Monday, 31 December 2012

The Mayan Prophecy: Believers and Sceptics

As 2012 passed, many of us ridiculed the ancient Mayan prophecy predicting the end of the world on the 21st of December. Throughout history plenty of individuals and groups have made similar claims by pinpointing the date of Armageddon, thus, people naturally express cynicism towards these claims. Some of the academics contested that the Mayan scripture did not explicitly predict anything specific as such. It was deliberately exaggerated by the Hollywood industry, and formed part of the wider media sensationalism; the underlying objective was to increase revenue and it worked.

From the interest generated across the globe, it seems the subject of Armageddon is of interest to people of faith and no faith. This could be indicative of something deeper in our psyche about how we view our planet and the universe that it exists in. It implies that we see our planet as finite, with a beginning and an end, hence there is an expectation that the world will come to an end at some point in the future.   

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Connecticut school shooting: America gets a taste of its own medicine

Driven by hate, another homegrown terrorist goes on the rampage – this would have been the headline if Adam Lanza had been called Mohammed Lanza. Similar headlines were seen after the Oklahoma bombings; the media spared not time in tarnishing the Muslims even before the basic facts were known. Like Timothy McVeigh and Anders Breivik, Adam Lanza is also white with Christian heritage. Will the media now scrutinise the link between the ethnicity and religion of these men and the acts of gratuitous violence? 

There is no apparent political motive; the targets were innocent children who could not have caused any harm to Adam Lanza. The only possible ‘justification’ Adam Lanza could have argued is - these children posed a threat to him in the future; hence, he took some sort of pre-emptive strike by killing them. This is the same argument employed by the Zionists when they deliberately target women and children in Palestine, and the US has done the same to some extent after 9/11; shoot first then ask questions.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Israel the Chosen Nation

“We need to flatten entire neighbourhoods in Gaza, flatten all of Gaza; the Americans did not stop with Hiroshima, because the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki too” (Gilad Sharon son of Ariel Sharon, OP Ed in The Jerusalem Post)

“There are no innocents in Gaza.... Turn it into rubble! Paint it red!”  (Michael Ben-Ari Knesset member)


Consider how the West would have reacted, if Iran was behaving like the Israelis. They would not be pleading for restraint; instead there would be an outcry, with threats of military action, and instant UN sanctions imposed. History seems to support the notion that Israel will always get preferential treatment, no matter what it does. Hence, the blatant media bias in the West, combined with the unquestionable vocal support it receives from Westerns leaders. Accordingly, they have simply echoed the Israel propaganda: Hamas started this conflict with their rockets and Israel is merely acting in self-defence. 

The British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, blamed Hamas and supported Israel’s right to issue collective punishment on the citizens of Gaza. According to that sort of logic, the British government would have bombed the Catholics in Ireland for the actions of the IRA (Irish Republic Army). Yet, the British Foreign Minister was quick to endorse, Israel can do what the UK would not even contemplate! In tune with this sort of hypocrisy, western leaders continuously lecture about Israel’s security whilst ignoring the fact that the Palestinians have no security.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Attempted assassination of a 14-year-old girl: In the name of Islam?

“If Malala had been killed in a drone attack, you would not hear her medical status update, neither would she be called "daughter of the nation"; and neither would the media make a fuss. Neither would General Kiyani come to visit nor would the world media criticise and repeatedly report on it. This I'm afraid is the bitter truth of the matter.”
                                                                                      (Author unknown)

Despite being enemies, it seems the Taliban and the Americans have something fundamental in common: intolerance. Both advocate killing innocent people when they do not concur with them; the attempted execution of Malala Yousafzai and the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki and his family members have the same underlying theme of intolerance.  The Americans want to impose western liberal democracy and the Taliban want to impose a draconian (literal) version of Islamic law where there is no room for differences. What do the ordinary masses want in Pakistan or any other Muslim country? Apart from economic security and political stability, they want a society where there is room for dialogue and discussion - freedom of expression within sensible boundaries.

As for the attempted execution of a 14-year-old girl, a soft target by any standards and no doubt a cowardly act, there are two pertinent issues; the Taliban ideology and the media duplicity.  

