The Yemeni Koran – Jamie Glazov

Moorthy MuthuswamyJamie Glazov’s Frontpage interview guests are Robert Spencer and Moorthy Muthuswamy.

Moorthy Muthuswamy is an expert on terrorism in India. He grew up in India, where he had firsthand experience with political Islam and jihad. He moved to America in 1984 to pursue graduate studies. In 1992, he received a doctorate in nuclear physics from Stony Brook University, New York. Since 1999 he has extensively published ideas on neutralizing political Islam’s terror war as Robert Spencerit is imposed on unbelievers. He is the author of the new book, Defeating Political Islam: The New Cold War.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch, a program of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is the author of nine books on Islam and Jihad, a weekly columnist for Human Events and, and has led numerous seminars for the U.S. military and intelligence communities. He is the author of the new book, The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran.

FP: Moorthy Muthuswamy and Robert Spencer, welcome to the Frontpage interview. I’d like to talk to both of you today about the Yemeni Koran. Moorthy Muthuswamy, let’s begin with you. Tell us about this Yemeni Koran and what it signifies.

• Muthuswamy: Thank you for the opportunity, Jamie. First, some background.

In 1972, during the restoration of the Great Mosque of Sana’a, in Yemen, a gravesite containing a mash of old parchment pages was discovered. It became clear that this parchment hoard is an example of what is sometimes referred to as a “paper grave.” In this case, the site was the resting place for tens of thousands of fragments from close to a thousand different parchment codices of the Koran, the Muslim holy book.

Using a technique called “carbon dating,” some of the parchment pages in the Yemeni hoard were dated back to the seventh and eighth centuries, or Islam’s first two centuries. Until now, three ancient copies of the Koran were said to exist. One copy in the Library of Tashkent in Uzbekistan, and another in the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul, Turkey, date from the eighth century. A copy kept in the British Library in London dates from the late seventh century. But the Sana’a parchment pages are even older. Moreover, these pages are written in a script that originates from the Hijaz—the region of Arabia where the prophet Muhammad purportedly lived. This makes the Yemeni Korans not only the oldest to have survived, but one of the earliest copies of the Koran ever.

In 1981, the first scientific undertaking to study the Yemeni Koran was initiated by a group headed by Gerd R. Puin, a specialist in Arabic calligraphy and Koranic paleography based at Saarland University, in Saarbrücken, Germany. Puin and his group recognized the antiquity of some of the parchment fragments. Their preliminary inspection revealed unconventional verse orderings, minor textual variations, and rare styles of orthography and artistic embellishment. Interestingly, some of the sheets were also palimpsests—versions very clearly written over even earlier, washed-off or erased versions.

To quote Puin: “So many Muslims have this belief that everything between the two covers of the Koran is just God’s unaltered word…. They like to quote the textual work that shows that the Bible has a history and did not fall straight out of the sky, but until now the Koran has been out of this discussion. The only way to break through this wall is to prove that the Koran has a history too. The Sana’a fragments will help us to do this.”

The idea that the Koran is the literal Word of God, perfect, timeless, and permanent, is crucial to Islam, in particular, to the Islamists at the forefront of spreading sharia and jihad. However, some of the Sana’a fragments revealed small but intriguing aberrations from the standard Koranic text. Indeed, this evidence compels one to conclude that the Muslim holy book has undergone a textual evolution rather than simply the Word of God as revealed in its entirety to the Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century.

This explosive ramification has made the State of Yemen reluctant to give further access to the Sana’a fragments. Fortunately, before the door was shut to Western scholars, another German academic, Graf von Bothmer, made 35,000 microfilm pictures of the fragments, which remain at the University of the Saarland.

FP: Robert Spencer, so the Yemeni Koran points to the fact that the Muslim holy book has undergone a textual evolution. Give us your view of the meaning and significance here.

• Spencer: Moorthy is quite right: the idea that the Koran is perfect and uncreated, with no textual variants, is central to Islamic proselytizing. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says the Koran “was memorized by Muhammad and then dictated to his companions. The text of the Qur’an was cross-checked during the life of the Prophet. The 114 chapters of the Qur’an have remained unchanged through the centuries.” This idea is also central to the worldview of jihadist groups. Osama bin Laden bragged in his 2002 letter to the American people that the Koran “will remain preserved and unchanged, after the other Divine books and messages have been changed. The Qur’an is the miracle until the Day of Judgment.”

The textual variants in the Yemeni Koran, simply by showing that the text is not always and everywhere the same, explode the mainstream Islamic belief that the Koran was delivered in perfect form to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel, and has always been miraculously preserved from variant readings.

Yet oddly enough, early Islamic traditions recorded in the Hadith assume the existence of variant readings of the Koran. The impetus for collecting Muhammad’s revelations into a single volume came after Muhammad and other important early Muslims started dying off. Late in the year Muhammad died, 632, a group of Arab tribes that Muhammad had conquered and brought into the Muslim fold revolted. The first caliph, Abu Bakr, led the Muslims into battle to subdue them.

The two sides met in the Battle of Yamama, in which some of the Muslims who had memorized segments of the Koran were killed. One Islamic tradition notes that “many (of the passages) of the Qur’an that were sent down were known by those who died on the day of Yamama … but they were not known (by those who) survived them, nor were they written down, nor had [the first three caliphs] Abu Bakr, Umar or Uthman (by that time) collected the Qur’an, nor were they found with even one (person) after them.” (Ibn Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Masahif )

The official compiler of the Koran, Zaid ibn Thabit, explained that he “started locating Quranic material and collecting it from parchments, scapula, leaf-stalks of date palms and from the memories of men (who knew it by heart). I found with Khuzaima two Verses of Surat-at-Tauba which I had not found with anybody else.” Zaid’s recollection testifies to the ad hoc nature of his work. For example, it was Khuzaima himself, Zaid’s sole source for the last two verses of sura 9, who approached Zaid and informed him of the omission: “I see you have overlooked (two) verses and have not written them.” When he had recited them, an influential companion of Muhammad and the future third caliph, Utman, declared, “I bear witness that these verses are from Allah.” And so they were included in the Koran (9:128-129).

Other sections of the Koran, some mandating stringent punishments for unbelievers and other violators of Islamic law, were lost altogether. One early Muslim declared, “Let none of you say, ‘I have acquired the whole of the Qur’an.’ How does he know what all of it is when much of the Qur’an has disappeared? Rather let him say ‘I have acquired what has survived’” (As-Suyuti, Al-Itqan fii Ulum al-Qur’an ). Other Koranic verses dropped out of the text without replacement. One of these stated, “The religion with Allah is al-Hanifiyyah (the Upright Way) rather than that of the Jews or the Christians, and those who do good will not go unrewarded.” Al-Tirmidhi, the compiler of one of the six collections of Hadith, or Islamic traditions, that Muslims consider to be the most reliable, said that this verse was at one time part of sura 98. It is not found there, however, in Zaid’s canonical version.

FP: Moorthy Muthuswamy?

• Muthuswamy: The importance of the Yemeni Koran is that it was an independent discovery; it physically exists and is distinct from the Islamic doctrines presently in use.

Political Islam faces ideological difficulties with the likes of the Sana’a fragments pointing to the textual evolution of the Koran. Furthermore, as Robert insightfully observes, other inconsistencies in the contemporary Koran and the Hadith accentuate these difficulties.

The challenge ahead lies in utilizing this breach to decisively break the back of Islamic radicalism.

