Showing posts from June, 2016

Shura and democracy

Is there a difference between shura and democracy? Khalid Baig says, there is, and he explains below:
Those who hearken to their Sustainer, and establish regular Prayer; who (conduct) their affairs by mutual Consultation; who spend out of what We bestow on them for Sustenance; (Ash-Shūrā, 42:38)
This āyah highlights the importance of shūrā or the system of mutual consultation for the running of all collective affairs, whether in the family, in a small group or at the highest levels of the Islamic state (not to be confused with a fake entity that is misappropriating that name).
When carried out properly, the system shows that the power of the group is much more than the sum of its members. The group benefits from the best of individual resources, talents and ideas. The process of consultation also brings its members closer together, cementing the group. A hadith promises Allāh’s succor to those practicing shūrā.
Sometimes people mention Islamic Shūrā as another name for democracy. This…

Why Myanmar is urging foreigners to avoid using the historical term 'Rohingya'?

Dr. Azeem Ibrahim has written a  good article to answer the question of the header.
--------- The government in Myanmar, trying to rewrite history in defining its identity, is engaging in ethnic cleansing. The target are the Rohingya, a people the United Nations and Amnesty International call “the most persecuted refugees in the world”. Myanmar is home to a large and diverse number of ethnic and religious groups: 135 ethnic groups officially recognized by the current constitution of Myanmar plus the Rohingya, the only Muslims, who are excluded. For nationalist extremists, the Rohingya are not an independent ethnic group with ties to the land in the state of Arakan where they live. Instead, the nationalists insist the Rohingya migrated to Arakan after Burma was progressively absorbed into British India from 1824 onwards. The nationalists view Rohingya as an illegitimate colonial import, not in keeping with the Buddhist Tibeto-Burman character, and refer to them as “Bengalis.” The US Em…

Assam Election Results 2016 - an analysis by Prof. Ram Puniyani

Assam Election Results 2016 – Challenges to Pluralist Ethos: Ram Puniyani June 30, 2016

This time around (2016 Elections) BJP has managed to come to power in Assam, though as a coalition with its allies. Its vote share this time came down to 29.5% from the earlier 36.5% (2014); still because of the strategically stitched alliances it beat the Congress in the number of seats won. BJP election appeal was centered on the divisive issue of Bangaldeshi immigrants. It took care to regard 3% native Muslims on the ground of ‘Native Assamese identity’ while the Bengali Muslims (32%) were singled out as immigrants; outsiders. The Bengali immigrant Hindus were projected as refugees. BJP’s propaganda was on the lines of Hindus versus Muslims. Cleverly it was presented as natives versus outsiders. Elections 2016 Taking recourse to communal historiography the election was presented as the second battle of Saraighat, where Lachit Burfukan had defeated the Mughal army in 1671. As such the man…

The choice of Walid Phares as Trump's national security adviser unmasks Trump's worldview

While surfing the net today, I came across a small news about Trump and his position on the Muslims. It read: "Donald Trump will draw back his proposed ban on Muslims entering the country once he’s elected president and focus instead on more precise policies meant to identify potential terrorists, his national security adviser told The Hill on Tuesday.

In recent days, conflicting reports have emerged over whether Trump intends to stand by his controversial proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country. That “suggestion,” as Trump has described it, has been condemned as bigoted by liberals and dismissed by critics as impossible to implement.In an email exchange with The Hill, Trump’s national security adviser, Walid Phares, sought to clarify Trump’s position."

