Archive for May 21st, 2011
President Asif Ali Zardari has said that Islam is a religion of peace and tranquillity and totally opposed to friction and terrorism. President Zardari, in his message to the International Imam Council, organisers of Syeda Fatima (S.A.) Interfaith Conference at the House of Lords here last evening, noted that such conferences highlight the real image of Islam being a peaceful religion and clear the confusion that Islam, in any way, favours terrorism. The President said: ”It gives me immense pleasure that Imam Hussain Council arranged an Interfaith Conference in recognition of Hazrat Fatima Tu-Zahra ( S.A.) , the daughter of our Holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) is a distinguished personality of the Muslim world. “She is a shining moral example for all the women across the globe. Her life, her teachings, her mannerisms and even her authority over her father, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is a precedent for us to follow even today.”
(nation.com.pk / 21.05.2011)
Mustaqbil Pakistan – A new Pakistani political party dedicated to bringing competence, decency, sincerity and honesty to Pakistan’s politics.
Below is the text of an open letter sent by the Chairman of Mustaqbil Pakistan to all of the country’s newspaper editors and producers of TV news and current affairs programs. The letter has been sent out both in Urdu and in English.
An open letter from the Chairman of Mustaqbil Pakistan to all editors of newspapers and producers of TV news programs in Pakistan
Subject: Rise to your responsibilities
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am writing to all of you at a time when our nation is in danger. And make no mistake. We are living through what is possibly one of the most dangerous periods in our history. Our very existence as a sovereign state is threatened
At a time like this it is imperative that all of us who have something positive to offer come together as one in defense of our homeland. And you, as leaders and molders of public opinion, have a vital role to play.
When we look at what is going wrong in Pakistan today we see multiple manifestations of failure – symptoms, if you will, of a failing or failed state: Insurgency and military conflict in two of our provinces, killings and abductions of civilians in many cities, unemployment, hopelessness, desperation, suicides, and a shocking absence of the writ of Government. The list is longer still. But the point is made.
Yet, despite the multitude of distressing symptoms, the disease is relatively simple to diagnose. This is the problem: In all successful democratic states the best, most competent, most sincere of their citizens compete in politics. And it is these people – in some sense the cream of their citizenry – who then are elected and become their parliamentarians and shapers of their destiny.
In Pakistan the exact opposite is true. The worst, most incompetent, most corrupt, most morally bankrupt, and most insincere of our people compete in our political arena. These people – in some sense the scum of our society – are elected to our parliament and shape our destiny. Why then should anyone of us be surprised that Pakistan is slowly crumbling? And, let’s be clear, if this ‘scum’ continues to come back in power time and again – as it has done during the democratic phases of our history – then Pakistan will not survive
Mustaqbil Pakistan was registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan as a political party in early 2010 by a group of experienced professionals. Our manifesto is long and comprehensive. But the reason for our existence can be stated in a few words: We vow to bring decent, competent, sincere and honest Pakistanis into politics. This segment of our population has hitherto been unwilling or unable to participate in politics. Their absence has created a political vacuum which has been happily filled by the ‘scum’. And this has inevitably – as night follows day – brought us to our present perilous situation.
Let me assure you that what Mustaqbil Pakistan is planning is possible and doable. We have done our homework. Time has not stood still. The structure of politics in Pakistan has changed. With this in mind we have devised a strategy and a plan that we are confident can succeed. What we need now is to convince Pakistanis that they have it in their power to change their destiny.
I am writing to you – eminent editors and producers in the print and broad cast media – to tell you that you have a crucial role to play. And to tell you that what you are doing today is not enough.
The media broadcasts hours and hours of output featuring the ‘usual culprits’: our corrupt and incompetent politicians. Your smug anchors find gratification in having these already challenged people utter inanities and spew venom on their equally inane rivals.
And what service do you render the people of Pakistan in broadcasting these programs hour after hour, evening after evening, day after day? Have you enlightened them? Have you informed them? Have you given them hope?
