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Judgment day for Pakistani militant

Today the lone surviving terrorist, Ajmal Kasab, of the Mumbai terror attack of 2008 has been found guilty of murder and waging war against India. In November 2008, he along with 9 other Pakistanis crossed border into India and unleashed reign of terror and mayhem which left 166 people dead and many other injured. The trial even in the presence of strong forensic evidence and CCTV footage of the culprit, took over a year to complete and now Kasab waits on death row. If he is executed this will be first execution since 2004 in India.

Mohammed Ajmal Kasab

This whole episode took several twists and turns in which first Pakistan denied that the terrorists were its citizens (which was later proved and publicly accepted by Pakistani authorities) and many in Pakistan including government, media pundits and its citizens continued to rant that it is a plot set by Indians themselves to defame Pakistan and Islam (when have I not heard this lame response). Ajmal Kasab himself changed his own statements a couple of times first pleading guilty, then not guilty and then finally again reverting back to his original statement.

The trial was an important one for India since the emotions were high amongst its citizens regarding this issue and also for political reasons. And what is important is the fact that despite harboring sentiments of vendetta the legal process was followed. Tax payers’ money was spent in keeping this criminal safe from mobs who would have wanted to lynch him for murdering their loved ones. There are still those who are recovering from the aftermath of those events and then there are those who will never be able to recover from this incident. In the end, sanity and justice prevailed over anger and sentiments. And this is the process that is supposed to differentiate us from the barbarians.

Note: Even though, India has its own share of shameful acts towards religious minorities, lower order Hindu castes and women, mainly by right wing Hindu extremists, the above post is only meant to highlight the positive and mature approach in these events.


Problems with fence sitters

Although not unexpected it is still quite a pathetic display by the majority of Islamic leaders in Pakistan. The group comprising of 150 leaders of the influential and widespread Deobandi school of thought held a rare gathering but refused to conclusively condemn terrorism, militancy and suicide attacks. The purpose of this gathering according to some “was to organize the movement for enforcement of Shariah through peaceful and democratic means” while others believe it was sponsored by government “to issue a fatwa or religious edict censuring militants”. However, the result of this meeting was the issuance of the following statement:

“Whatever is happening in Pakistan or Afghanistan today is a reaction to the American policies, its increasing influence and interference in Pakistan and our government’s inability to understand this fact and side with the West.”

Right, blame it on others so you yourself do not have to take any responsibility for your own actions. Even though I am not a supporter of the ongoing military operation, primarily due to the fact that it is resulting in a huge amount of civilian ‘collateral damage’ and secondly because there are still elements within the Pakistan Army who have strong connections with the militants. The second point is also evident from the fact that the recent gathering of Deobandi leaders included heads of various organizations that have been banned due to their involvement in militant activities. Plus the warm ties the Pakistani military and its ruling elite has maintained with these militants has hardly diminished in any sense. In such circumstances it is absurd to justify any number of civilian causalities that are currently occurring.

It is quite obvious that any edict given against the actions of the extremist by any group may not actually have a positive impact, however, in a heavily religiously indoctrinated country like Pakistan it is a starting point. Such a decree will not end the maddening fanaticism but it will help in at least creating a negative opinion amongst the masses which might hamper newer generations of suicide militants. Furthermore, a unanimous declaration against militant jihad might also have encouraged opening channels of debate and dialogue, even if so in the longer run. Debates can only be initiated once the rational members of these societies consider that it is safe and conducive to engage in such activities which will in turn aid in helping many others to question dogmatic ideas. The initial step however, in this direction has to start from denouncing of the radicalism and extremism at a larger scale and pluralistic levels.


Bill Maher on extremist muslims

Bill Maher is spot on..and funny as well!


Here comes the child bride…

Not an unusual occurrence in some parts of the world which makes this even more disturbing. A 49 year old Nigerian senator has recently ‘purchased’ his fourth wife for $ 100,000 who is allegedly is 13 years old. Ahmad Sani denies that she 13 years old and refuses to say how old his bride actually is by stating:

“If I state the age, they will still use it to smear Islam”

This statement in itself should be enough to raise concerns. Amongst the other accomplishment of this senator includes previously marrying a 15 year old girl, reintroduction of Sharia in Nigeria and failed attempt at bribing the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission of Nigeria. Hmmm..not a very enviable resume.

