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Dialogue: Do Muslims have immunity?

A good newspaper but...
A good newspaper, but it needs wider publicity and awareness, particularly in Muslim belt all over India. Revenue has to be generated through advertisements, particularly from Muslim businessmen, which I do not see. Who should be blamed?
Shahid Raza Burney, Pune

Just want to say how much I like this website. Its very informative and useful. I hope you can continue this good work.

As a matter of fact, the detainee's aren't being tortured at all. I am contacting your US based sponsors and telling them about all the anti-US outright anti-US bald faced lies and anti-US rhetoric you have been constantly printing. You may have a right to speak, but you do NOT have a right to lie. You certainly do NOT have the right to have loyal US
companies pay for your lies.
Diana Nielsen
Editor: Don't torture yourself. We don't have any sponsors in the US whatsoever. I am aghast that instead of being ashamed at the policies of your government you are imitating their style. A time will come when your government, not the people, will have to apologise to so many peoples around the world for its 'Nazi-like' policies. Church has done it. Germans and Japanese have done it.

Indian Muslims
I just came across the site and was not pleased to see the approach you have taken putting up Indian Muslims case. Any reader will feel that only thing happening to Indian Muslims is injustice and suppression. But as you all really know, inspite a few sporadic cases this is not at all the case. Do you know any other country in the world that gives so much freedom to every religion and in which Muslims have prospered to this level? I bet you wont. Still you wont use a single line to praise India for this. Your agenda focuses just the " Muslims". Not a single mention of the national cause. Doesn't it seem religion first, nation afterwards policy by you. You claim to post a secular site and show no sign of that. Agreed that BJP go beyond limit in their Hindu agenda. You cant stop highlighting this point. Yet you don't mention the fundamentalism spreading in the country. You sometimes go on to even support movements like SIMI. 
You say that you want separate 10 % reservation for Muslims. Do you even understand what claim are you making? What makes you feel that every caste would have separate reservation for it? if you are grouped under OBC class then you should at least compete within that group to go ahead. How can you expect to have seats just reserved for Muslims? Don't you see that its your own community policies that avoid the majority of Muslims from making progress. How many of you have really taken care to give education to the common females in your society? Without the woman of the house having good education it makes the family impossible to make progress. Even the Hindu families which avoided this are facing the same results. They don't go on shouting "negligence" at the govt. like you. How can the government of India be responsible for this? This country has seen Muslims in all top positions be it the president, the defence, scientists , films... you name it. Do you know any other non Islamic country that has such a record?
Take a look at your site. It looks like a complaint register about India. What the Muslim society needs - introspection- you seem to be completely unaware of this. what have you done as a community towards the progress of Muslims? we all Indians would be most happy about it. 
Nilesh Kashikar,Toledo, USA

Editor: Many thanks, but I would say that without reading the paper over a period of time you have started commenting after looking at only some of the material belonging to a single issue. We are concerned and committed to the progress of our country and this will not take place until all parts of the society including Muslims are given their due and fair share in reality, not on paper only. MG is a dedicated and specialised publication and therefore it is not our idea to cover general issues which have hundreds of publications to take care of, while Muslim news is neglected by all.

Our Imams and Muazzins
Is the institution of imams and moazzins, which our society has evolved, in the true Islamic spirit? Islam prohibits to make the teaching of Deen and Qura'n as a source of livelihood.
Does the same spirit warrant that moazzins and imams should be made paid servants of society, making these noble professions the lone source of their income? If yes, what should be the mechanism to enhance their salaries? These salaries are paid by the voluntary contributions from the people living in the vicinity of the mosque concerned. Psychology of these voluntary contributors is well known and cannot be changed on global and mass scale by any available means. 
In the locality I presently live, there is a lone mosque catering to a vast population. A single person, converted from Chinese race and a government employee, serves as un-salaried imam as well as moazzin. In most of the prayers, particularly in Fajr, I happen to be the only muqtadi. It means that a vast majority of Muslims are not fulfilling the very first and foremost obligation of our faith. Is it logical to expect that such a population shall contribute generously for the salary of imam and moazzin? Else, should we compel a few practicing ones to pay big portions of their own salaries for the cause?
The above is only one angle of the problem. In spirit, our imam should be the most pious and most worthy person from amongst us. He should be the best in deen as well as in duniya. As a matter of fact, Islam does not put a line of demarcation between deen and duniya. Such a person shall never allow himself to be a paid servant of society.
The same principle applies to the moazzin as well. We have to seriously think about the graduates of religious schools as well. With much less efforts and dedication, we can make them far better earners of livelihood. Madarsas are less in number than mosques and, therefore, easier to concentrate on. The curricula, without being much disturbed, may be modified by experts such that every graduate becomes well versed and trained in a single trade. It may be some cottage industry, business expertise, practical knowledge of export and import procedures, etc. 
Prof. Firoz Akhtar Ansari

