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July 4, 2016

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APSW claims 323-acre prime land

A.P. State Wakf Board has claimed that most of the plush houses and structures in the posh Jubilee Hills and Film Nagar area in the city have come up on Wakf property. The, Hakimpet, Tolichowki and Mehdipatnam, Apollo Hospital land and parts of Film Nagar are located on the land that is being claimed as Wakf property,” said State Wakf Board member.

The Wakf Board issued an errata notification on Monday to the earlier Gazette which demarcated the extent of dargah land. Consequently, it is contemplating to serve eviction notices on the “encroachers”.

“The AP Gazette had erroneously published the extent of land in 1982. Old documents pertaining to the Dargah such as the muntakhab (number 786/4) issued around 114 years ago were obtained from the AP State Archives and Research Institute. These documents show that the attached dargah and serai measure 323 acres and 18 guntas,” said board chairman Syed Ghulam Afzal Biyabani.

The Wakf Board is now staking claim on areas which include Jubilee Hills, Film Nagar and surrounding localities. The landed property measuring 323 acres and 18 guntas in Survey No. 92 and 102 was donated by the Qutb Shahi dynasty and was duly confirmed by the ‘Salateen Asifia’ (Asif Jahi rulers).

This property was surveyed by the Commissioner of Wakf but the Gazette notification issued on July 1, 1982 had ‘erroneously’ showed the extent of dargah property as 4,448.4 sq yards. The notification had showed only the extent of dargah, but did not consider the hilly terrain around it. Now, a Wakf Board task force team which surveyed the property in 2011 in its report said the area under Survey No. 92 and 102 was Wakf property.

But the Gazette notification was published without including the land measuring to an extent of acres 323.18 guntas, the report said. At its meeting here on Monday, the Wakf Board took note of this fact and issued an errata notification to the Gazette notification No. 26.C part II dated July 1, 1982 incorporating the actual area of acres 323.18 guntas. The Board passed a unanimous resolution to this effect.

He said the matter was examined in detail and the ‘Muntakhab’ No. 786/4 Babul Awkaf 1321 Hijri was verified. He said there was no need to refer the matter to the Survey Commissioner of Wakf for re-survey. Under section 40 of the Wakf Act, 1995, the Board could decide the matter after enquiry.

(Courtesy: The Indian Awaaz)

The Court of Last Resort is gearing up to fight the “miscarriage of justice” in India’s justice system.

By Altaf Ahmad

New Delhi: Detainees languishing in Indian jails due to fabricated evidence or for lack of proper legal assistance may soon get access to legal aid via The Court of Last Resort.

Headed by retired Supreme Court justice and current chairman of the Press Council of India, Justice Markandey Katju, The Court of Last Resort – a non-governmental organisation (NGO) – has embarked on a mission to identify and address cases of “miscarriage of justice”.

The group will pursue cases of detainees who spend many years in jail before being found innocent, and other detainees facing delayed trails.

“The court will be a breather, particularly for people of minority communities like Muslims charged with different offences on the basis of suspicion and pre-conceived notions that majority of Muslims are extremists,” Katju told Khabar South Asia.

A mandate to help

Through the Right to Information Act (RTI), the organisation will seek detailed information about undertrials – detainees whose cases have not been resolved – and convicts languishing in jails. The group will also seek bail for those with false charges lodged against them.

Depending on the nature of charges, the group may seek a pardon or reduction of sentence by making a plea to the president or respective state governor.

“The court has the mandate of the people, who are supreme in a democracy like India. A good chunk of detainees suffering long-time detentions are usually poor [people] who do not have the sufficient financial resources for legal help,” Katju said.

Popular support

The effort is widely hailed, including by mainstream political parties.

Katju “has chosen a right option to come to the rescue of victims of miscarriage of justice, especially the Muslims,” Samajwadi Party (SP) secretary Ayub Ansari told Khabar. The SP rules Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state with huge Muslim population.

“Thousands of detainees languishing in jails lack proper legal aid and face inordinate delays in hearing of their cases in courts across India. Even their families face unnecessary harassment at the hands of different security agencies,” he said.

“Union and state governments should lend full support to The Court of Last Resort. The judicial system in India is so slow that it takes years and decades to decide about the fate of detainees,” former Information Commissioner Mohammad Mukthar Ansari told Khabar.

“Legal aid is a precious requirement to detainees and constitutes the basics of human rights. Justice delayed is justice denied, and inordinate delays in trials of detainees lead to the violation of human rights.”

Ansari cited “grave prosecution lapses” in the investigation of the 1996 Lajpat Nagar bomb blast.

The Delhi High Court in November acquitted Mirza Nissar Ahmad and Mohammad Ali Bhat after 16 years of detention. They had been sentenced to death by a lower court for the blast that killed 13 and injured 38.

Leading criminal lawyer Majeed Menon and prominent filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt have joined the NGO as vice presidents and Supreme Court lawyer Fali S. Nariman will serve as its chairman. Prominent social activist Asif Azmi has also pledged his full support.

“The poor and downtrodden undergoing detention for various offences are in a dire need of legal help,” Supreme Court lawyer Sushant Singh told Khabar, adding, “To prevent miscarriage of justice due to flawed investigations, the prosecution should conduct extensive investigations before framing charges against suspects.”

(Courtesy: Khabar South Asia)

By Sarah

London: The government of the United Kingdom is committed to transform higher education in the country by increasing its funding. The year 2013-14 is the second year of the great transition to new funding arrangement in England. The major aim of the transition is to improve in all areas of higher education.

The body responsible for the funding of higher education is the Higher Education Funding Council for England that is HEFCE. With the new funding arrangement with the council is committed to strengthen the teaching and the learning environments in higher schools. It is also determined to enhance wider participation and bring about quality assurance in the tertiary education system in the country.

The authorities fully understand the great role research could play in the transformation of the society.

That is why it is encouraging investment in research. The high emphasis paid by the government in the funding of higher education in 2013 is because of the key role education especially higher education could play in the economic and social growth. The industrial and development strategies of the government could be best achieved through effective support and better funding for higher education.

In 2012-13 fiscal years the government showed its commitment to higher education funding. In 2013-14 the government is doing better. The council is going to distribute more than four billion pounds for higher education in England. Teaching has continued to receive the attention of the authorities as more than two billion pounds are invested in teaching. The amount is slightly below that of 2012-13.

This is because of the decline in the number of students who entered higher education through the old regime. Many of those who entered through the old system have completed their studies. The funding arrangement under this new regime is beneficial to the students because their income would increase from what it was last year. Sufficient amount of money was mapped out for the widening participation and for student retention for 2013.

The teaching allocation is extended to postgraduate students. This is helpful for those students who are not qualified for the public tuition fees and loans. This is to make things easier for everybody in high schools in England.

The attention of the authorities is focused on research funding. More than one and half a billion pounds were mapped out for research this year. The same amount was given out last year. The aim of the funding arrangement is to sustain research. The focus would be on several areas of research such as the mainstream research, research degrees, charity research funding, and business research funding as well as the national research libraries. All these areas are receiving the government attention with an increase in funding.

A substantial amount of money was spent on knowledge exchange in 2012. More than the amount that was spent last year would be spent this year. This is the way the government would stimulate the economic growth in the country. Growth would only come through the exchange of educational ideas.

There is improvement in the funding of higher education in England in 2013. The learning environment has greatly improved. More funds were made available for research. Many students are gaining from the system as their incomes have increased tremendously since last year. There is an increase in the support extended to postgraduate education and to the Europeans studying in the country after obtaining the UK passport.

