MENA

Who’s afraid of Islam? A question Muslims could no longer ignore

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

It’s not just France. It’s all over Europe. States might not have said it as openly as Emmanuel Macron of an “Islamist danger” but the rise of Islamophobia in the Old World is relentless. If you think sitting in Delhi or Mumbai keeps you a world away, it’s a dangerous delusion.

Let’s first speak in defence of Islam. Twenty years ago, West waged a “War on Terror”. Muslims could never rest in peace thereafter. My book “How United States Shot Humanity” details their tragedy. We don’t have to go to Crusades. Just two decades back is enough. Innocents died in far greater number than the dreaded; families in millions were uprooted; defenceless and homeless they headed for Europe; some could make it, many didn’t. Lives destroyed forever.

And this was not just foreign lands. At home the West set about putting their citizens under surveillance—Muslims far more than others. In Britain, for example, you are more likely to be searched and questioned if you are a Muslim. The air became thick with suspicion.

It struck a chord with Algerians and Pakistanis and Moroccans and Chechan Muslims who had made Europe their home after the Second World War. The Old World had been torn apart by the Big War. It needed rebuilding. Finances came from the United States. Labour from former colonies, many of whom were Muslims. Now they couldn’t see their fellow co-religionists ruined. Much before, thousands had headed from Europe to make cause with Islamic State (IS) in Middle East.

Societies in Europe were alarmed, they became wary of Muslim neighbourhood, discrimination began and the retaliation followed. Right wingers thought they had enemy next door; the feeling was reciprocated by the Next Door. One thing led to another.

The defenders of Islam thus claim their practitioners are being victimized. When State calls it “War on Terror” all Muslims, and not just Radicals, are put on notice. Innocents, living their normal lives, their kids in schools, their men and women in offices, began breathing toxic air. Hotheads take matter in own hands. The stereotype of Terrorism-Is-Islam is reinforced. When veils or Hijabs are banned in public, it’s seen as an attack.

The other side of the divide: Islamophobia

Those who have Islamophobia, have a different take. They can’t understand how could an author (Salman Rushdie) be hounded for years for what he wrote or why people are beheaded for cartoons. “Freedom of Expression” is the founding tenet of modern Western civilization. The State protects it. Its Constitution guarantees it. Are we to believe than that there is a parallel society, a society within society, which follows different tenets and the world knows it as Sharia Law? That they would follow what allegedly is written in their Holy Book and claim lives, walking over the Law of Land.

It doesn’t go with the idea of multiculturism which the West wanted to showcase to humanity. How could “freedom of expression under house arrest,” be acceptable?

For instance, it’s pointed out many Muslims have not tried to learn French in France; that they don’t send their kids to public schools, opting for “madarsas” instead; there is demand for separate swimming pools for their girls; and that’s how “separatism” is injected from the very beginning.

When Macron warns that “the problem is an ideology, which claims its own laws should be superior to those of the Republic,” it shouldn’t lead to condemnation by Erdogans, Imrans and Mahatirs of Islamic world. It doesn’t help. Certainly not your present and future generations who would be drenched in dripping blood. Instead, Macron’s words should lead to real. Just dismissing it as “Islamophobia”—as do “anti-Semitism”—is dangerous and self-defeating. Inclusiveness could only happen if both sides begin looking within.

Even if Islamophobia is decried, there is little doubt it has gained enormous currency in last two decades. You could ignore it but the elephant is in the room. France has 6 million Muslims, more than anyone else in Europe, so we could understand why right-wingers like Marine le Pen have such a persuasive influence. But others are no better. Vlaams Belang in Belgium, the Sweden Democrats for example now hold the narrative.

Half of Germany feels there is a “fundamental contradiction between Islam and German culture. In Italy, the figures is 53%. In Finland a staggering 62%. Political parties have flourished on Islamophobia. Street demonstrations against Islam are everyday.

They call it “Counter-Jihad” ideology. Islamophobia networks have spawned all over. They offer some irrefutable logic: If Islam is not repressive, how do we term its treatment of women. How are we supposed to react to Chopping Squares. How are we to comprehend rulings where evidence, cross-examination and witnesses are dispensable.

Good Muslims would suffer, and I have said it many times, till they don’t oppose the Bad Muslims. Till they tell them that we have all the freedom to practice our religion at home and we are not bothered about others. We won’t take law into hands nor approve if radicals override the established laws. It’s not enough that 99% are good if they are handmaiden to the remaining 1%.  The future of Islam is in their own hands. Sense of persecution won’t help. Sense of responsibility would.