Whether it is the latest, in the form of the Fort Hood massacre or the previous 9/11 attacks, there is one common theme: the armed jihads were carried out by mosque-going pious Muslim men who claimed to be driven by Islamic doctrines.

Recently, much progress has been achieved by applying statistical analysis to the Islamic doctrines themselves in order to understand why pious Muslims are waging jihad on unbelievers. Specifically, we now understand that about sixty-one percent of the contents of the Koran are found to speak ill of unbelievers or call for their violent conquest; at best only 2.6 percent of the verses of the Koran are noted to show goodwill toward humanity. Get this: about seventy-five percent of Muhammad’s biography (Sira) consists of jihad waged on unbelievers.

While there might be some subjectivity to the above analysis, the overwhelming thrust of the inferences should be noted. Moreover, this overall thrust exposes the sheer absurdity of excusing the Koran-inspired terror on the so-called “selective interpretation” of the Muslim holy book or its “verses being taken out of context.”

Additionally, there is the sharia—the so-called Islamic Law, legitimized by the Koran. The medieval sharia has stifled development and integration of Muslim communities, and has indirectly helped channel Muslim energies toward the outlet of jihad.

Let us discuss the evolution of Major Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood jihadist. Consider a hypothetical scenario: the majority of the worshippers in the mosques Hasan attended believed that the Koran couldn’t be taken literally; that there are many mainstream Islamic sites that emphasized the textual evolution of the Muslim holy book. What would have happened? It is very unlikely that Hasan would have given the pro-jihad seminar (the precursor to the Fort Hood massacre) in Walter Reed Medical Center.

Unfortunately, reality is just the opposite. Saudi-funded Wahhabi ideologies that emphasize the literal interpretation of the Koran have played a longstanding role at grievously influencing most American mosque goers.

An April 2001 survey by CAIR found 69 percent of Muslims in America saying it is “absolutely fundamental” or “very important” to have Salafi (similar to radical Wahhabi Islamic ideology) teachings at their mosques (67 percent of respondents also expressed agreement with the statement “America is an immoral, corrupt society”). The Internet-based mainstream Islamic portals too, almost without exception, preach radical ideologies, backed by the Muslim holy book.

Based on the above analysis we can unequivocally state that the Koran, through its contents and their literal interpretations, acts as an albatross around the neck of Muslim communities. Yet, our national security policy in its various incarnations builds on the fundamentally flawed assumption that the Koran is a constructive element in the lives of Muslims.

The challenge of mitigating the radical Islamic threat indeed comes down to questioning the very basis that the Koran is the Word of God.

The Yemeni Koran, backed by Koranic inconsistencies might provide a fresh impetus in this direction.

FP: Robert Spencer, final thoughts?

• Spencer: Moorthy is right. PowerPoint slides on which Hasan proposed to show “what the Koran inculcates in the minds of Muslims and the potential implications this may have for the U.S. military” have come to light. The implications are many, and important.

Hasan makes the case that Muslims must not fight against other Muslims (as is mandated by Koran 4:92), and that the Koran also mandates both defensive and offensive jihad against unbelievers, in order to impose upon those unbelievers the hegemony of Islamic law. He quotes the Koranic verse calling for war against the “People of the Book” (that is, mainly Jews and Christians) until they “pay the tax in acknowledgment of [Islamic] superiority and they are in a state of subjection” (9:29).

Hasan seems then to have been telling the assembled (and no doubt stunned) physicians that Muslims had a religious obligation to make war against and subjugate non-Muslims as inferiors under their rule. But surely that is “extremist” Islam, no? No. Imran Ahsan Khan Nyazee, Assistant Professor on the Faculty of Shari’ah and Law of the International Islamic University in Islamabad, in a book on Islamic law explains that “Muslim jurists agreed that the purpose of fighting with the People of the Book … is one of two things: it is either their conversion to Islam or the payment of jizyah.” (Jizyah is the tax referred to in Koran 9:29.)

Nyazee concludes: “This leaves no doubt that the primary goal of the Muslim community, in the eyes of its jurists, is to spread the word of Allah through jihad, and the option of poll-tax [jizya] is to be exercised only after subjugation” of non-Muslims.”

Likewise Majid Khadduri, an internationally renowned Iraqi scholar of Islamic law, explained in his 1955 book War and Peace in the Law of Islam that “the Islamic state, whose principal function was to put God’s law into practice, sought to establish Islam as the dominant reigning ideology over the entire world…. The jihad was therefore employed as an instrument for both the universalization of religion and the establishment of an imperial world state.”

And Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini put it this way: “Islam makes it incumbent on all adult males, provided they are not disabled or incapacitated, to prepare themselves for the conquest of [other] countries so that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country in the world…. But those who study Islamic Holy War will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world…. There are hundreds of other [Qur’anic] psalms and hadiths [sayings of the Prophet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all this mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim.”

Hasan’s Islam also coincides with that of the jihad terror group Hamas, which has announced its intention, once fully and firmly ensconced in power, to collect that Koranic tax—jizyah—from the non-Muslims luckless enough to live within its domains. Hasan would also no doubt find heads nodding in agreement with his explanation of Islam among the Muslim Brotherhood, the international Islamic organization (which operates under a variety of names in the United States) that is dedicated in its own words to a “grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

No one in government or law enforcement has ever made any attempt to determine how prevalent such understandings of Islam are among Muslims in the United States. But if they are not Nidal Hasan’s eccentricities, but indeed mainstream views of Islam, it would be of cardinal importance for those sworn to protect us to begin making such an attempt now. The lives of innocent people depend on it. As Moorthy explained, the Yemeni Koran could help provide a way.

FP: Moorthy Muthuswamy and Robert Spencer, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.FrontPageMag, 13 December 2009

This folio, from a Quran manuscript written in Madina in the middle of the 1st century Hijra, was discovered in Sana'a's Great Mosque in 1972. It was auctioned by Christie’s for a record £2,484,500, 20 times its estimated price.

Great Mosque of Sanaa, Yemen

If only Tagore and Gandhi could civilise barbarians… – Kanchan Gupta

Kanchan Gupta“The continuing surge in Islamist fervour cannot, indeed must not, be ignored. The barbarians may not be at our gate as yet, but the unstoppable march of Islamic zealots, whom George W Bush appropriately described as ‘Islamofascists’, as the civilised world retreats, conceding ground with each passing day, should not go unnoticed. To turn a blind eye, to be indifferent, or worse, to be politically correct and tolerate the intolerable would be to our peril.” – Kanchan Gupta

Pranab MukherjeeThere was an interesting news report this past week that missed popular attention, possibly because there’s a predictable sameness to official speeches read out by our President to a foreign audience. The script remains broadly unchanged; Minor tinkering is done by our babus, keeping the venue and occasion in mind. Let me reproduce the opening paragraphs of the report, filed by the Press Trust of India from Stockholm:

STOCKHOLM: Terming terrorism as a serious challenge for the international community, President Pranab Mukherjee today said the ideas of truth, dialogue and non-violence espoused by Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi provide the best way forward.

“What is terrorism? What is the definition of terrorism? Terrorism has no respect for religion, border or nationalities. It believes in only one thing and that is wanton destruction. Today terrorism is a serious challenge for the international community,” he said. 

“I have no hesitation in stating that the ideas of truth, openness, dialogue and non-violence espoused by Tagore and Gandhiji provide the best way forward for a world confronted with intolerance, bigotry and terrorism,” he said.

