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COMMUNITY NEWS: 1-15 November 2001

State-sponsored terrorism decried
Council for Democratic & Human Rights of Indian Muslims organized a seminar on Terrorism and Religion at Indian Law Institute on 20 October (picture above). inaugurating the seminar Muhammad Hasan Muzaffari of the Iranian Embassy said that there is no scope of terrorism in Islam. Citing several verses from the Holy Qur'an Muzaffari said that Jihad is only allowed in the way of Allah. Palestinian Ambassador Dr Khalid Al Shaikh observed that the UN charter allows a country to defend an aggression but all this is being flouted by none other than the leading powers of the world. He said that Israel is occupying Palestinian lands only with the assistance of leading powers of the world and perpetrating worst sort of terrorism against its people. Communist leader AB Bardhan highlighted US role in state sponsored terrorism in countries like Vietnam, Chile, Cuba and several other nations around the globe. He added that attacks on Iraq are still continuing and around three million people have perished in US strikes. GM Banatwala, Muslim League leader and MP said that world powers who interfere in different countries around the world cannot shrug off the responsibility of abetting terrorism. He said the Israeli attacks on Palestinian people are worst form of terrorism.

IFA to release Fiqh encyclopedia
New Delhi: In view of Urdu language being a treasure house of Islamic learning, including fiqh (jurisprudence), Islamic Fiqh Academy (India) took the task of translating the Encyclopedia of Fiqh (Al-Mausu’atul Fiqhiyah) originally prepared in Arabic by the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, Kuwait. And now it is ready to publish the voluminous work into 40 volumes. 35 of them have been given final touches and are all set for print.
The translation is meant to facilitate Urdu readers to know the famous four schools of thought i.e. Hanafi, Shafi'i, Hanbali and Maliki, for a comprehensive understanding of various issues related to variance of thinking. The encyclopedia successfully covers the premises, underlying logic and standpoints of the four major schools of fiqh with no preference to any school of fiqh while discussing issues, arguments, premises and logic. To make it more informative, the references of arguments and sources of important hadith have been provided in the same page.
The issues emerging out of the contemporary developments have also been discussed but not included in the main part of the Encyclopedia. The issues still not settled and being debated among scholars have been enlightened in the appendixes.

Popular lecture series
New Delhi: Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine organized a popular lecture series on 9 October at Constitution Club, New Delhi. Mrs Shila Chandra, secretary of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that after establishment of this faculty five years ago efforts have been made to introduce Unani and Ayurvedic systems of medicine at international level. Mazhar Usmani while suggesting that elderly people should not be given more of allopathic medicines said that at that age there is a high risk of side effects. Siraj Husain, Vice Chancellor of Jamia Hamdard said that Unani students were promising, talented and efficient. Hakims, doctors and people associated with health protection participated in the meeting.

Distortion worries historians
New Delhi: The BJP-led government’s censorship of secularism and plurality of views in history books would result in the depiction of fairy tales passing off as facts, renowned historian Irfan Habib said while referring to the move to delete portions from NCERT textbooks. Habib and former NCERT professor Arjun Dev quoted from the objectionable book to show that Satish Chandra’s high praise for Guru Tegh Bahadur had, in fact, been misrepresented by quoting the passage out of context.
While the government’s move drew criticism from historians, Delhi’s Lt Governor Vijay Kapoor issued a statement asking the author, Satish Chandra, to delete the objectionable portion with urgency. Irfan Habib said at a press conference that the censorship of the history text books and the NCERT’s decision to have them vetted by religious leaders before publication would result in a narrow definition of history.

Urdu’s future bright in Europe
New Delhi: A function was held in honour of renowned Urdu litterateur Dr Ziauddin Shakeb, who had come from London, on 14 October at Ghalib Academy, New Delhi. Dr Ziauddin, while addressing the gathering said that there were bright possibilities of development of Urdu in Britain and Europe, because Urdu like English had been emerging there as the language of communication and the reports of the council were being published in Urdu as well like other languages. He said that in Britain and Europe Urdu was recognized as a language of civilization, Urdu melas and mushairas were its clear evidence, he added. He further said that while Urdu was included in the syllabus of various schools and universities on one hand, it was spoken as a regional language in Urdu-knowing areas on the other hand, although with variance of tone and accent. The doctor also said that the population of Urdu-knowing people in Britain had crossed two millions and that Urdu was given the status similar to that of other European languages.

Urdu teachers under constraints
Deoband: Due to anti-Urdu policy of UP’s BJP government and lack of attention of Jamia Urdu Aligarh, several primary Urdu teachers of UP are now under crucial test. By the ordinance of Education Department of UP government, Mu'allim Urdu certificate's parity with BTC has been discontinued. Urdu teachers are extremely angry over this decision and they are willing to stage protest and demonstrations and knock the door of court also.
It should be noted that the secretary of Basic Education Council UP, in the ordinance 7834-992/2001-2000 released on 28 July 2000, had implemented the rule that the teachers who had been given Mu'allim’s degree after 11 August 2000, would not be considered for Trained Teacher’s Grade. Not only this, they have also to return the allowances in installments which they have received so far. In this way every teacher has to return about Rs 80,000.
Besides Urdu teachers, Urdu lovers are also angry over this decision. Most of them hold authorities of Jamia Urdu Aligarh directly responsible for this, because, as per the request of UP government, Jamia Urdu did not make Mu'allim’s certificate a 2-year course, like the BTC course, instead of the existing one-year course.