On the latter, the media duplicity is obvious, the selective outrage sparked by an attack one teenager (Malala Yousafzai), yet there is total silence on the many faceless and nameless Pakistanis killed and maimed by the American drones over the last decade. The issue has nothing do with compassion for Malala; the undue international media coverage is entirely political, another point scored in construing the problem of militant Islam and Pakistan’s failure to deal with it.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

The Exit from Afghanistan

The Macedonians, Arabs, Persians, British, Russians have come and gone and now the Americans are preparing to do the same.

The infamous Bagram Air Base, known as the Guantanamo bay of Afghanistan or the Abu Ghraib of Iraq, where the Americans were ‘interrogating’ prisoners employing methods that can only be described as torture has been handed to the Afghan government; these are signs building up towards an American exit that is scheduled for December 2014 that started in 2001 following the events of 9/11.

With the rise of violence from 2006 onwards, particularly the “green on blue” attack is the exit represents the American-led mission a complete failure or it constitutes a calculated withdrawal from Afghanistan having met the objectives. The truth I believe lies somewhere in between, the withdrawal has been hastened by the economic crisis within the US as debts mount up, and elimination of Usamah Bin Laden and other leading members have more or less crippled the Taliban and remnants of Al-Qaeda has vanished from that part. Many of the Taliban are living across the border.

Read More ....

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Innocent Muslims and the Rampage of Anti-Islamic Extremists

“We cannot disguise hostility towards any religion behind the pretence of liberalism - Barack Obama, Cairo Speech 2009

President Obama has a historic opportunity to demonstrate that the words uttered at the Cairo speech were not the usual rhetoric of a politician seeking popularity and votes, by taking swift action against the few anti-Islamic extremists who produced this satirical, and profoundly offensive, anti-Islamic movie (Innocence of Muslims). And consequentially, endangered the lives of innocent Americans abroad; unfortunately four Americans including the ambassador in Libya have already perished; igniting an emotional issue will generate emotional response with unpredictable consequences.   

An open condemnation has to be followed by further actions to show that US government policy will not tolerate crass insults hurled against an entire community, in the same way that the world does not tolerate racial slurs. Hence, the crucial question is - can the US government take the lead in the Western world and demonstrate that it will not continue to allow the propagation of hostility towards Islam and Muslims, behind the pretence of liberalism, or will it continue to submit to the liberal bullies who are waving the hypocritical flag of free speech?

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Afghanistan and Iran

The two neighbouring nations have a long shared history. Historically, Iran has been the dominant nation with pre-Islamic empires that rivalled Rome and Greece; it came close to ruling Europe. Thus, Afghanistan has always been part of Iran’s natural sphere of cultural, religious, and political influence. Many Afghans speak a dialect of Farsi (Dari), which is considered a language of culture and scholarship. Geographically, modern Iran took shape after losing western Afghanistan including Herat, the second-largest city in Afghanistan, to the British in the Anglo-Persian War (1856–1857). Many Iranians consider western Afghanistan to be an integral part of its territory or at least see it as a little Persia inside Afghanistan

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Palestine, Tunisia, Egypt – The Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood

The Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan Al-Muslimun) groups are making steady progress; the election results show it is the people’s choice. Hamas won in Palestine, Nahda won in Tunisia, and now the Freedom and Justice Party led by Muhammad Morsi have been elected in Egypt, the largest Arab country, where the ideology and the movement of Ikhwan was formed by Sheikh Hasan Al-Banna in the 1920s. Under the Arab nationalist leader Jamal Abdul Nasser in the 1950s, the movement suffered as its activists were imprisoned, despite aiding Jamal Abdul Nasser to overthrow the old monarchy that had more or less mortgaged Egypt to the Western banks. Over successive years, the Ikhwan movement spread to most parts of the Islamic world.

Libya, Yemen, Morocco, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Algeria may also eventually elect a similar type of government in the future, provided there is political stability with a framework for a free and fair election. Until the election of Hamas in Gaza, Sudan was the one country were the Brotherhood was most successful in gaining power, its members making up a large part of the government for the last two decades. However, the Ikhwan based movements (Jamat-e-Islami) in the Indian subcontinent including Malaysia and Indonesia have not done well historically.

