(A lecture at Thinkers Forum USA event On November 24th 2013)

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen

To begin with I offer my thanks to the editors and affiliates of the Thinkers Forum for inviting me to give a lecture on the concept of Adam as expressed by Iqbal in his poetry and prose. I also thank all those who have come to attend this event.

At the outset I should tell you that I am not a scholar of religion. My lecture is merely a talk about Adam in the prose and poetry of Allama Iqbal. It is meant to place before the Thinkers Forum for review and debate the views of Allama Iqbal on the subject of Adam and the emergence of the Insan, (Human being or Homo sapiens) on Earth.  The lecture will be in English punctuated by Iqbal’s Urdu and Persian poems relevant to this subject. Iqbal’s prose, which I would be referring to and quoting, is drawn from his lectures which are part of a series of lectures undertaken by him at the request of a group of Muslims in South Asia called the Madras Muslim Association and delivered by him in late 1920s in Madras, Hyderabad and Aligarh.  These seven lectures, as most of us know, are in the book published under the title The Reconstruction of Religious thought in Islam.  In the poetry of Iqbal the subject of Adam appears in both Persian and Urdu collections (kulliat).

I will begin my talk with Iqbal’s sha‘r (verse):

Ghah meri nigahah-e-tez chir gaiey dil-e-wajood

Ghah ulajh kae rah gaiey meray tawahomat mein


In my literal translation this verse says:

Sometimes my sharp vision penetrated through the heart of existence,

Sometimes it got entangled in my superstitions


This verse expresses of a dilemma which Iqbal faced in dealing with the subject of Adam and tried to resolve it as I will discuss in this talk. I may mention here that even the epoch-making evolution scientist Charles Darwin, the author of the On the Origin of Species and Descent of Man faced this kind of dilemma: Though he was critical of Bible as history and thought religion was a tribal survival strategy he was reluctant to give up the idea of God as an ultimate law giver (Wikipedia).


Here, I quote two verses of Iqbal’s poem titled, Adam, which tell us what Iqbal thought about the concept of Adam:


Tilism-e-bood o adam jis ka nam hai Adam

Khuda ka raz hai, qadir nahi hai jis pa sukhan

Agar na ho tujhay uljhan to khool kar kah duon

Wojud-e-hazrat-e-insan na ruh hai na badan


In my literal translation of these couplets say:


The mystery of existence or non-existence which is named Adam is

God’s secret on which the words are powerless.

If you do not get confused I will clearly say:

The essence of Hazrat-e Insan is neither soul nor body


Now, you would naturally ask: then what the being or essence of hazrat-e-Insan, i.e. Adam was? There is an answer to this question in the first couplet which says it is God’s secret regarding which the words have no power to reveal. But, obviously, this is not enough for an inquisitive mind. So let us go to the Iqbal’s prose to find an answer.


The Legend


His lecture III delivered as part of a series of lectures intended for the reconstruction of the religious thought in Islam (the very title of the published collection of the lectures suggests) Iqbal discusses the story of the Fall of Adam and offers a thought-provoking interpretation of the story which is narrated in the Bible and the Quran. He calls the story ‘legend’ and tells us that this legend is found in a variety of forms in the literature of the ancient world. He further says and I quote: “Confining ourselves to the Semitic form of the myth, it is highly probable that it arose out of primitive man’s desire to explain to himself the infinite misery of his plight ….. Thus in an old Babylonian inscription we find, the serpent (phallic symbol), the tree and the woman offering the apple (symbolic of virginity) to the man. These features of the legend of the Fall appear in the Book of Genesis of the Old Testament. The meaning of the myth is clear—the fall of man from the supposed state of bliss was due to the original sexual act of the human pair”. The original sexual act came to be known as the ‘Original Sin’ of the Man. The legend of Fall is also narrated in the Quran but, with remarkable points of difference which are elucidated by Iqbal in his lecture. I will briefly mention the differences between the Biblical and Quranic narrations, pointed out by Iqbal.