Similarly newspapers repeatedly headline mindless statements from these same politicians. For example a serous crime occurs and the next day a headline will read: “Minister says he has ordered police to capture culprits!” Is this news? Are not the police supposed to do this in any case? Had the honourable minister not so ordered would the culprits have gone scot free? And now that he has so ordered will they be promptly caught and brought to justice?
Ladies and gentlemen you have to rise above all of this. Time is running out for Pakistan. Too much is at stake. You cannot continue to behave like this. There are people, here, today, now, working to change things. You need to identify them and then present them to your readers and viewers. You need to show Pakistanis that there is hope. And that there are still people who, sometimes at the risk of their safety, are working day and night to make Pakistan’s future brighter than its past.
Mustaqbil Pakistan has many excellent people in most cities. Call them to your shows. Interview them. Ask them about our plans and strategy. Be skeptical be ruthless. You will be amazed, as will be your audiences and readers, by the quality and cogency of their responses. These are the people who should be in Pakistan’s Assembly’s. And one day, inshallah, they will be.
As Chairman of Mustaqbil Pakistan I am naturally keen that my party be exposed to the public. But by no means am I suggesting that you limit your search and coverage to our people. There are many, many, good, decent, sincere and competent Pakistanis working to bring change. They also deserve a chance to be heard. And you should, indeed, you must, promote their ideas and agenda.
“Rome” is burning. You can continue to fiddle. Or you can pick up a bucket and join those of us who want to do more.
Nadeem Mumtaz Qureshi
When Netanyahu says the 1967 borders are “indefensible”, this does not mean Israel must seek to avoid conceding too much West Bank land. It means Israel cannot make any concessions.
Last week, in response to Obama’s speech, Netanyahu argued that for Israel, the borders that existed before the 1967 occupation are “indefensible”. He repeated the same point after their meeting yesterday. But what does it mean?
At its core, the “indefensible” borders argument relates to Israel’s small size, and the concentration of its population in a narrow strip along the Mediterranean coast, in great proximity to Palestinian areas of the West Bank. This geographic situation makes Israeli population and infrastructure particularly vulnerable to both “asymmetrical” attacks (e.g. terrorism, rockets, and guerrilla activities) and a conventional invasion by regular armies.
The argument has been used to justify continued Israeli control of the Palestinian territories, and in this form, this is a consistent, albeit cruel and unconscionable, position. Basically, it seeks to use the Palestinian lands as a buffer zone, surrounding and protecting Israeli population centers. Such an arrangement, however, would only make sense if Israel maintains full control over the vast majority of the West Bank’s Palestinian population.
To see why, one need only look at a typical map that aims to show the security threat posed by the 1967 borders.
This map clearly designates the Israeli major cities, but conveniently omits the Palestinian ones. Thus, the arrow showing the distance between the northern West Bank and the Israeli city of Haifa, actually emanates from the area of Jenin, a city and a refugee camp with a combined population of 50,000. The arrow towards Netanya, begins in Tul Karm, with 60,000 people. The Tel Aviv arrow emerges from the area of Qalqilya, with 40,000; and the Ashdod arrow come from the Beyt Jala-Bethlehem area, with 40,000 as well.
But these figures actually underplay the problem. All of these areas include other towns and refugee camps nearby, substantially increasing the relevant population numbers. And if Ashdod is threatened by a distance of 36 Kms, then surely Netanya should be concerned about Nablus, which is even nearer, and is home to 130,000 Palestinians. And we could go on to address Gaza, with over a million Palestinians, and even closer to Israeli cities than much of the West Bank; or A-Ram, Abu Dis, and Ramallah and all the other places with hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, which sit right on top of Jerusalem, one of Israel’s largest population centers.
It is really quite simple. Israel is really small. But the West Bank is even smaller; and its Palestinian population lives just as near the 1967 borders as Israel’s. So if ceding territory near its population centers makes Israel truly “indefensible”, that means Israel must retain control of almost all Palestinians. In other words, when Netanyahu says the 1967 borders are “indefensible”, this does not mean Israel must seek to avoid conceding too much West Bank land. It means Israel cannot make any concessions.
