मुस्लिम नाटो – साम्राज्यवाद का नया हथियार।

अभिमन्यु कोहर:

ये 2 शब्द “मुस्लिम नाटो” सुन कर शायद आप अचरज में पड़ गए हों की आखिर ये क्या है? अभी 39 मुस्लिम देशों ने मिल कर एक नया सैन्य संगठन बनाया है जिसका नाम है “इस्लामिक अलायन्स टू फाइट अगेंस्ट टेररिज्म” लेकिन उसके उद्देश्यों को जानकर इसे अगर “मुस्लिम नाटो” बोला जाये तो यह गलत नहीं होगा क्योंकि इसका उद्देश्य भी वो ही है जो नाटो का है। यह संगठन भी नाटो की तरह गरीब मुल्कों के शोषण और साम्राज्यवादी नीतियों को आगे बढ़ाने के लिए बनाया गया है। हमारा मानना है कि यह संगठन नाटो से भी ज्यादा खतरनाक साबित होगा अगर यह हकीकत बनता है तो।
हमे इस संगठन के बनने के पीछे की कहानी को समझना थोड़ा जरुरी है। इस संगठन की पहली बार बात 2015 के आखिर में सामने आयी। ज्ञात रहे की 2015 के आखिर तक ये साफ़ हो गया था कि सीरिया में सऊदी अरब समर्थित आतंकवादियों को बुरी हार झेलनी पड़ेगी और दूसरी तरफ यमनी लोगों के साहस के सामने सऊदी सैनिक मैदान छोड़ के भाग रहे थे। तो इस समय सऊदी अरब को बचाये रखने के लिए इस संगठन “मुस्लिम नाटो” की आधारशिला रखी गयी।

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इस संगठन की 3 चीजें बड़ी ही हैरान करने वाली हैं। सबसे पहली यह की ये संगठन आतंकवाद से लड़ने की बात करता है लेकिन आतंकवाद से सबसे बुरी तरह प्रभावित दो देश इराक और सीरिया को इसमें शामिल नहीं किया गया, तो किस तरह से ये आतंकवाद से लड़ने की बात कर रहा है? ईरान को भी इस संगठन में शामिल नहीं किया गया है, इस वजह से यह एक सुन्नी देशों का संगठन नज़र आता है जिसका असली मकसद मुस्लिम देशों को शिया बनाम सुन्नी में बाँटना है। इस संगठन के निर्माण के बाद इसके सदस्य देशों में यह शिया बनाम सुन्नी की लड़ाई अब और भी ज्यादा तेज होगी।
दूसरी बात इस संगठन का हेडक्वार्टर सऊदी अरब की राजधानी रियाद में बनाया गया है और इस संगठन की आर्थिक जरूरतें भी सऊदी अरब द्वारा ही पूरी की जाएँगी। इस बात से यह बात निश्चित है कि जिस सऊदी अरब ने परोक्ष या अपरोक्ष तौर पर दुनिया के ज्यादातर आतंकवादियों को समर्थन दिया, वो ही सऊदी अरब अपनी राजधानी में एक संगठन का हेडक्वार्टर बना के अब उन्हीं आतंकवादियों से लड़ने की बात कर रहा है जिन्हें उसने खुद पाला पोसा है। बाकि सदस्य देशों का इस संगठन के उद्देश्यों और नीतियों पर कंट्रोल न के बराबर होगा जिन परिस्थितियों में और जिन तरीकों से इसका निर्माण हो रहा है।
तीसरा अहम बिंदु ये है कि पूर्व पाकिस्तानी आर्मी चीफ रिटायर्ड जनरल राहिल शरीफ को इस संगठन का पहला कमांडर नियुक्त किया गया है, यह बात हज़म नहीं होती कि लश्कर ए तैयबा, जैश ए मोहम्मद और हिज़्बुल मुजाहिदीन जैसे आतंकवादी संगठनों को बनाने वाली पाकिस्तानी आर्मी का पूर्व चीफ अब आतंकवादियों के खिलाफ लड़ाई का नेतृत्व करेगा। जिस पाकिस्तानी सेना की मुम्बई हमले में संलिप्तता थी, उस पाकिस्तानी सेना का पूर्व चीफ आतंकवाद से लड़ने की बात करे तो यह बात असम्भव लगती है।
यह संगठन आतंकियों के खिलाफ लड़ने वाला संगठन प्रतीत ना हो कर बल्कि एक आतंकवादियों का समर्थन करने वाला संगठन प्रतीत हो रहा है। यह संगठन सऊदी अरब की वहाबी नीतियों की पूर्ति के लिए बनाया हुआ संगठन मात्र है।

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Kashmir will become a second Waziristan If…

Muslims divided the Indian Sub-continent that led to the creation of Pakistan.  They ruled over Indian Sub-continent for about 800 years before the British. There was no such demand of an independent Muslim country during those 800 years when they were ruling. During all these years, they created a new language for themselves, which they considered the first ever language of the Muslims. Urdu inherited words from mainly Persian and Arabic and is an Islamic modification of Hindi language. Muslims ruled the Indian Sub-continent and used Persian as the main language of their administration.

