Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Is the verdict against Karadzic a precursor for other such mass murderers?

Last week, on Thursday, March 24, 2016, the International Criminal Court (ICC) convicted Radovan Karadzic, former president of Republika Srpska during the Bosnian War, to 40 years in prison for war crimes.
Thanks to all those human rights activist around the globe to see to it that the butcher of Bosnia gets justice for his heinous crimes.
For more than four decades,  another genocide is taking place as the world watches. In Burma, Rohingya Muslims are slowly being annihilated. As was the case during the Bosnian war, world powers, activists and human rights groups refuse to name the persecution of Rohingya for what it is: genocide. What is necessary for truth to prevail and injustice to end is for the good people to act and speak out for those who are silenced.

Stripped of their citizenship and facing systematic persecution, hundreds of Rohingya have been killed, raped or vanished since 2012. After their homes and businesses were burned down, over 140,000 Rohingya were herded into concentration camps where they languish in horrid conditions. Many die due to lack of food and healthcare. They expect better from our world community.

Thousands of Rohingya have attempted to flee their native land, seeking refuge in neighboring nations. Unfortunately, they are at the mercy of criminal human traffickers who exploit and often sell them into slavery, many others drown at sea.

Will the persecuted Rohingyas of Myanmar one day see the same justice for all those who committed equally heinous crimes?

New Government sworn in Myanmar

Myanmar has sworn in its first civilian-dominated government in more than half a century. The military-backed transitional administration handed over power on March 30 to a successor led by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy. The handover ceremony confirmed that Suu Kyi would be taking on no fewer than four departmental portfolios in the new administration — foreign affairs, energy, education and the president’s office.

The constitution, drafted and approved by the powerful military, had blocked her from becoming the presidency. Nonetheless, she vowed to rule above the man picked as president, Htin Kyaw, which was reflected in the speech by Mr. Htin Kyaw.

In the sworn-in ceremony, Mr Htin Kyaw spoke for only a few minutes, outlining NLD priorities such as national reconciliation and constitutional change. He also acknowledged the authority of his party leader, who has openly said she will make all the important decisions herself. “The new parliament and new government is formed in accord with the policies of the National League for Democracy led by Aung San Suu Kyi,” he said. “I have the obligation to work toward achieving a constitution that has democratic norms and is suitable for the nation.”

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Hindutvadi icon begged for mercy from the British Raj

'The fascist Hindutvadi ideology has gotten its ardent promoter in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Its national executive has decided to make nationalism its rallying cry. It is useful to look at the patriotic attitude and vision of  the Sangh parivar’s icon, V.D. Savarkar, author and originator of the concept of ‘Hindutva’, which the BJP swears by.
He was sent to the notorious Cellular Jail in the Andamans in 1911 for his so-called revolutionary activity. There, Savarkar first petitioned the British for early release within months of beginning his 50 year sentence. Then again in 1913 and several times till he was finally transferred to a mainland prison in 1921 before his final release in 1924. The burden of his petitions: let me go and I will give up the fight for independence and be loyal to the colonial government.
Here below I reproduce Savarkar's letter to the British Government, courtesy of Ram Puniyani of the Secular Perspectives.

