To pave the way for BJP leader Lal
Krishna Advani’s national primeministerial ambitions, the trail of
blood which followed his Rath Yatra in1989
and his signal contribution to the movement to violently pull down theBabri Masjid in 1992 were sought to be
substantially erased from public memory by a systematic campaign of his
re-invention as a moderatestatesman.
A similar exercise is feverishly under way to whitewash thehawkish and violent past of the BJP’s
new prime ministerial hopefulNarendra
Modi. Except for his core Hindu nationalist constituency, he isbeing reinvented as the messiah of market
But the erasure of Mr Modi’s role in the
brutal communal massacre of 2002in Gujarat is even harder to accomplish.
This is partly because until hismeteoric
rise on the national stage, he was proud rather than apologeticabout the carnage which was accomplished
during his stewardship. He led a‘gaurav
yatra’ or ‘procession of pride’ in the aftermath of the carnagewhich swept him to power. In his
speeches then and over many years, heoften
taunted the Muslim people for their large families, and alleged their role in
violence, terror and sympathy in Pakistan. He alluded to his own‘chhapan chhaati’ or chest of 58 inches,
suggesting his exceptional manlycourage
in taming the ‘enemy within’. He resolutely refused to expressregret for the carnage, until again when
propelled on the national stage,when
he awkwardly said that if the car he was riding in (but not driving)ran over even a puppy, he would feel
Given his own discourse until recently
of barely suppressed triumphalismsurrounding the carnage of 2002, his
transition to secular statesmanshiprequired
an exceptionally wilful flight of fancy among those who supporthim. Leaders of industry like Ratan
Tata, the Ambani brothers and SunilMittal
applaud his leadership for market growth, rejecting the idea thathis national ambitions are disqualified
by his alleged role in one of themost
brutal communal massacres after Independence. They counsel that weshould focus on the ‘big picture’ of
growth, as though the violentsuppression
of minorities is a minor blemish. Many European ambassadors arelining up at his door in the hope of
participating in Gujarat’s growthstory.
All of them need a fig-leaf to cover the nakedness of their choices.
This fig-leaf came with the closure
report filed by the Supreme Courtappointed SIT (Special Investigation
Team) which absolved Narendra Modi ofany
role in the carnage, concluding there was no ‘prosecutable evidence’against the Chief Minister. These
findings were endorsed by the ‘clean-chit’ given the lower court which
heard Zakia Jafri’s petition ofApril 15, 2013 alleging a high-level
conspiracy to manipulate the Godhratragedy
to organise and fuel the carnage which followed. The first nameamong the 59 accused in Zakia Jafri’s
petition was of Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Zakia’s lawyer Mihir
Desai argued in the court that thepolitical head of the State, the Home
Ministry and the administration werein
full knowledge of and allowed the ‘build-up of aggressive and communalsentiments, violent mobilisation,
including carrying of arms, and a generaloutpouring
against the minority community…’ Relying on documents collectedby the SIT itself, Zakia’s petition
attempted to establish that there was aconspiracy
at the senior-most levels of the state administration not justto generate hatred against Muslims, but
also to target Muslim people andtheir
property and religious places and ‘aid and abet this process by actsand omissions of persons liable under
law to act otherwise.’
How much does the SIT’s closure report
and the lower court’s ‘clean chit’for Mr Modi really free him from any
taint of the Gujarat carnage? At best,these
suggest that there is not irrefutable evidence that the Chief Minister actually
directed the slaughter of Muslims be allowed to continue,giving free rein to enraged ‘Hindus’ to
violently vent their rage. The SITchose
not to give credence to the statements of one serving and one retiredpolice officer. But Manoj Mitta in his
carefully researched new book ‘TheFiction
of Fact-Finding: Modi and Godhra’, demonstrates that the SITtreated its influential first accused
with kid gloves, never registering anFIR
against him, nor pinning him down on a number of questions such as hispublic statement on 27 Feb 2012 that the
train burning in Godhra was apre-planned
inhuman collective violent act of terrorism’, a claim whichhas not been borne out in the courts,
and which fuelled public anger in theacts
of mass revenge against Muslims which followed. It likewise did notquestion him about his claim that he
first heard about the Gulbargapartments
massacre in which Ehsan Jafri lost his life at 8 in the eveningof 28 Feb 2002, many hours after the
slaughter, even though he was closelymonitoring
the events at the Circuit House Annexe just a few kilometresaway from the Gulbarg apartments.
