Saturday, March 29, 2008

Fitna, Wilders & Quraan

By Mike Ghouse & Imam Zia-ul-Haq Shaikh

It is a Muslim response to Geert Wilders documentary called "Fitna".There are 14 mis-translated verses of Qur'aan in the movie that are listed along with the correct translation.“Geert Wilders, Dutch conservative lawmaker, has made a sixteen minute film called "Fitna" (trouble) exposing the horrific passages of the Koran. Wilders refers to theses selected verses as “fascist.’” of all, as a Muslim, I want to thank Geert Wilders for making this documentary, the verses, as he has quoted certainly sound fascist.Continued at:

Fitan, Wilders and Quraan

Fitna, Wilders & Quraan

By Mike Ghouse & Imam Zia-ul-Haq Shaikh
It is a Muslim response to Geert Wilders documentary called "Fitna".

There are 14 mis-translated verses of Qur'aan in the movie that are listed along with the correct translation.

“Geert Wilders, Dutch conservative lawmaker, has made a sixteen minute film called "Fitna" (trouble) exposing the horrific passages of the Koran. Wilders refers to theses selected verses as “fascist.’”

First of all, as a Muslim, I want to thank Geert Wilders for making this documentary, the verses, as he has quoted certainly sound fascist.

Continued at:

Friday, March 21, 2008

Tibet - A search for Balance

Cyber Voices on Tibet - A Search For Balance

New America Media, News analysis, Xujun Eberlein, Posted: Mar 21, 2008

Editor’s note: While the mainstream media in China is sounding its regular propaganda on Tibet, the Chinese cyberspace is calling for more balanced reporting and providing multiple points of view and objective assessments as well as on the ground reporting. NAM contributor Xujun Eberlein’s book "Apologies Forthcoming" will be published in May.

Getting a clear picture of what is happening in Tibet is no easy task. Bias is evident in both the Chinese and Western media coverage. A number of interested and thoughtful bloggers, however, have managed to paint a plausible picture, from which one does get important on-the-scene observations that help spotlight what's going on.

Independent blogs that are carefully monitoring the media coverage on China and gathering balanced information and views include Danwei (English), Zuola (Chinese), and Zonaeuropa EastSouthWestNorth ( English and Chinese). In covering the Tibet unrest, they point out inaccuracies as they can, and add photos and observations. As yet, the clearest opening for resolving the conflicts seems to lie in reconciling China's historical claims to a framework for Tibetan Autonomy, although it's not clear whether it's too late to reach a compromise for the new generation.

Meanwhile, the authorities are pointing fingers. During a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday, China's Premier Wen Jiabao accused "the Dalai camp" of organizing, plotting and instigating the riots in Lhasa that began on March 10. He said he had "enough evidence to prove" the accusation, however no evidence was given.

On the same day, in DhĂ„ramsala, while pleading "both China and the Tibetans — don't commit violence," the Dalai Lama theorized that "it's possible some Chinese agents are involved there. Sometimes totalitarian regimes are very clever, so it is important to investigate." An implausible theory given how desperately Beijing wants to keep human rights issues out of the news with the upcoming Olympics.

The cyber voices in China are largely "harmonized" – on major Chinese commercial websites one can only hear uniform shouting such as "Resolutely oppose separatism!" Fortunately though, there are a few individual websites and blogs providing multiple points of view and objective assessments; one of them is This site operates on a principle that "media should not be owned by government; from government comes propaganda. We all know, as common sense, information from CCTV is not all that believable. Treat it similarly with Westerners' quoting of RFA."

While Beijing's blocking of international journalists and blog sites is plain stupid, if not unexpected, it is a bit more surprising that the preponderance of U.S. news reports have not been that insightful either. Mainstream media is quoting unverified or unconfirmed casualty figures and showing inappropriately edited photos. In one case, CNN cropped a photo that originally showed Tibetans throwing stones at a Chinese military vehicle. By cutting the right side where the Tibetan crowd is, the remaining part of photo becomes a scene of the vehicle chasing running people. This biased reporting was also caught by posters on, and it angered Chinese cyber readers, effectively pouring oil on the fire.

The U.S. media noticed that the unrest began on the day of the 49th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising, which resulted in the Dalai Lama's exile. There has been little, if any, mention however of the role of the CIA in supporting that uprising.

Given government and media biases, independent bloggers and tourists became more credible resources. An American blogger cyber-named Kadfly whose eyewitness photos are now widely spread on the Internet, gave first-hand accounts from Lhasa on March 14.

"I want to make one thing clear because all of the major news outlets are ignoring a very important fact. Yes, the Chinese government bears a huge amount of blame for this situation. But the protests yesterday were NOT peaceful. The original protests from the past few days may have been, but all of the eyewitnesses in this room agree the protesters yesterday went from attacking Chinese police to attacking innocent people very, very quickly. They appeared to target Muslim and Han Chinese individuals and businesses first but many Tibetans were also caught in the crossfire."

Because of this post, a few commentators insinuated that Kadfly was a Chinese agent, and he took down some of the photos yesterday.

