Wonderful Words of Wisdom from a Child

November 22, 2012 by  
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There is so much to be garnered from this.  I hope you will all feel the same.  As the sender said .  .  . read and absorb.

A Dog’s Purpose: From a 6-year-old

A child with a dog

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker.  The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer.

I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home. As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure as they felt that Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion.

We sat together for a while after Belker’s death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, “I know why.” Startled, we all turned to him.

What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.

He said, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The six-year-old continued, “Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

• When loved ones come home, always run to greet them;
• Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride;
• Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy;
• Take naps;
• Stretch before rising;
• Run, romp, and play daily;
• Thrive on attention and let people touch you;
• Avoid biting when a simple growl will do;
• On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass;
• On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree;
• When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body;
• Delight in the simple joy of a long walk;
• Be loyal;
• Never pretend to be something you’re not;
• If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it;
• When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently;

There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it.

You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good, so, love the people who treat you right.

Think good thoughts for the ones who don’t ~ life is too short to be anything but happy.

Falling down is part of LIFE…
Getting back up is LIVING…

– fwd: michael zuzarte

Marital problems in the Indian Diaspora living in West Asia

November 22, 2012 by  
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Marital problems in the Indian Diaspora living in West AsiaSaudi Arabia, November 20, 2012: No such study or research has been carried out ever on this subject yet. The history of this phenomenon is not very old. It is as old as the petro-dollar’s flow of wealth in the West Asia from Seventies when the influx of job seekers started in the Oil rich Arab states. Having studied the Counselling in Marital problems, I started writing columns in the local Urdu Weekly “Urdu Magazine” published from Jeddah. In response, the concerned readers began calling for help.

I was surprised to discover the fact that almost every 10th Indian, particularly the Muslims, has strained relations with their spouses or in-laws. The number of children affected is countless. Since the local Arab Governments do not show any sympathy or interest to solve the expatriate’s disputes even if they end up with police case, it was inevitable to form an NGO and coordinate with the embassy where the majority of the cases are reported. At an average, 2-3 cases are reported weekly to the Embassy, Weekly’s office and directly to the NGO.

Nature of complaints:

1. Most of the cases are dowry-related. Since the groom’s main qualification of being an NRI seems to supersedes all other academic qualifications, the parents prefer to spend on NRI bride-grooms as the parents wish to see their daughters go abroad. When she lands her she finds him far away from her ideals. The one who could have been a match to her is often, in terms of dowry, out of the capacity of her parents. Therefore, the parents have to overlook the criteria of mental or intellectual or educational matching, they wed their daughters according to their financial affordability.

2. There are many cases where the bride-grooms provided incorrect information about their job, earning, qualifications etc. before the marriage. As a result, the innocent girls found an entirely different standard of life upon arrival, far below their expectations.

3. Many expatriates do not qualify for maintaining “family status” so they cannot obtain the family’s visa. The distance creates many disputes with in-laws and, consequently, they go to the police and courts. The women seeking divorce do not get any help from Qazi. The courts take too long as unless the bride-groom appears in the court, no fast judgment can be passed. Even if the court summons or sends warrant to the bride-groom, he does not respond as the Indian Embassy is not equipped with any power to catch hold of such violators. West Asia is a safe land for those who run away from the family disputes. No Qazi or Court can serve notice to them unless they return back.

A case study: A young man Mr. Mujahid Ali Shah, a native of Hyderabad who had divorced his wife due to anti-dowry case against him, was allowed to meet his two daughters once in a week by the Court. He violated the Court’s instructions, deceived the law bribing some officials and brought the daughters to Jeddah. He is absconding from India. The embassy does not have power to compel his Saudi Sponsor to send him back.

In the same way, we often receive many requests from the parents and Qazis to locate the absconding husbands. The complainants send the copies of the FIR and even Court orders but they are of no use. As long as the Arab sponsor does not exit the wanted person, he has liberty to stay abroad.

4. The sufferings of the Indian Muslim girls married to Arab Shiekhs is a common phenomena. The brokers including Qazis convince the parents of the girls under the pretext of Islamic permission to such marriages and wed the girls with Arabs. The poor parents fall prey. The Sheikhs abandon these girls within a week or two after enjoying a few nights with these girls. There is no agreement between India and other Arab Governments to bring these sheikhs to the courts. There are many girls with children out of this short-term relationship.

