Archive for March, 2008

Advani’s book – a pack of lies

March 29, 2008

Saturday, March 29, 2008

  Advani’s book – a pack of lies With the excerpts and reviews published as soon as Advani started one more yatra to peddle his book personally by taking the opportunity to impose on the hospitality of even his political rivals, a general idea could easily be made that Advani has made a Goebblean attempt to package a pack of lies and sell it as the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Those who have observed Advani under media glare for decades past, would not need any persuasion to believe how spin doctoring comes easy for all Sangh Parivar wordsmiths and in particular to L. K. Advani. One can always depend on him to come out with most original contortion of the most simple and obvious fact, as long as it serves his need of the hour. His account of Ayodhya and Modi’s Gujarat carnage is the first of the many manipulations to hoodwink the gullible. His role in sabotaging Musharraf-Vajpayee Agra talk, is so well-known to the people of India, who were glued to TV channels and were practically present in all the meetings, is another black deed that he keeps denying. His reasoning for shooting down the agreement between Musharraf and Vajpayee is an lame excuse, in as much as, it was in effect an ego problem with him, for the agreement to have been approved by Vajpayee, without his intervention. Insisting on Musharraf agreement on terrorist camps was like putting the cart before the horse. Advani was intelligent enough to know that could never be swallowed by Musharraf. His denial of any knowledge as to how Jaswant Singh went on a plane journey to deliver notorious terrorists from our jails to Kandahar in exchange for hijacked Indians is another bland lie. The then Defense Minister and Convener of NDA, has publicly contradicted Advani account, by asserting Advani was in the meetings when Kandahar was approved. J&K’s Farooq Abdullah has come out very strongly against Advani’s assertion that he backed down on autonomy resolution in the J&K Assembly. He says it is untruth — a polite way of saying — it is a lie. Following is a book review from Sardar Khushwant Singh, who happened to be one of the earliest gullible to hold Advani as a straight person. By the end of his review of Advani’s book, he ends it with a short but devastating verdict: Perish the thought ….. (If Advani should ever become the Prime Minister of India): 

Ghost Burial That Wasn’t to Be 
A must-read memoir it sure is. But if you are looking for answers, there are none.
Khushwant Singh




by L.K. Advani
Rs 595; Pages 986
There is some justification for his publishers describing L.K. Advani’s memoirs as a “must-read”. Advani redrew the political and communal map of India. Whether it was for the good of the country will be a matter of debate for years to come. It’s a massive tome running up to nearly a thousand pages. I thought it best to read his views on matters which were of vital interest and so decided to consult the index and see



if it had something to say about me. I do not have an ego problem, just that for a brief period I played a role in promoting his career. Advani writes: “Khushwant Singh became a good acquaintance of mine after the Emergency. I admired his writing and substantial scholarship on many subjects. He in turn admired our party for its work in fighting the carnage in Delhi in 1984, in the aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s assassination. However, our relationship soured after the Ayodhya movement when he became quite critical of me.”

It is a fair assessment but something is missing. After the 1984 pogrom of the Sikhs when Advani stood for election to the Lok Sabha, I signed his nomination paper. The Sikhs were determined not to vote for the Congress because its leaders and cadres were involved in the killings and yet not sure of the BJP. They were undoubtedly influenced by the publicity given to my signing Advani’s papers. Advani won and came to thank me. I visited Advani’s home a few times. I was charmed by the congenial atmosphere. They watched Hindi films, welcomed anyone who dropped in. I felt comfortable. I also admired him. There was not a breath of scandal about money, nepotism or extra-marital affairs about him. He was a puritan: he neither drank, nor smoked nor womanised. He was clear-headed and modest. My disenchantment began after he launched his rath yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya. I turned critical. At a public meeting at which I was presiding, he was the chief guest. He was then home minister and arrived with a retinue of Black Cat commandos. I said on his face, “Mr Advani, you sowed the dragon seeds of hatred in this country….” And much else. In his address, he said he would answer my charges at a more appropriate time. I hoped to find them in his autobiography; they are not there. I turned the pages to see what he had to say about Mahatma Gandhi who remains the national touchstone to test political and moral decisions. He tells us that the RSS held Gandhi in high esteem and he, in turn, praised its military discipline. When Gandhi heard that cadres of the RSS were also involved in communal riots and took on Muslim hoodlums in street battles which erupted periodically, he sent for the sarsanghchalak. The latter explained, “If we object to the conduct of some Muslims in our society, it is not because they follow Islam but rather because of their lack of loyalty to India. The partition of India has proven us right. Therefore to call the RSS anti-secular is to show one’s ignorance of what secularism stands for and what the RSS stands for.” Advani adds: “This was my first lesson in secularism. I was twenty-one then.” Gandhi did not pursue the matter further. He might well have asked: “If the RSS is secular, how many Muslims and Christians does it have on its rolls?” Advani was 14 years old when he enrolled himself as a worker of the RSS in Karachi. His views on secularism are naive beyond belief. He tries to equate Gandhi’s concept of Ram rajya in which all religions will be treated with equal respect—sarva dharma samabhava—with the RSS concept of Hindutva, “a noble concept,” according to him. The RSS was suspect in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. His assassin had been a member of the organisation. Advani tells us that on Gandhi’s murder the RSS was ordered to observe 13 days of mourning.

