Saturday, July 28, 2007

Good for nothing majority

Good for nothing silent majority
Mike Ghouse, July 28, 2007

Edmund Burke, a philosopher from the 17th Century had said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” And a similar message was communicated by spiritual leaders of all faiths through out the course of human history.

"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing." -- Albert Einstein.

Evil exists in the world because of good people. The good people’s silence, silently gives a tacit approval to the bad guys to continue to do bad things. I believe Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi had expressed similar sentiments.

Indeed, the problem is not with the evil men, it is with us. I’m least worried about what bad people can do than what good people don’t. The majority of Americans do not want war, yet the few are carrying it out. We silently sat by and let 3,500 of our sons and daughters and some 650000 Iraqis slaughtered.

If we can recall our class room scenario, our work place, or our extended family, there was always a tyrant, who got away bullying every one. No one dared him or said anything to him, due to fear or not having the stomach to stand up to him or her. Had you stopped that tyrant in the tract, things would have stopped long ago, but no one dared it and simply endured it for a long time. As a larger society, we are allowing those tyrants to go on terrorizing all of us. You and I regardless of our faiths face the same evil.

That brings us to Terrorism, go ahead and make my day, call it Muslim terrorism and beam me up.

Did you know that a Muslim is more vulnerable to terrorism than a Christian, Jew or a Hindu?

A Muslim get the shaft three different ways; i) the bullying fear from the extremists Muslims, Christians, Jews and Hindus, ii) the idiotic media and iii) and the denigration of his/her religion where as the others get only one way.

Silent no more, speak up is our mission, not just for Muslims, but for all. The peaceful majority sounds like good for nothing crowd. We believe they will wake when pushed to the corner. As we Americans spoke up during the last days of Vietnam, then we spoke up on Tuesday, November 7th 2006 and we still have not taken actions to the death and destructions we are causing in Iraq, we will, and the Muslims will do their chore as well.

Everyday, I go through many articles and at least 80% of them border on finger pointing and blaming the others with no particular goal to pursue a solution.

One of the biggest mistakes we make is to give a religious label to the bad people. It is a shame to call those bad boys Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Christian or otherwise. It is our gutlessness to face the evil that prevents us from facing the problem squarely. If we can recall a dialogue with our mother, father, uncle or some one powerful over us. We find that when we disagreed with them we whispered it quietly or even mumbled; we did not want a fight. However when they screamed “What did you say?” We shuddered and quietly denied saying any such thing, or depending on the strength of the voice of the opposite person, we even slighted our response and said "oh nothing" or something irrelevant… we did not want to invoke the wrath of the tyrant facing us.

When Osama Bin Laden brought hell on all of us, what did our president do? He did not face the tyrant squarely… like many, he found it convenient to blame Muslims and Islam, just like you may act when you face a real tyrant (family or community) and start blaming the world when you could not laser bark at the bad dog any more.

If a TV anchor blames you for the wrongs you do, most people would let you handle it on your own terms, but when he suggests that those ‘people’ are messing our nation”. I can guarantee that all of us would be offended and are less likely to listen to the anchor. By calling Muslims the terrorists, they have invariably barked at the wrong tree and they continue to do so.

99% of terrorists are Muslims! When you watch some of the Neocon websites, CNN and Fox network: Every kidnapping and every individual vandalism done by the Muslims is jumped at; rightfully so. Indeed all of us should jump at it. But when similar crimes are happening in the same breath, they are reported as a regular crime that is wrong by any sense of morality.

Thanks God the V-tech crazy was not a Muslim, if it was, the bad guys would have feasted on it for months, it feeds them and they are eager to be the first. The TV, Radio and the papers would have stretched the food for months.

In your city there is a murder and rape every day, like Iraq, why don’t we call them Christian terrorists or if it is in India call it Hindu Terrorism or other one, then why call Muslim Terrorism for similar crimes on the street?

No terrorists should be given respect by adding a religion to his crime. Any one who commits a crime, disturbs the peace, should be punished for his acts. Religion should not be a factor at all, if we do that, we find excuses not to take the action. We should get the individual criminal for his act and punish according to the law. Let law be not taken any any one's hands including the Chief Executive. Let us not give an opportunity to any one to become terrorist in reverse.

What if we do not point the gun, and just shoot what surounds that criminal? What is the difference between them and us. It is this dual sense of morality that we need to avoid. Mother Teresa's wisdom is eternal "if you want to make peace, You don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.

In the fight between the good and the bad, the average man gets killed. We should care for human life, whether we are Muslims, Hindus, Christians or Zoroastrians. All evil must be condemned whether it is my brother or any one. If each one of us adopts the posture of a just position – we can find peace, peace comes through you in your language. Each one of us has to find solutions.

Let’s take a principle stand and call the evil for simply what it is; Evil. Let’s use the same yardstick to judge all criminals.Each one of us should focus on building peace, hate and blame does not take any one anywhere, the first casualty is ones own peace and then others’. One cannot point fingers at other others to be peaceful while he himself is not.
Peace begins with a dialogue as does the war.

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio and local TV networks discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He founded the World Muslim Congress with a simple theme: "good for Muslims and good for the world." His personal Website is and his articles can be found on the Websites mentioned above and in his Blogs: and . He can be reached at . Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town.

Additional Notes - unrelated unconnected.

A majority of Muslims - 99-9/10ths are moderate Muslims who believe in getting along with others and taking care of their family. Only 1/10ths of 1% - 1/100ths of 1% tend to be on the wrong end of the life. By the way, this formula applies to all people be it religious, ethnic, racial or any other uniqueness. What those two brothers did was rare, shocking and disgusting. Muslims are on a watch out for some one like this.

I hope we take part in building our nation as Indians and not have the divisiveness get to us. For a discussion group of Indians, giving a communal tone is not kosher. It is neither Hindu nor Muslim, it is just Indian. Even if it were Hindu or Muslim, it should not be based on hate towards each other. If others do it, that is their choice, we don't have to follow them. This group will remain for Indians who want to understand the differences and work on finding solutions. You are welcome to write.

No religion is bad, individuals are. The acts of crime are committed by individuals using all sorts of excuses, blaming the religion is shying away from facing the wrong doers. Take any situation going back some 2000 years, you will always find that insecure men and greedy kings have used the poor people to go kill and get killed to consolidate their empires. They have always used the common man to their advantage and have sat behind the throne in the safety zone, they never risked their lives.

Very few leaders have actually led the wars, you can see Lord Krishna, Prophet Muhammad and Mahatma Gandhi and other great leaders actually participating in the wars or movements standing up to evils of the society. They did not send some one else to go die for them. Please take the time to attend interfaith meetings including the ones by the Foundation for Pluralism. They are open meetings, open questions and open learning. You may enjoy employing your mind to the full capacity, as finding the truth is one's own responsibility, once you find the truth, you will find relief, mukti, moksha and salvation. There is plenty of reading material out there, as much as the hate material. May you find Mukti and become a source of light and goodness for the humankind.

Every one of us has a responsibility to make the world a better place to live. Peace begins with each one of us, you or I will never see peace if we are a product of hate. If we re-act with malice, it multiplies and swallows us into it.We have to get the freedom from hate, not because God wants it, and not because it is some noble thing to do, but because it brings peace to oneself and because it benefit you and it is a necessity, once you have it, you will find peace in you and that translates to peace to your family and friends and whatever surrounds you. Hate is engaging and enslaving, it is to our individual benefit we have to free ourselves from hate, try it, you'll love it and you'll change the world for better.

Religion was issued to humans to make them better beings, some get it and some don't. Parents teach children to be good kids, some do and some don't. The Civic laws are made for the safety of the Citizens, some follow some don't. It does not make the Civic laws wrong, it does not make the parent wrong if the kid turns out to be a bully and does not make the religion bad if one does not follow it.

We have to punish the individual who does wrong, we have accountability then. Blaming the elusive is wrong, it shows our inability to solve the problem, then we need extra dose of religion, so we can get it. The wisdom of religion is to make us all better humans, if we don't get it that is our problem, not religion's. If we punish the individual, then it is accounted for. Hating a religion is like shooting the gun without aim. Let's get to think and find ways - annihilation is not the answer, co-existence is. But before that, our mind needs to be in peace. Peace emits peace.

May the creator bless us with peace, tranquility and free us from hate and malice.