[This article has been written bySarah, a professional blogger. She is interested in finance and politics and she has been writing articles on several such categories. Her hobbies include painting and reading, during free time. Her interests are researching on passport and visa services and writing reviews on them. She can be contacted at sarah.cromptongp@gmail.com]

By Abbas Kassar

Hyderabad (Pakistan): General elections in Pakistan are being held on May11 this year,only a day away. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPPs), which was founded four decates ago by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, is facing toughest times in its history as it braces to contnue clinging on to power.

Mr. Bhutto, a foreign minister in General Ayub’s cabinet and a Prime Minister of the country, founded PPP with slogans to fight with India for 1,000 years and “bread and home for all”. The party has been ruling Pakistan intemittently since 1971, but is no more a strong political force that it once used to be in deciding the fate of the country, and perhaps it is for this reason that it has no more Bhutto to lead it.

In December 2007 its leader and two time prime minister Ms. Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in a public meeting at Rawalpindi, only 80 days before the elections. Her assasination led to a sympathy wave resulting in winning the vote for her party which ruled along with other partners for a full term of five year, but its performace was rated as zero. Its (mis) rule had multiplied miseries and deprivation of people of Pakistan who are cursing party leadership for snatching from them the basic needs of electricity (there happens to be 12 out of 24 hours a day power outage), gas and petrol for vehicles, bread, healthcare, education and even 60% population living in rural areas have no access to clean drinking water. In December 2012 and January 2013 as many as 550 children under age of 9 died of measles, while ministers were not visibly moved to save innocent lives. In Sindh alone education was destroyed by continuous closure of 10,000 elementary schools as powerful feudal lords had turned school buildings in rural areas into their animal barns. Unemployment, price hike and poverty has touched the climax, and people are either committing suicide or selling their children.

In the last week of March when schedule of elections was announced PPP found itself running short of candidates and once again relied on poweful feudal lords despised by the poor who form 80 % of population. President Asif Ali Zardari took over the reins of the party after assassination of his wife Ms. Benazir Bhutto and turned PPP into his family cult. His sister Ms. Faryal Talpur was made as de facto ruler of Pakistan while his foster brother Awais Tapi was made in-charge of governmental affairs in Sindh where 20 million people were hit by three years of continuous floods in 2010, 2011 and 2013. The floods swept away their homes, animals, and even children, but the federal or state government in Sindh did not take any step to save affected people from dying or providing relief or rehabilitation. Millions are still passing nights under open sky. The relief aid coming from abroad was also pocketed by PPP leaders and workers.

Now when the candidates nominated by Zardari’s sister approach people for vote they are unwelcome and face hurdles placed by villagers who ask them what have they done for people while being five years in power. In one incident at Jamshoro the armed men of powerful feudal lord Sardar Malik Asad fired on villagers who blocked his entry into village for begging votes injuring seven person.

The fact is that Zardari has made party as his family affair with leadership in the hands of his son, two sisters and foster brother. People in general rate PPP as Zardari party and not that of Bhutto. Feeling ire of people the party has not held even one public meeting in Punjab, the biggest province with 148 national assembly seats out of 272. The PPP has also not held public meetings in Kyber Pukhtoonkwa and Balochistan out of rage, hate and anger, and has concentrated itself in one province of Sindh where there are only 61 NA seats. In 2008, when Benazir Bhutto’s assassination wave was running high PPP had hardly got 34 parliamentary seats in Sindh. This time foreseeing that it cannot come into power again the party was trying hard to at least win such number of seats as to form state government in Sindh in collaboration of Mutehida Qaumi Movement the Karachi based urban party its past govt partner. Reports are that PPP is using all methods of rigging in Sindh including distributing bikes among voters.

In the final analysis the Pakistan Peoples Party that was founded by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto has ended so abruptly that it has lost its charisma and as such it is end of Bhutto era in Pakistan. It is a forgone conclusion that the PPP is heading for a massive defeat in the general elections.

[Abbas Kassaris Bureau Chief of daily Messenger of Karachi and writes stories on human rights violations in Pakistan for Asian Human Rights Commission Hong Kong. He is member of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, European Journalism Center and Writers International Group. He can be reached at kassarabbas@lycos.com, kassarabbas@gmail.com and can also be contacted at +92 3453585137]

The Maulanas and Dargahs who are Imparting Superior Modern Education and Competitive Ability in the Muslim Youth

By Kaleem Kawaja

Muslim maulanas (clerics) and dargahs (religious shrines) dot the landscape of Muslim India – the cities and towns where India’s Muslims live. Having grown up in India, the scenes of multitudes of worshippers thronging the shrines and bearded maulanas lecturing away to the congregations are ingrained in my mind. Countless movies and TV coverage of religious occasions have further reinforced these images over the years. Many people stereotype the extraordinary educational and socioeconomic backwardness of the Muslims of India with the sub-culture of dargahs and maulanas that is pervasive in the lower middleclass Indian Muslim community.

On the other end of the spectrum of the Indian society are the images of successful bright Indian youth who compete fiercely for top professional opportunities like IAS/IFS/IPS civil services and the bright eyed engineers from IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) and doctors from prominent medical colleges entering promising careers in the modern fields of engineering and medicine.
The two images are poles apart. Yet in recent weeks my attention has been pleasantly drawn to the two images coming together for a few Muslims. No, they did not crack the Powerball lottery. A counted few among the lecturing maulanas and the maudlin dargahs took a big leap forward and bridged the vast gap between the two images to make it possible for a few ordinary Muslim youth to touch the modern Indian moon. Let me share this pleasant observation with you in the following.

Maulana Mohammad Fazlur Rahim Mujaddidi’s Crescent Civil Service Academy, New Delhi

About ten years ago Maulana Mujaddidi, a very respected Muslim cleric, established the Crescent Academy in New Delhi as a division of the Maulana Abdur Rahim Educational Trust, with a vision of providing proper guidance, academic coaching and training to the Muslim aspirants for the country’s topmost Civil Services (IAS/IFS/IPS etc).

Typically every year less than 1 percent successful candidates are Muslim. In the just announced results for the very tough multipart competition for these coveted careers for 2013, 13 trainees from the Crescent Academy came through as successful candidates. In fact 30 candidates from the Academy were successful in the first round examinations and 19 cleared the main IAS examination.

It should be noted that to-date the Academy with its limited infrastructure and resources, has been able to produce more than 100 IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS, judges and State civil servants throughout the country. These are the very top government services in India and the careers lead to their being the makers of the top policies in the country.

Maulana Wali Rahmani’s Rahmani-30 IIT Entrance Coaching Center, Patna

About five years ago Maulana Rahmani, another very respected Muslim cleric, established this coaching center to provide academic and competitive training to Muslim youth who aspire to enter the Indian Institutes of Technology – India’s most prestigious engineering colleges. Typically every year no more than about 1% Muslim youth are successful in enrolling in the IITs. The results of the competitive examination held for 2013 announced last week show that 24, mostly Muslim, of the 30 candidates from the Rahmani-30 Center cracked the IIT-JEE (Joint Entrance Examination).

Besides the 24, four students of Rahmani-30 who could not clear the test last year have also got success this year. These 28 candidates have qualified for IIT-JEE Advance test to be held in June.

Typically graduates of IITs go on to work in prestigious positions in the country’s top corporations, or multinational corporations or receive employment in foreign countries.

Khaja Bandanawaz Gaisudaraz Dargah’s Engineering College and Institute of Medical Sciences, Gulbarga

Khaja Bandanawaz Gaisudaraz, who passed away in 1422, was a illustrious sufi saint who settled in Gulbarga, Karnatak at the invitation of the then Bahmani Sultan Tajuddin Firoz Shah. He was a disciple of the very illustrious sufi saint Hazrat Nasiruddin Chiragh Dehlvi. His ancient dargah in Gulbarga is a popular center of attraction in south India.

