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Books and Documents

Islam and Human Rights

OIC Should See the Difference between Promoting Homosexuality and Fighting for the Human Rights of Gay People
Former President, International Humanist and Ethical Union

Many States have much to do in improving public policy regarding sexual orientation, and there is evidently a huge gap in knowledge and understanding of homosexuality and the transgendered among both the public and governments. Statements such as that recently heard here that homosexuals threaten the future of the human race do no credit whatsoever to a member state of this Council. …

ONE wonders when the agony of Balochistan — and the rest of Pakistan — will end. This country of ours seems to have attracted the evil eye. The break-up of missing persons shows that such violation of human rights is not confined to the unfortunate Baloch only but also includes other ethnicities and provinces of Pakistan. …

 

OIC Rights Commission and the Challenges Ahead

The announcement of establishing the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission at the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (ICFM) in Astana, Kazakhstan in June 2011 is a milestone achievement that is part of a process for restructuring the OIC, which began in 2005 at the Extraordinary Summit in Makkah. The commission is launching its activities in a highly charged period of rising Islamophobia. ... 

There should be no question in any sound mind that what is being perpetrated for the sake of world peace in Afghanistan is nonetheless applicable under the context of the Guantanamo case. What has been documented by the Kabul justice commission report is in effect a form of psychological torture and a blatant affront to the values of all freedom everywhere. What the US considers as a military necessity continues to incite the reproach of political hypocrisy, unnecessary opposition, undermining America’s attempts to combat terrorism –if one is to reason that counterterrorism is the sole reason for a Middle East occupation. -- Tracy E. Tomlinson

An-Na’im is a practising Muslim. He takes his faith seriously and views himself as accountable for the ideas he presents not only as academic arguments but also as ideas in relation to his faith. The first sentence of his book is: “In order to be a Muslim by conviction and free choice, which is the only way one can be a Muslim, I need a secular state.” An-Na’im began his presentation by reminding us that out of 40 countries where Muslims are the majority most have no desire to have an Islamic state. Arabs make up only 12 per cent of the total Muslim population. The second-largest Muslim population is in India, which is a democratic and secular state. The combination of Shariah, or Islamic, law, and the notion of an Islamic state is not part of the lived experience of most Muslims. In fact, the term ‘Islamic state’ did not exist before the mid-20th century. It is a post-colonial concept based on European ideas of states and laws. It is not an Islamic concept. -- Sonya Nigam

Fundamental and human rights violations take place every day in Balochistan. In the past year over 300 mutilated bullet-riddled bodies of Baloch political leaders, workers, activists, students, teachers, lower grade public servants, have been dumped at desolate places or roadsides. Sectarian violence, especially targeting the Hazara Shia community (hitherto unknown in Balochistan and only in the past three years), and ethnic violence has seen an unprecedented rise. Most of these bodies are of missing persons (Baloch sources claim over 1,300 missing) who had been abducted by the perpetrators years ago and some recently. There are eyewitnesses in most cases of abduction but they are unwilling to expose themselves to a very real threat to their lives. -- Sheikh Asad Rahman

Both the state and its adversaries must beware the seduction of war — and the delusion that killing can be civil. In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights mandated that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” The Third Geneva Convention prohibited torturing prisoners of war. In 1987, the United Nations agreed that neither “a state of war [n]or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.” -- Praveen Swami

Turkey is viewed as the successful merger of Islam and modernization. Turkey's standing in the region is growing, but its international credibility should be in doubt as long as it fails to address its human rights record, especially in regard to the large Kurdish minority. At the heart of the issue lie restrictive laws that limit free speech, prevent the teaching of minority languages such as Kurdish in schools and require a political party to secure a whopping 10% of the nationwide vote to gain a seat in parliament. -- Emma Sinclair-Webb

 

As people across the world mark Human Rights Day today, prominent rights groups are raising awareness of one violation that is often overlooked in Southeast Asia: The continued existence of the death penalty.  The report “When Justice Fails: Thousands executed in Asia after unfair trials,” released this week by the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network, highlights the cases of eight people on death row in various countries in the Asia-Pacific region.  It included a Nigerian, Humphrey Jefferson Ejike Eleweke, who was arrested for drug offenses in 2003 in Indonesia and sentenced to death a year later.  “Only a small number of countries in Asia are still using the death penalty, but their actions cast a shadow over the entire region,” Adpan coordinator Louise Vischer said in a statement. -- Ulma Haryanto

