Thursday, 17 December 2009

Shame on Our Government

Thirst for controversy, desire to test limits and audacity to defy international law is nothing new for the Israeli Government. It does not surprise me when they come out speaking in the most arrogant terms. What struck me however, are the eagerness and unbelievable drive of certain of our leaders to provide shields for the cruel, inhumane and racist government of the illegal state of Israel.
When a court in the UK issued an arrest warrant, most people knew it will never be carried out. However, even the symbolic importance was enough to cheer many. For once, general public in the UK felt at least some part of their state was neutral to the Israeli bias and had the courage to challenge their act of war crimes.
However, if we had reasons to be very happy at the decision of the court, we now have reason to be ashamed of yet again for the act of our government. It is unprecedented that for one single decision affecting Israel, ministers of the likes of Milliband showing a strong, open and unequivocal desire to change a long standing legal principle of our land. People will have issues with certain legal principles, but on this occasion government seems to be keen to change a principle which all right minded people will agree to be fair, just and proper.
This latest act of our government put us to shame. We as a nation must refuse to provide cover for the war crimes committed against the innocent men and women of the largest open prison on the planet. It is time that we demand Israel to free the air, sea and land blockades of Gaza to allow for the Gazans to go about their daily lives. It is right that we shall insist on the freeze of Israeli settlement. It is time that we pressure the Zionist regime in Israel to face up to their barbarity implicated upon the oppressed people of the Palestine. But instead, to come out in such manner as our ministers have done to support Livni is yet another expression of ugly, unreasoned, illogical and utterly unacceptable support of our government and we, the citizens, must condemn this.
The attitude of the British and most ex-colonial powers have been unacceptable for some time. Their arrogance and 'superiority complex' have been evident in their dealing most recently at the Copenhagen summit. For far too long they have prevented our beautiful world to be fair. Certain powers of our civilisation have openly and covertly often prevented our planet to offer equal opportunity for all people, all nations and all races. It is only recently however, we began to gather momentum and acquire courage to challenge them. The latest saga in the UK may look different in nature from the outset, but at the core they are fundamentally the same: old colonial powers still want to dominate the world in ways that suits their needs, meet their interests. Supporting Israel keeps open the doors of conflict, providing opportunities to these governments to exploit Middle Eastern resources, dominate global policies and politics.
Now that we have the momentum, the courage and stomach to challenge the 'super powers', given that the people in these countries yarn for a better future for all and keeping in mind their desire for justice and equality world over, we must continue to fight them with our utmost strength until the time is right to claim that we have a more equal and just world.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

What to write?

It’s been a very long time since I last wrote on my blog. There have been a number of reasons for this. Of course I’ve written pieces since my last post on this blog, but never really managed to find required motivation and time to publish those pieces on the blog.

Today, end of my first day of becoming barrister and the beginning of second day, I ponder on the need for having such blog as this? Why should I have this blog? Why would people read it?

I ask these question for two primary reason: first to renew and review my effort in this for the simple reason that I genuinely want this effort to be of some use to me, a positive element in some way, the second reason is to remind those who take the travel to read this blog, the context and the purpose of the blog.

Looking back in time, I remember clearly the day I started this blog. The idea was to use this as a tool to express my self, my thoughts and ideas. At times, this blog was aimed to serve as a way of expressing my frustrations, reservations etc. But I was clear too that the primary readership, in my mind, was me, yes me. I write here to comfort myself, to calm, to sharpen, to express myself in manner that I see fit at the time of posing.

However, I understand with time people come to read this blog, I have asked some people to visit the site too. This has been out of an expectation that people would be less judgemental. But more fundamentally, those visiting shall trigger the cause for further intellectual stimulation on issues raised in my writing thus creating opportunities for intellectual sophistication of my thoughts and that of the others.