In 1966 the Dargah’s Trust established the Khaja Education Society to promote education in the educationally backward Muslim community. They started with a school for girls and now operate 15 minority educational institutions in Gulbarga, including the Khaja Bandanawaz College of Engineering established in 1980 and the Khaja Bandanawaz Institute of Medical Sciences established in 2000. The pioneering spirit behind the Khaja Education Society has been the Dargah Trust and Padamshree Shah Mohammad Hussaini who passed away recently.

Without a doubt this dargah is totally different from the thousands of dargahs spread throughout the country, in that it has put its primary focus on imparting modern high education to the Muslims. Also they have been so eminently successful in transforming youth from the backward Muslim community into high quality engineers and doctors, who are helping uplift the Muslim community and the country into a modern nation.

Spread the secrets of success

One important factor for the handful of brilliant success stories in the Muslim community enumerated above is the close cooperation between the Muslim religious leaders and the Muslim intelligentsia leaders.

Instead of competing with each other or ignoring each other, they pooled the street popularity of the religious folks with the knowledge of modern education of the educated Muslims to make it a win-win situation for the community.

These undoubtedly rare success stories in India’s Muslim community make one wonder how much socioeconomic development can take place in the community if many more maulanas and dargahs dedicate themselves to the cause of imparting quality modern education and competitive ability to the Muslim youth and include the well educated Muslims in their team. Instead of spending so much time and energy on political and publicity activities if we spend more of it on the development of our youth, we can change the community’s picture drastically in just one generation.

[Kaleem Kawajais a community activist based at Washington DC. He can be contacted at kaleemkawaja@gmail.com]

By Henry Grabar

When you think of great architecture of the Muslim world, your mind probably turns to the iconic curves and patterns of ancient buildings, from the Alhambra to the Dome of the Rock to the Taj Mahal.

While traditions of form and function persist, it’s hard to box in the various contenders on the shortlist for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the triennial prize for outstanding design in societies with significant Muslim populations. The 20 finalists include preservation projects in Morocco, Yemen and Indonesia; apartments in Iran and Sri Lanka; schools in Herat, Kigali and Damascus, and much more. With its focus on Africa and Asia — only one of the twenty projects is located elsewhere — the shortlist is a breath of fresh air in the Euro-centric design world.

Below is a map of the winning projects shortlisted by a jury of architects and scholars for the Aga Khan Award. In the eleven cycles since its 1977 debut, the $1 million prize has been awarded to 105 projects, including the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Paris’s Institut du Monde Arabe, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, and dozens of other new buildings and preservation projects.

Here are some of our favorites:

Reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared Refugee Camp, Tripoli, Lebanon

This camp, which dates from 1948 and houses some 27,000 Palestinian refugees, was completely destroyed during the 2007 war when it was the site of a siege and several battles between Islamic militants and the Lebanese army.

The reconstruction aimed to recreate the physical and social fabric of the camp, while increasing the amount of light and ventilation. By endowing each building an independent structural system and emphasizing vertical construction, architects were able to triple the amount of non-built space.

Islamic Cemetery, Altach, Austria

This airy 8,000-square-meter complex is designed for Vorarlberg, Austria, where nearly a tenth of the population is Muslim. It includes five grave enclosures, assembly and prayer rooms, and its open spaces are decorated with latticework of oak and metal mesh.

Maria Grazia Cutuli Primary School, Herat, Afghanistan

This elementary school in rural Afghanistan was built in honor of Italian journalist Maria Grazia Cutuli, who was ambushed and killed by Taliban gunmen in 2001. The school, with its collection of separate buildings spaced around the compound, is meant to emulate the organic design of a small village, with shades of blue to recall the lapis lazuli designs of Afghan pottery.

Rehabilitation of Tabriz Bazaar, Tabriz, Iran

The historic center of Tabriz was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2010, and has been the focus of a two-decade preservation effort, aimed at coordinating architectural renovation with the needs of tenants and owners. The center city includes over three miles of covered bazaars.

Salam Center for Cardiac Surgery, Khartoum, North Sudan

This open complex consists of a state-of-the-art hospital with 63 beds and a separate residential hall with room for about half the center’s 300 staff. With plenty of natural light and ventilation, the center’s public space is designed to feel pleasant but secure.

Kantana Film and Animation Institute, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand

This college contains five different sections, divided by undulating walls of handmade brick 25 feet high and punctuated with irregular windows. Between them runs a concrete passageway shaded by an “inserted forest” of trees.

Thula Fort Restoration, Thula, Yemen

Thula, a medieval desert town near Sana’a, features an unusually well-preserved network of streets, palaces, souks, and stairways. But with development encroaching, the Thula community, with the help of the Social Fund for Development, has embarked on a series of preservation efforts, repairing walls, gates, towers and even the ancient water system, which remains in use. Thula is on the UNESCO “Tentative list.”

Apartment No. 1, Mahallat, Iran

Mahallat, located about 200 miles south of Tehran, is a stone-cutting town, but about half that stone is discarded as scrap. This project puts those scraps to good use in both exterior and interior walls of a nearby apartment building that contains eight three-bedroom apartments and two ground-level retail spaces.

Mpungubwe Interpretation Centre, Limpopo, South Africa

This building, designed for the World Heritage site at Mapungubwe Hill, houses exhibition and classroom space in ten vaulted spaces inspired by the ancient motifs found on nearby artifacts.

(Courtesy: The Atlantic Cities)

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) on Friday accused Hamas movement of offering a fake Palestinian passport to top Muslim Cleric Sheikh Yousef al- Qaradawi.

The PNA Interior Ministry said in a statement that it had sent official letters to countries that recognize the PNA, clarifying that the passport, which was given to Qaradawi, is “fake.”

The PNA is ruling the West Bank and its Interior Ministry is the legal Palestinian body that is authorized to issue passports to the Palestinians or to give it to other nationalities as an honor.

Qaradawi, who began on Thursday a two-day visit to the Hamas- ruled Gaza Strip, was honored by Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haneya and was offered a diplomatic red Palestinian passport.

Hamas has been ruling the Gaza Strip since it violently seized control of it in the summer of 2007. The world does not recognize the rule of Hamas of the coastal enclave and the Islamic movement is not authorized to officially issue any passport.

The PNA statement said it had urged all countries that recognize Palestinian passport to confiscate any fake one that is not issued by the legal Palestinian representative of the Palestinian people.

Right after Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas deposed Haneya and his government and nominated a new Palestinian premier who formed a new Palestinian government.

However, Haneya and Hamas refused the decree of Abbas and kept ruling Gaza. Arab and global mediators have so far failed to end the division between Gaza and the West Bank and achieve reconciliation between the two rivals.

Qaradawi, 87, is the top Arab cleric for Arab Muslims. The Egyptian-born has close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood.

PNA Minister of Waqf (Islamic properties) Mahmoud al-Habbash slammed the visit of Qaradawi to the Gaza Strip, saying it “is illegal because it wasn’t coordinated with the legal authority and legal leadership of the Palestinian people.”

(Courtesy: China.org.cn)

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A rumour that a Saudi was behind the Boston bombings threw up some interesting reactions at an event held to foster inter-cultural dialogue

By Tariq A. Al Maeena

It was during a social function last month that word filtered through the guests that a Saudi was being interrogated by authorities in Boston, and some news and print media were naming him as the prime suspect in the Boston marathon bombings. Fortunately, events later disqualified such allegations, but raw emotions could be measured in those early moments. The event I was attending was a get-together of Saudis and expatriates to foster inter-cultural dialogue, a novel idea by one of the city’s social activists, who felt that there was a need to meet and bridge the chasm that often exists between hosts and their guests.