Aurthor unknown
July 17, 2007

I used to know a man whose family was German aristocracy prior to World War II. He was a German Jew. They owned a number of large industries and estates. I asked him how many German people were true Nazis, and the answer he gave has stuck with me and guided my attitude toward fanaticism ever since.

"Very few people were true Nazis," he said, "but many enjoyed the return of German pride; and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us; and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp, and the Allies destroyed my factories."
We are told again and again, by "experts" and "talking heads" that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace.

Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam. The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam, at this moment in history, as the Nazis did, in their time in history.

It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa, and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals.

The hard quantifiable fact is that the" peaceful majority" is the "silent majority," and it is cowed and extraneous.

Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.

China's huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people.

The average Japanese individual, prior to World War 2, was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across Southeast Asia in an orgy of killing, that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians - most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet.

And, who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were "peace loving?"

History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason, we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points:

Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence.
Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don't speak up, because like my friend from Germany, they will awake one day, and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun.

Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others, have died - because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late.

As for us who watch, it all unfold; we must pay attention to the only group that counts; the fanatics who threaten our way of life.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Engaging Islam Conference

Engaging Islam:
Feminism, Religiosities and Self-Determination
September 12-16 2007

University of Massachusetts Fall Institute 2007

Engaging Islam will be held at University of Massachusetts Boston from
September 12-16, 2007

Conference Details

Engaging Islam: Preliminary Conference Schedule

The Institute is free and open to the public. No registration is necessary
for non-presenting attendees.

Wednesday, September 12

Panel Title: ³Defining Islamic Feminisms² 2-5 PM

* Key-Note: Amina Wadud

* Key-Note: Haideh Moghissi

* Key-Note: Lila Abu-Lughod

Thursday, September 13

Panel Title: ³Negotiating Shari¹a and the ŒSecular State¹²

9-10 AM Key-Note: Madhavi Sunder
10-10:30 AM ­ Break
10:30-12:30 - Panel

* Berna Turam ³Democratization and Muslim Women: The Case of Secular Turkey²

* Natasha Dar ³Liberté, Equalité, Fraternité, and the Shari'a: The
Production of Islamic Legal Knowledges and ŒThe Muslim Woman¹ in the
French-North African Diaspora²

* Mitra Rastegar ³Secularism through U.S. policies and discourses on Islam
and Muslim citizens²

12:30-1:30 Break for Lunch

Panel Title: ³Negotiating Shari¹a and the ŒSecular State¹² (continued)

1:30 ­2:30 Key-Note: Tariq Modood
Break: 2:30-3PM

3-5PM - Panel

* Srimati Basu ³Separate and Unequal: Muslim Women, Women¹s Movements and
Un-uniform Family Law in India"

* Jasmin Zine "Negotiating Religion and the Secular State: Muslim Women and
Shari'a Law Tribunals in Canada"

6-7:30PM - Screen Film ³Silent Waters²
7:30PM ­ Dinner & Presentation by Shahnaz Khan

Friday, September 14

Panel Title: ³Challenging Hegemonic Representations of Muslim Women²

9-10 AM - Keynote: Lara Deeb

10-10:30 AM­ Break
10:30-12:30 - Panel

* Elizabeth Bucar ³Good Hijab, Bad Hijab: The Politics of Religious Dress in

* Peter McMurray ³Speaking the Unspeakable: Three Representations of Wartime
Sexual Violence Against Bosnian Muslim Women²

* Surbhi Tiwari ³Whither Fundamentalism or Feminism? Sania Mirza, Œsexy¹
dressing and the politics of (erotic) identity²

12:30-1:30 - Break for Lunch

Panel Title: ³Globalization, Gender Relations, and Sexuality²

1:30-2:30 PM - Key-Note: Jasbir Puar

Break: 2:30-3PM

3-5PM - Panel

* Ashley Al-Sayyad ³Queer Muslim Women: Visibility, Diaspora, and Islam²

* Chris Kelly ³Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered (GLBT) Muslim

* Sonja Van Wichelen ³Politics of Presence: Feminist Contestations over a
New Muslim Indonesia²

Dinner at a restaurant in Cambridge

Saturday, September 15

Panel Title: ³Political Economy and Islamic Feminisms²

9-10 AM - Keynote: Lamia Karim

10-10:30AM ­ Break

10:30-12:30 - Panel

* Fauzia Ahmed ³Islam, Poverty Alleviation, & Masculinity²

* Roksana Bahramitash ³Iranian Islamic Women as Œthe Other¹: A Class
Analysis of the Role of Women in the Informal Economy and Islamic Micro

* Damla Isik ³On Weaving, Sohbet, and Patience: Governance of Time and Labor
in Konya¹s Weaving Industry²

12:30-1:30 - Break for Lunch

Panel Title: ³Coalition-building and Transnationalism²

1:30PM - Key-Note: Zainah Anwar

Break: 2:30-3PM

3-5PM - Panel

* Azza Basarudin ³Recreating Communities of the Faithful?: Negotiating
Gender, Religion & Feminism in Malaysia and Egypt²

* Tina Nebe ³Islam in the Public and Private Spaces: Turkey, Iran, Nigeria,
and Indonesia²

* Dina Siddiqi ³Legislating Fatwas: Dilemmas and Contradictions for

* Rafia Zakaria ³Dangerous Truths: the Muslim woman¹s story and the emerging
chasm between transnational feminist scholarship and activism²

Sunday, September 16

Panel Title: Pedagogy and Islam

9AM-11:30 - Panel

* Hilary Kalmach ³Female Leadership and Activism in Conservative Islamic
Communities: An Islamic Form of Feminism?²

* Juliet Gentile ³From ŒHonorary Man¹ to Sheikha: The Path of Sufi Women in
the West²

* Jennifer Fluri ³The Corporeal Marker: Gender, Space and Islam²

11:30-12 ­ Break

12-1PM - Closing Remarks

Veil and British women

Veil and British women
Womens United Nations Report Network on behalf of WUNRN
Islamic Human Rights Commission - UK -

UK - Report Reveals Muslim Women’s Thoughts on the Veil and Rise in Discrimination Against Women

Islamic Human Rights Commission

Report Reveals Muslim Women’s Thoughts on the Veil and Rise in Discrimination Against Women

'Hijab, Meaning, Identity, Otherization and Politics: British Muslim Women'. A report by Saied R. Ameli and Arzu Merali for the Islamic Human Rights Commission. Publication date: 26th of January 2006, 1-903718-26-0, 84 pp, £7

The report overviews and critiques existing literature on the subject as well as policy. It reports on the survey data of the nationwide survey of Muslims undertaken for the project of 1200 respondents. Additionally, survey data from IHRC’s ‘Hijab Project’ that interviewed 365 British women was analysed, as well as qualitative responses used to interrogate these findings.

The results show that an overwhelming 81% of respondents see Hijab to be of importance. The experiences of increased stereotyping and negative experiences of Muslim women by wider society and the government and policy makers were noted as significantly increasing after 9/11.

Responses, from women questioned, undermine prevailing stereotypes of Muslim women. Women often saw the adoption of Hijab as liberating and a means to achieving gender equity in an increasingly gender exploitative wider society. Many saw Hijab as the fulfillment of spiritual satisfaction, whilst others saw it as a proud expression of identity that in no way conflicted with their sense of Britishness.

One of the report’s authors, Arzu Merali said:

“This report represents as challenge to academics and politicians alike to reevaluate their judgments about Muslim women in the country. Many policies are enacted and enforced upon Muslim women in the name of their help and protection. It’s time that the powers that be realized that Muslim women themselves need to set the agenda when it comes to their needs. They also need to realize that by presuming to speak on their behalf, they simply marginalize Muslim women further.”

Professor Scott Lucas of the Department of American and Canadian Studies, University of Birmingham said:

“ This book should not be the final word on the issue of the hijab – it does not seek to be. Rather, in its presentation of the views of individuals who too often are treated as inferior or threatening, it makes a contribution which should be heard by all of us, Muslim or non-Muslim. If as one respondent argues, “British society is an open and receptive one where multi-culturalism is concerned“, then these voices in this volume deserve respect and acknowledgement”.