To: The Home Member of the Government of India
I beg to submit the following points for your kind consideration:(1) When I came here in 1911 June, I was along with the rest of the convicts of my party taken to the office of the Chief Commissioner. There I was classed as “D” meaning dangerous prisoner; the rest of the convicts were not classed as “D”. Then I had to pass full 6 months in solitary confinement. The other convicts had not. During that time I was put on the coir pounding though my hands were bleeding. Then I was put on the oil-mill – the hardest labour in the jail. Although my conduct during all the time was exceptionally good still at the end of these six months I was not sent out of the jail; though the other convicts who came with me were. From that time to this day I have tried to keep my behaviour as good as possible.(2) When I petitioned for promotion I was told I was a special class prisoner and so could not be promoted. When any of us asked for better food or any special treatment we were told “You are only ordinary convicts and must eat what the rest do”. Thus Sir, Your Honour would see that only for special disadvantages we are classed as special prisoners.
(3) When the majority of the casemen were sent outside I requested for my release. But, although I had been cased (caned?) hardly twice or thrice and some of those who were released, for a dozen and more times, still I was not released with them because I was their casemen. But when after all, the order for my release was given and when just then some of the political prisoners outside were brought into the troubles I was locked in with them because I was their casemen.
(4) If I was in Indian jails I would have by this time earned much remission, could have sent more letters home, got visits. If I was a transportee pure and simple I would have by this time been released, from this jail and would have been looking forward for ticket-leave, etc. But as it is, I have neither the advantages of the Indian jail nor of this convict colony regulation; though had to undergo the disadvanatges of both.
(5) Therefore will your honour be pleased to put an end to this anomalous situation in which I have been placed, by either sending me to Indian jails or by treating me as a transportee just like any other prisoner. I am not asking for any preferential treatment, though I believe as a political prisoner even that could have been expected in any civilized administration in the Independent nations of the world; but only for the concessions and favour that are shown even to the most depraved of convicts and habitual criminals? This present plan of shutting me up in this jail permanently makes me quite hopeless of any possibility of sustaining life and hope. For those who are term convicts the thing is different, but Sir, I have 50 years staring me in the face! How can I pull up moral energy enough to pass them in close confinement when even those concessions which the vilest of convicts can claim to smoothen their life are denied to me? Either please to send me to Indian jail for there I would earn (a) remission; (b) would have a visit from my people come every four months for those who had unfortunately been in jail know what a blessing it is to have a sight of one’s nearest and dearest every now and then! (c) and above all a moral – though not a legal – right of being entitled to release in 14 years; (d) also more letters and other little advantages. Or if I cannot be sent to India I should be released and sent outside with a hope, like any other convicts, to visits after 5 years, getting my ticket leave and calling over my family here. If this is granted then only one grievance remains and that is that I should be held responsible only for my own faults and not of others. It is a pity that I have to ask for this – it is such a fundamental right of every human being! For as there are on the one hand, some 20 political prisoners – young, active and restless, and on the other the regulations of a convict colony, by the very nature of them reducing the liberties of thought and expression to lowest minimum possible; it is but inevitable that every now and then some one of them will be found to have contravened a regulation or two and if all be held responsible for that, as now it is actually done – very little chance of being left outside remains for me.
In the end may I remind your honour to be so good as to go through the petition for clemency, that I had sent in 1911, and to sanction it for being forwarded to the Indian Government?
The latest development of the Indian politics and the conciliating policy of the government have thrown open the constitutional line once more.
Now no man having the good of India and Humanity at heart will blindly step on the thorny paths which in the excited and hopeless situation of India in 1906-1907 beguiled us from the path of peace and progress.
Therefore if the government in their manifold beneficence and mercy release me, I for one cannot but be the staunchest advocate of constitutional progress and loyalty to the English government which is the foremost condition of that progress.
As long as we are in jails there cannot be real happiness and joy in hundreds and thousands of homes of His Majesty’s loyal subjects in India, for blood is thicker than water; but if we be released the people will instinctively raise a shout of joy and gratitude to the government, who knows how to forgive and correct, more than how to chastise and avenge.
Moreover my conversion to the constitutional line would bring back all those misled young men in India and abroad who were once looking up to me as their guide. I am ready to serve the Government in any capacity they like, for as my conversion is conscientious so I hope my future conduct would be. By keeping me in jail nothing can be got in comparison to what would be otherwise.
The Mighty alone can afford to be merciful and therefore where else can the prodigal son return but to the parental doors of the Government?
Hoping your Honour will kindly take into notion these points.
(From R.C. Majumdar, Penal Settlements in the Andamans, Publications Division, 1975)

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Whither Suu Kyi’s Government?

The NLD party declared last week that Aung San Suu Kyi will be foreign minister in Myanmar's first civilian government for decades. The constitution, drafted and approved by the powerful military, had blocked her from becoming the presidency. Nonetheless, she vowed to rule above the man picked as president, Htin Kyaw, in the government which comes to power next week in the former army-ruled nation.

Myanmar’s president-elect on Tuesday proposed an 18-member. The NLD only named 15 ministers for 18 posts chosen by the civilian government. Suu Kyi will head up foreign affairs, energy, and education. The foreign ministry role gives her international clout and a seat at the influential military-dominated security council. Parliament is expected to vote later in the week to confirm the posts. [Note: Under Myanmar's complex political rules, the cabinet role means she will have to forgo her seat in parliament, although her party insisted she would maintain her chairmanship of the NLD.]

Myanmar (formerly Burma) is plagued with lots of problems, including decades-long guerrilla wars in ethnic territories. Her education and health care system is crumbling. Her economy and politics are on shaky grounds. Her novice government also faces the continued might of an army that for years viewed Suu Kyi and her party with deep suspicion. The military still holds strong political sway under a charter that reserves a quarter of parliament seats for unelected soldiers and grants the army chief direct control over three key ministries; home affairs, border affairs and defense. It also ensured that one of Htin Kyaw’s two vice presidents is a former general, Myint Swe, a close ally of former junta leader Than Shwe. Myint Swe remains on a U.S. Treasury Department blacklist that bars American companies from doing business with several tycoons and senior military figures connected with the former junta.

One of the serious problems, however, is the eliminationist project, practiced and promoted by the previous military regimes, as part of a fascist national project to purify Myanmar (formerly Burma) of the presence of non-Buddhists, the minorities, esp. the Rohingyas of the Arakan (Rakhine) state. The latest genocidal campaigns launched against the Muslims since 2012 have led to the internal displacement of nearly a quarter million people, and the risky sea voyages taken up by many that have led to the death and enslavement of hundreds. Muslim homes and businesses have been attacked, ruined or burned down to ashes in ethnic cleansing drives. Nearly 140,000 Rohingya and other Muslims in the Rakhine state continue to live in the IDP camps that are no better than concentration camps. The condition there is simply miserable and despicable and needs to be improved as soon as possible. The new government must ensure the safe return of the encamped victims to their rebuilt homes or places of former residence. More importantly, it must take up the task of stopping the disenfranchisement and continuing suffering and persecution of the Rohingya and other minorities that were born in the country by integrating them as full citizens with equal rights.

Is NLD and Suu Kyi serious about bringing a desired change for all? Will she show leadership in the moment of crisis or choose to follow opportunistic policies that only exacerbate the existing problems taking the country on an irreversible course of disunity and ultimate fraction?