I continue to see my blog as an useful tool to further ones experiences and expressions in ways which are not possible using other means. Blog is not about presenting perfect vibes, sophisticated linguistic skills or even master piece pf PR. Blog is a vehicle to express one’s feeling as and when such feeling comes in manner that it naturally comes out at that moment without refinement of grammar, thought process, PR spin etc. it is the concept and the content that matters not how and when it is expressed.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

In the footstep of our Prophet

Da’watul Islam UK and Eire arranged their annual family gathering at the Markfield Conference Centre with a timely theme – Muhammad (PBUH) the Rahmatullil Alamin (The mercy to the mankind).
Being there in the company of so many families who gave up their long weekend to come the event has been an experience to remember for life. I found my presence to help me up lift my spirit, renew my commitment and revitalise my strengths.
At a time when Islam and Muslims are under fire from almost all quarters in most part of the world, Muslims has nothing but to hold firm in their faith and hope for the mercy of their lord. But it is not easy to hold firm with belief in Allah. Reminding ourselves of the struggle of our leader, guide and prophet, Muhammad (PBUH) and to study and practice his teaching is indeed a major force in strengthening our resolve and empowering our faith. I thus thank the organisers for hosting such a wonderful event and pray to Allah that he rewards the organisers and the participants enormously.
We need the re-empowerment of our faith, renewing our commitment of course first and foremost to stay firm on our ground and to protect ourselves, the individuals. But more importantly, the study and practice of our prophet’s lives and teachings must encourage and embolden us to be active in our communities. We need to blend into society to become part of it and to change it in ways which will eradicate all notion of injustice and bring prosperity and happiness. This is important given the time and circumstance in which we live in. Not just misguided few individuals, even our government throwing unreasonable and unnecessary challenges which could potentially have devastating consequences. It seems apparent that much of these challenges are deliberate and designed to undermine the unique presence of the Muslim communities.
But the challenges we face are nothing new. They may change in kind but fundamentally they remain same: results of ignorance and to some extent prejudice about and towards Islam and the Muslims. This ignorance and the prejudice are issues we need to deal with without fear. We need to hold our ground firmly and be determined to see them through. First step in facing these challenges is to know our society in which we live and to learn about its good and not so good characteristics. Our social problems affect us and we must as a matter of religious duty address these issues. Such is the essence of Islam. Allah says in the Quran that our prophet was like of people from within the community who used to feel aggrieved at by the grievances of his community and joyous at the happiness of his people. Can we say the same about ourselves?
Of course it means little to say we ought to become fully part of the society and to feel for the issues of the society. What I mean in practical term is that we need to engage ourselves on the affairs of our society on a daily basis to clearly demonstrate our commitment to the society. Our acts must be of the kind that it beyond doubt demonstrates our feeling and genuine sincerity to our people. We need to engage to better the economic, education and social condition of our people regardless of their race, gender or faiths. Our engagement must be inspired by our faith and our expectation must be to gain the satisfaction of our master, Allah, the almighty.
For our friends who may not share our faith but feel for us and desire us to be proud member of this society, they must live up to the challenge of the current time. Their friendship must be not merely to provide leap service to our community but to go beyond words and practically work to safeguard our interests. Claiming to be our friend is of little use to us of such friendship does not materialise into shaping policies which genuinely reflects the desire of our community. We are not seeking to be special. We are aspiring to be equal: to be citizens with unique faith, culture and creed who are collectively committed to make our society better, stronger and more cohesive.Remembering our prophet, studying his message and seeking to follow his footstep should inspire us to be proactive in our societies and to go beyond usual lines and work hard tirelessly to make our society significantly better.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Tackling Extremism

An International Conference is being held in Dhaka to discuss strategies to address ‘extremism’ attended by experts from the South Asian region as well as Singapore and Norway.

From the outset, I respect and appreciate such initiative and, with sincerity and goodwill, such initiative may bring much needed coherence in the strategies of governments in the South Asia and the wider world in dealing with Terrorism. But this optimism I find difficult to hold for practical reasons.

Terrorism now is a global phenomenon and the Western powers have taken much interest on the matter. It is only to be commended that the powerful nations are putting together huge amount of resources to deal with an issue of such importance. However, a closer look and careful analysis of the strategies, actions and outcomes of work by these nations to counter terrorism reveals little to have confidence. In fact, what analysis of most known counter-terrorism reveals is at best ignorance or at worst, prejudice towards a certain belief.