A summary of the report follows. If you require further comment, a PDF review copy or a hard copy for review, please contact the press office on (+44) 20 8904 4222, mobile (+44) 7958 607475 or email


'Hijab, Meaning, Identity, Otherization and Politics: British Muslim Women'. A report by Saied R. Ameli, and Arzu Merali for the Islamic Human Rights Commission. Publication date: 26th January 2006, ISBN 1-903718-26-0, 84 pp, £7


The fourth report in the British Muslim Expectations of Government series has been commissioned to highlight and identify Muslim responses and requirements. It aims to record the main areas of concern in regards to Hijab. The wearing of Hijab has always been controversial, especially in a post 9/11 climate which has seen Hijab bans in both France and Turkey and the case of a British student, who was excluded from school for wearing a jilbab (full length overcoat).

This report particularly aims to voice the views of both men and women who recognize or affiliate to the concept of Hijab and to present recommendations to the government by analysing responses from a nationwide survey of 1200 Muslims, qualitative answers of 56 Muslims and 365 quantitative questionnaires from IHRC's 2003-2004 survey entitled the 'Hijab-Project'.

Research and findings

The findings in the report negate the misconception that women who wear Hijab out of choice and choose to affiliate to it, are disadvantaged. Instead, it reveals the concept of Hijab to be an identity which individuals have chosen to identify themselves by.

The Importance of Hijab

- An overwhelming 81% of respondents state Hijab to be the most important or one of the most important values.

- Before 9/11, 60.8% of women who wore some form of Hijab experienced being talked down to or treated as if stupid. This figure rose to 68.5% after 9/11.

- The majority in all levels of education, except PhD assigned Hijab as one of the most important religious values and for those with a PhD, the majority still believed it to be a very important religious value.

The Meaning of the Hijab for Muslims in Britain

Respondents saw Hijab to be a form of protection, identity, religious obligation and a reminder to behave in a dignified manner when in public. Other reasons cited were acting as ambassadors of Islam and as a form of Da'wah (proselytism). Sporting Hijab was attributable to modesty and respect according to some respondents. Both female and male respondents clarify that Hijab is not merely a piece of cloth but a concept which applies to both genders and symbolises the concept of modesty.

Hijab Values, Belief and Spirituality

For the majority of female respondents, Hijab was worn for spiritual reasons such as obedience to God. In addition, Hijab worn out of free choice was considered a liberating experience.

Hijab and identity

The majority of the respondents felt that Hijab was a way to assert their Islamic identity and had been a positive experience, in contrast with their negative experience of discrimination at work or the anti-Muslim sentiment in social settings. However, this was overridden by the satisfaction gained by wearing the Hijab; a coherent view of emphasizing Islamic identity, through choice and intention, is recurrent in responses.

Otherization: British Majority Society and British Muslims

Rife stereotypes of Hijab remain encrusted in society and for the most part, blame is placed on the media, however schools, government and the behaviour of other Muslims is also blamed, which further emphasizes rampant stereotypical views.

There was a decrease in those who had not experienced being made fun of or ridiculed for being Muslim pre 9/11and an increase in such negative representation in a post 9/11 climate.

- Responses from Muslim women surveyed pre 9/11 and post 9/11 assert that there is an upsurge in Muslims being ridiculed:

- Subsequent to 9/11, 59.9% of respondents said they had been made fun of or ridiculed for being Muslim. Pre 9/11, 52.9% of respondents had never been ridiculed.

-Hijab, nikaab and jilbab, as distinct Islamic dress, generated differences in experience with those who did not dress in a visibly Muslim manner.

- Regardless of respondents’ levels of affiliation to Hijab, figures of perception of Islamophobia, in the media, were relatively high, showing 62.4% of respondents believing the media's representation to be Islamophobic.

- 14.5% of respondents, pre 9/11 had never encountered negative or insulting stereotypes of Muslims, after 9/11 this figure dropped to 4.1%

- Of those who did encounter such stereotypes, there was a steep rise from 9.6%, pre 9/11 to 29.9%, post 9/11.

- 32.3% of respondents had never experienced being treated according to stereotype. This figure dropped to 18.9% after 9/11.

-23.3% of women surveyed, perceived themselves to be frequently treated according to stereotype. This figure rose to 44% post 9/11, from between once a month to more than once a week - a sharp rise of 21.1% - which is almost double the former figure.

Hijab Society and Politics

Loyalty and Resistance

As with previous findings in this series, respondents with high affiliation to Hijab have a strong sense of belonging to Britain, running counter to the notion that obvious displays of religious affiliation are equivalent to rejection of Britain or wider society.

Female respondents have shown a strong sense of belonging and willpower to maintain their Hijab and their Muslimness, regardless of possible laws or policies which could ban the Hijab.

The overall response from the findings has been that most respondents find that the government disrespects Muslims, a recurring notion in previous volumes in this series.

Subversion and the State

Of those surveyed, most considered religious values, in this case the Hijab, to be a reason for respecting British laws, as evident in the previous reports. Among respondents:

- Most women surveyed in regards to their pre and post 9/11 experiences, saw a significant increase in anti-Muslim comments from politicians. Pre 9/11, 28.2% of respondents felt they had heard such remarks once a year, this figure falling to 11.5% subsequent to 9/11.

Furthermore, 26.8% of respondents claimed they had never heard any such remarks. This figure later fell to 12.6%.

-Post 9/11 24.7% of respondents claimed to hear such comments on a monthly basis.

- A significant number of respondents made it clear that they would not be willing to compromise on wearing Hijab if policies to ban it were enforced, despite otherwise respecting the law of the land.

Controlling, defining or negotiating sexuality?

Hijab has been viewed as a mechanism, to control female sexuality, yet participants in this study have stated the removal of both male and female sexuality in everyday relations is necessary and therefore, they recognize Hijab to subvert the male gaze and resist objectification. Egalitarian rights talk is emphasized by respondents who feel sexuality should not be expressed in the public sphere. No participants in the survey felt the conscious wearing of Hijab as oppressive in any way, although problems were encountered, in terms of responses from family, friends, peers and wider society.

Hijab and Territoriality

The mistaken belief that Hijab is a practice of designating inferiority and gender discrimination is overshadowed by male participants' responses. Male respondents felt the concept of Hijab can be applied to both sexes. Although manifested in different ways (men are not obliged to cover their heads but still need to dress modestly), it was equally as important for both to observe Hijab. Hijab was seen by some men as ensuring that women could participate in wider society and not be sexually exploited.

What is the effect of wearing Hijab in the UK?

Studies have shown British Muslims to feel a sense of belonging, alongside that of rejection, which is demonstrated in experiences of wearing Hijab in Britain.

-The events of 9/11 have seen the rise of discrimination in the form of being ignored, overlooked stared at or moved away from.

-Hostility at work was assessed showing a rise from 30.1%.which reports an atmosphere of hostility at work before 9/11; a rise to 43.8%.

Some of the Muslim women surveyed also felt there was a glass ceiling if and when they try to attain top ranking jobs.

-Some types of hostility and discrimination are prevalent in respondents' everyday life experiences and expectations so much so that their lives are made up of this for example, in school settings, work, public transport and a variety of social arenas.

What should the government do for Muslim women wearing Hijab?

Allow and protect Hijab

To explicitly allow Hijab to be worn and legislate to protect and support the Hijab

Stand equivocally against Hijab bans

A call on the government to condemn Hijab bans in various countries.

Educate the general public

Promote Hijab to clear misconceptions

Normalise and mainstream Hijab

Incorporate Hijab into work, leisure etc. (i.e. uniform)

Religious Equality

Providing British Muslims with the same rights as their non-Muslim British counterparts


A strong sense of individualism and collective Muslim identity is visible, as findings have shown that women are ready to stand up and object against Hijab bans. Unfortunately, negative experiences have become the norm within the lives of some Muslim women, therefore some cases of discrimination have come to be tolerated. Stereotyping, characterized by media vilification and ridicule, effects the daily lives of Muslim women in addition to the government and high profile political figures who have committed similar failings.

Recommendations to the Government

The report concludes with proposals for the government and policy makers to consider.