That position, however, is completely incongruent with Netanyahu’s statements expressing willingness to negotiate and compromise, up to and including a demilitarized Palestinian state in the West Bank. Therefore, when Netanyahu employs the 1967 borders argument, he is cynically using the security issue to disguise his true concern, which is to keep as much land as possible under Israeli control, while ridding it of the responsibility for the Palestinians who live near (sometimes, on) those lands. It has nothing to do with Israel’s defense.
(972mag.com / 21.05.2011)
Wim Van Rooy stelde samen met zijn zoon Sam een essaybundel over de islam samen. Vader en zoon tonen zich deze week in Knack sceptisch over de uitkomst van de Arabische revoluties.
“Dat al die demonstrerende moslims in het Midden-Oosten democratie zouden willen zoals wij die hier kennen, is louter westers wensdenken. Op maandag betogen mensen voor vrijheid, op dinsdag mishandelen diezelfde mensen vrouwen omdat zij ook vrijheid vragen.”
“De islam deugt niet”, is de laatste zin van de inleiding van jullie boek. En dan zijn jullie verbaasd dat men jullie ziet als islamrammers?
Wim van Rooy: Waar ik geen woord van terugneem: de islam deugt inderdaad niet. Ik heb het nu niet over de islamitische orthopraxis, de gedragsvoorschriften, dat lijkt sterk op het orthodoxe jodendom, een hoop geboden en verboden, je mag je achterste niet afvegen met je rechterhand, je moet ramadan houden enzovoort, dingen die de doorsnee eenentwintigste-eeuwer allemaal belachelijk vindt, maar het is in ieder geval vrij onschuldig. Maar als je de ideologie ziet die daarachter zit – die in ons boek door Ibn Warraq geanalyseerd wordt als fascistisch –, en die gesteund wordt door de OIC, en die ook opgelegd wordt door de imams en de oelama’s die ertoe doen, zoals Joessoef Al-Qaradawi, een van de huidige spirituele leiders van de MB, dan weet je: er is iets heel akeligs aan de hand met die islam. Meneer Al-Qaradawi heeft bijvoorbeeld verklaard dat Hitler een instrument van Allah was om de joden te straffen.
Hoe verklaren jullie dan de ‘Arabische lente’? Zoiets kán volgens jullie opvattingen dan toch eigenlijk niet bestaan?
Sam van Rooy: Dat al die demonstrerende moslims in het Midden-Oosten democratie zouden willen zoals wij die hier kennen, is louter westers wensdenken. De arabiste Laila Al-Zwaini schreef een tijdje geleden nog heel terecht in de Volkskrant: ‘De Arabische lente wordt sowieso een islamitische zomer.’ De 300 vrouwen die het aandurfden om op Internationale Vrouwendag, na de val van president Hosni Mubarak, op het Tahrirplein in Caïro te gaan demonstreren, werden geslagen en sommigen van hen aangerand door Egyptische mannen. De politie deed niets. Dát is het nieuwe Egypte: op maandag betogen mensen voor vrijheid, en op dinsdag mishandelen diezelfde mensen vrouwen omdat ook zij vrijheid vragen. De kleine minderheid die écht democratie en minder islam wil, zit weg te kwijnen op Twitter en is zo minuscuul dat ze niets betekent.
Wim van Rooy: Het enige wat de opstandelingen verenigt is hun verzet tegen het regime. Zij willen brood op de plank – maar ze willen niet minder islam, ze willen niet meer rechten voor vrouwen en voor christelijke of joodse minderheden, ze willen geen vrede met Israël. Recente onderzoeksresultaten van het Pew Research Center zijn ontnuchterend. De meerderheid van de Egyptenaren vindt nog steeds dat afvalligen mogen worden gedood.
(knack.rnews.be / 21.05.2011)