Sacred place desecrated
Jaipur: The shops remained closed even after the third day of the incident following the sacrilege of a place of worship in Malarna Doonger town, district Sawai Madhopur of Rajasthan, where on 14 October at night a place of worship was desecrated. Eleven people staged a dharna in protest against the incident in front of the tahsil office. Additional police force had been maintained in the town and the matter was being investigated.
It should be noted that in the adjoining district of Bhilwara, a few religious places were recently desecrated.

Law against sacrilege
Chandigarh: Punjab cabinet has urged the centre to review laws pertaining to acts of sacrilege so as to ensure the most severe penalty to those indulging in such acts. While expressing deep anguish over the alleged acts of sacrilege in the state, the cabinet, in a resolution, has requested the centre to make suitable amendments in the state.

Phulwarisharif tense
Danapur: The situation continued to be tense in Phulwarisharif following the recovery of three bodies on 14 October. The body of Wakil Husain was recovered from a pond behind the Phulwari block office while two bodies of unidentified youths were found in another pond in Sabri Nagar. The Danapur police said that all the three killings were linked to the 13 October incident in Phulwarisharif.

Peace restored in Saswad
Pune: Prohibitory orders have been clamped in Saswad town where a mob went on rampage pelting stones and setting houses and shops on fire on 7 October. The situation remained under control, the police said. Tight police arrangements had been maintained in the town and prohibitory orders remained in force for a week, sources said.

Panic among Christians
Gandhinagar: After nearly a year, a subtle campaign by the saffron brigade is once again making Christian minorities in Gujarat feel insecure. The Sangh’s campaign against Christians had dwindled after the ruling BJP’s defeat in September 2000 panchayat and civic elections and had almost stopped since the January 26 earthquake. The latest provocation that has made them uncomfortable is distribution of leaflets by hitherto unknown organizations denigrating Christ and Christianity. A recent booklet circulated by the Bharat Jagriti Morcha has questioned whether the Bible is a religious book and also whether Jesus Christ was a lovable person. The booklet, printed in Gujarati, throws an open challenge to the Christian priests for a debate on scriptures. An accompanying leaflet from one Sanskriti Raksha Samiti urges people to be alert against the machinations of Christian missionaries. The booklet has been mailed by anonymous senders to different Christian leaders and organizations in the state. Some chapters of the booklet talks about conspiracy to make India a Christian state.

VHP can’t await judgement
Vijaywada: Vishwa Hindu Parishad will at any moment start temple construction work at the disputed site in Ayodhya after 12 March and will not wait for an indefinite period for court order. Sadanand Kakade, national joint secretary of VHP said. He further said that even if the government failed to remove difficulties, VHP will proceed with its decided programme. He said that he strongly believed that the supreme court after examining the 13th century epitaph would allow construction of Ram temple. Kakade expressed unhappiness that the statements of only 10 people out of 126 had been recorded. He further said, ‘We cannot wait for 100 years for the court to pronounce its judgement.’

VHP, Sena draw benefits
New Delhi: At a time when the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Delhi and the Shiv Sainiks are strident over views of US-led attacks on Afghanistan, volunteers of the Students Islamic Organization (SIO) at a symposium organized by SIO, intervened denouncing the Imam’s fiery speeches against the US and Europe. In an oblique reference to the controversial call by the Shahi Imam, SIO office-bearers complained that the concept of jehad was being distorted. ‘It actually means struggle for the cause of Allah. This struggle must primarily be through democratic means. Killing the innocent is strictly banned even during a legitimate war,’ they said, adding that organizations like the VHP and Shiv Sena were using the occasion to promote their communal agenda. ‘We in SIO condemn the 11 September attack in the strongest possible words. We also believe that terrorism is among the greatest menaces of our time and it should be effectively countered,’ SIO President SS Husaini said. ‘Nobody can agree with the US argument that this action is in self-defence,’ he added.
Speakers criticized the Indian government for being in a hurry to align with the US. Moosa Raza, former bureaucrat, said that social injustice and social inequality turns terrorism into standing against the oppressor. What the American coalition is doing is to destroy a country to nab one person, he said.

Justice cries
Ghulam Mahmood Banatwala, President of Indian Union Muslim League, said that the United States’ order for retaliatory attack of Afghanistan was an unfortunate and a gigantic set back to the rules of international law. Indeed, the terrorist attacks on the United States were barbaric and cannot be condoned, but what was the use of the rules of international law and systems of international justice if they were meant to be thrown to wind, howsoever grave may be the provations, he questioned, adding that such cannot be the response of a civilized nation. He further said that for the present and looking at the totality of the situation marked also by the release of evidence to only the selected few, United States failure to ratify the United Nations Conventions on Terrorism, readiness of Taliban for negotiations including the trial of Osama bin Laden, lack of attention to political questions regarding terrorism, and others, the campaign against terrorism deserved a non-combat support and that civilized nations needed to persuade America to comprehensive global efforts based on consensus and the rules of international law.

Natural death or murder?
Flight dispatcher Shahnawaz died on 9 October in Vasant Kunj, Delhi under mysterious circumstances. Shahnawaz was a flight dispatcher with Alliance Airlines who received the ‘hijack’ call on 3 October. According to information, Shahnawaz was called by CBI for inquiry. Due to vigorous inquiry Shahnawaz was badly disturbed and died of a massive heart attack at a very young age of 24. Though it is said that he died a natural death by heart attack, but suspicion is being raised as to how a young pilot who underwent regular medical check ups can so suddenly suffer a heart attack.


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