The ambit of crimes against humanity includes: murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime, within the jurisdiction of the tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated. Leaders, organisers, instigators and accomplices participating in the formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing crimes are responsible for all acts performed by any person in the executions of such plans. The ambit and scope of crimes against humanity can only be improved based the definition prescribed by Nuremburg Tribunal, the ICC Statue and the like. -- Prof. Mizanur Rahman

BANGLADESH remains an overpopulated country. There are children belonging to very poor families who are deprived, underprivileged and often marginalised. Among them are the street children without parents, homes or any form of shelters. There are slum children living on the sides of the streets or next to the railways. These children start their day with the worries of collecting basic meals. In an age where they should be going to schools; they search for livelihoods. They have to work hard till the night. At times they are made to be involved in different types of risky jobs which are threats to their lives. While growing up, these children usually experience severe malnutrition, social repugnance and considerable vulnerability, as a result of which they often grow hostile, possess hatred and distrust is often drawn into these naïve children leading them towards criminal activities, thus playing the most effective role in tainting the society. -- Mahmuda Imam

 

After two harsh laws restricting people’s right to freedom of religion or belief were passed – and apparently before they came into force – Kazakhstan had begun closing mosques, churches and prayer rooms in prisons, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. “Mosques and Russian Orthodox churches were built in prisons in violation of building regulations and the law,” Aliya Kadenova, an aide to Eskali Salamatov, deputy head of the Interior Ministry’s Criminal Administration System Committee which oversees prisons, told Forum 18 from the capital Astana on 10 November. “They are illegal – that’s why they are being closed down.” International law clearly defends the right of prisoners to freedom of religion or belief. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights has been ratified by Kazakhstan and came into force in the country in 2006. This states that, “All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person” (Article 10, Paragraph 1). This specifically includes those held in prisons, detention camps or correctional institutions (General Comment 21 on the same article). -- Felix Corley

Nine youth accused in Malegaon blast case of 2006 have been granted bail by the MCOCA court. (Nov 6 2011). These Muslim youth were arrested after the bomb exploded on the Shab-e-Barat, killing several people. Immediately after that the Anti Terrorist Squad, arrested nine Muslim youth, there was really no evidence worth its name against them. Still police which is, motivated more by biases than by professionalism, arrested these Muslims youth. Similar things happened in Mecca Masjid blast when the authorities arrested nearly 25 Muslim youth after the blast in the mosque. The Godhra train burning investigation is also mired in much deeper misconception, where nothing could be proved against the alleged Chief conspirator, Maulana Haji Umarji. Despite that, other Muslim youth were given the sentence.  All these investigations show a clear pattern that the biases of the investigation authorities overtake their professional training.  This was also one of the lazy way of going about things as arresting Muslims after such an episode is passé’ in public opinion and in the media in particular. Barring a small section of media others hardly played their role of raising doubts about the methods of investigating authorities. -- Ram Puniyani

 

With the murder or expulsion of most of Libya’s African migrant population well on its way came the massacre and ethnic cleansing of tens of thousands of Black Libyans. And all the while Barack Obama and his band of criminal cohorts in the western capitals and television news channels strung together words like “pro-democracy”, “freedom fighters” and “liberation” to describe the orgy of looting and lynching being carried out. When Black Libyans took up arms to defend their families and homes from the Libyan lynch mobs they found themselves the beneficiaries of “pro-democracy” high explosives, delivered from on high by a freedom loving NATO air force. Bombed from on high, lynched on the ground, the only choice is flee for your lives and that is what hundreds of thousands of Black Libyan have been forced to do. And all under the approving eye of the first Black President in the White House. -- Thomas C. Mountain 

The hate speech and rhetoric against religious minorities, especially Christians, has done irreparable damage to our society. Minorities have been alienated; they consider themselves vulnerable and not viewed as equal citizens. The so-called religious clerics have been responsible for such rhetoric and, not surprisingly, always manage to herd the poor and ignorant populace in the name of religion, while silencing any opposition by threatening retribution and dire consequences. Our administration and centres of power are also held hostage by the situations created by these elements and are unable to take any measures. The immediate priority is to defuse the tension but, in the long run, these tensions always boil over at some point. Riots and incidents of terrorism targeting minorities throughout the history of Pakistan are evident examples of how the situation has been allowed to simmer, eventually reaching boiling point. What happened to the unfortunate eighth grade student had nothing to do with blasphemy. It was sheer discrimination against a non-Muslim. -- Gulmina Bilal Ahmad