I have said earlier that I see fascistic leanings with Trump's positions on many issues, and am, therefore, not a fan of him, nor do I trust or believe him. But I was curious about the identity of h…

An Endless Cycle of Indecisive Wars

"Here’s an unavoidable fact: we are now in a Brexit world. We are seeing the first signs of a major fragmentation of this planet that, until recently, the cognoscenti were convinced was globalizing rapidly and headed for unifications of all sorts. If you want a single figure that catches the grim spirit of our moment, it’s 65 million. That’s the record-setting number of people that the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees estimates were displaced in 2015 by “conflict and persecution,” one of every 113 inhabitants of the planet. That’s more than were generated in the wake of World War II at a time when significant parts of the globe had been devastated. Of the 21 million refugees among them, 51% were children (often separated from their parents and lacking any access to education). Most of the displaced of 2015 were, in fact, internal refugees, still in their own often splintered states. Almost half of those who fled across borders have come from three countries: Syri…

Unmade in their own country - the sad saga of Muslim minorities in Assam

During the British Rule of India, Assam was part of Bengal where people of all religions lived side by side in harmony. After the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, the Muslims living there are considered illegal immigrants from nearby East Pakistan (and later Bangladesh). The Hindutvadi fascist politics have made their lives difficult in the so-called secular India. In the recently held election BJP has won the state election worsening the situation of the minority Muslims living there.
Here below is the story of a Muslim family in Assam.

It was drizzling on the evening of May 18, the day before the counting for the assembly polls, held over a month ago. An anxious Zarina Khatun was busy luring her children, Zariful, 11, and Sania, 8, indoors with the promise of hot rotis and fried fish when the pol­ice arrived. A neighbour called up her husband Shamsul Haque, a van-ricks­haw puller; before he could rush back, the pol­ice had taken her away. The 37-year-old found herself in judi…

Genocide of Muslims in Burma

The Economist wrote last year that the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority living primarily in Myanmar, were perhaps the most persecuted people in the world. Joshua Kurlantzick, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote in Washington Monthly magazine last week that the persecution endured by the Rohingya in Myanmar since 2012, when local Buddhists began relegating them to refugee camps, has become classifiable as a genocide. Since neighborhoods, butchering the populace with knives, sticks, and machetes. They beat Rohingya children to death with rifle butts and, quite possibly, their bare hands. Since then, half the population of Myanmar’s Rohingya has been displaced. Some have tried to escape to other Southeast Asian nations on rickety boats often operated by human traffickers. If the migrants do not die of dehydration or heatstroke, they are frequently picked up by pirates or the Thai navy—which may not be much better than2012, when the latest wave of anti-Rohingya viol…

George Soros on Brexit

Reflecting on the UK's decision to leave the European Union in an essay for the Project Syndicate, George Soros urges those who continue to believe in the EU to join together to "thoroughly reconstruct it".

The politics of Ram Temple in India

Here is a must-see video on the nasty Hindutvadi politics with the Ram Temple, which they want to erect on the site of the demolished Babri mosque.

Buddhist mob ransacks a mosque

YANGON, June 24 (Reuters) - A group of men from a village in central Myanmar destroyed a mosque in the first serious outburst of inter-religious violence in months, coinciding with a rise in tensions over how to refer to the Rohingya, the country's persecuted Muslim minority.
Villagers from Thayethamin, a remote settlement a two-hours' drive northeast of Myanmar's largest city, Yangon, destroyed the mosque on Thursday after a dispute over its construction, and beat up at least one Muslim man, media and a police spokesman said.

Religious tensions simmered in Myanmar for almost half a century of military rule, before boiling over in 2012, just a year after a semi-civilian government took power.
Hundreds died in clashes in northwestern Rakhine State between Rohingya Muslims and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists, leading to the organized expulsion of Rohingya by Rakhine mobs. More violence between Muslims and Buddhists in other parts of the country followed in 2013.
Photographs that circul…

Where Is Bangladesh Headed? A Conversation With the Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh

SPEAKER Md. Shahidul Haque Foreign Secretary, Government of Bangladesh PRESIDER Alyssa Ayres, Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia, Council on Foreign Relations
DATE AND TIME Thursday, June 23, 2016 2:00 p.m.–2:15 p.m.: Registration
2:15 p.m.–3:30 p.m.: Discussion
LOCATION Council on Foreign Relations
1777 F Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006

Rohingyas in Buthidaung Township of Arakan State threatened by the police for praying

Even after a change of the old guards in Myanmar, the deplorable condition of the Rohingyas continues. It is a shameful record of bigotry in Suu Kyi's Burma.

