Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fatwa: The Second Most Abused Word Of Islam

Fatwa is the second most commonly used word for muslim bashing. The media tries to ridicule any issue of importance of the muslim community as explained by the Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband, thus creating an atmosphere where the muslim intellectuals are put on the defensive and are forced to give clarifications regarding the matter in question. Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband was established after India’s first war of independence in 1857. The aim was to protect India from the British and also protect Islam from the onslaught of the West. Even today Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband is working to kep India free from destabilizing forces. A report in this regard by Media Scan elaborates what a fatwa is, why it is given and how a Fatwa is obtained.

A fatwa by Shah Abdul Aziz Dehlavi about India being a non-Islamic country after the English invaded it in 1803, had sparked anti-British sentiments among Muslims from whose hands the governance of the country was snatched. The disciples of Shah Abdul Aziz, being the founders of Islamic seminary Dar-ul-Uloom, Deoband on the forefront, forwarded the mission of their teacher and to mobilise the anger against the English they continued issuing fatwas. Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband took practical part in the freedom struggle and it became one of the important centres which produced freedom fighters.

Fatwas made it mandatory for Muslims to fight the English and have India freed from the clutches of the imperialistic power. They had desired impacts on Muslims. Muslims fought, alone in the beginning, and continued laying their lives for India until it got freedom. Fatwas at the time were thought to be constructive. They helped India achieve freedom from oppression. But today history has conveniently been forgotten and the word Fatwa is degraded and made to look like some form of oppression.

The disciples of Shah Abdul Aziz, being the founders of Islamic seminary Dar-ul-Uloom, Deoband on the forefront, forwarded the mission of their teacher and to mobilise the anger against the English they continued issuing fatwas. Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband took practical part in the freedom struggle and it became one of the important centres which produced freedom fighters.

While fatwas issued on different issues pertaining to various aspects of life are in lakhs, but only some selected fatwas, which have a higher TRP value, are making news. The media tries to portray that the cause of backwardness in the muslim community is because they follow these fatwas, or they are backward so they follow these fatwas. The fact is that a muslim being God fearing would not take any step which is against the ruling of the shariat, which he believes are the rulings of God. The ulama who have studied this branch of Islam give their rulings in the light of these laws.

An unbiased analysis will clearly show that clerics never ever issue any fatwa prohibiting Muslims from walking shoulder to shoulder with the world as long as they abide by the Islamic commandments. Maulvis issue fatwa considering it a duty on themselves to guide every Muslim to what their religion demands in any situation. They are the religious leaders of the community.

Terms Used In Fatwa World

Istifta: A query by a Muslim seeking ‘religious guidance’ in certain circumstances, directed to Dar-ul-Ifta or any individual mufti
Dar-ul-Ifta: Literary ‘house of issuing fatwa’. In most of the major madaris, a separate department for providing religious guidance
Mufti: A madrasah graduate who completes an additional course of Ifta and is expert at Islamic Jurisprudence
Ifta: A course offered in some madaris after a student completes Fazilah (graduation) from any madrasah
Fatwa: A ‘religious guidance’ suggested by a mufti for a certain condition

Being fiercely protective of their religion Muslims have always differentiated between what complies with their religion, Islam, and what does not, before accepting any new requirement or situation that crops up in society. This characteristic of Muslims, especially those having religious background is seen as orthodoxy and a continuation of medieval age’s traditions. Muslims are thought to be conservative because they do not allow their women to be used as a show piece for material gains nor do they advocate the Stone Age way of life of covering their bodies with scant clothing such as tree leaves replaced now by rags of clothes and threads. Muslims don’t accept anything in which there is chance of going against the Shariat. Therefore the ulama are sought to give their opinion of lawful or unlawful as per their religious scriptures. This desire of the muslims to be correct in the eyes of their lord makes the corporate world angry as it harms its interests.
Muslims do not pay any heed to the demand by others to adopt a way of life which is not in accordance with Islamic law. The new question which has created a lot of interest in the media is “Can Muslim women in India do Govt. or Pvt. Jobs? Will their salary be Halal or Haram?” By this question itself the media has shown to the world that the muslim community is concerned that surviving in this competitive world will only be on the laws of the shariat. This question would not have been asked had Muslims blindly ventured into any field without caring for their religion.
Media influenced, but controlled, by corporate world, is always lying in ambush waiting for any issue helpful in instigating a campaign against maulvis, madaris and of course fatwas. It is maulvis and their orthodoxy that does not allow Muslims to accept whatever the corporate world keeping in view its material interests wants them to do.

The answer to the question (in other words fatwa) by the largest Islamic institution in India, Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband, supplied media with material which could serve its cause if a bit of spice was added.

While fatwas issued on different issues pertaining to various aspects of life are in lakhs, but only some selected fatwas, which have a higher TRP value, are making news. The media tries to portray that the cause of backwardness in the muslim community is because they follow these fatwas, or they are backward so they follow these fatwas.

No sooner do the news TV channels and dailies come across some fatwa, they hurry to portray it, twist it and make it breaking news. The media obsessed with breaking news and exclusives has dug up one at least one month old fatwa. (Fatwa was flashed on NDTV on May 11th, 2010 while it was uploaded on Dar-ul-Uloom website on April 04, 2010. It might have been even older as many fatwas were issued years back and uploaded on the website recently.)

Surprisingly, as usual, media did not care to contact the religious university from where the fatwa was issued, to seek explanation about it. Instead, anchors, editors and reporters best utilized their freedom of expression and added what the fatwa would have never meant. This was taken as a golden opportunity against fatwas and the spirit of journalism was buried under the opportunity for damaging the image of fatwas.

When issuing any fatwa, every word of the question is taken into consideration. With the changing of even one word the answer to that query (fatwa) changes, sometimes, completely. There is every possibility of misrepresenting a fatwa if the answer is analysed in view of what the question meant as a whole. In 2006 “Fatwa for cash” case, media had even ‘added’ some words to the fatwa, though it was exposed later.

While the latest fatwa of Deoband is silent about “Their (Muslim women doing government or private jobs) salary” being “Halal or Haram”, many English dailies and news channels did not hesitate to make headlines such as “Women’s earnings haram, says Deoband”, “Muslim women can’t work: Deoband”, Darul Uloom says Muslim women can’t work in public” and “Women working with men Un-Islamic: Deoband” etc. etc.

If they had gone through the original text of the fatwa (available on with unbiased eyes, such headlines would have not found any place. “It is unlawful for Muslim women to do job in government or private institutions where men and women work together and women have to talk with men frankly and without veil,” is the text of the fatwa. According to the fatwa, what is ‘unlawful’ is ‘working’ and that too not in every situation. It does not say anything about their earnings being halal or haram.

Muslims do not pay any heed to the demand by others to adopt a way of life which is not in accordance with Islamic law. The new question which has created a lot of interest in the media is “Can Muslim women in India do Govt. or Pvt. Jobs? Will their salary be Halal or Haram?” By this question itself the media has shown to the world that the muslim community is concerned that surviving in this competitive world will only be on the laws of the shariat. This question would not have been asked had Muslims blindly ventured into any field without caring for their religion.

Muslim women, if they do not violate certain Islamic rules are allowed to earn for their families. Hazrat Khadeejah, the wife of Prophet herself was a business tycoon of Makkah. Women are asked to abstain from such a work where they cannot observe those Islamic tenants. Like women, men too cannot do businesses related to alcohol, gambling ,intoxicants, etc. Men cannot adopt any profession in which they will be unable to abide by Islamic rules. Dar-ul-Uloom, too, follows this principle when issuing fatwa. But only the fatwas like “women’s earning” being halal or haram capture the media attention.

Things Misrepresented As Fatwas
(a) Social decisions by some Muslims in any case
(b) Private discussion between or among some Islamic scholars/ulama on any issue
(c) an article by any A’alim published in magazine or newspaper
(d) Sermon delivered by any A’alim on the occasion of Jum’a or in any public gathering

It is astonishing that debates were arranged and opinions were expressed and efforts to understand or to read the original fatwa were not made. The height of foolishness is that politicians, film stars, musicians and others are approached by media to express their opinions about fatwas. They do not know even the basics of Islam, let alone fatwas. If a question is directed to them as to what a fatwa refers to, surely they will come up with different contradictory definitions of fatwa using their freedom of expression. The media is making a big mistake by playing with the sentiments of muslims.