5. Similarly, there are many girls who married to the Arabs and came here. They found on arrival that the Sheikh is already married to other wives. Since the Indian maids are considered as more efficient and loyal here, these girls are forced to work like maids.

An example: I came across a case of a Keralite Muslim girl namely Rehana Kulsoom. She belonged to a very poor family. An aged Saudi married her and brought her to Saudi Arabia on a Maid’s visa as the Saudi nationals are not permitted to marry any non-Saudi woman. The innocent girl did not know this. She was assigned to look after the Saudi’s ailing mother who was on wheel chair. The Saudi used to come home once or twice a week and always used to make excuses of his excessive travelling. Later she found out that the man already has got two wives and several children, he needed only a maid to look after his mother. When the mother died after a few years, he sent her back giving her a few hundred Riyals only. While she was forced to attend his mother, he had taken her passport and local ID in his custody and made excuses that he has lost. Eventually, the Embassy had to come to rescue the woman and got her relieved from the torture.

6. The educated girls who had been at jobs in India find very difficult to adjust here as the women are not allowed to work except in the profession of teaching or nursing. The husbands want to live together but the women do not find any attraction in the life without going to jobs. As a result, many a complications arise in the married life.

Example: Ismail Akbar is a 40 years old sales executive in my company, married with 2 sons and a daughter. His wife is a Life Insurance agent and earning over 50,000 Rupee monthly in India. She wants to visit him now and then but not interested in staying permanently. The husband could not resist his natural needs and married a nurse locally. The first wife writ for divorce in Bombay court and Akbar is facing enormous difficulties as he is not willing to part from his wife and children.

7. It is not that only the women are victimized. In many cases, we witnessed the men too are harassed by the wives and their parents. Since most of the expatriates’ second generation too has become a working class abroad, the men who marry locally here, find an army of in-laws around them. The involvement of in-laws from both sides often multiplies the problems.

8. We often find complaints of impotency in the men. The years in the deserts they live before the marriage lead them to the bad habits of pornographic entertainments. They fall in illicit acts of sexual satisfaction and soon lose power. Afraid of defamation after marriage, they accuse the wives of immorality. As a result, the women are victimized due to the false allegations.

9. The advancement of the social media like Facebook, Twitter, etc. have destroyed the morality. Since women are mostly alone at home, willingly or unwillingly they indulge in acquaintance of many such friendships that arouse suspicion in their husbands’ mind and subsequently the relations start getting strained.

Recommendations to the Ministry of Overseas Indians:

1. The embassies must be given power to withhold the passport, or to influence the courts or local police stations in India with their report. Since revocation of the passport needs a long judiciary process, the embassies should have power to instruct the Indian immigration department to seize the passport at the airport itself as soon as the violators arrive at any Indian airport.

2. NGOs who come forward to counsel in the marital problems, must be given legal support by the embassies to take action. The embassy should support the action taken by the NGOs. This will not only reduce the domestic violence, divorces etc but also reduce lot of pressure from the embassy staff who willingly or unwillingly have to get involved in the disputes.

3. There is already an agreement between the Indian Government and most of the Gulf Governments on exchange of terrorists, smugglers etc. There should also be an agreement to exchange the persons who are wanted by any Indian court but they are absconding. If any Indian court issues a warrant against a person, the embassies should be able to compel the Arab sponsor to arrange the deportation of the wanted person.

4. The Community Welfare section of every embassy must be provided with an official counsellor to counsel between the wives and husbands.

5. Strict laws must be introduced to stop the marriages of Indian girls to the Arab nationals. At the same time, more severe punishments too should be introduced against those Qazis and brokers who arrange such marriages in violation to the real Islamic laws.

6. Most important: The Government must ban the dowry system. This is the root of many crimes in the society as well as a worst violation of Women’s Rights. The article 498A or anti-dowry act 1961 and 1986 are not enough to curb the present day’s dowry trends. New strict laws must be introduced to eradicate it.


This article first appeard in Bihar Anjuman’s magazine BaKhabar. Mr. Aleem Khan Falaki is a PhD Research scholar from Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad. He is also the President of Socio Reforms Society of India. Based in Jeddah, writer of books on Life Insurance, Dowry system etc. He can be contacted on aleemfalki@yahoo.com.