As the news spread, I could sense a change in emotions. Taking the opportunity to dig deeper, I asked a few fellow guests their reaction to the groundbreaking news.

Abdullah, retired Saudi professor, appeared distraught: “I just cannot believe this. We have barely gotten over the horrors of 9/11 and now this! Who are these sick people? Do they really breed and grow in our midst? If indeed what I heard is true, the authorities must get to the bottom of this and arrest them all, and finally hang them. People who have no regard for innocent lives are nothing but murderers.”

Mona, a Saudi principal at a leading girl’s college, was somewhat more reticent: “Let us not jump to conclusions. This could be a rumour or some attempt by US media to smear our citizens. We have hundreds of Saudi students studying in Boston, and I am certain that they are there for that purpose and no other; to get an education and return home safely back to their families. The media has often jumped to conclusions and this may very well prove to be the case as well.”

Hans, a European, was more sombre: “If this is true, it will set back efforts to repair the image of Saudis by years. It then becomes imperative for the government to recognise that tolerance to any form of extremism has end results and more often than not, they are not pleasant or expected.”

Mohammad, a Saudi trader, said: “This boy, whoever he is, has just brutally scraped a wound that was healing. Whoever teaches them that bombs are cool — the brains behind these youths — must be ferreted out and brought to justice. It is a national shame if it is true.”

Bilal from North Africa was blunt: “This is just a plot to discredit some innocent Saudi. The western press has been very harsh on your people ever since the New York bombings and they try to link every act of terrorism to you. Perhaps having Osama Bin Laden as one of your own did not help matters. But why the collective guilt? Why should good people like you suffer for the dastardly acts of a few misguided and crazy people?”

Salem, a Saudi industrialist, was very sombre: “I am almost emotionless right now. I felt like my blood has stopped running when I heard that it was one of our boys. I just cannot think straight right now. What do you want me to say or feel? I feel worse than terrible, not for myself as much as for those who were injured and killed by the acts of madmen. It is ironic that we are here to foster inter-cultural ties, and we hear reports that one of our boys has been busy blowing people apart. What a shameful chapter if it happens to be true.”

Balan, an economist from Malaysia, interrupted: “Do not jump to conclusions. Following such acts, the media looks for scoops and many such reports prove to be false. Maybe the press over there is taking things out of context. One must be calm and patient and wait for all the facts through official authorities.”

Bilal, a successful Afghani carpet merchant, was blunt: “What do you expect after eight years of George W. Bush’s crusade against the Muslim world? He claimed to be fighting terrorism, but unfortunately all that his aggressive actions did in so many countries was to create more terrorists. Look at my country now. Whoever tells you that it is better than before does not know the truth. And look at Iraq too. Are you going to say that they are doing much better now? They have lost hundreds of thousands of good and honest people in bloodbaths following the invasion, and there is no sign that things will settle for the better. Boys have grown into young men during those times, and unfortunately a few of them have bloody vengeance in their hearts. It is a sorry matter.”

Salma, a Saudi who heads a PR agency in Jeddah, said: “I travel to Boston two or three times a year. It is my second home. I admire the American people and their values, and right now I am very upset by what I hear. Who does this Saudi think he is? That he is speaking for all of us. Rubbish! He should be shot for even considering such an act let alone going through with it. Is there no value in innocence any more?

There was no masking the flood of emotions that evening. Needless to say, the evening which began on a promising note soon petered out as many left shortly after hearing the news; perhaps to go home and seek the facts for themselves, be it on TV or the internet. Or they just wanted to be left alone in their thoughts.

[Tariq A. Al Maeenais a Saudi socio-political commentator. He lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. You can follow him at http://www.twitter.com/@talmaeena]

(Courtesy: Gulf News)

The İstanbul-based ICYF-DC aims at coordinating youth activities in the OIC countries. The forum operates in five major fields: advocacy of youth interests, supporting sustainable development, promoting formal and non-formal education, strengthening moral values of youth and engaging in dialogue among cultures.

The Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation (ICYF-DC), an affiliated institution of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), has launched its annual program, Model OIC-Turkey.

Part of the ICYF-DC’s international Model OIC project that is currently being held in different countries of the OIC, the program will represent top universities from OIC member states, with 150 students as well as scholars. During the six weeks of the summit, participants will receive training in critical tools of understanding and in promoting a knowledge-based approach to international relations; participants will have the chance to practice their skills in two days of simulation games.

The ICYF-DC was established in Baku, Azerbaijan, in 2004, in accordance with a resolution adopted by the 31st Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (ICFM) held in İstanbul on June 14-16, 2004.

“The resolution underlines the necessity of finding appropriate methods to educate and empower Muslim youth, with a view to achieve the best cooperation and coordination among Islamic countries, and recognizes the timelines and importance of conducting such an initiative in the face of the growing need for the youth of Islamic Ummah to meet the challenges of the globalizing world,” Elmaddin Mehdiyev, chief of cabinet of the ICYF-DC International Secretariat, told Sunday’s Zaman.

The İstanbul-based ICYF-DC aims at coordinating youth activities in the OIC countries. The forum operates in five major fields: advocacy of youth interests, supporting sustainable development, promoting formal and non-formal education, strengthening moral values of youth and engaging in dialogue among cultures.

“The ICYF-DC successfully represents OIC youth in international forums, including all OIC ministerial conferences,” Mehdiyev said, adding that the ICYF-DC has always given voice to the thoughts and needs of youth, advocating for their rights and freedoms.

“In late 2008 during the international conference ‘Islamic World Youth: Present and Future Challenges,’ held in Tunisia, the president of the forum, Mr. Ali Sarıkaya, in the presence of the former Tunisian President Zein Al Abidin Ben Ali, stressed in his speech the importance of democracy, good governance and transparent society for the normal development of youth as well as the need for political will for these changes. This was verified by the Arab Spring in the following years,” Mehdiyev stated.

The ICYF-DC was one of the first international institutions that clearly expressed its position during the first days of demonstrations in Tahrir Square. Issuing a statement condemning the violence committed by the authoritarian Hosni Mubarak regime towards the demonstrators, the youth organization called on the international community to stand by Egyptian youth.

“We are also very concerned about the violence and humanitarian crisis going on in war-torn Syria, of which the victims are mostly again young people and children. The violence must immediately be stopped,” Mehdiyev said, adding that it is the Syrians’ right to express their views and make their choice independently. “The Syrian people should have the chance to decide about their future in a democratic and civil way.”

Talking about the youth forum projects, Mehdiyev said the Islamic Leadership Training Program is one of the most successful programs, with a highly qualified and strong network uniting youths from various OIC countries.

Mehdiyev believes the training programs enhancing the intellectual capacities of young people are important as a large proportion of the population in the OIC countries are young people.
Accordingly, the organization has developed a special platform titled the Islamic Countries Young Entrepreneurs Network (ICYEN), which aims to increase awareness on entrepreneurship in the Muslim world, promote partnerships between entrepreneurs and investors, and find and nurture young Muslim entrepreneurs in all Islamic countries and Muslim communities in non-Islamic countries.

Intercultural dialogue an ICYF-DC priority

As one of six regional youth platforms of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UN AoC) initiative, the ICYF-DC collaborates with regional partners such as the European Youth Forum, Asian Youth Council, Latin American Youth Forum and Pan-African Youth Forum.

Commenting on the importance of dialogue between different nations and cultures, Ambassador Elshad Iskandarov, the secretary-general of the ICYF-DC, was quoted as saying that young people — who are a less politicized and more liberal part of society — are critical for the intercultural dialogue.

“This dialogue is sincere and a guarantor of future mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence among people with different cultural and religious backgrounds,” Iskandarov was quoted as saying.

