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Letter to the Editor

My dear Sultan Shahin Sahab,

I have read Mr. M.K. Dhar's article ‘Hindu-Sikh Minorities in Pakistan: The Vanishing Communities on the condition of Hindu Sikh minorities in Pakistan. I am deeply troubled that minorities in Pakistan are treated so badly. This is against the very essence of Islam, as expressed in a number of Quranic Ayats. In particular : (2,256) Laaa Ikraha fid diin. There is no compulsion in religion.

(109,6) Lakum diinukum wa liya diin. Unto you your religion, and unto me mine.

(16,36) Wa laqad basna fii kulli ummatir rasuulan. We have sent among every people, a Prophet.

The Holy prophet never forced Islam on anyone, including His own beloved uncle, Abu Talib, who refused to recite the Kalama, even though he was very sympathetic to the new faith. Further Waraqa ibn Naufal,  a mystic and a first cousin of Hazrat Khadija, told her, right after the first revelation, that her husband is the Prophet. Yet oddly he continued in his  faith of Christianity, and refused to accept Islam. But no force was ever applied on him to change his faith. -- J S Bandukwala

I am into social communication and I would like to keep your readers within the loop of my communication circle. They have all the right to disagree with my views but they can still help me in my communication effort (by merely reading the full of it). People on our side of the globe underestimate the power of communication. May be, because apparently all cannot participate equally. But even if one just reads a book or a magazine or E-zine, and patronizes a communicator in some ways, one can be assumed to be participating in the communication process. -- Manzoorul Haque

Dear Sultan Shahin,

I am an American. I was born into a Jewish family and attended 6 years of Hebrew School as a youth and of course was Barmitzvahed in 1968. Today I am a rather militant and very devout Atheist, not that it's important to this discussion but that it might help the reader to understand my perspective. Out of respect and because my own beliefs are not generally accepted by a very theological American population generally accepting Christianity I have chosen to accept all religions as being universally assumed truths which should be viewed with equality. I wish harm to no one.

Let's examine the phrase "equal respect to all prophets and all religions" as it applies to America today and I would like to ask your opinion on what I would consider a vital question for the Islamic world today. ... -- Jeff Prager,

Founder & Publisher – Retired, Senior Magazine

New Age Islam"? Look, we appreciate the efforts to pacify your religion, but if you were truly smart you'd realize it's a bunch of BS Muhammad made up to benefit his power and abilities to wage warfare. If you could look outside for just one second, outside of the ancient beliefs you have been told are true, and really thought about it you'd be able to free yourself.

Your "New Age Islam" is not compatible with Islam in its truest form, therefore many Muslims will reject it. If I saw what people did in the name of my religion and it was the same as what is done in the name of Islam, I would leave it in an instant. Though, we know that some places will kill you for trying to leave Islam.

Islam is simply incompatible with progress. – Toronto Sun

---

The comments in Toronto Sun and the postings thereafter seem to be in bad taste.  All religions have some good ideas as well as some aspects which may seem incompatible with the modern rational and secular thinking. At the same time, it is also true that majority of the human race believes in some religion or, the other. Islam has a strong universal appeal which is evident from the fact that a large noumber of people are still embracing Islam. Hence, to reject Islamic ideology straightaway does not help even the cause of secularism.

 It is better to interpret the teachings of Islam in the light of the technological and scientific innovations that have taken place in the recent times. Bare criticism will serve no purpose and will be counter productive. In the near future, there seems to be no possibility of the majority of people becoming rational and fully secular. We have to select the second best choice, i.e. reinterpretation of old texts and practices to bring them in tune with the modern concepts of humanism and modernity. --Ashok Sharma

Sir, This refers to the painful news item TNN Feb 9, 2010, MCI threatens de-recognition of 11 medical colleges including JN Medical College, AMU. I am shocked and pained to see this all. My small write up regarding the medical college affairs may create some debate but for the benefit of the system. It is humbly requested to you sir to give a serious perusal and take action in the best interest of the institution. ….

… Even the district hospital system would be better than the current JNMC hospital system. The college had to emerge as a model for transparency and accountability in the true spirit of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. But alas the tragically entrenched vested interests have been allowed to hijack the mission of the founder the college. A powerful axis of dishonest-administrators and education mafia at the campus has made the system collapse. Those who were meant to be in the vanguard of fighting corruption are fighting to protect the corruption. A rogue’s gallery of corrupt academicians and administrators are creating money out of each grant released by the UGC. …

With regards! Dr. Umar Ahmad MBBS, 75 batch, Present Location ?????