Pakistan Militant Leader
FILE – In this Tuesday, July 12, 2016 file photo, masked Kashmiri Muslim protesters shout pro freedom slogans in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir. Roaming freely in Pakistan, despite a $10 million bounty on his head, one of India???s most wanted men, Hafiz Saeed warns of demonstrations countrywide to force Pakistan to sever all ties with the United States if it cannot convince Washington to intervene in the decades old Kashmir dispute. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin, File)

Hindus and Sikhs who are indigenous civilizations to the Indian sub-continent lived among the Muslims in Pakistan and Afghanistan before the partition. Our forefathers who lived then tell us that none cared about religion as Hindus were considered as an integral part of our societies. They had shops, businesses and were living among us. We did not even think for a while that they are different, there was no such thing at all. But since the inception of Pakistani state in 1947, things began to change even in Afghanistan. We were taught or told that societies and villages having hindu populations would not receive Allah’s blessings and that their [hindus’] hearts are closed and that they would never accept Islam.

Pakistani state officially triggered this trend through indoctrination and streamlining the Muslims’ mass mentality and perceptions that hindus should either accept Islam or their societies would be under the Allah’s wrath. Muslims started to sideline and isolate Hindus in Pakistan and Afghanistan shortly after the inception of Pakistan in the villages of Khyber Pashtunkhwa and Afghanistan. Pakistani state policy of strengthening the ideology of two-nation theory manifested even in Afghanistan in a bid to create stronger foundations for its new born Islamist state. I would not here mention the forceful evacuations, looting and rape of the Hindus populations in major cities and townships of current day Pakistan. I focus on the ideological and systematic indoctrination that led to the current day crisis at Kashmir that has fed up the Indian state.

68 years later since the inception of Pakistan in 1947, the word Hindu has become the most cursed word among the Muslims of Pakistan and Afghanistan. It gives very negative connotations and meanings and is used as slang in Muslims day-to-day conversations. Hindus are the most prosecuted people in Pakistan and there are hardly few families currently living in Afghanistan as Pakistani backed Afghan Mujahideen took over Kabul in 1992, most of the hindu population left Afghanistan to take refuge in current day India or western countries. Now one can hardly find the remains of their relatives, temples and worship places.

Pakistani state security is deeply rooted in fanaticizing its Muslims and the Muslims in its neighborhood, supporting Islamic Extremism and Jihad in order to strengthen its two-nation theory. Pakistan occupied Baluchistan, Pashtun Tribal belt and even since its inception, has been trying to occupy Afghanistan in an effort to establish the two-nation theory as a strong basis for Muslims’ nationhood in South and Central Asia.

Pakistan established many madrasas for teaching and systematically indoctrinating its Muslims with South Asian Islam that primarily consider the Hindu as its core enemy, like Middle Eastern Islam considers Jew as its primary enemy. Most of the students in these Madrasas come from Pashtun tribal belt known as FATA and Afghanistan. Pakistan established its South Asian version of Islam in Afghanistan. It has numerous ideological, political and armed groups to preach and propagate the South Asian Islam in its most radical form structured against the Hindus. They established training grounds and camps for those Madrasa students who showed extreme radical South Asian Islamist behavior and made sanctuaries for them in the unconstitutional or lawless Pashtun tribal belt and especially in Waziristan.

Thousands of terrorists are trained and provided arms in those training centers under the patronage of Pakistani Army and Intelligence and then sent to the neighboring countries for carrying out terrorist attacks in the name of Jihad. They take recruits from a large 200+35 millions Muslim population of Pakistan and Afghanistan and about 70,000 Islamic Madrasas and hundreds of training centers in Khyber Pashtunkhwa, FATA, and PoK provide the ideological and armed force for Pakistani interferences and terrorists attacks in the neighboring countries. This establishes Pakistan’s hold on the Muslims’ mass mentality and streamline it systematically towards firmly rooting its state security in Islamist ideology based on which it came into being.

Those nationalist, liberal and secular Muslims in Khyber Pashtunkhwa, PoK, FATA, Baluchistan and Sindh who accuse the Pakistani state of its policy to support Islamic Extremists or terrorists and those who demand freedom and rights for Pashtuns and Baluchs or Sindhis are abducted, killed and dumped. Thousands of Baluch, Sindhi and Pashtun youth are among the missing persons who are against Islamic extremism and who demand or struggle for the rights of their people or freedom. But no one cares and Pakistan continues its Waziristan type Islamist settlements in PoK that infiltrate into Indian Kashmir and carry forward the Pakistani state policy.