A report by The New York Times' Jim Yardley asserts that "Tibet was effectively independent for decades before communist troops entered in 1950." This view is commonly held by Westerners, while the Western media fails to acknowledge the Chinese view that China has a historical claim of Tibet tracing back to Yuan Dynasty (13-14th century). During the Qing Dynasty, the government of China formally conferred the titles of Tibet's two spiritual and political leaders, the Dalai Lama and the Banchan (Panchen) Lama, one for "Front Tibet" and the other for "Rear Tibet." However, the act of conference is not considered significant from the Tibetan perspective today.

Because of these historical factors, to ask China to let go of Tibet's territorial rights would be as difficult as asking the United States to give up the American West.

On the other hand, the Chinese are not justified in denying their cultural and ideological intrusion of Tibet since 1950, which appears to be the historical reason for the Tibetans' anger today. In the dynasties from Yuan to Qing, Tibet's cultural and religious practice had been largely left alone by the emperors. The Dalai and Banchan Lamas effectively controlled most internal affairs. This changed after the Chinese army marched to Tibet in 1950 and, in the process, built a highway for the first time, through which the Chinese brought in goods, people and Communism without asking the Tibetans. Had the Communist government left Tibet as autonomous as it was during the dynasties, Tibetans might have had less modern but more independent lives.

While the Chinese cultural and political intrusion to Tibet is factual, the issue of Tibet's territorial rights may never be agreed upon by both sides. Unlike the Westerners who hear only one side of view and firmly support Tibet independence, the Dalai Lama knows better. Apparently realizing the infeasibility of requesting jurisdictional independence, the Dalai Lama maintains his high ground and calls for Tibet's autonomy instead.

In fact, Tibet's autonomy, provided its jurisdiction remains within China, may not be as far away as it seems. In the 1980s, a relatively more open-minded leader of post-Mao China, Hu Yaobang, visited Tibet to investigate policy and returned with strong recommendations for change. He subsequently carried out a political reform to allow more religious freedom in Tibet. Unfortunately, this reform was cut short by a series of riots in Lhasa and, in part because of this, Hu Yaobang was purged and the policies reversed.

China is under transition today and political reform is again called for. The current Tibet unrest and the Beijing Olympics may have actually provided an opportunity to China's leaders. When asked by Western reporters, Premier Wen Jiabao mentioned in Tuesday's press conference that his government would consider inviting independent international investigators to Tibet, a welcome gesture. It would be even wiser for Beijing to invite the Dalai Lama to negotiate the terms for Tibet's autonomy.

Yet Beijing is not the only obstacle to the Dalai Lama's mission; he is also facing a dissenting voice within the exile-Tibetans' camp. A Western blogger with unidentified nationality, China Hand, spotted the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph report on Tuesday that quotes Tsewang Rigzin, president of the Tibetan Youth Congress, as saying,

"There is a growing frustration within the Tibetan community, especially in the young generation." "I certainly hope the Middle Way approach will be reviewed. As we can see from the protests here and all over the world, the Tibetan people remain committed to achieving independence."

China Hand points out on his blog China Matters that, as the leader of the largest Tibetan emigre NGO, with 30,000 members and over 80 chapters, the TYC’s stated objective is to “restore Tibet's lost independence.” Tsewang Rigzin is working to "marginalize the Dalai Lama and undercut him as the leader of the worldwide Tibetan movement," says China Hand.

Tibet is not unique in presenting a complex set of political, economic, ethnic, cultural and religious challenges. Single-minded solutions do not seem likely to work.

Articles on Tibet

Articles by Viji Sundaram

A Tibetan in Nepal

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bloodbath in Jerusalem

"I Came, I Saw, I Destroyed"

by Uri Avnery
March 15, 2008

Mike Ghouse: Until the silent majority of Jews in America and Israel speak up against injustices, and until the majority of the Palestinians speak up. Peace will be difficult to come by. The extremists on both sides will keep killing the people, while shamelessly each majority engages in blaming the other. It is not the other, it is the extremists who are a blockade to peace. Their ideas have not worked in 60 years, why should it work now? They are destructive! People, take over the leadership and let peace makers bring real peace.

What happened this week is so infuriating, so impertinent, that it stands out even in our familiar landscape of governmental irresponsibility.

On the near horizon, a de facto suspension of hostilities was taking shape. The Egyptians had made great efforts to turn it into an official cease-fire. The flame was already burning visibly lower. The launching of Qassams and Grads from the Gaza Strip into Israel had fallen from dozens a day to two or three.

And then something happened that turned the flame up high again: undercover soldiers of the Israeli army killed four Palestinians militants in Bethlehem. A fifth was killed in a village near Tulkarm.

THE MODUS OPERANDI left no doubt about the intention.

As usual, the official version was mendacious. (When the army spokesman speaks the truth, he is ashamed and immediately hurries on to the next lie.) The four, it was said, drew their weapons and endangered the life of the soldiers, who only wanted to arrest them, so they were compelled to open fire.

Anyone with half a brain knows that this is a lie. The four were in a small car on the main street of Bethlehem, the road that has joined Jerusalem and Hebron since British (or Turkish) times. They were indeed armed, but they had no chance at all of drawing their weapons. The car was simply sprayed with dozens of bullets.

That was not an attempt to make an arrest. That was an execution, pure and simple, one of those summary executions in which the Shin Bet fulfils the roles of prosecutor, judge and executioner.

