(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
The news from Bengaluru is disturbing. A facebook post on the Prophet Muhammad enraged a mob of Muslims; they went on a rampage; hundreds of vehicles were burnt; dozens of policemen injured; houses put to torch; people killed. Alongside are stories of how Muslims formed a human chain to protect a Hindu temple from being vandalized; how a Muslim father named his son as “Krishna” as he was born on Krishna Janmashtami.
Bear with me for a couple of minutes as I build the background for you to connect the dots. In the hope that you would become a careful consumer of news and not one who just swallows any vomit by our newspapers.
I not only consume but also create news so know where my objectivity ends and bias begins. It’s true for most. We won’t disagree too that Muslims by and large don’t favour BJP. Or that your Sikh cousins—intermarriages are common, my mom was a Sikhni—would greet you on Holi and Deepawali but try telling them that Sikhs have emerged from the Hindus. Or that Sikhs are required to this day to register their marriage as Hindus.
I also notice a practice which if you are not careful enough would pass you by. Whenever Muslims as a religious minority do something which alarms the nation, by causing riots, killing civilians or soldiers, stories would start doing rounds in newspapers about how a few Muslims are reaching out to Hindus and shielding them from arsonists, how a few Muslims are upholding the ganga-jamuni tehzeeb, how a few were exemplary citizens before the state turned them into monsters.
Barkha Dutt made sure that the nation never forgets Burhan Wani was the son of a school teacher even if he happened to be the poster boy of Hizbul Mujahideen; that another top Hizbul commander Riaz Naikoo was a math teacher; and so on and so on. Who would forget the Indian Express headline: “And they hanged Yakub Memon”? It’s a classic news report which should be a matter of eternal shame for the newspaper. Please read it.
If somebody was reading the story today, he wouldn’t have a clue what Memon did for which he was hanged. There is no mention at all of why the State deemed Memon to have done a crime grave enough to be hanged. NO MENTION AT ALL. All you have is a poignant report of a man preparing for his final moment; fresh white kurta pyjama, letters exchanged in English with his family etc. Oh, I must tell you Memon had been found guilty in 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts which had left 257 killed.
Why do you think this happens? Why the innocent killing of civilians, threat to national security, incalculable damage to assets fades into the background and the image of an innocent, lovable kid in the neighbourhood, one whose only affair was with books and academics, is kept in your face? Why no sooner Pulwama happens, which leaves 46 of our soldiers martyred, you find stories in our newspapers that Kashmiri students all over the country are being beaten in hostels, in streets, and that they are fleeing and railways stations are filling up? Why a sympathetic narrative is spun alongside a grave crime?
On matters of Kashmir Valley or Punjab insurgency, it’s simply to cast in stone the image of a carefree youngster who was alienated enough by the Indian state to turn into a terrorist. Remember, movie “Maachis”? The chief protagonist only loafs around with his friends when police frames them and puts them on the run, seeking revenge against the system.
Now let’s return to today. Let’s look closely at the Muslim man who has named his “Krishna” on Janmashtami. Aziz Khan belongs to Indore in Madhya Pradesh. India Abroad News Service (IANS) informs us that “the doctor Praveen Jadia asked for the baby’s name to be filled in for the form. I immediately named our boy as Krishna, as the day was Janmashtami.
“Although the doctors and other family members objected to it, but I told them that a father has the right to give any name to his child.”
The IANS further adds: Khan’s mother Yaniki had suggested another name “Kafir” but Aziz did not change it.
What say folks. Teary-eyed. Angry at right-wingers poking fingers at innocent, harried Indian muslims? The violence still on in Bengaluru already faded in your memory? The anger you felt at Muslims taking their reverence to their Prophet to murderous levels already diluted?
So let me disappoint you readers. This story is a dozen years old. This happened in 2008. Why this story is doing rounds now after 12 years? it’s commendable but what relevance it has to the present situation which would only polarize society, feed the islamist elements and is bad for all of us? Try googling this story and you would see every newspaper, magazine, website swooning over the exemplary Muslim.