– tcn

CSF: What about a Christian University? Lets learn from Aligarh – to be # 1 soon

November 22, 2012 by  
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On behalf of AMU Old Boys Association a Special Souvenir gifted to the Gen Jamir uddin Shah (Retd), Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University in a felicitation programme at National Library Coneference Hall, on 18th November, 2012

On behalf of AMU Old Boys Association a Special Souvenir gifted to the Gen Jamir uddin Shah (Retd), Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University in a felicitation programme at National Library Coneference Hall, on 18th November, 2012

West Bengal, November 21, 2012: Aligarh Muslim University, now ranking 5, may become the best university in the country within five years, if the current Vice Chancellor is to be believed.

Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, Lt General Jamiruddin Shah (Retd) was speaking at a felicitation programme called by AMU Old Boys Association, Kolkata Unit at National Library Conference Hall Bhasa Bhawan in Kolkata on November 18, 2012.

He also said that the AMU Murshidabad Campus will soon become full-fledged be university.

Lt. General Shah said that Sir Syed Ahmed Khan’s vision was the development of the Muslim community and AMU was built in that aim. He believed that Muslim community is not reaping the full advantage of the university.

He added that along with the Aligarh campus within five years job oriented tanning like civil service (IAS), etc. will begin in Malappuram, Murshidabad and Kishanganj campuses.

Elaborating on his vision for the Murshidabad campus, AMU VC said that schools to will soon be added to prepare students from beginning for university education. He also informed that the administration is in talk with the state government to build new hostels, currently running in rented apartments.

He assured that, Murshidabad Campus will be made complete AMU and to be introduced the entire course in future.

VC said that the President of India Pranab Mukherjee told me to maintain the education standard in the state AMU campus. He added that he has assured the President, who comes from Murshidabad, that the AMU Murshidabad Campus may beat the main campus in future.

Mr Shah also said, Like Murshidbad campus Kishanganj campus o AMU has been registered and may soon begin.

Officer on Special Duty (OSD) of Murshidabad AMU campus Dr Shah Alam said that under guidance of Vice Chancellor of AMU the campus is now free from land dispute. Study of AMU Murshdiabad campus is now remarkable and touches the quality education of AMU main campus, he added.

– tcn

15 Year old church demolished in Karnataka

November 22, 2012 by  
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Blessing Youth Mission's Church in Karnataka demolishedKarnataka, November 21, 2012: About 15 years ago, Blessing Youth Mission built a Church at Chippagiri Gowtown village, Yellapura Tq. in Karwar District. This church is shepherded by Pastor Suresh Kaithan Siddi (40). His wife is Maria (35). They have two sons. This church has 30 believers worshipping there.

A month ago some men belonging to Sangh Parivar approached Pastor Suresh and accused him of converting people to Christianity and warned him of serious consequences. Later they gave a complaint at the Yellapura Police station when the Police came to the village and organized a Peace Committee comprising the Pastor and some village folks. After discussion they came to a settlement of peaceful co-existence.

Yesterday, November 20, 2012 around 10.30 pm some of the Sangh parivar men along with some villagers came with clubs. They locked up 10-12 believers houses and threatened them that if they tried to come out they will be killed. Around 11 pm they began to demolish the Church measuring 15×30 feet. In no time they razed the church and set fire to the rubble and debris.

The Pastor went to Yellapura Police Station this morning (21st Nov, 12), at 8 am and lodged a complaint about this incident. Mr. Shreedhar CPI visited the spot, after inspection he said that due procedure will be followed to nab and punish the culprits.

The believers belonging to this demolished church are mostly labourers and daily wage earners.

– persecution.in

Caritas India trains tribal and Muslim community leaders to promote peace in Assam

November 22, 2012 by  
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The goal is to re-establish harmony between the two communities, divided by communal violence in July. Unrest left 88 people dead, 400,000 people displaced. In addition to training, Caritas provided 6,000 kg of rice and mosquito nets to 2,000 families living in refugee camps set up by the Diocese of Bongaigaon.