This time no effort was even made to pretend that the four were about to carry out a murderous attack. It was not claimed, for example, that they had anything to do with last week's attack on the Mercaz Harav seminary, the flagship of the settlers' fleet. Actually, no such pretense could be put forward, because the most important of the four had recently given interviews to the Israeli media and announced that he was availing himself of the Israeli "pardon scheme" - a Shin Bet program under which "wanted" militants give up their arms and undertake to cease resistance to the occupation. He was also a candidate in the last Palestinian elections.

If so, why where they killed? The Shin Bet did not hide the reason: two of the four had participated in attacks in 2001 in which Israelis were killed.

"Our long arm will get them even years later," Ehud Barak boasted on TV, "we shall get everyone with Jewish blood on his hands."

SIMPLY PUT: The Defense Minister and his men endangered today's cease-fire in order to avenge something that happened seven years ago.

It was obvious to all that the killing of Islamic Jihad militants in Bethlehem would cause the renewal of the Qassam launchings on Sderot. And so it happened.

The effect of a Qassam rocket is completely unpredictable. For the residents of Sderot, this is a kind of Israeli Roulette - the rocket may fall in an empty field, it may fall on a building, sometimes it kills people.

In other words, according to Barak himself, he was ready to risk Jewish lives today in order to take revenge on persons who may perhaps have shed blood years ago and have since given up their armed activity.

The emphasis is on the word "Jewish". In his statement, Barak took care not to speak about persons "with blood on their hands", but about those "with Jewish blood on their hands". Jewish blood, of course, is quite different from any other blood. And indeed, there is no person in the Israeli leadership with so much blood on his hands as him. Not abstract blood, not metaphorical blood, but very real red blood. In the course of his military service, Barak has personally killed quite a number of Arabs. Whoever shakes his hand - from Condoleezza Rice to this week's honored guest, Angela Merkel - is shaking a hand with blood on it.

THE BETHLEHEM killing raises a number of hard questions, but with very few exceptions, the media did not voice them. They shirk their duty, as usual when it concerns "security" problems.

Real journalists in a real democratic state would have asked the following questions:

Who was it who decided on the executions in Bethlehem - Ehud Olmert? Ehud Barak? The Shin Bet? All of them? None of them?
Did the decision-makers understand that by condemning the militants in Bethlehem to death, they were also condemning to death any residents of Sderot or Ashkelon who might be killed by the rockets launched in revenge?
Did they understand that they were also boxing the ears of Mahmoud Abbas, whose security forces, which in theory are in charge of Bethlehem, would be accused of collaborating with the Israeli death-squad?
Was the real aim of the action to undermine the cease-fire that had come about in practice in the Gaza Strip (and the reality of which was official denied both by Olmert and Barak, even while the number of rockets launched fell from dozens a day to just two or three?)
Does the Israeli government generally object to a cease-fire that would free Sderot and Ashkelon from the threat of the rockets?
If so, why?
The media did not demand that Olmert and Barak expose to the public the considerations that led them to adopt this decision, which concerns every person in Israel. And no wonder. These are, after all, the same media that danced for joy when the same government started an ill-considered and superfluous war in Lebanon. They are also the same media that kept silent, this week, when the government decided to hit the freedom of the press and to boycott the Aljazeera TV network, as punishment for showing babies killed during the Israeli army's recent incursion in Gaza.

But for two or three courageous journalists with an independent mind, all our written and broadcast media march in lockstep, like a Prussian regiment on parade, when the word "security" is mentioned.

(This phenomenon was exposed this week in CounterPunch by a journalist named Yonatan Mendel, a former employee of the popular Israeli web-site Walla. He pointed out that all the media, from the Channel 1 news program to the Haaretz news pages, as if by order, voluntarily use exactly the same slanted terminology: the Israeli army confirms and the Palestinians claim, Jews are murdered while Palestinians are killed or find their death, Jews are abducted while Arabs are arrested, the Israeli army always responds while the Palestinians always attack, the Jews are soldiers while Arabs are terrorists or just murderers, the Israeli army always hits high-ranking terrorists and never low-ranking terrorists, men and women suffering from shock are always Jews, never Arabs. And, as we said, people with blood on their hands are always Arabs, never-ever Jews. This, by the way, also goes for much of the foreign coverage of events here.)

WHEN THE GOVERNMENT does not disclose its intentions, we have no choice but to deduce its intentions from its actions. That is a judicial rule: when a person does something with a foreseeable result, it is assumed that he did it in order to obtain this result.

The government which decided on the killing in Bethlehem undoubtedly intended to torpedo the cease-fire.

Why does it want to do so?

There are several possible kinds of cease-fire. The most simple is the cessation of hostilities on the Gaza Strip border. No Qassams, Grads and mortar shells on the one side, no targeted assassinations, bombardments, shelling and incursion on the other side.

It is known that the army objects to that. They want to be free to "liquidate" from the air and raid on the ground. They want a one-sided cease-fire.

A limited cease-fire is impossible. Hamas cannot agree to it, as long as the blockade cuts the Strip off on all sides and turn life there into hell - not enough medicines, not enough food, the seriously ill cannot reach appropriate hospitals, the movement of cars has come to an almost complete standstill, no imports or exports, no production or commercial activity. The opening of all border crossings for the movement of goods is, therefore, an essential component of a cease-fire.