The country is being sold to Western imperialist powers under the garb of globalisation, leading to immense pauperisation, which is hitting marginalized communities, such as Dalits, Muslims, OBCs and Muslims, the most. It is bound to lead to escalation of caste and communal conflicts as the ruling classes seek to deflect peoples’ attention from their economic and political concerns. Hindutva forces, agents of imperialism, are bound to become more assertive and aggressive. They are working in tandem with imperialist forces, including the USA, whose perceptions about Muslims they share…-- Mukul Sinha in an interview with Yoginder Sikand, NewAgeIslam.com

There is a famous incident involving the governor of the province of Syria Hadhrat Umer (R.A.). The second caliph Hadhrat Umar(R.A.) had appointed Hadhrat Umer the governor of the province of Syria as he was a very pious and God fearing man. After his appointment, Hadhrat Umar did not get any information about him for as long as three years. He apprehended that Hadhrat Umer had become corrupt and plundered public money. So Hadhrat Umar (R.A.) asked him to come back. He came back on foot not using any conveyance in the capacity of a governor. Hadhrat Umar enquired about him and found that he had been doing his duties as a governor perfectly well under the sharia. Upon asked about his experience in Syria, he said, “ I performed my duties according to the injunctions of the Holy Quran and the Prophet (PBUH). But I have only one regret. Due to my arrogance as a governor, I once cursed a Jew.” -- Maulana Aslam Qadri, NewAgeIslam.com

The World Uyghur Congress with the co-operation of the Australian Uyghur Association, the East Turkestan Australian Association and the Victoria Uyghur Association will hold a democracy-training workshop entitled “The Uyghur Issue in the Context of China’s Democratisation Process” in Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne, Australia from March 21 to 28, 2011.  The workshop is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for Democracy Foundation (NED). Prominent Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer, thrice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, will be attending the workshop. – World Uyghur Congress

World Uyghur Congress and the East Turkestan Union in Europe Commemorate the Gulja Massacre and Organise Demonstration in Munich with Rebiya Kadeer

On 5 February 1997, a peaceful demonstration by fifteen to twenty thousand Uyghurs in the city of Gulja (in Chinese:  Yining), Ili prefecture in East Turkestan was brutally and lethally suppressed by Chinese security forces. At least 100 Uyghurs were killed and hundreds were injured. Approximately 4,000 Uyghurs were arrested during and in the aftermath of the demonstration. Many remain disappeared today and are probably either dead or in prison. According to Amnesty International, more than 200 Uyghurs were sentenced to death in unfair trials for their alleged involvement in the unrest and then executed. About 90 Uyghurs were sentenced to long prison terms. -- World Uyghur Congress

 

In the streets around Abdel Munim Riyad square the atmosphere had changed. The air which had held a carnival-like vibe was now thick with teargas. Thousands of people were running out of nearby Tahrir Square and towards me. Several hundred regrouped; a few dozen protesters set about attacking an abandoned police truck, eventually tipping it over and setting it ablaze. Through the smoke, lines of riot police could be seen charging towards us from the south....

We were hustled towards a security office on the edge of the square. As I approached the doorway of the building other plainclothes security officers milling around took flying kicks and punches at me, pushing me to the floor on several occasions only to drag me back up and hit me again. I spotted a high-ranking uniformed officer, and shouted at him that I was a British journalist. He responded by walking over and punching me twice. “**** you and **** Britain,” he yelled in Arabic. -- Jack Shenker

