Sunday, 26 June 2011

Anti-Islamic Hate Speech is Now Legal in the Netherlands

Geert Wilders, the far-right Dutch Politician has been acquitted of all charges in his hate speech trial in Amsterdam. According to the Judge, comparing Islam to Nazism might be offensive, but it falls within the scope of free speech. Naturally, Geert stated, “It's not only an acquittal for me, but a victory for freedom of expression in the Netherlands”. The judge also pointed out that Geert Wilder’s comments are often “crude and denigrating”, however they are not illegal; they included racist remarks like “head rag tax”. Why the term “head rag”? It sounds like the pejorative racist term “rag-head”, frequently used by the Americans.    

The clear implication of this verdict is that Islam can be criticised without limits; consequentially, the followers of Islam will be demonised, like the Nazis used to demonise minorities, preparing the grounds for committing genocide. Hence, after World War II, many European nations introduced hate-speech laws to prevent the scapegoating of minorities. After this verdict, it’s difficult to envisage how anyone can be prosecuted in the Netherlands for hate-speech against Islam, and by implication its followers.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Lesser of Two Evils: Is it the Arab Regimes or the Israeli Regime?

The images with the numerous reports of the latest crackdown by the Syrian regime are shocking, showing absolutely no regard for the rights of ordinary people. Throughout the Arab Spring, the Arab regimes have demonstrated the same pattern of brutality towards peaceful demonstrations. The sight of close family members occupying key positions making lucrative trade deals, gives the impression that governments in the Arab world are a family business. If the country is governed like a private fiefdom, the citizens will be regarded as tax-paying tenets at best or as mere slaves, who can be disposed of when they start to make demands; therefore, the regimes will naturally behave like the masters, rather than the servants of the nation.

Unlike the powerful response seen during the initial phase of the Arab Spring, the recent reaction in the Arab world towards the events in Syria has been lukewarm. Perhaps the masses have become desensitised after witnessing gratuitous violence over a sustained period, like we have become accustomed in the West to the Israelis killing the Palestinians or the Americans killing innocent civilians in Pakistan and Afghanistan, with their high-tech drones.  

Monday, 6 June 2011

How to Appoint a Khalif: Oath of Allegiance (Bay’a) or Election?

The milestones, for the process of appointing a leader by the masses, in any system are identical: nomination, selection and affirmation. First, the various candidates are nominated and declared; then the selection process decides the winner from amongst the nominated candidates, who effectively becomes the leader. Finally, the appointed leader affirms this publically through some sort of ceremony, for example, the US President’s inauguration, where the elected President takes an ‘oath’ to uphold the constitution, and start the Presidency. The third stage is merely the confirmation process, to openly declare what has already been decided in the selection stage.

In the tribal society of 7th century Mecca, the process of nomination and selection was vastly simplified and merged, but the nation states of today, in comparison are far more complex and larger; various candidates will compete for power from amongst the millions of citizens. Hence, the processes are far more formal and structured. When the system is framed, these processes are codified, and the masses agree to obey the leader who is appointed through the selection process, this is where the contract takes place. The obedience of the masses is given to the leader appointed, on the condition that he upholds the constitution, and the laws and values.

This nomination and selection process has varied with time and place; hence, the Prophet (saw) was silent about who should succeed after his demise, and he was also silent about the process of appointing a Khalif; this is reflected in the variations in the appointment of the first four Khalifs, and the subsequent chaos that ensued through the rebellion of Mu’awiyah.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Did Serbia Sacrifice Mladic for EU Membership?

Indeed, the needless massacre of Bosnian Muslims is a fact; the graveyards are still there, with the grieving relatives to testify. I remember the clip shown on the BBC, the Bosnian Muslim men being off loaded from the truck, and then shot in the back like animals. It is difficult to imagine that the ordinary Serbian masses would condone such barbaric acts; and if there is a contrast between the ordinary Serbian masses and the small number of criminals like Mladic, then it proves the point that a few men can tarnish an entire nation, just like a few drops of urine can spoil a glass of milk!

The Serbs as a nation are still unrepentant, one poll shows 40% regard him as a hero, and 51% are against the extradition; perhaps it’s their sense of nationalism and patriotism, combined with a defensive mood after the NATO bombings that prevent them from acknowledging these war crimes. Even individuals who admit the guilt in their hearts are reluctant, to condemn the war crimes and genocide as they would be seen as traitors; it does take a lot of courage to go against popular opinion and express the truth.