That’s why I say folks connect dots. When your respected Tauji forwards a WhatsApp image moved by his proclivity for Narendra Modi or his undying faith in the Gandhi clan, THINK. When your aunt in Pondicherry has just forwarded a map which shows Chinese incursion in the Galwan Valley, PAUSE. I guess now there are more economists in our homes than we had ever suspected. Or the very next day, these economists are ready with their nuanced view on India’s latest defence purchase. If you, reader, are an evolved consumer of news, it would foil their sinister designs. India only breaks up when its citizens don’t connect what they consume as news.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
I once heard Salman Rushdie say: “I might be indifferent to religion but if it acts as a balm to billions, who am I to quarrel with.” This is a perfect position for both atheists and non-atheists; believers and non-believers. devotees and rational. If you can’t help or console humanity, a majority of whom are without power or hope, the last thing you ought to do is to hurt the faith which allows them to live by.
The only set who wouldn’t agree to this position are artistes. They are a different breed. They argue, they question, they debate and we all feel it’s for our advancement. There is no harm if dogmas are revisited. A faith reformed is a faith purified. It’s rationality. The problem occurs when your are not out to cleanse the faith. It’s to use your art to abuse the faith. Messenger, instead of message, becomes your target.
Unfortunately, it pays. More in the case against the Hindus than say Muslims or Christians. If you take liberty against Muslims and their faith—dare even sketch a portrait of Prophet Muhammad—it’s unlikely you would see the next day. The retribution is swift. Charlie Hebdo isn’t the sole instance. But against the Hindus—you could slap at their Hanuman; call a “kutiya” (bitch) a Savitri; term “Chitrakoot” as “Paatal Lok”; show them genocidal—and its’ artistic license. Worse, it ensures raving reviews and 10-serial contract with the new beasts in town: The Over The Top (OTT) platforms.
The OTT platforms are your Netflix and Amazon; Voot and Hotstar etc. The stream straight into your living rooms. There is no censorship. It doesn’t come under the CBFC (Central Board of Film Certiication) or the Cinematograph Act of 1952. Profanity passes off as gritty dialogues; sex scenes are watched together by both father and daughter, one skirting his eyes, the other holding her breath; a young kid bemused why the “uncle” on the screen finds a young boy in his mirror-image so tempting.
This is my third piece on the matter. One was on Leila, last year, a futuristic tale of Hindus in ethnic cleansing. The second was Paatal Lok which filled me with disgust. Now it’s on Chippa where an old man is narrating how his grandma once slapped “Hanuman” and the latter “sar jhukai. dum dabai, ae bhaaga (bowing his head, tail between his legs, he scampered for safety). All three have been streamed on Netflix in rapid succession.
Twitteratis this morning were outraged at Chippa. Predictably, excuses came up: “Langaurs in Bengal are called Hanumans”; or “A specie of monkeys in India is called Hanuman.” Rebuttals came that “if so, why a man is seen kicking a kid while reading Hanuman Chalisa in Chippa;” or “If true in Bengal; why use this truism for rest of India?” Surely, two million Hindus of Bengal isn’t the same thing as 1000 million other Hindus in rest of India.
It’s easy to understand the motive. Such artistic liberties secure a platform, ensure good reviews and probably a 10-series contract from an OTT outlet. Guaranteed profits. Secured careers. Unlike Muslims, Hindus are unlikely to walk into the Mumbai office of Netflix and spray bullets. Their impotent outrage on the social media—for no mainstream media gives a hoot to Hindu sensibilities—actually drives up the viewership. India’s OTT market would be worth $5 billion in 2023, as per Boston Consulting Group. Netflix has reported a 30% hike in their viewership during these pandemic months. Be pretty sure also they are not taxed either by the Indian government.
Not that Information and Broadcasting ( I & B) ministry hasn’t stirred. Just before lockdowns, a notice had gone to these OTT platforms in March to standardize their code of conduct and set up an adjudicatory body. China, France, Singapore all enforce it. However, in a meeting which the minister Prakash Javadekar summoned in his office, to abide by the rules of the Digital Content Complaint Council (DCCC), predictably, Amazon Prime refused. Netflix asked for extra weeks to firm up their mind. Others, such as Hotstar, Voot etc have come on board.