Photo: Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University.

Look at this image. Is it shirk? Why are all of the imams and ulama facing the muwajaha with the king? If not, then why are Muslims stopped from this and even physically harmed at the muwajaha? -- Abdul Aleem Khan

Apropos: Anti-Christmas’ Fatwa Troubles Egyptians, New Age Islam, 25 Dec, 2009,

No. It doesn’t trouble them (Egyptians). It troubles you.

 You want 'New Age Islam', 'Moderate Islam' 'Satanic-Illuminati-Masonic-Islam'.

 Probably you don't know but you people are playing in the hands of Zionists. They used similar tactics on Christians and now Muslims are the last target.

 You are brain-washed sheep.

 With the grace of Allah I recognise B.S. when I see one spreading it.

 I requested you before and I am saying it again.....delete my email address from your delusional group. i don't wanna hear from you.  Regards, Qalan Bab

HE (Dr. Zakir Naik) SAYS that all non-Muslims will go to Hell no matter how good they are. Tell me is this statement good. My cousin expired in the 26/11 shootings. If someone says he will go to Hell, and boiling water will be poured on him only because he wasn’t a Muslim, won’t I feel bad? Now I am a very practical person, so I would just let it go but an emotional person can become very aggressive on hearing this, so instead of PEACE I am sorry to say ZAKIR NAIK IS KNOWINGLY OR UNKNOWINGLY PROMOTING ANYTHING BUT PEACE (on his Peace TV). A non-Muslim child expires; will he also go to hell?  yeh kya logic hai, aap socho! Now he can say Muslims will go to Heaven. Why does he have to say that all others will go to Hell? Surely the merciful God is not a human being to have a trait like possessiveness. Surely God wants his children to b righteous only.

Ananya Menon

----

Dear Ananya Menonji,

I am very sorry to know about your cousin. Rest assured he is a martyr and will go straight to Heaven. Dr. Zakir Naik is a suited-booted fanatic who has no understanding of Islam. He has the understanding neither of the spirit of Islam nor of its letters actually. It is a tragedy that thousands of Muslims follow him. Islam-supremacism, however, is not his invention. Millions of misguided Muslims think along those lines, without realizing that this renders us

Dear Mr. Sultan Shahin:

 

I'm a Lutheran Christian in the United States, and I just wanted to send you kudos and a big "THANK YOU" for your publication, "New Age Islam". 

 

New Age Islam gives a completely different face to the Muslim faith, especially here in the United States where our conservative-dominated media portrays Islam as a medieval religion where its adherents go about blowing themselves up or beheading people willy-nilly.

 

New Age Islam is a badly-needed publication which shows the world that Muslims are reasonable, rational, intelligent people who would like to live in peace -- just as Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. by and large are reasonable, rational, intelligent people who would like to live in peace.

 

I don't think Christians would be happy to be associated with the ugliness which is a part of Christian extremism such as in Uganda, or Westboro Baptist Church (Fred Phelps' church in Topeka, KS), or the xenophobic Christian Identity movement in the Western Hemisphere but many of us seem all-too-willing to overlook these groups as "aberrations" while using a very broad paintbrush to paint all Muslims as "terrorists" based on the actions of a few.

 

Thank you for this publication.  Its Newsletter is one of the pieces of incoming email which I make a point of reading when I receive it.

 

Mark Carpenter

Z T Minhas <ztminhas@yahoo.com>      

30 November 2009 17:35

To: Alex James 

Cc: Sultan Shahin Editor@NewAgeIslam.com

 

Dear Zionist Sultan Shahin

 

Sultan Shahin is a pseudonym... this guy is a Hindu.

Z T Minhas

---

Alex James wrote:

Dear Zionist Sultan Shahin,

Apropos Confessions of a White jihadist

Osama bin Laden. He was planted so that later this propaganda story could be published to give the illusion that there is an organization called Al-Qaeda whereas it is the CIA who is funding it.