Regrettably, Suu Kyi has been criminally silent on the genocidal campaign launched by her fellow Buddhist community against the persecuted Rohingya, which deservingly has drawn serious criticism from many quarters, esp. those who earlier had adored her as a human rights icon.

Many observers know Suu Kyi of spending many years, nearly 20 years, in the UK before returning home. Little known facts are that her first serious boyfriend was a Pakistani Muslim whom she befriended at Oxford who later went on to become a top diplomat for Pakistan and that one of the key people who persuaded her to get involved in Burma’s democracy uprising was Maung Thaw Ka, a Muslim journalist and author who subsequently died in jail. [Peter Popham: The Lady and the Peacock] It is difficult to imagine her in politics today without the influence of those Muslims.

One would have thought that the influence of her mentor Maung Thaw Ka would have made her a complete or at least a better human being who won't see the world from the foggy lenses of intolerance, racism and bigotry that have underscored what is wrong with Burma and its toxic Myanmarism! But our expectations about her leadership in the time of crisis were proven wrong. 

When she should have visited the killing fields of Arakan (Rakhine) state, she chose not to see. When she should have heard the cries and agonies of the suffering victims of ethnic cleansing, she chose not to hear. When she should have spoken out, she chose to remain silent. When she should have condemned the heinous crimes of her fellow Buddhists (who have soiled the image of Buddhism) unequivocally she appeared to condone such criminal acts with a forked tongue. Hers was a betrayal of trust and what could have been decent and good! It was a far cry from her self-adulating ‘fear from freedom’!

Some admirers have suggested that if she spoke up for the much persecuted Rohingya, it would make it easy for her enemies (esp. within the military and fascist Buddhist monks of the Ma Ba Tha) to repeat the argument that she is not a full Burmese Buddhist – and if the Burmese masses fell for it, that could erode her standing and her chances of coming to power; so she has been sitting uncomfortably on the fence for the past five years. I find such arguments politically opportunistic and morally indefensible. After all, great leaders don’t follow the crowd but let the crowd follow them. They are not a searcher for consensus but are a molder of consensus.

They don’t let the popular mob culture define their leadership role either.

Suu Kyi's hypocritical attitude, sadly, towards the painful sufferings of the Rohingya people has been simply inexcusable, and revealed something that was both ugly and evil. It set her apart from the noble predecessors like (late) Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu of South Africa, and many of the genuine luminaries that had won the much coveted Noble Prize for peace.

Myanmar remains locked in its shameful past of racial and religious chauvinism and hatred. Not only were prejudices exploited to divide this nation along racial and religious lines and justify the rule by the powerful military for more than half a century, they were used as a glue to promote and cement or gel the racial and religious superiority of the Bama over every other race.  As a result, instead of Abraham Lincoln’s ‘government of the people, by the people, and for the people’ what we have in Myanmar is ‘government of the Bama people, by the Bama people and for the Bama people’. All the non-Bama peoples are there to serve the interest of the majority Bama people, who happen to follow Theravada Buddhism. Suu Kyi comes from that very stock. As Dr. Shwe Lu Maung puts it she is leader born of the chaos.

Many Burmese Buddhists are extremely prejudiced against non-Buddhists, esp. Muslims. But is Aung San Suu Kyi also guilty of such a flaw?

In his book: Is Suu Kyi a Racist, Dr. Shwe Lu Maung (Shah Nawaz Khan) - now living in the USA and originally from Burma and author of some major volumes of work dealing with his native country - tries to answer the question objectively. It should be a must-read book for anyone interested about the future of Myanmar under Suu Kyi’s leadership.

After a torrid interview with BBC's veteran journalist Mishal Husain for the Today programme, Suu Kyi was reportedly heard to say angrily, “No-one told me I was going to be interviewed by a Muslim.” It is said that if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it must be a duck. Suu Kyi’s remarks speak volumes and reveal something that is, sadly, very unpleasant and unbecoming about a lady who was once considered a democracy icon.  Truly, I find her bigotry-ridden remarks about one of the most unbiased and objective interviewers of our time simply disgusting and inexcusable.

I was one of those former admirers who wanted to believe that Suu Kyi is a progressive human being who has been able to rise above the evil curses of racism and bigotry that have poisoned her country since its birth. But she disheartened me and billions of people around the globe through her bigotry, and an overt one in that, which is also very unnerving and unfortunate for a country that has many races, ethnicities and religions.

Racism and bigotry are serious diseases, and according to Dr. Shwe Lu Maung, more like a variety of Freudian narcissism, which needs cure. For Myanmar to survive as a nation, she must discard her culture of prejudice and intolerance that has, sadly, defined her character in the post-independence era.

Will Suu Kyi now become a true leader for a fractured country that needs a unifier and not a divider?

I can’t predict the answer yet but can only pray and hope that she evolves into becoming a unifier, much like her legendary father Aung San was before his untimely death. The sooner the better for not only Myanmar but for the entire region!