As the majority of respondents feel that discrimination and misconceptions are rife within society, the government must:

· Recognise - without reservation or hesitation - the religious rights of Muslim Women

· Recognising diversity and the rights of Muslim self-expression in Hijab

· Have a national policy in incorporating Hijab into uniforms in both the education and the employment sector

· That Hijab is not allowed to be a barrier to participation in sport or (other) leisure activities

· Women only spaces in public places

· Talking responsibly

· Showing solidarity with those who wear Hijab abroad

· Marketing and mainstreaming the Hijab

· Tackling the media

Methodology and Sample Group

In compiling this report, 1125 quantitative and 56 qualitative surveys were conducted, documented, analysed, and presented. The quantitative questionnaire was part of a major survey carried out by IHRC and reported in the last three volumes of the British Muslims’ Expectations of the Government series. Furthermore, data from IHRC’s, 2003-2004 ‘Hijab Project’ consisting of quantitative questions from 365 women living in the UK, was explored throughout.

In summary:
·Both the qualitative and quantitative surveys were undertaken in various localities across England, Wales and Scotland.
·The diversity of Muslim ethnicities was represented across the survey.
·Respondents’ ages reflected the predominantly youthful make-up of the British Muslim community.
·Approximately 90 percent of our respondents are British citizens and 55 percent are born in Britain.
·The majority of respondents saw themselves as practicing Muslims.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Racism towards Muslims

Racism colours West's attitude towards Muslims
Between The Lines Kuldip Nayar's-attitude-towards-muslims.aspx

Racism colours West's attitude towards Muslims

Indian Muslims are surprised but feel gratified over the concern both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee have shown in the case of Mohammad Haneef who is under detention in Australia. This is how a pluralistic society like ours is expected to act. Yet, New Delhi has seldom taken such a stance in the past because it has generally assumed that if it is an act of terror, Muslims must be involved in it. Indeed, there are some bad eggs in every community. That does not mean that the entire community is rotten.

In some western countries, I suspect a bit of racism is getting mixed with the fear of terrorism in their attitude to Muslims. I saw it happening in the United Kingdom in 1990 when I was India's high commissioner in London. Racism was beginning to creep into British society. Every person from the subcontinent was called "Paki." Even sophisticated white Britons would freely use this term of contempt. I found to my dismay that the non-whites were tolerated, but not accepted. Muslims have come in handy for this prejudice to have a free run. Mrs Margaret Thatcher, in her last days as Prime Minister, told me that Islam was the biggest threat to the world after the death of communist Soviet Union. I imagined she meant Islamic fundamentalism. I shudder to think what new rules and regulations the British would introduce in the name of immigration. They are bound to be loaded against Asians. The bias would be evident.

Australia, I used to believe, cared for human rights and individual liberty. But the treatment meted out to Haneef has disillusioned me. It seems that when it comes to whites versus non-whites, the prejudice of the West ¡½ whether it is Australia, the United States or the United Kingdom ¡½ surfaces sooner or later. However, I have not been able to comprehend New Delhi's comment that Australia should be fair. It is a loaded remark. Many human rights activists and lawyers in Australia have held demonstrations in favour of Haneef. New Delhi, which has little compunction in violating human rights, does not know how to react to such matters.

Nonetheless, the involvement of well-educated and well-settled Muslims in the terror attacks at Glasgow and elsewhere is a matter of concern. Only a couple of years ago I felt proud telling Pakistanis and Bangladeshis that Indian Muslims had firmly rejected the extremists' call to participate in the jihad in Afghanistan. Nor would they go to any other country to support fundamentalists. Congress president Sonia Gandhi asserted at Oxford in 2002 that "Indian Muslims were not of an Al Qaeda bent of mind." The demolition of Babri Masjid and the massacre at Gujarat still torment Muslims in the country. They are old wounds which have not healed. Yet, Muslims do not reach for their gun to avenge the happenings. (The Combat has brought out a touching account of the aftermath of the Gujarat genocide.)

True, most Muslims are still away from the mainstream, but they have learnt to live with the situation when they have found the larger picture secular. My hunch is that the fundamentalists are reacting to what the West has been doing to the Muslim world in the last few decades. It feels as if the West is spoiling for a fight on the belief that the two civilisations, of Christians and of Muslims, are in the midst of a clash to establish which one is supreme.

The invasion of Iraq is seen in the same light. It is now beyond doubt that there were no weapons of mass destruction in the country and that the invasion turned out to be a massacre conducted by US President George W. Bush for the sake of oil. Had America tried to make amends for its aggression, the Muslim world would have felt that it was wrong in considering the West as an enemy. Some gesture by Washington to mollify Muslims is what is needed. New British Prime Minister Gordon Brown can break new ground in this regard instead of remaining America's poodle.

Palestine is also on the mind of the Muslims. They may not be able to do anything substantial to help the country. But Palestine is mentioned from every mosque pulpit all over the world. Nobody wants "to throw the Jews into the sea," words that were often used in the past. Israel is a fact which Muslims have come to recognise. Yet, there is no indication that Israel is prepared to go back to its original borders mandated by the United Nations when Israel was established. The proposal by the Saudi Arabian King on the vacation of territories in lieu of recognition deserves support. America should throw its weight behind the proposal. But it has not done so because the Jewish lobby is too powerful in the US Congress and too dominating in the financial quarters which dictate America.

The grievances that Muslims have, some real and some imaginary, do not mean that there is something wrong with the religion. Terrorism is not part of Islam and the call of jihad has been raised wrongly and goes against the tenets of Islam. Look at Turkey. It is an Islamic country. But one has not heard of Turkish terrorists. Not so long ago, a procession was taken out on the streets of Istanbul in support of secularism. But according to the European Union, Turkey's biggest drawback is that it is a Muslim country, the reason why Turkey is yet to find an entry into EU.

Even then, the sheikhs and the savants of the Muslim world should meet to devise ways to introduce "dissent" in Islam. Some reinterpretation of the dogmas is required. Democracy demands this. The right to voice differences should take place more visibly and more categorically. One can see this happening in Turkey, Pakistan and Bangladesh. In India, a committee of ulemas is taking stock of the laws and customs relating to marriage and divorce.

The Quran says: "Fight in the name of Allah against those who fight against you, but do not begin hostilities¡Ä" Terrorism is a deliberate act of killing the innocent, which is not sanctioned by Islam. What is disconcerting is that the Indian nation, nurtured in pluralism and tolerance, should have some people who place religion above the country. Probably, some doctors in Bangalore have fallen victim to this pernicious thesis. This is as much un-Islamic as anti-Indian.

Bangalore is a familiar dateline. Not long ago, reports of terrorism emanated from there. Lashkar-e-Tayyaba attacked the tightly guarded Indian Institute of Sciences one and a half years ago. I recall national security adviser M.K. Narayanan telling me one day before the attack that terrorists could strike anywhere, any time. He sounded helpless and resigned. Had he made the different agencies do their job, much about the terrorists in Bangalore and beyond would have been exposed.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Moderates and Bombings

Dr. Juzar Bandukwala

Moderator's notes:

Three items are included here below by ; a) Dr. Bandukwalas b) Hasan Suroor and c) Dr. Javed Jamil.

i) When Juzar talks about beware of the new convert, he is talking about those Jihadist and not the normal persons converting.

ii) It was Madeline Albright, Secretary of State, who responed to the question that the death of thousands of Children was worth it. What a criminal mind!

iii) Leave the Muslim world to Muslims, meaning the average day to day Muslims, and not the Taliban Muslims.

iv) Dr. Juzar Bandukwala used to live in the United States and has returned back to Gujarat, India to serve the mankind there, where his services were most needed.

iv) What the extremists are doing is abhorrent, we have to do every thing possible to have them demand proof from their extremists teachers to show them where in Qur'aan they were ordered to kill others.

Mike Ghouse

Article continued:

I have read through Hasan Suroor's
article in the Hindu.I have already written on the
bombings in the Times. Suroor would classify that ' as
a state of denial'. My own son Azeem, settled in New
York has views that parallel Suroor's. But Suroor
loses his balance by quoting extensively from articles
by two ex Jihadist . We have to beware of the new

Suroor would like Muslim intellectuals and leaders to
stop blaming Iraq, Palestine and a horde of other
historical issues for the Jihadist behaviour. While I
cannot defend Al Queda type, how do I ignore the role
of the West in what has happened to Muslim lands since
the last hundred years. Even Iraq was a creation of
the West, in that three ethnically and culturally
distinct units were merged into one and called Iraq.
Incidentally Churchill noted, in 1920, 'that we could
have selected a better name, as this one is so similar
to Iran'.