Tagore & Gandhi  (1915)If indeed that were true, all that would be needed to fight terrorism are not guns and mortars but copies of Tagore’s Gitanjali and Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj. For instance, plane loads of these two books, encapsulating the thoughts of Tagore and Gandhi, could be air-dropped on territory held by the Islamic State and the barbarians would be civilised. But that would not work and we all know so; Mukherjee, I would be bold enough to suggest, knows that better than us. Yet, the clichés must be mouthed, for that is what is expected. In the process, we gloss over the real threat posed by intolerance, bigotry and terrorism as is practiced by the Islamic State and its admiring as well as competing jihadi organisations.

But the continuing surge in Islamist fervour cannot, indeed must not, be ignored. The barbarians may not be at our gate as yet, but the unstoppable march of Islamic zealots, whom George W Bush appropriately described as ‘Islamofascists’, as the civilised world retreats, conceding ground with each passing day, should not go unnoticed. To turn a blind eye, to be indifferent, or worse, to be politically correct and tolerate the intolerable would be to our peril. For let there be no mistake, the taunting tone of those who believe in the inevitability of a homogenous ummah replacing the diverse world we know is already discernible over the babble of ill-informed and vacuous Left-liberal discourse.

Ed HusainSoon after the ghastly London bombings when Islamists blew themselves up with deadly effect, Ed Husain’s book The Islamist was published, recording his disillusionment with radicals who use faith as a cover for their murderous deeds. A particular passage in that book remains indelibly printed on my mind:

“Teacher, I want to go London next month. I want bomb, big bomb in London, again. I want to make jihad!” “What?” I exclaimed. Another student raised both hands and shouted: “Me too! Me too!” Other students applauded those who had just articulated what many of them were thinking…”

That’s how Husain records his experience in the Saudi Arabian school where he had taken up a teaching assignment after embracing radical Islam. It was the day after the 7/7 suicide bombings in London that killed 52 commuters. Husain, his faith in radical Islam by then dwindling rapidly after experiencing life in Saudi Arabia, was hoping to hear his students denounce the senseless killings. Instead, he heard a ringing Michael Adebolajoendorsement of jihad and senseless slaughter in the name of Islam. He returned to London and penned his revealing account in The Islamist: Why I Joined Radical Islam in Britain, What I Saw Inside and Why I Left.

Debunking the Left-liberal intelligentsia’s explanation that deprivation, frustration and alienation among immigrant Muslims in Britain are responsible for the surge in jihadi fervour, Husain wrote: “Many Muslims enjoyed a better lifestyle in non-Muslim Britain than they did in Muslim Saudi Arabia. All my talk of ummah seemed so juvenile now.

“It was only in the comfort of Britain that Islamists could come out with such radical utopian slogans as one government, one ever-expanding country, for one Muslim nation. The racist reality of the Arab psyche would never accept black and white people as equal. I was appalled by the imposition of Wahhabism in the public realm, something I had implicitly sought as an Islamist….”

ISIS in KashmirSo, what does an Islamist seek? The reams of rubbish churned out by bogus activists and windbag columnists desperately seeking to rationalise crimes committed in the name of Islam. Ranging from the ethnic cleansing of the Kashmir valley to the Mumbai massacre. From the attack on Parliament House in New Delhi to the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York. From the horrific assault on human dignity by the Taliban in Afghanistan to the nauseating anti-Semitism of the regime in Iran.

From the myriad crimes of Boko Haram to the stomach churning blood-letting by the Islamic State, cannot explain either the core idea of Islamism or what motivates Islamists. For that, we have to go through the teachings of Hassan al-Banna, the original Islamist and progenitor of the Muslim brotherhood who now wields power in Egypt, the land of the birth of radical Islam.

Hassan al-BannaHassan al-Banna’s articulation of Islamism in the 1930s, distilled from complex theological interpretations of Islam, was at once simple enough for even illiterate muslims to understand and sinister in its implications when seen in the context of what we are witnessing today: “The Quran is our Constitution. Jihad is our way.

Martyrdom is our desire.” Imagined grievances and manufactured rage came decades later, as faux justification for adopting this three-sentence injunction that erases the line separating the spiritual from the temporal and giving Islam a political dimension in the modern world, thus expanding the theatre of conflict beyond the sterile sands of Arabia.

Sayyid QutbHassan al-Banna died a nasty death when he was murdered in 1949, apparently in retaliation of the assassination of Egypt’s then Prime Minister, Mahmud Fahmi Naqrashi, but the seed he had planted in his lifetime was to grow into a giant poison tree, watered and nourished by Sayyid Qutub (whose tract, Ma’alim fi-l-Tariq was interpreted as treasonous, fetching him the death sentence in 1966) which over the years has spread its roots and branches, first across Arabia and then to Muslim majority countries; so potent is that tree’s life force, its seeds, carried by the blistering desert wind that blows from the Mashreq, have now begun to sprout in countries as disparate as Denmark and India, Turkey and Malaysia, changing demographic profiles and unsettling societies.

Ayman al-ZawahiriThe world chose to ignore subsequent events and, like those who clamour for a gentler, accommodative approach to Islamism today by pushing for compromise over conflict, ‘enlightened’ scholars and public affairs commentators rationalised Anwar Sadat’s assassination by Islamists on October 6, 1981. Even Egypt erred in setting free scores of conspirators, including a certain Ayman Al-Zawahiri.

Similarly, the ‘Islamic Revolution’ in Iran with its blood-soaked consequences was hailed as a “people’s victory” over Shah Reza Pehalvi’s dictatorial regime. For Europe, long dubbed Eurabia, it was business as usual — Iran’s oil swamped out rational analyses. If any country had the foresight to sense the danger signals, it was, and ironically so, Egypt under President Hosni Mubarak who remained wary of Iran, not least because of its export of rabid Islamism. Tragically, the new rulers in Cairo are not riled by Tehran naming a street after Sadat’s assassin, Khalid Islambouli.

Muhammed ibn Abd al-WahhabIt was in the immediate aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that Islamism acquired a new dimension and a vicious edge when it was coupled with Wahhabism, Saudi Arabia’s severely austere version of Sunni Islam. Arab nationalism, which was unencumbered by Islamism till then, became an expression of faith in radical Islamism.

In what passes for Palestinian territories, the intifada was born and reborn, and while the popularity of Yasser Arafat’s largely secular the  Palestine Liberation Organisation began to decline,the Hamas, led by its paraplegic spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, began its murderous march which has culminated with Gaza Strip being declared ‘Hamastan’. Yassin was killed by the Israelis for inspiring young Palestinians to blow themselves up Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saudin buses, restaurants and markets, but that has neither shaken Hamas nor weakened its faith in what Hasan al-Banna preached.

To neutralise the three-sentence injunction of Hasan al-Banna, we need more than a ‘War on Terror’. We need to launch an assault on the idea that motivates radical Islamists. There is no scope for accommodation, nor is there any reason to capitulate or strike a compromise. We still have time to mount a counter-assault. – The Pioneer, 7 June 2015

» Kanchan Gupta is a current affairs analyst based in NCR

ISIS in Palmyra

Christianity withering away in Christendom – Kanchan Gupta

Kanchan Gupta“Increasingly faithless Europe cannot but eventually morph into Eurabia. Switzerland may have banned the minaret, France may have banished the burqa and centre-right Germans may be rallying against Islamism, but these are at best feeble attempts at building a dyke after Europe has been flooded by Islam. Neither ‘genuine enlightenment’ nor the ‘radius of science and reason’ finds a resonance among immigrant believers who stand out in sharp contrast to native non-believers.” – Kanchan Gupta

Marienkirche, Berlin, GermanyIt was a stress-free week spent lazing around in my friend Daud Haider’s book-crammed apartment with bay windows, tucked away from the main street. I would wake up to grey mornings, the mist-laden air creating a vaporous haze. It was cold and wet in Berlin, almost melancholic. Mozart’s Adagio or Beethoven’s Sonata would have been apt for such mornings, but all that I got to hear was the peeling of the neighbourhood church bells. If that was a call to the faithful to fill the pews, it was a wasted effort.