First, the Quran omits the serpent and the rib-story. The omission of serpent story frees the story from its phallic setting. The omission of the rib-story, suggests that ‘the purpose of the Quranic narration is not historical, as in the case of the Old Testament, which gives us an account of the first human pair by way of the prelude to the history of Israel’ (obviously, Iqbal meant ‘bani Israel’ not the state of Israel which was established some two decades after the lecture). In this context he points out that ‘in the verses which deal with the origin of man as a living being, the Quran uses the words, Bashar or Insan,  not Adam, which it reserves for man in the capacity of God’s vicegerent on earth’(2:30-31). He further says: “The purpose of Qur’an is further secured by the omission of the proper names mentioned in the Biblical narration—Adam and Eve”. Then, Iqbal goes on to say: “The word Adam is retained and used more as a concept than as a name of a concrete human individual”. “This use of the word”, he adds “is not without authority in the Qur’an itself”.  In support of this point Iqbal quotes the following verse of the Qur’an:

“We created you; then fashioned you; then said We to angels, ‘prostrate yourself unto Adam’”. (7:11)         

This is how Iqbal answers the question posed by the inquisitive minds in reference to his couplet quoted by me earlier:


Agar na ho tujhay uljhan to khool kar kah duon

Wojud-e-hazrat-e-insan na ruh hai na badan


Second, Iqbal says that the Quran splits the legend into two episodes—the one relating to what it describes simply as ‘the tree’ and the other relating to the ‘tree of eternity’ and ‘the kingdom that faileth not’. According to the Quran, Adam and his wife led astray by Satan tasted the fruit of both the trees. According to the Old Testament man was driven out of the Garden of Eden immediately after his first act of disobedience and God placed at the eastern side of the garden angels and a flaming sword, turning on all sides, to keep the way to what is called ‘the tree of life’ in the Bible.  According to the Quranic narration Adam’s first act of transgression was forgiven (2:35-37; also 20:120-122).


Third, Whereas the Old Testament curses the earth for Adam’s act of disobedience, the Quran declares the earth to be the ‘dwelling place’ of man and ‘source of profit’ to him for which he should be grateful to God who also established him (the man) on earth and given him therein the supports of life. 1qbal further says that there is no reason to suppose that ‘the word jannat means the supernatural paradise from which man is supposed to have fallen on earth. He further says that ‘according to the Qur’an man is not a stranger on this earth’, and quotes the Qur’an saying: ‘And we have caused you to grow from the earth’. (71:17).


This brings to mind Iqbal’s depiction of the ‘arrival’ of man on earth in two poems. I see this depiction as two Acts of a drama. The first poem is titled, Farishtay Adam ko jannat se rukhsat kartain hain (Angels bid farewell to Adam) and the second poem which immediately follows the first poem is titled, Roh-e-arzi, adam ka istaqbal karti hai (The Earth’s soul Welcomes Adam). The first poem consisting of five couplets opens with the couplet which says: Gifted to you is the restlessness of the day and night; we do not know whether you are of dust or of moonshine. The poem ends with the couplet which says: your voice reveals the heart of life as if the Nature has acted as the mizrab (striker) for your guitar. I am afraid this more or less literal translation by me may not have done justice to the poetic merit of these couplets so I will read to you the two couplets:


Aata huey hai tujhey roz o shab ki betabi

Khabar nahin hai kah tu khaki hai ya kah seemabi

Teri nawa se hai be parda zindagi ka zamir

Kah teray saz ki fitrat nay ki hai mizrabi


The second poem is a dramatic narration of the welcoming speech supposedly delivered by the ‘Soul of the Earth’ as the Earth received Adam. It consists of a number of beautifully composed and profoundly meaningful stanzas. To my mind, this poem has a significant place in Urdu poetic literature. I invite your attention to the dramatic and metaphorical diction of the verses of the poem:


Khool aankh, zamin dekh, falk dekh, fiza dekh

Mashriq se ubhartay huay soraj ko zara dekh

Us jalwa-e-be parda ko pardoun mein chupa dekh

Aayam-e-judaie kay sitam dekh, jafa dekh

 Betab na hu, marka-e-beem o rija dekh


Hain teray tassaruf mein yeh badal, ye ghataian

Yeh gumbad-e- aflak, yeh khamoosh fizain

Yeh koh, yeh sahrah, ye samadar, yeh hawain

Theien pesh-e-nazar kal to farishtun ki adayain 

Aayeena-e-aayam mein aaj apni ada dekh


Samjhay ga zamana teri aakhoun ka isharay

Dekhain ga tujhay dur se gardun kay sitaray

Na paed teray bahr-e-takhiul kay kinaray

Phunchain ga falk tak teri aahun kay shararay

Tameer-e-khudi kar asar-e-aah-e-rasa dekh



Khursheed-e-jahan tab ki zu teray sharer mein

Aabad hai ek taza jahan teray hunar mein

Jachtay nahin bakhsha huway firdus nazar mein

Jannat teri pinhan hai teray khun-e-jigar mein

Aa paykar-e-gul kushish-e-payham ki jaza dekh


Iqbal further tells us that in the second episode of the legend Quran describes the garden as a place ‘where there is neither hunger, nor thirst, neither heat nor nakedness’ and, therefore, he (Iqbal) is ‘inclined to think that jannat in the Quranic narration of the legend is the concept of primitive state in which man does not feel the sting of human wants the birth of which alone marks the beginning of human culture’. However, in my view Iqbal’s concept of the primitive state of man in which man does not feel the sting of human wants does not seem to be rational. Biologically there cannot be any state of human being or any other being which preceded man in the evolutionary tree. I am afraid the concept suggested by Iqbal, apparently to resolve the dilemma between faith and reason does not accord with the scientific theory of biological evolution. Mirza Ghalib had resolved the dilemma regarding the concept of jannat by a simple verse:


Hum ko malum hai jannat ki haqiqat, lakin

Dil kay kush rakhnay ko Ghalib yeh khail achha hai


Referring to the analysis of the Qur’anic narration of the legend of the Fall Iqbal says: “Thus we see the Qur’anic legend of the Fall has nothing to do with the first appearance of man on this planet. Its purpose is rather to indicate man’s rise from a primitive state of instinctive appetite to the conscious possession of a free self, capable of doubt and disobedience. The Fall does not mean any moral depravity, it is man’s transition from simple consciousness to the first flash of self-consciousness, a kind of waking from the dream of nature. Nor does the Quran regard the earth as a torture–hall where an elementary humanity is imprisoned for an original act of sin. Man’s first act of disobedience was his first act of free choice and that is why according to Quranic narration, Adam’s first transgression was forgiven (2:35-37).


The man’s rise from a primitive state of instinctive appetite to conscious possession of a free self, capable of doubt and disobedience, mentioned by Iqbal leads us to his wonderful Persian poem titled, Milad-e-Adam (Birth of Adam), which is a masterpiece of Iqbal’s poetic art in terms of remarkable diction and profoundness of meaning. Actually this poem stands as Part (1), rather Act 1, of what sounds like a drama titled, Taskhir-e-Fitrat (Conquest of Nature) published in Iqbal’s Persian poetry collection, Payam-e-Mashriq (The Message of the East) which was composed by him in response to the Divan of the German Poet, Goethe. Taskhir-e-Fitrat has five parts: (1) Milad-e-Adam (Birth of Adam); (2) Inkar-e-Iblis (Refusal of Satan); (3) Ighwa-e-Adam (Abduction of Adam); (4) Adam az bahisht beroun amada me go‘ud (Adam Emerges from the Paradise and Says); and (5) Subh-e-Qiyamat (The Dawn of the Day of Resurrection). Now let us see what Iqbal says in the poem,  Milad-e-Adam. This poem narrates in a superb poetic diction and imagery the responses of the drama’s characters, namely: The ultimate Love; the ultimate Beauty; the Nature; the Cosmos (the Heavens and the Eternity); the Desire; and the Life. I will recite the poem and provide a sort of literal translation.


Na‘rah zad Ishq ke khoni jigary paida shud

Husn larzeed ke sahib nazray paida shud

Fitrat aashuft ke az khak-e-jahan-e-majboor

Khud garay, khud shikanay, khud nigaray paida shud

Khabaray raft zay gardun ba shabistan-e-azal

            Hazr ae pardagian parda daray paida shud

Arzu bay khabar az khwesh ba aaghosh-e-hayat

            Chashm wa kard o jahan-e-digaray paida shud

Zindahi guft ke dar khak tapidam hama umr

            Ta az iyin gumbad-e-derina daray paida shud                      


I will now read to you my literal translation of the verses:


Born a rosy hearted being, exclaimed the Love

Born is a being with intellect, proclaimed the Beauty with awe.

From the dust of the constrained world, exclaimed the perplexed Nature

Born is a being capable of making itself, destroying itself, and taking care of itself.

Went out a news from the Heavens to the Eternity

Born is a being, who will tear off the veil, be warned O veil-keepers!