Senior advocate Raju Ramachandran,
amicus curie appointed by the SupremeCourt to investigate allegations of
Narendra Modi’s complicity in theGujarat
riots, also disagreed with the conclusions of the SIT. His opinionreported to the Supreme Court is that
‘the offences which can be made outagainst
Shri Modi, at this prima facie stage’ include ‘promoting enmitybetween different groups on grounds of
religion and acts prejudicial to(the)
maintenance of harmony.’ He believes also that there were grounds notto dismiss the version of suspended
police officer Sanjiv Bhatt out of handby
the SIT, that on February 27, 2002, hours after 58 passengers were seton fire in a train near the Godhra
station, Mr Modi held a meeting at hisresidence
with senior police officers and told them that Hindus should beallowed to ‘vent their anger.’ He
states: ‘I disagree with the conclusion of the SIT that Shri Bhatt should be
disbelieved at this stage itself. Onthe
other hand, I am of the view that Shri Bhatt needs to be put throughthe test of cross-examination, as do the
others who deny his presence’.
Mr Ramachandran also points to evidence
that two senior ministers wereplaced in police control rooms on
February 28, as the riots raged inAhmedabad
and across the state. The SIT did not find evidence that theyinterfered with the police’s independent
functioning, but ‘There is thepossibility
that the very presence of these two ministers had a dampeningeffect on the senior police officials.’
He concludes, ‘While there is nodirect
material to show how and when the message of the Chief Minister wasconveyed to the two ministers, the very
presence of political personalitiesunconnected
with the Home Portfolio at the Police Control Rooms iscircumstantial evidence of the Chief
Minister directing, requesting orallowing
them to be present.’
Chief Minister Modi’s appointment of MLA
Maya Kodnani as his Minister forWomen and Child Welfare after she was
charged with leading the mob whichbrutally
killed more than a 100 people, including women and children, inNaroda Patiya, further suggests his active
complicity and endorsement ofthe
carnage. Maya Kodnani was subsequently convicted and punished withimprisonment for life for the mass hate
However, the guilt of Mr Modi in the
carnage of 2002 should not hinge inthe end on proving beyond doubt that he
directed police officers to allowHindus
to ‘vent their anger’, or that his Ministers were obeying hiscommands by interfering in independent
police functioning or leadingmurderous
mobs. The fact that the carnage continued for not just days butweeks should be evidence of the criminal
complicity of senior stateauthorities
in the carnage, coupled with his intemperate statements and theparading of bodies of people killed in
the train which further inflamedpublic
anger. Similar guilt should be attached to those who allowed othercommunal carnages to continue, whether
on the streets of Delhi in 1984 andMumbai
in 1992-93 or the killing fields of Nellie in 1983 and Bhagalpur in1989.
The ‘clean chit’ given to Mr Modi is at
best a technical clearance in theabsence of cast-iron evidence that he
actively and explicitly directed thecarnage,
although even this absolving of his direct guilt is disputed byexperts. But there can be no doubt of
his grave culpability for inflamingsectarian
passions by holding Muslims guilty for an offence withoutevidence, and for the openly partisan
actions of his government whichfacilitated
the continuance of the murderous carnage for many dark days in2002.
Kenan Malik is a writer, lecturer and broadcaster, and the author
of “From Fatwa to Jihad: The Rushdie Affair and Its Aftermath.”
The wide media coverage of death and destruction, accompanied by some truly gruesome horrors being perpetrated by a large number of Muslims in many Muslim countries, including Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Egypt, Mali and others, has understandably changed the perception of non-Muslims towards Muslims and Islam itself. This is causing a rift between Muslims and non-Muslims all over the world, even though the majority of Muslims do not embrace the cult of death and violence.