The gesture did not help: the RSS was declared illegal and many of its leaders put behind bars.

 The one event that pitchforked Advani to the centrestage and reshaped India’s politics was his yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya leading to the destruction of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992. He, more than anyone else, sensed that Islamophobia was deeply ingrained in the minds of millions of Hindus and it only needed a spark to set it ablaze. The choice of Somnath as a starting point and Ayodhya as the terminal were well-calculated. Mahmud Ghazni had destroyed the temple at Somnath; Ayodhya was believed to be the birthplace of Sri Ram (the year of his birth is unknown). It was bruited about that a temple to mark the birthsite had stood there till Babar destroyed it and built a mosque over the ruins. This is disputed by historians and the matter was being pursued in law courts. Advani ignored legal niceties and arrived with great fanfare at the site. Since he was determined to build a new Ram temple at the same spot, the fate of the mosque was sealed. What happened there on the fateful day was seen on TV by millions of people round the globe. In his book, Advani claims that breaking the mosque was not on his agenda and he actually sent Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharati from the dais to plead with the breakers to desist. If that is so, why were the two seen embracing each other and rejoicing when the nefarious task was completed? We don’t have to wait for the verdict of the Liberhan Commission to tell us what happened: we saw it with our own eyes. The destroyers were Shiv Sainiks and members of the RSS and they boasted about what they had done. Advani records the jubilation that followed at the site and along his triumphal return to Delhi. Repercussions were felt over the world: Hindu and Sikh temples were targeted by irate Muslims from Bangladesh to UK. Relations between Hindus and Muslims have never been the same in India. There were communal confrontations in different parts of the country: the serial blasts in Mumbai, the attack on Sabarmati Express in Godhra and the massacre of innocent Muslims in Gujarat can all be traced back to the fall of the Babri Masjid. However, the BJP reaped a rich electoral harvest, won many of the elections that followed, and eventually installed Atal Behari Vajpayee as prime minister and L.K. Advani as his deputy. He is now their candidate for the top job and asserts that he will not allow Babri Masjid to be rebuilt. 

The one time Advani faltered in his steps was when he visited Karachi the last time and praised Jinnah’s speech to the Pakistan Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947, as “a classic exposition of a secular state”. It might well have been so but it was delivered at a time when millions of Hindus and Sikhs were being driven out of Pakistan with slaughter and an equal number of Muslims driven out of India. It was the bloodiest exchange of populations in which over a million died and over 10 million were uprooted. Advani’s eulogy must have pleased Pakistanis; it was badly received in India, particularly by his RSS and BJP colleagues. He was severely censured and asked to step down from the leadership of the party. It seemed as if his political career was at an end. He bounced back and within a year was again on the centrestage.