The Desire, asleep on the bosom of the Life,

Opened its eyes and saw a different world that was born

The Life said: I tossed about restlessly in the dust over my entire existence

Till from this ancient dome [sky or heavens] a doorway was born [came into being]


I am afraid the literal translation just read out by me may not have done justice to the artistic beauty and intrinsic meaning of the verses. However, I am assuming that the translation has indeed assisted those of us who are not conversant with the Persian language.


Now, reverting to the discussion about the legend I see that there are two matters mentioned by Iqbal which need to be discussed further: One is the man’s capacity of God’s vicegerent [khalifa] on earth, and the other is the point that ‘God caused man to grow from earth’, which appears to imply a  to process of evolution.


God’s Vicegerent on Earth


Let us deal with the first point. Being the vicegerent of God, that is the Creator, man has the capacity to be the creator on earth.  In this context I will read to you an interesting Persian poem of Iqbal titled, Muhawarah ma‘bain Khuda wo Insan (Dialogue between God and Man) and also its translation by V.G. Kiernan:




Jahan ra zay yak aab o gil afridam…………………Tu iran o tatar o zang aafride

Man az khak pulad-e-nab aafridam………………Tu shmshir o teer o tufang aafride

Tabar aafride nihal-e-chaman ra

Qafas sakhte tair-e-naghma zan ra



       Tu shab aafride, charagh aafridam……………….Sifal aafride, ayagh afridam

       Bayaban o kohsar o ragh aafride   …………… Khayaban o gulzar o bagh aafrodam

Mun aanam kah az sang aaeena saaam

Mun aanum kah az zahar nosheena sazam


I made this world, from one same earth and water,

You made Tartaria, Nubia, and Iran.

I forged from dust the iron’s unsullied ore,

You fashioned sword and arrowhead and gun;

You shaped the axe to hew the garden tree,

You wove the cage to hold the singing bird.


You made the night and I the lamp,

And you the clay and I the cup

You— desert, mountain peak, and vale:

I—flower-bed, park, and orchard; I

Who grind a mirror out of stone,

Who brew from poison honey-drink.

Well said, but the poems show a picture of man’s creative capability in long time past ago. Now, by the beginning the twenty first century (early years of the second decade) Man’s creative capability has progressed to a level much of which was unthinkable just afew decades back. There is no need for me to mention the marvels of information technology, modern Physics, or biological sciences, the stunning space exploration, in particular the crossing of limits of solar system by a man made device launched more than 37 years ago and still continuing its flight in the inter-stellar space. This brings to mind Iqbal’s verse:

Uroj-e-Adam-Khaki se Anjum sahma jatay hain

Kah yeh tota houa tara mah-e- kamil na ban jai‘e


And now in the words of Iqbal, the Man who, according to the legend, was expelled from the Paradise can say:


Sitaroun se aagay jehan auor bhi hain

Abhi Ishq kay imtehan auor bhi hain

Qan’aat na kar aalam-e-rang o bu par

Chaman aur bhi aashian aur bhi hain

Agar khoh gaya ek nashaman to kia gham

Maqamat-e-aah o fughan auor bhi hain

Isey roz o shab mein ulajh kar na rah ja

Kah teray zaman o makan auor bhi hain.

Here is the translation of these verses by V.G. Kiernan:

Beyond the stars more worlds: Love’s grace

Has other trials yet to face—

In other gardens other nests–

Be not content with earth’s embrace;

Why for one lost home mourn, when grief

Can find so many lodging places?

Let day and night not snare your feet,

Yours another Time and Space!

In the field of the creation of weapons the Man’s capability has attained the unprecedented levels of causing destruction. Iqbal wrote most probably in 1933:


Huzur-e-Haq mein Israfeel nay meri shikayat ki

Yeh banda woqt se phahlay qiymat kar no de barpa.



In regards to the origin of man I have not found much material in the lectures indicating Iqbal’s position on the question of the origin of man (Homo sapiens) through biological process of evolution. However, in his lecture IV Iqbal  does say that ‘the theory of evolution has brought despair and anxiety instead of hope and enthusiasm for life, to the modern world’. He has not specified the theory he is referring to. He then goes on to say: ‘The world of today needs a Rumi to create an attitude of hope and to kindle a fire of enthusiasm for life’. He quotes Rumi’s lines which tell us that man evolved from inorganic things. I quote these lines:

First man appeared in the class of inorganic things

            Next he passed therefrom into that of plants.

