Wednesday, April 25, 2007

And What do Muslims Want?

Large majorities in most countries— an average of 71 percent (39% strongly)—agree with the goal of requiring “strict application of Shari’a law in every Islamic country.”

Pakistanis were the most enthusiastic with 79 percent agreeing.

About three in four Moroccans (76%)

Egyptians (74%) also agreed.

Indonesians showed the lowest support: 53 percent agreed.

And to keep Western values out of Islamic countries:

Egypt, an overwhelming 91 percent agree (80% strongly).

Nearly 78% in Indonesia

Pakistan 67%

Morocco 64%

The entire poll report is worth a good read - click here (pdf)

Lal Masjid, Islamabad - what do they want? (II)

"ISLAMABAD: Mother of three rape victims Saima, Salma and Samina speaks during an open court in Laal Masjid. Rape victims Saima, 18 and Samina, 16 and their father Aslam is also seen in the picture. Samina has got pregnant due to the assault of a politically strong personality in Jhelum."

" Maulana Ghazi said Aslam's three daughters Saima, 18, Salma, 17, and Samina, 16," were left in the house alone after their mother was put behind the bar. Awan allegedly called Salma to his home telling her that he would arrange a meeting with her mother in the jail. However, the accused raped Salma after intoxicating her at his home.

Maulana Ghazi said that later Awan forged a fake Nikkah certificate that was cancelled by the Maulvi sahib after 10 days. He said Awan along with his nephew Imran, alias Mani, gang-raped Salma's younger sister Samina, who got pregnant. A subsequent medical checkup confirmed the incident. Now they have come to us to seek justice, Maulana Ghazi said, adding that ìalthough they have a medical certificate from Jehlum for our satisfaction, we have had a medical checkup of the girls from the Holy Family Hospital and a private lab.

Maulana Ghazi said: We have been receiving scores of complaints but we decided to send this rape case to the government as a test and we hope that justice will be provided to the victim on priority basis."

Now, readers of this blog may remember that the US puppet Musharraf had stated, in the case of Mukhtaran Mai, that people were bringing up these cases to get green cards:

"You must understand the environment in Pakistan,” Musharraf added. “This has become a moneymaking concern. A lot of people say if you want to go abroad and get a visa for Canada or citizenship and be a millionaire, get yourself raped.”

And the "progressive Muslim scholar" Riffat Hassan had defended the puppet at that time.

What I find interesting is that the liberal elite has not bothered to take up the cause of this family. Why? Could it be that, in their infatuation with the puppet, they are willing to ignore injustices? Well, it would not be the first time they took such a stance. After all, for more than five years they have only issued mild condemnation of the puppet, while his regime killed and disappeared thousands in Pakistan.

At this time, the puppet Musharraf's term appears to be coming to a close, as the US has apparently no longer much use for him. But fear not, another puppet, Benazir is waiting in the wings - she has already met with the US state department, and assured them that she can be an even better puppet. Benazir's latest absurd statement is that, unless her corrupt party comes to power, Pakistan will fall into "extremism" --- what she and other liberalists really fear is Islam. Otherwise, they would not have taken such a reactionary approach that I had mentioned in part I of this blog entry.

Lal Masjid and other groups should be critiqued with regards to their views of "minority religious schools" such as Shi'a Muslims (about 20% of Pakistan) and with regards to non-Muslims such as Christians and Hindus (comprising 1 to 2% of Pakistan) communities. While I have not heard anything negative about Shi'a Muslims in their speeches, some of the web sites that support Lal Masjid do have anti-Shi'a material and links.

This is of-course cause for concern, and should be addressed. At the same time, reactionism of the liberal elite is hardly the way to go. In many ways, liberal elites have a worse record of fanatic extremism that they base on their classist and Islamophobic views.

Following is part II (click here for part I) of a translation of parts of a draft plan for implementation of Islamic system in Pakistan, that was read at the Lal Masjid by its leader Maulana Abdul Aziz.