No sooner do the news TV channels and dailies come across some fatwa, they hurry to portray it, twist it and make it breaking news. The media obsessed with breaking news and exclusives has dug up one at least one month old fatwa.

The blind acceptance of news which the public is bombarded with 24 hours a day does not allow people to reason what the aim of the media is. Since there is a common myth, emanating from ignorance, that fatwas are the ‘diktats’ by muftis or maulvis, who want that the rest of the Muslims follow them, demands are made that fatwas be retracted.

In the views of the so-called intellectuals, not excluding the Muslim ones, fatwas are the ‘nonsense opinions’ by maulvis who do not have any business but to issue fatwas so that Muslims might be kept away from progress. Though, a person having common sense will ask why anyone would be against the progress of their own community.

The height of foolishness is that politicians, film stars, musicians and others are approached by media to express their opinions about fatwas. They do not know even the basics of Islam, let alone fatwas. If a question is directed to them as to what a fatwa refers to, surely they will come up with different contradictory definitions of fatwa using their freedom of expression. The media is making a big mistake by playing with the sentiments of muslims.

Maulvis are not there to only issue fatwas and fatwas are not their creation. They have a greater responsibility of imparting Islamic education to madrasah students. Many of them are engaged also in other businesses other than teaching. They are Islamic scholars and people who want to know about Islam or Islamic guidance in any issue go to them. It is not their business to prepare a fatwa on their own and then advertise it for publicity. Usually, unless a person approaches them seeking ‘religious guidance’ (fatwa) then a religious opinion to the matter (fatwa), is issued.

In Islam, the case with religion is that it is a complete way of life. It is not restricted to inside the masjid alone. Islam is a complete way of life from the cradle to the grave and it has guidance for every aspect in this life. Circumstances change by the passage of time and Muslims go through various new situations. A Muslim might be unaware as to how his religion guides in certain circumstances.

He/she approaches one who has in-depth knowledge of Islamic teachings and is expert at Islamic Fiqh (jurisprudence), seeking guidance. Maulvis or Muftis (who are entitled to issue fatwas) spend at least one quarter of their life learning the subjects that help understand Islam and its spirit. Whatever the religious guidance muftis provide have their origin in Qur’an or Hadith. They never say anything that does not have any base in both the origins, or which contradicts Islamic spirit.

Some prominent figures in the media with Muslim names are yet to receive public acceptance as being Muslim representatives as far as religious matters are concerned. If they say that there is no need for fatwas or that fatwas should be changed as per the worldly demand, no Muslim considers their talk worthy of importance.

In the views of the so-called intellectuals, not excluding the Muslim ones, fatwas are the ‘nonsense opinions’ by maulvis who do not have any business but to issue fatwas so that Muslims might be kept away from progress. Though, a person having common sense will ask why anyone would be against the progress of their own community.

If comparison is made, Islam has far more practicing adherents than any other religion. There still remains a curiosity among common Muslims to know what their religion says in any matter. It is they who ask fatwas with an intention to follow the religious guidance.

People from other religions are neither interested in religious guidance in every matter nor their present religions have complete guidance. By the passage of time and due to concoction and addition & deletion from religious seers, their original religion have been distorted (it has been accepted by thier scholars). They are envious of Muslims and want that Muslims, too, add and delete in their religion by themselves and so cannot claim superiority in preservation of religion.

The fatwas are subject to conditions. Change in circumstances results in change of fatwas. A Muslim having attained puberty is bound to observe fast in the month of Ramzan. But in the case he/she is in long journey (of a certain distance and period) the obligation does not remain for the time being and they may keep alternative fasts in other days. Sometimes, there was a common fatwa that prayer on loud speaker was invalid but now it has changed.

Likewise, a fatwa issued for a certain individual may not necessarily apply for another. Tragically, those liberals with Muslim names who have no interest in following even what commandments are directly abstracted from Qur’an and Hadith, are in the forefront against any fatwa. When an individual willingly approaches a mufti, he/she seeks guidance for himself and not for those liberals who claim oral sympathy for common Muslims in media. Fatwas are for those individuals who want to follow Islam using freedom to practice their religion offered by the Indian Constitution.

While most of the fatwas are for individuals, sometimes common fatwas for every Muslim and without any condition that someone approaches a mufti with query, are issued. This is the case in serious circumstances affecting the whole Muslim community.

The Deoband fatwa denouncing terrorism was in the wake that there had started a common allegation out of lack of knowledge about Islam that the religion breeds terrorism and encourages terror acts. Though the truth was quite opposite to what was being propagated, it was too much that even fingers were raised about Islamic teachings of peace. Deoband issued a common fatwa.

Whether they are common fatwas or fatwas for individuals, they constitute the commandments of Islam. Mullahs have never been nor are they in a business of issuing fatwas by themselves. What they do is to show guidance in the light of Qur’an and the life of the prophet (pbuh) to those Muslims who want to practice their religion.

All the propaganda against fatwas is meant for a greater cause of demonising those religious minded people who still follow the religious scriptures. Common fatwas played a crucial role, as mentioned earlier, in overthrowing the British from India. A voice raised in the shape of common fatwa receives greater response from the Muslim community and they unite to follow it. By creating doubts and dividing the minds of the muslims, over fatwas, is going to weaken the muslim communities resolve. The Muslim community will lose a crucial platform that unites it for any collective purpose.

Moreover, the reason behind targeting only Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband while opposing fatwa is that the seminary has recently issued a landmark fatwa against terrorism. The fatwa was welcomed by everyone. However, an atmosphere of hatred against the fatwas of Dar-ul-Uloom will discredit this fatwa. This will be to the advantage of those suppliers whose economy largely depends on supply of arms used by terrorists in different countries.

Who Is Entitled To Issue Fatwa?

Qur’an and Hadith are for all Muslims and they provide clear guidance. The right to read and understand them, like in rest of the religions, is not monopoly to only a section of Muslims. To avoid any situation where a muslim tries to analyse religious scriptures himself and deduce a ruling, certain criteria have been laid down to obtain a religious ruling. Only that person can issue a fatwa who:
(1) Has specialization in Islamic Fiqh (jurisprudence).
(2) Is aware of the current situations.
(3) Has spent a long time with an expert mufti learning how to write a fatwa. Then he/she did not cut off his/her study and continue working on the same subject (issuing fatwa).
(4) And is we well versed at following subjects:
(I). Fann-ut-Tafseer: Commentary of Holy Qurán
(II). Fann-o-Usool-it-Tafseer: Principles of Tafseer
(III). Fann-ul-Hadees: Hadees (knowledge of sayings and doings of Prophet Muhammad and what he approved by his silence.)
(IV) Fann-o-Usool-il-Hadees: Principles of Hadees
(V). Ilm-ul-Fiqh: Islamic Jurisprudence
(VI). Ilm-o-Usool-il-Fiqh: The Principles Of Fiqh
(VII) Ilm-ut-Takhreej: The fact of having ample knowledge to find out the same answer in old fatwa works (if there is possibility that question has already been asked) or to search the base for a new fatwa in Qur’an, Hadith and Fiqh works
(VIII). Ilm-ul-Mantiq: Logic
(IX). Ilm-ul-Falsafa: Philosophy
(X). Ilm-ul-Adab: Literature
(XI). Ilm-us-Sarf: The Science of Morphology
(XII). Ilm-ul-Maáni: Semantics
(XIII). Ilm-ul-Badee: The science of Rhetorical Figures
(XIV). Ilm-un-Nahw: The Science of Grammar/Syntax (Arabic)
(XV). Ilm-ul-Ishtiqaq: The Science of Etymology
(XVI). Ilm-ul-Bayan: The Science of Style (to expressing the various shades of a single meaning)
(XVII). Ilm-ul-Kalam: Islamic speculative theology
(XVIII). Ilm-ul-Jughrafia: Geography
(XIX). Ilm-ut-Tareekh: History
(XX). Fann-o-Ásma-ir-Rijal: Unique art of research on people who relates Hadees to establish their authenticity
(XXI). Ilm-ul-Akhlaq: Ethics/Morals
(XXII). Ilm-ul-Hisab: Mathematics
(XXIII). Fann-e-Qirat: Arabic Phonology
(XXIV). Ilm-ut-Tasawwuf: Sufism/Mysticism

By: Junaid Maseeh


The Famous English weekly “Outlook” recently made “Radical Islam Vs The World” the title of its cover story. It vividly conceptualizes two fighting groups; a handful of ‘radical’ Muslims and the rest of the world with no consideration to the ‘non-radical’ Muslims.