Being sensitive about Islamaphobic acts throughout the world and acting in the framework of partnership with other regional youth platforms, the ICYF-DC has initiated a joint statement condemning cartoonists who offend the religious feelings of Muslims. The organization also called on the international community, especially Europeans, to demonstrate a strong position against this kind of xenophobic action in their countries.

(Courtesy: World Bulletin)

Tehran: A prominent Saudi cleric condemned the recent desecration of Islamic sanctities in Syria by the West-backed terrorists, and said such acts only serve the interests of the US and the Israeli regime in the region.

“Such acts are being carried out in line with the Zionist regime and the US’s interests in the region to engage the Muslim world in intrinsic conflict and attain their expansionist and separatist goals in the region,” Sheikh Ismae’il al-Hafoufi told FNA on Sunday.

He said that enemies are trying to stir conflicts in Syria, Iraq and the Persian Gulf littoral states to accelerate the disintegration process in them, loot them and engage their young people in internal disputes and conflicts.

Hafoufi expressed regret over the silence of Islamic organizations on such sacrilegious acts, and said many of these organizations are dependent on foreigners and cannot show independent reaction.

Wahhabi extremists damaged the mausoleum of a highly revered Shiite figure in Jordan on Saturday after desecrating the shrine of another Muslim figure in Syria a few days before.

The Wahhabis attacked the mausoleum of Ja’far al-Tayyar, a close companion of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and the brother of Shiite Islam’s first Imam, and torched his grave in Karak province in Southern Jordan today.

The desecration of al-Tayyar’s grave came only a few days after Wahhabi-backed Nusra Front attacked the mausoleum of Hojr ibn Oday in the Damascus suburb of Adra and exhumed his grave taking his remains to an unknown location. Hojr was a close companion of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and also a companion of Imam Ali (PBUH).

The sacrilege of Islamic sanctities has aroused intense feelings in Muslim lands, specially in Shiite communities.

In Yemen, leader of the Houthi Movement Seyed Abdelmalik Al-Houthi in a statement on Saturday condemned the desecration of Hojr’s shrine.

“This action which has been done in line with the Zionists’ criminal plots seeks to increase religious intolerances,” the leader of Yemen’s Houthi Movement said.

Al-Houthi described the desecration of Hojr as an immoral and inhumane action.

The Nusra Front, affiliated to the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization, has taken up the responsibility for the desecration of Oday’s grave.

In Iran, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani in a message condemned the sacrilege of Islam’s religious sanctities.

In his message, the speaker condemned “the Syrian terrorists’ new crime of desecrating and exhuming the grave of Hojr ibn Oday”.

Larijani called on the UN and UNESCO to take the necessary action to prevent the destruction of Muslims’ religious and cultural sites.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian also strongly condemned the desecration of the shrine of a prominent Shiite figure in Syria by Wahhabi extremists.

Amir Abdollahian said that the perpetrators of such ugly acts are affiliated to the Zionist regime who have conducted similar attempts at holy Muslim sites in the occupied territories.

The Iranian deputy foreign minister warned the masterminds of such inhumane acts that they will receive a response that will make them sorry for what they have done.

Also, large groups of Iranian seminary students and teachers staged protest gatherings in Tehran and Qom on Saturday to strongly condemn the Wahhabi extremists’ insult to Shiite Islam.

Seminary students and teachers convened at the shrine of Hazrat Abdolazim Hassani in Southern Tehran on Saturday reading a message of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, who condemned the sacrilegious act.

The protesters also chanted slogans against the perpetrators and their Wahhabi supporters. They also issued a statement condemning the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) for conducting such shameful acts.

In a similar move in Qom, the seminary students and teachers gathered in the city’s Feyzieh seminary school today and condemned desecration of Hojr ibn Oday.

They read the messages of Grand Ayatollahs Golpayegani and Makarem Shirazi who condemned the desecration of Hojr ibn Oday’s shrine.

Reports from Iraq also said that similar moves had been done by Shiite seminaries in the holy city of Najaf.

Earlier this week, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki also condemned the desecration of the grave of Hojr by foreign-backed terrorists.

In a statement issued by his office, Maliki described the attack as a “mean act” that targeted the unity among Muslims.

Hojr was a staunch supporter of the first Shiite Imam Ali (PBUH) and led the army of Muslims to victory in several crucial battles. He and his sons finally fell victim to their loyalty to Imam Ali (PBUH) and were murdered at the order of the Umayyad Caliph Muawiyah in the year 660 CE.

(Courtesy: Fars News Agency)

As in the case of the anti-blasphemy law, governments beset by challenges of governance often spring divisive laws on their people in the hope of diverting their attention from real problems

By Tariq A. Al Maeena

There is a war of sorts on the streets of Bangladesh. And it is mostly one involving supporters of two principal figures in Bangladesh politics; the strong-willed Shaikh Hasina and the equally stubborn Khalida Zia. Their political differences have polarised the country along party lines.

From what an outsider can fathom, the Hasina government is trying to pursue a course of secular democracy. In the process, it is also demanding strict punishment, including the death penalty, for those nationals deemed traitors during the Bangladeshi war of liberation.

Three suspected collaborators have so far been convicted and two of them were sentenced to death. In protests over the trials between the government and opposition forces, over 100 people have been killed since January this year.

Khalida’s supporters on the other hand see this as a witch-hunt against any opposition figure brave enough to criticise the government’s policies. They demand that the government cease its unrelenting crackdown on religious figures and parties. Her party is also seen as giving moral support to opposition figures who have mustered enough force on the streets to bring the capital to a standstill.

Perhaps that is painting a very broad picture on the canvas. But opposing forces are making demands that have often led to bloody confrontation and death. One such force that the government accuses Khalida and her party of discreetly fostering is the Hefajat-e Islam party.
A week ago, thousands of its supporters blocked highways and clashed with police, bringing the capital city Dhaka to a standstill as they demanded an anti-blasphemy law that would carry the death penalty. Ten people were killed and hundreds injured in the violence.

This is the latest in a series of demonstrations led by the Hefajat-e Islam party, which mobilised an estimated 200,000 supporters on to the streets of the capital. Rioting erupted after police tried to block protesters from gathering in front of the country’s largest mosque. The protesters were streaming into Dhaka from remote villages, and when news of the confrontation broke out, trouble spread.

The police denied any wrongdoing, insisting that only rubber bullets were used to disperse the protesters, but witnesses and media personnel present at the scene claimed that hundreds of rounds of live ammunition were fired into the crowd. In the ensuing clashes, many vehicles and storefronts were torched by the mob.

The Hefajat-e-Islam party, which had a battlecry of ‘One point, One demand: Atheists must be hanged’ during the protests, trudged along six major highways, blocking all transport between Dhaka and other cities. One leader of a group of protesters shouted: “This government does not have faith in Allah. This is an atheist government; we will not allow them to live in Bangladesh. Muslims are brothers, we must protect Islam.”

Another demanded the strict implementation of Sharia in a country were the government is seen as moving away from religious boundaries. This is not the first time that this group has demonstrated on the capital’s streets. Similar demands were made last month, including the demand for the anti-blasphemy law, which the government insists is already on the books and needs no further revision.

The Hefajat-e-Islam party has a broad list of 13 demands, which also include a ban on the free mingling of men and women and the restoration of pledges to Allah in the constitution.
Those who oppose their calls fear that such demands would mean the talibanisation of the country. Those most vocal were female workers in the garment industry, a key source of foreign exchange in the country, who fear that such laws may mean the loss of jobs.

It is a difficult call for Bangladeshis today, polarised as they are. However, if there is any consolation, one must look at other countries where Sharia is brutally implemented. The populace suffers under the manipulation of political radicalisation covertly disguised under the banner of Islam.