Murder of a Muslim shopkeeper - hate crime in Scotland

A Muslim shopkeeper was brutally murdered in Scotland, UK.
Asad Shah, 40, died from injuries sustained in the attack on Thursday night in which his killers are believed to have stabbed him and stamped on his head. Medics tried to save him but he died in hospital.
Police Scotland, who have arrested a man in connection with the attack, said they were treating the death as “religiously prejudiced”.
An eyewitness said two men had set upon the shopkeeper and said: “One was stamping on his head. There was a pool of blood on the ground. ”
Floral tributes were placed outside Mr Shah’s shop, a newsagent and convenience store close to where he was attacked in Shawlands, Glasgow, as residents left messages of sympathy.
A few hours before he was killed, Mr Shah wrote on Facebook: “Good Friday and a very Happy Easter, especially to my beloved Christian nation... Let’s follow the real footstep of beloved holy Jesus Christ (PBUH) [peace be upon him], and get the real success in both worlds xxxx.”

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Trump's foreign policy advisors include a known criminal

Donald Trump has disclosed the names of his foreign policy advisers. One of them is a known criminal whose hands are stained with blood of hundreds of innocent refugees.
To read the story, click here.

AIPAC conference

AIPAC's annual meeting is now over with all the fanfare and publicity. All the major contenders minus Bernie Sanders appeared and spoke to the audience showing how to them Israel stands first and how they will fulfill whatever Zionist criminals demand. Yes, from Hillary to Trump to Kasich to Ted - all were proud of being the biggest supporters of war crimes of the pariah regime that had been repeatedly condemned in the UN General Assembly scores of time for its horrendous records on racism, discrimination and human rights violations.
Here is something that you may not have known: while many attendees did not like Trump for his offensive xenophobic and racist comments, when the same comments are made by Israeli leaders they are very dismissive and/or forgiving. That says a lot about hypocrisy that highlight such events and the messages that come out.
Click the link here for a sample.

Vulture Fund

Have you heard about the Vulture Fund? Well, if you don't consider clicking here to find out.

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Cyber Heist with Bangladesh Bank

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Judge Garland endorsed Gitmo Detentions

President Obama has nominated Judge Merrick Garland for the open Supreme Court slot. Garland has a long history of giving deference to the government’s position in high-profile cases, and oversaw some major litigation surrounding the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.
To find out more about him, please, click here.

Saudi Attack on Yemen Market

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein blasted the Saudi government today for its attack on a Yemeni marketplace earlier in the week, a strike which killed upwards of 119 civilians, saying it may amount to a war crime or other “international crime.”
To read more, please, call here.

Ted Cruz's foreign policy team

With the Republican contest for the president heating up, Ted Cruz, the other candidate eager to out-trump Trump, has surrounded himself with some of the most aggressive hawks imaginable. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has unveiled his new foreign policy team saying they are a group of his “trusted friends” who believe in a “strong America.”
They include: 1. neoconservative ultra-hawk Frank Gaffney, a loudly anti-Muslim bigot.
2. Michael Ledeen, the man at the center of the yellowcake uranium forgeries, among the pretexts for the 2003 US invasion and occupation of Iraq. Ledeen has been involved in a litany of scandals, dating all the way back to Iran-Contra. He was also, notably, the man who got Israeli spy Jonathon Pollard his job at the US Navy.
3. Elliott Abrams who famously pled guilty to two charges of withholding information related to the scandal from Congress. During his tenure with the later Bush, Abrams was accused by The Guardian of being at the center of a failed 2002 US-backed coup attempt against Venezuela, and was said to have personally given the go-ahead for the effort.
As noted by Jason Ditz, with this team and more, Cruz is surrounding himself with warmongers and criminals of the highest caliber.

Uri Avnery's latest article

Here is the link to Uri Avnery's latest article, which is worth reading. In this he reviews the history of the Lebanese resistance movement - Hijbullah, and says: "it is not a terrorist organization." "Modern terrorists – real terrorists – lay bombs in markets, shoot at random civilians, run over people. Hezbollah does none of these. One can hate Hezbollah and detest Nasrallah. But calling them "terrorists" is plain stupid."

Friday, March 18, 2016

‘They Hate Us’ – Really?

Part 1:

Donald Trump said on March 9, 2016 that he thinks "Islam hates us," drawing little distinction between the religion and radical terrorism by some misguided and angry Muslims.
"I think Islam hates us," Trump told CNN's Anderson Cooper, deploring the "tremendous hatred" that he said partly defined the religion. Trump doubled down on that statement during the Republican debate the following night.

On “Fox News Sunday,” March 13, Chris Wallace told Trump that among the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, “according to the best experts, think tanks around the world, they say at most, 100,000 people are fighting for jihadist causes. That’s less than — it’s a tiny fraction of 1 percent.”

In response Trump claimed that a Pew Research Center survey found that among the world’s Muslims, “27 percent, could be 35 percent, would go to war” against the U.S.

In his remarks on Sunday, he also said, “It would be easier for me to say, “Oh, no, everybody loves us.” But there’s something going on. There’s a big problem. And radical Islamic terrorism is taking place all over the world.”
When the Pew Research Center was contacted, it said it has conducted no survey that asks such a question. “The Center has not issued a survey saying that 27 percent of Muslims would go to war with the US, nor has the Center asked a question of Muslims about ‘going to war,’ ” Dana Page, a spokeswoman for the Pew Research Center, told.