Rohingyas in Buthidaung Township of Arakan State were threatened by the police while they were praying.

Since violence erupted in Arakan State in June 2012, praying at mosques is prohibited and a curfew was imposed. Up to date the curfew is still in place and Rohingyas can’t gather in groups of more than five persons although the Buddhists, Hindu and Christians can gather hundreds at their respective monasteries, temples and churches. The curfew is in place just to restrict the Rohingya Muslims.

Today, June 18, 2016 in the afternoon at about 1:00 pm a few dozen Rohingya Muslims in Ward No. (4) gathered to pray at a mosque, called Tha Byay Gone Mosque, and the police from Myoma police station came and filmed them while discouraging them from gathering.

“The police came and shot the video. Then the police said, 'who allow…

We Buried the Disgraceful Truth by Steve Coll

To read this article click here.

Indian court jails 11 for life over Gujarat massacre of Muslims

An Indian court jailed 11 Hindus for life on Friday for the murder of dozens of Muslims during riots in Gujarat in 2002 that shook India at a time Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the state's chief minister.

The court called the massacre the "darkest day" but rejected prosecutors' demand to sentence the defendants to death, after ruling that the attack was not planned.

A Hindu mob scaled the boundary wall of a housing complex in Ahmedabad, Gujarat's largest city, in February 2002 before torching the homes in which Muslim families were trapped.

Among the victims were children and women who were burned to death.

The riots, among the worst since India's independence from Britain in 1947, have dogged Modi's political career for years after he was accused of not doing enough to stop the violence.

Zakia Jafri, whose husband Ehsan, a former Congress party legislator, died in the blaze at the housing complex, said the sentences on Friday were too lenient.

"I am no…

Rape, abuse stalk migrant children in French slums, UN warns

Migrant children stuck in slums on France's northern coast face a "permanent danger" of sexual abuse or exploitation, the UN Children's Fund has warned, urging the creation of protected areas for minors. "They fear going out at night, after dark, for fear of rape," UNICEF said in a hard-hitting report on unaccompanied children titled "Neither Safe nor Sound". Click here to read the news.

Barak flogs Netanyahu, laments ‘budding fascism’ in Israel

Israel former PM Ehud Barak laments budding fascism in Israel. “Only a blind person or a sheep, an ignoramus or someone jaded, can’t see the erosion of democracy and the ‘budding fascism,'” Barak said, to considerable applause from the audience in Herzliya on June 16.

He summarized Netanyahu's agenda: “One, Israel plans to continue controlling the area that was conquered, liberated in 1967 forever. Two, Israel is not interested in two states, and doesn’t want a Palestinian state right next door. Three, Israel is waiting for the world to adapt to and accept this reality, and is hoping that tough incidents — like terror attacks in Europe, the situation in Syria, and so on — will divert its attention [from the situation here],” Barak said.

“Four, Israel will agree to autonomy with limited rights for Palestinians, but not a state. Five, Israel will continue carefully building in the settlements and beyond them in order to gradually create irreversible facts on the ground,” he added.

Dan Sanchez on Orlando shooting

Dan Sanchez is the Digital Content Manager at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). Here he analyzes the Orlando shooting.

Netanyahu's corruption

Here is an article by Uri Avnery on Netanyahu's corruption.

A message from Tom Andrews


We are writing with important and exciting news – United to End Genocide and Fortify Rights are joining forces to protect and defend those whose lives are in peril in Burma. We will soon be doing our work – along with you and thousands of other activists and supporters – under the banner of Fortify Rights.

Your voice is now even more important than ever!

United to End Genocide and Fortify Rights have worked together closely to shine a light on the continued brutality against the Rohingya and the Burma Army’s ongoing attacks and abuses against the Kachin and other ethnic minorities. In our latest collaboration, we produced a report based on more than 40 interviews we conducted with eyewitnesses and survivors of human rights violations as well as U.N. officials and others.

We released our report in Washington, exposing how the Burmese authorities continue to confine more than 140,000 Rohingya to squalid internment camps, while imposing severe restrictions, particularly on freedom of…