Tribal women in AssamNew Delhi, November 21, 2012: Caritas India has trained about 100 community leaders from the Bodo tribe and Muslim community. The Catholic social service, which helps victims irrespective of religious, ethnic or caste differences, took this step in the wake of communal violence that broke out back in July. Its goal is to restore harmony and peace in the area.

Once trained, “community leaders will inspire their respective communities to go back to their villages and engage in peaceful relations,” said Patrick, a Caritas official.

Violence between members of the Bodo tribe and Muslim settlers in Assam left 88 people dead. An additional 400,000 were forced to flee their homes.

Working with the Bongaigaon Social Service Society in the Diocese of Bongaigaon, Caritas handed out mosquito nets and 6,000 kg of rice to 2,000 families living in 10 local refugee camps. Members of the association set up recreational facilities for children and provided basic health care on an ongoing basis.

However, things are far from normal at present. Some camps hold more than 6,000 people, not all registered with the authorities. “Regular” camps get government aid, but those that are unregistered, i.e. the majority, rely on donations. Meanwhile, people in the camps are still counting their losses (homes, land and other assets).

Violence broke out overnight on 21-22 July when unidentified armed men killed four young men in Kokrajhar, an area inhabited by tribal Bodos. Out of revenge, some tribals attacked Muslims held responsible for the previous murders. Violence then broke out with groups attacking each other, setting cars, homes and schools on fire, with gunmen firing at individuals and crowds.

– asianews

CSF: Review Death Penalty: Kasab hanging & India at the UN…

November 22, 2012 by  
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A growing list of countries has abolished the death penalty in either law or practice - Amnesty International

A growing list of countries has abolished the death penalty in either law or practice - Amnesty International

Mumbai, November 22, 2012: The CSF places on record its sympathies and prayers for the victims of the 26 / 11 attack and their families, urging that the Indian government needs to do more to get the handlers and the real culprits behind the attack. While it welcomes the hanging of Ajmal Kasab, CSF general secretary, calls for ” re-visiting death penalty in the country as a punishment. It is merely a coincidence that a day before Ajmal Kasab was hanged, India was among the 39 countries to vote for death penalty at the UN General Assembly calling for its abolition. It was heartening though that a record number of 110 countries voted against capital punishment, while 36 countries abstained from the vote, which is what India should have done “. He pointed out that Amnesty International says China executed “thousands” of prisoners in 2011 though exact figures are hard to determine and other countries put to death at least 680 people with Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia being major users of capital punishment. According to the United Nations, about 150 countries have either abolished capital punishment or have instituted a moratorium. “India should also consider a moratorium against all death penalties pending a studied re-look at capital punishment, given the world’s experience in its efficacy and other methods being available to achieve similar ends. It may be a possibility only in the rarest of rare cases”, he concluded.

Christianity is not in favour of the death penalty for well-known religious reasons, but The CSF opposes capital punishment because the following secular ones:

1. The right to life is the most basic inalienable human right and hence it is morally, ethically and constitutionally wrong to deliberately take life away. Rigorous life imprisonment is an alternative.

2. The wrongful execution of an innocent person is an injustice that can never be rectified. And such could well be the case. It also does not allow the person to repent, change and make amends.

3. Almost all religious groups would disfavour death penalty, especially since most believers hold that God gives life and it is not for us to take it away. Most would believe in forgiveness.

4. Death penalty may not necessarily heal the wounds of the victims or their families, rather it may hurt them more depending on their view of life and the delayed justice delivery system.

5. The vast majority of countries in Western Europe, North America and South America – more than 139 nations worldwide – have abandoned capital punishment in law or in practice.

6. The inadequate quality legal representation and extraneous circumstances like distinctions, mass pressure, politics, biases, etc. may often result in a wrongful conviction.

7. It harks back to medieval inhuman times, making society less civilized and cruel; victims may not want a wrong to be avenged with death, rather life imprisonment.

8. Scientific studies have consistently failed to demonstrate that executions deter people from committing crime anymore than life prison sentences.

