Meet a Muslim’ events hope to dispel misconceptions

‘Meet a Muslim’ events hope to dispel misconceptions

Muslims in north America are a highly diverse multi-ethnic, multi cultural grouping scattered throughout the country. The diaspora is so diffuse and assimilated that estimates of the population range from 3 to 7 million. No one is able to fix the exact number. The diversity is also to be found in religious practice and range from lapsed, nominal, faithful and fervent. But the public perception of muslims as portrayed in the media is as a sharia fifth column cabal hiding terrorists in their midst. The muslim attempts to counter the stereotypes is usually through activists belonginng to organizations such as CAIR and local groupings. One of the most prominent set of advocates are young females proudly wearing hijabs. The fact that hijabs are worn by a very small subset of muslim women is never mentioned. The hijab is very much a part of the existing stereotype and Muslim activists should make it a point to highlight muslim diversity and plurality among the spokes people addressing the news media.

Nasik Elahi

A Sentimental Journey-Dalit Lady, Optimistic Muslims and Jahil Mullahs.

A Sentimental Journey-Dalit Lady, Optimistic Muslims and Jahil Mullahs.

“The next day a Barelvi Mufti issued a Fatwa that the Nikah of all those who had prayed behind the Barelvi had become null and void!
Dozens of men, some married for years, had to renew their vows in a mass ceremony! ”

I am sure that the wives of those who had prayed behind the Barelvi Imam could not and had not taken part in the prayer. Then why their
marriage with their men was declared null and void?

A Dalit lady, Kumari Mayavati ruled theroost as the chief minister of UP. She had been elected to the office for thefourth time, with the help of Muslims and her own Dalit support. She makes apoint of visiting Sufi shrines on a regular basis.
Shehas festooned the city with marble statues of Dalit leaders including afew of her own. In addition there were rows of marble elephant, monkeys,serpents and Hanumans. All were installed in new parks and fort likeconstructions inside.
She did have highways, underpassesand overpasses built, but nowhere near the extent of Mustafa Kamal’s work inKarachi.
Idiscussed the economic, educational and political situation of Muslims with awhole range of people. They were uniformly optimistic. They pointed with prideat the resilience of Muslims of Gujarat, who had rebounded from the holocaustand were pursuing education with unsurpassed enthusiasm.
Muslimstook the first step in the recovery of was taken by Subedar Abdul Hameed whowon the highest award for gallantry in the 1965 India-Pakistan war. After the1971 Bangladesh war of independence, Muslims of India completely gave up onPakistan.

But there was a darker side of thepicture too.
Myhost asked me if I would like to meet the officially designated Qazi e Shahr,who lived in Frangi Mahal, a locality renowned for its scholars.
I was introduced as a visitorfrom the USA. I praised his collection of books, which were rather shabbilybound. He moaned that a lot had been lost to humidity and insects. I offeredthat he should have them scanned and put on the internet He was visiblyannoyed. Internet had cost dear to academia. He went on that I had invaded Iraqand Afghanistan. I pleaded that I had no influence on the US government. But heinsisted that by living there I had become a party to it
I had to tell him that by keeping Muslims fromscience and technology, his type had made them backward and weak, so theybecame a tempting target. He retorted thatscience was irrelevant asQayamat was near.
Inthat case, I told him, he should not moan the fate of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Iheard a pathetic story. A Barelvi died. A Deobandi friend led the funeralprayers. The next day a Barelvi Mufti issued a Fatwa that the Nikah of allthose who had prayed behind the Barelvi had become null and void! Dozens ofmen, some married for years, had to renew their vows in a massceremony!
We drove to my ancestral village,Dewa Sharif, about twenty-eight miles from Lucknow. Unlike 1951, it was a Puccaroad all the way. Dewa had turned from a sleepy little Qasbah to a thrivingmarket town.
Myancestral home, grandly called Naya Mahal, had been demolished. Mercifully, a part now in ruins, stillexisted and I collected three old bricks.
Dewa is a Muslim dominated Qasbah and the air resounded withAzaan call to prayers.
Theshrine, resplendent as ever in white marble, was the only structure I was ableto recognize.
I flew back to Karachi on December 28,2009, the tenth of Moharram and was greeted with the ghastly news of a suicidebomb and carnage of the Moharram procession.

Dr. S. Akhtar Ehtisham
All religions try to take over the establishment and if they fail, they collaborate with it, be it feudal or capitalist.

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The curious cases of MQM in London

