Thursday, October 30, 2014

Religious freedom or religious coercion?

Nasir Khan, October 30, 2014

The whole history of mankind shows when Religion and State were united, the world saw only political and social oppression, injustice and disasters. The same thing is happening in many countries now where some people are killing others in the name of their religion and for imposing their brand of religion on others by terror and coercion to take political power. But they reject the other course, a humane and sensible course, which allows a peaceful existence of all people in a democratic way, which leads to the well-being of all, respect for all religions and their followers, such as, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Baha’is, Buddhists, animists, all sorts of believers or non-religious people.

Under such a democratic and humane system all people have equal social and political rights. There is no discrimination against anyone because of their religion or oppression of any religion under any pretext. All people have freedom to follow their religions according to their customs and traditions freely. Religion becomes a matter of personal choice over which no other authority, social or political, can intervene.

The question before all of us is: which is the better way? I think the people who have not been fully brainwashed and indoctrinated will accept the democratic path. But those who want to kill and terrorise to impose their only misguided convictions and dogmas will continue to kill and terrorise. If they gain power, they will impose their unjust laws, discriminate against other faiths and sects and make the life of minorities intolerable and brutish.

Stephen Lendman: America’s Deplorable Afghanistan Legacy

civilian-casualties
 
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg absurdly calls Afghanistan an Alliance success story. As ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) “completes” its “mission at the end of this year.”
 “This unprecedented international effort has contributed to a better future for Afghan men, women and children,” Stoltenberg claims. “And it has enhanced global security.”

Disaster more accurately describes things. Conditions are horrific. Perhaps worse than ever. A testimony to US-led NATO high crimes against peace.

Afghanistan’s new puppet government agreed to let around 10,000 US troops remain indefinitely. Immune from Afghan laws. Free to rampage with impunity. On the pretext of serving in an advisory capacity.

Afghanistan today reflects “the grand illusion of the American cause.” What CIA officials called Vietnam decades earlier. After over 13 years of neo-colonial war, Washington won’t cut its losses and leave. For good reason.

Afghanistan is strategically important. A geopolitical prize. Straddling the Middle East, South and Central Asia. In Eurasia’s heartland. Permanent occupation is planned. War won’t end. At issue is exploiting Eurasia’s vast oil, gas and other resources.

Significant Afghan resources rarely discussed.


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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Haaretz: Harry Potter actress blames ‘stupid’ Israel for anti-Jewish backlash

Nasir Khan,  October 28, 2014

The Zionists have cultivated anti-Semitism by their anti-human hasbara, their ethnic cleansing of Palestine and their brutal genocidal wars against the captive Palestinians of the Occupied Palestine. The world sees now what they do and what they have done before. As a result many ordinary people have nothing but revulsion and disgust against what the Zionists stand for and the horrible war crimes they have committed. The last major crimes they committed were in Gaza in July-August in 2014 which we all witnessed on our telescreens. Unluckily many Jews have fallen in the trap of the Zionist deception. That has been a deeply tragic thing for the Jews, Palestinians and many other people around the world. The shameful ‘victories’ of the Zonists are losses for humanity.

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British Jewish actress Miriam Margolyes says anti-Semitism is horrible but Israel is ‘stupid for allowing people to vent it.’

By Haaretz | Oct. 28, 2014

The British Jewish actress who played Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter films has called Israel “stupid” for allowing people to “vent” anti-Semitism.

Miriam Margolyes told Radio Times, a British television and radio magazine, that there has been a “troubling backlash” against Jews in the wake of the summer’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, British media reported.


“I loathe Hamas, but they were democratically elected and Israel’s behaviour is not acceptable,” she said. “There’s been a troubling backlash.”

Margolyes grew up in a Jewish household in Britain, according to Sky News. Her parents are descendants of immigrants from Belarus.

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Democratic rule or theocratic rule for the Muslim people

Nasir Khan, October 26, 2014

Islam is a religion, a great religion, but it is not a political ideology for multicultural, multi-religious and multi-ethnic societies of the present times. It contains some golden principles such as equality, fairness and justice that are applicable in politics because such universal principles are recognised as the pillars of democracy and open society. But that does not mean religion, any religion for that matter, can be an alternative to democratic form of government because this inevitably leads to the concentration of power and influence in the hands of some potentates and despots. This has been the case in the the Middle Ages where the Church dominated states and it became a symbol of tyrannical rule and oppressive practices. It is quite so in some Islamic countries where dynastic despots and oligarchs rule by using Islam for their own ends and state oppression. 