Pew Research did publish a report in 2014 that generally found concern about Islamic extremism is high among countries with substantial Muslim populations. It found that overall, few Muslims endorse “suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilian targets as a means of defending Islam against its enemies,”
For example, in Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, 89 percent said suicide bombings and other forms of violence against civilians are rarely or never justified.

But those who expressed support for violence to defend Islam from its enemies didn’t say, nor were they asked, if they “would go to war” with the U.S., as Trump claims.
Pew Research Center also found that “most people in several countries with significant Muslim populations have an unfavorable view of the terrorist group ISIS, including virtually all respondents in Lebanon and 94 percent in Jordan.” [This refers to the terrorist group Daesh, or what is known here in the West as the Islamic State, a.k.a. the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).] And strong majorities in most countries with substantial Muslim populations have unfavorable opinions of al Qaeda, the group responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

By the way, such unfounded accusations by Trump are not new. Last December, Trump released a statement that called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” and cited Pew Research and the Center for Security Policy.  It said:

According to Pew Research, among others, there is great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population. Most recently, a poll from the Center for Security Policy released data showing “25% of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad and 51% of those polled, "agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Shariah." Shariah authorizes such atrocities as murder against non-believers who won't convert, beheadings and more unthinkable acts that pose great harm to Americans, especially women.” (December 7, 2015)

The Center for Security Policy (CSP) in June 2015 did an on-line survey of 600 American Muslims, culled from those who had previously agreed to respond to such surveys. It found that 29 percent agreed that “violence against those that insult the prophet Muhammad, the Qur’an, or Islamic faith is sometimes acceptable.” Also, 25 percent agreed that “violence against Americans here in the United States can be justified as part of the global jihad.”
It should be noted that experts warn that an opt-in Internet survey is notoriously unreliable. Even the CSP itself cautions that the survey can’t be used to represent the American Muslim population at large, but rather “the results are of those individual Muslims polled.” The sample size is also too small for an unbiased study. [It appears that if alpha risk chosen was 0.05, then the margin of error for the CSP study was 4%.]

The Washington Post noted that the president and founder of the CSP, Frank Gaffney, is identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-Muslim extremist. The survey doesn’t represent all Muslims living in the United States — only those surveyed who purported to be Muslim. The survey may include ex-Muslims and even anti-Muslim hawks and zealots. So, the very premise of Trump’s assertion is simply absurd.
A recent Pew research asked voters how the next president should talk about extremism and Islam. According to Pew research published in February, “about two-thirds of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (65 percent) – including seven-in-ten conservative Republicans (70 percent) – want the next president to speak bluntly about extremism even if it means being critical of Islam.” By contrast, 70 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents “say the next president should be careful not to criticize Islam as a whole.”

As is quite apparent from this year’s U.S. presidential debates, the Republican Party truly has a ‘Muslim problem’. Much like the fascists and Nazis of Mussolini-Hitler era with Jews, they are brazenly exploiting anti-Muslim bigotry and hatred to present themselves as viable candidates. If you are wondering why these politicians would do so, the answer is: bigotry sells.
Bigotry against Islam has become a lucrative business. There are thousands of pen-pushing ‘experts’ these days that have made a living selling bigotry against Muslims in the aftermath of 9/11. They have mastered the art of cherry-picking Qur’anic verses and ahadith without tracing such verses and narratives to the context of time or period, place and person (i.e., the 3P’s). In so doing, they deliberately mischaracterize Islam and create hatred against Muslims.

These bigots often cite the verses from the Surah at-Tawbah, which were revealed about the inveterate enemies of Islam, i.e., the mushriq (pagan) oppressors of Arabia who had violently persecuted the nascent Muslim community of Makkah for 13 long years, who had evicted them and tried to wipe them out in the next 8 years, so as to prove how intolerant Islam is or its Prophet Muhammad (S) was. They are oblivious of the unfathomed cruelty and torture (that are worse than water-boarding war crimes) suffered by the Prophet (S) and his companions - Bilal ibn Rabah, Sumayya, Khabbab bin al-Aratt, and Habib ibn Zayd al-Ansari (RA) and many others – in the hands of those pagan Arabs (see this author’s book: Devotional Stories – for their stories). They are equally silent about the Prophet’s (S) pardoning his old enemies on the Day of Conquest of Makkah.  

After removing the impurity of idolatry from the Ka’aba, Muhammad (S) posed a question to the Quraysh (the former enemies): “How do you think, I am going to treat you now?” They said: “You are a generous brother, and the son of a generous brother. We expect only charity and forgiveness from you.” He said: “I will tell you what Joseph said to his brothers: ‘There is no blame on you today' (Qur’an 12:92). Go now; all of you are my freedmen.” [Mowlana Abul Kalam Azad, The Messenger of Mercy]
The Prophet (S) declared a general amnesty in Makkah. The amnesty extended even to the apostates. He forbade his army to plunder the city or to seize anything that belonged to the Quraysh. “Quraysh had left nothing undone to compass his destruction, and the destruction of Islam; but in his hour of triumph, he condoned all their crimes and transgressions.” (Ibid.)