Our government is not willing to do that, because it would mean the consolidation of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip. Government sources hint that Abbas and his people in Ramallah also object to the lifting of the blockade - a malicious rumor, because it would mean that Abbas is conducting a war against his own people. President Bush also rejects a cease-fire, even while his people pretend the opposite. Europe, as usual, is trailing along behind the US.

Can Hamas agree to a cease-fire that would apply only to the Gaza Strip but not to the West Bank? That is doubtful. This week it was proven that the Islamic Jihad organization in Gaza cannot stand idly by while its members are killed in Bethlehem. Hamas could not stand by in Gaza and enjoy the fruits of government if the Israeli army were to kill Hamas militants in Nablus or Jenin. And, of course, no Palestinian would agree that the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are two separate entities.

A Gaza-only cease-fire would allow Barak to blow it to pieces at any moment by a Bethlehem-style provocation. This is how it could go: Hamas agrees to a Gaza-only cease-fire, the Israeli army kills a dozen Hamas members in Hebron, Hamas responds by launching Grad missiles at Ashkelon, Olmert tells the world: You see? The terrorist Hamas is violating the cease-fire, which proves that we have no partner!

This means that a real and durable cease-fire, which would create the necessary atmosphere for real peace negotiations, must include the West Bank, too. Olmert-Barak would not dream of agreeing to that. And as long as George Bush is around, there will be no effective pressure on our government.

APROPOS: who is really in charge in Israel at this time?

This week's events point to the answer: the man who makes the decisions is Ehud Barak, the most dangerous person in Israel, the very same Barak who blew up the Camp David conference and persuaded the entire Israeli public that "we have no partner for peace".

2052 years ago today, on the Ides of March, Julius Caesar was assassinated. Ehud Barak sees himself as a latter-day local replica of the Roman general. He, too, would dearly want to report: "I came, I saw, I conquered."

But the reality is rather different: He came, he saw, he destroyed.

Uri Avneri, is a German-born Israeli journalist, peace activist, and former three-term Knesset member, who was originally a member of the right-wing Revisionist Zionist movement. He is a founding member, Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace and a founding member, "Gush Shalom" (Peace Bloc), Independent Peace Mevement.

This column can be found online at:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Terrorism is anti-Islamic

TERRORISM IS ANTI-ISLAMIC, A declaration by 10,000 Clerics

I am pleased to see this statement aka Fatwa by one of the World's largest Islamic learning centers. It is good to see the establishment take action. I welcome this wholeheartedly.

Bush's war on terrorism is a dismal failure because it does not target the individual criminals who can be reached, accessed and punished. Instead he blames the religion, which is intangible, meaning cannot punish the religion, as it is not a target, or gives birth to terrorists. He and his advisors fail to understand that it is not the religion, it is the individuals that need to be targeted, then we will have success. (article on why the war on terror failed )

The President and his men, do not have the guts to deal with issue head on, i.e., going after the terrorist individuals, instead they run amuck, blazing the gun in every direction hoping something will come in its way and gets killed. On the other hand the declared war on terrorism may be a sham, it may be really a war to control the energy resources, we are the beneficiaries not doubt, but I would rather focus on alternate sources than have the means on some one else's blood.

Mike Ghouse

The Deoband Declaration on Terrorism: Why Now?
Dost Mittar March 10, 2008
Darul Uloom of Deoband is the second most important institute of Islamic learning in the world after the Al Azhar University of Cairo. On February 25, 2008, it held a large “All India Terrorism Conference” in its hometown, which was attended by over 10,000 Islamic clerics, scholars, muftis and teachers of Madrasas owing allegiance not only to Deobandi but also Barelavi and Shia schools of Islamic thought. The conference issued a statement that included the following declaration:

"Islam is the religion of mercy for all humanity. It is the fountainhead of eternal peace, tranquility [and] security. Islam has given so much importance to human beings that it regards the killing of a single person [as] the killing [of] the entire humanity, without differentiation based on creed and caste. Its teaching of peace encompasses all humanity. Islam has taught its followers to treat all mankind with equality, mercy, tolerance [and] justice. Islam sternly condemns all kinds of oppression, violence and terrorism. It has regarded oppression, mischief, rioting and murdering among [the] severest sins and crimes.
"This All India Anti-Terrorism Conference, attended by the representatives of all Muslim schools of thought, organised by Rabta Madaris Islamiah Arabia (The Islamic Madrasas Association) Darul Uloom Deoband, condemns all kinds of violence and terrorism in the strongest possible terms.
"The Conference expresses its deep concern and agony [over] the alarming global and national conditions [presently prevailing in the world], in which most of the nations are adopting an attitude against their citizens - especially the Muslims - that cannot be justified in any way, in order to appease the tyrant and colonial master of the West. It is a matter of [even] greater concern that the internal and external policies of our country are becoming heavily influenced by these forces. Their aggression, barbarism and state-sponsored terrorism - not only in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan, but also in Bosnia and various South American countries - have surpassed all records known to human history. Our great nation, [on the other hand], has always been known for impartiality and [for] its moral and spiritual values.
"Now the situation has worsened [to such an extent] that every Indian Muslim - especially those associated with madrasas, who are innocent with good record of character - are always gripped by the fear that they might be trapped by the administrative machinery anytime. Today countless innocent Muslims are spending their lives behind bars, and are forced to bear many intolerable tortures. [At the same time], those spreading terror, attacking police stations, killing police [officers] in broad daylight and [carrying] illegal arms are roaming about freely, while the government takes no effective and preventive steps to check their acts of terrorism and violence.
"This [discriminatory] attitude has put a big question mark on the secular character of the government, posing a great threat to the country. The All India Anti-Terrorism Conference strongly condemns this attitude, expresses its deep concern [over] this partiality of the government officials, and declares its continuous joint struggle for [rule] of law, justice and [secularism].”