The church, with a neo-Gothic façade, wore a desolate look, its windows shuttered and yard littered with ochre leaves turning a dull brown. The lichen-covered flagstone pathway had not been tread upon for ages. A strange, almost eerie silence hung heavy. The M Club across the street, with slyly winking tawdry fairy lights in velvet-screened windows, rudely mocked at this relic of faith.

Pope Benedict XVIIn his celebrated September 2006 lecture on ‘Faith, Reason and the University’ at Regensburg, Pope Benedict XVI had passionately defended faith while elaborating on the “profound encounter of faith and reason … an encounter between genuine enlightenment and religion”. That encounter, the Pope said, gave “rise to two principles which are crucial” today, as faith rapidly yields space to scornful scepticism disguised as reason.

“First, only the kind of certainty resulting from the interplay of mathematical and empirical elements can be considered scientific. Anything that would claim to be science must be measured against this criterion. Hence the human sciences, such as history, psychology, sociology and philosophy, attempt to conform themselves to this canon of scientificity. A second point, which is important for our reflections, is that by its very nature this method excludes the question of god, making it appear an unscientific or pre-scientific question. Consequently, we are faced with a reduction of the radius of science and reason, one which needs to be questioned.”

What the Pope said nearly a decade ago is much more relevant today than it was then. Reason and faith are not mutually exclusive, nor does science negate god. It is intellectual laziness, if not dishonesty — both made fashionable by new age Left radicalism, pretentious liberalism and outrageously amoral libertarianism, the grotesque ménage à trois of our times — that leads to the repudiation of faith and rejection of god.

Increasingly faithless Europe cannot but eventually morph into Eurabia. Switzerland may have banned the minaret, France may have banished the burqa and centre-right Germans may be rallying against Islamism, but these are at best feeble attempts at building a dyke after Europe has been flooded by Islam. Neither ‘genuine enlightenment’ nor the ‘radius of science and reason’ finds a resonance among immigrant believers who stand out in sharp contrast to native non-believers.

Rabindranath Tagore, Germany, 1931Ironically, those who have abandoned god and faith have not embraced either science or reason. Instead, they have given themselves to gay abandon, literally and metaphorically. In 1921 Rabindranath Tagore had encountered Germans “frustrated by military defeat, economic disaster and political chaos”. Almost a century later, German soldiers prefer teddies over guns, the German economy is the strongest in Europe and German politics is all about staid and boring stability.

Yet the ‘light’ that eluded Germans when Tagore was feted by “a multitude of people expecting a light from the East” seems to have remained elusive. Nothing else would explain the self-flagellation of a Christian nation whose President said that Islam is a “part of Germany”, adding, almost as an afterthought, “like Christianity and Judaism”.

Empty churches and the twice-fire-bombed synagogue of Berlin fly in the face of that half-hearted assertion. The Turks who were brought in to help with Germany’s post-War reconstruction were inspired by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Latter day Muslim immigrants, especially those who have sought shelter in Germany claiming ‘persecution’ at home, are inspired by the zealotry of Mohamed Atta who embarked upon his villainous mission from this country.

Realisation of sorts is gradually beginning to seep in as middle-aged Germans look around in amazement at a country they increasingly find difficult to identify as their own. Young Germans are irritated, though not necessarily concerned. An opinion poll showed more than a third of the natives believed their country was “overrun by foreigners” who had inveigled their way in for Germany’s famed social benefits.

Angela MerkelThat had prompted Chancellor Angela Merkel to admit, the first German leader to do so, that attempts to build a multicultural society had “utterly failed”. Bogus talk of building a ‘multikulti’ utopia has proved to be so much hot air — just that and no more, although the Chancellor, a politician with an eye to potential voters, was less acerbic with her choice of words.

Addressing young members of her conservative Christian Democratic Union she said, “At the beginning of the 1960s our country called the foreign workers to come to Germany and now they live in our country. We kidded ourselves a while, we said: ‘They won’t stay, sometime they will be gone.’ But this isn’t the reality…. The approach to build Shariah Zone Londona multicultural society and to live side-by-side and to enjoy each other… has failed, utterly failed.

This failure is evident in country after country across Europe. Londonistan which now has ‘Sharia’h Enforced Here’ zones is written about and heard of; other cities are fast sliding in that direction. Berlin is witnessing a proliferation of mosques. Not all of them are used for preaching the ‘religion of peace’. The plaintive pealing of church bells tells Christendom’s sad story.

Tragically, even as an alien faith strikes root in a foreign land, there’s little to halt the cultural atrophy and consequent decline of morals and values without which Enlightenment would have eluded Europe and its benefits would never have reached far corners of the Earth. The crisis of faith is so stark that it cannot be missed even by casual visitors. –  The Pioneer, 5 April 2015

» Kanchan Gupta is a journalist, political analyst, and activist based in NCR.

Jesus in Islam is a slave of Allah.
Islam will dominate the world!

Separatist Funding: The complete modus operandi – Vicky Nanjappa

Vicky Nanjappa“The investigations also revealed that at least 90 persons from different parts of the world were involved in funding terrorists in the Valley. Investigations would reveal that between the years 2009 and 2011 an amount of Rs 12 million had been recovered. In addition to this fake currency and also euros were recovered from the agents who were funding terrorists. In the year 2011 some agents had also brought in Saudi Arabian riyals worth 74,000 into the Valley.” – Vicky Nanjappa

HSBC Terror FundingThe more one looks into the trouble at Jammu and Kashmir, it becomes extremely clear that it is the funding that these separatists get which is the bulk of the problem. Separatists normally try to divert attention of the public by raising unwanted issues such as the Armed Forces Special Protection Act and pro Pakistan issues.

The fact of the matter is that funding terrorists and separatists in Jammu and Kashmir is a major racket and probably one of the toughest cases for any investigating agency to crack.

What is India doing to curb separatist funding?

An official with the Home Ministry informed OneIndia that the focus is on the separatist funding. There is a lot that multiple agencies are doing in order to stop their funding.

Agencies such as the NIA, ED and also the local police are working together with the help of the Intelligence Bureau to curb funding for these separatists, the officer also informed.

The Combating of Funding of Terrorists has a broader approach and will go into all funds that are being pumped into Jammu and Kashmir. This would also cover the funding for separatists since the money is being paid to disrupt peace in J&K, the official also informed.

The other cell that is in force to crack this menace is the Terror Funding and Fake Currency Cell. This cell falls under the National Investigating Agency and till date several cases of funding have been discovered.

Finding the trail

For the investigating officers, the trail is probably one of the hardest aspects to crack. The money comes in through various sources. It lands through hawala or a drug deal. At times the money is parked in the real estate and passed on to the terrorist and separatists in installments.

We have been able to detect that a considerable amount of money had been pumped in through Nepal which was meant to reach Yasin Bhatkal. However he has his proxies to collect the money and this would require further investigations in order to nail him legally, the NIA official informed.

HawalaHawala still a major draw

Investigators say transfer of money through hawala is still the biggest draw. In the month of November 2011, four businessmen were booked by the Enforcement Directorate to facilitating hawala transactions through the Line of Control.