Whether or not such a situation exists or ‘radicalism’ in itself is harmful can be questioned. ‘Holding or following principles advocating drastic political, economic, or social reforms’ to which radicalism refers, may sometimes be the need of the time. Ours is a history not barren from ‘reformers’ in various fields.

The violent acts categorized under radicalism in the eyes of the ‘radicals’ constitute a step towards reformation in the system which heaped ‘injustice’ and ‘brutality’ on them. To make a few Muslim radicals an enemy to the rest of the world cannot be a correct journalistic approach where being unbiased is one of the basic principles.

It will be inappropriate on the part of media to make a statement like “radical Christianity” or “radical Hinduism” or any other religion against the world.

Dozens of Christian organizations believe in violence. They are at work in many, even Christian, countries to overturn the present governments. Their desire to replace these governments by the ones they call will be established on the principles given by Jesus Christ.

It was just some months back that nine members of a Christian militia group named Hutaree were charged for conspiring to levy war against the United States. Hutaree or Christian warriors, as they call themselves, claims to be preparing to defend themselves upon the arrival of the Antichrist. A website devoted to the cause reads that they are ‘preparing for the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive’.

In a video uploaded on the site they were seen replacing a burning United Nations flag with their flag after pretending to kill soldiers wearing blue helmets. Anyone who does not share their belief and participates in the ‘new world order’, they consider him their enemies. Many other Christian outfits having the similar state of mind are found in Canada, Nether Land, Romania and Russia among others. But we never say Radical Christianity Vs The World.

We are also cautious of not saying Radical Jews Vs The World. It is not because we do not know that the Jewish Israel has been in a constant habit of defying all international rules and regulations. Media knows but it dares not say so, perhaps because Israel dares stand against the whole world to protect its interests.

Nor do we say Radical Hindutva Vs The World viewing the anti-government activities of RSS, Bajrang Dal, VHP, Abhinav Bharat, Sanatan Sansatha, Hindu Munani, Shiv Sena, Ram Sene in India and Nepal Hindu Janata Party in Nepal. Their collective aim is to end the political system of democratic India and secular Nepal and replace them by Hindu Rashtra.

Besides Nepal, it is only India where Hindus constitute majority and there are so many outfits working against the government. What if Muslims who are in majority in at least 57 countries start practicing violence against non-Muslims? Majority of Muslims are practicing, peace loving whom the media tries to portray as ‘radicals’. As of now only Al-Qaeda and some other organizations have taken up arms.

While Islam has time and again been equated with ‘extremism’ and ‘terrorism’ by members of every other community, Muslims have avoided labelling the adherents of other religions as ‘extremists’ or ‘terrorists’. They are first in the row to denounce terrorism and propagating peace.

Readers' Scan

Desai Virus In Medical Education

Dear Sir,
It is pathetic that corruption has crept almost in every department. Corruption is such a curse omnipresent in Indian society that it has a great deal to attribute towards making us backward. I appreciate Media Scan for publishing an article “Magnitude of Corruption in Medical Council of India Unimaginable” which reveals the real face of former president of Medical Council of India Ketan Desai. We do not know the intensity of damage he caused to the medical council but the harms he did only by yielding place to unskilled students in medical institutions for bribe is enough to describe it. He also snatched the rights of talented students who deserved those seats but could not offer bribe. Such elements are the virus and unless they are scanned our advancement in education will remain a slow process in this fast world. Fatema Tabassum, UP

Academic Visas For Darul Uloom A Must

Dear Sir,
Apropos to the news item “Academic Visas For Darul Uloom Need Of Hour: Deoband Rector” (Media Scan, June), the Indian government must issue academic visas for students aspiring for studying in Darul Uloom. Since the institution is of international repute in Islamic education, many students wish they had a degree from Darul Uloom. In past, students from different countries would come for attaining knowledge in the university but now despite their strong desire they cannot come.

Government must ponder upon the demand by the rector of Darul Uloom, Deoband supported by the Samajwadi Party national leader Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Farhat Qasmi, Mumbai

Where Are Hindu Missing Girls?

Respected Sir, I was shocked to read that as many as 30,000 Hindu girls disappeared during some last months, allegedly kidnapped by Muslims “Love Jihad, A Term Created By Hindu Fundamentalists, Fail To Spread Hatred” (Media Scan, June). Where have protectors of these girls gone? Why are the parents not coming forward with complaints regarding the issue? That nothing as claimed has happened tells that either the claim of their disappearance was false or it is the propagators who led to their disappearance. However, the issue is serious in nature and it should be given suitable attention. Sajeda Parveen, via email

Distinguish Real From Fake

Sir, This refers to the article “Ram Ram Japna, Paraya Maal Apna” (Media Scan, June, 2010). The intrusion of selfish elements in the world of spirituality is not a good omen for it. Undoubtedly, the institution of religious seers is rife with self-styled and fake leaders who aim at people’s pocket and physical pleasure. I was surprised to know that Swami Nithyananda held a post which requires celibacy, yet he had to face not only sexual charges but he is also believed to have been indulged in unnatural sex. The public before putting their trust in religious leaders must examine them and avoid themselves being trapped by false claimers of spirituality. Aqib Javed, Delhi

Stern Punishment For Treacherous

Sir, After reading the “Tale of Two Traitors” (Media Scan, June), I realized how some people whom the country trusts are ready to sell the country for love and for physical pleasure. Whether it is Madhuri Gupta who supplied secrets to Pakistani intelligence agencies or commodore Sukhjinder Singh who cheated India by not going even once at the spot to oversee the repair of Admiral Gorshkov in Russia (he was assigned the same duty) stern punishment should be meted out on them that would serve as a lesson for others. If Gupta were a member of the Muslim community, the media would have spent all its energy proving that her action was because her community is treacherous to India. But due to her being from a non-Muslim community, the media not only showed misery in condemning her by taking her issue seriously but also at some time tried to prove that it was because she had close relations with a Muslim family in Lucknow. Such incidents are threat to India’s security and they must be taken seriously whether the person involved is a Muslim or from a non-Muslim community. Abdul Kareem, Bangalore

Nithyananda Case Shook My Belief In Seers

Sir, I would hold our religious leaders in great respect. But the case of Swami Nithyananda has shaken my good belief in them. I thank Media Scan for publishing a special report on the wrong doings of these self-styled seers who carry out misdeeds behind the beautiful veil of religion. Hinduism never teaches to rob people’s money. It asks its seers to live a life of abstention from worldly pleasure. Seers accused of murdering for posts and indulging in illegal sexual pleasure are stigma on the name of Hinduism.
S. Rajagopalan, Coimbatore

Constructive Stories Needed

Dear Sir, I found the June issue of your esteemed magazine Media Scan and went through it completely. I could come across only a few articles of interest in the whole magazine. Right from the editorial to the cover story to the special report to news in brief, the magazine is full of fraud, terrorism and corruption stories. It seems after reading your magazine there is no good left in this world. There are many constructive news items that surface in the media world, you should publish them. Yes, journalism is also supposed to point out the social evils and suggest solutions to them, but this is not what the media is all about. Be positive in your approach. Neha Aggarwal, via email

Ad Makes Modi Secular, Reveals Nitish’s Communalism!