Note that Saddam was a Western favorite in the Iran
Iraq war of 1980-85. They even gave him chemical
weapons, to help finish off Khomeini's Iran.
But once
he turned his interests to another Western client
state Kuwait, he was attacked in 1991.Even prior to
the 2003 invasion, the economic blockade of Iraq , may
well have killed thousands of children . When asked
about it, the then US Secretary of State replied that
it is a price that has to be paid as a collateral

In the past five years civilian deaths in Iraq, by one
estimate is about 6 lakhs. There is hardly any horror
expressed on that count. But one unexploded bomb in
Glasgow can get the whole world fuming at the horror
of the jihadists. Can we consider the Glasgow
bombings as a collateral damage, for the war inflicted
on Iraq by Blair, just to please Bush ?

Wise people in the West, in particular Pope John Paul
ll and President Carter, have realised the terrible
dangers of Western attempts at regime change in
Muslim countries . Iranian revolution of Khomeini
would not have been possible had the CIA not joined
the Anglo Iran oil company in overthrowing and then
killing the elected Prime Minsiter Mossadegh in 1953.
His crime : He was against that company paying more
taxes to a British Government, and much less royalty
to Iran , from where the oil was extracted.

Today the tragedy of Palestine coupled with the client
states of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan does burn a
fire in many Muslim minds. Western perfidy has only
resulted in the strengthening of characters like Bin
Laden, who himself was invited by the CIA to fight
the Russians in Afghanistan . But once communism was
defeated, the West quietly abandoned him and his
friends. It is that anger that burns within them.
It has become a fashion to blame moderates and
intellectuals for not condemning the Jihadists.But
Western policy has weakened moderates throughout the
Muslim world, by the total support for autocratic
dictators that toe the western line.

Yet we shoulder on, urging our community to turn
towards quality education, towards business as a
wealth generator, and towards the rights of women, as
so wisely enshrined in the Quran. It is remarkable
that Muslims do listen to us, although we lack both
money and man power. I consider that as a sign of
Allah's Grace. Note that our fight is with both : Al
Qaeda and also with the western colonial mentality. We
recognise that Lal Masjid Maulanas can destroy the
nobility and beauty of Islam.

But leave the Muslim world to Muslims. We can manage
our own affairs. I hope the price paid in Iraq is so
high, that no future Western leader will ever repeat
Palestine or Iraq .

Only our heart knows the pain.


Debate or denial: the Muslim dilemma
Hasan Suroor

More Muslims need to realise that Islamist terrorists are not simply "misguided" individuals acting on a whim but that they are people who know what they are doing and they are doing it deliberately in the name of Islam.

Judging from much of the Muslim reaction to the latest Islamist outrage ¡½ last month's attempted bombings in London and Glasgow ¡½ the community seems to have talked itself into a default position in relation to violent Muslim extremism. The same old arguments are being flogged again betraying an unwillingness to acknowledge either the scale of the problem or its nature. The fear of making the community or Islam look bad has created a strange silence aroun d issues that lie at the heart of the Islamism debate.

Broadly, the Muslim argument is that it is all down to a host of external factors. Top of the list is the western foreign policy, especially with regard to the Palestinian issue, compounded by the invasion and continuing occupation of Iraq. Then there are social and economic reasons such as lack of education and high rate of unemployment in the Muslim community ¡½ again attributed to external causes such as racial or religious discrimination.

In other words: don't blame us; it is all other people's doing. We are only the victims. As someone who feels the same pressures as other Muslims, I wish this was true. But it isn't. It not all other people's doing. We are not just the victims.
I used the term 'default position' as an euphemism. There is a more robustly appropriate term, which is being increasingly used to describe the Muslim position: denial. The view that Muslims are in denial of the extent of the problem and their own responsibility in dealing with it is no longer confined to right-wing Muslim-bashers. Even liberal opinion has started to shift.

Appearing on an NDTV panel discussion last week, I was struck by how closely my two distinguished co-panellists ¡½ one in New Delhi and the other in Bangalore ¡½ stuck to the 'default' position. They kept refer ring to "looming images" from Iraq and Palestine; and to the frustration and "anger" bred by American and British foreign policy. There were obligatory references to social deprivation etc., etc. And as for the three Indian doctors suspected to have been behind the London-Glasgow plot, they were simply "misguided" individuals acting alone.

There was much hand-wringing when the anchor underlined the fact that Muslims had been behind all recent acts of terrorism. Yes, it was worrying. Of course, the community condemned any violence committed in the name of Islam, a peaceful religion. And, indeed, there was need for introspection and discussion. But all this was hedged in with so many "ifs" and "buts" that the whole debate seemed like a huge exercise in denial. At least up to the point where I was cut off because the satellite time ran out.

It is the response of a community that sees itself under siege and is irritated that every time a Muslim does something silly it is expected to stand up and apologise. Add to this the prevailing Islamophobia (it is pretty widespread, make no mistake about it), and it is not difficult to understand why Muslims are in this defensive mood. But how long will they continue to shy away from facing the truth? And the truth is that many of their assumptions about the underlying causes of extremism are flawed. Every fresh terrorist attack chips away at the idea that foreign policy and socio-economic factors are the sole drivers of Islamist extremism, making the Muslim default position more untenable.

Hassan Butt, a reformed British extremist, recalls how "we used to laugh in celebration whenever people on TV proclaimed that the sole cause for Islamic acts of terror like 9/11, the Madrid bombings and 7/7 was Western foreign policy." Writing in The Observer, he said if he was still stuck in his old ways, he would be "laughing once again" at suggestions that the June 29-30 failed attacks were motivated by anger over British foreign policy.

Mr. Butt criticised Muslims and liberal non-Muslim intellectuals and politicians for failing to recognise the "role of Islamist ideology in terrorism" ¡½ an ideology that, according to another lapsed extremist Shiraz Maher, preaches a "separatist message of Islamic supremacy" and seeks to establish a "puritanical caliphate." Mr. Maher knew Kafeel Ahmed, the Indian who tried to blow up Glasgow airport and is now fighting for his life in a hospital in Scotland.

Both Mr. Butt and Mr. Maher were activists of Hizb-ut-Tahrir, one of Britain's most controversial radical groups with a long and notorious history of recruiting potential jihadis in mosques and on university campuses. Mohammed Siddique Khan, who masterminded the 7/7 bombings, was a member of Hizb at the same time as Mr. Butt. The July 7 attacks were widely attributed to the invasion of Iraq and other west-inspired "atrocities" against Muslims. According to Mr. Butt, though many extremists were enraged by the deaths of fellow Muslims across the world "what drove me and many of my peers to plot acts of extreme terror within Britain, our homeland and abroad, was a sense that we were fighting for the creation of a revolutionary state that would eventually bring Islamic justice to the world."

Arguably, defectors are not the most reliable of people and there is, inevitably, an element of exaggeration in what they say about the organisation they have left and of their own role in it. Yet, so long as we are careful to remember where they are coming from and don't allow ourselves to be mesmerised by their insiders' account, they remain our best guide to understanding the world they have left behind. It is only an ex-extremist who can help us get a glimpse of what goes on inside an extremist organisation and sometime that can change our perceptions of an issue in a fundamental way. So, when people like Mr. Butt and Mr. Maher debunk some of the most widely held assumptions about the nature of Muslim extremism it is important to pay heed. And they are not the only ones. Ed Husain, another ex-Islamist, has written a whole book ( The Islamist) warning against complacency.

First and foremost, Muslims must acknowledge what Ziauddin Sardar, one of Europe's most prominent Muslim scholars, calls the "Islamic nature of the problem." Islamist extremism has not descended from another planet or been imposed on the community from outside. It breeds within the community and is the product of a certain kind of interpretation of Islam. And, in the words, of Mr. Sardar, terrorists are a "product of a specific mindset that has deep roots in Islamic history."
In a seminal essay, "The Struggle for Islam's Soul" (New Statesman, July 18, 2005), Mr. Sardar argued that Islamists were "nourished by an Islamic tradition that is intrinsically inhuman and violent in its rh etoric, thought and practice" and this placed a unique burden on Muslims as they tried to make sense of what their co-religionists were doing in the name of Islam. "To deny that they are a product of Islamic history and tradition is more than complacency. It is a denial of responsibility, a denial of what is happening in our communities. It is a refusal to live in the real world," he wrote.