Therefore, why are the brotherhood groups succeeding now in the Arab world when they have been around since the 20s?

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Freedom for the Syrians - is it inevitable?

Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya fell; however, Syria and Bahrain seem to be defying that trend, where signs of regime change look remote; both nations are governed by the minority sect. Bahrain is dominated by the minority Sunni regime over the Shi’ite masses, and the situation is the reverse in Syria. In the case of Bahrain, the momentum for the protests is receding, whereas in Syria, the violence is escalating; to date it is estimated 15,000 people are dead.

With the systematic murder of 108 civilians including 49 children in Houla and subsequently 78 killed in the town of al-Qubair in a similar manner, the cycle of violence has escalated to new heights - naturally the peace negotiated earlier by Kofi Anan has been nullified. The harrowing pictures of children soaked in blood have been published in some of the Arabic newspapers; according to the UN the victims were summarily executed. In response, many countries have expelled Syrian diplomats. Note the contrast of response to the Israelis committing massacre of civilians in Gaza, and despite the overwhelming evidence, it was as usual, ‘defenceless’ Israel ‘defending’ itself with much greater firepower.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The NATO Withdrawal and the Future of Afghanistan: Construction or Destruction?

It is far easier to destroy then to build; a single explosion can destroy in a moment a building that took weeks to construct. This holds true for physical artefacts as well as the human character. A single incident can tarnish an individual’s reputation permanently, but it takes years to build a good name and gain the trust of the community. Applying this axiom of ‘destruction being easier than reconstruction’ to Afghanistan, the country needs political stability, a rebuilding programme, and a thorough cleansing of the existing network of corruption.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Rochdale Sex Crimes – Are they a product of the Pakistani Ghetto or Liberalism?

For certain, had these men been white Anglo-Saxons, the media coverage and the reaction would have been different; an isolated group of criminals only, with no reference to their racial or cultural identity. This is how for example serial killers are often portrayed. Take the example of the 8 Scottish paedophile gang convicted in 2009 [1] who were caught raping babies not consenting young teenagers like the Rochdale case, the news went unnoticed. Similarly, the recent case in Cornwall [2] also slipped under the media radar. There was no attempt to cast a slur on the wider community, based on the actions of these culprits.

In contrast, based on the actions of the 9 culprits in Rochdale, the media and certain politicians have been busy tarnishing the Pakistani community, which is almost a million or more in the UK. The notion of proportion and logic is discarded when there is an underlying agenda; predictably, the usual Islamophobes to the closet racists have come out blaming it on race and culture, the more daft elements of the far right are blaming religion.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Was it Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or Usamah Bin Laden behind the 9/11 attacks?

The US-led coalition went to war, and in the process killed almost a million people, in order to capture Usmah bin Laden, who allegedly masterminded the 9/11 attacks from the caves in Afghanistan. To avenge the killing of innocent civilians, by killing many more innocent civilians is a perverse notion of justice. If dispensing collective punishment is the policy, then it makes little sense to talk of innocence or guilt. Thus a suicide bomber is no different to those dropping bombs from a distance, both dispensing collective punishment on a community.  

Yet there was constant talk of guilt, and everybody pointed the finger at Usamah Bin Laden. He was conveniently killed, instead of being captured and put on trial – which would have provided the perfect opportunity to discover who was telling the truth. Of course, that is assuming he was going to be given a fair trial, rather than one based on ‘evidence’ acquired from water-boarding and other forms of torture that are regularly used by the Americans, euphemistically called "enhanced interrogation".  

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Taliban “Spring Offensive” – Beginning of a civil war or a New Afghanistan?

Usamah Bin Laden is dead, along with most of Al-Qaeda’s leadership; Anwar al-Awlaki is also dead, and after a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Arabs are calling for freedom and democracy on the streets. A suitable time for reflection, and one would expect the Taliban to reflect on the strategy of armed struggle to impose Sharia laws with an iron fist as a way forward. But, it seems business as usual for them, and so they began their “spring offensive” last week, the biggest offensive for a decade on Kabul, targeting the British, US and German embassies as well as the parliament building and the NATO military camp. Concurrently, 100 Taliban fighters attacked a prison inside Pakistan releasing about 400 Taliban fighters.