Narendra Modi as always wants to remain in news. He once again played a master stroke by putting advertisements in Bihar dailies highlighting the growth of Gujarat’s Muslims under his rule. Though Gujarat government had no photographs of progressive Muslims in his state, an ad agency used the photo of Muslims girls from Azamgarh working in a computer class. Thus Modi played his role to woo the minorities of Bihar. This gave some sleepless nights to Bihar CM Nitish Kumar. A thorough report about this episode.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is the most sought after BJP leader across the country. Hindu Hriday Samrat to some, a CEO to the corporate world and a rabble-rouser to his opponents. Whatever he does, it always generates a loud impact.

Now as he gets embroiled in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation over the ad with his NDA ally Bihar’s Chief Minister and JD (U) leader Nitish Kumar, questions are being raised about whether Modi will have any role to play in campaigning in Bihar during the forthcoming assembly elections.

While Modi has maintained a silence over this issue, it seems that he is finally gaining acceptability within and outside the BJP. And advertisements emphasizing a secular appeal for him have appeared in Bihar papers ahead of his visit.

In what could be the biggest sign of this so far is the fact that Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who had distanced himself from Modi publicly, has accorded status of state guest to him, indicating that the Gujarat CM has been able to win the support of his Bihar counterpart.

Kumar's decision is seen as a major shift in his thinking as he had earlier distanced himself from Modi for his alleged role in the 2002 communal riots.

Due to Kumar's reservations, Modi was forced to keep away from campaigning in Bihar ahead of 2009 Lok Sabha elections. Even in May this year, Nitish had reportedly said that there was no need to invite Modi for campaigning before Bihar assembly polls in November. Meanwhile, a day before Modi was to reach Patna for the BJP meet, the Gujarat government published full-page advertisements in various English, Hindi and Urdu newspapers in Patna, claiming that Muslims in Gujarat were prosperous and enjoying a better life.

The advertisement states that Muslims in Gujarat enjoy better education, employment opportunities, financial stability, health facilities and infrastructure. It also gives some facts and figures about Muslims' literacy, education, employment, health & economy.

The money for the advertisements was paid by a clutch of businessmen in Surat, mainly Marwaris and Banias, who migrated to Gujarat from Bihar during the regimes of Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi. In 1997, when I was working in Bihar, one of Rabri's ministers called them blood-suckers and raked up a huge controversy which only speeded up the exodus. Sushil Kumar Modi, Bihar's deputy CM and finance minister who is playing a key role in bringing investments back into Bihar, is from the same community.

But the ads were certainly Narendra Modi's idea. The content was supplied by the Information Department, while the finances were arranged by C R Patil, Surat's BJP MP and ardent Narendra Modi supporter. Gujarat's Modi perhaps knew well that the blitz would hit Nitish but he didn't anticipate the Bihar CM would react in such a manner. The BJP's selection of Patna as a venue for its national executive meeting is obviously with an eye on the forthcoming assembly elections, due in October. But after this incident and looking at the mood of Nitish, it is clear the party may have to keep its star campaigner out again.

Although the advertisement which offended Nitish was ostensibly brought out by a group of Gujarati businessmen based in Bihar, it was okayed by Modi, and the concept and copywriting were done in Gujarat. To be acceptable at the all-India level, Modi knows he has to somehow overcome the stigma of being an untouchable for potential allies. To which end, he has launched a media campaign citing statistics from the Sachar Committee report to establish that his government has a far better record of looking after minority welfare than most other state governments. This, however, is not going to cut much ice among Muslim voters who have not forgiven him for the post-Godhra violence in Gujarat. Nitish’s infuriated reaction at being linked with Modi indicates that the Gujarat chief minister will find it difficult to live down his past.

They whisper in Gandhinagar’s corridors that Narendra Modi is an early riser. Those who know him say the first thing he does before starting work is to update himself on all the news online. If this is true then Mr Modi would by now have probably seen Shahla Muzaffar’s telling retort that finding her picture from Azamgarh’s Shibli College plastered over the Gujarat government’s advertisements was a “cruel joke”.

The Gujarat government official fielded to defend the advertisements inadvertently hit upon a cardinal truth of politics when he said the pictures were only meant to be symbolic. Of course they were, but there is a reason why they say that a picture speaks louder than a thousand words. The same picture can always be interpreted in multiple ways but when the picture itself is wrong then even that ambiguity is gone.

In this case, the symbolism is exactly the reverse of what the Gujarat government intended.

If the Gujarat government cannot find a local Muslim face to put on its pictures then it reveals the sleight of hand implicit in its claims. Symbolism and semantics are at the heart of politics. Nobody knows this better than Mr Modi who fashioned his political imagery in 2002 with the rhetorical device of Gujarati asmita and the clever turn of the double meaning political entendre.

We can argue now about technicalities, blame it on a careless mistake, hoist it on the ad agency. Did the Railways too not make a somewhat similar blunder this year with its advertisement showing Delhi outside the Indian map? The fact is that even if these Gujarat advertisements had the right pictures, their message would still have seemed cynical in Bihar and elsewhere.

The reason lies at the heart of the Modi model itself: hard-headed developmentalism tinged with a certain kind of authoritarianism. Modi is a man who gets things done, who delivers spanking new roads and uninterrupted power. But you do not question him. The elephant in the room is always 2002. As he argued a couple of years ago, the spectacular development in the state has seemed to justify a Faustian bargain with “amorality, abridgement of freedom, and collapse of social ethics.” Super-conscious about his legacy, Mr. Modi has spent the last eight years largely keeping aloof from the obvious questions about Muslims and 2002. The only exception was his counter-rhetoric on Sohrabuddin in the 2007 election and his assertions that the development of 5 and a half crore Gujaratis includes everyone.

In yet another setback to Narendra Modi, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has returned the Kosi flood relief fund Modi government claimed to have allotted to the state in 2008.
The move came only days after Kumar, who heads the NDA government in the state, was shown holding hands with Modi in advertisements that were splashed in Bihar newspapers on the eve of BJP's national executive meet in Patna on June 12 and 13.
CM secretariat sources confirmed that a cheque, signed by Chanchal, secretary to the CM and in-charge of the CM Relief Fund, had been sent to Ahmedabad by speed post. "The exact amount is not known, but it must be more than Rs 5 crore with interest," a source said.
Responding immediately to the controversial ad, Nitish Kumar had also cancelled the dinner he was to host for the BJP national executive members on June 12. A section of state BJP leaders had angrily reacted to the "humiliation" and urged the leadership to sever ties with the JD (U).
The public display of affection by Nitish to Modi may well damage the image of the former who does not want to lose Muslim vote bank in Bihar. Modi is known as the ‘Maut Ka Saudagar’ for his alleged role in riots against Muslims in Gujarat.

The thing about Modi and India’s Muslims is that there has never been a reconciliatory public gesture. Without such a gesture, to much of liberal India, quoting the Sachar committee’s figures would always seem a bit facetious, given that Gujarat is already one of India’s most industrialised and urbanised states.

The irony is that these advertisements may just have been the start of the first such outreach to redefine Brand Modi, to make him more acceptable to the BJP’s allies.

The backfire has been spectacular. Nitish Kumar’s simultaneous threat to take legal action for another advertisement showing him hand-in-hand with Modi is unprecedented. If a trusted ally of more than a decade and a half cannot stand to be in the same picture frame then it starkly demonstrates the limitations of Brand Modi outside Gujarat.

Nitish Kumar, too, knows the meanings of symbolism and he has dramatised the moment for his own purposes. He had no qualms in sitting with Mr Modi on an election dais in Ludhiana last year, but the permutations of Bihar are different. He has fallen out with his own party president over the Women’s Reservation Bill, he is facing bhumihar dissension from his party ranks and the forward mobilisation that propelled him to power last time may be in danger. At such a time, what better way to shore up the Muslim vote in Bihar than to court the TV cameras and attack Mr Modi? And with Rahul Gandhi praising his leadership last year, the tea leaves appear to be moving.