It had become evident that this money was being sent by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba to facilitate its terrorists and also the separatists. However investigations had found that the businessmen were only facilitating the transfer for a fee and were not ideologically connected to the Lashkar.

The terror groups still find hawala to be their best bet since it is safer compared to legal banking. It is very difficult to crack the hawala trail as the persons involved in the transfer change after every two or three transactions the officer says.

Misusing the barter system

There is a lot of trade along the border that takes place on the barter system. Terrorists, separatists and their agents pose as traders and end up exchanging money along the border.

Very often these persons also pass on money which is in turn brought into India and handed out to separatists and terrorists.

Investigations have shown that there were at least 48 agents until 2014 who were using the barter system to fund terrorism in the Valley. The NIA and the ED had found that these persons had managed to move Rs 7.5 million in 20 different cases.

In addition to this the seizures also led to the NIA finding cheques worth Rs 1 lakh which was meant to reach a terrorist or a separatist.

Using international agents

The investigations also revealed that at least 90 persons from different parts of the world were involved in funding terrorists in the Valley. Investigations would reveal that between the years 2009 and 2011 an amount of Rs 12 million had been recovered.

In addition to this fake currency and also euros were recovered from the agents who were funding terrorists. In the year 2011 some agents had also brought in Saudi Arabian riyals worth 74,000 into the Valley.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani & Pak FlagThe beneficiaries

NIA sources say that the funding has gone both to terrorist groups and separatists as well. Money has been pumped into the Hurriyat Conference, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, Islamic Students Front, Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Jamiat ul-Mujahideen.

In the case of Syed Ali Shah Geelani an FIR had been registered in the year 1997 in which it was alleged that he had got funding to the tune of Rs 190 million from Saudi Arabia and also another donation of Rs 100 million from the Kashmir American Council.

Investigations had revealed that all these funds were routed through a Delhi based Hawala operative. It was also found that Yasin Malik had received funding of 1 lakh US dollars and the money was being carried by a lady called Shazia.

The NIA says that it is probing into all these angles. We are looking at each case since the 1995 onwards and this will help us get a better picture of the entire racket, the officer further added.

Using the money to create unrest

Intelligence Bureau officials tell OneIndia that the money is being used for various purposes. There is a considerable amount that goes into funding their own lavish lifestyles.

The ISI which orchestrates this entire racket does not mind these persons living in lavish bungalows as long as they keep the fire going. Investigations had found that a considerable amount of the money had been used to fuel the 2010 unrest in Jammu and Kashmir too.

The NIA says that funding is the biggest concern and this route and channel needs to be broken. These trouble makers do anything for money and Pakistan is not hesitant to pump in as much as is possible to keep the fire in the Valley burning. – OneIndia, 17 April 2015

Terror Phone Calls

Ayaan Hirsi Ali calls for Islam’s reboot – Maureen Callahan

Maureen Callahan“Ali thinks the West … should look to the lessons of the Cold War and recognize we are waging a battle of ideas — that in 17 Muslim majority nations, the state religion is Islam. … ‘We need to recognize that this is an ideological conflict that will not be won until the concept of jihad itself has been decommissioned.'” – Maureen Callahan

Ayaan Hirsi AliThere was a time when author and activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali believed it all: that, according to Islam, the infidel should die, that the Quran is infallible, that those who violated sharia law — thieves, gays, adulterers — deserved to be stoned to death or beheaded, as they were each Friday in a public gathering place she and her brother called “Chop-Chop Square.”

Today, she is that rare thing: a public intellectual who, despite death threats and charges of bigotry, calls for an end to Islam — not just as the faithful know it, but as we in the West think we know it.

“The assumption is that, in Islam, there are a few rotten apples, not the entire basket,” Ali tells The Post. “I’m saying it’s the entire basket.”

In her book, “Heretic,” Ali argues for a complete reformation of Islam, akin to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. Though her own education led her to reject Islam and declare herself an atheist, she believes that for the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, there must be another way.

“If you are a child brought up to believe that Islam is a source of morality” — as she was, in Africa and Saudi Arabia — “the Muslim framework presents you with the Quran and the hijab. I don’t want to be cruel and say, ‘You grow up and you snap out of it.’ But maybe we who have snapped out of it have not done our best to appeal to those still in it,” she says.

Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now - Ayaan Hirsi AliIn “Heretic,” Ali says there are three kinds of Muslims. There are the violent, the reformers, and what she believes is the largest group — those who want to practice as they see fit and live peaceably but do not challenge the Quran, the Muslim world’s treatment of women and the LGBT community, or terrorist attacks committed in the name of Islam.

Yet she refuses to label this group as moderate. She believes they have done nothing to deserve it. “I’ve never believed in the word,” Ali says. “It’s totally useless. I think we’re in a time now where we demand answers from Muslims and say, ‘Whose side are you on?’ ”

Ali argues for five amendments to the faith. “Only when these five things are recognized as inherently harmful and when they are repudiated and nullified,” she writes, “will a true Muslim reformation have been achieved.”

Those five notions are:

  1. The infallibility of the Prophet Muhammad and the literal interpretation of the Quran
  2. The idea that life after death is more important than life on Earth
  3. Sharia law
  4. Allowing any Muslim to enforce ideas of right and wrong on another
  5. Jihad, or holy war

Rejecting these ideas, some of which date to the 7th century, is a shocking proposition to the faithful.

“The biggest obstacle to change within the Muslim world,” Ali writes, “is precisely its suppression of the sort of critical thinking I am attempting here.”

Religious DissentDissent and die

Ali has firsthand experience. In November 2004, after collaborating with the Dutch artist Theo van Gogh on the documentary “Submission” — which criticized the Muslim world’s abuse of women — Van Gogh was shot to death by a Dutch-Moroccan Muslim. The assassin attempted to decapitate him and stabbed him in the chest, leaving a note affixed by the knife. It was a death threat against Ali.

She was forced into seclusion and given a 24-hour security detail. Today, she lives with her husband and young son in the United States yet remains a target.

“In no other modern religion,” Ali writes, “is dissent still a crime, punishable by death.”

She knows the greatest criticism she faces is that she is Islamophobic, that she is accusing all Muslims of adhering to jihad, to abuse, to the establishment of a caliphate.

In the book, Ali cites a 2013 report by the Pew Research Center on Muslims’ beliefs. It found that in Pakistan, 75 percent think those who leave Islam should be put to death. In Bangladesh, 43 percent think so. In Iraq, 41 percent.

Those who believe sharia is the infallible word of God: 81 percent in Pakistan, 65 percent in Bangladesh and 69 percent in Iraq.

She also cites a 2007 Pew study that found that among 18- to 29-year-old American Muslims, 7 percent had favorable opinions of al Qaeda, and they were twice as likely as older Muslims to believe suicide bombings in the name of their religion were warranted. of ideology

This is where Ali thinks the Obama administration has failed.

President Obama “has acknowledged Islamophobia, which is the worst thing you can do for Muslims who are trying to turn things around,” she says. Whether it’s ISIS or al Qaeda or the Taliban or so-called lone wolves — such as the Boston Marathon bombers or the Charlie Hebdo attackers or the suicide bomber who blew up 15 Christians in Pakistan last week or the ISIS suicide bombing that left 137 fellow Muslims dead — when these people say they are killing in the name of true Islam, Ali says, believe them.

She accepts that Obama’s administration is attempting a delicate balance — that to declare war on Islam is exactly what these fighters want — but says more can be done.