It’s not difficult to see that different people have different interpretations of Islam. Historically, there has never been any unanimity of views in Islam on a range of issues. During the formative period of the Islamic Caliphate after 632 C.E. differing and mutually exclusive interpretation of Islamic state and Islamic rule had soon started to take shape when the community split along the Sunni-Shia lines. Such differences have multiplied over the course of fourteen centuries. Even within the Sunnis different schools of thought emerged and there is no way they can ever be reconciled. Nor, can the Sunni and Shia concepts of what constitutes Islamic ruler be reconciled because of the differing concepts that underlie Caliphate (Sunni) and Imamate (Shia).

When some people dare to give their opinions, which do not repeat the centuries-old stereotypes they are attacked for their heretical views by the orthodox and rigid literalists of traditions. They assume only they have the ‘true’ version of Islam; therefore, only they are the ones who can rightfully speak on behalf of God and Islam while all the others are groping in the darkness of ignorance and suffering from the malaise of modern Western ideas of democracy and human rights. However, it is essential to explain that democracy is a form of government in which the will of the population of a country is decisive in forming policies that advance the cause of the citizens in social, religious, economic and political matters. In a genuine democracy this will reflects the actual needs of the people but in a bogus democracy the form of democracy is used to further individual or particular interests while paying lip-service to the values of democracy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Asia Bibi, the condemned Christian woman to take blasphemy case to top Pakistani court

Nasir Khan,  October 21, 2014

First of all, as a Humanist I fully acknowledge the positive aspects of all major religions including Islam. But what ignorant people do in the name of a religion is a different thing; they negate or pervert the positive sides of religions. Unfortunately the case of many indoctrinated and misled Pakistani people and their support for the blasphemy laws shows the degree of ignorance that prevails in that country. The misuse of the religion of the majority by the lawmakers shows how they enacted such laws in violation of basic human rights including the freedom of speech. No surprise if the judiciary upholds these laws and proves pivotal in perpetuating gross injustice and denial of justice on flimsy grounds. Thus Pakistani religious minorities suffer; they are victimised in the name of ‘safeguarding Islam’ as we can see in the case of Asia Bibi.

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By Adeel Raja and Susannah Cullinane, CNN

October 20, 2014
Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) — A Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan plans to take her case to the country’s highest court after a high court last week rejected her appeal, her attorney says.


Asia Bibi, a mother of five from Punjab province, was accused of defiling the name of the Prophet Mohammed during a 2009 argument with Muslim fellow field workers.

The workers had refused to drink from a bucket of water she had touched because she was not Muslim.


In November 2010, a Pakistani district court found Bibi guilty of blasphemy. The offense is punishable by death or life imprisonment, according to Pakistan’s penal code, and Bibi was sentenced to hang.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Note on Leon Trotsky


 Nasir Khan, Oct. 18, 2014

Leon Trotsky has either been demonised or idealised within the socialist movement for various reasons. Those who have demonised him saw only a personification of counter-revolutionary in him. But those who idealised him see in him the only great revolutionary in the twentieth century. Thus unluckily the evaluation of Trotsky has become a question of putting him in one category or the other, nothing in between in these two extremes. Such modes of thinking are still common among his supporters or detractors. But this is not the way the historic role of an eminent Marxist leader and revolutionary should be judged and described. Neither hagiography nor calumnies do justice to a great revolutionary who despite his differences with the Bolsheviks came to the side of Vladimir Lenin and became a dynamic voice defending and serving the October Revolution. But he was not the man who could have survived the tumultuous times once Lenin was no more. What happened to him after the death of Lenin in 1924 is well-known to all.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Marjorie Cohn: US Government Sanitizes Vietnam War History

For many years after the Vietnam War, we enjoyed the “Vietnam syndrome,” in which US presidents hesitated to launch substantial military attacks on other countries. They feared intense opposition akin to the powerful movement that helped bring an end to the war in Vietnam. But in 1991, at the end of the Gulf War, George H.W. Bush declared, “By God, we’ve kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all!”

With George W. Bush’s wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, and Barack Obama’s drone wars in seven Muslim-majority countries and his escalating wars in Iraq and Syria, we have apparently moved beyond the Vietnam syndrome. By planting disinformation in the public realm, the government has built support for its recent wars, as it did with Vietnam.

Now the Pentagon is planning to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War by launching a $30 million program to rewrite and sanitize its history. Replete with a fancy interactive website, the effort is aimed at teaching schoolchildren a revisionist history of the war. The program is focused on honoring our service members who fought in Vietnam. But conspicuously absent from the website is a description of the antiwar movement, at the heart of which was the GI movement.

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