*America’s Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says that The death penalty system in the US is applied in an unfair and unjust manner against people, largely dependent on how much money they have, the skill of their attorneys, race of the victim and where the crime took place. The death penalty is a waste of taxpayers money and has no public safety benefit. The vast majority of law enforcement professionals surveyed agree that capital punishment does not deter violent crime. Since 1973, over 138 people have been released from death rows in 26 states because of innocence. Nationally, at least one person is exonerated for every 10 that are executed. It  forever deprives an individual of the opportunity to benefit from new evidence or new laws that might warrant the reversal of a conviction, or the setting aside of a death sentence.

According to the ACLU, capital punishment wastes limited resources. It squanders the time and energy of courts, prosecuting attorneys, defense counsel, juries, and courtroom and law enforcement personnel. It unduly burdens the criminal justice system, and it is thus counterproductive as an instrument for society’s control of violent crime. Limited funds that could be used to prevent and solve crime (and provide education and jobs) are spent on capital punishment cases. Opposing the death penalty does not indicate a lack of sympathy for murder victims. On the contrary, murder demonstrates a lack of respect for human life. Because life is precious and death irrevocable, murder is abhorrent, and a policy of state-authorized killings is immoral. It epitomizes the tragic inefficacy and brutality of violence, rather than reason, as the solution to difficult social problems.

A society that respects life does not deliberately kill human beings. An execution is a violent public spectacle of official homicide, and one that endorses killing to solve social problems – the worst possible example to set for the citizenry, and especially children. The benefits of capital punishment are illusory, but the bloodshed and the resulting destruction of community decency are real.

* Internet inputs

Pearls of Wisdom – Part I

November 21, 2012 by  
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Pearls of Wisdom 1Pearls of Wisdom 2Pearls of Wisdom 3

– fwd: a n dass

Salafi leader slams draft constitution ahead of protests for Sharia in Egypt

November 21, 2012 by  
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As debates about Egypt’s draft constitution continue, a Salafi political leader has said that those who vote for a bill that does not establish “sharia rulings” as the main source of law will go “to hell”.

Salafi protestors have filled Tahrir Square on numerous occasions

Salafi protestors have filled Tahrir Square on numerous occasions

Egypt, November 19, 2012: The comments from Adel Afifi, founder and president of the Al-Asala party, came ahead of demonstrations in Cairo by thousands of Islamists demanding sharia law. They took to Tahrir Square, the heart of the Egyptian revolution, on two consecutive Fridays, 2 and 9 November.

Afifi had called at the end of October for people to “Support God and reject the constitution”. The draft states that the “principles of Islamic sharia form the main source of legislation”; Salafists and other hard line Islamists are demanding that “principles” be replaced by “rulings”. Afifi said that those who accepted the draft would be “apostates”, “committing a sin” and “casting themselves into hell”.

Thousands of supporters of various Salafi groups took part in the Friday “support sharia” demonstrations. The protests highlighted the shifting climate in Egypt since the revolution: one placard read, “Bread, freedom, sharia,” “sharia” replacing “social reform” in a slogan central to the January 2011 uprisings. Another sign read, “The Quran is above the constitution.”

The drafting of the new Egyptian constitution has proved highly contentious thus far, with Salafists dissatisfied because it is not Islamic enough for them, while secularists and non-Muslims are fearful about the imposition of a religious state. Christians, who comprise around ten per cent of the population, are particularly concerned about the implementation of sharia in a country where they are increasingly facing hostility and violence from Islamists.

The ruling Muslim Brotherhood appears to be more favourable to a gradual implementation of sharia, while the Salafists want it to be imposed immediately.

There are also concerns about women’s rights under the new Egyptian order. An article that said, “The state will do everything to promote equality between women and men without abandoning the judgements of Islamic law,” has been dropped.

Secularists objected to women’s rights being made subject to sharia, which puts women in a subordinate position to men, while Salafists feared that not restricting gender equality would jeopardise certain sharia rulings, for example, those that permit men to marry several wives.Removing the article was seen as a compromise between the two positions but has left some women’s rights activists concerned about the prospects for gender equality in Egypt.

– barnabas team

Ajmal Kasab hanged, buried at Pune’s Yerwada Jail

November 21, 2012 by  
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Ajmal KasabMumbai, November 21, 2012: Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, 25, the only terrorist caught alive during the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai, was hanged at Pune’s Yerwada Jail at 7:30 this morning, in a swift and secret execution.

Kasab was buried inside the premises of Pune’s Yerawada Central Jail shortly after he was hanged, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said.