Mr. Sardar's views are significant. He is a practising Muslim with deep grounding in Islamic theology. He was deeply upset by Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses and is often involved in verbal duels with Islamophobic commen tators. But as he points out because he is a Muslim and it is in the name of his religion that terrorists are acting, he believes it is his "responsibility critically to examine the tradition that sustains them."

More Muslims need to realise that Islamist terrorists are not simply "misguided" individuals acting on a whim but that they are people who know what they are doing and they are doing it deliberately in the name of Islam. However perverted their interpretation it remains an interpretation of Islam and it is not enough to condemn their actions or accuse them of hijacking Islam without doing anything about it.

Let's face it; there are verses in the Koran that justify violence. The "hard truth that Islam does permit the use of violence," as Mr. Butt points out, must be recognised by Muslims. When Islam was in its infancy and battling against non-believers violence was deemed legitimate to put them down. Today, when it is the world's second largest religion with more than one billion followers around the world and still growing that context has lost its relevance. Yet, jihadi groups, pursuing their madcap scheme of establishing Dar-ul-Islam (the Land of Islam), are using these passages to incite impressionable Muslim youths. Yet there is no sign of a debate in the community beyond easy platitudes, and it remains in denial.

Dr. Javed Jamil's Comments:


Maqbool Siraj is my friend and a very sensible young man with a good insight in the world affairs. But I am sorry to say that his latest article has come as a shock to me. It is totally off balance with unqualified endorsement of West and Westernism and the pinning of the responsibility on Muslims alone. Such an approach can please none by the perpetrators of tyranny and injustice. Obviously, this cannot bring any solution to the problem of terrorism. Western prosperity is a bottle of champagne which may appear to be a sign of prosperity and celebration but has inside nothing in store except diseases and destruction. This is high time we separated the scientific and technological advancement that West has made from the political, social and economic agenda it pursues. While sciences should be accepted and further developed there is no reason why a social, political and economic agenda that banks on the commercialization of human weaknesses, misuse of sciences for attainment of domination and exploitation of the weak should be embraced. If scientists have brought comforts, the forces of economic fundamentalism have brought Global Warming, disintegration of family system, high crime rates and suicides and huge economic disparity not only among different nations but also among different people of the same nations.

Though Ulema are indirectly responsible for the rise of terrorism it is ridiculous to blame them for the high-tech “terrorists”. If some doctors and engineers have become “terrorists” it is most probably not due to the influence of clerics; mere reading of daily newspaper is enough to arouse extreme feelings in certain groups of people. If terrorism is to be uprooted, all the factors contributing to it will have to be tackled, simultaneously, not one after the other. The rise of terrorism can be attributed to three major factors: Western (mainly American) policies, failure of official response by Muslim countries and failure of Islamic clerics to take the governments to task. American policies have shown glaring paradoxes:

First, while the West does not tire of espousing the cause of democracy, it has shown scant regard for the same when it does not suit its interests. The US continued to give Shah Reza Shah Pahelvi of Iran, a monarch, whole-hearted support against the wishes of the people of Iran; he in fact survived on this support. The rise of popular movement against him and the replacement of monarchy by Islamic democracy must have been a welcome change for the US if it was a real supporter of the rights of people. Instead it chose not to let the Republic of Iran function smoothly. It has been busy putting all sorts of pressure on the elected government and organising rebellion against it. When an Islamic political party emerged victorious in Algeria, the US did not allow it to hold reins. The Army got in and the civil war that ensued consumed thousands of lives. The “lovers” of humanity and democratic rights of the people kept smiling. What on the earth can explain the souring of America’s relationships with important Muslim democratic countries like Malaysia and Iran and its backing of the monarchies? The US is fooling itself if it thinks its campaign of bringing democracies to the Islamic world will help its cause. Whatever the US plans for Iraq and Afghanistan, the governments there will ultimately land in the hands of Islamic revolutionaries. In Iraq it will happen sooner than the US can expect. The Muslim masses do not tolerate the US; the democratisation is therefore not going to help it. If it thinks it can manipulate political groups within these countries, this strategy is not going to work.
Second, while the US wants every other country to honour “international opinion”, it hardly cares itself for what the world thinks about it. The overwhelming opinion of the world was against the invasion of Iraq; it still chose a course itself and treaded it along with a handful of its followers. It disregarded the UN, which it thinks must always submit to its demands. The truth is that “International community” for the US means nothing but America, and “international opinion” means nothing but the opinion of the President of America. The “champions” of democracy would not tolerate democracy in the UN. The fate of the world should be decided not by the mutual consent of all the countries but by the will of the lone Super Power.

Third, while the US would not waste a minute in declaring the actions of terrorist organisations as barbaric, it would do everything, civil or barbaric, to satiate its lust of power. The US forces killed thousands -- the estimate varying from a minimum of 150 to the maximum of 600 thousands -- of innocent Iraqis. The responsibilities of all killings in Iraq after the invasion fall on the US. It made open attempts of the assassination of the President of a member of the UN, and later put rewards on his and his men’s heads. Its soldiers tortured, molested, humiliated and sexually abused Iraqi prisons; the worst inhuman treatment was reserved for the prisoners at the Guatanama Bay. While it regards the death of innocents as “collateral damage”, it is not going to accept that the loss of innocent lives in terrorist attacks may also be labelled as collateral damage.

Terrorism would in all probabilities not have emerged had the governments in Muslim countries not been blindly pursuing the American line. If they had even allowed the masses to demonstrate peacefully, things would not have got that far. Terrorism is an act of frustration; when the governments do not act the way the masses want it to, some groups emerge from among them, which use the means available to them to try to stall the march of their detractors. While wars are the method of the strong to subdue dissent, terrorism is the weapon of the weak to challenge the mighty. Terrorism is worth condemning but less than the full-fledged wars by the strong nations against the weak. Terrorists must be condemned but in the same breath American government must be condemned. For its heavy-handedness in dealing with other countries, its exploitative policies at the global level, its attempts to hijack all international institutions including the UN, its support for social evils, even their export for its own economic ends and for its unjust policies towards the genuine grievances of Muslims.

Third, Muslim masses want to see clerics perform their religious duty without fear or bias. Clerics have failed to understand, at least put into practice, the real mission of Islam: bringing peace to the whole world. The fact is that they have hardly any idea of what is happening in the corridors of power at the global level; they have been a virtual failure in recognising the demands of the emerging world and planning an Islamic response to them. The world has become a haven for the forces of evils; evils of all kinds are destroying the individual, family and social lives of the people. But clerics are only busy eulogising their mentors, religious and political. This provides an opportunity to those to step in who have the will and courage to challenge the devil but not the following to pursue their goals in a peaceful manner. They have no option but to resort to undesirable if not entirely prohibited means.

The Western analysts have also responded to the “terrorist” problem rather childishly. Most of them have used it as an alibi for venting their own hatred or misgivings about Islam and Muslims. They have demonstrated a partisan approach. They have culled from the pages of history a few isolated incidents where Muhammad (Peace be upon him!), as the Head of State, ordered the execution of a few persons who were busy masterminding rebellion against the on-rushing revolution. They forget that this order of the execution of less than ten persons was preceded by amnesty for the whole city of Mecca. They also ignore that even the most modern heads of state try to protect their countries from visible threats by openly or clandestinely ordering the execution of the biggest tormentors. When Khomeini punishes the leaders of the enemies of Islam, the whole world yells in unison. But when Bush orders the killing of the current and former heads of state and a number of other enemies of the US and puts rewards on their heads, the world keeps quiet.

Dr Javed Jamil
Executive Chairman
International Centre for Applied Islamics

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Muslim Moderates?

Looking for Muslim Moderates in the Wrong Places
Mirza A. Beg, July 17, 2007

Moderate! It used to be a very nice word. Essentially it described a person who considers all sides of issues to makes a thoughtful, balanced, informed and humane judgment - as opposed to an extremist.

In the current political climate in the United States, the word moderate has been corrupted to become a propaganda buzz word of the right wing extremists and pseudo-moderates, the solid base of the Bush administration. Pretending their own moderation, they use it to smear Islam, as in “they are looking for moderate Muslims to speak up.”