 What now stands between Advani and his ambition to become prime minister is the Sonia Gandhi-Manmohan Singh partnership. He is doing his worst trying to create a rift between them. He continues to harp on the issue of her Italian birth, her tardiness in taking Indian citizenship and being close to a fellow Italian, the scamster Octavio Quattrocchi. He has described Manmohan Singh as a nikamma (useless) prime minister because the seat of power is not 7, Race Course Road, where he lives but 10, Janpath, where Sonia and her family reside.So far his attempts to create a rift between the two have flopped. Sonia has proved an astute politician who has so far not made a single wrong move. Likewise, Manmohan Singh has played his role as a nominee prime minister with skill. He has many more plus points to his credit than any of his predecessors. The partnership has worked well with Sonia looking after political matters and Manmohan the administrative. The country has prospered. Advani has quite a lot to say about Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat. He exonerates him from the charge of allowing the massacre of innocent Muslims following the attack on the Sabarmati Express at Godhra. It is a symbiotic relationship: Modi helps Advani win elections from Gandhinagar in Gujarat; Advani stands by Modi whenever his conduct comes under question from the higher echelons of the BJP. The importance of Advani’s memoirs is not in their literary quality but in the possibility of the author becoming India’s man of destiny. Either we remain a secular state envisaged by Gandhi and Nehru or we succumb to Advani’s interpretation of it and become the Hindu Secular Socialist Republic of Bharatvarsha. Perish the thought.


 You be the judge. 

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai





March 27, 2008




“I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace the old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.”  

It is for the leaders and people of India to decide, if they want to see India as a dominated nation. Let Manmohan Singh and Vajpayee decide if they would continue to fight among themselves or confront the same adversary that has robbed India of its self-esteem, her culture, her ancient education system, her high moral values, her spiritual and cultural heritage. The West is bent on destroying everything in India, piece by piece. It is for us to realise what is happening to us and unite in a resolve to see India a proud and humane nation of proud and humane people that are worthy of peace and prosperity that is India’s true destiny.  

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai




March 23, 2008

Sunday, March 23, 2008



While watching NDTV’s Walk and Talk programe’s Shekhar Gupta interviewing BJP’s newly proposed prime ministerial candidate, if and when BJP or NDA coalition is able to form next, or next to next central government, the hypocrisy of Advani’s own thought processes cannot be ignored, when he is trying to see that Pakistan, under President Musharraf, could and should become a secular state, given Musharraf’s early years spent in Turkey, the seat of Muslim Caliphate, that was very forcefully transformed into a non-religious and secular state by Mustafa Kamal Pasha and was the role model for President Musharraf, at least clearly mentioned by Musharraf on his inaugural speech, when he assumed power in Pakistan.

While Advani was on to secularize Pakistan through the medium of an unelected and army backed dictator, he never attempts to repudiate the fundamental fascist Hindutva ideology of BJP and Sangh Parivar, while projecting Ram Rajya, as their ideal for a multicultural, multi-religious pluralist country like his own country,India.

In fact, at this point of time, BJP’s RSS plank is fundamentally opposed to the very basics of Indian constitution and as such this political party cannot be allowed to participate in the elections.

A Supreme Court judgement, accepting Hindutva or Hindu plank as cultural rather than any religious identity, has given BJP the temporary opportunity to win elections on the basis on fomenting inter-religious strife and anti-Muslim hate propaganda.

That Supreme Court judgement was never contested. It is certainly open for review at Supreme Court, with a larger bench, in the light of more factual data that is now available, as to the true ideological and factual nature of BJP’s unconstitutional identity.

Each and every statement of the leadership of BJP, RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal form the data that is available for the Supreme Court to review and decide, if the Sangh Parivar confirms to the constitution of India and if should be allowed to take part in Indian elections.

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai


Comments on Indian Muslim blog:

March 21, 2008

Friday, March 21, 2008Comments on Indian Muslim blog:India is a free democratic country. Any group of people can form any association and if their aims and objective do not clash with the constitution and/or state policy, can continue to seek and channelise people’s loyalties. Since your blog clearly is titled to address to Indian Muslims, or seek to represent Indian Muslim opinion, you will have to be democratic enough to give full recognizance to the will of the majority of Indian Muslims, who collectively feel, rightly or wrongly, that clerics, or Ulama are more credible and have more moral authority to protect not only the religious interests of the community, but at times of crisis could be relied upon to act selflessly in the name of religion, to unite the people on matters of collective interests. It is a fallback to the western idea of separation between the state and church that seems to have influenced your thinking, when you want to restrict the role of Ulama to only matters of religion and not to the matters of everyday affairs. Ulama have the same one vote like everybody else and their vote in the matters of the Indian state cannot be discriminated on religious or secular grounds. Speaking of Muslim intelligentsia or political leaders, one must realise that there is no Muslim intelligentsia to speak about. Those self-proclaimed Muslim scholars, who project themselves as Muslim intelligentsia, are mostly from the Left liberal stream of thinking, known for their antipathy towards religion per se and they do not command any loyalty or credibility with the Muslim masses. As for the political leaders, who happen to be Muslims, are all sold out to political parties, none of whom are prepared to deal with Muslim concerns with any degree of impartiality? Besides, the political leaders too lack the kind of clout within the community that is available to the Ulama, who whether by default of by their own active efforts or merely their presence in the society at the very grass-roots, command a large following. This fact cannot be denied and should be gracefully acknowledged, with a view to enrich the society with their influences; they should be interacted and brought into the mainstream.All the disabilities pointed out, e.g. lack of economic or expertise in specialized field, lack of proficiency in English language, are the bane of even our political leadership. Even in Parliament, we will find people’s representatives who hardly qualify as ’educated’ or even are able to read or understand English, much less able to talk in English; still the business of state is being run by bureaucrats and India is none the loser on these counts. So why the discrimination against Ulama? Besides, there are very learned and very knowledgeable ulama in our midst that are not getting their due place in the mainstream, just because they are Muslims or they cannot read and write English.It is surprising that comparisons are being made between Muslims clerics with Hindu Sadhus and sants. Hindu Sadhus, sants have altogether different calling. Their brief is not all as encompassing as that of Islam. In Islam, religious and temporal are one. It is sad that on the day of the Id e Milad one has to inform our own Muslim brothers, that the very life of our prophet is ample proof that in Islam, there are no separate areas of religion and politics. Hindus do not and cannot compete with Islamic view of a person’s holistic existence in the world. In fact, those Hindu philosophers who had the opportunity to study Islam had openly praised Islam’s holistic view on human affairs. When Swami Vivekananda spoke of the ideal combination of Brahmin brains and Islamic body, he was acknowledging how ideally Islam has combined the human existence through complete amalgamation of religion and politics as one. Ulama had performed a unique role in Indian history, by doggedly protecting the fundamentals of religious thought and practices, after the fall of Muslim rule. Community should acknowledge their debt. Besides, Indian Muslims should count their blessings that within them the Madarsa institution was in effect the nursery of intelligentsia; an institution supported by the community and not dependant on the state, whether the British colonial not the independent secular state. There are enough signs that Ulama are responding very positively to the new challenges faced by the community and their own institutions and they are already reforming and participating in the mainstream life of the community. Modern secular education is being introduced in Madrasas, practically all over India. With their specialization in knowledge acquisition, they are more akin to Brahmins, who had monopolized knowledge in Hindu society and had assumed the leadership positions, after British colonials left. Ulama as a class are most suited to lead the community, once they have mastered the secular streams of modern day knowledge. With their grounding in Islamic morality and human as well as humane values, they are in much better position to move with the times, than the so-called secular Muslim intelligentsia and political leaders tied up with currently prominent political parties.Ghulam Muhammed,


Should Clerics Dominate The Nation’s Muslim Leadership?

Written by Kaleem Kawaja · March 19, 2008 · 275 views
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March 19, 2008