Kasab was informed of his death on November 12 and was moved from his secure cell in Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail to Pune two days ago. The Yerwada jail is one of two in Maharashtra equipped to handle execution by hanging.

It was the first time a capital sentence had been carried out in India since 2004.

Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said Pakistan had refused to acknowledge a letter informing of Kasab’s hanging couriered as well as faxed to it through its high commission in New Delhi on November 20. But Press Trust of India reports that Pakistan has rejected this assertion and said the note regarding Ajmal Kasab’s execution was “received and acknowledged”.

“Our obligation to inform them has been fulfilled,” foreign minister Salman Khurshid said. Mr Khurshid said that there was no claim so far for the body from Pakistan. “If there is, we will consider it,” he said. While it has been established that Kasab belonged to Pakistan, Islamabad has continued to deny it was in any way involved in the terror plot.

Maharashtra government sources told NDTV that the process laid down in the jail manual was followed. Kasab no last wish and he left no will. He was asked whether he wanted to contact his family in Pakistan. He declined but reportedly wanted his mother in Pakistan be told about his death sentence, which the government did through a special letter.

An hour later after the hanging, Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil announced it officially and said, “I sincerely believe this is a tribute to all innocent people and the officers who lost their lives in the Mumbai attacks.”

President Pranab Mukherjee had rejected Kasab’s mercy petition on November 5, but the execution was kept under wraps and the announcement was made only after he was hanged.  The Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist was shifted from Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail to Pune’s Yerwada Jail this Monday.

166 people were killed over three days of terror, when 10 men from Pakistan sailed into Mumbai in November 2008. They split into pairs and spent 72 hours targeting the city’s landmarks. A hospital was attacked; so was a Jewish centre. Kasab was the only terrorist who was caught alive.

The abiding image is of him captured by a photo journalist at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station, strapped with ammunition and holding a deadly Kalashnikov rifle. He was intercepted at Girgaum Chowpatty by assistant police inspector Tukaram Ombale, who was killed while grappling with him.

Mr Patil recounted that the death sentence handed to him by a special trial court was upheld both by the High Court and the Supreme Court; Kasab faced charges ranging from treason to waging war against India.

The execution comes one day before the Winter Session of Parliament begins and five days before the fourth anniversary of a day that will haunt Mumbai for many days. The BJP’s Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said it was “better late than never.”

Since his arrest in 2008, Kasab was kept in a high-security bulletproof cell in Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail. He had moved the Supreme Court on February 14 this year against the High Court verdict of October 10 last year, which upheld a lower court order sentencing the terrorist to death. The lower court had pronounced its judgement on May 6, 2010, 18 months after he was captured.

Kasab’s mercy petition was filed first with the Maharashtra Home Ministry, which rejected it in September, and forwarded it to the Union Home Ministry. Then, in October, the Home Ministry recommended that President Pranab Mukherjee reject his plea.

In his plea before the Supreme Court Kasab had said that he had not been given a fair trial. But the Supreme Court had rejected that contention and Justice CK Prasad had observed, “I am more than certain that the planning and conspiracy to commit the crime were hatched in Pakistan, the perpetrators of crime were Pakistani trained at different centres in that country, and the devastation which took place at various places in the city of Mumbai, were executed by the appellant in furtherance thereof.”

There had been an overwhelming demand among people in India since 2008 that Kasab be executed for his role in the Mumbai attacks.Also, as Kasab’s trial continued, the cost of keeping him alive had been a huge burden on the state exchequer.

While the Government has spent over Rs. 5 crore on his high security cell at Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail, his security, entrusted to the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), has cost the state several crores.

– ndtv

Now British Islamist Fatwa against Malala & Pak HC dismisses FIR against Rimsha

November 21, 2012 by  
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British Islamists to issue fatwa against shot Pakistani girl Malala

Malala YousufzaiPakistan, November 20, 2012: A new British-based Islamist group plans to meet in Islamabad to issue a religious decree against a Pakistani schoolgirl shot by the Taliban, accusing her of supporting “occupying” U.S. forces. The move against Malala Yousufzai, 15, is likely to provoke outrage. In the days following her shooting in October, she became an international icon and world leaders pledged to support her campaign for girls’ education.