A pastor of a large church, I have known briefly, vehemently used the word moderate in a discussion recently. He went on to longingly preach the imminent Armageddon and the crucial need of expulsion of the Palestinians from the Holy Land, to make it happen. I gingerly asked about the fate of the Jews of Israel in the aftermath of the second coming? He side stepped the question and veered into the inevitability of the Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists; in short order, all non Christians (avoiding to name Jews), going to hell.

He preached fire and brimstone from the book of revelation, and the necessity to support Bush. It did not matter to him if millions of innocent Iraqis are killed; after all it is war of annihilation. After a while I asked, what do the Gospels, the essence of Jesus’ message have to say about this theology. He again changed the subject.

While painting this dire scenario, this paragon of religious virtue asked the question often asked by the talking heads on the FOX news network or Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), “Why don’t moderate Muslims speak out against extremism?”

This phrase is hurled as a truism, supposedly a winning volley. I drew his attention to the huge university library and the city libraries housing thousands of books on Islam, most written by Western scholars, and scores written by and about the moderate Muslims. He rejected the suggestion with a curt remark, “He has the real truth. He does not need to read books about fake religions.”

No wonder, people like him, who draw information exclusively from FOX or CBN news or from the propaganda web-sites on the Internet can not find moderate Muslims.

Fortunately I have many Christian friends, including many very contemplative pastors, with whom I have had hours of introspective discussions. Though he does not represent Christianity to me, sadly he does represent the views of about 25 to 30%, right-wing Armageddon-seeking (war mongering) Christians, a solid base of the Bush presidency. They are a huge chunk of the American polity with loud voices. They are heard loud and clear among their counterparts in the Muslim world, who just like this pastor can not find a moderate Christian.

A combination of titillating news about the latest sex scandal and the hard-core Bush doctrinal agenda has helped the FOX News to the top of the viewer share, yielding rich economic dividends. Chasing the almighty viewer-share ratings, other major cable outlets such as CNN and CNBC have been trying hard to emulate FOX.

The failure of the popular media to inform the electorate has injured the political process. Although most Americans have belatedly realized the horrible folly of the immoral invasion of Iraq based on lies by the Bush Administration. They are unable to force a change of course towards sanity. A strong minority of the 25 to 30% Armageddon-seeking Christians, helped by an apathetic titillation-seeking polity, aided the Republican Party to win majorities in the Congress for the first six years of Bush administration. Republicans in congress acted as a rubber stamp for the Bush follies. Though the Democrats won last November with a slim majority in the Congress, with the threat of veto from Bush, the Republicans have blocked all efforts towards a change in course.

Those really looking for moderate Muslims or moderate anything have no problem finding them. Most Americans, including religious Christians do not have a problem finding moderate Muslims. MENSA (International Organization of highly intelligent people with IQs in 98 percentile) at its annual gathering at Birmingham, Alabama, in July had no problem finding moderate Muslim speakers. Many Churches, Public Radio or Public Broadcasting Network have had no problem finding moderate Muslims from all walks of life.

It is the popular cable networks and extremists Christian columnists who just can not locate them. They are not looking for Muslims who strongly disagree with the extremists, such as Talibans and the Al Qaida; they are looking for those who should support the Bush doctrine of supremacy, invasion of countries without any restraint in an endless war, as in the Presidents words, “Those not with us are against us.”

The extremists are indeed a threat to the world peace. They preach exactly the same ideologies from the opposite sides. Armed with half-truths they use the other side as an effective tool to recruit followers. They have a symbiotic relationship – Right-wing Christians obsessed with Armageddon trying to control the most powerful state, against the Taliban-style Muslims pining for a mis-perceived caliphate looking for a state.

Both sides are an insult to the religions they supposedly hold dear and in whose name they advance their murderous agenda. It indeed is a failure of the moderates on all sides if they do not join hands and redouble their efforts in defeating the murderous supremacist ideologies within their own religions.

Lal Masjid Pakistan

The canvas of consciousness
By Nasim Zehra

Nasim. thanks for writing this sane, embracive and inclusive piece on aftermath of the Lal Masjid incidence. I am delighted to post the following column to the Pluralism groups and the Websites and . It is an honest self analysis of character of the people and nation of Pakistan.

This culture of inclusiveness needs to be encouraged. I pray this to be a contagious attitude, it is good for Pakistan and good for the world.

By the way, I saw the title security analyst by your name, glad to see this mix and your analysis leads to making decisions of security through peace and understanding. Our American security analysts are usually war-mongers and believe that peace comes through oppression, humiliation and destruction, many of them are neo-cons and are shut out from understanding that oppression has never worked in human history.

Mike Ghouse

The canvas of consciousness
By Nasim Zehra

It is hard to recall another event in Pakistan's non-war days which captured the hearts, minds, time and attention of the entire nation, as did the 10-day-long Lal Masjid siege and operation. It was one event which suddenly flared up so much around us and within us. There are countless questions.

What are our values and principles as a nation, where have we journeyed, who is managing us, where are we headed, our we destined to be divided, who is the enemy, was the one that killed 45 innocent people in Karachi less deadly than the one inside Lal Masjid, why do we insist on calling these armed militias Islamic militants, why don't we see their politics as an extension
of the failure of our politics, why don't we understand the processes by which these militias were eased into the power fray in our public spaces by all those who now want them extinguished, can we extinguish the 'other' let alone our own? No matter how dangerous and deadly they were we cannot deny that they were our own. Yes we punish even our own too when they go astray, but we must be cautious in the application of force when they are our own.

Will we ever know the extent their deadliness beyond the completely illegal vigilante actions they had taken turning the mosque into a small time arsenal and keeping many boys as hostages. Standing outside Lal Masjid on July 7, a group of four men from Peshawar, Taxila, Mardan and Dir said their sons had told them on the cell phone that they wanted to come out but feared the men inside Lal Masjid would shoot them. We will never know how deadly the men inside were. The ferociously bulleted insides of the Lal Masjid and Madressah Hafsa only tell us about the weaponry and the attacking force used, not what those inside used.

There was never any doubt that the Lal Masjid group seemingly led by Marhoom Rashid Ghazi had to be reined in. For far too long they had been given free rein. Ghazi sahib was a stubborn and finally a self-destructive man. In the narrow and correct definition of law he qualified as the enemy of the state. What remains unclear is if all this blood had to be spilled to get him. Did it have to end this way, could he not have been defanged, de-weaponized and de-linked from his group and his base? Perhaps mindful of all these questions the state had opted for negotiations -- as if a Waziristan kind of accord was underway. Shujaat, the man of peace whose instinct was overruled like earlier in the case of Bugti, was against the final assault. He wanted a settlement. Finally what was a hasty retreat from the negotiations seemed incongruent when the state backed by three cordons of varied but lethally armed forces had been so wisely patient for all those days. The death of a commando officer and maybe the fear that the Supreme Court would issue stay order on the operation the next morning triggered the haste.

The media brought as much transparency as it possibly could in this combat. Maybe even too much. If Marhoom Ghazi was being elevated as a brave rebel, if not a hero, through television interviews it was because the government was ok with it. Why else would the government not jam Ghazi's cell phones? Thos attacking the media must ask the government what its rationale was for letting the dialogue carry on till the last day.

Meanwhile we were never shown the deadly tribe inside. Throughout the seven days we were told about the 'wanted foreigners' inside. Figures ranged from 40 to many more. Some "terrorists" with even head money were inside. But now the foreigners seem to be missing. The two earlier identified by the state have been claimed by Pakistani families. Some tunnels earlier identified have also disappeared. How long did the operation last no one knows. We were told almost 48 hours.

Many untruths had come from Marhoom Ghazi. From July 9 onwards, he was claiming there were almost 200 dead bodies inside. It is unlikely that those were found. He said there were hundreds of women and children. While we don't know how many bodies disappeared or were burnt in the ghastly grenade shower, not too many parents came to claim their lost, certainly not the numbers that the opposition was claiming. But equally, there is no doubt that some collective burials in haste and in secret were also done. We will never know too many facts too soon. But many will speak from all sides.