Whenever I look up the news reports on the issues and problems of the Muslim community, I find that often the Muslim leaders addressing these matters are clerics. The question arises, why is the politics of the Muslim community in India dominated by clerics, many of whom are not even Islamic scholars? Why is the proportion of the community’s leaders from the Muslim intelligentsia so small?Obviously when the topics are religious issues of the Muslim community, for instance interpretation of Sharia laws or Hadeeth or Fatwas or Personal laws or matters dealing with madrasas, the leadership belongs in the hands of the clerics and religious organizations. But when issues are of a non-religious nature, for instance Muslim educational institutions, or reservation for Muslims in educational institutions and jobs, or the need to address the community’s socioeconomic and educational uplift, or the political situation of the community, or the civil liberties, or the situation of Muslim women, the primary leadership role belongs to the Muslim intelligentsia and Muslim political leaders.Firstly, most clerics’ background in subjects like economics, law, sociology and technology is not up to date for today’s issues. Secondly, because of their background, most of the clerics often look at even non-religious issues from a religious perspective. Thirdly, most of them are not very proficient in English language usage and oral communications with modern electronic media journalists. Altogether it reinforces in the minds of the mainstream media and the nation at large a stereotypical image of the entire Muslim community and its mindset as overtly religious. Often the entire politics of the Muslim community is painted as a mirror image of the BJP style religion-oriented politics.The fact that a majority of non-religious issues of the Muslim community are being addressed by clerics has skewed the perspective of the community, and has created a stereotypical picture of the Muslims in the minds of mainstream Indians, the Indian media and the majority Hindu community. The mainstream’s perception is that the Muslim community is obsessed with religion and looks at most issues from a religious angle. Compare that to the Hindu community and you find a stark contrast. The number of mahants, sadhus, and Hindu clerics in the leadership of the Hindu community is rather small. Hindu clerics come in the picture when issues are related to Hindu temples, seminaries, places of pilgrimage or religious trusts. Otherwise most Hindu community leaders are from the intelligentsia and political background. This is true of even the BJP which is a Hindu fundamentalist party.In contrast the Muslim intelligentsia in the country often remains invisible on the core socio-economic-educational-political issues of the community. With their broader and more pluralistic background the intelligentsia has a distinctly different perspective on issues, which should be the dominant perspective on mainstream issues, if the Muslim community wants to claim its due place in today’s resurgent and modernizing India. Often when the media wants an opinion on the issues of the Muslim community, it turns to the clerics. The result is frequent not- well- informed opinions communicated in a manner that creates a stereotypical image of the community. Whereas on the whole despite large number of Muslims being depressed in education and economic status, the community is reasonably vibrant, has a broad perspective, and is trying to move ahead in the nation’s mainstream.I recall that after the demolition of the Babri mosque the Muslim intellegentsia held a well attended conference in New Delhi in 1993 where they pledged to take more active role in the political and socioeconomic affairs of the community. But after a few meetings they stepped back and left a vacuum in the leadership arena at a critical time for the community. The over all foot-dragging of the Muslim intelligentsia to get involved with the affairs of the community at the grassroots level is alienating them from large segments of Muslim masses.Most Muslim intelligentsia comprises of practicing Muslims who have a healthy respect for Islamic scholars and learned clerics. Yet there is a communication gap between these two sections of the community that must be bridged. The need of the hour is not a leadership contest between the intelligentsia and the clerics, but cooperation and utilizing the strengths of both sections. The intelligentsia can guide the clerics on how to present Islamic elements in more acceptable modern jargon. The clergy can assist the intelligentsia with their grassroots contacts at the street level.If we look at the leadership in various Muslim countries or Muslim communities in Western countries, we find that most leaders are from the intelligentsia or political background. Clerics assume leadership role only when issues are of a religious nature. So why should the situation in India be different?  

The World Debate: The West Under Challenge

March 16, 2008



Sunday, March 16, 2008




BBC’S WORLD DEBATE: The West Under Challenge


Forty minutes out of a discussion lasting forty five minutes, Islam was not in the picture as the topic of discussion or worry, when the most aggressive, uncouth and uncivilized of the panelists, Richard Holbrook, the US ambassador, who had earlier called the whole BBC debate as an ‘stupid discussion on non-issue’ and the motion of the debate: as nothing but journalist gibberish, stepped in with the warning to the European participants, from France, Poland, Russia, that while we all are grappling with each other, we are not focused on the real adversary/enemy out there.


He clearly meant Islam, the third ‘enemy’ identified by the BBC that should have been the main point of discussion. It did not, and there lies the main problem with the West. The supposed allies of the US are not prepared to brand Islam and Muslim world as their mortal enemy, while US and Israel are hell-bent on their agenda with their single-minded obsession. The US and Israel are bent on attacking Iran on false pretexts, just like they had collaborated for invasion of Iraq; Israel conceptualizing and the US implementing.  


There is a lesson in this for India. It should not blindly and slavishly follow the lead given by the US and Israel, to treat Islam and Muslim as their ‘natural enemy’. India should make correction from the very outset, not to keep the US and Israel under any false hope of India following their script that the Jewish Neo-cons have drawn up to subvert the rest of the world. India should chalk up its own preferred group of friends and allies and make overture to Russia, China and the Muslim world. They are the leaders of the coming age. Apparently both the US and Israel are isolated in the world. India is not prepared to join the losers.


Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai




March 15, 2008

Saturday, March 15, 2008



India had lived with the Tibet problem for over half a century. In sympathy to the cause of Tibetans, India had given asylum to Tibetan religious leader, Dalai Lama; with strict mutual understanding that India will not be used for any political activity that could compromise or impact India’s independent stand on the matter. The recent announcement of a ‘Long March’ of Tibetan exiles in India for the next 6-months in the wake of Beijing Olympics, neatly falls into the US/UK/ Israel game plan to spread their war designs to Asia. 

Indian leaders are very short sighted, if they cannot make out, how US/UK/Israel axis is going out at several levels to fit India into their own world-encompassing dragnet. Indian leaders should not underestimate the conspiratorial capabilities of the axis, nor overestimate their own ability to save themselves, India and its people to fight another long freedom struggle to get out of machinations of world’s most dangerous war machine, thriving on the flesh and bones of their victims as well as their partners. 

With a spurt of news coming forth about the Tibetan protest, the whole campaign has the patent hallmark of US/neo-con strategies of ‘regime change’. After running up billions and billions of dollars worth of trade deficit against China, the conspirators are planning to use India and its people to wage war on China with a view to uproot Chinese leadership and put their own proxies to wipe out their past debts.

In fact, the notorious conspirators are planning to completely take over Asia’s two new emerging economic super powers.  

It is surprising, how Indian government and its media monitors have been caught by surprise at the sudden appearance of ‘Tibetan protestors’ with very well-planned, well-funded, widely spread out that would appear to have its epicenter in India.

If it is not a surprise, then it could be a worst case of dangerously adventurous complicity with the US and neo-con Jewish Zionists.  

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai




March 13, 2008

Thursday, March 13, 2008



Time has come to start dispensing instant justice of at least a temporary but deterrent nature on the killers from both side of the Israeli/Palestinian divide. Human lives are precious. There can be any number of excuses to kill, but when a human being is killed, without rhyme or reason, without getting his day in court, he or his successors should be compensated by the authorities who are in charge of the area, de jure or de facto.


Innocents died last week on both sides. There will be no reference to any accountability or dispensing of justice and the carnage will go on. The world needs to address the wanton shedding the blood and should penalize those who feel they have the right to take law into their own hands and dispense justice according to their own whims.


The only fact that is definite when any human being dies is the fact of a crime being committed.  To detract from continuing with the same act of defiance, a deterrent should be imposed on the perpetrators of such crime of killing people, under whatever pretext one can arbitrarily design.


All the nations that are currently the members of UN Security Council, should impose the penalty on both sides of this ongoing carnage inflicting on each other and hand over cash to the family and successors of all those who are killed. All assets worldwide should be attached by the designated UN authority to pay for any such monetary compensation to the families of those killed.


This may be a stop-gap measure, but the high cost of penalty imposed and the world publicity around the UN measure of diffusing the continuing inhuman cycle of revenge attacks, should at least bring the tragedy to world community’s immediate area of response and action. The world cannot be silent spectator of this genocide by installment killings.


Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai



Is the Solution to Hire More Muslim Journalists? – by Daniel Pipes

March 12, 2008 

Is the Solution to Hire More Muslim Journalists?

by Daniel Pipes


March 4, 2008

Philip Bennett, managing editor of the Washington Post, offered a franker set of views than perhaps he intended when he spoke on March 3 at the University of California-Irvine’s Center for the Study of Democracy about media coverage of Islam, as reported by Alan Blank in the Daily Pilot. Bennett, Blank writes,

 thinks news organizations ought to hire more Muslim reporters. To illustrate this point he drew mainly from quotes of notable colleagues and statistical polls, rarely giving his own opinion directly. “Six of 10 Americans, according to a 2007 ABC Poll, don’t understand the basic tenets of Islam,” Bennett said. He attributed this to the lack of Muslims working in American newsrooms. “At the Post I want more Muslim readers and I want more Muslim journalists.”

 Bennett assumes, with touching naïveté, that to be Muslim is know Islam. Less touching is the assumption that not to be a Muslim is not to know Islam. This fraudulent expectation of special insight from one’s status, religious or otherwise, needs strenuously to be rejected.