A “CONFEDERATION of tribes” with internal jealousies and conflict was not as conducive to the rise of unified Baloch nationalism like the homogeneity of the Bengalis was for their nationalism. Therefore Islamabad was better able to divide and rule the Baloch. This was reflected in the split between the nationalist tribal sardars of the Marri and Bugti tribes in the resistance movement of the 1960s and 1970s when the former picked up the gun against Islamabad and the latter sulked on the sidelines or actually embraced it. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Marris, Mengals and Bugtis tried to obtain a measure of political and economic autonomy from Islamabad but failed because the PPP and PMLN were busy making and breaking governments and ignoring economic development and national integration. The military government in the 2000s negated the benevolent effect of economic development by depriving the sardars and middle classes of Balochistan of its largesse ( Gwador was tied securely to anchors in Islamabad and the Bugti tribe was threatened with military reprisals for agitating about royalties from Sui and contracts from Pakistan Petroleum). Worse, in the 2002 elections, the military regime propped up the mullahs and religious ideologues of Balochistan ( and NWFP) at the expense of the tribal sardars, mainstream politicians and middle classes, effectively depriving them of power sharing. This culminated in alienating the Marri sardars and forcing them into exile and antagonising the Bugti sardars and compelling them to resist by force. The premeditated elimination of Nawaz Akbar Bugti via a military operation became the catalyst for an unprecedented unified stand by the Marris, Mengals and Bugtis against Islamabad. -- Najam Sethi

 

The Baloch people are among the worst victims of state discrimination. They are denied basic services, revenue which they generate, development opportunities and most awful of all, they are not regarded as full citizens.When Baloch people glance at their not-too-distant past, it becomes evident that in the years 1948, 1958, 1962, 1973-77 and 2002 to date, deep wounds were inflicted upon the body of Balochistan as a consequence of repeated military operations. In order to retain political and security control, Pakistan`s establishment crafted new colonial policies to suppress the Baloch people`s desire for development and progress.Small but historically evolved Baloch institutions including administrative systems were abolished, trained and experienced officials were dismissed and the medium of instruction was changed. There were also systematic restrictions and a policy of institutional discrimination was imposed to rule Balochistan-- Sanaullah Baloch

Bandukwala should know. On February 28, 2002, when a coach of the Sabarmati Express was burnt at Godhra and subsequently sent Gujarat up in flames, the secular scholar-activist, who had even advocated a dialogue with the sangh parivar over the Babri Masjid issue, was at home. Bandukwala had never seen himself as a member of the Muslim community. That day this belief received a massive jolt. A mob, carrying LPG cylinders, moved towards his house. In the nick of time, he escaped from the back door and knocked at a Hindu neighbour’s door. While he shivered in the bathroom, the mob looted the house, setting it afire later. The fire was doused, but the house became unlivable.

“I don’t mourn the destruction of my house as much as I mourn the increasing intolerance in our society. Among the boys who came to kill me were those who would touch my feet out of respect,” recalls Bandukwala. He says that the rioters were instructed to target two famous Muslims of Gujarat—ex-Congress MP Ehsan Jafri and himself, both educated and champions of secularism. -- Mohammed Wajihuddin

On Oct. 22-23, a group of Arab intellectuals, politicians, and civil society advocates convened a Conference on the Future of Democracy and Human Rights in the Arab World in Casablanca. Citing the “dramatic and alarming backsliding of political reforms in the Arab world,” they issued a remarkable, frank and courageousappeal to the Arab nations. The “Casablanca Call for Democracy and Human Rights” represents a powerful consensus among disparate political groups that democracy must be the foundation for social and political justice in the region. As such, it represents a signal event for Arab democrats and for friends of democracy around the world. -- Shanker Blog, A Voice of the Albert Shanker Institute

 

It is the responsibility of the courts how they interpret the blasphemy laws. And it is the responsibility of the government, as well as parliament, to take notice of laws that allow impunity for such murderous bigotry and initiate a process that dismantles the architecture of these man-made laws. But it is also the responsibility of citizens, especially those who profit the most from Pakistan , to stand up again such attacks on its existential premise. In any civilised country, where the identity of the state was so contested that no one could face the wrath of the self-appointed gatekeepers of Islam, the educated elite would be forced to make common cause with the activist left to put its weight behind reform of laws they all condemn as unjust behind closed doors. -- Sherry Rahman