It has happened in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. Sharia was usually a cover for unfettered government corruption and control. Those who dared speak out were often ostracised and imprisoned, their rights denied. Corruption and disregard for human rights flourished; the exact opposite of what Sharia intended!

Such is not the way of Islam. Muslim countries facing internal maladies often spring such laws on their people in the hope of diverting their attention from real problems. In the process, rights of citizens are crushed in the name of Islam. Immoral as it is, it has happened before and will continue.

The politicisation of our religion has become an everyday trend. Groups are quickly formed into rampaging mobs all chanting verses from the Quran. But I would venture to guess that the powers behind such mobs usually hold the virtues of Islam as the last thing on their minds.

[Tariq A. Al Maeenais a Saudi socio-political commentator. He lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. You can follow him at http://www.twitter.com/@talmaeena]

(Courtesy: Gulf News)

By Abbas Kassar

Hyderabad: The much trumpeted elections held in Pakistan Thursday proved to be bloody and full of violence and rigging as more than 25 people were killed in various incidents of bomb blasts and targeted firing and in all more than 100 killed in 3 days. In Karachi a terrorist group Muehida Qaumi Movement made polling staff hostage since last night along with election material due to which at more than 7 national and 14 provincial assembly seats polling staff and ballot papers did not reach by 2 pm though voters had assembled by 8 morning but returned disappointed without casting votes. The armed terrorists filled ballot boxes with the stolen ballots. The voters of opponent parties especially Jamat Islami, Jamiat Ulema Pakistan (Noorani) and other parties boycotted elections in Karachi and Hyderabad two urban cities of Sndh which have remained under control of MQM terrorists since long. Syed Munawar Hassan Amir Jamat Islami, Sahebzada Abul Khair Muhammad Zubair president JUP called elections as fraud and announced its boycott. Taj Hyder secretary Pakistan Peoples Party, Nihal Hashmi of Muslim League and others said they would not accept results of elections. Chief Election Commissioner Pakistan Justice (rtd) Fakhruddin Ibrahim called Corps Commander Karachi and complained that election material was stolen and staff kidnapped in Karachi but the army did not provide safety to them. Secretary ECP Ishtiaq Ahmed observed that instead of rigging infested elections it was better not to hold it.

In Karachi and Hyderabad citizens were crying against poll rigging but no security was provided to polling stations. In Nawabshah the home town of president Zardari MQM terrorists burnt the camp office of Pakistan Peoples as police everywhere was watching as silent spectators. Even in some polling stations women presiding officers and political parties election agents were kidnapped.

In Balochistan Jamhoori Watan Party of late Nawab Akbar Bugti also boycotted elections while 7 party national alliance of Balochistan had already boycotted elections and had given call of strike on polling day My 11. Allama Tahirul Qadri chief of Pakistan Awami Tehrik has already boycotted elections and his party had stages sit in on polling day as a protest alleging that election commission and caretaker government were biased. Pakistan Tehrik Insaf chairman Imran Khan whose party is giving tough time to Muslim League and PPP in Punjab and Khyber Pukhtoonkha has accused MQM of vote rigging and has said that it has exposed itself as terrorist organization. Whatever the results but one thing was sure that elections in Pakistan have never been fair and transparent and once again it has proved that this nation is not made for democracy.

[Abbas Kassaris Bureau Chief of daily Messenger of Karachi and writes stories on human rights violations in Pakistan for Asian Human Rights Commission Hong Kong. He is member of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, European Journalism Center and Writers International Group. He can be reached at kassarabbas@lycos.com, kassarabbas@gmail.com and can also be contacted at +92 3453585137]

By Dr. Abdul Ruff

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who expanded his illegal wealth in his previous reign declared victory for his Pakistani Muslim League party in the 11th May parliamentary elections even while votes were still being counted. Early results indicated that Sharif will likely return to the job he held twice in the 1990s. But no party is expected to win a majority of seats in parliament, meaning Sharif would have to form a coalition government.

This time youngsters became active and many extended support to Imran Khan’s PTI. The contest was close between PML-N and PTI in Punjab. Urban Sindh extended support to MQM and PPP remained docile in urban as well as rural areas. Surprisingly, Bilawal, Chairman PPP (son of President Zardari and Benazir Bhutto) preferred to remain in door due to life threats. ANP came under attack in Sindh as well as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In Balochistan, nationalist parties are likely to get reasonable number of seats. Religious parties formed an alliance but JI and JUI-F fielded their own candidates.

A point worth mentioning is that, due to strong poll campaign, turnout was higher as compared to previous elections, also may be people have realized that they are being cheated by the leaders and if they wish to bring a change in Pakistan they have to cast their vote.

MQM, JI and some other religious parties have lodges complaint of rigging and are demanding re-election. So, there is the question of the polling being fair, free and transparent. However, some observers are of the view that any attempt to mar credibility of the polling held or non-acceptance of the results could create unrest in the country, an objective enemies of Pakistan are trying to achieve. They initially threatened people to stay away from this non-Shariah compliant system but their argument carried no weight as they declared not to stop, religious parties, PML-N, JI and PTI from participating in the polls.

Sharif Brothers and their dynasty contested on various seats. Most of the political commentators were hinting towards ‘hung parliament’ in which no party will get majority and the outcome could be another ‘coalition’ government. A point to watch is has the youth made any difference?

The Sharif regime is tasked now with leading a country suffering from attacks from NATO terror syndicates occupying Pakistan, and political corruption severe power shortages, a struggling economy,.

In his earlier stint as premier of Pakistan he let all capitalists thrive in Pakistan by special tax rebates and he himself was a beneficiary of all state patronage of illegal wealth making.

Will Sharif and other capitalist associates now resume the loot of the nation’s resources and ignore the aspirations of hapless Muslims?

Or will they get over the US puppetry hang over and rebuild the nation along Islamic way?

More importantly, will the new regime kick the NATO terror gangs out of Pakistan soil
and let Pakistanis live in peace as before the Bush rogues and Pentagon criminal infrastructure entered Islamizing Pakistan by using readymade Sept-11 hoax, Osama gimmicks and Afghan nukes?

So long as NATO terror gangs are allowed to stay on in Pakistan, killing Muslims in Afghanistan-Pakistan by calling them as terrorists and insurgents, there is no question of peace, progress and stability in Pakistan.

More and more Muslims would only be slaughtered by the enemy of Islam — both others and Muslims themselves as paid agents of CIA & co.

Sharif must ask Obama and associates to stop killing Muslims in Pakistan and Afghanistan and elsewhere through their agents. Pakistan must use its UNSC membership for this job.

Pakistan must now fix its policy priorities in favor of Islamic Pakistan and Muslims — after all Shari’a is not a mere slogan.

[Dr. Abdul Ruffis Specialist on State Terrorism; Chancellor-Founder of Center for International Affairs (CIA); Independent Analyst; Chronicler of Foreign occupations & Freedom movements (Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Xinjiang, Chechnya, etc.). He is also former university Teacher. He can be contacted at abdulruff_jnu@yahoo.com]

IMO News Service

The Muslim Spelling Bee Competition and TMA Worldwide has announced non paid internships.

“The Muslim Spelling Bee competition has been very well supported by the community and it has been featured in local, national and international media. This achievement was only possible because of the blessing of Allah SWT and Prophet Muhammed PBUH through the support and love of our community. The TMA Worldwide, the parent company of Muslim Spelling Bee competition will be launching other competitions such as Muslim Science Bee, Muslim Math Bee, Muslim Geography Bee and Muslim History Bee in association with the Community Muslim Schools,” said Tausif Malik, Founder Director, Muslim Spelling Bee.