The OTTs hiding behind censorship is a joke. It can’t overrule what the courts in India find outrageous in light of the Constitution. You can’t be promoting religious violence or show barely-concealed pornography in the name of artistic licence. And if you could, dare and do it against Islam. You know as well as I do, you won’t. Between money or a hole-in-the-chest, the choice is not too difficult.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
Tablighi Jamaat hates attention from the world. They prefer secrecy. But once Corona Vurs patients narrated their travel history from around India, the Nizamuddin headquarters of Tablighi Jamaat kept popping up. It blew the cover off on Monday.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred)
Union Minority Affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi announced this week that all Wakf properties in India would be geo-tagged and digitized. The plans are afoot to provide 100% funding to Wakf properties to develop educational institutions such as schools, colleges, IITs, polytechnics and, hospitals etc. A report of a committee to review wakf properties lease rule has been submitted to the Centre.
State Wakf Boards own more property in India than even Railways and after Defence is country’s largest landowners. It holds six lakh acres of land of $18 billion worth. There are no less than six lakh registered Wakfs in India. These lands are used for functioning/non-functioning mosques, darghas (toms or shrines of Muslim saints), khanqahas (building/space for Sufi brotherhood), maqbaras (tombs), ashoor-khanas (mourning place), kabristans (graveyards), idghas (space for Eid prayers), imam-baras (space for prayers and gatherings) etc.
Wakf (donation), as per legislation in India (Waqf Act 1995) is the “permanent dedication by any person, of any movable or immovable property for any purpose recognized by the Muslim law as pious, religious or charitable.” A property under Wakf can never again change hands by inheritance, sale or seizure and must be used for Muslim community’s welfare. (Article 370 puts the state of Jammu & Kashmir out of its purview.)
The reality is too different from the pious, stated goals. India Today did a massive sting operation two years ago where its team visited a number of Wakf properties whose caretakers (mutawallis) were willing to sell a part of the land. They either had forged permission from State Wakf Boards (yes, under stringent conditions you can sell Wakf property) or confessed that a sizeable amount of sale amount would go to State Wakf Boards as bribe. Outlook magazine, while quoting a few instances, termed Waqf land scams as the biggest in India’s history. Wakf mafia is a reality in today’s India.
Political parties are not above the water too. Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is probing an ex-chairman of the Delhi Wakf Board who was a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) of the Aam Aadmi Party. Delhi High Court too had come down hard on the Centre, Delhi government, Delhi Police and Delhi Wakf Board for letting Jamia Arabia Nizamia Welfare Education Society get away with misuse of the Wakf property. As against the potential of Rs 10,000 crores income out of Wakf properties every year, only Rs 150 crores annually is generated. Wakf properties in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore alone are worth about Rs 1.5 lakh crore and the estimation is on the lower side.
Asaf A. Fyzee in his book, Outlines of Muhammadan Law, dates back the origin of Wakfs to the life and times of Prophet Muhammad. It was an ingenuous way of securing a conquered property into one of inalienable ownership for perpetuity. Joseph Schacht, an international authority on Islamic law, said: “The Wakf has one of its roots in the contributions to the holy wars which (Prophet) Muhammad had incessantly demanded from his followers in Medina.”
In modern times though there is no Wakf institution in Turkey, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Iraq. No less than the Caliph of all Sunni Islam and the Ottoman emperor abolished the institution in 1917. The day after it got its independence, Tunisia abolished Wakfs in 1956. In 1830, the French government took over the Wakf in Algiers, and repeated the measure in Morocco. In Russia, centuries of practice of Wakf was ended soon after the revolution; lands were confiscated and became state property. (for reference, here).
Most of these measures against the Wakf were to free-up the enormous land under its control. In Turkey, in 1925, three-fourths of the arable land was under Wakf. One half of the plowable lands in Algiers was dedicated to Wakf by the end of the 19th century. In Tunisia, it was one-third; in Egypt, one-eighth of the cultivated soil. So much of land, often unused, was harmful to economic growth as indeed is the case in present-day India. (for reference, here).