The above declaration does not refer to specific acts of terrorism, such as against the World Trade Centre or the Indian Parliament and the emphasis seems to be on the effect of negative publicity against Muslims in gerneral and on Indian Muslims in particular. It has been hailed as a strong condemnation of acts of terrorism in the name of Islam by the authoritative religious body. Leaders of both the Congress and the BJP parties have praised this statement.

Ever since the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre, Muslim religious organizations have been under persistent demands by the West to denounce such acts of terrorism. Such Western pressures have been especially intense on Darul Uloom of Deoband as many jihadi organizations have identified themselves as Deobandi. Jamiat Ulema Islami of Maulan Fazalul Rehman owes its allegiance to Deoband and Mullah Umar of Taliban was trained in a Deobandi madrassa. Al Qaida operatives are described as Wahabis who can be described as ideological twins of Deobandis. All these years, the religious leaders of Deoband have resisted the call for a denunciation of terrorist acts committed in the name of Islam. So, why this sudden need to issue this fatwa?

I think that the timing of the statement is related to the internal political dynamics of India. The Deobandis could earlier ignore the Western call for a religious edict against terrorism as Indian Muslims had by and large remained outside the influence of the international Islamic Jihad. On the other hand, they were paraded as an example of how Muslims can be peaceful under a democracy and democracy was prescribed as a cure-all against the influence of Islamic jihadists. Influential writers, such as Thomas Freedman of New York Times, attributed India’s democracy to the fact that no Indian Muslim was found in the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba for the Al Qaida suspects. They were also helped by the fact that Indian governments of all political persuasions routinely blamed Pakistan and Pakistani agencies for all acts of terrorism committed in India.

The situation has changed in recent months. Indian Muslims have been involved in international acts of terrorism, including suicide bombing. The thaw in the Indo-Pak relations has resulted in Indian officials not blaming Pakistan in a routine manner for all acts of terrorism in India. More and more of the recent attacks have been traced to homegrown terrorists and to members of organizations such as SIMI. This has increased pressure of the Indian security agencies on Indian Muslims, leading to the difficult situation of hapless Indian Muslims alluded to in the Deobandi declaration.

Another domestic development is the possibility of a general election for the Indian Lok Sabha. The UPA government has been busy clearing the decks for a possible general election later this year. It has brought in a popular Railways budget which has reduced passenger fares for all and provided free passes and further concessions for students and senior citizens. In a populous general buget, it has waived Rs. 60,000 crores worth of loans to farmers and substantially raised income tax exemptions which affect the middle class.

The Congress Party also wants to be in the good books of Indian Muslims. It is quite conscious of losing its hold on its Muslim vote bank, following the demolition of the Babri Masjid and has been working assiduously in recent years to rehabilitate itself as their natural party once again. It instituted the Sachar Commission to examine the state of Indian Muslims. The Commission came out with a significant set of recommendations to improve the conditions of Indian Muslims and to bring them into the national mainstream. The government has decided to implement many of those recommendations and has set aside a substantial amount for this purpose in the current budget.

The UPA government is also aware of the fact that the BJP is planning to make national security a major election issue in the next election and hopes to repeat the success it had with that issue in the Gujarat state elections last year. To blunt such an attack, the Congress and Left Parties, who are deemed to be friendly towards Indian Muslims, have been pleading with Darul Uloom, Deoband and other Muslim organizations to come out openly against terrorism in the name of Islam. I believe that this conference and its declaration are the result of this pressure. This is also the reason why the statement lays emphasis on the adverse impact of the charge of terrorism on Indian Muslims.

Will there be an election in India this year? I think that the Congress Party has taken the decision to go ahead with the Indo-US nuclear deal despite the staunch opposition to it by the Communist parties who have made it loud and clear that they will withdraw their support to the government in such an eventuality. If the Communists withdraw their support, the government is bound to fall, leading to an election. Another variable in determining the likelihood of elections this year will be the outcome of state elections in important states, such as Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. If the Congress Party does well in these elections, there would be an extra incentive for it to call an election, regardless of the outcome of the nuclear deal.

As a screaming headline in the Times of India proclaimed, All Voting Lines Are Clear!

Two other articles:

Tags: terrorism , Indian Muslims , Deoband , madrassas , India


SUBJECT LINE : Terrorism is anti-Islamic

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Five-Day War in Gaza

"Kill 100 Turks and Rest"
The Five-Day War in Gaza

I was reminded this week of the old tale about a Jewish mother taking leave of her son, who has been called up to serve in the Czar's army against the Turks.