“Obama is saying, ‘Listen, Muslims, I’m on your side. I respect your beliefs, and I’d like you to help me fight these attacks committed in the name of your religion,’ ” Ali says. “He’s delivering, and they’re not.”

Western Europe, she says, is turning away from the threat of self-segregating Islamic immigrants at its grave peril. A 2009 study by the think tank Citivas found 85 operational sharia courts in Great Britain alone.

“I think with the Arab world, the West thinks we’re fighting an inferior enemy,” Ali says. “Look at the language we use: It’s jihad, it’s insurgency, it’s asymmetric.” Ali thinks the West, and the US especially, should look to the lessons of the Cold War and recognize we are waging a battle of ideas — that in 17 Muslim majority nations, the state religion is Islam.

“We did not say the Soviet system was morally equivalent to ours; nor did we proclaim that Soviet communism was an ideology of peace,” Ali writes. “In much the same way, we need to recognize that this is an ideological conflict that will not be won until the concept of jihad itself has been decommissioned.”

Sam HarrisThe “mother lode”

The greatest obstacle to an Islamic reformation is the diffuse nature of the religion itself. Unlike Catholicism, there is no leader, no papal equivalent to endorse or denounce jihad. In fact, there is no hierarchy of any kind, and any man who wishes can declare himself an imam.

Meanwhile, groups such as ISIS, al Qaeda and the Taliban are successful precisely because they have top-down leadership, codified warfare and an explicit, simple goal. “These groups are adapting to modern technology, to modern innovations in organization and management,” Ali says. “They know that without a hierarchy, human beings understand nothing.”

She is gratified by the stance taken by Sam Harris, a prominent American neuroscientist and author of “The End of Faith.”

“Sam realizes that among religions, Islam is unique in its atrocity, that everything we said about [violence in] Christianity and Judaism was hundreds of years ago. He calls Islam ‘the mother lode of bad ideas,’ which is extremely brave,” she says.

With “Heretic,” Ali is calling on those Muslims who reject jihad, acts of terror, and the subjugation of women and infidels to organize, to challenge, to speak out loudly and often against violence committed in the name of Allah — and she is calling on the West to actively demand it.

“This is a transformation of the West as we know it,” she says. “We’re at the beginning, and what we do right now is going to be consequential.” – New York Post, 22 March 2015

» Maureen Callahan has worked as an editor and writer at the New York Post for seven years, covering everything from the subcultures of the Lower East Side to local and national politics. She has also written for Spin, New York, and the late, lamented Sassy. In 2009, she was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize by the New York Post.

Sam Harris

Pakistan: Religious women protesting against Charlie Hebdo Magazine

ISIS is an Islamic Fourth Reich – V. S. Naipal

V. S. NaipaulThe Nobel Prize-winning author V.S. Naipaul has warned that Islamic State are the most potent threat to the world since the Nazis.

In a hard-hitting article in the Mail on Sunday, the revered novelist brands the extremist Muslim organisation as the Fourth Reich, saying it is comparable to Adolf Hitler’s regime in its fanaticism and barbarity.

Calling for its “military annihilation,” the Trinidadian-born British writer says IS is “dedicated to a contemporary holocaust,” has a belief in its own “racial superiority” and produces propaganda that Goebbels would be proud of. 

A long-term critic of Islam as a global threat, he also challenges those who say the extremists have nothing to do with the real religion of Islam, suggesting that the simplicity of some interpretations of the faith have a strong appeal to a minority.

He has likened Tony Blair to a pirate whose socialist revolution had imposed a “plebeian culture” on Britain and found himself embroiled in controversy in 2001 by comparing Islam to colonialism, saying the faith ‘has had a calamitous effect’ as converts must deny their heritage. – Mail Online

 Lt Moaz al-KasasbehImagine a world in which a young man is locked in a cage, has petrol showered over him and is set alight to be burnt alive. 

Imagine the triumphant jeering of an audience that has gathered to witness this. Imagine, also, a 12-year-old child with elated determination on his features shooting at close range a kneeling man with his arms tied behind his back.

Then picture the spectacle of a hundred beheadings of victim after victim in humiliating uniforms, their hands and feet bound, kneeling with their backs to their black-robed executioners who wield knives to cut their throats as though they were sacrificial lambs. 

Picture queues of helpless men and women being marched by zealous executioners who nail them to wooden crosses and crucify them, howling and bleeding to death as crowds watch. 

Then picture thousands of girls and women, their arms tied, being marched by hooded and armed captors into sexual slavery. And then, if that is not enough, picture men being thrown off cliffs to their deaths because they are accused of being gay.

Yes, all these scenes could have taken place in several continents in the medieval world, but they were captured on camera and broadcast to anyone with access to the internet. These are scenes, of yesterday, today and tomorrow in our own world.

I have always distrusted abstractions and have turned into writing what I could discover and explore for myself. 

So I must begin by admitting that I have not recently travelled in those regions threatened by barbarism—the Middle East, the north west of Africa, in pockets of Pakistan and in the Islamic countries of south-eastern Asia.

However, in the 1980s and early 1990s I undertook to examine the “revival” of Islam that was taking place through the revolution in Iran and the renewed dedication to the religion of other countries. 

I travelled through Iran, Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia attempting to discover the ideas and convictions behind this new “fundamentalism.”

My first book was called Among The Believers and the second, perhaps prophetically, Beyond Belief. Since those books were written, the word “fundamentalism” has taken on new meanings.

As the word suggests, it means going back to the groundings, to the foundations and perhaps to first principles. It is used to characterise the interpretation given to passages of the Koran, to the Hadith, which is a collection of the acts in the life of the Prophet Mohammed and to an interpretation of sharia law.

ISIS FlagHowever, the particular fundamentalist ideology of ‘Islamist’ groups that have dedicated themselves to terror – such as Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and now in its most vicious, barbaric and threatening form the Islamic Caliphate, ISIS or the Islamic State (IS) – interprets the foundation and the beginning as dating from the birth of the Prophet Mohammed in the 6th Century.

Top ISIS LeadersThis fundamentalism denies the value and even the existence of civilisations that preceded the revelations of the Koran. 

It was an article of 6th and 7th Century Arab faith that everything before it was wrong, heretical. There was no room for the pre-Islamic past. 

So an idea of history was born that was fundamentally different from the ideas of history that the rest of the world has evolved.

In the centuries following, the world moved on. Ideas of civilisation, of other faiths, of art, of governance of law and of science and invention grew and flourished. 

Abdulmecid IIThis Islamic ideological insistence on erasing the past may have survived but it did so in abeyance, barely regarded even in the Ottoman Empire which declared itself to be the Caliphate of all Islam.

But now the evil genie is out of the bottle. The idea that faith abolishes history has been revived as the central creed of the Islamists and of ISIS

Their determination to deny, eliminate and erase the past manifests itself in the destruction of the art, artefacts and archaeological sites of the great empires, the Persian, the Assyrian and Roman that constitute the histories of Mesopotamia and Syria. 

They have bulldozed landmarks in the ancient city of Dur Sharukkin and smashed Assyrian statues in the Mosul museum. Destroying the winged bull outside the fortifications of Nineveh satisfies the same reductive impulse behind the destruction by the Taliban of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has described this destruction of art, artefacts, inscriptions and of the museums that house them not only as a butchery of civilisational memory but as a war crime. 

It is telling that the victims of Wednesday’s barbarous shootings were visitors to the great Bardo Museum in Tunis, a repository of art and material from Tunisia’s rich, pre-Islamic past.