In India too Wakfs have faced state’s censure though it happened only once and that too under the British rule in the 19th century. The four judges of Privy Council in London described the Wakf as “a perpetuity of the worst and most pernicious kind” and declared it to be invalid. But the Indian state since then has been in retreat. The Mussalman Wakf Validating Act, 1913 was an important saviour for Wakf. The Waqf Act of 1995 has cast it in stone. (for reference, here). The present dispensation in Uttar Pradesh had abolished both the Sunni and Shia Waqf Boards due to allegations of massive scams two years ago but presently it has been stayed by the Supreme Court.
In India, Wakfs dates back to the times of Sultanate of Delhi. S. Athar Husain and S. Khalid Rashid in their book “Wakf Laws and Administration in India” claim that Sultan Muizuddin Sam Ghouri dedicated two villages in favour of Jama Masjid in Multan. Over centuries, various such properties came under Wakf control.
Presently, there are 30 Wakf boards in 28 states/union territories in India. The states of Goa, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and the Union Territory of Daman & Diu don’t have any wakf board. The Wakf Act 1995 is not applicable in Jammu & Kashmir.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
(Picture caption: IS has released the photo of Lanka suicide bombers with mastermind Zahran Hashim in the middle.)
Islamic State (IS) chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has resurfaced and claimed that suicide-bombings in Sri Lanka which left over 250 dead was a revenge for being ousted in Baghouz, their last stronghold in Syria.
Now try to make sense. Lanka terror ring-leader Moulvi Zahram Hashim blows himself up. As does most in his family. Filthy rich young Ahmed Ibrahim (31) and Ilham Ibrahim (31) self-destruct themselves as does the wife of latter with her three children. I mean all this for a cause a world away? To give up everything you have for a place which has only 10,000 for population, no historical or holy value nor any family roots? I mean for what?
Why Islam is such a magnet for suicide-bombers?
Islam teaches its adherents that the present life is transitory and should only be a preparation for afterlife. Death is the goal, how you reach it leads to the prize of eternal life.
It’s one of the core teachings of the Quran. “Only he who is saved far from the Fire and admitted to the Garden will have attained the object (of life): for the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception (3:185).”
And how do you reach this goal? Both the Quran and the hadith tells you that most glorious Muslims are those who are warriors to the cause of Allah. They not only must welcome the war but also death in war because it gives you the highest of the seven levels of paradise. All your sins are immediately forgiven. This afterlife is invoked five times a day during ritual prayers. Islam has the tradition of individual martyrs not only committing suicide but also killing others for religious reasons.
So don’t you believe that it all began with 9/11 when suicide bombers plunged into world trade towers in New York. In 1980 a 13-year-old Iranian kid blew himself up under an Iraqi tank during the Iran-Iraq War ( Ayotallah Khomeini declared the boy a national hero in its wake). In 1983, suicide bombing of the US marine corps in Lebanon left 241 American military personnel dead. For Shias and Sunnis this is the most common method to kill each other. Already this year we have grave suicide-bombing in Afghanistan and Pulwama, the latter with the embedded threat of a nuclear holocaust.
And don’t be mistaken that Muslim clerics call it “suicide.” For them this is shahada (martyrdom). Suicide is born out of a feeling of hopelessness. In case of martyrdom, it’s a fulfillment of a successful life. Streets and squares are named after them. Newspapers describe such funerals as “wedding” of their heroes. Mothers of suicide-bombers talk as if their sons had gone off to get married.
Mariam Farhat is known as “mother of martyrs” in Palestine. She encouraged three of her sons to attack Israel that cost them their lives. Listen to her words: “Sons are precious but for the sake of Allah, what is precious becomes cheap.” But does she condone her sons taking innocent lives? “Yes. Because I love my son. And I wanted to choose the best for him. And the best is not life in this world.” (That’s why you have the hadith: Paradise lies under the feet of the mothers.)
It’s true of most of Muslim world. On Egyptian TV, you have preachers exhorting kids “the love of martyrdom for the sake of Allah.” On Al Jazeera, 10-year-old kids are swearing to be martyrs. In Somalia, fathers are recruiting their kids to become suicide bombers and film their “martyrdom” feats. Same with leaders of Boko Haram who want their children to be martyrs.