The entire talk in Urdu can be heard by clicking here

Excerpts of draft plan for implementation of Islamic system in Pakistan, translated to English:

Police is an important department, that has a very important role in stopping crime, but their salary is very low, and they are forced into bribery. Their salary should be such that they are not forced into taking bribes. Every prescient should have a complaint center where the ulema should stay, and try to resolve the people’s problems through mediation, and if they are not able to do so, then the law should apply.

And if a police person is killed, then the household should get Rs. 500,000. And a pension issued.

The problem of Baluchistan should be solved through the Sharia, the ulema should travel in Baluchistan and listen to the complaints, and come up with recommendations. And give those rights that are in accordance with the Sharia. The army that was sent to Wazirstan was not legitimate, they are made to fight their own country people, and this should be stopped immediately. And the families who were impacted should be asked for forgiveness, and the government should give a pension, because the government was oppressive towards them.

Suicide has grown in the country because of poverty, and unemployment, there should be a ministry formed who would ask those contemplating suicide to meet with them - we want to know what the concerns are, and then resolve their concerns. Our youth should not commit suicide, if they wish to give up their lives, then it should be in the way of Allah, not committing suicide. This ministry should include ulema, and mental health workers who would try to resolve their concerns.

There is a shortage of hospitals, in the villages the people lose their lives because of this, they do not even know about blood pressure, and eat that food that increase their blood pressure. It is important that there be hospitals everywhere, especially in villages – and for doctors who work in rural areas, they should be given additional incentive to go to there. This way the doctors can also live in the rural areas.

Each hospital should have separate wings for men and women, and men and women should stay in their own wings. There have been so many incidents in these hospitals, where women were raped – that is why we ask only women work in women areas. Yes, where there is a necessity, women can work with men – but otherwise men’s entry in women’s wing should be totally forbidden. There have been so many incidents, where a woman went at night, and a man raped her.

There is a big problem in our bureaucratic offices, when someone comes to get some work done, they are asked to bring this or that paper, then when they bring that paper, they are asked to bring some other paper – and this way the poor person is left totally bewildered. Each office should have documents available, and should have this information also available on the Internet. So, if someone wants a passport, they should know which documents are necessary. And each office should have a complaint center, and so if anyone is asking for bribes, they can go and lodge a complaint at that center that would have ulema present to address the concerns.

There is a hadith, that the one who removes the difficulty of their fellow humans, Allah will remove that person’s difficulties. Such hadiths should be available everywhere, so that office workers also may help their Muslim brothers with enthusiasm. Government offices should be opened in every province.

There are two types of education going on – worldly and religious schooling should be together – and ulema, and teachers should form a committee who would develop such a curriculum. After 10th or 12th grade, then if someone who wants to become a doctor they can go to the university, if they want to become a religious scholar, they can go to a religious school.

There should be a department formed that would consider the sunna of the Prophet, and with great love encourage people to that way – our way is not of hardness, we want to encourage with love. In our rural villages, we talked with the dacoits, and thieves with a lot of love, and Alhamdulillah, they have also come towards the deen.

The prisoners should be taught about reconciliation and forgiveness, they should be taught how to forgive and with such a way so much our problems would be solved.

In prison there should be a policy on how much strictness is to be applied, at this time there is oppression in the prisons, and the police themselves become criminals. There should be limits set according to the sharia. There should be good books there, and the police should also read, and become more aware. There should also be Qur’an, tafseer, and hadith books.

Interest should be finished in this country, those who took out loans, their interest should be forgiven. But those who have passed away, and those who are widows, their interest and their loans should be forgiven.

The masajid that remain closed during the day, they should be opened up for schools.

The different sectors should have limits set according to sharia, be they lawyers, government officers – and taught how they can practice their profession in accordance with the limits of Sharia.

Those departments that are showing good work, and improvement, they should be given bonuses, and salary increased.