For years he lived as one of the plants,

            Remembering naught of his inorganic state so different;

And when he passed from vegetative to to the animal state

            He had no remembrance of his state as a plant,

Except the inclination he felt to the world of plants,

            Especially at the time of spring and sweet flowers,

Like the inclination of infants to words their mothers’

            Which we know not the cause of their inclination to breast …

Again the great Creator, as you know,

            Drew man out of the animal into the human state.

Thus man passes from one order of nature to another,

            Till he became wise and knowing and strong as he is now.

Of his first souls he has now no remembrance.

            And he will be again changed from his present soul.

[Note:According to the End-Note in the book, Reconstruction, the this is translation of the verses 3637-41 and 3647-48 of Book iv of Rumi Mathnawi . Allama Iqbals’s observation on these verses in his Development of Metaphysics in Persia, p.9]


The first thing that stuck me after reading these verses was that it Rumi came quite close to the modern doctrine of evolution that different form of life had developed gradually from common ancestry.

 Apparently, the theory of evolution which, Iqbal says has brought despair and anxiety instead of hope and enthusiasm for life to the modern world is the Darwin’s theory of biological evolution. As you know, Darwin or Darwinism proposed that evolution occurs by means of what Darwin termed ‘Natural Selection’. Individuals of a species show variation. On average more off springs are produced that are needed to replace the parents and so there must be competition for survival and those that are best adapted to the environment (the fittest) survive and reproduce. Thus, evolution occurs by means of Natural Selection acting on individual variation, resulting in the Survival of the Fittest. This leads to the dictum that struggle for existence is the motive force of evolution. The discovery of genetic mechanism causing variations has resulted in a modified version of the theory known as Neo-Darwinism.


This theory had serious social and political implications. As a result many liberal and socialists such as George Bernard Shaw raised strong objections against this theory. George Bernard Shaw wrote in the Preface to his remarkable Play, Back to Methsalah that Natural Selection meant that ‘instead of being evolved to fulfil some vital purpose they were the aimless and promiscuous results external material pressures and accidents leading to the survival of the fittest– with, of course, the extinction of the unfit’. Shaw appears to favour the Bergson theory of ‘Creative Evolution’ and supports those who believe that the impulse that produces evolution is creative.

Bergson maintains that life is one great force, one vital impulse. Iqbal also holds similar views about life as the verses I quote from his poem, Saqi Nma show:

 Dama dam rawan hai yam-e-zindigi

            Har ek sha se paida ram-e-zindigi

Isey se hoey hai badan hein namood

            Kah sholay mein poshida hai muoj-e-dood

Faryab-e-nazar hai sakoon o sabat

            Tarapta hai har zara-e-kayanat

Taharta nahin karawan-e-wojud

            Kah har lahza hai taza shan-e-wojud

Samajhta hai tu raz hai zindigi

            Faqat zuq-e-parwaz hai zindigi

Gul is shakh se tut te bhi rahay

            Isey shakh se phut te bhi rahay


‘Dollars do not grow on trees: Deaths, murders and suicides’ By Anwar Iqbal

An honest account of the deadly travails of Pakistani Americans that receive scant notice.( Nasik)

“People think that in America, dollars grow on trees,” Asad once told us at the tavern. “And when you tell them how difficult America is for immigrants, they get offended.”He said he shared his troubles with a cousin in Pakistan, he said: “Yes, you enjoy all the luxuries of the first world in America and try to discourage us. Why? Did I ask you to get me a visa?”

The moon is fragrant. And this fragrance links us to the moon. Don’t you see these little boats, floating in the moonlight? Board them and they will take you to the moon.”

This was Asad, a 30-plus young man called lunatic by most of his friends because of his obsession with the moon. He had a vivid imagination, which became even more vivid in a moonlit night.

“You guys just see the outer surface. If you borrow my vision you can also see the dimensions I do. Touch this counter and you can still feel that warmth of the customer who just left. See, the idea is to feel. Touch. Embrace.”

Today, Asad is in a hospital, struggling for life. A bullet pierced his skull and came out from the other side. The doctors are still trying to determine the damage the bullet might have done to his brain.

He was doing the night shift in a relatively safe area of Northern Virginia when some people broke into the shop, shot him in the head and ran away with the cash.

Before he moved to that 24-hour shop, Asad used to work at another shop in our neighbourhood and often came to the tavern for “gup-shup (a little chat).”