Isis is dedicated to a contemporary holocaust. It has pledged itself to the murder of Shias, Jews, Christians, Copts, Yazidis and anyone it can, however fancifully, accuse of being a spy. It has wiped out the civilian populations of whole regions and towns. Isis could very credibly abandon the label of Caliphate and call itself the Fourth Reich.

Joseph Goebbels Like the Nazis, ISIS fanatics are anti-semitic, with a belief in their own racial superiority. They are anti-democratic: the Islamic State is a totalitarian state, absolute in its authority. There is even the same self-regarding love of symbolism, presentation and propaganda; terror is spread to millions through films and videos created to professional standards of which Goebbels would have been proud.

Just as the Third Reich did, ISIS categorises its enemies as worthy of particular means of execution from decapitation to crucifixion and death by fire. 

Whereas the Nazis pretended to be the guardians of civilisation in so far as they stole art works to preserve them and kept Jewish musicians alive to entertain them, ISIS destroys everything that arises from the human impulse to beauty. 

Such barbarism is not new to history and every nation has suffered mass murder and barbaric cruelty in the past. That a European country in the 20th Century launched a holocaust on the basis of race is a matter of the deepest shame. 

That ISIS has revived the religious dogmas and deadly rivalries between Sunnis and Shias, Sunnis and Jews and Christians is a giant step into darkness.

The Arab lands, relatively stable under the Ottoman Empire, were divided up by the British and French victors of the First World War into the kingdoms of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria and Jordan at the Cairo Conference of 1920. Borders were drawn in straight lines and the sons of the Mufti of Mecca imposed on the newly carved territories as kings.

Winston Churchill was advised at the Cairo conference by T. E. Lawrence and by Gertrude Bell, who should have known that the Shia would not readily welcome or acknowledge a Sunni king and vice versa.

After upheavals, rebellions and military coups, the region settled down under dictatorships in the 1950s and 1960s. 

Saddam HusseinThe Ba’athist Party was, in some senses, a modernising force and Saddam Hussein, though a Sunni, ruled the predominantly Shia and partly Kurd nation of Iraq with a ruthless hand. Wherever two or three were gathered in the name of the Almighty, he sent in his police.

He may not have been a savoury character but his overarching policies were holding on to power and modernising Iraq. 

He was the cat that kept the rats of Islamism at bay. His invasion of Kuwait, another artificial sheikdom, poor in territory at the knee of Iraq but rich in oil, triggered the international reaction against him. The Bush-Blair alliance invaded Iraq and the puppet regime they set up executed Saddam. In the absence of the cat, the rats ran riot.

Muammar GaddafiAnd so it has proved throughout the region. The Libyans, with the assistance of a European alliance, overthrew Gaddafi. The country is now at the mercy of Islamic militants. The same Arab Spring saw democratic protest against the Egyptian dictator and resulted for a while in an elected regime veering towards the repressions of Islamism. 

It was overthrown by a military coup whose leader, General el-Sisi, speaking to the clerics and supposed scholars of the authoritative Islamic university Al-Azhar, called on them to denounce ISIS as the greatest threat to international peace and exhorted them to declare the ideology of ISIS a heresy. The mullahs of Al-Azhar have not as yet complied.

In Syria, the conflict of groups opposed to the government of Bashar Al-Assad resolved itself in the formation of a Sunni Islamicist militia, which in turn evolved—after a significant bloodletting – into ISIS.

Are ISIS and its followers heretics? The politicians of Europe and America, including David Cameron, Barack Obama and Francois Hollande, after every Islamist outrage insist on describing them as a lunatic fringe. Their constant refrain is that these perpetrators of murder and terror have as much to do with Islam as the Ku Klux Klan has to do with Christianity or the testament of Jesus Christ. But does such political assurance bear scrutiny?

Of course the politicians, church leaders and others who say “these atrocities have nothing to do with Islam” are not making a researched or considered theological statement. They are attempting, quite rightly, to prevent civil discord in a world in which there are considerable Muslim immigrant populations in most countries of Europe and in the US.

UK girls for JihadSo what impels the tiny minority of young men and women from immigrant communities to volunteer themselves to “jihad” and to almost certain self-destruction, or young women to abscond from their families and from European reality to become jihadi brides.

When I visited Pakistan, I discovered what I have characterised as the effects of an ideological nurture. The Pakistani or Bangladeshi Muslim is taught that he or she has no historical antecedents before the conquest of parts of India and its conversion to the faith.

ISIS RecruiterThe pressures of poverty and promise bring this Muslim to Britain. He and his family don’t speak English. 

They are confined to work and live in an exclusively immigrant area of an inner city—say Bradford, Tower Hamlets or parts of Greater Manchester or Birmingham. 

Their children are raised as Muslims, some strict some not so strict, and are sent to the normal city schools which soon become almost exclusively immigrant.

Some find that the values that traditionally inform them are at variance with those of the lives they see around them. This is true for even those Muslim young men and women who are being educated, through Britain’s by-and-large egalitarian system, to be surgeons or computer programmers.

Mumbai youth join ISISIslamism is simpler. There are rules to obey, a jihad to fight against the civilisation you can’t comprehend, a heaven to go to when you martyr yourself and now a real fighting force in the world which you can join to simplify and solve your existence: no history to complicate your self-awareness, no art to distract you, no ambivalence and choices that “Western” civilisation offers you, no doubt about the fruits of martyrdom, no allegiance to the country in which you were brought up and which gave you a free education and perhaps welfare benefits. A gun, a half-understood prayer and the simplicity that a simple and singular upbringing craves.

That is why they go. And volunteer for death, and die.

In the past three or four centuries since Descartes, Leibniz and Newton, Islam remained encrypted in the revelations of the Koran and the Hadith of a 6th Century life.

The expansion of the scientific enquiry coincided with or possibly caused the maritime expansion of European colonialism. Empirical science, the progress of liberal religion and the germination of modern democratic ideas coincided with European colonial dominion over Asia and Africa.

The process of decolonisation in the 20th century gave rise to the idea that every advance in civilisation, scientific or democratic, was to be condemned as “colonial.” There may be no ideological answer to such bigotry. 

The Islamic world does contain currents that are opposed to the interpretations that ISIS gives to the Koran, the Hadith and to sharia. These are yet to declare themselves.

Though the appeal of ISIS can be challenged by other strands of Islam, its murderous presence persists in the failed states of Iraq and war-torn Syria and threatens to spread through northern Africa.

Iraqi Army against ISISThe crippled Iraqi government has launched its reluctant armies against ISIS. The Iranians, being Shias opposed to Sunni Caliphates, are supporting the Iraqi army and the Shia militias, who are a considerable force independent of the Iraqi government, are in a coalition to fight Isis on the ground. With air support from the West, they may manage to push ISIS back.

Such an offensive, with the immediate objective of regaining Iraqi territory has to be urgently expanded. ISIS has to be seen as the most potent threat to the world since the Third Reich.

It’s military annihilation as an anti-civilisational force has to now be the objective of a world that wants its ideological and material freedoms. – Mail Online,  22 March 2015

» Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul, TC, is a Trinidad-born Nobel Prize-winning British writer known for his comic early novels set in Trinidad, his bleaker later novels of the wider world, and his autobiographical chronicles of life and travels. Naipaul has published more than 30 books, both of fiction and nonfiction, over some 50 years.