We lack leadership
The plain fact, Indian Muslims lack leadership. Not a single Muslim politician is interested in the welfare of his community. Show me one ! The so called Muslim politicans are only interested in their affairs and minting money. Who cares for the community ? 
On the contrary we see Muslim bashing by Muslim Communists lobby lead by Shaban Azmi, Javed Akhtar, Javed Siddiqui,Kaifi Azmi and their gang of minions. Their contribution to Muslim causes are nil. They lash out at an religious person like Imam Bukhari. Atleast the Imam is doing a religious duty. And what is wrong in his calling Shabana Azmi as "Nachnewali - Ganewali ?" doesn't she dance and sing in films ? You cannot expect an Imam to be an intellecutal to use dignified words, he spoke in simple "Hindustani". The need today is for an good Muslim leadership which can put the Muslim communist lobby in their places and restrict their Muslim bashing.
Shahid Burney, Pune

Arun Shourie
I am so glad to see a very Befitting reply to ASS (Arun Shourie Sahib's) Venomous Articles. Over the years I have been reading his article and wondering why does he(?) writes so anti Muslim pieces. Why Is he always spitting venom against us.But I am glad that we have some sort of media from where we can at least present our justified point of views and arguments to People like ASS. So Thank you and Good JOB. I wish every one of us could subscribe and pay for the service you are doing. 

Conciliation Group
The sections of VHP and other associates in the Sangh Parivar spearheading the Ram Mandir movement have made it abundantly clear that the positive side of their agenda treats Ram as a symbol of consolidation of Hindu Nationalism. The negative side of their agenda, which appears to be the prime mover, is the desire to settle old scores with Muslims by humiliating and harassing them – hence their insistence on building Ram Temple at the site of Babri Masjid, in defiance of law. Both aspects of their agenda should rule out possibility of any dialogue with genuine representatives of the Muslim community.
We constituted the Inter Community Peace Initiative (ICPI) in Delhi on 20 January 2001, to promote and strengthen rule of law and inter – community conciliation over the whole range of ethno-religious issues including Ayodhya through dialogue. At the time of the constitution of ICPI it was made explicit that any honourable and fair agreement on Ayodhya and other issues could be promoted only when such Hindu religious leaders, intellectuals and publicists who uphold Hindu religio-cultural values, including Ram and Cow, and who want Muslims to live in peace with dignity as equal citizens of a multicultural India, organised themselves and took initiative for dialogue.
It is rather sad to note that there has been no adequate progress in this regard. There is, therefore, a need for the friends who have helped constitute the ICPI and/or who have lent their wholehearted support to it to widen and strengthen the circle to make their presence felt and their voice of sanity heard and be counted. 
I very much hope it should be possible for Muslim representatives to agree to hold a dialogue with such a Conciliation Group. In the absence of any such organised Hindu Voice committed to pluralism, confrontation over Ayodhya is bound to take place, whose consequences will be disastrous for all.
Iqbal A. Ansari
General Secretary, ICPI

TV. vs. minorities
This is very disgusting to note that India's national television is now total changing it attitude towards minorities. Every news item related to saffron ultra terrorist organizations like VHP, Bajrang dal, RSS and its allies is given Extra large coverage with clippings, and thus promoting them and showing them as the true nationalists... and purposely hiding their fascist ideology. The newsreaders of English news also started to start/end their news by saying "Namastey" instead of speaking to the nation in a secular way. If india really wants other nations to have true secular policies why they fail to appreciate the fact that Minorities in india also have rights.
Jhony K K, Mumbai

Lesson in dignity
At one of the intersections of Islamabad an Afghan boy of 8 or 9 years age, lame by one leg, was hawking newspapers. A gentleman, three or four cars ahead of me, gave him five rupees in coins, the cost of the newspaper and when the boy limped forward adjusting his crutches to hand him the newspaper, he signalled the boy to keep the money as well as the newspaper. The boy, however, insisted on his taking the paper but in the mean time the traffic signal changed and the gentleman rolled up the car window. The boy hurriedly started placing the coins on the window sill of the moving car, which fell and rolled away. Traffic was heavy and by the time I reached the crossing the traffic light had again gone red. I thought that the boy would probably pick up the coins, but no, he was much above the ordinary and too dignified to bow to such depths. I could see clearly the pride, honour and dignity in the eyes of this young lad, though handicapped. I was moved and wanted to buy all his newspapers ­ about 10 or 15 in all, but could not muster the courage to hurt his pride. I asked for only one paper. Can we the fortunate ones do something to ameliorate the lot of such unfortunate one?
Imtiaz Jafri, Rawalpindi