In 2014, a British-born woman Umm Layth tweeted on her new life as wife of a Syrian IS fighter: “There’s no way to describe the feeling of sitting with the sisters and waiting on news of whose husband has attained shahada. She has thousands of followers on twitter.
Former Israeli prime minister Golda Meir captured this bewilderment perfectly: “We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”
In Islam, paradise is a goal, a destination infinitely more preferred to the one on earth. The most spectacular way to enter paradise is as a martyr, by the open embrace of an early death. Martyrdom is the most effective pathway to paradise.
And what’s this paradise?
The Quran has a very vivid description of it: “In them will be maidens, chaste, restraining their glances, whom no man or jinn before them has touched (55: 46-50).”
Al-Ghazzali, second only to Prophet Muhammad in terms of importance, narrates a hadith thus:
“These places (in paradise) are built of emeralds and jewels and in each buildings there will be 70 rooms of red colour and in each room seventy sub-rooms of green colour and in each sub-room there will be one throne and over each throne, seventy beds of varied colours and on each bed a girl having sweet black eyes..there will be seven girls in each room…each believer will be given such strength in the morning as he can cohabit with them.”
These virgins “do not sleep do not get pregnant, do not menstruate, spit, or blow their noses, and are never sick.”
In early 2013, more than 120 Muslim scholars from around the world signed a letter denouncing Islamic State as “un-Islamic.” Yet the letter doesn’t question the concept of martyrdom or challenges the primacy of afterlife.
It’s such half measures which don’t allow reform and put the world in perennial danger.
You might be aware of details but they bear a recount before I stress that reformation of Islam can no longer be swept under the carpet in the name of “Islamophobia.”
Sri Lanka’s spice king Mohammad Yusuf Ibrahim and his third son are now under detention in Sri Lanka. Two of his sons, Ahmed Ibrahim (33) and Ilham Ahmed Ibrahim (31) were suicide bombers who blew up dozens in two of Colombo’s five-star hotels—Shangri La and Cinnamon on Sunday. In between, Ilham’s wife Fathima set off a bomb which killed her three children and herself as police raided their luxury home in Deamatogoda.
Another member of the family, millionaire’s son Ismail, became a fugitive after Sri Lanka forces discovered stockpiles of explosives at a compound in Wanathawillua where it is now believed Easter Sunday’s terrorists were trained. Police got onto Ismail’s trail after his involvement to destroy Buddhist shrines at Anuradhapura came to light last year.
This is not a poor family. They were the creamy layer of the island’s political deities. Sri Lanka had been good to them. Yet not one but all of them were sold to the ideology of hate and violence. How can now the Liberals of the world say that Islamic terrorists are the outcome of social and political oppression? Wasn’t Osama bin Laden a billionaire? Or the 9/11 bombers were filthy rich? If oppression makes Jihadi Muslims take to violence, how come other sufferers at the hands of “Satan US” haven’t turned into demons?
The longer free world keeps denying the violent ideology of Islam, farther we would be from rescuing Islam from itself. Just look at Islamist terror attacks around the world in the last dozen years, the Wikipedia entries run into scores of sheets, and you would have idea our denial is leaving behind a bloodied path for our children and grandchildren.
The adherents of Islam today number around 1.6 billion people or a quarter of humanity. Only 3 per cent of them are said to have violent leanings. That’s around 50 million individuals/families. Yet they have left the rest of over a billion peace-loving Muslims completely paralyzed. The moderate Muslims have no leadership. The reformist Muslims—such as Muhammad Taha, Irshad Manji, Maajid Nawaz, Abd al-Hamid Al-Ansari and Zuhdi Jasser among others (follow if not fund them)—are buried into obscurity by the Liberal world.
Yet this minuscule group of 50 million is adding thousands almost every month. The UN estimates in 2014, some 15,000 foreign fighters from at least 80 nations travelled to Syria to join radical jihadists. The Ibrahim family is a case in study. Tens of hundreds of youths of all nationalities and colour are being brainwashed by local networks before they are packed to Iraq, Pakistan and Bangladesh branches of Jihadi Islamists who then return and unleash terror in their home nations. This in turn further sinks peaceful local Muslims into a ghetto mindset, damaging generation upon generation, many of whom are easy pickings for violent ideology.