Iraqi soldier's heads by ISIS


Why no “Je suis Avijit Roy” for Avijit Roy? – Ahmar Mustikhan

Ahmar Mustikhan“Roy’s killing was indeed the Charlie Hebdo of Dhaka. However, since Dhaka is not Paris and since Roy and his wife are brown in colour, activists and intellectuals from South Asia say the killing did not get the attention it deserved in the West.” – Ahmar Mustikhan

Avijit Roy“The Two Nation Theory drowned in the Bay of Bengal in 1971,” Baloch nationalist leader Sardar Ataullah Mengal once said. Bengal is the famed homeland of artists, intellectuals and geniuses such as Swami Vivikenanda and Rabindranath Tagore. Bengal’s eastern half, now Bangladesh, was also the land where that saw the ignominious defeat of world’s largest Muslim army, Pakistan army and capture of more than 90,000 “Butchers of Bengal” as prisoners of war. Bangladesh emerged on the world map as a secular nation as Pakistan army stood defeated after conducting a genocide of at least three million Bengalis and raping tens of thousands of Bengali women. Dhaka became the Waterloo for Pakistan army, thanks to Gen Sam Manekshaw. Scholars still rank Bangladesh with Turkey and Tunisia among the three secular nations in the world, though Kakul-trained army generals, Ershad and Zia, did try to change the secular nature of the state to an Islamic republic. It is pertinent to write here that Kakul in Abbottabad houses the Pakistan Military Academy and gained world infamy after terror mastermind Osama bin Laden was discovered living there in May 2010.

Against this backdrop, the hatching to death of Avijit Roy, 42, in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, on the last Thursday of February was a shocker for writers and journalists in South Asia. Roy’s wife Rafida Ahmed, 45, who is a fellow writer, was seriously wounded and lost a finger in the deadly attack. Some reports suggested Roy, a free thinker, was punished among other reasons for marrying a Muslim woman. Roy, a naturalised American from Alpharetta, Georgia, had gone to Dhaka for a book festival and speaking engagement on his latest books, including one entitled “The Virus of Faith,” according to CNN. Roy’s killing was indeed the Charlie Hebdo of Dhaka. However, since Dhaka is not Paris and since Roy and his wife are brown in colour, activists and intellectuals from South Asia say the killing did not get the attention it deserved in the West.

Nazir S BhattiNazir S. Bhatti, president of the Pakistan Christian Congress, in Philadelphia, told this writer he was sad that while the entire West descended on Paris to defend freedom of expression after the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists’ killings, Western protest over Roy’s killing remained muted. “Dozens of heads of state march for human rights and value of freedom but none speaks when Roy is brutally hacked to death in Dhaka,” said Bhatti. He added he was shocked that the news media portrayed Roy as an atheist – as if to give a dog a bad name and hang him – even though Roy was a born Hindu who believed in the freedom of speech and expression. “The Hindu community in Bangladesh, just like the Christians, is already under threat of Muslim extremists,” he said.

Bhatti credited the Hasina Wajed government for boldly facing the Islamist threat, for bringing the Islamist war criminals to justice and for maintaining the secular character of her nation and said it may not be very difficult to bring Roy’s killers to book as he was constantly under threat of the Islamists. Bhatti said the ISI role in Roy’s killing cannot be ruled out, as Pakistan has been in the forefront to defend Islamists in Bangladesh. Pakistan home minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan condemned Bangladesh for bringing the war criminals to justice, he recalled. These war criminals took part in the killing of millions of Bengalis, a big chunk of whom were Hindus. From Dhaka, senior Bangladesh journalist Saleem Samad said investigators blame Ansarullah Bangla Team, which has several offshoot groups, for killing Roy. An elite anti-terror unit, called RAB, has arrested Islamic extremist blogger Farabi Shafiur Rahman, who is a key suspect in the Avijit Roy murder case, Samad said. Samad, who is also a correspondent for the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders, said Bangladesh had faced an Islamist threat ever since its birth in 1971. “The Muslim bigots who were with Jamaat-e-Islami and who had failed to protect the Islamic nation Pakistan, continued to conspire, sabotage Bangladesh founder Sheikh Mujib‘s dream of a secular nation,” Samad said. He said the dreaded ISI has armed and funded militants in Northeast Indian states to destabilise India’s northern region. “ISI had always recruited Jihadis from Bangladesh to fight with Mujaheddin in Afghanistan. Later, ISI aided and abetted Al Qaeda media and international fund-raising wings to be transferred to Bangladesh in 2002,”  he said.

Peter BishopSamad added in recent years that Bangladesh sleuths have busted sleeper cells of Al Qaeda and other Jihadis, who primarily operate in Kashmir, and other regions of India. Samad said the slain writer had thousands of sympathisers in Bangladesh and foreign countries–wherever there is a Bangladeshi community. Many in the East blame the Obama administration for the growth of global jihadi terror, but some liberal sections of US society who stand solidly with President Obama praise his handling of the Islamist challenge. Peter Bishop, Phd, a humanist philosopher associated with the Washington Ethical Society, who had worked hard for Obama’s election victory, said it was wrong to say Roy’s killing did not get Western attention. He said the overwhelming reaction to the Charlie Hebdo killings was a little overboard and said “cooler heads” are beginning to be wary of blaming Muslims in general for this, and to try to figure out how to separate the Muslims who are terrorists from those who are not terrorists.  “President Obama has been trying to organise this kind of effort worldwide with some success.  Europe was hoping that they were being more successful in integrating Muslims into their societies even though France was obviously doing a poor job of this, as evidenced by their laws against wearing Muslim clothing,” Bishop said.

Commenting on the racial angle, Bishop said although many people who live and work in the United States but were born in India feel some of the racial prejudice felt by African Americans, “I believe that this prejudice is not as bad as it is for African Americans. Although Bangladesh is not India, I think Avijit Roy benefits from this goodwill towards people from India than towards African Americans. “Obama’s supporters might be thinking the American president is showing respect to the Muslim world by trying to be politically correct. However, some of his actions were seen to be too repugnant even by Americans. One such action was when Obama bowed to kiss the hand of the late Saudi monarch King Abdullah – the “Custodian of the Two Holy Shrines” and owner of oil wells – at the G20 summit in London in spring 2009. Unlike their US counterparts, liberals from South Asia have a poor view of Obama’s handling of the Islamist threat.

Tarek FatahCanadian writer and broadcaster Tarek Fatah, who like Roy continues to receive threats from Islamists, shared Bhatti’s feelings that the killing of Roy did not invite as much outrage simply because of the victim’s skin colour. Tarek Fatah, who is a fierce critic of President Obama playing softball with global Islamists, in a column in the Toronto Sun called Obama’s three-day summit “Countering Violent Extremism” an insult to Muslim opponents of Islamic extremism. Obama had hosted the summit at the White House and deliberately left out Muslim critics of jihad. “It soon became evident the three-day summit was a theatre of the absurd. The very people who have preached Islamism and promoted Sharia in their sermons were invited to recommend how to undo the damage done by their teachings,” Fatah wrote in his Toronto Sun column. He added, “Imams from American mosques which practice gender-segregation and homophobia, representatives of Gulf Arab states who funded and promoted the ideology and the government of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and women sporting Muslim Brotherhood-mandated hijabs dotted the audience and speakers.” – Dailyo, 4 March 2015

» Ahmar Mustikhan is a journalist of long-standing from Balochistan, now residing in the greater Washington DC metropolitan area. In his professional career, he has worked for leading newspaper groups in Pakistan, United Arab Emirates and the United States.

Obama bows to Abdullah


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