"Don't exert yourself too much," she admonishes him, "Kill a Turk and rest. Kill another Turk and rest again…"

"But mother," he exclaims, "What if the Turk kills me?"

"Kill you?" she cries out, "Why? What have you done to him?"

This is not a joke (and this is not a week for jokes). It is a lesson in psychology. I was reminded of it when I read Ehud Olmert's statement that more than anything else he was furious about the outburst of joy in Gaza after the attack in Jerusalem, in which eight yeshiva students were killed.

Before that, last weekend, the Israeli army killed 120 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, half of them civilians, among them dozens of children. That was not "kill a Turk and rest". That was "kill a hundred Turks and rest". But Olmert does not understand.

The Five-Day war in Gaza (as a Hamas leader called it) was but another short chapter in the Israeli-Palestinian struggle. This bloody monster is never satisfied; its appetite just grows with the eating.

This chapter started with the "targeted liquidation" of five senior militants inside the Gaza Strip. The "response" was a salvo of rockets, and this time not only on Sderot, but also on Ashkelon and Netivot. The "response" to the "response" was the army's incursion and the wholesale killing.

The stated aim was, as always, to stop the launching of the rockets. The means: killing a maximum of Palestinians, in order to teach them a lesson. The decision was based on the traditional Israeli concept: hit the civilian population again and again, until it overthrows its leaders. This has been tried hundreds of times and has failed hundreds of times.

As if an example for the folly of the propagators of this concept had been lacking, it was provided on TV by ex-general Matan Vilnai, when he said that the Palestinians are "bringing a Shoah on themselves". The Hebrew word Shoah is known all over the world, where it has one clear meaning: the Holocaust carried out by the Nazis against the Jews. Vilnai's utterance spread like a bushfire throughout the Arab world and set off a shock wave. I, too, received dozens of phone calls and e-mail messages from all over the world. How to convince people that in day-to-day Hebrew usage, Shoah means "only" a great disaster, and that General Vilnai, a former candidate for Chief of Staff, is not the most intelligent of people?

Some years ago, President Bush called for a "Crusade" against terrorism. He had no idea that for hundreds of millions of Arabs, the word "Crusade" brings to mind one of the biggest crimes in human history, the appalling massacre committed by the original crusaders against the Muslims (and Jews) in the alleys of Jerusalem. In an intelligence contest between Bush and Vilnai, the outcome, if any, would be in doubt.
Vilnai does not understand what the word "Shoah" means to others, and Olmert does not understand why there is rejoicing in Gaza after the attack on the yeshiva in Jerusalem. Wise men like these direct the state, the government and the army. Wise men like these control public opinion through the media. What is common to all of them: blunted sensibilities to the feelings of anybody who is not Jewish/Israeli. From this springs their inability to understand the psychology of the other side, and hence the consequences of their own words and actions.

This is also expressed in the inability to understand why the Hamas people claimed victory in the Five-Day War. What victory? After all, only two Israeli soldiers and one Israeli civilian were killed, as against 120 Palestinian dead, both fighters and civilians.

But this battle was fought between one of the strongest armies in the world, equipped with the most modern arms on earth, and a few thousand irregulars with primitive arms. If the battle ended in a draw - and such a battle always ends in a draw - this is a great victory for the weak side. In Lebanon War II and in the Gaza war.

(Binyamin Netanyahu made one of the most stupid statements this week, when he demanded that "the Israeli army must move from attrition to decision". In a struggle like this, there never is a decision.)

The real effect of such an operation is not expressed in material and quantitative facts: so-and-so many dead, so-and-so many injured, so-and-so much destroyed. It is expressed in psychological results that cannot be measured, and therefore are inaccessible to the minds of generals: how much hatred has been added to the seething pool, how many new potential suicide bombers were produced, how many people vowed revenge and became ticking bombs - like the Jerusalem youngster, who woke up one bright morning this week, got himself a weapon, went to the Mercaz Harav yeshiva, the mother of all settlements, and killed as many as he could.

Now the political and military leadership of Israel sits down to discuss what to do, how to "respond". No new idea has come up or will come up, because not one of these politicians and generals is able to bring up a new idea. They can only go back to the hundred things they have already done, and that have failed a hundred times.

The first step on the way out of this madness is the readiness to question all our concepts and methods of the last 60 years and start thinking again, right from the beginning.

That is always hard. That is even harder for us, because our leadership has no freedom of thought - its thinking is very closely tied to the thinking of the American leadership.

This week, a shocking document was published: David Rose's article in Vanity Fair. It describes how US officials have in recent years dictated every single step of the Palestinian leadership, down to the most minute detail. Though the article does not touch the Israeli-American relationship (in itself a surprising omission) it goes without saying that the American course, including the smallest items, is coordinated with the Israeli government.

Why shocking? These things were already known, in general terms. In this respect, that article held no surprises: (a) The Americans ordered Mahmoud Abbas to hold parliamentary elections, in order to present Bush as bringing democracy to the Middle East. (b) Hamas won a surprise victory. (c) The Americans imposed a boycott on the Palestinians, in order to nullify the election results. (d) Abbas diverted for a moment from the policy dictated to him and, under Saudi auspices (and pressure), made an agreement with Hamas, (e) The Americans put an end to this and compelled Abbas to turn over all security services to Muhammad Dahlan, whom they had chosen for the role of strongman in Palestine, (f) The Americans provided plenty of money and arms to Dahlan, trained his men and ordered him to carry out a military coup against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, (g) The elected Hamas government forestalled the move and itself carried out an armed counter-coup.