What is going in Kashmir today is the Pakistani led South Asian version of Radical Islamic ideology rather than any freedom movement. A freedom war is fought for resources, rights, and protection of culture and language and for a national identity that is under occupation of a foreign power, which is not the case in Kashmir. If Pashtuns and Baluchs or Sindhis demand freedom, they do for their national identity and to save their large Muslim populations from the Pakistani state Islamist radical ideology that finally leads to terrorism. Had there been no Pakistani state; Pashtuns, Baluchs and Sindhis might not need any freedom, instead they could accommodate as autonomous states under New Delhi as in the current day India. Pakistani state has threated our culture, language, social norms, and identity and has been using our people as cannon fodders or raw materials in their Islamic Madrasas-cum-terrorists breeding factories that establish Islamic Sharia Law and order to take the lead in everything superimposing our indigenous secular and democratic culture and society.

Today Pakistan has placed international terrorists networks including Al Qaeda and others in Waziristan and has made them safe places. Waziristan literally has become an international terrorists’ capital. Pakistan forcefully evacuated about 1.6 millions local Waziristani people to accommodate the foreign terrorist networks and killed about 200,000 Waziristani people who resisted forceful evacuation.

Pakistan plans to establish J & K and PoK as second Waziristan to serve its deep state policies known as strategic depth. It will remain a continuous trouble for India and the region if Pakistani plans are not nipped in the bud.

By Umar Daud Khattak

Mission Commander, Pashtunistan Liberation Army

Mr. Umar Daud Khattak is an exiled Pashtun political activist struggling for the Independence of Pashtunistan, now based in Kabul, Afghanistan. He can be reached at daudumar@gmail.com

Let’s make India safe for women

In the movement of empowering women, zealous efforts have been made in the history of humanity. But still the goals of empowerment are unclear even to the feminist activists and organisations. Different people from different region, ideology, ethnicity etc have different connotation for the term, women empowerment. But all have one thing stranded in mind is empowerment. Millions of organisations conduct conference, talks, seminars, papers, research works etc. Eight March of every year has been celebrating as women’s day in all over the world. But, because of the unclear goal, results of these events are still blurred.

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Women celebrating the Birth Anniversry of Lady Fatima Zehra (s.a.) in Iran. PC – IRNA

Generally in the prevailing history United State is considered to be the first country to give women the right to franchise, equality, economy etc. Countries like France feel liberty and equality in looking women without modesty. Many countries feel themselves developed as providing more space for women in parliament, organisations, institutions and other jobs. In this contemporary connotation of women empowerment third world countries and especially the Islamic countries are first from the bottom. The “imposition of modesty”, ban on driving, less space in political arena etc are the issues for which the Islamic countries are being criticised.

When we turn older pages from history we find the same Islam to be the first in empowering women. There is nothing new in the “Bati Bachao Andolan”, Save Daughter Movement. In 7th century when there was a tradition of burying female child’s alive, it was Prophet Mohammad who not only saved daughters but also provided respect and dignity for them. Prophet not only franchised but also gave a status of political advisor to his daughter Fatima Zehra. His revelation “Quran” carried a complete chapter on women.

Prophet Mohammad proposed his daughter as a complete role model for humanity. Every aspect of her life can be seen as a guide to human life. Her role as a daughter, than as a wife and as a mother are awe-inspiring. As a daughter her obedience to her father was unattainable for any other human being. After all Prophet Mohammad in praise of her said, “Fatima is part of my heart”. In the incident of Mubahila when Quran asked Prophet to bring their women (plural means asking for more than one, but) prophet did not find anyone better than Fatima.

As a spouse she was the bravest woman of history. She assisted Ali in his political affairs. She provided aid to the wounds of Ali, than she used to encourage Ali to go in field on the coming day. Her hand was the saviour of the poor in the city. She encouraged Ali to distribute their wealth among the needy. In all those days of tyranny from antagonist she did not drop her faith and passion for the path of justice.

In this era of 21st century women is still suppressed in the jaws of tyranny. The patriarchal thinking, using women as sex slaves by human traffickers and terrorists, taking hard work from women as workers, prostitution, dowry etc are the major concerns of women in all over the world. However the numbers of small but disadvantageous issues are inestimable. To cope up with these common concerns there is a need to follow the path of Lady Fatima Zehra. It is true that her era and issues were different from the contemporary one but the principles to tackle them never change. Her principle of morality, resistance against injustice, propagation of right and justice still urge humanity to follow the path. Secondly it’s well said that history influence the current issues. So to deal with them learning history of great personalities like Lady Zehra is significant.

On the birth anniversary of Lady Zehra let’s salute her, let’s salute all the women of our society. Let’s pledge to respect all women as Prophet Mohammad did to his daughter. Let’s make India and the world safe for women.

By Anwar Ali Czarpa

BREEZE FROM PAMIRS: “Hunza 6”

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Hunza, Pakistan

Many years back a Hindi movie called “Delhi 6” was released. The number 6 in the movie was the zip code for the old Delhi, where the movie was set-in.

Now another 6, which is fast catching up the attention of people in a remote part of the world is ‘Hunza 6”.

