Saturday, February 27, 2010

Muslim Condemn beheading of Sikhs by Taliban


Muslims Condemn beheading of Sikhs by the Talibans

Dallas, Texas, February 24, 2010.

In behalf of the World Muslim Congress and Muslims in general, we strongly condemn the Talibans for killing two members of the Sikh community in Pakistan. Jaspal Singh and Mohan Singh, who were beheaded for not converting to Islam.

Theses thugs wanted ransom from the two Sikh business men to re-divert the protection money to the rival factions. This is a criminal act to begin with and to add the name of religion is shameful and warrants severe punishment.

Islam is clear on the issue: Qur’aan, 2:256 “THERE SHALL BE no coercion in matters of faith”. It is a clear violation of Islam and the civic rules of the society. We demand that the Government of Pakistan find these criminals and punish them per their law.

The civility of a society is measured by how the weak and the minorities are treated. Prophet Muhammad had described it as a society where an individual, man or a woman, young or old can travel from Medinah to Damascus without any fear. We urge Pakistan to bring the law and order and protect and gaurantee the lives of every Citizen, particular the minorities of the nation.


Mike Ghouse, World Muslim Congress
To be a Muslim is to be a peace maker, one who constantly seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for peaceful co-existence of humanity. God wants us to live in peace and harmony with his creation; Life and Matter. We are driven by the Qur'an, Al-Hujurat, Surah 49:13: "O mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. The noblest of you, in sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Allah Knows and is Aware."

Sikh community offers final prayers for two Sikhs beheaded in Pakistan

Amritsar, Feb 27(ANI): Hundreds of Sikh community members here on Saturday offered 'Antim Ardas' (final prayers) in memory of two Sikhs youths, who were beheaded by the Taliban in Pakistan. oneindiain121:

The prayers were organized at the conclusion of the "Akhand Paath" (continued recitation) of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of the Sikhs, at the revered Golden Temple.The prayers were organized under the aegis of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (SGPC), the main body responsible for religious affairs of the Sikhs."We organize these final prayers for Bhai Jaspal Singh and Bhai Mahal Singh who were brutally killed, so that their souls rest in peace...the Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee is also praying for a quick release and wellness of the other two who are still in the captivity," said Avtar Singh Makkar, president of the SGPC.It may be recalled that Taliban militants killed two Sikh traders for ransom in Pakistan's tribal region on Sunday. (ANI)
The Sikh Conundrum
This 28-year-old father of three owned a grocery store in Bara, Khyber Agency, but lived in Peshawar

He and three others were kidnapped by the TTP’s Tariq Afridi faction. The group operates in Orakzai Agency, but abducted them in Khyber, the turf of Mangal Bagh Afridi. Mangal, who has broken away from the Taliban, had imposed jazia on the Sikhs and was responsible for their protection.

Jaspal’s beheading has heightened tensions between Mangal and Afridi.
It’s February 21, Sunday, and an impenetrable fog of sorrow seems to have enveloped Mohala Jogan Shah, in the heart of Peshawar’s old city. It’s here that Jaspal Singh lived, the 28-year-old Sikh beheaded by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the Terah valley. It’s here that his body was brought for the last rites, before it was taken for cremation on the banks of the Indus near Attock. Outside Jaspal’s house are Sikhs and Muslims, all mourning the dead man, perplexed at the bloody turn of events in this land of the Pashtuns.

In a small room in the house sits Jaspal’s father, Piyara Singh, his head bowed, hands clasping his knees. He meets everyone who walks in with an impassive glance, palpably shocked into stillness. In between the silence breaks. “I have no clue who killed my son...or even why. I am ruined,” he keeps repeating. A cousin of Jaspal adds, “We can’t say a word about this brutality. It’s better to keep mum.” He wouldn’t reveal his name. The fear of further reprisals hangs heavy.

The Sikhs were driven out of Orakzai after they couldn’t raise the Rs 12 mn jazia demand of Hakimullah Mehsud.

Among the crowd waiting outside are also Muslims, some of them neighbours, others whom the family have never met. For them, Jaspal’s beheading has somehow come to symbolise the death of certain values they have grown up cherishing. Present here is also Nasir Khan Dawar, a senior journalist who fled North Waziristan (one of the seven autonomous tribal agencies that together constitute the Federally Administered Tribal Area, FATA) because of threats to his life. Dawar says warily to Outlook, “We have all been living together for centuries, there’s never been any discrimination. Those who came here under the protection of the Pashtuns (the foreign militants on the run from Afghanistan) have now become our masters. There’s a continuous effort now to subsume our culture.”