TMA Worldwide also is co-publisher of Asian Lite US edition in partnership with Asian Lite, UK http://www.asianlite.com and is the marketing partner of http://www.MuslimCoupon.com.

TMA Worldwide has developed a unique private-public partnership system, where no fundraising is conducted to host the competitions. This unique ideology of private-public partnership been recognized by Guardian Newspaper UK and the discussion has been featured on Harvard University website and Northwestern University.

About the internship:

The non-paid marketing and media internships are open to students studying at undergrad and grad schools/universities.

The interns will get training in marketing, advertising, promotions, public relations and customer relations.

Duration: June-November 2013

Work hours: Telecommute with minimum 20 hours a week.

Email your resume to tausif@muslimspellingbee.com

Registration now open!! Muslim Spelling Bee 2013!!!

For Details, Contact:

Tausif Malik
Founder Director
Muslim Spelling Bee
Tel (cell): 773.536.9786
Email: tausif@muslimspellingbee.com
http://www.muslimspellingbee.com

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Jaipur: Ahead of the state assembly polls, Congress is going all out to woo Muslims.
Chief minister Ashok Gehlot played to the gallery while inaugurating the Haj House, a long pending project, at the Karbala Maidan on Sunday.

In the presence of close to 4,000 Muslims, Gehlot assured the gathering that the government will look into all possible demands of the community. “Jo chahoge, wo milega,” he said amid thunderous applause from the crowd, which included several Muslim leaders.

He said the state has numerous schemes and policies for the development of Muslims and the community must avail of their benefits.

Gehlot announced to fund the construction of the second storey of the Haj House and a girls school in the Karbala area, which is dominated by Muslims.

Both the demands were raised by Salim Kagzi, chairman, State Haj Committee, who addressed the gathering before the CM took the stage.

He also informed the gathering that the government, under special consideration, has allowed the setting up of private Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University in Jodhpur which is run by a minority group Mewar Muslim Educational and Welfare Society.

He further announced that the government will revise the rent of properties being used as government offices in sync with the market rate. “I assure that our government will revise the rents on Waqf properties to make the board financially independent,” he said with the view that a financially sound board will mean more resources for development of minorities in a district.
Following the Gopalgarh incident, Muslims have time and again expressed their anger against the Congress government in the state.

BJP dissident Kirori Lal Meena too has been making efforts to win over the community, threatening to erode the traditional vote bank of Congress and Samajwadi Party in the state.
A poll-wary Congress government, therefore, wasted no time to announce Rs 1,000 crore allocation for minorities in the state budget 2013. Besides providing funding to all minorities’ constitutional bodies, the budget has allocated Rs 200 crore for development of the Muslim community in the state.

Gehlot asked the gathering to not fall prey to communal forces. “People here know the truth of communal forces and I am sure they will support any party that supports them.”

The first round of sops for Muslims come post Gopalgarh by awarding plum posts to leaders who extended support to Gehlot government during the crises further helped the chief minister. The appointment of Amin Khan as cabinet minister, Naseem Akhtar as minister of state and Zahida Khan as parliamentary secretary to long-pending political appointments like Maulana Fazle Haq as chairman of State Madarsa Board were in fact, steps in this direction.

It’s raining sops for Muslims.

* Rs 200 crore for development fund for minorities
* 20 residential school for Muslims
* 20 ITI (Industrial training institutes) in minorities’ areas
* 125 hostels for boys and girls in each district and 23 hostels in Muslim blocks
* Rs 10 crore for State Waqf Board
* Rs 25 crore for Madrassa Board
* Appointment of 3,000 computer and para teachers for madrassas
* 6,000 madrassa teachers to be regularized

(Courtesy: The Times of India)

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By Syed Amin Jafri

Hyderabad: “Despite marked improvement in the developmental indices of Muslims, the community lags behind the national average.” This is the observation of the Parliament’s standing committee on Social Justice and Empowerment on the Demands for Grants for the Ministry of Minority Affairs (MoMA) for 2013-14. The committee, in its 37th report tabled in Parliament on May 2, noted that Muslim community is lagging behind in education and job sector in comparison to other minority communities. The large drop-out rates in schools is stated to be the main reason for this. The committee quoted the MoMA’s assertion that due to constant endeavour through various schemes dedicated to the minority community like the Prime Minister’s New 15-Point Programme for the Welfare of Minorities, the situation has improved in the recent years and the all-round effect would be visible once the data of census 2011 pertaining to SRGs becomes available. Literacy rate among Muslims in rural and urban areas for the year 1999-2000 and 2007-08 has registered a marked improvement from 52.1% to 63.5% and from 69.8% to 75.1% respectively. The recruitment of minorities in Central government jobs has increased from 6.93% in 2006-07 to 11.55% in 2010-11. The committee observed that the results for the utilization of funds for the ministry, which constitute only 0.67 percent of the total budget of the Central government for the year 2013-14, are far from adequate as there are still a large number of Muslim inhabited areas in the country where the fruits of progress are yet to reach.

The committee recommended undertaking a special drive by forming monitoring committees in each of the minority concentration blocs, involving local MPs, MLAs and community leaders in collaboration with the state governments to accelerate the development of these blocks under various schemes. In its 70-page report, the standing committee noted that though the total budgetary allocation under plan was Rs 3,135 crore in the year 2012-13, the actual expenditure incurred by MoMA was only Rs 2,165.62 crore (69.08%). As such, Rs 969.38 crore, which could not be utilized, was ultimately surrendered by MoMA. The ministry of finance reduced the budgetary allocation from Rs 3,135 crore to Rs 2,200 crore in the revised estimate during 2012-13 under the Plan, keeping in view the trend of expenditure till September 2012.

The committee found three distinct reasons for ‘surrender’ of funds in respect of central sector schemes and centrally sponsored schemes. These included budgetary cut made by the finance ministry at the revised estimates stage, non-receipt of adequate and viable proposals leading to non-implementation of schemes and delay in completing the process of appraisal and approval of many of the new schemes during 2012-13.

Expressing its dismay, the committee noted that the budgetary cuts at the revised estimate stage were ostensibly due to non- utilization of funds on account of non-receipt of proposals and utilization certificates. In some cases, the schemes could not take off at all for non-appraisal and approval of schemes by the Planning Commission.In this backdrop, the committee recommended that the MoMA should ask all the state governments to send the proposals in the first quarter of the fiscal year itself. Evaluation of proposals and release of funds should be made by the second quarter, and status report should be made available to the committee on the progress made by MoMA every quarter.

[The writer is a member of legislative council and a journalist]

(Courtesy: The Times of India)

By Syed Mohammed

Hyderabad: The tussle between opposing masaalik (Islamic ideologies) in cyberspace has surfaced again in mosques.

This time it is in the Masjid-e-Amera, the most important mosque in the bustling commercial hub of Abids, where the Alh-e-Sunnatul Jamaat (Barelwis) and the Tableeghi Jamaat (Deobandis) are embroiled in a battle for its control.

The infighting between two warring factions in Tableeghi Jamaat had resulted in acts of violence leaving one person injured at the Jama Masjid Moazzampura in Mallepally last month.The Jama Masjid acts as the headquarters of the Tableeghi Jamaat.

While the city has remained a bastion of barelwis, it is only in the past few years that the Deobandis are gaining ground.

Much like the spewing of venom by adherents of differing ideologies on social networking sites, sources said that adherents of both the Ahl-e-Sunnatul Jamaat as well as the Tableeghi Jamaat are busy trying to oust each other from the mosque, which sees hundreds of worshippers everyday.

One group had even sought political intervention to settle the matter. Now, both groups are engaged in a pitched battle for enrolling worshippers of their own class, who will vote during the mosque committee elections.