The name actually denotes the nomenclature of an electoral constituency in Hunza region, a fabled valley in the laps of Karakoram Mountains of Gilgit Baltistan or GB as it is popularly known.

GB is a vast tract of beautiful land in northernmost part of Pakistan, over which there are claims but unfortunately no ownership. GB was incidentally also a part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir before 1947.

The focus of this article is on the upcoming legislative assembly elections in GB. Although, the legislative assembly of GB has no effective powers, its formation is still a vast improvement from the previous complete ignorance of this region in political representative politics both at GB and federal level in Pakistan. It is only recently that GB’s legislative assembly has come into existence and the upcoming elections will be for the formation of GB’s second legislative assembly.

Despite the legislative assembly of GB being a rudderless institution, victory in the assembly elections serves an important symbolic purpose for various constituencies of GB. For Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Shariff’s PML-N, the party in government, wining majority in GB will be significant for two reasons; one it will further strengthen hold of Shariff government over regions of Pakistan and will also serve as a morale booster for the party that has been at the receiving end of Imran Khan’s PTI’s high profile campaign against Shariff administration.

However, away and beyond these mainstream Pakistani political parties lies a spectrum of youthful and vivacious movement of alternative political ideology, which has a complete focus on issues pertaining only to GB and its people, locally known as “nationalist” ideology. And no political constituency in GB highlights this more than the electoral constituency of “Hunza 6”, which apart from political candidates from mainstream political parties of Pakistan is also fought by the legendary youth activist, proponent of human rights and a political prisoner of GB, the great Baba Jan.

Baba Jan as the name may suggest is not a Pashtun and neither are the people of this region and therefore to associate them with Afghans would be factually incorrect. The people of this region are mix of Dardic-Tibetan ethnic groups. Baba Jan in particular can be described as an accidental activist and not a career politician.

Baba Jan’s jump into youth activism has origin in an environmental disaster that hit the region of GB in 2010. The disaster, which led many people of GB homeless, was very poorly handled by the local authorities.

Violence was used on the people who were protesting for the promised government compensation. The violence led to loss of lives, pushing an erstwhile peaceful GB into massive but peaceful protests and demonstrations led by very young and dynamic student leader, Baba Jan.

However, as is the usual tradition in India and Pakistan, instead of listening to the grievances of the people, false cases were registered by GB authorities against Baba Jan and other youth activists.  They were put into jail and tortured.

Due to massive international, Pakistan and GB wide protests, Baba Jan was eventually released from jail on a bail after spending two years in prison only to be re-arrested last year after an anti-terrorist court sentenced him to life imprisonment.

GB’s last assembly elections were won by late Benezir Bhutto’s PPP party that formed the first ever civilian government in the GB.

The PPP is not expected to do well in these elections, reflecting its national decline in Pakistan.

The main fight appears to be between ruling PML-N and Imran Khan’s PTI, both of whom have been leading a very high profile campaign. Although there are “nationalists” also in fray in almost all constituencies, the constituency of “Hunza 6” stands out because for the first time in the history of the region and perhaps also in Pakistan, Baba Jan, a political prisoner, while in jail was allowed to contest elections.

Given Baba Jan’s popularity cutting across ages, sects and ethnic groups, election contest has definitely changed equations in “Hunza 6”. The fact that Baba Jan cannot campaign has not caused any problems as young men of the constituency have taken upon themselves to make sure that Baba Jan and his principles on which he has stood are heard and appreciated by one and all in the constituency.

Young men of the constituency and outside have been charged and electrified and one can see debates even on social media about pros and cons to vote for Baba Jan. There are video appeals from activists both from GB and other parts of Pakistan in support of Baba Jan.

It is interesting to note that there is a debate among voters of “Hunza 6” if they should treat this constituency as yet another ordinary constituency or a special constituency that has an important symbolic significance. Pakistan’s mainstream political parties may be able to form the government in the GB without needing the seat of “Hunza 6”, but a victory of a serving political prisoner of reputation like Baba Jan would give voice to a political ideology, which is rooted in the soil of GB, something which is deeply required in the fast changing economic situation of the strategically located region of GB.

By Siddhartha Garoo

The author is a graduate of Harvard, Cambridge and Columbia University with interest in Balti culture and Central Asia region.

IKMT Pay Condolence to Nepal Earthquake Victims

Nepal Quake 2

Imam Khomeini (R.A) Memorial Trust Kargil express its grief solidarity with recent earthquake victims of Nepal where morethan 3200 killed and 6000 have been injured.

Imam Khomeini (R.A) Memorial Trust Kargil on behalf of the people of Kargil, Ladakh express its shock and grief over recent devastating earthquake which hit Nepal and surrounding states of our country in which thousands of precious human lives have been lost with massive damages to infrastructure.
In this moment of grief and sorrow, the people of Kargil (Ladakh) stand by the victims and share equal pain and agony with affected people of Nepal as well as all other earthquake hit areas.
We Pray Almighty Allah for the peace of the departed souls and speedy recovery of the injured.

