helpfulness of its people.’ Doesn’t it say a lot about the defining character of these warm-hearted people who in spite of their dire poverty and living under one of the worst despots of our time made you feel so welcome?

You were surprised to see how frightened people had felt when it was announced that the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was coming to visit Sharm el-Sheikh. Is it difficult to understand how this western puppet was perceived in his country? You wrote, “It was a weird experience; Mubarak is not considered the worst of the Islamic tyrants…” Mubarak was a tyrant who did not follow the dictates of the Qur’an. If he had, he should have known that tyranny is one of the worst sins in Islam. [See my books - Islamic Wisdom, and Wisdom of Mankind - for many citations on this subject.] And yet, like a brain-dead moron who has learning disabilities, you equated the attitude of the Egyptian people towards Mubarak with those of ”the 7th century Arabs … in the presence of Muhammad, who, as several verses describe, “cast terror into their hearts’ (suras 8:12, 8:60, 33:26, 59:12).” Bravo! What a discovery!

You may like to read my book – Muhammad: the Messenger of Allah – An Exposition of His Life for Curious Western Readers – (available in the Amazon.com) to judge how Muhammad’s (S) contemporary Arabs felt about him. The poem below from poet Hassan ibn Thabit (R), an erstwhile ardent enemy of Islam, is sufficient to belie your allegations.
By God, no woman has conceived and given birth
To one like the Apostle, the Prophet and guide of his people;
Nor has God created among his creatures
One more faithful to his sojourner or his promise
Than he who was the source of light,
Blessed in his deeds, just and upright. (Sirat Rasulallah by Muhammad Ibn Ishaq)
As a diehard friend of Israel, you should know that one of the great Rabbis once advised a charlatan: “Don’t get too excited about the Talmud unless you are a believing Jew who leads a kosher life.” Any student of the tafsir and tawil (interpretation) of the Qur’an would likewise tell you that the Qur’anic verses are not to be cherry picked to suit one’s whims. They have a Speaker, an audience, time, place and context.

The verse 8:12 was revealed in the context of the Battle of Badr when the pagan (Mushriq) Arabs from Makkah came to attack the nascent community of believers in the outskirts of Madinah. In the said verse, Allah inspires the Angels saying: “When thy Lord inspired the angels, (saying): I am with you. So make those who believe stand firm. I will throw fear into the hearts of those who disbelieve.”

The verse 8:60, cited by you, likewise is all about making necessary preparations to defend against the attack of enemies. If it had not been for the defense of the faith put up by those early Muslims, there would not have been any Muslim today. The verse 33:26 and the preceding ones are about the Battle of Khunduq when a section of Jews living in Madinah violated their treaty of peaceful coexistence with Muslims and committed treason by aiding the Arab Mushriqs. It reads: “And those of the People of the Book who aided them - Allah did take them down from their strongholds and cast terror into their hearts.” They were punished for their treason.

Your reference to verse 59:12 again shows your dismal ignorance. It says, “If they are expelled, never will they go out with them; and if they are attacked (in fight), they will never help them; and if they do help them, they will turn their backs; so they will receive no help.” Here Allah is talking about the hypocrites amongst the Muslims who aligned themselves with the enemies of Islam. If a fight broke out, these hypocrites true to their innate nature would even abandon their clients.

So, I fail to see the connection of those verses in relation to how Egyptian Muslims felt about their tyrant ruler – Mubarak, who behaved like the Pharaoh. They were terrorized by Mubarak, much like how the German Jews must have felt about the visit of Hitler and his Nazi henchmen to their towns.