Here is a real confession of a Zionist Jew: Understanding the Synagogue of Satan, Zionism, Talmudism, Babylonian Cabbalism

It is surprising that the process of development of rational thinking among Muslims is very slow. Most middle class Muslims also treat this issue as that of identity. This is high time that educated, rational and secular Muslims should come out and speak against the obscurantist, medieval and irrational ideas being propounded by the likes of Mr. Zakir Naik. …

This kind of Fascist and inhuman/barbaric interpretation is un-Islamic and incompatible with modern civilisation. Why should people be forced to believe in something which they do not want or, require? …

Non-Muslim intellectuals also have a role to play. They must highlight the positive aspects of Islamic ideology which was a revolutionary concept in its time and environment. …

Your website is providing a great service to not only the followers of Islam but to the entire humanity. Please also include articles on the rational thinking in Islam and status of human rights and minorities

… --  Ashok Sharma

Dear Sir, I congratulate you on your effort to show the strength of the Islam that is universal, as opposed to a parochial one imagined by Hindus, Christians, and especially by many Muslims themselves. I think we all must educate ourselves - members of all faiths - on how we build a shared future for all of us. We must change our minds to get rid of irrational fear, to work together with all our fellow Indians to build a new India.

May your message spread among our countrymen!!!

Regards, Bhagya Mohan Konwar, Bangalore

Hello, I am writing here because I want to opine about zakir naik and how he is distancing Muslims from others and vice versa. I grew up in a multicultural environment and grew up having best friends as Muslims Hindus both. I knew well that there are a lot of differences in our religions but we believed, live and let live. I don’t understand why zakir naik feels that peace can exist between Hindus and Muslims only if Hindus convert. Though he never mentions this, it’s very clear when u hear his lectures.

But what surprises and shocks me is his support for child marriages, disregard for the need of any contraception except lactational amenorrhea, disregard for the need of abortions if it’s an abnormal child like in down’s syndrome.

I am sure he has never learnt medicine the way it had to be learnt. Or else shouldn’t he know that even if a girl attains puberty at 9, her body is neither physically nor mentally ready for marriages and pregnancies. I am deeply pained to know that such a person is being followed, such a person is running a school in Mumbai. What will happen in future? Can we blame our future generation if their guide is like this? -- Ananya Menon

 

New Age Islam Articles on Dr. Zakir Naik

Band Of Fanatics: The Zakir Naik Show

From: Juzar Bandukwala To: Sultan Shahin  Editor@NewAgeIslam.com

 

Dear Mr. Sultan Shahin,

I read New Age Islam regularly, as I want to know what the world at large thinks of my community. I thank you for the same. I wrote you once for the bias I feel that exists in your news, against Islam. For example today one item is headlined: Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom

 There is a vast difference between Appeasing Islam and Appeasing Muslims. Unless you have a deliberate agenda of vilifying Islam.

I say this because New Age Islam can turn off even “liberal" Muslims like me. This is the very block you should aim to reach, to make our community more responsive to Western ideas and ideals. 

Sincerely Yours

J.S.Bandukwala, Baroda, Gujarat, 21 Oct 2009

---

Dear Mr. J.S.Bandukwala

Thanks very much indeed for taking time out to apprise me of your feelings. The headline in question is not of my making or that of other editors at New Age Islam who decided to include this item in the compilation. New Age Islam has merely informed you of the publication of such an article on the web. I am quoting below the full article, exactly as it appeared along with its url. Please see for yourself.

I think it is important for us to be, at the very least, aware of what is going on both fronts, on the anti-Islam, anti-Muslim as well as t

Demeaning Sir Syed to glorify the clergy

From: Former union minister, Arif Mohammad Khan

To: Sultan Shahin Editor@NewAgeIslam.com

My piece on Sir Syed was published on 19th October in Times of India. It appears to have ruffled the feathers of our clergy. Mr. Burhanuddin Qasmi has reacted violently accusing Sir Syed of having been rewarded by the British in cash and kind. His rejoinder appeared on Aligarh Forum. I have sent a small reply. You may find it interesting; I am forwarding the whole thing to you.

On Aligarh Network: An Angry Rejoinder

This was to counter the Fatwas that had been issued by many Indian ulama; ulama of Deoband were the pioneers, stating that the Indian subcontinent had become a Darul Harb, the land of war. This political overture of Sir Sayyid was favourably received in the British ruling circles in India as well as in Britain and was rewarded both in cash and kinds. And this political deviation of Sayyid Ahmad Khan was the root of all differences between him, the founder Mohamedan Anglo-Oriental College in 1857 which later became Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and Maulana Muhmmad Qasmi Nanautwi founder of Darul Uloom Deoband which later became an ideologue for composite nationalism in India and a pure Islamic learning centre in the sub-continent. – Deobandi Aalim M. Burhanuddin Qasmi

How the clergy wanted Sir Syed beheaded

Conscious of cleric hostility Sir Syed offered not to have any role in matters of religious instruction in the college and invited leading clerics to prepare the syllabus. Maulana Qasim Nanotvi and Maulana Yaqoob of Deoband shot down the proposal saying they cannot associate with an institution which will have Shia students on the campus. Maulana Hali in his biography of Sir Syed says that 60 maulvis

This article was written nearly 22 years ago.  Of course, Syedji himself (Syed Shahabuddin) has not built up on the issues that he has mentioned.  However, while he has well narrated the issues, the so-called secularists who are not Muslims rarely even admit that these issues exist. 