In the words of historian Sir John Glubb, “Eight years earlier Muhammad had left Makkah as a fugitive with a price on his head, and now he was entering the same city as its conqueror. His manner, however, bespoke not of pride or even of exultation but of gratitude and humility – gratitude to God for His mercy in bestowing success upon His humble slave, and humility in the contemplation of the vanity of worldly glory, and the evanescence of all things human.’” [The Great Arab Conquests]
The anti-Muslim zealots cite the chastisement of the Jews, esp. of Banu Qurayza, in Madinah to show how intolerant Prophet Muhammad (S) was and how horrible Islamic Shariah is for a non-believer to live under. Again, they won’t tell the kind of conspiracy and treason, let alone the assassination attempt against the Prophet (S), that those Medinite Jews had committed to deserve the punishment. [R.V.C. Bodley, The Messenger the Life of Mohammed; see also: Rafiq Zakaria, Muhammad and the Quran] If they were to compare between the treatment meted out by Muhammad (S) and Musa [Moses] (AS) against the pagan Jews, they would find that Muhammad (S) was in deed a Rahmatul-lil-alameen (‘Mercy to the entire universe’): much kinder and gentler to the Jews and Christians than their own prophets.

To protect the nascent Muslim community from the marauding attacks of the mushriqs, the Prophet (S) had to fight dozens of defensive wars. The anti-Muslim zealots won’t tell their faithful that in all those battles in the outskirts of Madinah the total death count was miniscule compared to those killed (3000) by religious followers of Musa [Moses] (AS) amongst the children of Israel for their idolatry (Exodus 32:28). [See, also the Books of Isaiah, Micah, Hosea and Ezekiel.] Similarly, they won’t tell that when Jesus, their lord, returns it would usher in an era of mass slaughter, beginning with the Jews. So much for non-violence in the New Testament!
If in their dictionary Muhammad (S) is depicted as a mass murderer, one can only wonder what epithets would qualify for the acts of Moses (AS), let alone Jesus (AS) – the son of Mary (in his second coming)!

If one were to ask the anti-Muslim zealots about the source of the verses like - “Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that had known man by lying with him. But all the women, children that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves” – they would fancy that these must be part of the Islamic Shariah, and have come from the Qur’an. But the fact is: these genocidal verses are to be found in the Book of Numbers (31: 17-18, KJV), and not in the Qur’an. In the same Bible we find that Prophet Moses (AS) being instructed by God to kill the Midianites. “And they burnt all their cities wherein they dwelt, and all their goodly castles, with fire.” (Numbers 31:10)
As I have explained many times in some of my articles, all the Scriptures have their share of violent passages. The Qur'an does not have a monopoly there. As a matter of fact, its share of violent passages is insignificant compared to those of the Bible, and if we are to treat the Bible in the same way that these charlatans are doing with the Qur’an, it won’t require too much reading to conclude that the Bible is the most violent religious book. [See this author's article, "Quod licet Iovi non licet bovi: Why a different yardstick for Muslims?" for a sample of violent and demeaning verses in Christian and Jewish religious books.] If the presence of some violent passages in the Qur'an make the Prophet of Islam a violent man, then most of the great personalities in the Bible: from Jacob to Moses to David to Jesus were no less violent individuals. [For a sample from the Torah, click here.]

When Christian zealots shield those Biblical violent verses from a comparable critique, and yet demand a different set of rules for Muslims, it is intellectual dishonesty. Such a norm is exemplary of the ancient Latin phrase, "Quod licet Iovi non licet bovi," which means, "What is allowed to Jovi or Jupiter (or the pagan gods) is not allowed to the ox (or cattle)."
So, to these chauvinist Judeo-Christian crusaders, Zarqawi and ISIS symbolize Islam, but their own David Koresh, Jim Jones, and the Lord’s Resistance Army don’t represent Christianity! With a broad brush, they blame the entire Muslim world for the crimes of the few – the non-state terrorists (who actually have killed more Muslims than non-Muslims) but are mindful of shielding the evil image of their genocidal warlords - from the early Christian crusaders to Bush, Blair and Obama of our time - who killed millions of unarmed civilians, some under false pretexts. [And Trump boasts of going one step further than all his predecessors, if elected! Seemingly, his Judeo-Christian shariah permits atrocity, war crimes and mass murders. As a keen student of history all my life, I won’t be surprised.]

They won’t tell their mesmerized audience that their Christian hero King Richard, ‘the lion-heart’, had killed 3,000 Muslim prisoners of war in Accra during the third crusade. The Republican candidates are quite vocal in displaying their unfathomed love for Jewish Israel. They won’t tell that on September 3, 1189 when Richard was crowned as the king of England some 3,000 Jews were murdered in an orgy of massacre. The Jews of London were plundered and murdered, their homes and businesses burned down, and many baptized against their will. The pogrom against the Jews continued in other parts of England for several months.
And as to the Jewish experience living under Hitler’s Germany, probably the least said the better! Nothing of this kind ever happened to Christians and Jews living under Muslim rule. The Islamic Shariah, now a dirty word in the West, actually protected all those religious minorities.