 

If India Burns (Part II): No longer a question now that Nadda has thrown down the gauntlet

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

(This is the second part of “If India Burns”, a grim picture of coming days, a forewarning for all of our stakeholders: Majority, minority, government, judiciary etc. No less us, the ordinary citizens. I am excluding media for apparently it couldn’t care less. The first part could be read here).

This glimmer of hope which I mentioned in the first piece has been offered by JP Nadda, Bharatiya Janata Party president, who has announced in Bengal that Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) has only been given a pause due to Covid-19 and that it would be implemented once it’s over.

Let’s admit, for or against, we all were traumatized for months by anti-CAA protests. I doubt if any one of us, in any part of the country, wasn’t held up by protestors on streets at least once. Even Supreme Court came down to public relations. No solution seemed feasible. Until Coronavirus intervened.

Now Nadda has thrown a challenge: Government isn’t backing down. Maybe, the Centre feels it won’t be taken by surprise. Maybe it feels it now knows how to deal with trouble-makers. Or with their chorus party of European Union, US Congress and the UN. “Urban Naxals” are facing the heat in our Courts; Khalids and Zargars face years in jail; Yogi Adityanath has worked out how to name and shame etc, etc.

But does the Centre know enough of how the “trouble” would respond? Have they got, as they say in cricket or in war, all their bases covered? Have they kept a watch on how protests have shaped in Hong Kong and Bangkok, not to say in the United States during BlackLivesMatter anarchy?

In Hong Kong and Bangkok, these are leaderless protests. No forewarning like you got in JNU, Jamia or Shaheen Bagh. A flashmob gathers and before the anti-riot police could bring in their water cannons, they are holding fort somewhere else, a fluid crowd as it were. “Be Water-like” is the guiding principle. Authorities could never be on top of their game.

So these days, they communicate in close offline chat. If it’s WhatsApp in India, it’s Telegram in our South Asian neighbourhood. You get detailed messages on how to pack and where to assemble. There is now goggles, umbrella, masks, sun-creams, water bottles and of course helmet in your backpack. Youngsters in their “rebel” age are enthused to be part of a converging, swarming mob of youth. They get overcome with emotions. To hell with the cause. The hide-and-seek with the police has its own thrills and a sense of accomplishment. Your friends are going, what are you waiting for?

Leaderless yes but it’s not to say that this ProtestNext generation is devoid of symbols. A “Milk Tea Alliance” has sprung up in our neighbourhood of Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Its aim is to spark protest across Asia: Like they did with “Arab Springs” in MENA (Middle East North Africa). Topple governments, cause anarchy and bring the region to its knees as Middle East presently is.

Milk Tea Alliance is around Thailand’s orange-hued tea; the less sugary Hong Kong version of the drink and Taiwan’s boba tea. The plan is to garner youth, swamp societies, create mayhem.

They have created their own characters too: animated ones like Milk Tea Girls which are emblazoned on T-Shirts of various colours and sizes. Youths who are not part of this fluid mob nevertheless wear it to show solidarity. Suddenly 100s becomes 1000s and that into tens of thousands. It’s on top of everyone’s head.

Then there is this three-finger salute (see image above). This has been co-opted from Thailand’s Hunger Game movie series. This gesture is for people, by people, from people who are facing injustice that the “protestors are in sync” with them. That they are all speaking for each other.

The drawn face-off first time in India would be different this time. The showdown is inevitable, more so since Modi government wouldn’t backdown what the Parliament has authorized and the Constitution demands. India’s protestors, while they vouch for democracy, sanctity of Constitution and supremacy of judiciary, would junk it in every action they do. So would our discredited politicians and prepaid media. It could be CAA one-day, farm bills next day and a Hathras next.

It would take some effort from the Modi government to be on top of its game: Nigh impossible in states like Bengal, Kerala, Rajasthan and Punjab where law and order is in the hands of Opposition: Much like in the United States where largest violence and loot during the BlackLivesMatter protests happened in states controlled by Democrats. BJP won’t junk CAA, an assertion of its raj-dharma, but it would need to think on its feet: Its police, cyber cell, intelligence and enforcement agencies need be bigger in numbers, resources and resolve. That alone would douse the fire if India Burns which seems inevitable.