Israel’s national sport
I would like to know if Israel’s national sport is to kill Palestinians, destroy their houses; airports; turn everything upside down on the Palestinian territory ? I am sure that the Israeli would not like to see the Palestinians in their place. Who are those Israeli leaders who have so little respect for others property ? What Israel does is provocation, always provocation. Who would endure the destruction of its property without having recourse to self-defense. It is not justifiable to arrest only Palestinians who try to defend themselves, and not arrest Israeli leaders who provoke them. The Israeli use the medias abundantly to justify their actions (provoking the Palestinians), and it works all the time.
Raymond Dubois, P.Québec,Canada

NCP policies
Maharshtra's Deputy Chief Minister is fighting hard to clear his name as he is widely perceived as a patent anti-Muslim politician, having raised in Shiv Sena stables and joined Sharad Pawar in an opportunist cross-over. He has been issuing statements that ban on SIMI and vigourous pursuance of POTO legislation with Union Home Ministry was not on his single-handed volition, but has been fully supported by Coalition partner Sonia Congress CM Vilas Rau Deshmukh. Unfortunately, Muslim voters are not buying his innocent denials. He is no babe-in-arm to be manipulated by any CM and his past record more than convinces a wide majority of Muslim voters in the coming Bombay Municipal Corporation elections, that Sharad Pawar and Chhagan Bhujbal are more interested in Shiv Sena's anti-Muslim communal constituency, rather than the Muslim voters; even though Muslim presence of 25% in the city, is now exerting very deciding weightage. Muslim voters further believe that the ban on SIMI as well as supposedly anti-Muslim POTO was the result of close co-operation between Chhagan Bhujbal and Union Home Minister L. K. Advani, who is becoming more and more proactive in following up his anti-Muslim campaign with ever more vigour. His hidden hand is further seen to be active in West Bengal's current wave of unrest within the Muslim voters, who were the back-bone of CPM's decades.. In both the states, the hidden hand of Union Home Minister L. K. Advani is making life difficult not only for Muslim community, but even for those politicians who fall prey to Advani's wily machinations. 
Ghulam Muhammad, Mumbai


Do Muslims have immunity?
This is with reference to the article "Muslims forbidden to deliver bin Laden: fatwa". The professors Aly Gomaa and Abdul Sattar Fathallah have made two points in their fatwa:
1. Osama is innocent till proven guilty.
2. It is illegal (from an Islamic perspective) for a Muslim to be tried before a non-Muslim judge.
The above two points cannot be a basis for not handing over bin Laden to the US. The first point is correct, Osama has only been accused, not found guilty by a US court. But guilt or innocence can be established only during trial, isn't it? There seems to be reasonable evidence to support bin Laden's arrest - let the truth come out during trial.
The second point I find even more difficult to understand. If a Muslim commits a crime in or against a non-Muslim land, can he claim immunity saying he cannot be tried by a non-Muslim judge? Would Muslim countries similarly refuse to try non-Muslim criminals? Doesn't Saudi Arabia routinely execute non-Muslim drug smugglers?
We should not look at crime through religiously tinted glasses. Remember, a lot of Muslims perished in the September 11 attacks too.
Rajesh R, Bangalore

Editor: The second point, the illegality of the delivery of a Muslim to a non-Muslim state, has its basis in the Islamic law whereby Muslims should not be handed over to a non-Muslim state, but it does not mean at all that Osama has immunity for any crime he commits against non-Muslims or outside the country of his residence. Under traditional Islamic law he should be tried by an Islamic court in his country of origin/residence and punished there for his crime. The same law applied all over the world. Only very recently you have mutual extradition treaties between countries and if a Muslim country has such a treaty with a non-Muslim country it will be bound to hand over the supposed criminal to that non-Muslim state but only after the latter establishes its case in legal terms. In Taliban's case there was not even recognition let alone a mutual extradition treaty, so the issue of Taliban handing over a supposed criminal does not arise. This was also complicated by the Afghan traditions which do not allow to hand over a guest to an enemy. Moreover, it should not be forgotten that Taliban had offered more than once to try Osama in Afghanistan and asked the US to present its case before the court or the authorities but it did not take notice of this request despite the fact that Islamic sentences are much harsher than western ones. Even today Osma's guilt has not been proven beyond doubt although his supposed crime has been used to bomb a country to pre-history, a new lackey regime has been foisted on Afghanistan and thousands of Afghanis are dead in the process and hundreds of thousands made refugees.

Who is behind MG?
I want to know if the MG is owned by a person, or does it belong to any community organization?
Mohammed Shakir Siddiqui, Paterson, USA

Editor: MG is not brought out by any 'organization' or Jamaat as such. It is brought out by me using mostly my own funds. Though some friends and like-minded people have extended a helping hand, still I have to bear the big deficit. The paper has been brought out to meet an acute need of a Muslim voice in English in this country where we constitute a community of around 200 million people but have no stake in the non-Urdu media and our voice goes unheard. Though MG has been appreciated a lot at home and abroad but this has not translated into resources and, as a result, we are unable to progress to a weekly and editions in other areas and languages.

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