In the city in which I live, Danbury itself, I have noticed, on many occasions, non-Muslims distancing themselves from Muslims in buses, the library, Senior Center and other public places. Indeed Muslims themselves are wary of befriending another Muslim, afraid that he might be a sympathizer of the extremists and may be under surveillance by the authorities. They do not want to get involved through associating with such a person.
This growing schism between Mulims and non-Muslim is not good either for the Muslims, non-Muslims or the country as a whole.
Also, the extremists are using the media to win recruits from moderate Muslims by brainwashing them with their extremist version of Islam.
In this context, it is imperative to reassure non-Muslims and educate Muslims as to what Islam really has to say in this matter, and this can be done only through direct quotations from the holy book of the Muslims, the Quran itself.
The current situation clearly requires this.
To begin with, it needs to be emphasized that, in the matter of co-existence between Muslims and non-Muslims and between one sect of Muslims and another sect, there is no problem in Islam. The problem is with those Muslims who, though large in number are nevertheless in a minority compared to the total Muslim population.
These terrorist Muslims have forgotten three important and fundamental considerations.
Firstly, they have forgotten that the Quran acknowledges that there are different tribes and nations (and sects). According to the Quran, God himself created this diversity, and for a purpose: “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). Surah 49 Verse 13
Secondly, they have forgotten that the Quran makes it clear that each person is accountable for his choice and that the accounting will be between the person concerned and God. There is no compulsion in religion in Islam."Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error" Al-Qur’ an 2:256
The Qur'an anticipates the fact that there will be a plurality of religious communities on the earth, a fact which does not threaten it. Numerous verses speak about this. In addition to what is stated in Surah 49 Verse 13 cited above, are the following:"Do not the Believers know, that had God (so) willed, He could have guided all mankind (to the Right)?" Qur'an 13:31
"If it had been thy Lord's Will, they would all have believed; -- all who are on earth.! Will thou then compel mankind, against their will, to believe?" Qur'an 10:99
Islam never declared the concept of converting others into the faith as part of the Muslims’ duties. On the contrary, Islam limited the Muslims’ duties in this respect to merely conveying the message of God to the people. But, if they paid no heed and turned away, the Quran says: “If then they turn away, We have not sent thee as a guard over them. Thy duty is but to convey (the Message). …” Surah 42 Verse 48
From a religious point of view, there is no need for Muslims to force others to embrace Islam or force one sect of Islam to embrace another sect, much less kill them if they refuse.
The Sunnis and the Shias who are killing each other and the Muslims who are killing Christians need to remember these verses from the Quran.
As for the Sunnis in Pakistan, they will do well to also remember that among those who served Pakistan well in the early days of Pakistan were non-Sunni Muslims.
To mention just two.
Prince Aly Khan was appointed Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations by President Iskander Mirza of Pakistan on February 6, 1958. He was a member of the United Nations Political and Security Committee, was elected a vice president of the United Nations General Assembly on 17 September 1958 and also served as chairman of the U.N.'s Peace Observation Committee. He was not a Sunni but an Agakhani Muslim, more widely known as Ismaili Muslims
Then there was Muhammad Zafrulla Khan who in 1961 succeeded Aly Khan as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN. He is known for drafting the Pakistan Resolution, and was the first foreign minister of Pakistan. He also served as a judge at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. He too was not a Sunni but belonged to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
Lastly, the extremist Muslims have forgotten that religion cannot be forced down people’s throats through threats of death. Such “conversions” have no meaning and add no glory to Islam.
Like in any other belief system, the only way to get people to accept Islam is through example, through behavior and actions of Muslims.
The world needs to understand that those perpetrating violence and horrors in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere in the Muslim world, though presenting themselves as revolutionaries for democracy and defenders of Islam are, in reality, no lovers of democracy and are acting against the teachings of Islam, fighting merely for power and position.
I think it is necessary to let the readers of this piece know that I am a Sunni Muslim.
Gulamhusein A. Abba
The writer can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
For well over half a century I have thrown myself, body and
soul, into social and political work, including the struggle for my country’s independence,
creation of Pakistan, organizing and unionizing workers and prostitutes,
seeking justice for the exploited, the voiceless, the tyrannized, exposing
government ministers, international smugglers, slum landlords, corrupt judges
and police officers, and, preaching non-violence and the rule of law.