-The curious cases of MQM in London

Aftab Siddiqui

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. This is probably the most appropriate description of how 2016 ended for Altaf Hussain and the MQM. It brought greatest relief as the investigation in the money laundering case was stopped in the UK. On the other hand, his infamous speech in August literally sounded the death knell for the MQM as we know it. With this background what can the Interior Ministry of Pakistan do now to overcome the shortcomings of the past years and help bring successful prosecution in the UK against the MQM and its dear supreme leader in 2017?
The fact of the matter is that the reasons which led to the decision to eventually drop the money laundering case largely reside in Pakistan. It has been observed that the main defendants submitted large numbers of documents including but not limited to private undertakings from individuals from Pakistan stating that they gave money to the MQM and Altaf Hussain. Personal undertakings in the form of affidavits made in Pakistan were given by people connected to the MQM, industrialists and businessmen based in Karachi. These undertakings provided the cover for the amount of cash recovered from various properties connected to the MQM in London.
The veracity of these undertakings was never questioned. No efforts of note were made to find out who gave these undertakings, were they given under duress or voluntarily, and what were the sources of income of the signatories of these undertakings. This lack of interest by Pakistani authorities is alarming as all of this evidence originated from Pakistan. None of the many agencies under the command of the interior minister were able to provide high quality evidence to Scotland Yard to raise sufficient doubt in their minds on the overall genuineness of these undertakings. As a result, they were received as part of acceptable evidence by the UK investigators.
However, most recently, the money laundering case has taken a new turn. The UK authorities are confronted with multiple claimants and hence are not able to close the inquiry due to this dispute. If the Interior Ministry has the will to act, they have an opportunity now. They should intervene, submit new evidence based on professional investigations of all the personal undertakings and the circumstances in which they were made and collected in Pakistan. This evidence, alongside other proof, should then be submitted to Scotland Yard so it can initiate further investigations which could lead to successful prosecution in the money laundering case.
The Interior Ministry has two more opportunities to redeem its reputation. The first is the Charity Commission UK’s inquiry into the transfer of approximately £180,000 from MQM Pakistan to the ‘Society for Unwell and Needy’ UK (SUN Charity). The violation in this instance has been committed by MQM in Pakistan. Over the years they never disclosed this huge amount remitted abroad in their annual accounts submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). On the other hand, SUN charity has always declared these as funds received from MQM Pakistan. The breach of electoral laws in this case has been committed by a registered political party in Pakistan. The leading UK newspaper ‘The Daily Sun’ published a story on SUN Charity and the MQM connection in its edition of March 21, 2016.
However, despite this story being widely cited in the UK and Pakistani media, no representations from the interior ministry or the ECP has been made to the Charity Commission, UK or to the media group to obtain the background information.
Authorities in Pakistan it seems have not conducted any legal action about these falsified annual accounts, how this huge amount was collected and eventually transferred to the UK by MQM Pakistan. And now MQM Pakistan on the surface appears to have parted ways with Altaf Hussain. They should demand their money back immediately. They can use this money to provide some relief to the poor people of Karachi rather than spending this amount in the Somerset area of the UK. If this amount is not returned to them on demand they can institute legal action in the UK to get the amount back. This is the least Farooq Sattar and party can do to show that they have changed their ways and the welfare of poor Karachites is now their top priority.
The other important case is the incitement to violence arising from the infamous speech of Altaf Hussain delivered from London on August 22, 2016. An inquiry is being conducted by the Counter Terrorism Command, UK. This is one other opportunity for the leadership of the interior ministry to prove that they are neither complicit nor incompetent in relation to the lack of success achieved by them in these cases. As reputable investigators, they now have to provide irrefutable evidence in the shape of unedited audio, video, photos, statement of victims and witnesses, the murdered person’s medical reports, circumstantial evidence and the confessional statements of individuals involved. All this evidence should unambiguously connect persons resorting to violence and murder directly to the content of the speech.
One aspect which cannot be ignored is that Altaf Hussain has engaged the world’s leading law firm to defend him in the money laundering case. It will be an important game-changing step for the interior ministry if they also engage a reputable law firm in the UK to assist them. This law firm should be tasked to review evidence collected by the Pakistani agencies. Such a firm should help the Pakistani authorities improve the standard of evidence collected to the extent that they fully meet the highest standards of proof required by the Crown Prosecution Service and British courts. The law firm should liaise at every step of the way with UK investigators. They should submit evidence officially to them on behalf of the Pakistani authorities. This critical measure would eliminate benefit of doubt as an excuse to dismiss these cases by the UK investigators. It will also greatly reduce the influence that the anti-Pakistan lobby can exert on these cases.
Needless to say, it is a legal and moral responsibility of the interior ministry to provide some closure to the family of Arif (son of Abdul Saeed), a Karachi’ite who was only 42 years old when attacked and murdered after the speech. The ministry is duty bound to act professionally and deliver evidence which make the cases prosecutable in the UK justice system. This will ensure that common citizens, the media personnel and media houses attacked as a result of Altaf Hussain’s incitement to violence get the justice they fairly deserve.
The announcement by the MQM London group to hold a public rally in Karachi has sent the local police and the rangers into overdrive. This culminated in the arrest of many ordinary workers. Similar efforts over the years by the LEAs to arrest workers have not yielded positive results for the city. It has in been of great help for Altaf Hussain and other MQM leaders. They play it as a victimization card and use it to support their separatist agenda among their followers. The interior ministry needs to change their strategy now by stopping giving ammunition to their anti-Pakistan agenda. Ordinary political workers should not be persecuted in any way and form. The ministry should focus on pursuing the successful prosecution of the leaders who plan and promote anarchy and have plundered the wealth of Karachi.
Tailpiece: The Dr Imran Farooq murder case is being investigated in the UK. An FIR has also been registered in Pakistan. It’s a unique situation that inquiries in two different jurisdictions have been registered for the same crime. At present there seems to be minimal possibility of a successful prosecution in the UK in this case.

The writer is founder of the online Facebook forum “Dialogue of the Civilisations” and is an independent senior analyst for South Asia and is based in London. He tweets @siddiquiaftab

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Sexual Assault Allegations Against Illinois Imam Stir Divisions in Insular South Asian Community –

The Islamic center in Illinois is rocked by sexual allegations
against the Imam. The article describes the crisis against a 
background that is all too prevalent in islamic centers around 
the USA.  The issues raised in the article merit our attention and 
need to be more openly discussed and cannot just be swept under 
the proverbial religious rug.

Nasik Elahi