More than news & views -­ A complete source for South Asians

 

HOME | ABOUT US | CONTACT | FEEDBACK | WEATHER | BACK ISSUES | ADVERTISE

LETTERS TO EDITOR

We look forward to your views. - Managing Editor

 

 

Ethnic Violence is deplorable

 

All good Muslims to rise... take back Islam

 

Hinduism suffers for extremists' actions in Gujarat

 

Hypocrisy of Our Times

 

Create a space for both religions

 

Time to Focus on Global Peace

 

When will it End?

 

It is innocent civilians...

 

But What can We do?

 

Respect Humanity

 

I am Firstly a Human, then a Muslim

 

 

 

Ethnic Violence is deplorable

 

By Syed Sohail Raza


It is totally deplorable as to what is happening in India these days in terms of ethnic violence, and as a Muslim my heart goes out to all the victim specially the minority Muslim population of India.

This type of violence should not be tolerated anywhere in the world by any government.


Gen. Pervaiz Musharraf has rightly advised the Prime Minister of India to better safeguard the rights of the minority Muslim population. I would like to ask the President of Pakistan, the following:


1. As a shia Muslim, am I safe to pray at any mosque of my choice anywhere in Pakistan?


2.Will my Ahmedi friends, always have to face humiliation at the time of filling out Govt. forms, or applying for a Pakistani passport, by answering questions dehumanizing their religion?


3.Is there any Govt. directives to protect the Christian minority those that have not fled Pakistan yet, specially after the recent slaughter of christians in their church?


Maybe, people who live in glass houses........
_____


All good Muslims to rise... take back Islam

 

By Tarek Fatah

 

The cowards have struck again. Killing people in an Islamabad church in the name of Islam is repugnant, but finding excuses to explain this mass murder, is worse. I am just waiting to hear the next conspiracy theory as to how the CIA arranged the latest act of terrorism in Islamabad.

Islamic fundamentalists are out to destabilize Pakistan and stop its transition to a  democracy. The 5 dead and 40 injured in the grenade attack on the church are not the only ones falling victim to these killers; these modern day kharijites. Last month they massacred people in a Rawalpindi mosque and in Karachi they are targeting Shia doctors.

It is time for all good Muslims to rise up against these killers and take back Islam.
____

 

 

Hinduism suffers for extremists' actions in Gujarat

 

By Tarek Fatah

 

Ever since the terrorists attacked New York on September 11, 2001, the world of Islam has been put under a microscope. Each and every aspect of the religion and its believers has undergone serious examination. Sadly it was 9/11 that brought to the forefront a battle of ideas that was being waged within Islam; a battle for the very soul of 1.2 billion human beings. On the  one side stood the Saudi funded medievalist and literalists fanatics who stood on the side of the USA during the long and bitter cold war, attacking killing and maiming their fellow Muslims who believed in a pluralistic and democratic interpretation of their religion.

After the twin-tower tragedy, Muslim scholars like UCLA professor Khaled Abou El-Fadl, Temple University's Mahmoud Ayoub and Virginia Commonwealth University's Amina Wadud challenged the orthodoxy of the Saudi-funded Taliban and other Muslim extremists. Others, like Hamza Yusuf and Farid Esack, are exposing the bankruptcy of extremism in Islam. The battle of ideas continues as progressive Muslims take on the Taliban-types.

Having said that, the search for moderate Islam needs to be extended to another religion also hijacked by extremists. I am talking about Hinduism and its own form of Taliban.

The fanaticism and extremism displayed by Hindu extremists last week in Mahatma Gandhi's birthplace, Gujarat, is nothing short of what the Taliban did in Afghanistan. If extremism is an anathema for Islam and Muslims are rising up to challenge it, surely such extremism should be of concern to Hindus, as well.

For centuries, the Hindu religion has been the most peaceful and all-absorbing faith on Earth. Hindus have embraced and welcomed those who have sought refuge on their shores and those who have adopted other faiths.

However, today we see the rise of those who profess a claim to Taliban-like purity and exclusivity in Hinduism. The followers of early 20th-century Hindu fundamentalists who admired Hitler are rampaging, burning and killing their Muslim neighbours without any sense of guilt or shame.

Those Muslims who burned the train full of Hindu activists were despicable murderers and deserve unqualified condemnation. But those who inflict collective punishment on their Muslim neighbours must also stand trial for crimes against humanity.

The state-sponsored cleansing of Muslims from Gujarat should rally progressive and secular Hindus to the forefront.

The Hindu fundamentalist attack on Muslims is not an attack on Islam, it is an attack on Hinduism itself. Just like the Sept. 11 terrorists hijacked Islam, the rampaging Hindu extremists of Gujarat have hijacked the Hindu religion.

Will Moderate Hindus "go on the offensive" to take back their religion? Moderate Muslims have already begun the journey. Come join us in the spirit of the sage Kabeer and build bridges among Hindus and Muslims. Let us together confront the Taliban, be they Hindu or Muslim.