At a time when the BJP is looking for a new direction, Mr Modi remains one of the few real mass leaders among its Gen Next but this latest spat shows that he remains a polarising figure outside Gujarat. It would need more than advertisements to change that.

His ability to general political heat are unparalleled within the BJP, but ironically, Modi has never been allowed to campaign in Bihar either during the assembly elections or last year’s Lok Sabha elections.

With CM Nitish Kumar wooing the minorities in Bihar aggressively, Narendra Modi's involvement in Bihar unit of his party has always been a tricky subject, often to party's own Muslim candidates.

Ironically, the mood within the BJP now is to bring Narendra Modi in Bihar to campaign ahead of the assembly elections only to prove a point to its long-term ally – the JD (U). However, the elections are still a few months away. And in the end, it will always be cold political logic which will prevail over any momentary heartburn.

By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani

Monday, July 5, 2010

Serial Killings Of Students In Kashmir: Students feel insecure, parents worried, Govt unmoved

Despite claims of zero tolerance against human rights violations, students in Kashmir continue becoming the soft targets of Indian security forces. Over past few months, seven students have fallen prey to excesses committed by the forces. Valley people demand withdrawal of AFSPA to put a check on growing rights violations.

Serial killings of teenaged students, allegedly by security forces, have rendered immense security concerns to the lives of students and added to the worries of parents. Strikes and protests are taking place against these killings in Kashmir Valley.

Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh during his two-day visit to Kashmir on June 7 and 8 reiterated that zero tolerance against rights violations in Kashmir was the priority of his government and in no case guilty would be spared. Rights violations, however, continue unabated and over past few months students have been the target of security forces’ excesses.

For a long time people of Kashmir valley have been demanding that Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) be withdrawn. Rights’ violations are believed to be the result of special powers given to security forces under the act. Its withdrawal, Kashmiris expect, will be helpful in checking those violations.

The AFSPA gives the army the powers to detain and, if the situation warrants, eliminate suspected terrorists when they are fighting insurgents without the fear of prosecution. The act is in force in some “disturbed areas” of Kashmir and North-Eastern states.

Protests against rights’ violations and the subsequent clashes between security forces and civilians have become order of the day in Kashmir valley, especially during past few weeks. People do not wait for a call from separatist groups but observe strike and hold protests on their own to show their anguish against these violations.

In the latest incident of violence by security forces, Javid Ahmad Malla (14), a 9th class student was killed. They opened fire on a funeral procession of Rafiq Ahmad Bangroo near Saida Kadal on June 20 to only kill Javid on the spot. Curfew was imposed in downtown areas of Srinagar following strong protests and clashes in the wake of the killing of student in ‘cold blood’.

Police burst numerous smoke shells and resorted to lathi-charge to disperse protestors. In response to separatists’ call, Kashmir valley observed a general strike on June 21 against the murder of the student and growing violations of human rights.

Rafiq Ahmad Bangroo (22) was critically injured due to the ruthless beating of security forces after a protest demonstration at Saida Kadal. He had succumbed to injuries on June 19 late evening after remaining at a Srinagar hospital for eight days and it was his funeral where the police opened fire.

Before Rafiq and Javid, other students including Inayat Khan, Wamiq Farooq, Zahid Farooq, Tufail Ahmad Matoo and Zubair Ahmad Bhat lost their lives allegedly to the security forces’ excesses during past few months. People allege that security forces’ empowered with AFSPA are misusing powers to commit genocide on students in the name of maintaining law and order situation.

Inayat Khan (17), a student of 12th class was killed in police firing when a gun fight broke out between security forces and militants at Lal Chowk. Police that chased civilians near the encounter site fired at Khan, who later succumbed on January 9. Inayat was returning back home after taking tuition class.

Similarly, Wamiq’s family never knew that their son would be kept in mortuary as an unidentified dead body. It was an unbearable shock for grief struck family. According to his mother, he had left his identity card at home and went to play cricket at a nearby playground, Gani Memmorial Stadium in Rajouri Kadal.

Wamiq (14), 11th class student, was killed when a smoke shell fired by police hit his head killing him on spot. Chasing a group of protesters near Gani Memorial Stadium at Rajouri Kadal, the police had fired numerous tear-smoke shells.

A BSF officer shot at Zahid Farooq (10th class student) near Nishat in Srinagar killing him on the spot.

Zubair Ahmad (11th class student) was, as alleged, forcibly drowned to death in a river at Sopore. Protests were going on in the area against the excesses of security forces when security forces committed the act.

Zubair’s brother, Ehsan-ul-Haq, a student of 6th class, was allegedly killed by security forces in 2006.

Irfan Ahmad, a B A 2nd year student of Baramulla was one of the emerging students. He was killed by the security forces during protests and clashes. Irfan who was the bread earner for his family was running a DTP centre in the town.

The killing of students has generated anguish and fear psychosis among parents regarding the safety and security of their children. On June 11 a 12th class student Tufail Ahmad Matoo was killed amid protests and clashes at Rajouri Kadal. Later it turned out that security forces had used their special powers.

The targeted killings have rendered student community anxious and worrisome and psychiatrists view that the prevailing situation could have a long lasting impact on the mindset and future of students in Kashmir. Tufail died due to a serious head injury caused by smoke shell. Earlier, police claimed that Tufail died to head injuries after tripping on a stone while security forces were chasing the stone pelters’.

Undeniably security forces act of targeting students seems to be the most nasty and malicious act, which has evoked wide condemnation from separatists, opposition leaders and others and even the state government.

It is largely viewed that despite the tall claims of zero tolerance by the government against rights violations, student community is becoming the victims of security forces excesses. Tirade against students does not end here. Students and youth are arrested on the charges of stone pelting and in some cases authorities have even slapped public safety act (PSA) on youth.

Student killings by the security forces during past few months is a reminiscent of early 1990’s turbulent situation in Kashmir valley when youth were picked up from the roads, streets, homes, schools’ and subjected to enforced disappearance or killed in cold blood. In 1990’s youth were the main targets in fake encounters and large scale arrests were a common phenomenon. People were afraid to send their teenaged sons outside homes fearing that they may be arrested and killed by the security forces.

“Authorities have given a free hand to the security forces empowered with special powers to target students and remain untouched. It appears that security forces have launched a tirade against students. The only pretext to target a student is a protest demonstration and at times minor clashes between protestors and security forces. I remain on pinpricks till my three sons return from school. When there are protests anywhere in the city, we get frustrated about their safety and security,” said Bashir Ahmad, a father. Bashir added that like him every parent is worried about the safety and security of their children viewing the current circumstances in the valley.

Targeted killings have created a feeling of insecurity among the students and they hesitate to move out freely and even to attend their schools. Given the present situation every student may be asking himself a question: “Shall I go to school today or not?”

“With protests and clashes becoming a routine in the Valley, I remain concerned about the safety of my son when he goes to school or for some other work,” said Haleema, a mother.

There is a general feeling that if the government had implemented HR policies in letter and spirit the killing of students would have not happened and further worsening of the situation could have been averted. The present situation may take ugly turn any time if the government did not squeeze the erring security forces.
Students are killed and the government not taking any action against the erring cops tries to console the families of the victims by offering monetary compensations. Compensation, however, in form of cash and jobs by no means can console the aggrieved families. The only thing the families demand is stern punishment to the erring cops; something that has not been awarded in any case and this has added salt to the wounds of the families.

Most of parents ask, “Are our sons safe in prevailing circumstances? Can they really achieve what they dream for when they feel so insecure? When would they live in an environment of peace and security?”