During your visit to Cairo, you found the city dirty and its inhabitants poor compared to Israel. Your instincts told you that ‘it had something to do with the different cultures of Israel and Egypt.’ Comparing any Israeli city with a mega city like Cairo that is inhabited by more than ten million people is silly and naive. In spite of all the wealth that America enjoys, a visit to any major city, including my own one in Philadelphia, would show gaping holes of poverty, crime and filth. There are places you won’t like to walk into and then there are places you would rather avoid driving through even during the daytime. There are many homeless people here in the USA that sleep on the footpaths and who eat out of trash cans near restaurants and grocery stores. Never mind the high unemployment situation these days, even in the early 1980s while living in California I noticed such sad incidents first hand. If these be the reality inside the most prosperous nation on earth, do these failings speak about American culture or some other more obvious indicators? I am sure Holland is not immune from such problems either.

If you are thinking about the economic aid that Egypt receives from the USA, you ought to know that the annual aid is equivalent to a per capita share of a meager $2.60 (2009) in a country with a Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) of $5,400 (in 2008). That is less than 0.05 percent. In contrast, the per capita share that Israel received from the USA – governmental and non-governmental - is more than a hundred times. While ordinary Egyptians remained jobless and hungry, the puppet regime of Mubarak was selling natural gas to Israel at less than a fair market price, let alone charging too little for use of the Suez Canal. It was simply too convenient to have this brutal and anti-people dictator stay in power, a process that was to continue for nearly three decades, thanks to the material support provided by Israel and other western governments. It does not take a genius to understand why ordinary Egyptians felt betrayed by the so-called bastions of democracy. Yes, there was that ‘conspiracy’ to keep Mubarak in power.

You mentioned that as a dirt poor traveler, you drank untreated water which caused diarrhea. You went to a hostel and rented a spot on the floor for two dollars a day. You complain about the miserable state of the hostel, but forget that at that paltry sum, you should have considered yourself lucky to have found a roof over your head. I doubt if you could rent any space in 1982 for that cheap price in Holland. You audaciously complain: “Once Egypt had been the most advanced civilization on earth. Why had it not progressed along with the rest of the world?”

One can only pity a foolish penniless traveler like you who goes to visit a foreign country and then complains about his miserable condition! Granted that Egypt has not ‘progressed’ much, but can you honestly say that under similar conditions a visitor to your native Holland would have received better service? Whom are you kidding?
===-===

Mr. Wilders, for Egypt’s lack of ‘progress’, whatever that means, you lashed out at Muslims by quoting Winston Churchill, a British soldier and war correspondent for the British Raj who later became Great Britain’s Prime Minister. You quote Churchill as saying, “Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities – but the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it… No stronger retrograde force exists in the world.”

Haiti is one of the poorest countries in our planet, and this, in spite of her unmistakable Christian culture. Is Christianity to be blamed for her lack of progress? How about Ethiopia, Central African Republic, the Solomon Islands, Zimbabwe, Liberia and Congo – six of the ten poorest countries in the world - all with Christian majority population?

Well, such bigotry ridden words from the mouth of the foremost colonist of his time should not surprise anyone. Lest we forget, it was Churchill who as the Prime Minister starved millions of Indians to death in the Bengal famine of 1943. He brought this holocaust – arguably the first and the worst of the 20th century - upon these people and yet had a selective amnesia not to mention anything about this monumental crime in his self-serving six-volume memoir ”The Second World War” for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. (According to Dr. Gideon Polya some 6 to 7 million people died in the province of Bengal and her contiguous provinces as a result of the famine that lasted from 1942 to 1945.)

