Riot And Reward Saturday, Feb 25 2006 

Yesterday was Friday and there was considerable anxiety and apprehension among the public and the police alike in Hyderabad. The police were nervous but on high alert fearing a repetition of last Friday’s incidents after Friday prayers.

In my last post I said the cartoon controversy received only a mute reaction from Indian Muslims. But last Friday (17 Feb 2006) the Muslim community in Old City (the stronghold of Muslims) of Hyderabad indulged in violent protests.

The riot broke out as a protest meeting and procession that was planned for the afternoon (after the usual Friday prayers) went out of control and spread to the neighboring areas. There were attempts at widening the conflict by attacking Hindu temples. The police did a commendable job by bringing the situation under control by evening.

The riot claimed no lives but caused considerable damage to public and private properties and sent shock waves throughout the city. Somprominent politicians and others have been taken into custody.

Old City of Hyderabad is one of the worst violence prone spots in India. Since any communally sensitive issue can plunge the region into violence, the police always keep vigil and remain ready to prevent a flare up.

The same day a minister in the North Indian State of Uttar Pradesh announced a reward of 51 crore rupees (11491427 USD) for beheading the Danish cartoonist. (Apparently he believes that the caricatures were by one cartoonist). He was speaking in an after prayer meeting in the city of Merut. The minister instructed his listeners to be true to their faith by going after the cartoonist’s head.

His outburst provoked widespread condemnation even from Muslims. The government should have thrown him out of the ministry and arrested him for attempting to instigate violence and preaching death. Instead the U.P. Government made light of it by saying, “The minister’s reaction was the voice of someone whose religious sentiments have been hurt”.

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Arabian Bloggers Monday, Feb 6 2006 

As I was reading a news blog on the Guardian on Hama’s win in the just concluded Palestinian election a link took me to ‘toot‘, a site that culls and presents at one place all popular blogs by Muslim bloggers writing in English and Arabic.

The range and coverage of the topics discussed in those which I tried to have a look at are really impressive. Toot is a beautifully designed site and its language is charming. It can serve as a window to the young, intelligent, sensitive and stylish Arab mind engaging itself with the world and the challenges it throws up to them.

One of the blogs that I’ve read on ‘toot’ is this one and I like it very much. I would like you to read it and discuss the point the author has made in it. My knowledge of the topic is rudimentary, if anything.

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Radical Faith and Freedom of Expression Sunday, Feb 5 2006 

When the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad
including one in which he is shown wearing a turban shaped as a bomb
with a burning fuse – it expected a strong reaction…[it] provoked demonstrations
in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir, death threats against the
artists, condemnation from 11 Muslim countries and a rebuke from the
United Nations.

Flemming Rose, cultural editor of Jyllands-Posten, Denmark’s largest newspaper,…said
he decided to commission the cartoons when he heard that Danish
cartoonists were too scared of Muslim fundamentalists to illustrate a
new children’s biography of Muhammad.

Annoyed at the self-censorship
he said had overtaken Europe since the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh
was murdered last year by a Muslim radical
for criticizing Islam’s treatment of women, he said he had decided to test Denmark’s free speech norms.

Link

Reading the entire news story gives us the necessary insight to
understand the ongoing debate and strife in democratic societies faced
with an alarmingly intolerant and radicalized Muslim reaction to
anything said or done in relation to Islam in the true spirit of
secular and democratic freedom. They begin to blackmail everyone.

The said cartoons were published on 30 september 2005.

But Islam’s claim that Prophet Mohammed hasn’t been portrayed in art because it has never been allowed is not true. You can see here a compilation of depictions of Mohammed spanning a considerable period of time in history.

A Glimpse of Indian Politics Sunday, Feb 5 2006 

Do you know what ‘horse-trading’ means in Indian political parlance? It’s one of the ‘democratic practices’ followed in India to keep its democracy vibrant.

I’ll explain.

It’s the era of coalition governments in India, at
the center and at many states. The coalition is lead by one of the many parties that very often work at cross-purposes, but join hands by sinking their differences for a while for the sake of power. As a result, barring one or two exceptions, the government so formed is always shaky- the warring interests of the constituents of thecoalition cannot be held in check always.
The numerically strong party of the coalition, whose leader heads the government, is seen with suspicion by others
because of its potential for creating disaffection among the members of each constituent by dangling plum portfolios or positions or any other tantalizing attractions before them. Those who are truly tempted (it’s not possible to hold oneself against such temptations and we all know that) ditch their party and cross over to the other side or bring the
government down by creating a first rate political crisis by leaving the coalition and striving for the formation of a new government.
Transaction of huge amount of money also takes place in the bargain.
The entire deal is called ‘horse-trading’ in Indian politics.
In some cases the breakaway party or group reaches an understanding with the opposition party and engineers a crisis to pull down the government and try to form a new one.
This is exactly what has happened now in the South Indian state of Karnataka.
It’s almost certain that the state government will fall and another coalition government lead by the break away party
and the opposition will come to power. The speaker of the assembly has asked the government to seek a vote of confidence in the assembly on 27 January. The speculation is that the Chief Minister will probably resign before that to avoid the embarrassment of being voted out of power.
The breakaway party has herded all its MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly) into the tourist paradise of Goa and the opposition party into the tourist resort of Kodaikkanal in
Tamil Nadu in order to avoid poaching by the government. The MLAs are kept in star hotels in good humor by all possible means by their bosses.
They are worth a lot- I mean a lot.
There’s no other way to avoid ‘horse-trading’ and save democracy.

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An Unholy Lot Sunday, Feb 5 2006 

“Do you have a professor who just can’t stop talking about President Bush, about the war in Iraq, about the Republican party, or any other ideological issue that has nothing to do with the class subject matter? If you help … expose the
professor, we’ll pay you for your work.”

Link

Rigtwingwing politics and their proponents anywhere in the world have many things in common. I think the most visible trait is their disdain for
intellectual freedom. As a result they try to intimidate those who
think and speak differently from them. Anyone who is not in their camp
is considered an enemy (of the nation!) and therefore should be
silenced by any means.
Another trait is their proclivity to selectively quote religious texts of the
faith they profess for basing their wild prescriptions for civil
conduct.
Rightwing politicians everywhere take it for granted that their country is the
property of their faith and those who are in the fold of that faith.
They promote a sense of ‘mission’ for their country to fulfill in the
world.
Another astounding trait is that they scoff at science and its method of
investigation of reality. For them science is ‘dogma’ and scientific
knowledge ‘superstition’. Yet rightwing politicians embrace technology
for military purpose and marshal all its powers for arming themselves
against other nations. Naturally all rightwing politicians are
warmongers.

A Lesson for Pakistan Sunday, Jan 15 2006 

(CNN) — Pakistan has protested to the United States over an airstrike on a remote village near the Afghan border that killed 18 people, but apparently missed its target, bin Laden’s No. 2 man, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Hundreds of residents chanted anti-American slogans Saturday near the targeted village of Damadola.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office said Saturday it lodged a protest with the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Ryan Crocker, and the issue is being “thoroughly investigated.”

Link

Maybe, the U.S. may strike at/take over their nuclear installations one day if the chase leads them to that direction. Surely the Pak establishment knows it too well.

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