In the process I have completely neglected my personal
affairs and not paid much attention to building up and maintaining family relationships.
The result is that I now find myself rather alone and my personal affairs in
shambles! Much work has to be done to tie up loose ends, bring some sort of
order in my life and try to reconnect with family.
I came face to face with death at an early age when my
mother passed away with me barley ten years old. Since then I lost my father
two years later and, later my first born, my brother and recently my elder
I have always known that our life in this world is fleeting
and death can come quite unexpectedly at any moment. My mortality has stared at
me for years. So far I have ignored it. The
recent death of my elder sister has brought home to me forcefully that my own
death is not far away.
The need to tie up all loose ends and reconnect with family
is pressing. Besides, I am really tired and need to rejuvenate myself.
And so, most
reluctantly and with a heavy heart, I am
my participation in activism of any sort as also in any dialogue on Face Book.
I am indebted to my family, my real life friends, my Face Book and
internet friends and all my activist friends and I thank them from the bottom
of my heart for all the support, help and friendship extended by them to me.
If and when all that has to be attended to is done, God
willing, I will return.
Till then, to all of you, a heangrtfelt GOODBYE (sort of,for
Note: Please note that starting May 27, I
will NOT be visiting Face Book. I request my family and friends to e-mail me if
there is anything I need to know or if there is any message they want to convey
BOSTON BOMBING, SELECTIVE COMPASSION
AND THE “MUSLIM FACTOR”
By Gulamhusein Abba.
As I write this (morning of Tuesday, April 16) my thoughts,
my heart, my sympathies, my condolences, my everything is with the people of
Boston, especially those families who have lost a loved one and those who
What a terrible tragedy. A day of rejoicing was reduced to a
day of death and mourning. What could be more despicable than to launch an
attack on such a day, a day designated as Patriots Day, and target those who
were running to raise thousands if not millions of dollars for worthy causes,
including those related to the recent Sandy Hook tragedy?
The noise of the explosions; the smoke
billowing upwards; nails, pellets and shrapnel flying all over; those who had
come to cheer others running, themselves running as they had never run in their
lives before; dismembered limbs littering Boylston Street; blood all over;
frightened people running helter-skelter trying to find escape routes, entering
stores and exiting from backdoors into an adjoining street.
Family members attempting to contact those who had gone to
the Marathon, to ascertain if they were safe, only to find that cell phones
First responders rushing in to tend to the injured. Medical
workers treating patients with severed limbs and children with severe burns in
a temporary medical tent at the road race.
Mayhem. Complete chaos. A bustling scene of cheers, hope,
joyous victory, rejoicing suddenly turned into a war zone.
Imagine the fear of those on the scene. The anxiety of their
loved ones. The desperation of those trying to contact them.
Two people, one of hem an eight year old boy, dead; 160
injured, 16 critically; several with a limb missing, at least 4 with their legs
amputated in the hospital; nails sticking out of a girl’s body.
There was no need to imagine all this. Videos being
projected round the clock on TV screens showed the unimaginable horror and
tragedy in stark detail. Watching, I felt I was there. Having suffered tragedy
and fear myself, the whole scene became very personal and palpable.
I was glued to the TV till well past midnight. Had a very
disturbed sleep and was back watching TV as soon as I woke up the next morning.
A myriad thoughts and emotions ran through me.
One of the things I greatly appreciated was that President
Barack Obama lost no time in going on the air and telling the nation that the authorities
did not yet know who is behind the Boston Marathon bombing and urging caution
in assigning blame. "We still do not know who did this, or why, and people
shouldn’t jump to conclusions before we have all the facts," he said.
Another fact that struck me was the contrast between what
was happening here and what was happening in other parts of the world.
In Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and elsewhere around the
world, such horror and tragedy did not occur once in a blue moon. They were a
daily occurrence, routine. Drones buzzed
overhead in the skies 24 hours a day. The people huddled in fear, not knowing when a bomb or a
missile would swoop down on them, obliterating their home and killing or
paralyzing them or their loved ones. When it did and all hell broke loose, no
first responders rushed to tend to them.