The ‘man-made’ famine has long been one of the darkest chapters of the British Raj. In her book “Churchill’s Secret War”, Madhusree Mukerjee, like a good problem-solving engineer, uncovered evidence that Churchill was directly responsible for the appalling suffering. Analysis of World War II cabinet meetings, forgotten ministry records and personal archives show that some of India’s grain was also exported to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) to meet needs there, even though the island wasn’t experiencing the same hardship; Australian wheat sailed past Indian cities (where the bodies of those who had died of starvation littered the streets) to depots in the Mediterranean and the Balkans; and offers of American and Canadian food aid were turned down. India was not permitted to use its own sterling reserves, or indeed its own ships, to import food. And because the British government paid inflated prices in the open market to ensure supplies, grain became unaffordable for ordinary Indians. Lord Wavell, appointed Viceroy of India that fateful year, considered the Churchill government’s attitude to India ‘negligent, hostile and contemptuous.’ “It wasn’t a question of Churchill being inept: sending relief to Bengal was raised repeatedly and he and his close associates thwarted every effort,” Mukerjee wrote. “The United States and Australia offered to send help but couldn’t because the war cabinet was not willing to release ships. And when the US offered to send grain on its own ships, that offer was not followed up by the British,” she added.

Churchill was a racist and a bigot. He derided Gandhi as a ‘half-naked holy man’ and once told the Secretary of State for India, Leopold Amery: “I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion (Hinduism).” The famine was their (Indians) own fault, he declared at a war-cabinet meeting, for ‘breeding like rabbits.’

In spite of his hostile remarks against Muslims, it is well known amongst researchers that Churchill favored Islam over Hinduism. “Winston’s racist hatred was due to his loving the empire in the way a jealous husband loves his trophy wife: he would rather destroy it than let it go,” wrote Mukerjee.

As I have stated elsewhere these European colonizers – Dutch, British, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Belgians, Russians and Italians – were inherently racists and bigots, as are today’s Zionists in Israel. The life of colonized people did not matter to them. By the way, in India, that famine of 1943 was not the only one that was man-made to punish her people. Mention must also be made of the Bengal Famine of 1769-1779 in which 10 million people were starved to death in a very systematic way, which was nothing short of genocide, by the English colonial administration. That was 1 in 3 amongst the population of 30 million dead – planned and executed with the intent of containing any future rebellion from able-bodied Bengalis. As noted by Amaresh Misra in his book “War of Civilizations: India AD 1857” an estimated 10 million people died in British reprisals for the 1857 Indian rebellion. Another 700,000 people of Orissa died in the famine of 1866.

So the hostile and unkind statement of a racist and bigot colonist against the colonized people should not be the litmus test by which the latter should be evaluated.
====-===

Mr. Wilders, you say that you do not hate Muslims, but feel saddened by ‘how Islam has robbed them of their dignity.’ What a ludicrous claim! What was the status of Arabs before Islam? Did Islam exalt them or rob them of their dignity when these Arabs became the torchbearers of knowledge, when your ancestors in Europe led a savage life?

To support your thesis, you mention the 2002 fire accident in Saudi Arabia where some 15 school children died. Obviously the action of the Saudi guard who refused to let these girls leave the school campus because they had not worn their headscarves is wrong and simply inexcusable. However, when you take this worst example to denigrate the faith of 1.6 billion human beings, it is not analysis, but shows paralysis of your intelligence.

You say that “girls are not valued highly in Islam; the Koran says that the birth of a daughter makes a father’s “face darken and he is filled with gloom” (sura 43:17).” There you go again! You cherry-pick a verse from the Qur’an to suit your evil thesis that ‘Islam is inhumane’. If you had studied the verse well, you would have known that this verse has everything to do with the Mushriqs of Arabia who not only didn’t like female children but would even bury them alive. In contrast, Muhammad (S), the father of 4 daughters himself, elevated the status of women giving them property rights, something that was unheard of in those days. There are numerous Prophetic Traditions on the treatment of women which you can read from my books. I shall quote below just three to prove you wrong.