Part 2:

Allah says in the Qur’an:

Meaning: Mischief and corruption have appeared on land and sea because of (the evil) which men's hands have done, that He may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return. (Surah ar-Rum 30:31)

We are living in an age of fitnah and fasad (trials and tribulations) when terrorism has become a reality in many parts of our world. Ordinary people are either being terrorized or getting lynched from all sides – the enemies from within and without. So miserable is the Muslim experience that they often don’t know why they are getting killed! Their own authoritarian governments, many subservient to foreign masters, have abandoned them, and act, as if, they have no accountability either before those ruled or before their Creator.  
With few exceptions, Muslim lands, one after another have been attacked by invaders, people killed wantonly and everything destroyed forcing many to settle for a life of a stranger in a foreign land. Thanks to the merchants of war and advances in the killing machines like the drones, even the places of worship, hospitals and children’s schools are no longer safe from deadly attacks from the air, ground and sea. The lack of safety is causing adverse ripple effects in every sphere of life. Many youngsters are traumatized either by living within the killing fields or from watching TV programs (or the Internet) outside. Some are, sadly, becoming radicalized and are hitting back in a nihilistic madness.

Truly, the sense of hopelessness looms so unbearable that many young folks are angry. They are being misled and duped into joining extremist groups like the Daesh and Boko Haram.

Look at Syria and Yemen where some half a million Muslims have died in the last few years, and at least another 7 million displaced as a result of heavy bombardments, which qualify as war crimes, inflicted by two criminal governments. What was their crime? In Syria the victims come from the majority sect – the Sunnis, and in Yemen most of the victims come from the Huthi Shi’as who wanted a change from the unpopular rule.

To understand the deplorable condition there let’s ponder for a moment on some ahadith. Prophet Muhammad (S) in a well-known hadith, narrated via Ibn Umar (RA) which is mentioned in Sahih Bukhari, said, "O Allah bestow your blessings on our Shaam. O Allah bestow your blessings on our Yemen." The people said, "O Messenger of Allah, and our Najd." The Prophet (S) again said, "O Allah bestow your blessings on our Shaam and Yemen." The people said, "O Messenger of Allah, and our Najd." On that the Prophet, (S), said, "There (in Najd) will occur earthquakes, trials and tribulations, and from there appears the Horn of Satan." In another hadith: Muhammad (S) said, “O Allah bestow your blessings on our Medina, O Allah bestow your blessings in our measuring, O Allah bestow your blessings in our Sham and our Yemen." A person said, "And Najd, O Messenger of Allah?" He said, "From there arises the horn of Satan and the trials and tribulations would come like mounting waves." [From al-Awsat by at-Tabarani from Hadith of Ibn Umar and authenticated by Ali ibn Abu Bakr al-Haythami in Mujma az-Zawaa`id (3/305)]

As a result of the chaos left behind by Bush-Blair and Obama, Daesh has become a major player in the conflict in Iraq and Syria. They are savvy with the use of the internet and have been able to dupe many religiously ignorant youths.
Is Daesh the neo-Khawarij (i.e., heretics) of our time? The Muslim scholars have long condemned their heretic, un-Islamic acts, declaring them Khawarij. When Daesh burned Jordanian pilot Muath alive in a cage, filming his agony, the Muslim world erupted. Fire as a punishment is strictly forbidden in Islam. Daesh beheaded some hostages, and killed some members of Nestorian Christian and Yazidi communities that have been living safely in Syria and Iraq for the last 14 centuries. However, far more Muslims have died from their evil, which Trump and his buddies don’t tell their audience.

Some ahadith may help to understand the heretic characteristics of Khawarij. Yusair bin 'Amr narrated: “I asked Sahl bin Hunaif, ‘Did you hear the Prophet (S) saying anything about Al-Khawarij?’ He said, ‘I heard him saying while pointing his hand towards Iraq: There will appear in it some people who will recite the Qur’an but it will not go beyond their throats, and they will go out from (leave) Islam as an arrow darts through the game's body.'”

Ali (RA) said, "I heard the Holy Prophet (S) as saying that as the Day of Qiyamah (Doom’s Day) approaches there will appear a group of youths with a low mental capacity and understanding (lit., stupid youths), apparently they will talk of good but their Iman (faith) will not go beyond their throat and they will leave the true Deen [religion] like an arrow leaves the prey. Wherever you find them, you should make Jihad with them.” (Bukhari)
Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) used to say about them, “These people took some Verses that had been revealed concerning the disbelievers and interpreted them as describing the believers.” He also said, “They will go out of the Islam as an arrow darts out of game’s body.” (Bukhari)

The violence and takfir associated with these neo-Khariji movements of our time bear more than a coincidental resemblance to the policies and mindset of the Khawarij of the Prophet Muhammad’s (S) and Ali’s (RA) time. It is no accident that these neo-Kharijis of our time blow up Muslim worshippers even inside mosques as if those targeted are worse than non-Muslims. They are a renegade movement and should not be taken as an Islamic movement.
Fourteen centuries ago, Raba’y bin ‘Aamir (RA), a Muslim Companion of the Prophet Muhammad (S) addressed the general of the Persian garrison in the following words: “[Islam summons] mankind from the lowliness of the earth to the heights of the heavens, from the servitude of each other to the service of the Lord of the Universe, and from the oppression of the religions to the justice of Islam.” Yes, that was precisely the role that Islam tried to play in the global arena. Through its concept of tauhid or pure monotheism and universal brotherhood, it offered the world a road to salvation. Instead of making God manlike, it tried to make man godlike. And this it tried by providing three basic elements – faith in one God without any associate, reform of the self and reform of the society at large.

