Ahmadiyya Times

Telling the truth should be news – If it happened, it will be here…

Hot Spots: Kashmir needs space to debate its future

Pretending that Kashmir is not disputed territory must appear to most observers as a typical instance of burying one’s head in the sand to avoid seeing what is obvious to everyone else: breathing fire and brimstone at anyone who acknowledges the reality is obviously a non-starter so far as resolving the problem is concerned. 

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | Int’l Desk
Source/Credit: The Guardian | UK
By Rohini Hensman | November 18, 2010

The disputed territory cannot begin to resolve its problems while it is being crushed on either side by India and Pakistan

The recent violence in Kashmir on the Indian side of the border, in which more than 100 people were killed by security forces confronting stone-pelters, was the background for a meeting in Delhi in October entitled Azadi (Freedom) – The Only Way, which set off a series of heated debates. At the same time, the government appointed three “interlocutors”, unaffiliated to any political party, to meet different sections of the public in Jammu and Kashmir and find out what they wanted.

Indian ultra-nationalists – most vociferously represented by Hindu nationalist organisations but present even among sections who claim to be more liberal – are undoubtedly a major part of the problem in Kashmir.
Their dogmatic assertion that Kashmir is an integral part of India – as though India’s national boundaries are god-given and any questioning of them is blasphemy – goes with a justification of the atrocities committed against Kashmiris by the Indian security forces. The allegation of sedition against Arundhati Roy for questioning this dogma, and their hysterical outburst against the government-appointed interlocutors for suggesting that any solution to the problem requires the involvement of the government of Pakistan, make it clear that they themselves have no solution to offer short of war between two nuclear-armed countries.

Pretending that Kashmir is not disputed territory must appear to most observers as a typical instance of burying one’s head in the sand to avoid seeing what is obvious to everyone else: breathing fire and brimstone at anyone who acknowledges the reality is obviously a non-starter so far as resolving the problem is concerned. But more disturbingly, advocating coercion to stamp out protest in Kashmir and a clampdown on freedom of expression to prevent discussion of the issue constitutes an assault on democracy. To destroy India’s integrity as a democracy in order to preserve its territorial integrity is, hopefully, not a “solution” that most people would find morally or politically acceptable.

Then, is azadi the only way? That does not necessarily follow. Indeed, even the meaning of azadi is far from clear. For the hardline Islamist Syed Ali Shah Geelani, it means that Kashmir would be an Islamic state and would be part of Pakistan. For many others – probably the majority – it means that Kashmir would be independent of both India and Pakistan, and for some of these that it would be a secular state. The only point of agreement among all these sections seems to be that Kashmir would be free of Indian rule, and would encompass all the territory of Jammu and Kashmir on both sides of the border.

However, there is a sizeable minority in Jammu and Kashmir (Hindus, Dalits, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, many Shia Muslims and non-Kashmiri Pahari Muslims, as well as a small number of Kashmiri Muslims) who would prefer to remain with India, especially if Kashmir becomes an Islamic state. So this “solution” suffers from the very same moral weakness (ie, the use of coercion to force unwilling individuals to be part of the nation) as the Indian state’s attitude to Kashmir. And it is, if anything, politically more reactionary, since India is at least constitutionally secular and democratic, whereas this vision of azadi is neither; indeed, it has a striking resemblance to the majoritarian Hindu nationalist project for India.

Looking across the border at the Pakistani part of Kashmir, the picture becomes even more complicated. There, too, there is a conflict between the struggle for independence from Pakistan and the efforts of elements in the Pakistani state to outlaw political parties who stand for independence and use Kashmiris in their own conflict with India. To complete the picture, even the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, which stands for Kashmir’s independence from both India and Pakistan, is split into factions. So there is absolutely no agreement on who genuinely represents azadi, or even what it means.

Kashmiris on both sides of the border need the space and opportunity to debate their own future without being stifled or crushed by the two powerful states laying claim to the territory in which they live. On the Indian side, draconian legislation such as the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act; Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act; and Disturbed Areas Act; which extend immunity to the security forces for human rights violations, have predictably resulted in horrific crimes against civilians. Unless they are repealed and the security forces made accountable and punished for such crimes, the conflict will continue. Elements in the Pakistani state who attempt to use Kashmiris for their own ends are equally culpable of escalating the violence and denying Kashmiris their democratic rights. They too need to be made accountable and punished for their crimes.