The tribal culture has indeed changed beyond recognition. In FATA, death is a vulture now soaring in the sky, waiting to swoop down on the innocent. On January 16, Jaspal Singh had left Peshawar, along with Gurwindar Singh and Surjeet Singh, for the town of Bara, where he owned a grocery store (the other two were cloth merchants). Jaspal had recently shifted residence to Peshawar after the Khyber Agency had come under the sway of militants, preferring to commute to Bara, a mere 20 minutes drive away from his new home. From Bara, the trio travelled to the Terah valley, also in Khyber Agency, for business purposes.

When the trio reached the Mathra area in the Terah valley, the militants struck. The trio were abducted and soon the demands started for ransom money. Jaspal’s father denies this, but sources in the Sikh community say a whopping Rs 30 million was demanded. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Taliban’s Tariq Afridi group rang up newspapers to claim responsibility for the abduction. Sources say the trio were whisked away to somewhere in Orakzai Agency, adjacent to the Khyber. Here they languished for 34 days before the militants beheaded Jaspal as his two friends watched. (Contrary to media reports, they have not been killed.) His headless body was dumped in Kasha, from where local tribesmen ferried it to Peshawar.

Jaspal’s beheading, though, also reportedly sparked off tensions between two militants groups—the Lashkar-i-Islam headed by Mangal Bagh Afridi of Khyber Agency and the Tariq Afridi faction belonging to Dara Adamkhel in the frontier region of Kohat. Tariq moved his fighters to Orakzai Agency following military operations in the gun-manufacturing town of Dara Adamkhel; his men have now incurred the wrath of Mangal Bagh who perceives in the tragic drama an implicit challenge to his authority.

Of course, this isn’t because Mangal is bound to any noble cause; the Sikhs were paying jazia, the medieval tax non-Muslims paid in lieu for protection and the right to follow their religion. Jazia came into vogue here in April ’09 when militants under the command of Hakimullah Mehsud (the murderous TTP chief who died of injuries after a US drone attack in January) imposed a levy of Rs 12 million on the Sikhs. Incidentally, the community has been living peacefully in Orakzai Agency for decades. Though the ‘imposition’ was much criticised, the Orakzai tribesmen didn’t intervene, fearing reprisals from Hakimullah. The tribal elders also had no authority over him as he belonged to the Mehsud tribe of South Waziristan. Since the Sikhs could raise only Rs 3.5 million, the TTP looted the Sikh businesses and houses and then auctioned them. The entire community was ordered out of Orakzai, most of them shifting to Peshawar, a few choosing Khyber as their new home.

In comparison to the TTP’s levy, Mangal’s demand on the 300 Sikh families living in Khyber was a mere Rs 1,000 per head per year. Since the Sikhs paid jazia, there are many in the area who are asking: why exactly was Jaspal kidnapped and beheaded? Will Mangal now retaliate against Tariq? Well, if he did, it wouldn’t surprise anyone here.

Even today, some Sikh families continue to live in the Terah valley, understanding their fate is no different from that of the ordinary Pashtuns here, for they do not have the firepower to combat the militants. Perhaps it’s this that has inspired the Sikhs of Maidan area of the Terah valley to join the Ansar-ul-Islam which is now fighting Mangal’s Lashkar-i-Islam (incidentally, the latter has moved away from the TTP ever since the army launched operations here). “We have nothing to do with the sectarian differences among the Muslim groups, but we have to defend our land...where we were born and where we will live in the future as well,” says one Sikh elder.

But there’s no denying these are hard days for the Sikhs of FATA. Says Arbab Muhammad Tahir Khan, an influential Awami National Party leader, “Our forefathers would always educate us about being gentle towards the vulnerable segments of society. These minorities are very much part and parcel of our life. We cannot discriminate against them. It’s the responsibility of the state to provide justice and protect the lives and property of every citizen, irrespective of their religion.” Sadly, the state is largely missing from Pakistan’s tribal belt.

End product of a culture of violence

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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.