(This was first published in the Toronto Star published from Toronto, Canada.)
_____

 

Hypocrisy of Our Times

 

By Faizal 

 

This truly is "Hypocrisy of Our Times" with our so-called Muslim nations leading the pack among the most intolerant nations upon the face of the earth. In this respect we are truly blessed living in a country (Canada) whose leaders had the vision to implement many Islamic principles and practices in our Constitution.

_______

 

  Create a space for both religions

 

Anonymous

The Hindus want Muslims to worship three kilometers away from the site of old Babri Masjid, which was destroyed by the 'nationalist Hindus', no closer. That would institutionalize the destruction of 1992 that repelled most Indians, and would invite more conflict.

Creating a space for both religions rather than excluding one would honour Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, visionary Indian leaders who held up religious tolerance as a prerequisite for the nation's future greatness. 

    _______ 

  

Time to Focus on Global Peace

 

By Ajay Gupta

 

Ever since 11 September 2001, I have had a feeling of personal emptiness at the senseless and barbaric killing of innocent men, women, and children.  A majority of the individuals I interact with have been betraying signs of depression, to varying degrees, and this feeling of loss has permeated, in a subliminal way, into the work- place as well, manifesting itself into visible signs of stress and tensions amongst colleagues.  

 

While this is the time to exercise restraint, instead of engaging in an all out war, it is very important the USA and the world community at large move to selectively seek out the perpetrators and decimate them in a surgical manner.  This is easier said than done, and will require all the patience, wisdom, and divine guidance governments of the world can marshall.  In the long run, I also fervently hope that the USA and other western nations will make a genuine resolve to understand other cultures 'alien' to them and seek a genuine global equilibrium, instead of continuing with the hopeless crusade of converting the entire world into a USA-and-Euro-centric view. It is time to focus on global peace and harmony despite diversity.

___

 

When will it End?

 

By Anusha

 

September 11, 2001.  A morning that started off like any other.  But ended as a day that will be remembered for generations to come by people around the globe.   A day that will forever make its mark in history. 

How and why do these things happen?  This is a question that many others have been asking themselves since that fateful morning of September 11, 2001 when the Attack on U.S.A took place.  It was an ‘Attack on the U.S. soil,’ an ‘Attack on the heart of New York,’ an ‘Attack on the government of U.S.A.’ Above all, to me, this was an Attack on the very essence of humanity and civilization.  It was a brutal and a savage act of violence, that we call terrorism.

 

When the news reporters showed us the on going coverage of the attacks and the aftermath, I felt distress that grew to despair.  It took some time to absorb the reality of what’s happened and then, the fear of what’s going to happen.  I kept thinking as days went by, of those thousands of families that set out with hope, in search of their loved ones.  I kept thinking of those families whose worst fears have become realities as their loved ones are recovered from Ground Zero.  I kept thinking of those families whose loved ones were on board those four airplanes, when they crashed, including the families of the hijackers, who like the rest of them, lost their dear ones as well.

 

I think of what parents are telling their children about this tragedy and wonder how nicely they can clean up this picture and present it in the most harmless way for those innocent children whose eyes ask many questions.  ‘It’s the bad guys’, would explain it sufficiently many parents may feel, but is that really so?  ‘Bad guys’ were ones who fight and bully and steal, but today the concept of the ‘bad guy’ has taken a whole new and a much scarier form.  Now the ‘bad guys’ are ones that kill and destroy many lives only because they truly believe that what they are doing is justified.  How will a child ever understand that when even myself, at 23, cannot accept, nor understand this concept?

 

Today, nearly three weeks later as we all still try to make sense of what’s happened, there is yet another tragedy that will soon take place in the Middle East.  Once again there will be destruction and loss of human lives, once again there will be devastation and sorrow and yet again there will be war.  It is so easy to use that word and justify the horror that it brings, by using the ‘eye for an eye’ theory.  But we cannot even begin to imagine the horror and feel the pain, that comes as a result of war and terrorist attacks, unless we have lost someone that we love.

 

Whether it is in the Middle East or in North America, it is only innocent people that are dying and it is their families and loved ones who are paying for someone else’s deeds.  The people responsible for these killings are either safe with their families in high security alerts or are on the run and are hiding in mountains or caves in the middle of nowhere. 

 

My only question is when will it end?  And how many people will have to lose their lives before we decide that enough is enough?  Will it ever be enough or are we looking towards a future where killing in the name of religion or as revenge are the stories that we will share with our children?

___

 

It is innocent civilians...

 

By Aruna Gupta

 

It is innocent civilians who end up as pawns in the quagmire of politics. Hate begets hate. The surviving next of kin of the victims of this tragedy undoubtedly are going to harbour negative feelings towards the conspirators and the net result is a vicious circle of mistrust. It is scary to think that what was earlier limited to smaller pockets of religious fanaticism and ethnic cleansing, is now turning into global warfare. Peace is nowhere on the horizon. Only Divine intervention can pull us out of this.