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NEW COMMENTS

  • The confusion about the concept of shahadah is just one of many that have left non-Muslims....
    ( By GRD )
  • Naseer sb, you again misunderstood what I wrote. I said poetry and something written in poetic style are two different things. One may not be ...
    ( By arshad )
  • Arshad sb, I agree with what you say about the Quran. It has its own charm, style, diction and power to awe, amaze and convince. ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Different folks show their intolerance in different ways. People can have good inter-community relations in spite of these petty scruples. Making ....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Yunus Sb can neither explain his flip-flops nor has the honesty to admit that he has revised his earlier categorical opinion that all the Mushrikin ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Yunus sb says :"Flaw in Argument: A Muslim girl can fall in love with and marry a polytheist in breach of Qur’anic decree (2:221) retaining ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Naseer sb, poetry is the art of use of language for conveying one's thought in an effective style. Quran is not vain poetry but it ...
    ( By arshad )
  • What have you read on Islam. Islam is 5% good, 35% bad and rest neutral. So let us not pick and choose 5% and ignore ...
    ( By Raman )
  • The rubbish that emanates from Naseer sab's pen is mind boggling.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Both the courts and the NIA are guilty of violating Hadiya's fundamental۔۔۔۔
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • no amount of rage is going to help your hollow claims. muslims are forbiddeen from eating offerings offered to another deity. they cannot....
    ( By hats off! )
  • Naseer Saheb, Yunus Saheb has asked me to post the following response to your latest comment: ""A close scrutiny of the opening ....
    ( By Sultan Shahin )
  • allah hates poets and poetry. what else is new? allah hates most of the things he thoughtlessly creates - kufr, shirk and so...
    ( By hats off! )
  • Arshad sb, The Quran says that it is those who stray in evil who follow the poets. The Prophet was neither instructed in poetry nor ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Yunus sb's understanding of the Quran is extremely weak. There is no reversal of the meaning of verse 2:221 which is meant for all good/clean ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Simplistic half truths in Hats Offs hate war against Muslims!'
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • The perennial enemy of Islam should know that the same question was not asked of other communities.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Will Shahin sb and Yunus sb answer the questions please? Yunus sb cannot explain his flip-flops and will not answer and is therefore in hiding. ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • that there was not a single answer from the oh-so tolerant extremists on this site proves once and for all that islam and muslims are ...
    ( By hats off! )
  • just goes to prove how egalitarian and accommodating the polytheists are and how exclusive and discriminatory....
    ( By hats off! )
  • Both Hindus and Muslims indulge in honor killings. The RSS has raised it to a war of hate and lies with their "Love Jihad" scam!
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Instead of using our sense of goodness and righteousness to get the best meaning out of....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • The fact is my above remarks expressly relate to the polytheists among the Prophet’immediate s audience only, who did not believe in this (Qur’an’s) ultimate ...
    ( By Sultan Shahin )
  • thanks for the update mr another arshad!'
    ( By hats off! )
  • Had Ayyothiya,Madura ,Kasi etc Mosques been handed over to Hindus, lot of cruel incidents that tarnishes the images/prestiges of Muslims would not have been ....
    ( By dr.A.Anburaj )
  • I am unable to comprehend why Shahin sb cannot show the courtesy of doing a proper cut/paste job to present my complete argument. I can ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Shahin sb, The following is what Yunus sb has said before running away saying that he will not agree with me even if I said a ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Mr Hats off really hats off to your understanding. 'arshad' does not literally mean "I am late Sharif Arshad". It is....
    ( By arshad )
  • Gulam Mohyuddin did you not get any yes, this how your Muslim are. Includes Sultan Shahin, the propoganda of new age Islam....
    ( By Aayina )
  • The discussion of Kafir is just 1400 year old. It keep on changing the meaning depending on where and how Muslims are in political power.
    ( By Aayina )
  • casuistry when mistaken for logic has hilarious consequences. what with anonymous well known scholars, kill....
    ( By hats off! )
  • Qur'an is indeed great. it enables dead men to write and post comments on the reader's response to their articles....
    ( By hats off! )
  • This mushrikin/kafir discussion has gone to ridiculous lengths and seems to be never-ending. For a modernist....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • That's why your eagerness to be included surprised me.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • "For those Muslims who choose to embrace modernity, the AIMPLB is an anachronism....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Naseer Saheb, you have said: "While Allah does not consider all of them as kafir but simply as people without....
    ( By Sultan Shahin )
  • Urdu is not good. Many errors of imla, faulty construction of sentences...
    ( By Shahid )
  • Naseer SB, I am by nature a poet so I see poetry in Quran. You are a scientist....
    ( By arshad )
  • hats off, you jumped off to make a silly comment. Read the comment again. I said "no human being can...
    ( By arshad )
  • if a murtad doest not covet even jannat, what can s/he covet from mere mortals.'
    ( By hats off! )