The journey of the men inside Lal Masjid and the women and children inside Hafsa leading them to this end will have to be traced, truthfully. They could not have defied nature's most fundamental rule. You must reap what you sow. Apples don't grow when mangoes are planted. Peace, tolerance and compassion don't flow from lessons in intolerance, self-righteousness and exclusive piety. But what caused these original inputs into their minds and hearts, what caused the lovely young girls to lose their childhood to that tough and harsh worldview? The apartheid in Pakistan between the rich and economically disadvantaged extends across the entire spectrum of existence; from respect and dignity, to basic amenities, to job availability, to access to food, the exposure to art and culture, the list is endless. Lal Masjid will not go away easily. It will symbolize the worst-ever manifestation of the saying that 'chickens come home to roost.' But they were our people on all sides. The most frustrating of all is the realization that some of this, if not all, was inevitable.

The Supreme Court did well by intervening to ensure that Ghazi's sisters go for his funeral, that the state return the mother's body to the sisters and, even better now, it will stay its course on overseeing the human rights situation of whatever is left of the Lal Masjid case. The moral authority of the state, that is drawn from justice and fair play, has been on the wane for a while. And now in the non-compartmentalized, all encompassing consciousness of the Pakistani citizen many scenes play in her/his mind and heart: the orchestrated killings of May 12, the hanging of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the Waziristan accord with Nek Mohammad, the release of many Al-Zulfiqar fighters by Zia and Nawaz Sharif's exit after having been convicted by the Supreme Court. All these are different instances in different circumstances, so the comparison may not hold. But how do stop the mind seeing the hypocrisy of the state, its double play.

For long the margin of error has not been available to the Pakistani power players. Every error extracts its own cost. The action, however tragic, against Lal Masjid was inevitable. In the minefield of contradictions and controversies this too will extract its cost. We can only pray that it does not go beyond what we have already witnessed. Lal Masjid has let out many messages. One, the state means business. Two, in its language the state confuses religion with politics (Lal Masjid was in fact a challenge to state authority by militias, originally patronized by the state. In Pakistan militias have been allowed to challenge the state and society in the name of justice, religion, ethnicity and national security). Three, it has deepened the suspicion between the state and the people and the state can no longer take its authority over the society for granted; it is lost and has to be reclaimed, on the unfolding canvass of the Pakistani consciousness.

In Pakistan the attempt to label society as good Muslim and bad Muslims will prove to be the country's undoing. Neither the society, nor the army, nor other institutions of the state will find this acceptable, no matter who authors this divide, w Marhoom Ghazi sahib or the top general in the maze of challenges. The only valid divide is the lawful and unlawful Pakistanis, those who live by the law and those who live by breaking the law. This alone is the touchstone that a diligent Supreme Court must promote and protect.

The writer is an Islamabad-based security analyst.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Terror Condemnations Log

Muslim Voices Against Extremism and Terrorism

Mike Ghouse

Where are the Muslim voices? They are listed here!

Muslims have begun logging the condemnations of terrorism so that the likes Ollie North, Glen Beck, Bill O’Reilly will not get a chance to continue with their propaganda. Each one of them has said, that they cannot find a moderate Muslim, Ollie went on to the extent of saying that the phrase Moderate Muslims is oxymoron. Muslims are moderates except a few, as Christians, Jews or others are moderates except the few.
The formula is 1/10ths of 1% of any group, including yours, whether you are a Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu or otherwise; 1/10ths of 1% among you is an extremist. To this lot, facts don't matter, they will keep parroting the same thing no matter what the reality is, ex: the 9/11 link to Iraq. This is not about facts, these guys are paid to create a propaganda campaign, they have the money and resource to wage a hate campaign, their aim is to gain the control of the surroundings by creating chaos. The 99-9/10th of us have to be on our toes. This can end if each one of us speaks up. I don't blame you if you are afraid of, as the 525 US congressman and 100 Senators except one each were afraid to speak up until Tuesday, November 7, 2006. Even Collin Powell did not have the guts or the conscience then, he is coming through now. We have wronged in Iraq and we owe an apology to the people.
No matter what others do, we have to do our part in condemning the wrong. In the interest of truth and justice we have to speak the truth even if it incriminates ourselves, such is the powerful concept of Justice in all faiths. I do know it is in Islam, mind you, there is no 5th in Islam. You bear the responsibility for the wrongs you do, tell the truth and face the consequence. The biggest monitor is our own conscience and we have to follow it; for there is peace in truth and justice.

Here are the links to condemnations, it is not complete, but the process has begun. Just as you would not speak out against the atrocities around, most people including Muslims do the same.
  1. Additional resources will be added at the bottom...
The credit goes to Sheila Musaji for her relentless effort to compile this massive data bank for the reference, all this material comes from the website she manages: You will find a logo on the website, clicking which will take you to the above listed headings and links. It is also listed on the website

I urge men and women of conscience of all faiths to link the above to their websites, and if you find more condemnations, kindly forward it to her, when she updates it, the links will automatically get updated.
Finding the truth is one's own responsibility, and when the people filled with hate do find the truth, it brings freedom, Salvation, Nijaat, Mukti, Moksha and Nirvana to them. We have to build the climate of peace. If each one of us is peaceful, it is not difficult for the 7 billion of us to be. It begins with you and I.

If you hate any one on any basis, you are out of peace. Be prejudice free, hate free and malice free not for God or it is a noble thing, but because it brings peace to you and it is contagious. Live a day without any of these negative elements and fight the temptations to hate, you would be joyful for the whole day.
If you have the commitment to peace, you will repeat it the next day and the next... Then you can talk about peace.
Peace does not mean pussy footing, it means speaking up assertively for the goodness of you, me and all of us. When we speak up, the bullies will take a back step.

Additional resources:


Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio, discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He founded the World Muslim Congress with a simple theme: "good for Muslims and good for the world." His personal Website is and his articles can be found on the Websites mentioned above and in his Blogs: and . He can be reached at Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Muslims Condemn London Plot

Friday, July 06, 2007

Dallas, Texas. Friday, July 6, 2007. The bombing at Glasgow and attempted bombing last week in London are unequivocally condemned. Redress of grievances of any kind through terrorism is not only uncivilized but patently un-Islamic.

Some Muslim physicians from Middle-East and India have been accused and arrested. It is an abomination for any one to hurt innocent lives. It is especially egregious for physicians, whose obligation is to save lives, instead of destroying innocent lives that happen to be in the vicinity of their bombs.

Terrorism is condemnable irrespective of nationality or religion of the perpetrators. It is particularly painful to us as Muslims when Muslims are involved in such dastardly acts; our condemnation becomes even stronger.

We urge that after due process, those involved be treated as criminals and murderers that they are. They should be prosecuted and punished as they deserve. Please do not give them a religious label, as it diffuses the focus from criminality of few to many who have no part is such dastardly acts. We urge Muslims to be vigilant and help the authorities to prevent such evil acts that not only injure humanity, but do even more injury to the moral ethos of Islam.


1. Mike Ghouse (214) 325 -1916 –
2. Mirza A. Beg –
3. Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq -
01. World Muslim Congress -
02. Muslim Canadian Congress, -
03. United Muslims of America, California -
04. Texas Muslim Political Task force -
05. Peace Initiative, New Delhi, India -
06. UMA Interfaith Alliance, California -
07. Islamic Research Foundation, Kentucky - http://WWW.IRFI.ORG
08. British Muslims Coalition - In the comment section below
09. Institute of Islamic Studies, India -
10. Center for Study of Society and Secularism -
11. Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism
12. Muslim Legal Fund of America -
13. American Journal of Islam, NY -
14. International Centre for Applied Islamics, India
15. Muslims for Progressive Values -
Organizations represented by:
01. Mike Ghouse, Mirza A. Beg & Dr. Omar Farooq, WMC
02. Farzana Hassan, Muslim Canadian Congress
03. Shafi Refai, United Muslims of America
04. Dr. Inayat Lalani, Texas Muslim Political Task force
05. Yousuf Saeed, Peace Initiative
06. Iftekhar Hai, UMA Interfaith Alliance
07. Ibrahim Syed, Islamic Research Foundation,
08. Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer, Institute of Islamic Studies
09. Ibrahim Abdul Mu'min , Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism
10. Khalil Meek, Muslim Legal Fund of America
11. Dr. Javid Jamil, International Centre for Applied Islamics, India
12. Dr. Mahdi Tourage, American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences
13. Hakim Rushdan - Ansars, Inc
14. Ani Zonneveld - Muslims for Progressive Values
Good for Muslims and Good for the World,
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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.