For sure the current regime in Afghanistan has the stamp ‘made in USA’ with a sell by date - it is very fragile. The US is keen to withdraw its forces sooner, rather than later, as it is forced to cut its war budget facing a mountain of debt. This is all building up to a significant turning point in Afghanistan, and a good time for the various parties to consider about bringing peace and prosperity for all in the country. However, the signs look ominous with the Taliban offensive. In anticipation of the vacuum that will be left by the vacating US forces, the various factions seeking to protect tribal interests may engage militarily, eventually descending back to civil war. 

Saturday, 21 April 2012

War Trophies from Afghanistan: A Clash of Morals

The awful pictures, published in the Los Angeles Times, show US soldiers posing with the remains of dead Afghans. For sure they have an audience in their military bases and back at home; such people must be consumed with immense hate to take pleasure from such macabre images. Similar pictures have also surfaced earlier, including a video showing US Marines urinating on dead Afghans. Then followed the Anders Breivik like killing rampage, by a lone US soldier; 17 innocent and defenceless civilians, including women and 9 children were murdered in cold blood. All these examples show an underlying trend; deep contempt for the Afghans, which correlate with the xenophobic and racist culture that runs deep within US history. 

There is a history behind the ‘art’ of collecting parts of mutilated dead bodies as war trophies. During the Vietnam War, some U.S. soldiers collected skulls of Vietnamese soldiers. Similarly in World War II, teeth and skulls of dead Japanese service personnel were commonly taken and sent home. Their ancestors, who migrated from Europe, engaged in taking scalps from dead Native Americans as trophies.

Read More ....

Monday, 16 April 2012

Wife Beating, Secular Feminism and Sharia

The recent case [1] of a battered British woman made headlines; her lover broke her jaw and nose, then her eyes were gouged out - it sounds like a horror flick. Only the bare facts got reported, as if it was just an isolated incident; there was very little analysis given in the media. There was hardly any mention of the man’s background, his ethnicity or religion, and no mention if he had any ideological affiliation, and nothing to indicate how widespread domestic violence is in the UK.

Media analysis is often tacit; by dropping hints of religious or ethnic background of the perpetrator, and selectively citing out other similar cases it paints a general picture, indicating the source of the problem.  For sure, that would have been the case, had the man been of a foreign complexion with a name like Ahmed, instead of Shane; the Islamophobes and closet racists would have argued that this wife-beating episode is another example proving that it is an Islamic phenomenon. Such Melanie Phillips like analysis usually gets endorsed by nasty comments found below it.  

Domestic violence is almost universal; it is just as prevalent, if not more, in countries that claim to be spearheading women’s rights. It is amusing to see countries like the US raising such issues, whilst it’s blind to the rapists filling the ranks of its army [2] and homes. In a survey [3], two-thirds of teenage men said they would commit date-rape if they could get away with it. Yet these types of men were sent to Afghanistan and Iraq to liberate women! 

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Afghanistan: War, Tribalism and Opium

The primary justification for the Afghan invasion was to eradicate Al-Qaeda, and promises were made to rebuild Afghanistan with a representative government, creating political stability and economic prosperity. For sure, Al-Qaeda has been dismantled substantially if not completely, with most of its leaders including Usamah Bin Laden dead.

However, there is very little progress made on the political front, primarily due to the failure to bring the dominant Pashtun based Taliban to the table. The political process is further exasperated by the criminal actions of the US-led forces: the frequent killings of innocent civilians, urinating on dead Afghans, and the burning of the Quran are just some examples from a long list. Consequently, the attitudes of ordinary Afghans towards the Americans have progressively hardened, along with a growing distrust of the Afghan security forces.  

Monday, 9 April 2012

Rashid al-Ghannushi, George Galloway and the Radical Fringe

“I am a better Pakistani than Hussain (the pro-war Labour candidate) will ever be”  George Galloway

The election victory of Rashid al-Ghannushi in Tunisia and the recent victory of George Galloway in the Bradford by-election have been scorned, by the anti-Islamic extremist brigade; the usual suspects are the likes of Melanie Phillips, Douglas Murray, the infamous Daily Mail tabloid and of course the far-right fascists. Since Galloway and Gannushi were elected by the masses in a free and fair election, does this mean, the democratic process of free election a bad thing now? When hate governs the heart, principles become irrelevant as long as you can hurt those you despise; where the end justifies the means.

However, for different reasons, the anti-Islamic brigade has found alliance amongst the Muslims - the radical fringe; they express criticism of George Galloway, because he is viewed as a rival stealing the leadership of the Muslim community, and they scorn Rashid al-Ghannushi for not turning Tunisia into a Caliphate overnight. The radical fringe cannot take leadership because they propose that Muslims should keep out of the political process in the UK, and then moan about the adverse outcome, as the best way forward! And conveniently they do not participate in the election process as they would most likely fail miserably, nor have they managed to mobilise the masses to an alternative course of action.

Their first port of complaint is that George Galloway is not a Muslim, and thus should not be trusted to represent the Muslim community; this only depicts their childish mindset. The rival Labour candidate, Imran Hussain, is a Muslim and pro-war. Moreover, almost all the Muslim MPs to date have turned out like nasty coolies serving in the British Raj. In contrast, apart from George Galloway, many other non-Muslim MPs have been better representatives of the Muslims in the UK, on domestic and foreign issues.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Gay ‘Marriages’: So what’s next?

Demanding the rights of gays to marry in Church is as ‘logical’ as the atheists demanding the right to be baptised as atheists! It is bizarre that the pro-gay liberal brigade wants the Christian Church to endorse homosexuality, when it is clearly condemned by God in the first place. Like theft, adultery, murder and rape, homosexuality is also a sin according to all the Abrahamic faiths (Islam, Christianity and Judaism) and the bulk of other faiths and non-faiths also have a similar position. Surely, the logical place to start would have been to demand that the Church adopt a secular book of prayers and abandon the Bible. Then whatever the current fad is the Church can endorse.

The pro-gay camp has always argued to keep religion out, as they argued on the basis of secular values of personal freedom; thus, it is for free individuals to decide what activities take place inside their bedrooms. The argument more or less goes along the lines, if two consenting adults are in love, it is their ‘right’ to form a relationship, so keep God out of it, this is the 21st century. Yet, now they want bring to God and religion into it. For decades, religion was the enemy and they derided the values of this institution, so why are they seeking its approval now? This shows the contradictory nature of secularism.

Of course, they cannot obtain that endorsement from devout Christians; hence they are using the legal instrument to coerce the Church to comply. The secular institution is the new Pope or Archbishop, dictating what values the Church should endorse. Unfortunately, some Christians have already submitted to the liberal bullies; they have literally bent over exposing their rear ends, preaching the alleged biblical justification for the joys of homosexuality. This is one step away from endorsing the slur that Prophet Jesus did not marry, because he was not attracted to females, implying the obvious.

Monday, 2 January 2012

2012 – Will it be a Happy New Year?

We have just entered 2012 and there are no signs of Armageddon as predicted by some, but it’s still early days. However, I would happily bet that the world would go on past 2012, because to date nobody can predict the relatively small phenomena like earthquakes and hurricanes, therefore, what are the chances of predicting the end of the world? As the year comes to an end, most people utter “Happy New Year”, yet few reflect on the statement: will it be a ‘happy’ one? Will there be peace and prosperity for all? Will it be a greener planet, where conflict, crime and poverty are eliminated; and in societies families and communities take precedence over the few greedy making extortionate profits?

They say by examining the past you understand the present, which in turn allows you to prepare for the future. Hence, the pertinent question is: what have we learnt from the events of 2011?

At the end of the year, the West is still struggling with the debt crisis, economic stagnation, rising unemployment and trying to prevent the collapse of the Euro-Zone; despite the Arab Spring, real democracy and freedom has not materialised in the Arab world; Africa is rich with natural resources and minerals, yet it is still working on becoming self-sufficient trying to eliminate basic poverty; Palestinians are still looking for a homeland, Iraq has an uncertain future, the feuding Afghans will never unify; and for sure India will move on to become a greater power with China and Brazil. Then you have the Muslims in the West debating the important subject of saying "Merry Christmas" or "Happy New Year", otherwise they are still making noise about how they were the leading nation 800 years ago!