Terrorism, when resulting from sheer greed and criminal mindset, is a simple and straightforward issue which needs to be dealt with harshly. Such terrorism exists in many countries, especially the underdeveloped countries like Bangladesh. We are not, however, talking of such terrorism. The kind of terrorism that global community now a day talks about often, if not always, relates to resentment and reaction of people who for one reason or another feel aggrieved. Grievances caused by injustice, prejudice and hatred may result in a kind of resentment leading to terrorist activities which cannot be defeated through guns and bullets. Such terrorism requires pragmatism and sophisticated understanding of the issues backed by sincere desire to eradicate injustice. Only when the rights of all people can be restored, dignity and respect for individuals enshrined in the social fabric and rule of law established will the sense of resentment eventually disappear and the ‘good hearted’ individuals will return to normal life. Those that remain committed to the paths of violence and destruction may continue but will loose munitions for recruitment and retention which will ensure the end of such thugs and criminals.

On the backdrop of this understanding let us focus on the issue of terrorism in the context of Bangladesh. The current government pledged to form a South Asian task force to coordinate response of the governments in the region regarding the issue of counter-terrorism. But such initiative is only at its primary stage and lacks in details as admitted by the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh at the Terrorism conference. Further more, the actions of the government seems to be half hearted, if not dubious. In one hand they seem to claim to be genuinely committed to eradicate extremism on the other, they are pursuing a path of violence and political harassment of opposition. Mass scale attacks on the political activists of the opposition parties will create anarchy and give rise to resentment, just the kind of environment where terrorism flourishes.
The issue of ‘war crime’ during the Bangladesh’s Independence struggle is also relevant here. It is an issue resolved many years ago by the founding fathers of our nation. The present government itself made no serious attempt in the past. It seems to be clear to everyone except the diehard supporters of the government that the move to try the so called war criminals is politically motivated and is orchestrated to ensure political advantage for the ruling party and their allies. It is reasonable to conclude for this reason that any move to try the ‘war criminals’ will only act to divide our nation, exactly the kind of things that aid the growth of terrorist network. Besides, the present government has only been in power for just over a month and has already failed to impress the right minded citizens of their genuine desire to play by the rules.

To deal with terrorism must be a priority. But any strategies and action must be proportionate to the threat and realistic. It must also be free from political motives and must genuinely be aimed at building a respectful society where citizens are brought together by a common sense of identity and values. No action of divisive nature can ever bring peace. Violating core values of human dignity, individuals’ right and political suppression can never be good strategies for countering terrorism.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