“There will be a fatwa issued regarding Malala Yousufzai taking into account the full story of her injury including her public statements in support of the occupying U.S. army in the region and mocking of key symbols of Islam such as hijab and jihad,” said Abu Baraa, a senior member of Shariah4Pakistan.

The group, whose website features a blog below a photograph of Yousufzai in a hospital bed titled “Don’t Believe The Crocodile Tears for Malala Yousufzai”, is associated with some of Britain’s most hardline Islamists.

Anjem Choudary, a prominent radical cleric in Britain, said the fatwa could be issued on November 30 at Lal Masjid, one of Pakistan’s most notorious mosques, where a 2007 army raid crushed a Taliban-style movement controlling the compound.

The mosque’s deputy head, Maulana Amir Siddique, denied the group would hold such a conference but organisers insisted they did not need permission to gather in a public place of worship.

Yousufzai is recovering in a British hospital.

Neither Baraa nor Choudary would say what punishment Yousufzai might face if the group found her guilty of violating Islam.

“Nobody is saying we are going to get out our swords and go and look for Malala. The point is a wider issue: It is about the American and Pakistani involvement in maintaining the British and American interests.” Choudary told Reuters.

“Malala is one of the issues we are going to be addressing because she is being used as a propaganda tool by the enemies of Muslims to say: ‘Look, Muslims don’t believe in education’ which is absurd.”

Tens of thousands of Britons have called on the government to nominate Yousufzai for a Nobel Peace Prize for her work promoting girls’ education.

Her shooting was the culmination of years of campaigning that had pitted the young girl against one of Pakistan’s most ruthless Taliban commanders, Maulana Fazlullah.

Fazlullah and his men had taken over Yusufzai’s native Swat Valley and have blown up girls’ schools and publicly executed those they deem immoral. An army offensive in Swat forced many Taliban fighters to flee.

– reuters

Pakistani Christians happy about Rimsha Masih verdict, Islamists talk about “manipulation”

For the bishop of Islamabad, the ruling is a “great development.” Now a law to end blasphemy abuses is needed. A Lahore priest sees the decision as a legal milestone. Islamists however are angered, blaming the government for putting pressures on the court.

Rimsha MasihPakistan, November 20, 2012: Most Pakistanis have welcomed the court’s decision to drop charges against Rimsha Masih. Christian and Muslims have praised the court for its decision, a “great development” according to Islamabad Bishop Mgr Rufin Anthony. However, Islamist extremists cannot hide their anger at the ruling, and accuse the government of putting pressures on the court to get the sentence it wanted.

The Islamabad High Court today, citing a lack of evidence, threw out all charges against Rimsha Masih, the 14-year-old Catholic girl accused of breaking the ‘black law’. The case against Khalid Jadoon Chishti, the imam who falsely accused the girl in order to provoke the expulsion of Christians to seize their goods, homes and assets, was not however dismissed.

When it broke out, the case caused worldwide outcry, given the girl’s young age and the clear proof that it was based on manipulation and false testimony.

A “great development,” Mgr Rufin Anthony told AsiaNew. With this decision, “We saw the court take a clear stand” despite “huge pressures” from extremist groups.

For the bishop of Islamabad, new, clearer legislation is needed to put a stop to the abuses committed in the name of blasphemy laws in Pakistan. “Minorities have been targeted for far long enough,” he explained.

“This is indeed a bold decision,” said Fr John Mall, from the Diocese of Lahore (Punjab). In this case, “justice has prevailed.”

Now, the clergyman hopes the authorities will do something about the other cases still pending, “especially in central Punjab,” where minorities suffer under the joke of discrimination.

Fr James John, from the Diocese of Multan, also hopes to see some changes. “There is a long list of innocent people in jail for blasphemy. They too must be saved. Rimsha has become the symbol of change for Pakistan’s minorities.”

Not everyone in Pakistan has welcomed the court’s decision, especially among extremist groups. Unlike past cases, they are now the ones complaining about undue pressures on the courts.

For example, Maulana Mehfooz Khan, from the Islamic Ideology Council, claims that the “judiciary was pressurised in this decision.” In his view, a heavy-handed “government machinery” has had “an effect on witnesses,” whose statements were manipulated.