While AP State Wakf Board (APSWB) officials have tried to broker a peace deal between both groups, all talks have failed.

“The court has ordered us to conduct mosque committee elections and we are going to do it soon. We are doing our best to see that these elections are fair in nature. The mosque is under our direct control,” APSWB chairman Syed Ghulam Afzal Biyabani told TOI on Thursday. Intellectuals and activists from the community expressed alarm at the growing trend. They noted that most disputes within the Muslim community revolved around ‘a few square yards of either mosque or graveyard land’ at the cost of ignoring important issues.

Substantiating their claim, APSWB member Syed Akbar Nizamuddin Hussaini said, “I am unaware of this mosque in particular but generally disputes arise at mosques which have a good number of revenue generating properties attached to them.”

“Crucial issues like modern education, poverty alleviation and healthcare are being ignored on account of ideological rivalries,” All India Muslim Personal Law Board assistant general secretary Abdul Raheem Qureshi told TOI on Thursday.

Ziauddin Nayyar, in-charge president of Iqbal Academy, expressed his anguish at mosques becoming turfs for ideological wars. He said that these places of worship should be used as a platform for spreading education and discussing social-economic status of Muslims.

“There are issues like scholars making a distinction between modern and Islamic education. There should be no such distinctions. Mosques are intended to unite not divide,” he said.

(Courtesy: The Times of India)

By Mohammed Wajihuddin

Mumbai: Senior Muslim cleric Maulana Wali Rahmani doesn’t confine himself to just running madrassas or preaching about religion. He also nurtures the IIT dreams of Muslim youths. The maulvi runs the Patna-based Rahmani 30, which gives free coaching to Muslims who want to crack the IIT entrance exam, much along the lines of the famed Patna-based Super 30 programme, which helps underprivileged youths make it to the IITs.

And Rahmani is now bringing his dream project to Mumbai. He agreed to do this during a recent meeting in the city. “My dream is that prototypes of Rahmani 30 should be opened in different parts of the country,” said the maulana, who is also the secretary of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board.

As per the plan, around 30 students would be chosen from across Maharashtra , and accommodated and coached for two years at a soon-to-be-decided location in the city. “Money should not be a problem if we get good results,” said businessman Ateeq Agboatwala, who is leading the initiative in Mumbai.

Maulvi’s effort shifts focus to IITs from ITIs

Last week, after the inauguration of Mumbai’s first Darul Qaza-Shariah court-at Anjuman-i-Islam near CST, Maulana Wali Rahmani was almost mobbed. As other speakers, including Muslim politicians, left the stage almost unnoticed, a crowd of Muslim intellectuals, senior clerics and lay persons surrounded the tall, frail Rahmani, shaking his hands and seeking his blessings. Rahmani, considered a pir sahib (saint), obviously commands respect in the community.
His Patna-based coaching centre, Rahmani 30, has succeeded in helping several Muslim students crack the IIT entrance exam and gain admission to institutes across the country.

Rahmani 30 is run along the lines of the well-known Patnabased Super 30 programme, which gives free coaching to underprivileged students and sends around 30 of them every year for the IIT entrance exam. In the Rahmani 30 scheme, Muslim youths who have completed Std X take a written test to qualify for a free, two-year course on how to tackle the IIT exam.

Educationists are heartened by Rahmani’s vision. “If we have at least 10 maulvis like Rahmani sahib, Indian Muslims would not need government doles,” says Anjuman-i-Islam’s President Dr Zahir Kazi. Sources said that businessmen and philanthropists would help fund the project in Mumbai.

Rahmani’s journey would not have been possible without the unreserved cooperation he has received from Bihar director-general of police Abhayanand , who was associated with the Super 30 programme till 2008 but has since left to nurture his own initiatives. In 2008, Rahmani approached Abhayanand with a request that an institute similar to Super 30 be started for Muslim students. Abhayanand accepted, but also wondered whether Rahmani would “interfere” in candidate selection . Rahmani reportedly said that he didn’t know much about “physics, chemistry and mathematics”, so Abhayanand had a free hand in choosing students.

The first Rahmani 30 batch began classes in July 2008 with 10 students on board. In the very first exam, in 2009, they struck gold: all 10 made it to the IIT-JEE exam merit list. Since then, the success rate has been impressive . Those who couldn’t clear the IIT exam, joined other engineering colleges. Some joined statistical study institutes.

“The success rate of Muslim students in competitive exams is good. The problem is getting them to be candidates. Rahmani 30 has succeeded in conveying that this is also possible,” explained Rahmani.

Before Rahmani plunged into the difficult world of preparing aspirants for the IIT entrance test, Muslim youths mainly confined themselves to joining the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) to become plumbers, technicians and mechanics. “The IITs have been almost beyond our boys’ reach,” said Kazi. “They were satisfied to be trained at ITIs and get small jobs in India and the Gulf. Even the government was happy to sell them the ITI dream. Rahmani sahib has changed the game. Now the buzzword is IIT, not ITI.”

(Courtesy: The Times of India)

IMO News Service

Hyderabad: The students sponsored by a prominent NGO ‘Foundation for Economic and Educational Development’ (FEED) have performed outstandingly in Intermediate (10+2) 2nd year exams held in March 2013.

“We are happy to state that our scholars have displayed outstanding performance in Intermediate (10+2) 2nd year exams held in March 2013. They demonstrated that they can prove themselves, provided they are given opportunity and support. These meritorious students who were picked up from huts of interior villages have now become the top performers with a little attention and support provided by the people,” said Ghiasuddin Babukhan, Managing Trustee, FEED, in a press release.

Ghiasuddin Babukhan further said, “Having noticed the merit in their SSC (Class 10th) exams, we have selected and admitted them in Narayana, Sri Chaitanya and Iqbalia Residential Junior colleges in Intermediate (10+2). They steadily improved their percentage of marks and scored better percentage in Intermediate 1styear and further improved in Intermediate 2nd year exams and got recognition at state level. The Trust spent Rs.90 lakhs (USD173,000) for these students towards their fees. This achievement is the result of their hard work and determination.”

New Delhi: Congress MP Husain Dalwai is organising a two-day conference on educational challenges in the Muslim community in Mumbai this month, at a time when the Samajwadi Party and the All-India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) are trying to make inroads among minorities in the state.

Although the population of minorities in Maharashrtra is over 12 per cent, it is said to be about 20 per cent in Mumbai. They are decisive in Nashik, Malagaon, Bhiwandi, Pune, Aurangabad, Washim, Nagpur and in Marathawada region.

Mr Dalwai, who is also the president of Maulana Azad Vichar Manch (MAVM), will hold the conference under the banner of this ‘manch’ on May 29 and 30 to inaugurated by vice-president Hamid Ansari. Minorities constitute the core constituency of the Congress party in this premier state where the Congress continues to remain in power since Independence, barring 1995 to 99. The Mulayam Singh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party has been trying to weaken the Congress’ support base among this community in Mumbai, Bhiwandi with the help of people shifted to these cities from Uttar Pradesh.

On the other hand, the Hyderabad-based AIMIM has increased its activities in eight districts in the Marathawada region of Maharashtra which was part of the earlier Nizam state.

The AIMIM’s performance in the Nanded Municipal Corporation has come as an eye opener for the Congress, which came to power in this corporation. Nanded has been the stronghold of the former chief minister Ashok Chavan.

The AIMIM could damage the Congress-NCP’s votes in Parbhani, Beed, Aurangabad ,Latur, Osmanabad districts.

Minorirties have been voting for the Congress-NCP combine because of the Shiv Sena-BJP’s strong presence in this region.

(Courtesy: The Asian Age)

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