And not just two or
twenty six died but hundreds did.
In fact, just a few days before the Boston bombing, a NATO air attack in the
Shigal district of restive Kunar province, Afghanistan , killed at least 18
people, including as many as 11 innocent children. There was no ambiguity as to
who had killed them and how. They were killed by a NATO air-strike.
Yet, though these tragic occurrences are
far worse than what happened at Boston or Sandy hook, they receive hardly any
coverage, if at all, unlike the round the clock coverage given by the media in
the US to Sandy Hook shooting and Boston bombing. Consequently, neither those
who suffer so grievously nor those who die so ingloriously receive any sympathy
or condolences or support from any American. No American tears are shed for
Can compassion be selective? Should it be?
Very disturbing was that,
ignoring the appeal made by none other than the President himself, the
anti-Islamists in this great country immediately started trying to implicate
For example, one of Fox News
contributors, Eric Rush, in response to the Boston attack tweeted -- then
deleted -- what he claimed was a joke about rounding up Saudis and killing
When one Bill Schmalfldt tweeted
back, “Sweet God. Are you ALREADY BLAMING MUSLIMS??”, Eric replied “Yes they’re
evil. Let’s kill them all”.
Though Eric deleted his original
tweets, in later messages he called his critics "Islamic apologist
worms" and "vermin."
The New York Post published a report, under
a screaming headline “FBI grills Saudi man in Boston bombings”,
claiming that a "Saudi National" had been taken "into
custody" by police at a local Boston hospital. In Its initial stories the
paper said that the person taken into custody was "identified as a
suspect." In fact, nobody had been taken into custody and nobody had been identified as a suspect.
Anti-Islamic blogger Pamela
Geller was quick to jump on the New York Post's report, labeling the tragedy
“jihad” on her blog, Atlas Shrugged.
Others, while not directly
accusing Muslims of being somehow responsible for the bombing, asked the
question that regularly pops up in such situations: Where is the Muslim condemnation?
Implying that the silence of the Muslims itself proves that the Muslims
in America are salivating at the massacre!
So where WAS, where IS the Muslim
indignation, outrage, condemnation, expressions of sorrow, grief and sympathy
in the Boston bombing?
According to Sound Vision, “There were many Muslims in the
Marathon, both as victims, as well as doctors trying to save lives…..….
condemnation by Muslims was not reported by the national media … Radio Islam
was on air reaching 60,000 plus listeners sympathizing with the victims within
hours of this tragedy.
“The Muslim community in the
United States and abroad began issuing their condolences and condemnations of
the Boston incident within hours of receiving news reports about the attack.
However, these statements of sincerity and sadness receive little to no
attention in the majority of media outlets, specially the Radio and the TV.”
This is sad -- and dangerous. As
pointed out in the said report: “Omitting Muslim statements of condemnation
directly leads to Islamophobia, translating into deadly hate – attacks on
Masjids and Islamic centers, Islamic schools, and anyone who ‘looks Muslim’.
As I was about to close this
writing, the reassuring words of Obama were ringing in my ears: "We still do not know who did this, or
why, and people shouldn’t jump to conclusions before we have all the facts,"
Obama said. "But make no mistake: we
will get to the bottom of this, we will find out who did this, we'll find out
why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will
feel the full weight of justice."
This triggered a faint echo from
the past. Bush, responding to the 9/11 attacks, speaking about flushing out the
perpetrators, tracking them down, holding them accountable, bringing them to justice
or taking justice to them.
Suddenly, out of nowhere
frightening questions formed.
Did families and friends of innocent men, women,
children and babies killed in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine ever
say to themselves that they would track down the perpetrators, hold them
accountable and bring them to justice or take justice to them?
Late Saturday evening I got a phone call informing me that my 92 years old sister, who lives in California, had passed away about two hours back.
This loss has been difficult for me to bear.
I lost my mother when I was 10 and my father when I was 12. After the death of my mother, my sister became my mother too and looked after me till my adulthood. She then turned into my friend in whom I could confide. This continued till she left to live in her husband’s house.