Killing Of Students During Past Few Months

Jan 8: Inayat Khan (17), a student of 12th class was killed in police firing, when a gun fight broke out between security forces and militants at Lal Chowk. Police chased civilians near the encounter site and fired at Khan, who later succumbed on January 9.
Jan 31: A smoke shell fired by police hit Wamiq Farooq (14), a 11th class student. He was at the spot. Chasing a group of protesters near Gani Memorial Stadium at Rajouri Kadal, the police had fired numerous tear-smoke shells.
Feb 05: A BSF officer shot at youth near Nishat in Srinagar killing Zahid Farooq (10th class student) on the spot.
April 13: Zubair Ahmad (11th class student) was forcibly drowned to death in a river at Sopore. He was taking part in a protest against the excesses of security forces.
June 11: Tufail Ahmad Matoo (12th class student) was killed due to a serious head injury caused by a smoke shell, which hit his head.
June 19: Rafiq Ahmad Bangroo (22) critically injured due to the ruthless beating of security forces during a protest demonstration at Safa Kadal succumbed to injuries late evening after remaining at a Srinagar hospital for eight days.
June 20: Javid Ahmad Malla (14), 9th class student was killed on spot, when security forces opened fire on a funeral procession of Rafiq Ahmad Bangroo at Safa Kadal on June 20. Amid pro-freedom protests and clashes, Malla was laid to rest.

“Youth who are the future of a nation are eliminated amid unrest and turbulence. They are worried about their studies and future. The situation in Kashmir has compelled every youth to accept the bitter reality that he might be next prey to a bullet or deadly tear smoke shell. A students who leaves his home for school least knows whether he will return back home in the evening”, said Mohammad Shafi of old town Baramulla.

Needless to mention that magisterial and judicial probes ordered into the killings have never yielded results and that is why people have lost trust in any such probes. People at large allege that probes ordered are aimed at misleading the world community closely watching the situation in the state.

“Growing unemployment in the state is a serious issue confronting a good chunk of educated jobless youth. Now the fact of insecurity among students is even more frustrating and this has put their future at stake,” views Saqib Amin, an unemployed youth.

Other students have this to say: “Like youth elsewhere in the world, we want to secure our future and live in a peaceful environment, which is important for building future. Students killed were never involved in stone pelting or protests but were made soft targets by the security forces. Special powers given to the forces are being misused in the name of maintaining law and order.”

The sufferings of Kashmir students extend beyond the Valley. They are not safe outside the state also and seen as suspects. In case of any turbulence anywhere in the country, Kashmiris are the first to be questioned.

“I was studying in Delhi in 2001 and many a times I was picked up when untoward circumstances happened. Delhi police would first pick up Kashmiri students for questioning in case of a happening. My friends and I were arrested by the police at least three times,” said Shabir Ahmad, a research scholar.

Education in Kashmir has already received a great setback in past. Many schools, colleges, and other institutions have got damaged. Killing of school-going students seems to have become a common phenomenon and this has rendered every parent in a state of fear, anxiety, pressure, and stress.

Leading psychiatrist of the valley, Dr. Margoob Mushtaq viewed, “Students of Kashmir are suffering from the tremendous stress and tension due to prevailing circumstances in which students are made soft targets. Such situations are bound to play havoc to the capabilities of a student as his concentration gets diverted from studies to situations. Future is always generated from the present and when the youth are subjected to anxiety, pressure and worry then adverse affects are bound to have a bearing on the mindset of youth.” He added that in prevailing circumstances the future of students reeling under fear and anxiety and living amid uncertainty in Kashmir is at stake.

By Amin Masoodi

Faisal Shahzad Used For Waziristan Operation?

Faisal Shahzad has confessed that his failed Times Square bombing was a part of a war being waged by Muslims against America. However, the writer believes that Shahzad may be an American agent used to justify the shift of battle ground from Afghanistan to Waziristan (Pakistan) where Shahzad allegedly got terror training.

The attempt by Pakistani origin Faisal Shahzad to explode a car in Times Square, New York is a testimony about how sophisticated the terrorists have become. That in spite of the high security of U.S.A. they almost attacked one of the busiest places in America. He has been indicted, among all other charges, for conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction. Briefing the media after Shahzad’s arrest, U.S. attorney general Eric Holder had said that the bomb was ‘fashioned’ from ‘rudimentary ingredients’.

According to New York Police Commissioner Raymond Walter Kelly after 9/11 terrorist attack, 11 attempts to target the city were made but they all were foiled.

While due to the vigilance of the intelligence untoward incidents are averted, there is every possibility of them taking place at any time. In the eyes of Afghans who consider the efforts of America to establish democracy in Afghanistan as an attempt to end their Islamic rule, America is but an enemy. They do not miss any chance to harm its interests. The bordering areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan, it is said, are rife with such elements. While Pakistani army held control over South Waziristan through an operation last year, North Waziristan still remains to be a stronghold of Islamists.

Among those using bases in North Waziristan are the Haqqani network, created by Afghan warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani and run by his son Sirajuddin, Afghan Taliban, Pakistani warlord Hafiz Gul Bahadur and his ally Maulvi Sadiq Noor. They are blamed by the United States for fuelling the nearly nine-year insurgency in Afghanistan, for attacking the 1,42,000 US-led Nato troops there and for working to destabilise the Western-backed government in Kabul.

But these men according to the Pakistani security establishment pose no direct risk to the homeland because their activities are targeted across the border, while home-grown Taliban pose a more immediate threat.

It was just some days back that the Taliban attacked a security check post in Mohmand Agency district of Pakistani tribal region. It is feared that they kidnapped at least 35 Pakistani soldiers. Islamists trained in Afghan bordering areas of Pakistan pose a threat to both: U.S. supported Pakistani government and the United States itself.

Before Shahzad, another legal permanent resident of United States who originally belonged to a small village in Paktia region of eastern Afghanistan was held in September 2009 on the accusation of planning suicide bombings on the New York City subway system. It is said that Zazi underwent weapons and explosives training at an Al-Qaeda training camp in Pakistan in 2008. He was also charged for using weapons of mass destruction.

Despite all efforts and co-operation, the intelligence communities of both U.S. and Pakistan have not been able to trace the network of extremists, their training centres and the recruitment system. There was Zazi, then Shahzad and who next trained in any of the Al-Qaeda camps?

Faisal Shahzad hails from a well to do Pakistani family from Mohib Bada (a village near Pabbi town in Nowshera district). The family has no connection with any religious or political organization. A former nazim of the area, Faiz Mohammad, said he knew the family since long and had met Faisal around one and a half years back. “He belongs to a noble family that has never been involved in any wrongdoing.”

Shahzad left Pakistan for US in 1999, first for higher education and later to settle there. Now he is a naturalized U.S. citizen. In 2006, he married a U.S. citizen and has two children from her. Shahzad was adept to western way of life and would visit clubs. Last year, the bank seized his house and he had been upset economically for some days.

Some analysts question how a person like Shahzad without any objectionable background became an extremist. To resort to extremism is not common among those having families.

In a video statement to FBI, Shahzad has confessed that he alone, with no terror outfit in background, had attempted to carry out the explosion. Though Al-Qaeda was believed to be behind the plot, it was rejected later. Same was not the case with Zazi. In the beginning he said that he was alone on the mission without any help from any organization. However, later he pleaded that he was recruited by Al-Qaeda for in Pakistan for a suicide "martyrdom" attack against the U.S., and that his bombing target was the New York City subway system.

Shahzad has also been accused of receiving funds and explosives training from Tehreek-e-Taliban. Since Shahzad left for America at the age of 18, he paid 10 visits to Pakistan with the last being five-month long-from October to February. It is said that he got training in one of the terror camps in Waziristan; as he confessed before FBI and Manhattan Federal Court.

Nevertheless, the relatives of Faisal Shahzad said that he never ever visited Waziristan. According to one Jabir Khan, a close relative of Shahzad, he never saw weapons in Faisal’s hands.

The incident of Faisal Shahzad has taken place at a time when America is pressurizing Pakistan to conduct a big operation in Waziristan which is considered the hub of terror groups including Al-Qaida. America, reportedly has assured Pakistan that it will ask Indian army not to do any ‘mischief’ at eastern Pakistani borders of Pakistan if Pakistan agrees to carry a big operation in Waziristan.

Opinions are expressed that Shahzad has been used by American intelligence for a greater cause. The propagation of his link with Waziristan terror camps only strengthens the point of the province being terror hub. There will be pressure on Pakistan, an important ally of U.S. in eliminating terrorism, to carry a massive operation at earliest.