As we gathered tonight to pray for his full and early recovery, we remembered another man known among his Pakistani and American friends as Khan Sahib or Mr Khan.

He was hacked to death outside his pizza shop in a rough Washington neighbourhood two years ago.

Then there was a cabdriver we did not know but attended his funeral prayer when we went to our neighbourhood mosque for the weekly prayers one Friday. He was also shot in the head and died on the spot.

And it was in December 2010, when I received a call from the late film and television actor Jamil Fakhari, asking me to help find his son, Ali Fakhari.

His son went missing in New York in early 2009 and the Pakistan Embassy in Washington had told him that his son was murdered, apparently by carjackers.

Jamil Fakhari refused to believe the embassy. “My son had no feud with any one. Why would someone kill him?” he said to me.

I wanted to explain to him that most immigrant workers are killed because they work in dangerous place and at odd hours. But I could not say this to him. I did not want to break his heart.


Muslim Culture in a Southern Space

This article shared by Tahir Mahmood.

In an America where public American narratives of Muslims are limited to images of terrorists and poverty-stricken refugees, our perception of Muslim history may be similarly warped. Especially in a small state such as ours, the scarcity of Muslims to counter the dominant stereotypes about their culture furthers the narrative. That’s what makes the work at the International Museum of Muslim Culture so important.

#The Jackson museum, the first of its kind in America, provides a valuable resource for both Muslims and African Americans to learn more about their legacy. It’s had its ups and downs: After the Sept. 11 attacks, someone threw a brick through one of its windows, which resulted in a massive wave of support from Jackson’s government and local colleges and universities.

#The museum’s exhibition, “The Legacy of Timbuktu: Wonders of the Written Word,” highlights how West African Muslims contributed to the world’s knowledge and may have even been responsible for your favorite blues song.

#IMMC’s co-founder and executive director of the exhibition, Okolo Rashid, acknowledges that disrupting false narratives is a central part of her work at the museum. When she gives tours of the exhibition, many visitors are surprised to find out that a huge contingent of black Muslims and that Muslims are responsible for inventions such as the loom.

#While the museum is small (it takes up one wing of the Mississippi Arts Center, where it moved in 2006) and lacks the deep pockets of big museums such as the Smithsonian, word of mouth and public support has ensured the museum’s residency in the Jackson area since 2001.

#“It’s because the significance of the story (of African Muslims) and the lack of knowledge behind it,” Rashid says.


How do we reconcile the perception of Buddhism as a philosophy of peace with the ugly reality of Buddhist-led pogroms?

A Worth reading article by Malik kenan, who supports right to offend in a plural society , fierce advocate of freedom of speech and staunch supporter of human rights. ( F.Sheikh)


There is perhaps no religion that Western liberals find more amenable than Buddhism. Politicians fawn over the Dalai Lama, celebrities seek out Buddhist meditation, many scientists and philosophers insist that Buddhism has much to teach us about human nature and human psychology. Even many of the so-called New Atheists have fallen for Buddhism’s allure, albeit as a philosophy rather than as a faith. For most of its Western sympathisers, Buddhism is a deeply humanist outlook, less a religion than a philosophy, a way of life to create peace and harmony.

Myanmar’s Rohingya have a different view of Buddhism. The Rohingya are Muslims who live mostly in Rakhine, in the north west of the country, bordering Bangladesh. Early Muslim settlements date back to the 7th century. Today, in a nation that is 90 per cent Buddhist, there are some 8 million Muslims of which probably a quarter are Rohingya. Many feel they are fighting for their very existence.

The military junta that came to power in Myanmar in 1962 (or Burma as it was then) has, over the past half century, sought to build popular support for its rule by fomenting hatred against minority groups. The Rohingya have been stripped of citizenship and officially declared foreigners in their native land. Restriction have been placed on the Rohingya owning land, travelling outside their villages, receiving an education and having children.

The recent successes of the democracy movement has paradoxically only worsened the problems of the Rohingya. The junta, still clinging to power, has sharpened its anti-Rohingya rhetoric in an attempt to bolster its position. The democracy movement has refused to support the Rohingya for fear of alienating its largely Buddhist constituency. The leader of the democracy movement, the Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, has been shamefully silent. When asked to condemn violence against the Rohingya, the furthest she has been willing to go is to condemn violence in general. Many members of her National League for Democracy are openly involved in extremist anti-Rohingya organizations.