IKMT On nepal 1

The death toll from Nepal’s earthquake is at 3,218, according to a police official. An additional 6,538 people have been injured in the Saturday quake, the worst in the country in 81 years.

The earthquake triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, killing at least 18 people on the mountain. An additional 61 were left injured and an unknown number are still missing.

Scientists and disaster management experts have said poor building construction in poverty-stricken parts of Nepal, combined with Saturday’s powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake, lies behind the rising 3,200 person death toll.

Iran-Afghanistan security cooperation (2015/04/20)

Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting on Sunday
Khamenei 1

with Afghan President Muhammad Ashraf Ghani, referred to the myriad cultural and historic ties and commonalities between the two countries.

Ayatollah Khamenei said scholars and literary figures in Afghanistan make a very significant contribution to the promotion of Islamic teachings and the Persian language, saying: “In addition to its rich human and cultural resources, Afghanistan also enjoys abundant natural resources. These potentialities and commonalities should all serve to upgrade cooperation between the two countries.”
Ayatollah Khamenei stressed the need for determination to boost cooperation and rapport between Iran and Afghanistan. He said: “Of course, the Americans and some countries in the region are unaware of the potentialities of Afghanistan a nd do not favor rapport and cooperation between the two countries either, but Iran regards the security and progress of its neighbor, Afghanistan, as its own security and progress.”
He recalled Iran’s progress in different scientific, technological, cultural and diplomatic fields as grounds for cooperation between the two countries, saying: “Issues between the two countries, including ‘immigrants, water, transportation and security’ are all resolvable and everyone should deal with and settle these issues seriously and within the framework of a timeframe.”
Regarding the necessity of the resolution of the key issue of immigrants, Ayatollah Khamenei said hundreds of thousands of Afghan immigrants are studying in Iran at different levels. “The Afghan people are very talented and smart and this talent should be used correctly in acquiring knowledge because the educated Afghans are needed for the reconstruction of your country.”
The Supreme Leader said Tehran is home to Afghan brethren and while pointing to deep-seated and stable relations and friendship between Iran and its neighboring country, he expressed hope that the Afghan nation and government would witness more success day by day.
In the meeting also attended by President Hassan Rouhani, Ashraf Ghani expressed content with his visit to Tehran.
He touched on deep-rooted and age-old historic and cultural ties between Iran and Afghanistan, saying: “Our objective is [to see] Afghanistan become a communications hub in the region and regain its former status as the linking intersection in the region.”
Noting that Iran and Afghanistan are facing similar threats and common opportunities, the Afghan president said: “Our political will is based on expanding bilateral ties and we have to make efforts to boost common and posit ive points between the two countries.”
He said that the Afghan government is seeking to turn domestic conflicts and unrest into opportunities for cooperation and referred to some challenges like the issue of terrorism, narcotics, immigrants and common border waters.
“The issues between the two countries should be resolved based on the political will of both governments and based on a timeframe set during this visit,” he said.
Ashraf Ghani said Iran is suffering the most losses in the issue of drug trafficking, adding: “None of our neighbors has been as serious as Iran with regard to the threat of narcotics and no country has fought it like Iran, and we are ready to combat this scourge with the help of Iran.
The Afghan president pointed to the expansion of bilateral ties between the two countries in transportation and investment as well as cultural and economic cooperation, and addressing the Supreme Leader, said: “Under your wise leadership, Iran has stabilized its historic identity and we hope that under the aegis of this wise leadership, we will witness closer cooperation between the two countries.”

In a message marking the year 1394 (2015/03/21)

Khamenei 1
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Saturday congratulated the Iranian nation and all nations marking Norouz the start of Persian New Year, naming the calender Iranian year of 1394 as the Year of ‘Government and Nation; Empathy and Rapport’.
Ayatollah Khamenei referred to the coincidence of the start of new calendar year with the anniversary of martyrdom of Fatima (SA), the daughter of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and said: “The sincerity of our people vis-à-vis the household of the prophet [Muhammad] and the esteemed daughter of the great messenger has requirements which everyone is bound to meet and will definitely do so. We hope that these days and this [new] year would be adorned with the blessings of Fatima and the blessed name of this great figure and her memory would leave profound and durable effects on the life of our people.”
The Supreme Leader underlined the necessit y for close cooperation between the government and the nation, saying: “In order to realize the slogan of the [calendar] year 1394, or the Year of ‘Government and Nation; Empathy and Rapport’, both sides of this motto, i.e. the esteemed, great, courageous, prudent, knowledgeable and determined nation of Iran and the government, dedicated to serving people, should trust one another and have friendly cooperation.”
Referring to the aspirations of the Iranian nation in the new calendar year, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “Economic development, regional and international might and dignity, scientific breakthroughs in the proper sense of the word, judicial and economic justice and above all, faith and spirituality are our big wishes for the Iranian nation in this year and of course all these wishes and expectations are attainable and they do not lie outside the great capacity of the Iranian nation and the policies of the [Islamic] establishment.”
He said realiz ation of these wishes depend on cooperation, solidarity and friendly ties between the government and the nation.
In his assessment of the realization of the slogan for the last calendar year, he said the year 1393 witnessed challenges and progresses in the country.
“The motto ‘National Resolve and Determined Management’ was chosen for the year 1393 in light of these challenges and our nation demonstrated its firm determination in enduring certain problems that existed, it proved this determination, this aspiration on Bahman 22 (February 11), on Quds Day and in the massive demonstration on Arabeen (December 13, 2014),” he added.
Ayatollah Khamenei also said the slogan of Determined Management was realized in some sectors. “Wherever Determined Management was manifested, there was also progress. Furthermore, national resolve and determined management are not specific to the year 1393. The esteemed Iranian nation needs them this year and the foll owing years,” he said.