Why do I say Iraq, Pakistan and Bangladesh? Why local networks of Islamic State (IS)? What’s the fallout on local Muslims?
Let’s take the example of Sri Lanka terror attacks itself. Intelligence points to the role of a Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Toiba charity, Idara Khidmat e Khalq, in the attacks. It has been radicalizing Sri Lanka Muslim youths since 2004. One of the suicide bombers received training in Pakistan. Jammat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), a terror group, through its Indian branch, is accused of pushing fake Indian currency and gathering classified information on India. Zakir Naik (yes, the same Naik who has vocal powerful supporters in India’s public space) has often given his virulent lectures in Sri Lanka.
A Pew study of opinions in the Muslim world shows how many in these countries hold extremist views. Three-quarters of Pakistanis and more than two-fifths of the Bangladeshis and Iraqis feel that those who leave Islam should be put to death. More than 80 percent of Pakistanis and two-thirds of Bangladeshis and Iraqis regard Sharia law as the revealed word of God. Only a tiny fraction would allow their daughters to marry Christians. Only a small number regard honour killings of women as unjustified. A quarter of Bangladeshi and one in eight Pakistanis regarded suicide bombings as legitimate.
The fallout on local Muslims is palpable in Sri Lanka. Reports say that Pakistani refugees in Sri Lanka are being subjected to violent attacks and are fleeing. Muslims in rented houses are being evicted by resentful neighbours.
Yet our Liberals are in complete denial. I doubt if you have read the above information in your newspapers. Instead, the apologists are sweet-liming the theory that Sri Lanka happened in retaliation to shootings in Christchurch. There is no admission that it’s violent Islam and its front-runners who are refusing to let a 7th century religion conform to realities of 21st century.
Somalian Muslim reformist, Ayaan Hirsi Ali says that Prophet Muhammad had two distinct phases of his life: (a) when he was wandering from door to door in Mecca and pleading to convert the local populace; (b) when he went to Medina and adopted a political philosophy to his creed.
Hirsi Ali classifies the Muslims of the world into three groupings: (1) Medina Muslims, the violent adherents; (2) Mecca Muslims or the peaceful ones; (3) and Modifying Muslims or the reformists.
Hirsi Ali suggests five essential reforms for Islam:
- Prophet Muhammad’s semi-divine and infallible status and the literalist reading of the Quran, particular the parts which were revealed in Medina;
- Investment in life after death instead of life before death;
- Sharia, the body of legislation derived from the Quran, the hadith and the rest of Islamic jurisprudence;
- The practice of empowering individuals to enforce Islamic law;
- The imperative to wage jihad, or holy war
The Islamist attacks in Sri Lanka are first of a kind in the island nation. India has long suffered from such violent attacks. But our Liberals and disgraceful media never allow a truthful discourse. They are also so much hand in gloves with the Marxists: A perfect example is a Muslim persecution in Xinjiang by China – yet our media, which takes out Mombatti jaloos (candle procession) on one unfortunate lynching, wouldn’t utter a word. You would have justifications for Zakir Naik, Rohingyas or state terror in Kashmir, Bengal and Kerala but never a word for Hindu refugees from Kashmir or those persecuted Hindu minorities who are being driven away in lakhs from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. They would never utter a word against the practice of “Triple Talaq” and “nikah halala.” They would never promote a debate on Quran which is the first step in weeding out its ills. To term 100s of Islamic terrorist attacks as acts of individuals would never allow a hard look at its ideology.
That’s what makes them so dangerous. That’s what makes Indian Muslims believe they are the persecuted lot in India. That’s what makes them resentful against Indians and affect the perception on their commitment to the nation.
From an Indian perspective, I believe the Lanka terror attacks hold a very important message for Indian Muslims. They must enforce a debate on Islam from within. There’s no gain hiding behind a cloak of persecution complex, however hard our disgraceful media tries to weave the deceit. Things are not worse than they ever were for them in independent India. Their one act of support for the majority’s legitimate demands would earn them unaccountable respect from the masses. BJP or Congress, none would be able to leave them by the wayside. No Asaduddin Owaisi would be able to manipulate them. The choice is theirs.