Muhammad (S) said, “One who brings up two girls right from their childhood till their maturity will appear on the Day of Judgment attached to me like two fingers of hand (entering paradise).” [Muslim: Anas (R)]

Muhammad (S) said, “O Allah, I declare sinful any failure to safeguard the rights of two weak ones, namely, orphans and women.” [Nasa’i: Abu Shuraih Khuwalid ibn ‘Amr al-Khuza’i (R)]

A man came to the Prophet (S) and asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah, which person of all people is best entitled to kind treatment and the good companionship from me?’ He (S) answered: ‘Your mother.’ The man asked: ‘And then?’ He said: ‘Your mother.’ (The man asked again:) ‘And after her?’ He said: ‘Your mother.’ (The man asked:) ‘And after that?’ He said: ‘Your father.’ [Bukhari and Muslim: Abu Hurayrah (R)]

As to your other comments about your personal beliefs or unbelief, and preference for an anthropomorphic God, I won’t waste my time trying to dissuade you. Suffice it to say that you have an abysmal ignorance of and unfathomable hostility towards Islam. You need to educate yourself from the proper sources and not from some intellectual frauds who tied their knots with the devil. Let me share with you some basic concepts about Islam, starting with monotheism:
“All praise belongs to God who has no equal and no peer and Who is far sublime to bear any similarity to His creatures.
He (God) was before anything came into existence and will remain after everything has come to an end.
As His (God's) Being is Eternal, therefore, no time could be imagined to say that He existed since then, similarly no period could be assigned for duration of His Existence.
To assign a place to Him (God) by considering Him within or over a place means to subject Him to the limitations of space and to allot Him an importance secondary to space, it also means to believe that some place can exist outside the sphere of His Omnipresence.
He (God) was seeing even when there was no created thing to see. He is One and Alone, because He has no companion who could keep His company or whose absence He would miss.
He is One but not a numerical unity which can be mathematically and logically subdivided.
He (God) did not originate His creatures to strengthen His Kingdom or to arm Himself against the change of circumstances, or defend Himself against His rivals and enemies.
Bringing into existence of the Universes has neither tired Him (God), nor origination of the nature has exhausted Him, neither He felt helplessness and deficiency in having complete control over His creatures, nor He ever had any uncertainty about the program of creation; He never doubted about His decisions.
He (God) has not permitted human mind to grasp the Essence of His Being, yet He has not prevented them from realizing His presence.
He (God) knew the very details of everything before He brought everyone of them into existence.
He (God) has not incarnated Himself into His creatures, and it cannot be said that He is part of the Universe or things created by Him; neither He is far away from His creation nor is He aloof from it without having control over it.
God has never left any human being without guidance and education from His Prophets, without a Holy Book, without conclusive, effective and certain proof of His Godhood and without a clear and bright path to His Realm.
When God created mankind He was not in need of their obedience and prayers, neither was He nervous of their disobedience. Because disobedience or insubordination of men cannot harm Him, similarly obedience of obedient people cannot do Him any good. He is beyond the reach of harm and benefit.” [Nahjul Balagha: Ali (R)]
“The first step of religion is to accept, understand and realize God as the Lord; the perfection of understanding lies in conviction and confirmation, and the true way of conviction is to sincerely believe that there is no God but He. The correct form of belief in His Unity is to realize that He is absolutely pure and above nature that nothing can be added to or subtracted from His Being. That is, one should realize that there is no difference between His Person and His attributes, and His attributes should not be differentiated or distinguished from His Person. Whoever accepts His attributes to be other than His Person has actually forsaken the idea of Unity of God and believes in duality. Such a person in fact believes Him to exist in parts.
“Islam means obedience to God. Obedience to God means having sincere faith in Him. Such a faith means to believe in His power. A belief in His power means recognizing and accepting His Majesty. Acceptance of His Majesty means fulfilling the obligations laid down by Him. And fulfillment of obligations means action.
“It is a religion whose followers compete with and try to surpass each other in goodness and virtue. Confirmation of truth and justice are its ways, enlightenment of humanity is its chief object, to expect and to face death boldly and nobly is one of the main items of its teachings. This world is the place where Islam wants to prepare you for high positions in Hereafter, therefore, the Day of Reckoning will be the day when its true followers will surpass others and heaven will be their reward.” [Nahjul Balagha: Ali (R)]

Mr. Wilders, your comments about Muhammad (S) are untrue and show your deep-seated prejudice. Read the Bible, esp. the book of Numbers (Ch. 31), to understand the treatment of the conquered people by the Old Testament Prophets. As I’ve said earlier, Islam could not have survived without the sacrifice of and active resistance from its noble defenders against their foes. Have you heard about Bilal ibn Rabah, Sumayya, Khabbab bin al-Aratt, and Habib ibn Zayd al-Ansari? If you have not, read my book – The Book of Devotional Stories, Islamic Book Trust, Malaysia.