Former ISI chief general (retired) Hamid Gul in an interview expressed doubt that Shahzad is an “American agent”.

Gul referring to one statement by Eric Holder-- that they (America) obtain service of Pakistanis for such works and send them to Waziristan--said that the statement creates doubt about Shahzad being an American agent. He further remarks that Faisal was a fit case for them; he got affected by downturn, bank seized his house, his homeless family returned to Pakistan and he himself said that he wanted to go to Pakistan because he is in trouble. “A boy who takes American citizenship after struggle. Then the circumstances compel him to leave it. What condition will he undergo may be guessed.”

The reason why America is giving so much attention on Waziristan is ‘simple’, says Gul. “America is going to withdraw from Afghanistan. Israel does not want that American withdraws its forces while Pakistan’s atomic weapons are safe and the army stable. Therefore, it wants to take action against the atomic weapons and on the other hand to push the army in Waziristan and create constant enmity between mujahideen and the army.”

By: Staff Writer

Academic Revolution Among Muslim Students: As Good Omen For Educationally Backward Community

In the 2010- IIT (JEEE) result, a considerable number of Muslim students and students from weak economic background have secured success. It has proved that wealth cannot be the obstacle in the way to gain success.

India is considered a rich hub for IIT experts. The world has many expectations from it in this regard, hence increasing the job opportunities available in the field. The importance of IIT globally has resulted into a tough competition. In the 2010 entrance exam, the number of the students appeared stood at more than 4.5 lakh for just around 10, 000 seats.

The result announced late in May brought happiness to many economically poor students who were IIT aspirants. It was more encouraging for Muslims; an educationally backward community in India. Though in comparison to their about 14% populating they could not secure seats, they came up with far better performance than previous years. Suitable guidance at an appropriate time and arrangement for coaching may take the community students forward in competitive exams.

Muslims spend a lot without a solid and encouraging result. The extravagance over various kinds of delicious edible items, dinner & tea parties and on formation of organizations for publicity may be directed for a constructive purpose of educating Muslim students. Many poor Muslim students have aspiration for higher education but their economical background does not allow them fulfil their goal.

A bit of practical work can do wonder for a community which already has such examples of Hina Yasmeen from Chhattisgarh. Her husband Abdul Wahid had died before his dream of seeing two sons Aman and Yasir emerging triumphant either in civil services or IIT competitive examinations could come true. Wahid’s murder by Maoists in May 2009, had come as a jolt for the family. However, the determined widow made possible what was seemingly impossible. Yasmeen turned down a proposal by the Chhattisgarh government for appointing both her sons on compassionate grounds saying that her husband wanted both to qualify in the IIT-JEE or Indian Civil Service Examination. The determined Yasmeen took both the sons to Hyderabad to prepare for the entrance examination. She showed trust in her children and they fulfilled their parents’ dream. After reading the news the Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh rushed to the family, congratulated them and announced Rs one lakh assistance for each of the sons.

This is mere one example how without caring financial obstacles students are venturing in competitive examinations. As for trying their fate in IIT-JEE, students have many thanks to extend to “Super 30” coaching centre run under the patronage of Abhyanandji.

Super 30 is a highly ambitious and innovative educational
program running under the banner of "Ramanujan School of
Mathematics". It hunts for 30 meritorious talents from among
the economically backward sections of the society and shapes
them for India's most prestigious institution – the Indian
Institute of Technology (IIT). In the last seven years, it has
produced hundreds IITians from extremely poor background.
During this program students are provided absolutely free
coaching, lodging and food.

Following the pattern of “Super 30”, an eminent scholar and visionary from Bihar Maulana Wali Rahmani started “Rahmani 30” in 2008 under Rahmani Foundation. It is also run under the supervision of Abhyanandji.

Most interesting fact about it is that the man behind Rahmani 30 is an orthodox mullah. It strongly negates the wrong notion that maulvis are against the modern education.

Rahmani 30 conducts tests at various places to select 30 students year whom it prepares for IIT-JEE. Rahmani 30 bears all the expenses of the students in this process. Last year it got cent per cent result as all the 10 students who attained coaching under Rahmani 30 were selected in IIT-JEE 2009 examination.

This year, though only 4 out of 12 students could crack the ITT-JEE test, they got higher ranks. They all got success in IEEE examination.

Besides IIT, the performance of Muslim students has been encouraging in Indian Civil Services examinations too. Shah Faisal, from Kashmir, topped UPSC examination. His achievement could be possible only by Hamdard Study Centre which has been playing active role in providing coaching for civil services examination with satisfactory results.

In other academic fields, too, Muslim students have been showing excellent performance. One Shaista Neelu from Uttar Pradesh has secured the top spot in the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) examination in which as many as 17,080 students had appeared.

S Jasmine Bano from Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu topped the High School board exam by security 495 marks out of 500.

These all undeniable facts testify that there is extraordinary talent in Muslim students. What they need is appropriate guidance and of course financial assistance.
We have example of Rahmani 30 and Hamdard Study Centre and their results have been encouraging. It will be a constructive step by the Muslim community to finance the existing coaching centres to expand their scale. Extravagance by the community in luxuries should be avoided to only invest the same wealth for opening more coaching centres for IAS, IIT and other academic fields. What are the countless Muslim organizations doing? Can anyone of them take this initiative?
MS Desk

Hate Breeding Israel Murders Peace Activists

The brutal attack by Israel over the Turkish freedom flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza was condemned all over the world. Bending to world pressure Israel agreed to set up an “Independent Public Commission” to enquire into the incident that took place and was broadcasted on TV channels. At the same time Israel has been rejecting the demand for an international enquiry commission.

The self-appointed commission of Israel comprises two foreign observes: Noble Peace Prize laureate William David Trimble from Northern Ireland and former brigadier-General Ken Watkin of Canada. Secretary General of United Nations Ban Ki-moon has stated that the appointment of only two foreign observers will not get international trust. Turkey, the country that suffered the largest number of casualties in the attack, and Palestine have rejected the Israel-appointed commission. According to Turkey, if Israel can attack in a place which is not in its jurisdiction, it can never ever conduct an unbiased probe.

Ban Ki-moon has called for the formation of an international commission for the investigation in the attack.

On the flotilla of seven ships that was targeted by Israel besides humanitarian goods, there were as many as 700 unarmed peace activists, law-makers, film-makers, politicians, journalist and intellectuals. Showing ‘zero-tolerance’ towards even to the humanitarian aid workers from Turkey, Australia, France, Morocco, Algeria, the US and many other countries Israeli army attacked them in an area where Israel does not have any sovereign claim. It violated the international boundaries and once again showed that it is beyond the international laws which protect human lives.

It is a tragedy that enquiries are needed even in what are self-evident. Everyone including America which believes in “Israel-can’t-be-wrong-and-do-no-wrong” knows that activists on the flotilla instead of weapons were taking necessary articles for the helpless Palestinians living on meagre UN aids. Their crime, in the eyes of Israel, was that they had dared to feed the 15 lakh Palestinians struggling for survival in the Gaza Prison. Israel does not consider those Palestinians as humans and has kept them under blockage for almost three years not allowing sufficient food being supplied to them.

The attack on the flotilla is not, of course, the first aggression by Israel controlled by Zionist terrorists. The world community which easily sanctions ban after ban on Iran for its “peaceful” (former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mr Mohammad ElBaradei had clarified the nature of Iran’s nuclear program as peaceful.) nuclear program, has no interest or courage to boycott Israel which is not ready to abide by any international law.

It is quite evident that the sanctions are passed only against the countries that apparently do not abide by the diktat of the United States. North Korea, Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and Iraq under Saddam Husain’s rule and of course currently Iran.

The United Nations Security Council recently levelled its fourth round of sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program. Only two, non-permanent council members Turkey and Brazil, out of the 15 nations on the Council opposed the measure while Lebanon abstained from voting.

President Barack Obama said termed it the “toughest sanctions ever faced by the Iranian government.” The sanctions among other things are against military purchases, trade and financial transactions carried out by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps which is believed to control the nuclear program of Iran. Another aspect of the sanctions bars all countries from allowing Iran to invest in their nuclear enrichment plants, uranium mines and other nuclear-related technology.