“We have our reservations regarding the decision” he said. “Although we are against the misuse of the blasphemy law, it is unacceptable for the judiciary to be threatened when it has to decide.”

Khan’s statement is strange to say the least given the fact that until now protests by Muslim fundamentalists have led to arbitrary arrests, summary convictions and extrajudicial murders, all in the name of the ‘black law’.

One case to illustrate this involves Asia Bibi, a 46-year-old mother of five. Still on death row three years after her sentence, she is still waiting for the court to hear her appeal because of pressures from extremists who want her dead.

Then there is impunity against prosecution. Many people who took the law in their own hands, individually or in a group, are still at large despite having killed or destroyed property (like in Koriyan and Gojra, in 2009), or stolen assets and properties, all in the name of the blasphemy law, and this owing to the silence, if not the complicity of police and courts.

– asianews

Paul Bhatti: the acquittal of Rimsha Masih, an important “precedent” in blasphemy cases

The Catholic minister speaks of “double satisfaction”: the verdict states that the law cannot be used “for personal use” and whoever calumniates “will suffer a similar trial.” The congratulations and satisfaction of Christian leaders and Muslim personalities. The case will be used to revise not the law, but its interpretation. “I’m optimistic”, he says, “the society is changing.”

Paul BhattiPakistan, November 20, 2012: The verdict of acquittal for Rimsha Masih, the Catholic minor with mental problems, indicted for blasphemy, is cause for “double satisfaction”. First, the event constitutes “an important precedent” whereby the law “cannot be used for personal purposes.” In addition, those who “unjustly” accuse other people “themselves risk a trial and penalties” under the Pakistan Penal Code. This is what the Catholic Paul Bhatti told AsiaNews; Bhatti is the Special Adviser to the Prime Minister for National Harmony, and does not hide his satisfaction at the positive outcome of the event involving the girl. However, in this moment of joy for the religious minority, he does not spare criticism of those (including Christians) who exploit blasphemy cases for personal gain, to raise money and funding especially abroad.

Today the High Court in Islamabad – after several updates and suspensions of the sessions – finally acquitted the 14 year old Catholic Rimsha Masih (see AsiaNews 11/20/12 Islamabad: the charge of blasphemy dismissed for Rimsha Masih, a disabled Christian girl) of the charge of violating the “black law”, archiving the case because the crime never occurred. Instead, the proceedings against Imam Khalid Jadoon Chishti continue; Chishti slandered the minor in order to obtain the expulsion of the Christian community and to seize their goods and property. The story had prompted international concern due to the girl’s young age and the manipulation of blasphemy charges.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Paul Bhatti, brother of the Minister for Minorities Shahbaz, massacred by Islamic fundamentalists with 30 gunshots in March 2011 for having defended Asia Bibi, another Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy, does not hide his “happiness and joy”. “It is not a victory”, the special adviser for National Harmony immediately explained, “it is just one element of justice that carries a great message: those who use the law for personal purposes have been defeated; and to this there is added the certainty that those who make false charges are likely to suffer the same fate and be tried.”

The Catholic politician and ranking minister explained that he had handled the affair “in order to control protests or demonstrations by Christians,” as opposed to what had occurred several times in the past; the street demonstrations “exacerbated the minds of Muslims, making things worse”. In this case, he underlined, “I asked for further investigations, avoiding public protests” and with the cooperation of government and police forces, “we got a satisfactory result.” At the same time, he wished to dedicate this first verdict to his brother Shahbaz Bhatti: “I followed his method”, said Paul, “and his experience”, which are proving to be fundamental in daily work.

He also tells of the messages of congratulation “from many Christian personalities,” along with phone calls and shows of appreciation and congratulations “from just as many Muslims.” “They, too”, the minister confirmed, “sought to express joy and closeness to the acquittal of Rimsha Masih” who is now in a safe place, along with the rest of her family. The story, Bhatti concluded, will not lead to a “revision” of the law, but constitutes a “precedent” to improve the “interpretation” of cases and events of blasphemy. A group of imams, ulema and Muslim religious leaders have confirmed that they have established a working group, called to introduce those adjustments that will prevent abuses. I am optimistic: Pakistani society is changing; peace and stability in Pakistan are fundamental also for the rest of the world.”(DS)

– asianews

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