Muhammad (S) and his followers were persecuted and forced to migrate. When attacked they fought back and won the battle of both might and mind. And yet, when he conquered his city of birth, he forgave his enemies. Why show such compassion against enemies, if he wasn’t merciful? You won’t be able to show me a single example of such nobility from the past and the present. In all those battles that Muhammad (S) led, the total death count was miniscule compared to those killed by religious followers of Moses (AS) amongst the children of Israel for their idolatry. And as any Christian evangelist would tell you there won’t be too many surviving after Jesus returns. It would be an era of mass slaughter, beginning with the Jews. If Muhammad (S) is a mass murderer, what epithets do you have in store for Moses (AS), let alone Jesus (AS) – the son of Mary?

Are you also aware of the fact that Mary, the mother of Jesus (AS), was only 12 to 14 years old when Joseph the carpenter who was 90 years old married her? In contrast, A’isha bint Abu Bakr (R) was 19 years old when Muhammad (S) consummated the marriage with her. If Muhammad (S) is a pedophile, what about St. Joseph, and how about the Biblical Prophets? Were they child molesters? Was Jesus a homosexual, too, as hinted by early fathers of Christianity (see also: Gospels according to Mark 14:49-52 and John 13:23)?

You say that Islam is opposed to freedom. Freedom to do what – harm and insult others – something that you have mastered, or colonize, kill and plunder vast territories of Asia, Africa and Latin America – something that the Dutch and other western governments committed to enrich them? Islam says that God has given inborn disposition to human minds to shape themselves either towards good or towards evil. [Nahjul Balagha] Man is, therefore, not compelled by determinism (jabr). He is also not given absolute freedom (qadar) to defy the laws of nature. But the matter is a via media between the two.

You say that Muslims are a fatalistic people. It is a wrong reading of their attitude. As believers they know that nothing happens without God’s will. Thus, they use the phrase InshaAllah. Are you aware of the Epistle of James 4:15, where it says that people should remember that they never know what tomorrow will bring, and 'Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”'? Is this statement in the so-called NT any different than what is contained in the Surat Al Kahf (18):24: "And never say of anything, 'I shall do such and such thing tomorrow. Except (with the saying): 'If God wills!' And remember your Lord when you forget...'"? So, why this silly accusation against Muslims?

Your ignorance is simply pathetic. You may like to read my lecture on ‘Islam and Co-existence’ at the interfaith meeting at Vanderbilt University, Nashville. Also, read my article – What I didn’t say and Missionary Myopia – in response to chauvinistic comments made by some fundamentalist Christian Islamophobes.

You said that ‘most Muslims never raise their voice against the radicals.’ Not true. Islam is opposed to extremism. Muslims have been raising their voices against extremists of all kinds – Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Just visit The American Muslim website to view how wrong you are.

As a pin-headed racist and a bigot, you can claim whatever you like, but surely you are no lover of freedom and liberty. Your obscene xenophobia has shown that you are a curse to humanity, even to your own people. The people with wisdom already see in you a Dutch reincarnation of Hitler against its Muslim inhabitants. You, surely, suffer from extreme prejudice, dementia, paranoia and hallucination and need a check with a good psychiatrist to treat your mental health. The sooner the better!

By the way, I don’t hate you, but hate your evil activities that divide our world into hateful camps. That is not the future that is desirable to any sane human being.