Child marriages are not a rare phenomenon in Africa, Middle East and South Asia. In most cases parents forced by poverty sell their young daughters into marriage to those who are willing to pay handsomely for it. In other cases child marriages are conducted in order to resolve tribal disputes in which they become the unwilling peacemakers and victims of abuse. This custom, though banned in Pakistan is still practiced and very few cases make it into news since most of them remain unreported.

It is indeed horrible to imagine what these young girls have to go through in an age when utmost care should be provided to them. It is shameful and disgraceful that in the period of their life when they should be carelessly playing with children of their own age, they are forced to warm the beds of monsters with their minds, spirits and bodies screaming silently to be saved.


Tans Banned in Iran

After warning its citizens of ‘immodestly’ dressed women, Iran has now raised its security threat level and has now included suntan into the ‘axis of evil’. The authorities have announced today in a statement that it is well aware of the ‘dangers’ its citizens face from ‘evil’ bronzed women.

Like most religions, Islam too has fashioned various taboos surrounding women. They are the main scapegoat in most of the things that are wrong in the society. Even when they are clearly the victims, such as in crimes like rape, they are held responsible for they were either not following the word of god or they must have provoked the criminal by dressing ‘provocatively’. Such reckless reasons abound primarily because there is a decent majority of those individuals who are more than ready to avoid responsibility. The status quo works in the favor of this group, which includes the clerics and politicians, who together form the ruling elite of most Islamic countries.

From the ‘fall of man’ to the world’s most devastating natural calamities the blame is casually thrown to the women folk. Labeled as weak and inferior through decades of indoctrination and sidelined from main stream due to lack of access to proper education it is no surprise that they remain economically dependent on men around them.

This suppression of women works in the favor of ‘Big Brother’ at different levels. Firstly it keeps almost half of the population economically dependent on the other half. Secondly the men in most cases remain paranoid about what ‘conspiracy’ women might be brewing and they remain occupied in ‘controlling’ them. Thirdly, it maintains a constant fear amongst the citizens by constantly monitoring and controlling even the very personal, private and intimate details of their lives and a tool to humiliate women & also men.


Court Oks Live In Couples

This ruling by Indian Supreme Court should be a set back for many conservatives in India and a small win for liberals. The actress who was accused a culprit for promoting indecency in 22 cases since 2005 has finally been let off the hook. Her ‘indecent’ remarks included that “it is not wrong for women to have pre-marital sex as long as they take precautions” and “it is not fair of any educated youth to expect his wife to be a virgin“.

For a conservative country like India this is quite a step!


conjoined twins help spread Islam

Conjoined twins are a rare phenomenon whose occurrence is approximately 1 in 50,000 births to 1 in 100,000 births. A large majority is unable to survive birth or early stages of life, those that do due to the advancements of medical science would still have to face several challenges ahead of them.

I do not have much information on this phenomenon especially the ethical and moral views surrounding it, however, I find this particular case of conjoined twins who were separated in 2007 a bit disturbing. When these girls were born 4 years ago the inhabitants of the village considered them to be a ‘gift from Satan’.  And now that they have been separated, a surgery that was sponsored by the Saudi monarch, the village is slowly converting to Islam which again is being financed and supported by government of Saudi Arabia. The parents were the first to start this trend and with the establishment of Islamic center, mosque and school more people are slowly switching faith.

I don’t like the sound of this. Cameroon is one of the lowest rank countries in the World on Human Development Index (153/182) and Global Competitiveness Report (111/133). With such amount of poverty and economic disparity it would be more appropriate to spend money on better areas like proper health care, better education and developing human skills. Hard line religious schools and poverty only prepares breeding grounds for disillusioned young fanatics. And that is one of the things we need less of right now.

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