All this was known before. What is new is that the mixture of news, rumors and intelligent guesses has now condensed into an authoritative, well substantiated report, based on official US documents. It testifies to the abysmal American ignorance, which trumps even Israeli ignorance, of the internal Palestinian processes.

George Bush, Condoleezza Rice, the Zionist neocon Elliott Abrams and the assortment of American generals innocent of any knowledge are competing with Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni, Ehud Barak and our own assorted generals, whose understanding reaches as far as the end of the gun barrels of their tanks.

The Americans have in the meantime destroyed Dahlan by exposing him publicly as their agent, on the lines of "he's a son-of-a-bitch, but he is our son-of-a-bitch". This week Condoleezza dealt a mortal blow to Abbas, too. He had announced in the morning that he was suspending the (meaningless) peace negotiations with Israel, the very minimum he could do in response to the Gaza atrocities. Rice, who received the news while she was having breakfast in the exciting company of Livni, immediately called Abbas and ordered him to cancel his announcement. Abbas gave in, thus exposing himself to his people in all his nakedness.

Logic was not given to the People of Israel on Mount Sinai, but handed down from Mount Olympus to the ancient Greeks. In spite of this drawback, let us try to apply it.

What is our government trying to achieve in Gaza? It wants to topple Hamas rule (and incidentally also put an end to the launching of rockets against Israel).

It tried to achieve this by imposing a total blockade on the population, hoping that they would rise up and overthrow Hamas. This failed. The alternative course is to re-occupy the entire Strip. That would carry a high price in lives of soldiers, perhaps more than the Israeli public is ready to pay. Also, it will not help, because Hamas will return the moment the Israeli troops withdraw. (In accordance with Mao Zedong's first rule for guerrillas: "When the enemy advances, withdraw. When the enemy withdraws, advance.")

The only result of the Five-Day War is the strengthening of Hamas and the rallying of the Palestinian people behind it - not just in the Gaza Strip, but in the West Bank and Jerusalem, too. Their victory celebration was justified. The launching of rockets did not stop. The range of the rockets is increasing.

But let us assume that this policy had succeeded and that Hamas had been broken. What then? Abbas and Dahlan could return only on top of Israeli tanks, as subcontractors of the occupation. No insurance company would cover their lives. And if they did not come back, there would be chaos, out of which extreme forces would emerge the like of which we cannot even imagine.

Conclusion: Hamas is there. It cannot be ignored. We have to reach a cease-fire with it. Not a sham offer of "if they stop shooting first, then we will stop shooting". A cease-fire, like a tango, needs two participants. It must come out of a detailed agreement that will include the cessation of all hostilities, armed and otherwise, in all the territories.

The cease-fire will not hold if it is not accompanied by speeded-up negotiations for a long-term armistice (hudna) and peace. Such negotiations cannot be held with Fatah and not Hamas, nor with Hamas and not Fatah. Therefore, what is needed is a Palestinian government that includes both movements. It must bring in personalities who enjoy the confidence of the entire Palestinian people, such as Marwan Barghouti.

That is the very opposite of the present Israeli-American policy, which forbids Abbas even to talk with Hamas. In all the Israeli leadership, as in all the American leadership, there is no one who dares to spell this out openly. Therefore, what has been is what will be.

We will kill a hundred Turks and rest. And from time to time, a Turk will come and kill some of us.

Why, for God's sake? What have we done to them?
Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. He is a contributor to The Politics of Anti-Semitism.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Yes we can, peace in Gaza

Mike Ghouse, March 8, 2008

Justice is the basis for peace, and the responsibility to bring justice falls squarely on the powerful shoulders of the al-mighty nations.

Israel owes peace and security to her citizens and it is directly dependent on the security and peace needs of the Palestinians. You cannot live in peace, when your neighbor's aren't. Finding a balance is the most difficult thing to do and both the nations are trying and failing. No wonder the phrase "love thy neighbor" plays such a crucial role in every society.

When Hamas does not rein in those who are shelling the rockets into Israeli territory, Israel finds tempting to avenge it out and the world takes a back step as well.

Hamas can earn the moral high grounds by holding the shelling, and if Israel continues the attacks, then the world will empathize with the Palestinians and most likely the peace process gets a chance. The unfortunate reality is that every time Israelis and Palestinians are inclined to talk, we mess it up badly with a veto against the consensus of the world, and shamelessly it is against the long term interests of Israel. Neither the Hawks in Israel, nor our administration is willing to refresh their thinking. Ultimately, the parties have to figure out how to co-exist.
Mother Teresa said, "If you want peace, go talk with your enemies, you don't make peace with your friends". I do hope the state department genuinely attempts to assess the policies that would work. Right now, they are chasing their own tails.

A few basics need to be addressed and understood by all the parties.

Jews have a need to be understood and be acknowledged for their eternal security needs, not the military, but mental security where they can put their guards down and live their life in peace.