____

 

But What can We do?

 

By Saif Raza

 

What I'm sending is my view and opinion of what has been in my lifetime so far, the blackest day.  If you haven't heard  already, America was under Attack, on September 11, 2001. 

 

First of all  .. my deepest sadness, and sympathies to all those who have been lost family or friends in the bombed sites.


This was wrong.  The loss of 1000's of lives lost all because of some terrorist idiocy. There is not any way to justify what has been done.

What can we do? .. We can all pray for all those lives lost, all those innocent lives, all the people injured in this devastation. All you need to do is to pray.

 

This is not a time for people to be putting blame on other people.  This is a time for prayer and mourning. 

 

There is so much more I want to say and do to help.  But, there is really nothing I can do to help the situation as much as I want to.  So I am writing this.

 

I'm sure a lot of you want to help as well.  But what can we do? ... I'm writing to say that all those who want to help out: Send this as an email to all your friends and family. 

_____

 

Respect Humanity
 

By Ajay K. Yadavalli

 

In light of the tragic incident which has just taken place in the US, I think it will not be wrong to reproduce a mail that I wrote to a friend, a few days before the bombings.

I feel that the one thing that should be respected most in this world is humanity, one should have compassion and fellow feeling for others, regardless of caste, creed, religion , race , or Sex. I feel anything which causes human beings to drift away from each other is wrong...


Thousands of years ago when human beings lived in pockets, without much communication or access to the other civilisations, some wise men got together and propounded the concept of a Religion to bind them together, to guide people in their lives and help them live in a society in harmony and peace...The religion was the unifying factor... 

 

Later as the distances shortened, communication between these isolated pockets of humanity increased, the existence of a number of such religions in the various parts of the world was discovered. However by then the pioneering wise men had long gone and the people were content to carry on with the tradition of following what their forefathers had preached. Which was not wrong as the various religions were fulfilling their objectives of unifying the people and giving them direction... But what if those wise men were alive today... Would they say to themselves... " there are so many more people in this world than we thought...  

 

Unfortunately the concept we introduced to unify the people is now acting to separate and divide them... Let us once again try and ascertain that the original goals of our concept be met... let there be one religion, which will unify all the people living on earth... Which will serve to direct them and to help them love each other. " Would they have said this ?


If all roads lead but to god, how is it important which road we take as long as all of them are blessed by the almighty.... Why cannot we all travel on one road instead of so many different paths... Why cannot we love each and every individual on earth equally without feelings of bias, be it any kind, seeping into our mind. Why cannot there be a religion called humanity?


I once knew a person who used to go to a temple regularly but never put any money in the donation box... Out of curiosity I once asked him if there was any reason for his not doing so...he told me that he didn't believe god wanted his money... but the poor who could not afford to feed their children or treat their wounded needed the money and that's why he gave them the money... We don't need more temples... We need hospitals...

One religion, one race, humanity... Is it possible?

____

 

I am Firstly a Human, then a Muslim

 

By Farah Rahemtula

 

The recent attacks on The World Trade Center and The Pentagon have created sorrow, fear and even hatred!  Sorrow for the innocent lives lost, fear that it will happen again or cause war, and hatred for those who have committed these terrible crimes.  These are all the emotions that one is expected to feel at a time like this.  However, there are many ignorant individuals who are choosing to feel hatred for a nation, a religion, and a community, the Muslim community, rather than for the criminals.

I am a Muslim; I pray to the same god as you, I just happen to call my god Allah.  I grew up learning the same rules as you did; do unto others, as you would want them to do to you.  So why am I and others like myself suddenly being labelled, criminals?  Why is anyone of a Muslim background suddenly being targeted? 

 

If both the American government and its people need a scapegoat, find one, but don’t risk innocent lives! While the American government creates propaganda stating that the US is the hero and Muslims are the enemy, real lives are being put at risk.  While the American government plots to bomb whole countries, labeling their mission ‘Operation Enduring Freedom', their true intent is to kill, and killing the innocent is just part of the game!  Just as over 6000 innocent people died on Sept 11 in the States, many more innocent lives will be destroyed if the US decides to take on this childish mentality.  The mentality of ‘they did it first!”

 

If the government could just step back and think for a moment.  What will war solve?  The American government has found the need to create an aura of patriotism.  Raise the banners, sing the national anthem, do all you can do to show that you support America.  How about actually looking at why this happened in the first place.  This  was not simply an action; this was no doubt a reaction!  If America hopes to resolve this problem then it does not need the military training for war, what it needs is peace makers. 

In no way am I saying that what happened on Sept 11 was justified, however it is necessary to ensure that America’s future actions, whether it is war or peace, be justified.  I am not speaking as a Muslim individual that wishes to shield my religion; I am simply speaking as a human, someone who wishes to prevent the death of more innocent lives! So the next time you feel hatred for a Muslim don’t think of them firstly as Muslim, think of them as being Human!