How Islam Spread in India

Today, there are over 500 million Muslims throughout the Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh), making it one of the largest population centers of Muslims in the world. Since Islam first entered India, it has contributed greatly to the area and its people. Today, numerous theories about how India came to be such a largely Muslim land exist. Politically, some (such as the Hindutva movement in India) try to make Islam seem foreign to India, by insisting it only exists because of invasions by Arab and Persian Muslims. The truth, however, is far from that.

The Earliest Muslim Indians

Even before the life of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) in the 600s, Arab traders were in contact with India. Merchants would regularly sail to the west coast of India to trade goods such as spices, gold, and African goods. Naturally, when the Arabs began to convert to Islam, they carried their new religion to the shores of India. The first mosque of India, the Cheraman Juma Masjid, was built in 629 (during the life of Prophet Muhammad) in Kerala, by the first Muslim from India, Cheraman Perumal Bhaskara Ravi Varma. Through continued trade between Arab Muslims and Indians, Islam continued to spread in coastal Indian cities and towns, both through immigration and conversion.

Muhammad bin Qasim

The first great expansion of Islam into India came during the Umayyad Dynasty of caliphs, who were based in Damascus. In 711, the Umayyads appointed a young 17 year old man from Ta’if to extend Umayyad control into Sindh: Muhammad bin Qasim. Sindh is the land around the Indus River in the Northwestern part of the subcontinent, in present-day Pakistan. Muhammad bin Qasim led his army of 6,000 soldiers to the far eastern reaches of Persia, Makran.

He encountered little resistance as he made his way into India. When he reached the city of Nerun, on the banks of the Indus River, he was welcomed into the city by the Buddhist monks that controlled it. Most cities along the Indus thus voluntarily came under Muslim control, with no fighting. In some cases, oppressed Buddhist minorities reached out to the Muslim armies for protection against Hindu governors.

Despite the support and approval of much of the population, the Raja of Sindh, Dahir, opposed the Muslim expansion and mobilized his army against Muhammad bin Qasim. In 712, the two armies met, with a decisive victory for the Muslims. With the victory, all of Sindh came under Muslim control.

It is important to note, however, that the population of Sindh was not forced to convert to Islam at all. In fact, for almost everyone, there was no change in day-to-day life. Muhammad bin Qasim promised security and religious freedom to all Hindus and Buddhists under his control. For example, the Brahman caste continued their jobs as tax collectors and Buddhists monks continued to maintain their monastaries. Due to his religious tolerance and justice, many cities regularly greeted him and his armies with people dancing and music.

Patterns of Conversion

The successive waves of Muslim armies penetrating into India followed much the same pattern. Leaders such as Mahmud of Ghazni and Muhammad Tughluq expanded Muslim political domains without altering the religious or social fabric of Indian society.

Because pre-Islamic India was entirely based on a caste system in which society was broken into separate parts, conversion to Islam happened in a step-by-step process. Often, entire castes would convert to Islam at a time. This would happen for many different reasons. Often, however, the equality Islam provided was more attractive than the caste system’s organized racism. In the caste system, who you are born to determines your position in society. There was no opportunity for social mobility or to achieve greater than what your parents achieved. By converting to Islam, people had the opportunity to move up in society, and no longer were subservient to the Brahman caste.

Buddhism, which was once very popular in the subcontinent, slowly died out under Muslim rule. Traditionally, when people wanted to escape the caste system, they would move to the major population centers and convert to Buddhism. When Islam became an option, however, people began to convert to Islam instead of Buddhism, while still leaving the caste system. The myths of Islam violently destroying Buddhism in India are simply false. Buddhists were tolerated under Muslim rule and no evidence exists that shows forced conversions or violence against them.

Wandering teachers also had a major role in bringing Islam to the masses. Muslim scholars traveled throughout India, making it their goal to educate people about Islam. Many of them preached Sufi ideas, a more mystical approach to Islam that appealed to the people. These teachers had a major role in bringing Islam to the masses in the countryside, not just the upper classes around the Muslim rulers.

Did Islam Spread by Force?