 

Migrants: Know the “dark” forces feeding on their misery

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

People-on-the-street is citizenry against the State. It affected the United States from continuing the Vietnam War. It brought down Charles de Gaulle in France in the 1960s as students came out in droves. Arab Spring had millions on the streets and toppled many governments in MENA (Middle East North Africa) region. “The Maidan” revolution in Ukraine bears a similar testimony. And Hong Kong hasn’t faded from memory in so-called “democracy” protests. India was in the grip of a similar meltdown on CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) before Corona Virus took the matter in its own hand.

Why people-on-the-street are a nightmare for the State is easy to understand. It could encompass a whole range of emotions: Anger, Violence, Hunger, Grief, Helplessness etc. It’s moving at a human level. Images connect the rest with the misery rolling on the roads. Slowly the whole citizenry gets on the back of the moving vulnerable.

It’s known States can’t do much if people rise against it. They either freeze themselves into inaction which only brings a domino effect on the “volume” of protests. Or if they resort to violent curbs, the matter goes out of hands and the world is up in arms. Stark images make headlines worldwide. United Nations, European Union parliament, rival nations, human rights groups pile on the pressure. Political rivals within the State smell blood in the pool. The State staggers. The nation stops.

It’s now well known that Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has made countless enemies on his nationalist agenda. Nationalism upsets powers of the world. These powers have swindled the world in the name of “globalization” and “free trade.” Their maxim is “World without borders”. In nationalism, they see a phenomenon where a State is putting Nation first. That’s why they hate Modi. That’s why they have an angst against Donald Trump. That’s how they see an existential threat in Putin. That’s why Xi is an elephant in the room to them.

Who are these powers? Well, elaborating on it would take my focus away from this piece. Nevertheless, a passing mention is in order. These powers are the ones who control money. If you control money, you control governments, control media and movies, which in turn allows you to control humanity. Money in our world is controlled by Federal Reserve and City of London and a clutch of international bankers. You don’t see much of them in our newspapers. But if you are aware of International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB), you get the picture. George Soros is the only name I could suggest for the uninitiated.

Such forces were in work to hurt India on the pretext of CAA. But then Corona Virus happened. It threw a spanner in their machinations. The issue of migrants then fell in their lap. Migrants on the road served the same purpose as the CAA protestors did. They couldn’t care less about the cause or misery. “People-on-the-street” was good enough.

We would never know how lakhs of migrants gathered at a bus station in the Capital even as the lockdown was in place. Or how a similar movement thronged railway stations in Mumbai. It’s these pictures which anti-National forces feed on; if they don’t create it in the first place.

Western media described it as the “biggest movement of people since the Partition.” Indian mainstream media led the frenzy. The incidence of Tablighi Jamaat didn’t hold them back for long. They are again back on “migrants” theme. Harsh Mander, Barkha Dutt and their likes are busy with their poisonous pens. Indian Express isn’t letting it go. Nobody has died but a Front Page story a day is their staple diet. To them, Migrants is bigger than deaths and infections caused by Tablighi markaz.

Make no mistake that migrants is a real issue. They want to go back home. Either to be with their family. Or attend to their farms. But it’s also a fact that Indian states have made resources to feed and house them. Migrants are closer to medical help under states than they would be in villages. Isn’t it practical? What if they carry infection to villages where medical help of the scale seen in districts would be impossible to replicate?  Everyone is going through hardships. Migrants are no exceptions. Nobody has died out of hunger. Or neglect. These are the days of lockdowns. For the larger good. Personal inconveniences are the least Indians could suffer for the nation.

As things stand, migrants would move towards homes from April 20 onwards. Such arrangements are being made. Still trust the Lutyens Media not to let it go in a hurry. Already some are evoking the image of “detention centres” with the venues where migrants are being put up. Images would still do the rounds. You see, “People-on-the-road” is their design in Modi’s second tenure. They would persist with it in rest of Modi’s tenure.

Dear Folks, you have been warned.

 

Ms Sonia Gandhi: Tell us he is not your Hit-Man

Even if it bores you please pay attention to English newspapers closely for the agenda followed by them could be seen even by a blind. Their agenda is to break-up India into parts, to Balkanize it, We must not allow it to happen.

You could find these tell-tale signs by their front and edit pages. These are considered “heart” of a newspaper. For example, Indian Express who is more brazen than others today makes no mention of Indian home minister Rajnath Singh informing the Lok Sabha that key documents related to the preparation of the second affidavit in the Ishrat Jahan case were not traceable in his ministry and an internal probe was on. (Times of India and Hindustan Times did make it a front page story. Kudos).