Palestinians have suffered immeasurably; no human should be stripped of his or her hope and dignity; hopes to have a family, work and own a house and call a place their homeland and live a life of dignity.

The end game of our policy should be peace. Our Presidents need to seriously look at what works and develop a vision for peace. They must understand that it may be going against the general opinion and perhaps against their very supporters; AIPAC. We need to take bold steps and produce peace for the people of Israel and Palestine.

Our foreign policy has relied on our gun powder and our ability to dole out alms to shove nations around the World to achieve our goals. The state department has forgotten that 'lasting relationships' hinge on a dialogue based on treating all parties on an equal footing.
If protection of Israel is based on injustice to either Palestinians or the Jews, our integrity has become questionable. We need to be above reproach. Mighty empires can crush the weak for a short term; in the long run every one goes down the tube. We cannot rob anyone and live with a good conscience.

The ways adopted by Israel and Hamas leaders has not worked and most likely will not produce the desired results; peace. We need to listen to average Israelis and Palestinians, we need to encourage the peace makers on both sides and give peace a chance.

I urge both the Moderate Jews and Palestinians to speak up; they need to put justice above the fear of repercussion from the neighbors and members of their communities. Right now, the shots are called by extremists on both sides, it needs to change. It is the fear of what the next Muslim or next Jew will tell them that frightens the moderates. They need to speak up and rein in, they are the absolute majority on both sides, otherwise the evil will persist, if the good people do nothing about it.

Write your comments to:
In the subject line please write :: Yes we can bring peace to Gaza


Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing Pluralism, politics, Islam, Religion, Terrorism, India and civic issues. His comments, news analysis, opinions and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website He can be reached at or (214) 325-1916


Saturday, March 1, 2008

Obama, the shepherd

Mike Ghouse, February 27, 2008

This is the first time in our nation's history that some one is speaking the needs, wants and voices of a majority of the people. He is neither a right winger extremist, nor a leftist but a moderate right down the middle embracing and bringing every American together to participate and contribute towards the success, safety and security of America.

An overwhelming majority of us are moderates, people who want to get along with everyone and focus on living the American dream; education, employment, family, children, car, home and a secure retirement. Thank God for Obama, he mirrors the aspirations of millions of Americans and is our new shepherd on the political spectrum. He will lead us to a safe, secure, strong, and respectable and a healthy America.

Obama is for a strong America, where our economic and military strength is leveraged to persuade nations to follow the policy of live and let live and imbibe the democratic principles of honoring the voices and acknowledging the validity of every member of the society. It is in our interest to have peace around us, it is in our interest to create a just world, when others are at peace, and we reap the dividends as well. It is economical to pursue peace than bully around and frighten others. When others are frightened, our peace and safety is on the line as well.

Barak believes in talking with enemy, rather than frustrating the enemy to a point where we have to guard our selves every moment of the day and watch out for the destruction of our own peace, safety and security. Mother Teresa had once said "If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies."

A healthy America is not a social medicine, as my fellow Republicans are brainwashed to believe. Our investment in the health of our people ensures that we have a reliable and productive work force, the healthier we are, the lesser the loss of time on job, more income produces more revenue. Where as an unhealthy America makes us lose on productivity and the costs that go with it. A healthy America is a productive America and it is in our national interest to preserve and strengthen it, this is the other side of coin of a strong America. It is not a charity; it is the best investment a nation can make in her people. The money we blew in Iraq could have done so much better for us at home.

Not all, but the core of the Republican Party is focused on manufacturing fear, building empires and relentlessly making enemies. We don’t need their nightmares. Neither of one of us in the world would live in peace with those attitudes. Their approach to Iraq has given birth to Al-Qaeda that was not there before and our presence in Iraq will produce more of them. It is time to respectfully give them their land and come back home with dignity and respect for the Iraqi’s to manage their own affairs. We are worse off today than we were in 2002. The few extremists in Republican Party frighten the public and then create false security, it is time for the majority of Republicans to speak up or lose in the elections. Barak has the inclination to remove the causes for such fears and his administration will restore our respect in the community of nations. That would be the best thing that can happen. It will make us morally strong again.

The Chinese philosopher Fo-Sho-Hing-Tsan-King meant to pass the following wisdom to our War mongers, “Conquer your foe by force, you increase his enmity; conquer by love, and you will reap no after-sorrow.” Until the hard core Republicans come down from their high horses and believe in humility, compassion, peace and respect for humanity, the Americans will keep them frustrated. The frighteners cannot be saviors.

A strong, safe, prosperous and healthy America should be our goal and Barak is the one who will deliver it.

Please register your attendance at:

Two part event: 1) Learn and share about Obama and 2) Make phone calls from your cell.

Sunday, March 2, 2008 - 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Banquet hall next door to Barbeque Tonite Restaurant
2540 Old Denton road, suite 173 - Old Denton at Trinity Mills (Bush Frwy)/ (972) 877-9133

Mike Ghouse
A Republican for Obama
(214) 325-1916

Write your comments to:
In the subject line please write :: Obama the Shepherd.


Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing Pluralism, politics, Islam, Religion, Terrorism, India and civic issues. His comments, news analysis, opinions and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website He can be reached at or (214) 325-1916