The poor should be given loans without interest. There should be a minimum wage, and parents should get a child allowance of at least Rs. 500 for each child. And houses should be provided in accordance with the need of the family. If there are more children they should get a bigger house. Even if the officer is at a higher level, but has a smaller family, he should get a smaller house – it should be in accordance with the need of the family.

At all highways, there should be travel centers where food would be provided cheaply, and would also be available for overnight stays. There should also be small medical clinics, in case a traveler falls ill s/he has a place to go. And masajid should also be built along the highways.

Before marriage there should be a marriage course, and men and women should become aware of their own and each other’s rights, and after taking this course, both bride and bridegroom should be tested so that it is known that they have completed the course and then they can get married. At this time, men don’t know what women’s rights are, and women don’t know about the rights of men. This is why there is oppressive behavior from both sides.

Workers should have their rights in accordance with sharia, officers should be asked what their property is , and their wealth should not go above a limit – these days government officials become traders, or have commercial interests. Only those should become officials who make a commitment that they are not going to develop commercial interests.

There are many of our sisters who have been forced into prostitution, for these sisters, there should be groups of women scholars, and other sisters should go and talk with them, and teach them about turning away (tawba) . And those who are unemployed, they should be given employment. And those who turn away (from prostitution) the men of this country should be encouraged to marry these women, so that they can also have a good life.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Once Upon A Time in Iran: A pilgrimage to Karbala

"Westerners may call this a nation of tears, but these tears have overthrown an empire"

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Lal Masjid, Islamabad - what do they want? (I)

Reading articles on the Lal Masjid, and Jamia Hafsa by Pakistan's liberal elite, I get the impression that not only are Pakistan's liberals intellectually bankrupt, but their fear of Islam is at a level where they are willing to give up whatever few principles they once might have had. They have capitulated almost entirely towards supporting a military regime that is enacting US imperialist policies in the country. The only real exception to this have been the lawyers who have taken a strong stand against the American puppet regime of General Musharraf.

What is truly ironic in this liberal tizzy is that they are calling for "rule of law" to be enforced (against Lal Masjid) by an illegal military regime, whose "legitimacy" is based on a fraudulent "referendum." A regime that, in accordance with instructions from D.C., has killed and disappeared thousands; questions about these actions may have been one reason why the Chief Justice was fired by the puppet Musharraf (another illegal act).

Now, Lal Masjid is, in reality, not all that far from the establishment, and was close to previous military regime of Zia ul-Haq (another US puppet). And I am very cautious about what exactly they are demanding, and regarding their views about Shi'a Muslims, and other "minority" religious groups in Pakistan. I've tried to search for some specific statements from them about Shi'a Muslims, but other than a couple of vague third party reported statements, have not found anything specific.

While caution is in order, if one is going to critique a group - it is important to at least take a look at what they are saying, rather than base one's critique on virtolic anti-Islam (and pro-secularist) rhetoric, as Pakistani liberal elites are doing these days.

Following is a translation of parts of a draft plan for implementation of Islamic system in Pakistan, that was read at the Lal Masjid by its leader Maulana Abdul Aziz. It should be noted that he emphasises that this is a draft plan, that requires further thought and consideration by the nation. If the liberals in Pakistan had some imagination, instead of being reactionary, they might have taken up the Maulana's offer. They might have had a serious discussion about the issues he has raised, instead of calling for violent attacks on the Lal Masjid by the "authorities" as some have implied in some of their horribly rotten classist comments.

The entire talk in Urdu can be heard by clicking here

Excerpts of Khaka Hokoomat, translated to English:

Dear students and the mujahida and daughters of Jamia Hafsa,

Everything has reached its limit – from bribery to poverty, what is the solution? There is only one solution – the implementaion of an Islamic system.

Tax is allowed to an extent, but not oppressive tax, taxes have become oppressive in the nation, including tax on natural gas and electricity, those taxes should be finished, and made in accordance with sharia.