Then comes the edit page. The Express op-Ed page has two pieces; one by Archana Prasad who feels that BJP is polarizing opinion but since she is a professor of JNU we could take it with a pinch of salt. The second is an issue I want your utmost attention—it’s a piece of Harsh Mander with the scary headline: “Can the Indian Spring be far behind?” (interestingly, there is no mention of Indian Spring in the article!!! But Express is a zealot these days, fit to be pulled up by regulating agencies).

This Indian Spring is a take on Arab Spring. To put the bare-facts of Arab Spring, it’s hailed in western and our media as spontaneous people’s uprisings against repression, from Libya and Egypt to Syria and Yemen, the so-called Middle East North Africa (MENA).

Christopher L. Brennan, in his book “Fall of the Arab Spring: From Revolution to Destruction” views this widespread Arab upheaval, not as authentic grass-root movements for democracy but as a US-engineered destabilization moves.

Similarly, Ahmed Bensaad’s 2011 book “L’Arabesque Americaine” concerns the US government’s role in instigating, funding and coordinating the Arab Spring “revolutions.

Wikileaks cables also support covert funding for such activities.  We all know Libya, Syria, Yemen and Egypt are worse off for these Spring revolutions. Here you have Mr Mander/Indian Express praying for an “Indian Spring” of similar catastrophe to Balkanize our India.

Mr Mander keeps writing edit pieces in Hindustan Times and Indian Express. It’s time readers know about his background.

Mander, a former IAS officer, was a member of the National Advisory Council which was termed as Sonia Gandhi’s kitchen cabinet.

Mander “voluntarily took retirement” but media termed it as “quitting,” anguished as he was because of the 2002 Gujarat riots.

He wrote an op-ed in Times of India, post-Godhra riots, which the Press Council of India (PCI) called “LIES.”

The Press Council of India reprimanded Mander by stating, “guilty of spreading false rumours about alleged Hindu atrocities” in his column: “Hindustan Hamara” dated 20/3/2002. The decision by the PCI was pronounced on 30/6/2002 vide decision reference 14/06/02-03

His modus operandi has been described thus: to organize protests through NGOs against multi-nationals or nuclear projects entry into India. These companies then pay “consulting fees” …, later these protests by NGOs fizzle out or vanish without trace.

For his hard work, Mander was presented by Sonia Gandhi as the recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana award in a function attended by Jstice A.M. Ahmadi (the judge who let Union Carbide off the hook).

A book “NGOs: Activists and Foreign Funds Anti Nation Industry” by Krishen Kak and Smt Radha Rajan claims that Mander was the poster boy of NDTV and Star News (now ABP News).

Kak notes in the book: “Not a single major paper or TV channel reported the Press Council’s exposure of Mander. Not surprisingly, in addition to the Times of India, publications like the Hindustan Times, The Telegraph, Asian Age, Mainstream, Deccan Chronicle and Rashtriya Sahara were found by the Press Council of India to carry reports tending to inflame communal passions and, let it be noted, these were pro-Muslim and anti-Hindu passions (page 127).”

Mander was convenor of the drafting committee for the “Prevention of Communal and targeted violence” bill. Under the bill, Hindus were not to be considered victims of communal violence, even if they were killed, robbed, humiliated, burnt to death or even gang-raped.

Mander was part of ActionAid, the giant British multi-national with a “subsidiary” in India. It’s been said to be a global children exploitation industry. Mander’s association was worth at least 50 times the salary of its lowest paid employee.

Express these days is full of such agendas. You have a full-page devoted to Economist magazine almost daily which is a pathetic, blatant, naked propaganda for the imperial, colonial, Anglo-Zionist cause. If not Economist, then you have monstrous lies of New York Times and Washington Post filling up Express pages. In the edit pages, you have those “gurus” of think-tanks from Brookings, Observer and others trying hard to spread lies,anti-India agenda and serve Western interests.

Readers, please be alert and vigilant to this dangerous agenda.

Remember: THE PRICE OF FREEDOM IS ETERNAL VIGILANCE.

They mean to divide us.

Balkanize us.

Let’s not leave an India for our children, when in order to travel to Ludhiana, Patna, Kolkata or Bengalaru, they would need a visa.

(Actually this Kanhaiya episode is a good thing. As a journalist, I know the best way to preserve a lie is to repeat it again and again till the ”truth-holders” give up. Unfortunately for them, the majority India has taken up cudgels to fight this issue. Being hardened journalists, these “balkanizing forces” are not giving up on Kanhaiya issue. But by stretching this issue beyond a decent limit, all they have done is to lose their credibility. So folks keep up your opposition, and let them shed the last fig-leaf they are keeping in front of their naked reality.)