The Decree: Part 2

The ‘Kindered’, the Miskin and the Wayfarer
AS I write today we witness the massacre of our brothers and sisters in Palestine by an aggressive and arrogant enemy, Israel who are supported by the global super powers. The chaotic and heart breaking brutality have moved many of us to the extent that we have been very generous to donate thousands of pounds to help the people of Gaza. It is around this theme that I wish to write the second part of my writing. The first part was published in the last issue titled: Worship Allah alone and be Kind to the parents.
Islam, I argued in the last article, is a code of life. It is not a mere religion affecting certain aspect of our life, but in fact, Islam is a way of life which encompasses and ought to control all aspects of human affairs, if one is to claim to be Muslim. Such acceptance of Islam which genuinely drives us in all our affairs shall bring peace and happiness. It is for this reason that Islam is termed to mean submission and peace i.e. though total and unconditional submission to the will of Allah, one may gain peace and tranquillity in life here and hereafter. But this concept of total submission is vague and meaningless unless explained in more details giving clear guidelines about practical aspects of our lives. The first and most important aspect of human life is the relationship between parents and children. IN the last issue, I have outlined Islam’s view about this noble relationship clearly spelling out the dos and don’ts. In this article I move on to the next set of principles that Allah outlines in the Qur’an. He says:
“And give to the kindred his due and to the Miskin (poor) and to the wayfarer. But spend not wastefully (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift. Verily, spendthrifts are brothers of the Shayatin (devils), and the Shaitan (Devil - Satan) is ever ungrateful to his Lord”
(The Quran 17:26, 27)
Human relationship is extremely important in building a peaceful society where mutual respect, tolerance and justice form the core. After the parents, the most important people are the relatives, neighbours and those we come across in our daily lives, the wayfarers, who we meet at work, during travelling etc. Each of these categories of people has a right on us. As Muslims, we are fortunate because Allah, the most powerful, have told us what are the rights that they have on us. He outlines the laws of inheritance for example in another part of the Qur’an where Allah outlines how our estate should be distributed once we leave this earth. If we follow what Allah outlines for us, this will make us happy, help us avoid being involve in conflicts, avoid hard feelings etc. When we fail in doing so, we may suffer from loss of bonds, anxiety, insecurity and many other issues. Those of you who are aware of your relatives, friends and other having property etc in your country of origin you must have come across the stories where the relatives there occupies the entire property depriving the actual owner his rightful ownership and control. This kind of incidents are not far and few but in fact very common which often result in severing ties with otherwise close relatives and of course the stress and mental torture. Why this happens? Answer is simple: we fail to follow the guidance offered to us out of kindness by our Lord, Allah the Almighty. This is with regards to our kinsmen, those with whom we have blood relations. But Allah here outlines another category of people who have right on us: the Miskin or people in need.
We are familiar with the concept of Zakah which we normally give to the poor at the end of Ramadan. But besides, we have a responsibility to offer our support and help to the needy at all times. Of course our support must be proportionate to our ability. We must be generous but generosity does not mean that we ought to accept poverty and hardship for ourselves by giving to poor. Generosity is about being kind and big hearted resulting in donations and kind words when we have the ability to do so. When we have the mean to be generous but we chose not to be, Allah warns us. He says:
“And let not your hand be tied (like a miser) to your neck, nor stretch it forth to its utmost reach (like a spendthrift), so that you become blameworthy and in severe poverty”.
(The Qur’an 17:29)
Clearly from the verse above we can see that Allah encourages us to be generous when we can and not be miser, nor he wants us to be so generous that we invite severe poverty for ourselves. When Allah says ‘do not do’ something, it becomes and obligation for us to avoid doing that thing: for if we fail in our obligation decreed by our Lord, we are indeed among the most unfortunate ones.
Living in the UK, we do not often come across people who are so poor that they need our generous financial support. But we come to know millions of people from around the world of people via various charities and media who are in dire need of support where a pound of our contribution can feed a family for one whole day. We have the ability to spare some money and we can reach to them through numerous organisations. It would be utterly unacceptable for us not to contribute towards their plight. Given the killing spree prevailing in Gaza at the moment by the Zionist war mongers, we ought to extend our generosity and donate abundantly.
I soon shall conclude, but let me make two other points which I have indirectly touched upon. Allah points to two kinds of people who he dislikes: the spendthrifts who he said to be the brothers of Devil and the misers. Dealing with spendthrifts, those who waste money or abuses it, it may be helpful to remember that in the UK billions of pounds worth of food is being wasted every year. Think about this, a billion pound can change a poor country, yes one whole country. So with the money we waste on food which we do not eat, we can change the lives of the millions of destitute people, orphans and others. We all should therefore be extra vigilant and be not a wasteful person. For if we become among the evils, we are doomed to go astray.
For the misers, who are stingy and not spend at time of need despite having the ability, Allah indeed dislikes them, and those Allah dislikes are doomed to be failure too. So the message today is that we must guard the rights of others on us and be kind to the needy. We need to widen our heart to the greatest length possible. If we do so, Allah says:
Truly, your Lord enlarges the provision for whom He wills and straitens (for whom He wills). Verily, He is Ever All-Knower, All-Seer of His slaves. (The Quran 17:30)
May Allah enlarge all provisions for us, Ameen! (To be continued)