 Bennett’s thinking gets worse from here:

 Words poorly translated from Arabic to English are a big source of confusion caused by the lack of Muslim voices in the American media, according to Bennett. Zeyad Maasarani, 22, a Muslim reporter for California’s most circulated Muslim publication, Southern California in Focus, agrees with Bennett that terms like “jihad,” “madrasa” and “hijab” are a big source of the public’s misunderstanding of Islam. “Jihad means holy war, which is the definition that most Americans know, but it also means struggle, and valiant attempt,” Maasarani said

 Unreported here is that Southern California in Focus is affiliated with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the continent’s leading Islamist organization. More importantly, madrasa and hijab are simple terms that most politically aware readers understand, while jihad is more accurately understood by the simple “holy war” translation than through complex interpretations – as I have at some length argued elsewhere.

 Finally, Bennett unintentionally revealed the appallingly primitive state of understanding of Islam in his own institution:

 One such word that has been contentiously debated in newsrooms is “Islamist,” which generally refers to a political movement governed by Islamic law. Bennett said at the Washington Post editors still have not decided whether to add it to their style book. Some argue the word is a useful distinction for movements like Hamas and Hezbollah, but others at the Post argue that it is too vague and should be omitted in favor of a more specific description.

 Comment: It’s all very well for Bennett to sniff patronizingly at the knowledge of Islam among average Americans, but I am impressed with their learning curve since 9/11 as well as their common sense. Far less impressive to me is a group of sophisticated editors that cannot even, after all these years, decide to use the word Islamist. Someone has a problem understanding Islam, but it’s Philip Bennett, not his readers. (March 4, 2008)

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   Posting on Dr. Daniel Pipe’s website: (not approved by Dr. Pipes yet)  

Monday, March 10, 2008 

1. Being knowledgeable about Islam and being malicious about Islam are two different and distinct criteria. The whole lot of non-Muslim scribes appears to be mixing the two to come out with distorted picture of Islam and Muslims. Muslim writers in Media, at least, leaving out the fringe and the bought out, can make good contribution to the subject which is now engaging the attention of the US and western world in general. I have no hesitation in accepting that hundreds and thousands of non-Muslims have spent their lives studying Islam, Muslim world and Arabic too, just to get some insight into the esoteric world that so differs from the Western society. Not all of them are bigoted and scare-mongers. Some do have made a career out of their hatemongering. A balanced view of Islam and Muslims promoting a more positive approach to the study and practice of Islam should be a welcome suggestion and should not be off-handedly rejected on distorted illogical argumentation. Philip Bennet’s suggestion is more accommodative. Dr. Pipes’ rejection is typical of his tangential logic to put down any unsavory initiatives. Readers can make their own judgments. 

2. Instances abound, where the wordsmiths are busy day and night in propagating the special meaning of any word, be that English or Arabic or any language, through constant usage and hammering their agenda to convey their own needs. Dr. Daniel cannot categorically deny that words from one language or country or region, travel to different language, country, group and region are not subject to such treatment of completely denuding the word of its original definitive meaning or usage. Brown has pointed out to that phenomena and he is on much solid ground than Dr. Pipes. 

3. The usage of ‘Islamist’ is user driven new meaning that some Muslim baiters have been promoting, just as an exercise in hair-splitting. This is an attempt to move from the obnoxious collective profiling of Muslims, to a more subjective definition to give a respectable color to their negative exercise in camouflaging their bigotry under the trappings of high scholarship. 