While some claim that Islam’s huge population in India is a result of violence and forced conversion, the evidence does not back up this idea at all. Although Muslim leaders replaced Hindu kings in most areas, society was left as is. Stories of forced conversion are very few and often not credible enough to warrant academic discussion.

If Islam spread through violence and warfare, the Muslim community today in India would exist only in the areas closest to the rest of the Muslim world. Thus only the western part of the subcontinent would have any Muslim population at all. What we see instead is pockets of Islam throughout the subcontinent.  For example, Bangladesh and its 150 million Muslims are in the far east, separated from other Muslim-majority areas by Hindu lands in India. Isolated communities of Muslims exist also exist in western Myanmar, central India, and eastern Sri Lanka. These communities of Muslims are proof of Islam spreading peacefully throughout India, regardless of whether or not a Muslim government existed there. If Islam spread by force as some claim, these communities of Muslims would not exist.

Conclusions

Islam is an integral part of India and its history. As the Indian subcontinent remains today a multi-ethnic and multi-religious place, it is important to understand the position Islam has in the region. The political claims that some making regarding Islam as if it is an invading religion and foriegn to the people of India need to be defied with the truth of Islam’s peaceful spread throughout India.
Bibliography:

Hodgson, M. The Venture of Islam . 2. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961. Print.

Kennedy, Hugh. The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In. Philadelphia: Da Capo Press, 2007. Print.

“World’s second oldest mosque is in India.” Bahrain Tribune 07 06 2006, n. pag. Web. 23 Nov. 2012..

Meeting with members of the Assembly of Experts (2015/03/16)

Khamenai 6Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, in a meeting with members of the Assembly of Experts on March 12, said realization of “perfect Islam” is what has been demanded by Almighty God and is the main objective of the Islamic Republic.

Referring to the necessity of presentation of pure Islam against efforts by arrogant powers to spread Islamophobia among nations, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “In examining the reasons of solutions for the existing challenges, one should avoid superficiality and manage the issues logically by finding their roots.”

He highlighted the personality and background of as well as services rendered by Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, the new chairman of the Assembly of Experts, said the election of the chairman was appropriate and well thought out. “This election was very well-founded and without any margins and it could serve as an example for other bodies.”

Citing verses from the holy Koran, Ayatollah Khamenei said attention to all pillars and instructions of religion is the main demand of Islam. “In Islamic teachings, there is no such thing as religion of minimums and realization of all elements of Islam and full realization of the enlightening religion should be set as objective and every effort should be made to that end,” he said.

Ayatollah Khamenei underscored the necessity of preserving all aspects of Islam both in appearance and in spirit, saying plans must be made for a perfect implementation of Islam.

He said world bullying powers are the main obstacle to the realization of perfect Islam.

“Spreading Islamophobia by the propaganda and political apparatuses of the Zionists indicates their fear for the annihilation of their illegitimate interests,” he said.

Ayatollah Khamenei said some enemies of the Islamic Republic claim that they seek the change in the behavior of the Islamic Republic and not regime change.

“A change in the behavior of the establishment means that the Irani an nation should back down from necessities of moving towards ideals and implementation of perfect Islam and this objective is in fact regime change and the annihilation of the very spirit of religion in the Islamic establishment. This time, [regime change] is being pursued through this method,” he said.

He said that everyone should avoid being passive vis-à-vis the phenomenon of Islamophobia, adding: “Islamophobia is in fact the manifestation of fear and panicking of international bullying [powers] in the face of political Islam and an Islam enshrined in the life of nations. The Iranian nation has become the standard-bearer of such Islam by its Islamic Revolution and has stabilized and bolstered it.”

Ayatollah Khamenei said Islamophobia could be transformed from a threat into an opportunity. “Incessant efforts for scaring nations and youths off Islam has brought to limelight an important question for public opinion; What’s the reason for this flood of onslaught and invasion against Islam?”

He said that this question could be answered through presenting pure Islam to nations, adding: “We should exhaust all our capacities to that end.”

Regarding characteristics of pure Islam, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “Introducing Islam as a religion that supports the oppressed and opposes the oppressor will excite and motivate youths everywhere in the world and will make them understand that Islam has practical plans in support of the oppressed.”

He said Islam is opposed to promiscuity, illusionism, soc ial injustice and rigid-mindedness. “We have to introduce an Islam, committed against promiscuity, an Islam present in everyday life versus secular Islam, an Islam of mercy for the weak and Islam of jihad against arrogant powers to the world. In this way, we will transform the enemies’ Islamophobia project into an opportunity for attracting the attention of nations to pure Islam.”

Ayatollah Khamenei also referred to existing challenges between Iran, the US and some European countries on the nuclear issue, saying: “In examining the reasons of solutions for the existing challenges, one should avoid superficiality and manage the issues logically by finding their roots.”

As a concrete example, he referred to the sanctions and its consequences, saying: “A scrutiny [of the issue of sanctions] woul d make it clear that the reason for harms we have endured due to sanctions is the country’s dependence on oil, state-run economy and absence of people in the economy.”

“Had we not made the country’s economy and the nation’s life dependent on oil revenues and by avoiding the repetition of mistakes we made after the Revolution regarding government control of all affairs, and let people get involved in economic activities, could the enemy inflict these harms by imposing oil embargo and sanctions against state organs?”

“If we find the roots of such issues and resolve them, our problems will be resolved and we will no longer be waiting for enemy’s affection,” he added.

Ayatollah Khamenei referred to Iran’s nuclear issue, saying:  “To be fair, the nuclear team the esteemed president [Hassan Rouhani] has picked is good, trustable, acceptable and sympathetic and is making endeavors.”

“But,” he said, “I am worried because the opposite party practices trickery and deception and stabs in the back.”

Ayatollah Khamenei called on Iran’s nuclear negotiators to watch out for the US plots, saying: “Always ahead of the deadline set for the conclusion of negotiations, the Americans adopt a harsher, tougher and more radical tone in order to realize their objectives. We have to watch out for this ruse.”

He dismissed a general view that powerful governments no longer need to be deceitful. “Certain [individuals] imagine that the US no longer needs slyness and tricks, but despite this imagination, the Americans depend on ruse and deception and this is how they are behaving now. This reality worries us,” he added.

He referred to “disgusting and meaningless” claims by American official in recent weeks, saying: “After a Zionist clown travelled to the US and made remarks, the US officials sought to steer clear of all this, but they still claimed that Iran sponsors terrorism. That’s risible.”

“The Americans and their allies in the [Middle East] region created the most infamous and murderous terrorists, ISIL, and their likes and they continue to support them. But they attribute such things to the Iranian nation and the Islamic [Republic] establishment,” he said.

Ayatollah Khamenei referred to the US government’s support for the fake Zionist government, saying: “Washington is supporting in the most heinous way a government which officially acknowledges its terrorist acts, but at the same time it raises allegations against the Islamic Republic.”

Ayatollah Khamenei said a recent letter signed by a group of US Republican senators against Iran heralded the demise of political ethics in the US government.

“As required by internationally recognized regulations, all world countries remain committed to their obligations even after their governments change, but the American senators officially announce that after the current administration bows out, the obligations will be null and void. Is it not the ultimate of collapse of political ethics and implosion in the US system?”

“The Islamic Republic’s officials know well their job and they know how to act so that the US government could never renege on [its obligations under any] deal which may reach,” said Ayatollah Khamenei.

Ayatollah Khamenei also honored the late Ayatollah Mohammad-Reza Mahdavi Kani, the former head of the Assembly of Experts, describing him as a knowledgeable scholar and an influential combatant. He prayed to Almighty God for mercy upon him.

Prior to Ayatollah Khamenei’s remarks, Ayatollah Yazdi, the newly-elected chairman of the Assembly of Experts, presented a report about the 17th meeting of the Assembly.

Ayatollah Yazdi said Iran’s nuclear issue and domestic affairs, insistence on the implementation of the economy of resistance, avoiding slogans, presenting a report about the status of Islam in the current world, Islamophobia in the West and some worrying cultural issues were among the main topics discussed during the Assembly of Experts’ meeting.

This Jewish American speaks truth about her experience in occupied Palestine

After graduating from Columbia, Baltzer traveled to the Middle East in 2003 on a Fulbright grant to teach English in Ankara, Turkey. Since then, she has traveled to the West Bank as a volunteer for the International Women’s Peace Service to as she describes, document human rights abuses and support nonviolent resistance. Her publications have documented eight months of human conditions while on assignment in the West Bank for the International Women’s Peace Service.

Since the summer of 2005, she has been touring around the United States and abroad with a presentation and has written a book (Witness in Palestine) describing her personal experiences, observations, and photographs from eight months of documenting what she described as human rights violations in the West Bank. Noam Chomsky’s review of Baltzer’s book states, “Even those who are familiar with the grim reality of theoccupied territories will quickly be drawn into a world they had barely imagined by these vivid, searingly honest, intensely acute portrayalswhile Tanya Reinhart author of “Roadmap to Nowhere call it “Moving and vivid.” Mark Chmiel, teacher at St. Louis University and Webster University and author of “Elie Wiesel and the Politics of Moral Leadership”, has also written about Baltzer’s book.

On October 28, 2009, Baltzer was a guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, longside Mustafa Barghouti.

Political activism

Baltzer’s activism centers around nonviolent protests, as well as providing documented information to those interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the purpose of education and encouraging dialogue towards taking action on the issues. She claims that critical information doesn’t show up in the United States mainstream media. According to Balzter’s own account, when she first went to Israel on a free birthright trip in January 2000, she saw “a beautiful picture of Israel” but nothing of what was happening to Palestinians. “A Jewish student-life coordinator at Hillel, called the SJP event very well organized and well attended. It seemed very non-threatening and very non-violent. (Speaker) Baltzer made an extra special point that just because she was anti-Israeli policy, it doesn’t mean she is anti-Jewish.”