At the same time, United Nations is unable to pass sanctions against Israel whose nuclear arms deals with Africa have been recently disclosed. Why does America not feel in Israel a potential threat to world peace? The murder of peace activists by Israel proves that it never wants peace to prevail in the Middle East and in the world at large.

The demand by General Ban Ki-moon for the formation of an international commission to probe the flotilla attack is welcome. However, it is depressing to see that the UN Secretary General is raising a feeble voice of demand. He is supposed to take initiative without caring whether Israel allows it or not. Anyway, whatever may the case be, the result should be the formation of an international commission at earliest.

But what is the guarantee that Israel will accept the findings. And if it accepts that it has done a wrong by killing peace activists by calling them terrorists, the damage has already been done. Dead activists cannot be brought alive. World community must be united to ensure that Israel stops all these brutalities.

They can come together against Iran which never is behaving the way Israel is doing, why does the same international community not come forward against Israel? United Nations is expected to take practical initiative in this regard. What will be the use of UN if it is not able to check any country from tyranny of the other?

ATS Ruins the life of Samad And Many More: Does Anyone Take Notice?

The release of Abdus Samad by court in arms seizure case is a slap over ATS which had arrested him allegedly in connection with Pune Blast but before the court he was produced for supplying arms. Common Indians question whether investigating agencies arrest a person first and then decide in which case he can be trapped.

At last Bibi Raihana took a sigh of relief. A session court in Mumbai granted bail to her innocent son Abdus Samad but it could not save him from being tainted as a ‘terrorist’. Samad is not the only person to face such a situation. He is but an addition to the long list of Muslim youth implicated by police in terror charges and then released by court due to absence of evidences against them.

Abdus Samad, 22, was arrested by Maharashtra ATS on his way back home from Dubai at Mangalore airport on May 24, obviously in connection with the Pune German Bakery blasts.

Give Suitable Compensation To Acquitted Muslim Youth: Jam'iat

Jami’at-e-Ulama Hind has demanded that Muslim youth acquitted of terror charges should also be allotted a suitable compensation.
As a part of the probe in the 2007 Makkah Masjid blasts, the CBI has announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for anyone providing leads to the arrest of Sandeep Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra. Jami’at said that this reveals who is behind the blast in which Muslims were arrested initially.
“Youth from the minority communities are put in jails and are punished for what they never did. They are also subjected to mental torture. Though the youth have been released after two to three years, they are yet to recover. They must be given monetary compensation,” said Jami’at president Arshad Madani adding that the government has agreed to give Rs 40,000/- in compensation for some youth but “this is a clear mockery with the innocent. They must be given at least Rs 10 lakh compensation to enable them to lead a respectable life.”
Jami’at repeatedly had tried to draw the attention of the people in power towards the mischievous acts of the communal elements but the investigating agencies did not stop this one sided probe. By the time Hemant Karkare unveiled these elements, Muslims had undergone irreparable loss, Madani added.

Just after the arrest, the Maharashtra ATS was reported to have claimed that with the help of the CCTV images installed outside German Bakery it had arrested one of the masterminds behind the Pune blast. Media portrayed him as the mastermind.

Nevertheless, the ATS never booked him on charges related to the February 13 bombing of Pune which killed 17 people. According to The Hindu, during the several hours of questioning ATS could not abstract a confessional statement from Samad about his involvement in Pune blast.

While the Maharashtra Home Minister Mr. R R Patel had clarified that Abdul Samad was in no way connected with the Pune Blast case, the statement of our union Home Minister Mr. P Chidambaram was astonishing. He not only declared Samad the main accused in the blast but also lauded the breakthrough by police.

Just after the arrest, the Maharashtra ATS was reported to have claimed that with the help of the CCTV images installed outside German Bakery it had arrested one of the masterminds behind the Pune blast. Media portrayed him as the mastermind.

“I compliment ATS Maharashtra, the Pune Police and Central agencies on apprehending the prime suspect within hundred days of the incident,” Mr. Chidambaram said. This was yet another irresponsible statement by Chidambaram after Batla House encounter. Even the investigating agency did not say with surety that Samad was faintly connected with the Pune blast.

It seems as if ATS had arrested him without any evidence and when circumstances did not allow trapping him in Pune blast—the family of Samad affirmed, and with proofs, that he was at home to attend a marriage ceremony the day blast had taken place in Pune— it reportedly charged him in a 2009 arms seizure case.

The investigating agency said it wanted to question him in connection with the recovery of small arms from Mumbai's Byculla area last year--weapons police suspect were intended to attack lawyers linked to the defence of suspects linked to a bombing campaign by the Hindutva terror group Abhinav Bharat.

On August 5, 2009, the Mumbai police had arrested three persons, Haji Irfan, Abdul Shaikh and Suleiman Patel from a hotel with unauthorised arms. Abdus Samad was alleged to have supplied arms to them. However, Samad’s lawyer Mubin Solkar has revealed that Samad’s name neither appeared in the main FIR regarding the case nor was it mentioned in any of the chargesheets filed by the ATS in the court. Solkar also informed that even in the remand applications that were filed later, Samad's name had never been mentioned even if the ATS claimed that the main accused had named him.

A Mumbai sessions court recently issued its verdict that Abdus Samad was in not found involved in arms seizure case. In his judgement over the case while acquitting Samad in the arms seizure case, additional sessions judge A L Pathan observed that there was no evidence against Samad and that even the ATS had never shown Samad as a wanted accused in the 2009 arms seizure case.

If Samad was not arrested in connection with the Pune blast, as it is being portrayed now, why did the Maharashtra DGP D Sivanandhan state, after his bail, that ATS probe into the German Bakery blast had gone wide off the mark? What Sivanandhan added also reveals the methods our investigation agencies are adopting. He said that the “ATS will have to study the case properly, collect evidence in a scientific manner and then identify the group behind the blast.”

The arrest and then honourable acquittal of terror charges is not specific to Abdus Samad only. Unfortunately, police and investigating agencies have born a mentality that culprits behind every wrong doing are only Muslims. The irresponsible statement by P Chidambaram and the projection of media Samad as the prime accused in the Pune Germany blast testifies to this state of mind.

If Samad was not arrested in connection with the Pune blast, as it is being portrayed now, why did the Maharashtra DGP D Sivanandhan state, after his bail, that ATS probe into the German Bakery blast had gone wide off the mark? What Sivanandhan added also reveals the methods our investigation agencies are adopting. He said that the “ATS will have to study the case properly, collect evidence in a scientific manner and then identify the group behind the blast.”

This statement from the Director General of Police well reveals that the ATS, instead of looking for evidence, using forensic methods or the internationally approved methods of investigation did the easiest thing. They simply made the arrest of Abdus Samad based on their table work.

It seems as if Abdus Samad, in this whole story, had to pay the price for being a brother of Riyaz and Yasin Bhatkal, alleged IM operatives. In 2008, too, Samad had come under Karnataka Police scanner. The police had investigated him extensively after two IM bomb-making units were discovered reportedly in Vitthalamakki and Hakkalamane. The police wanted to know whether he had any knowledge of the networks run by his brother. Eventually, however, he was cleared of suspicion.

Prior to Abdus Samad's visit to Dubai, the Bhatkal and Bangalore police had repeatedly summoned him to the police station to enquire about his brother, Ahmed Yasin. Abdus Samad had completely co operated with the police officials and had provided all the necessary details about his brother, each time he was called over to the police station. Abdus Samad had even taken clearance from the police before he had left to Dubai.

Yet on his return from Dubai he was arrested for terror charges by Maharashtra ATS. Some media reports have even called him a suspected local supporter to the perpetrator of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.

Now Abdus Samad has been acquitted because his family was produced convincing evidence that he was at home and not in Pune when the blast had taken place. But what about the families of many other victims of police prejudice languishing in jails under terror charges? Why do we not make the police responsible for wrongly trapping innocents in terror charges?
By A.Hameed Yousuf