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai


March 12, 2008

Sunday, March 09, 2008 


Once again BBC is on its very subtle and very sophisticated exercise of continuing Muslim baiting by choosing a very offensive motion to be debated at the Doha Debate telecast last evening: ‘This House believes that Muslims are failing to combat extremism.’ Why should Muslim be answering to this question, and why not the US and Israel are openly and publicly brought into the picture by the BBC to complete the picture of the world of extremism.’ (  By restricting the definition of extremism to only the so-called Muslim extremism, is it not an utterly motivated exercise to put Muslims in the dock, while letting free BBC’s main clients, the US and Israel on whose behalf, the state funded BBC is organizing these pet projects, to bring out their own concerns, without giving the other side of the story, the full impact of monstrosity of the terrorism of the both sides.  Why it is Kosher for US to bomb Iraq and Afghanistan, on concocted pretext, put out on lies and propaganda, while the entire world Muslim community of over a billion strong, is being painted with a single brush of the high crime of ‘extremism, terrorism, fundamentalism’ while US goes scot free with its daily bombings and killings of innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. The debate was heavily doctored from the very beginning, by placing complaint participants within the group of about 350 participants, who overwhelmingly voted, naturally, in favour of the motion.  Qatar is a small country. Its old emir was deposed through US intervention and the new emir was placed at the helm of a defenseless tiny emirate, as the new entrant into oil boom. The first act of the new emir was to recognize the state of Israel. Nobody can fool the whole world that the clock and dagger drama of ‘regime change’ was under extreme duress from the US. Now US has major military establishment in the country. The small Qatari population had been lifted from the old desert life of scrapping their hard living, through fishing, diving and other trades that was the hallmark of all Gulf States in the old century. The Qataris are now living a life of luxury, thanks to oil income and their new found friendship with the US and Israel. Can BBC find any majority in any panel discussion in the vulnerable state of Qatar who will dare to go against the chosen line of the US and Israel. If the US is spending millions of dollars to propagate its demonizing of terrorists as well as the whole Ummah and even the religion of Islam, why one of the panelists should be so worked up about the budget of Saudi charities. After all it’s the same devalued dollars that both sides are using. And nobody can be fooled that the US is not playing a double game of running with both the hounds and the hare, when it can make easily life difficult for Saudis, if they want to. After all they are the super power and they can dictate their writ on the Saudis. Even in Qatar, the continuance of Shaikh Qardawi is to give the false impression that Qatar is an independent country and if Qataris want Shaikh Qardawi to remain in Qatar, the US cannot do anything.  This is a false picture and it cannot fool the world. The world is fully aware that Qatar is the same way an ‘occupied country’ as any other Arab and Muslim country, where the US dominates through proxies — be that Egypt or Pakistan. So to celebrate the outcome of the current session of Doha Debate, where under the expert management of the artful manager from the BBC stable, the formidable Tim Sebastian is to insult the intelligence of both the East and the West. Credit should be given for the few courageous souls, mainly womenfolk in Hijab, who brought out the barest minimum of true mainstream Muslims concern over massacres of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, till Tim cut them out in the nick of time at each instant.  It is shameful for BBC to be still behaving like the poodle, even though the most infamous of them, Tony Blair, has left the scene in total disgrace. Lessons should have been learned.  

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai



March 12, 2008

Friday, March 07, 2008



 MUMBAI POLICE MUST LEARN FROM NEW YORK POLICE Bombs went off in the famous Times Square of New York city this morning. This is the same city that carries the scarred memories of 9/11 bombings of World Trade Center’s twin tower buildings. Hours have gone by and still the police is not quick on the draw, like the notorious media-publicity hungry Mumbai police, to announce or rather proclaim from the rooftops that the bombings are the handiwork of Al-Qaida or Muslim terrorists. New York City’s prime newspaper has carried story about the bombing, list how similar bombings, similar timings and similar targeting of prominent buildings, but did not hazard the most crucial guess as to who could be behind these series of city bombings right from 2005. There can be no better investigative reporters available to New York Times, than, one can be sure, with the Times of India, or Indian Express or various TV channels, dominated by the Rupert Murdock’s Star News and Times’ TIMES NOW news channels. Still, the restraint shown by the print and electronic media in New York is an exemplary lesson to both the Mumbai police and Mumbai media, who are obsessed with the ‘demonisation of Muslim’ agenda and are ill-equipped to envision the greater harm they do to the security and national integrity of the nation. No nation can center its politics on internal or external violence and enjoy peace that is necessary for progress in all human endeavors. The hate mongers among us should learn from the current mood in the US, which has now learnt the lessons of neo-con warmongerings and its negative damaging effects not only to US economy but in a chain reaction to the rest of the world. It is time, Mumbai police and Mumbai’s print media as well as national electronic media reform their thinking and their agenda and work with a positive state of mind, to cope with the increasingly deteriorating conditions prevailing in the city, to which they have been so mindlessly contributing to, since December 1992. 

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai