From the BBC
The New South Wales town does not have a large Muslim population
Authorities in an Australian town have rejected proposals to allow an Islamic school to be built there.
Councillors for Camden, a small town on the outskirts of Sydney, unanimously voted against the proposed school for 1200 pupils.
The councillors said they based their decision solely on planning grounds, citing an internal report about its environmental impact.
The proposed development had met with fierce local opposition.
Camden’s authorities received some 3,200 submissions from the public about the school and only 100 in favour.
Tensions reached their height last November when two pigs’ heads were left on the site of the proposed school. Pork products are forbidden for consumption according to Islamic dietary laws. Continue reading “Australia Muslim school rejected”
This article first appeared in the online version of the newsmagazine
‘Outlook India’ (issue dt. 23 August 2004) at the URL
In 1985, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi gave in to Muslim pressure in the Shah Bano affair. Overruling a secular court�s decision that the repudiated wife Shah Bano was entitled to alimony from her ex-husband, he enacted a law abolishing the alimony provision in conformity with the Shari�a. Since India, unlike secular states, already had religion-based Civil Codes, this concession merely brought the minor matter of alimony under the purview of the prevailing arrangement. More importantly, it prevented riots.
Only months later, Gandhi restored the balance by giving the Hindus something as well: he ordered the locks on the Ram Janmabhoomi Babri Masjid in Ayodhya removed. Until then, a priest had been permitted to perform puja once a year for the idols installed there in 1949. Now, all Hindus were given access to what they consider as the birthplace of Rama, the prince posthumously deified as an incarnation of Vishnu.
Fundamentally, this decision didn�t alter the Ayodhya equation. Architecturally, the building was and remained a mosque, while functionally, it had been and continued to be a Hindu temple. That is why in my opinion, not taking this decision wouldn�t have changed the Ayodhya developments except in their timing. The different players, their strategies and goals, and their resolve to pursue these, all remained the same. The Babri Masjid Action Committee and the Vishva Hindu Parishad would have gone about their �business� just the same.
However, the VHP would have been forced to continue pushing the rather petty demand for removing the locks, rather than move on to the more ambitious and more mobilizing next step of planning the construction of a new temple. Most probably, the BJP would likewise have reaped smaller dividends from such a campaign. In 1989, it might not have jumped as high as 86 seats. Conversely, Congress might not have lost the North-Indian Muslim vote to the Janata Dal. In 1989, it could have remained just strong enough to cobble together a coalition rather than leave the initiative to the unwholesome and unstable Janata-BJP-Communist combine. So, at the level of party politics, Rajiv Gandhi�s decision may have made a big difference. Continue reading “What if Rajiv Gandhi hadn’t unlocked the Babri Masjid in 1986?”
When I resorted to Mark Twain’s writings I attempted to escape, at least temporarily from my often distressing readings on war, politics and terror. But his “The Mysterious Stranger”, although published 1916, still left me with an eerie feel. The imaginative story calls into question beliefs that we hold as a “matter of course” – a favorite phrase of his. It summons the awful tendencies of “our race”: our irrational drive for violence, be it burning ‘witches’ at the stake or engaging in wars that only serve the “little monarchs and the nobilities.”
As the Iraq war rages on, Twain’s words ring truer by the day. “The loud little handful will shout for war…Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have hearing and be applauded; but it will not last long; those others will out shout them and presently the anti-war audiences will thin and lose popularity. Before long you will see the most curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men. And now the whole nation will take up the war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open.
“Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after the process of grotesque self-deception.”
Twain, whose genius undoubtedly surpasses time and space, wrote the above passages nine decades before the world’s leading statesmen, President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair forged their case for war, based on falsities and refused to examine any refutations; they rallied millions, investing on their ignorance and blind patriotism to carry out a war whose outcome is akin to genocide. Continue reading “Mark Twain and the Sins of Our Race”
|The white minaret of the new Great Mosque of Granada doesn’t overshadow a nearby church but is nonetheless a testament to Spanish Muslims’ pride in their history in “Al Andalus,” the region of southern Spain now known as Andalusia
GRANADA, Spain – Across a valley of fragrant cedars and orange trees, worshipers at the pristine Great Mosque of Granada look out at the Alhambra, the 700-year-old citadel and monument to the heyday of Islamic glory.
Granada’s Muslims chose the hilltop location precisely with the view, and its unmistakable symbolism, in mind.
It took them more than 20 years to build the mosque, the first erected here in half a millennium, after they conquered the objections of city leaders and agreed, ultimately, to keep the minaret shorter than the steeple on the Catholic Iglesia de San Nicolas next door.
Cloistered nuns on the other side of the mosque added a few feet to the wall enclosing their convent, as if to say they wanted neither to be seen nor to see.
Many of Spain’s Muslims long for an Islamic revival to reclaim their legendary history, and inaugurating the Great Mosque last year was the most visible gesture. But horrific bombings by Muslim extremists that killed nearly 200 people in Madrid on March 11 have forced Spain’s Muslims and non-Muslims to reassess their relationship, and turned historical assumptions on their head.
“We are a people trying to return to our roots,” said Anwar Gonzalez, 34, a Granada native who converted to Islam 17 years ago. “But it’s a bad time to be a Muslim.”
Spain has a long, rich and complex history interwoven with the Muslim and Arab world, from its position as the center of Islamic Europe in the last millennium to today’s confrontation with a vast influx of Muslim immigrants. Continue reading “Islam’s Claim on Spain”
Sense & Insensibility
Galloway’s last punch at Blair
If you are wondering who has most gall among the present lot of British MPs then you will invariably end up with the name George Galloway, the Labour MP, for a number of reasons. This gregarious and wickedly witty MP with a runaway tongue is known for his anti-Bush and Blair utterings, which, at times, even his staunch supporters find difficult to digest.Galloway has an everlasting reservoir of invectives, all tailor-made, to launch his attacks on his two prized political enemies. He has been the most vocal critique of the Iraq policies of Britain and the USA, and he never tried to hide his feelings in private or in public.
But many across the world found his way with words not quite palatable, which, more often than not, touched upon the profane, to say the least. But, no doubt, this burly politician is pure entertainment to the non-political and non-partisan audience. Continue reading “Galloway’s last punch at Blair”
Kemalist Ideology (“Atatürkçü Düşünce”), also known as Kemalism (“Kemalizm” or “Atatürkçülük”) and Six Arrows, is based on Mustafa Kemal Atatürk‘s six principles (Altı Ok) during the Turkish national movement. The principles were not defined as an ideology during the life of Atatürk, but formulated later on. It constitutes ground rules for state nationalism in Turkey.
The history of the concept of Kemalism can be traced back to Second Constitutional Era of the Ottoman Empire. The political experience of the Ottoman Empire, through Tanzimat, and the First Constitutional Era of the Ottoman Empire were synthesized into Kemalism.
Republican People’s Party logo, and six principles as arrows
The Republican People’s Party was established by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk on October 29th, 1923, about a week before the declaration of the Republic of Turkey on the September 9th. The party uses the ideology to symbolize itself. Continue reading “Kemalist Ideology- Turkish National Secular Movement”