I have so many endearing memories of her. Now she is gone. So have my father, mother and elder brother.
The pain in losing my sister is specially sharp because, though we spoke on the phone, we did not spend any time with each other for the last 6 years or more. Worse, I was not able to fly out to California to see her one last time, pay my respects and take part in the burial rituals.
For the last
few days I have been going about with a mask so as to spare my family and
friends, already coping with their own burdens, having to put up with my pain
too. But I hurt inside.
Each message of sympathy or condolence received by me during this period, slight in itself, contributed towards lessening the burden of grief and pain crushing me, and, collectively they make the unbearable bearable.
Each and every message that I received has been a great help and is precious to me.
I take this opportunity to offer my sincere appreciation and heartfelt thanks to all those who sent them.
I also beg to be forgiven by those whom I may have missed thanking individually.
Chris Towne, who has for
years been in the struggle for justice, has been to Palestine in a journey of
discovery and is a gifted artist and writer, has produced his second “comic
book”, which is anything but comic. Done in Joe Sacco style, this brilliant and
excellently crafted book details,
through drawings, the strange, disturbing and horrifying stranger-than-fiction true
story about the plight of neuroscientist Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. In the telling of
her story, light is thrown on the way Pakistani police and the US justice
Sentencing her, in what is
widely viewed as a sham trial on trumped up charges, to 86 years in prison, the
judge is reported to have remarked that
she would now be spending the rest of her lIfe in a federal prison.
As noted in the book,
Siddiqui was sent to the “notorious Carswell Prison where abuse of female
prisoners has been rampant, and, though she was never charged with terrorism,Dr. Siddiqui’s imprisonment
includes ‘harsh terror enhancements’
CIndy Sheehan has said, “I
believe Dr.Aafia Siddiqui is a political prisoner and now the political bogey-woman
for two US regimes.
At present Dr. Siddiqui languishes
in prison. However, an international movement has been growing to demand
her freedom. Please read about her, and share with family and friends!
On March 30,
2013, the 10th. Anniversary of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s detention, the THE
PEACE THRU JUSTICE FOUNDATION will afford supporters of Aafia in America with
three opportunities to contribute to this very important campaign.
MARCH 8, 2013, An Aafia Support Rally at The Embassy of Pakistan, 3517
International Court, Washington, DC 20008. Time: 3:00 to 5:00
MARCH 29, 2013, A Protest Rally at US District Court, 501 W. 10th Street, Fort
Worth, Texas (At the
intersection of 10th & Lamar Streets, across from Burnette Park ). Time:
3:00 TO 5:00
MARCH 30, 2013, A Protest March & Rally at FMC CARSWELL Fort Worth, Texas
Time: 12 NOON
plans are afoot to hold a press conference on the morning of March 8th
(International Women's Day) in Washington, DC, to bring attention to the impact
that the so-called "war on terrorism" is having on woman in America -
i.e. Mothers, Wives, Sisters, Daughters, along with nformational updates on
the condition of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and Attorney Lynne Stewart.
also be a special briefing on the ongoing quest for justice/accountability in
the political murder of Rachel Corrie.
A strong video in Urdu,
indicting Pakistani government regarding Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. Entitled “Zaid
Hamid - Reality of the Case of Dr. Aafia”. Uploaded on Sep 29, 2010: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qCCx_iFVc8
Gulamhusein A. Abba is an 83-year-old writer with more than 52 years in journalism. He is originally from Bombay (now Mumbai), where his writings have been published in almost all the important news media, in English, Urdu, Gujarati and Marathi, and where he functioned in various capacities, including reporter, news and political analyst, columnist, editor and publisher.
He was also a trade unionist,
peace and justice activist and took part in political activities.
As a trade unionist he oragnized the maritime petty officers and the film studio workers.
He founded and was the Chairman of the Rule of Law Committee and Taxi Users' Association
In the US, he is the chairman of Justice for Palestinians Committee, and, The Danbury Committee for World Peace.
In May of 2011, The Danbury Bar Association conferred on him the prestigious Honorary AMERICAN DREAM AWARD.