These measures will not solve the problem of Kashmir, but they will at least help to create the conditions in which it can be solved.



Read original post here: Kashmir needs space to debate its future

Advertisements

Filed under: Kashmir, Peace, Politics

Faith and Country: Seek peace with your neighbors

The Holy Prophet has said, “Muslims should want for others what they want for themselves.” This is the Islamic version of the famous “Golden Rule” espoused by saints, scholars and prophets for thousands of years: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Imam Shamshad Nasir is missionary for the south west region, USA

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
By Imam Shamshad A. Nasir | November 17, 2010

The Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, set an excellent example for us to live in peace and harmony with others. This is also in accordance with the Holy Quran, which says the only way to attain God’s grace is by following the example of Prophet Muhammad.

There is an incident in early Islamic history that demonstrates how Muhammad was the highest example of humbleness and forbearance in dealing with those opposed to one’s goals – much as the Park 51 Islamic Center in New York City has stirred up fear and anger against Islam, Muslims and the building of mosques.

In the year 628 AD, on the basis of a dream, the Prophet Muhammad announced he would go to Mecca (240 miles away) to perform Umrah, the lesser pilgrimage. When he reached the town of Hudaibiya near Mecca with his followers, he stopped and set up camp. Some Meccan leaders came to meet with him and told him he would not be allowed to enter Mecca to perform Umrah.

The leaders of Mecca viewed Islam as the chief threat to their religious beliefs and accepted way of life. To stop Muhammad and the Muslims from doing Umrah, the Meccans offered a humiliating agreement to the Muslims known as the Treaty of Hudaibiya.

And while this agreement would end hostilities between the Muslims and the Meccans, the terms of this treaty were extremely insulting to the Muslims. But still the Prophet Muhammad signed the treaty with all these humiliations to win the peace for all.

Winning and keeping the peace was Muhammad’s chief goal. This is the lofty example Muhammad showed in his negotiations with the Meccans. He was never demanding or arrogant or abusive to those who were against him. He put all his trust and faith in God and relied on His Help in all trials and negotiations.

So, how are Muslims today following the example of the Holy Prophet when it comes to negotiating? Are Muslims sensitive to the feelings and concerns of the members of other religions as they would like the members of other religions to be sensitive to them?

When it comes to the building of an Islamic center near Ground Zero in New York City, the negative reaction – in large part instigated and orchestrated by political and religious conservatives – is understandable. It does not make it right, nor does it make it an accurate portrayal of most Muslim’s intentions.

Ideally, a mosque should be a place of peace for the lovers of peace, where people from all faiths are welcome.

If this desire for peace is not present on both sides, then the proponents of a mosque should first correct this by educating their own members, if need be, and by reaching out to the people in the neighborhood where they wish to have a mosque and win the community over before any groundbreaking or renovation starts.

This is the way and example of the Holy Prophet of Islam, and as such, it is the model for all Muslims to follow: seek peace with your neighbors. Do not seek to impose yourselves or your beliefs by force. Respect the rights and feelings of others so that you may receive the same treatment in return. Win the friendship and respect of your neighbors by first being friendly and respectful.

The Holy Prophet has said, “Muslims should want for others what they want for themselves.” This is the Islamic version of the famous “Golden Rule” espoused by saints, scholars and prophets for thousands of years: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Therefore, regardless if the proposed building is a mosque, a church, a temple or a synagogue, there should be equal respect and opportunity for the freedom and practice of religion.

Ahmadi Muslims living in America, like most Muslims here, are intensely grateful to be living in a country where they are free to practice their faith. We know that in many so-called Muslim countries this freedom is not given to other religions or even other sects of Islam. This is un-Islamic and a disgrace to the true teachings of Islam and the example of the Prophet Muhammad, who granted charters of religious freedom to Christians, Jews and even idol worshippers. It is just this spirit of respect and tolerance that is so badly needed today. It is why Ahmadi Muslims make it a point to consider the feelings of others and to dispel fear and distrust with dialog and education whenever we seek to build a new mosque or acquire a building to be used as a mosque. If we don’t win the approval of the community in question, we don’t pursue our mosque plans until such approval is given.

We must all guard against fear being used to incite people to deny others the same rights they enjoy and expect as Americans. If only some of us are free, then none of us are free.

Imam Shamshad A. Nasir is imam of the Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino.

Read original post here: Seek peace with your neighbors

Filed under: Chino, Peace, Shamshad Nasir, USA