And if there is a question (about needing taxes for) government expenses, then the government should adopt simplicity, and unnecessary travel, and expenses should be stopped. Always the lower class of the country are asked to sacrifice, now the upper class should be asked to sacrifice. They should make their life simple, if they are to have a car, then it should be a simple car, if there is to be a house, then it should be a very simple house.

Robbery has reached its limit in the country, murder has reached its limit – sharia hudood should be implemented, so that this all be stopped. Concerning thieves, create a ministry so that they could be educated with love , those who are thiefs because of unemployment, they should be educated with love, and brought towards the religion, and until they are employed, the government should provide for them, and for their household expenses.

This experiment we have done in our area with dacoits and thieves, we educated them on how to repent, Alhamdulillah they also have courage, they are also Muslim - but they are using their efforts for shaytan, we talked with them about how to use their effort for compassion (Rahman) – then we saw they also have deen (religion) in their blood. They are also Muslim, they got a little bit of love, and they repented from thievery.

The official language should be made Urdu in this country… here in our country, the language of the country is Urdu, but people do not write or read Urdu, and the official language is English. A poor villager (who does not read or write English) when they get official letters, they get it in English – and then they have to go through a great deal of trouble to get that letter read.

Interest should be finished in the country, all banks should be Islamic Banking, and interest system should be finished.

Alcholism and opium use has reached its limit in the country. There should be immediate laws against this, and according to Islamic law, implement strict punishment, so that no one brings in drugs and alcohol inside our country. Our generation is being destroyed because of alcohol and drugs.

Every city has an area where the poor have set up their tents, they do not even have their basic necessitites met – they live in tents, and sometimes husband and wife with children live in one tent. How can husband a wife live under one tent with their children? This is oppression, not even animals live like this, like how the poor live in our country. They should be immediately given land, and cement, and other building implements to build their homes. And for the poor to stand on their own feet, they should be given money for small businesses, and radio and TV should have programs about how a poor person can become self-sufficient.

This way the nation will not become a nation of beggars but can stand on their own feet with self-respect.

Our newspapers are publishing pictures (referring to soft-porn that are published widely in Pakistani daily newspapers, both the English and Urdu newspapers publish soft-porn) that are destroying our generation. This is leading to attacks and rape on our sisters. When there are such attacks, not only is the male youth responsible, but also the journalists who are spreading such anarchy. The shop keepers who sell the papers are also responsible.

This is why we ask that the Ulema have a committee that would be responsible to come up with a code of ethics for the newspapers , and make them responsible to this code of ethics. And according to which our nation will have respect, and our sisters are respected.

There should also be a committee for radio and televison, and they should be run in according to sharia, and given advise on programs that would lead to the nation becoming doctors and engineers, and become part of good works .

The country’s jail has many innocent people, there should be a group who will investigate these cases, and those without any crime, they should be released. And those who are criminals, they should also be taught how to avoid crime. When possible, release them on bail, and send them to tablighi jamaats for education for four months. Even now, the criminals are released on bail to work at different officer’s homes.

In the same way, for four months, they should released on bail to go to jamaats for four months. So that their life may become stable. And for those who have to be kept inside jails, for them also , the question should be asked what crime have their wife and children done? For them, their wife and children, they should be able to visit every month for three days at a home, and their wife and children should be allowed to stay with them. So that their lives are not destroyed sitting only at home.

Education should be free in the entire country, and education should be made available for the entire country, there are thousands of educational institutions that are fake – they should be closed. Instead, those sisters who are educated, and those sisters who are Islamic scholars, they should be encouraged to open shools in their homes. And they should get Rs. 3-4000 payment, and take into account how many boys and girls are studying at these home schoos. This way education will beome widespread, and those fake schools, they will be closed.

part II here

Monday, April 09, 2007

making coffins?!

"She (Faye Turney) sold the British tabloid paper The Sun : “One morning, I heard the noise of wood sawing and nails being hammered near my cell. I couldn’t work out what it was. Then a woman came into my cell to measure me up from head to toe with a tape. “She shouted the measurements to a man outside. I was convinced they (the Iranians) were making my coffin.”"