Genuine Islamic movements around the globe over the centuries, therefore, remained a religious commitment, a socio-economic-political program, but above all, a vehicle for the continuous reform of the society. And who can deny the importance of such forces and principles that make our world better for common good of all humanity?
Yes, terrorism has become a serious phenomenon today, which needs to be defeated. Extremism has no place in Islam. [Consider, e.g., the saying of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir ibn Ali Zayn al-Abidin (R) who said, “Two kinds of my community have no share in Islam. They are: the extremists and the fatalists.”]

While we condemn Muslim deviants let’s not overlook the more heinous crimes, state terrorism practiced by the non-Muslim governments around the globe – from Buddhist Myanmar to Hindu India to Catholic Philippines to Orthodox Serbia and Russia to Anglican Britain to Protestant America to Jewish Israel to communist China. Let’s also not forget that in the recent decades (since the days of Jimmy Carter) the most powerful state on earth has elected some presidents who enjoyed huge support from the Evangelical, Christian Right whose crusading zeal for spreading Christianity and killing ‘infidel’ Muslims is more dangerous than those non-state actors in the Muslim world. With all the powers at their disposal, plus the criminal doctrine of pre-emptive strikes, they are, indeed, a greater threat to peace and security in our time.

In the post-colonial era, Muslims are not scripting world events but are in the reactive mode. It is not illogical to construe that if the Soviets had not invaded Afghanistan in the mid-1970s, and the US government and its CIA had not popularized ‘Jihad’ against those invaders there won’t be any Taliban and al-Qaeda today. If Bush & Blair did not invade Iraq in 2003 under the false pretext of finding the WMDs and carry out their indiscriminate murderous orgy, let alone stupid de-Ba’athification program, terrorists like Zarqawi (long dead) and Daesh won’t have existed today. And who knows how many new ‘Spartacus’, i.e., the so-called Jihadists, would emerge out of the ashes of recent wanton bombing campaigns by Putin’s Russia inside Syria!
We have refused to learn the lessons from history and, are therefore, doomed to repeat them!

Far from the unsubstantiated claims of Trump, the religion of Islam is neither violent nor a problem in our age. However, how individuals choose to lead their own lives may vary. Thus, while the Muslim world has produced many saints like Ibrahim ibn Adham (R) and Mowlana Rumi (R), it has also produced despots like Bashar al-Assad and Al-Sissi. And the same is true for any religion, including Christianity which has produced saints like mother Teresa and also genocidal criminals like Bush and Blair.

The noble teachings of Islam can be antidotes to most of our man-made problems, if we truly care to find out. [Interested readers may like to read this author’s book: Akhlaq: A Manual for Character Development]
Mr. Trump may like to read Karen Armstrong’s books to broaden his narrow worldview about Islam. In reviewing false charges of violence lodged against Islam and its Prophet (S), she commented, "Far from being addicted to warfare, Islam insists on the importance of peace. The message of the Qur’an is a plural vision; it respects and values other traditions." [“Has Islam been hijacked?” by Karen Armstrong in the book “Taking Back Islam,” ed. Michael Wolfe, Beliefnet (2002) p. 11.] He may also like to listen to veteran journalist John Pilger who said, "Far from being the terrorists of the world, the Islamic peoples have been its victims - that is, the victims of American fundamentalism whose power, in all its forms, military, strategic and economic, is the greatest source of terrorism on earth." (New Statesman, September 17, 2001)
In closing, let me state that Muslim world is going through a period of unprecedented fitnah and fasad. Muslim societies are falling apart setting in motion a deep sense of despair, which is not healthy for anyone – neither its adherents nor others. They can complain and cry, and blame others for their miserable condition. But what they need more is to look inward to find the practical life-giving formula (of humanity’s victory over animality, victory of knowledge over ignorance, of justice over injustice, of equality over inequality, of virtue over corruption, of piety over faithlessness, of the oppressed over the oppressor) that once helped them to reach the zenith of civilization.
In closing let me share something which may be a starting point in that rediscovery.

Some 13 centuries ago, Ibrahim ibn Adham (R) (a disciple of Imam Abu Hanifah (R)) was asked, "Allah declares, 'O My creatures! Ask from Me.  I will accept, I will give.'  Whereas we ask, but He does not give, why?"  Ibrahim ibn Adham (R) replied, "You entreat Allah, but do not obey Him.  You know Muhammad (S), but you do not follow him.  You read the Qur'an, but you do not follow the way it guides to.  You utilize Allah's blessings, but you do not thank Him.  You know that Paradise is for those who worship, but you do not make prostrations for it.  You know He has created Hell for those who are disobedient, but you do not abstain from disobeying Him.  You see what happened to your fathers, grandfathers, but you do not take warnings.  You do not see your own defects and you search for defects of others.  Such must be thankful because it does not rain stones on them, because they do not sink into the earth and because it does not rain fire from the sky.  What do they want next?  Would not this suffice as the result of their prayers?" [Tadhkirat al-Auliya; Husayn Hilmi Isik, Endless Bliss; Habib Siddiqui, Wisdom of Mankind]
May Allah forgive and guide us all so that our prayers are answered. Amin.