Ashok Chowgule, Vice President, Vishwa Hindu Parishad

---

Muslim Society does not need mere Reform: It needs Revolution and Rebirth: The Muslim Indian must set his house in order, must recognize his social existence. He must clear his debris of the past, burn the dead wood of superstition and customs, break the barriers of vested interests. The hereditary guardians of our morals in this world and the guarantors of our salvation in the hereafter, the brokers of power and the traders of corpses and the conspirators of mischief must disappear from our mohallas and villages. I do not mind so much if the per capita income of the Muslim Indians is less than that of other Indians so long his literacy rate is higher; his happiness index is higher; his family life is happier; his lanes are clean; his places of worship and of instruction are brighter, his litigation index and his crime rate are low. I do not mind so much if his participation in public employment is lower than his due, so long as Muslim public servant is known for his efficiency, integrity and sense of justice. I do not mind so much if Muslim Indians have fewer shops so long as the Muslim shopkeeper is famous for his honesty, courtesy and fairness. I do not mind so much if more Muslims are killed in riots as long as no innocent non-Muslim is killed in a Muslim locality and non-Muslim neighbours feel safe. It is not enough to say that the Muslim Indian society needs reform. It needs revolution and rebirth. -- Syed Shahabuddin

A situation has arisen today where a Gujarati Muslim does not know what to do with his vote. There seem to be no takers for it. There is a lesson for Muslim leaders in this tragic situation. Why advise Muslims at all whom to vote? Withdraw the call to Muslims to vote single-mindedly for Congress. Emancipate the Muslim vote. Set it free. Ask Muslims to vote as they like. Encourage them to think as Indians. Let them not think only of the issues pertaining to the community. Do not treat Muslims like a flock of unthinking sheep. Let them vote freely. A Muslim’s vote will not remain unwanted if he votes intelligently, judiciously and most importantly diversely. -- Dr.Mookhi Amir Ali

Under the circumstances Muslim leaders should realize that the Varun brigade is spoiling for communal clashes and provoking the Muslim community to react. Restraint is what needs to be exercised by Muslims. Communal harmony should be maintained. Let not Varun Gandhi succeed where the worst terrorists have failed. Let not Muslims fall into the trap and be provoked. They should follow the example of Hindus who refused to be provoked by any number of terror attacks. -- Dr. Mookhi Amir Ali, Mumbai With Taliban at the door in neighbouring Pakistan, we need a secular government in India, not a party with a communal agenda. We must set a better example to hate-filled Pakistan than electing our own venomous leaders. -- A.M. Jamsheed Basha The comments of the news channel (CNN-IBN) are of an editorial nature and not news reporting.  I wonder what is communal about this speech. -- Ashok Chowgule, Vice President, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP)

Dear Sultan Shahin Saheb,

 Could you please publish this vital information on New Age Islam? Vital facts and figures are relevant for those who don’t leave a single opportunity to curse Jews. Let us assess their power first and then try to peep into ourselves and know where we stand before them?

Shamshad Elahee Ansari, Dubai, UAE

Apropos Sultan Shahin responds to Dr Mookhi Amir Ali's comments on the retrieval of Babri land and the clamour “Masjid Wahin banayenge”  NewAgeIslam.Com - 18 Oct, 2008

Rules of civility demand that we restrain ourselves while acknowledging the faith of our Hindu brethren and give what rightfully belongs to them. This one single gesture could go a long way in softening the stance of many fanatics and they would look towards Islam in light of its benevolence.... it is the Indian Muslim who has to bring about a radical change in his stance and thought. We have to be most accommodating and that by no means calls for our faith to be subservient to the majority. It is merely benign humility which Allah favours the most.

 

Being part of an international team of editors from different parts of the world and living and working from Pakistan, I can understand fully how stressful it can be some time when people do not try to see the bigger picture and misunderstand the spirit of such initiatives. But these are the challenges we must face in order to bring about a change in ghetto thinking. By the way, I enjoyed thoroughly the quotations from Rumi and Iqbal that you provided in the intro of your website. Truly universal and humanistic. Keep it up.

Rashad Bukhari, Editor/ Program Coordinator (South Asia), Partners in Humanity, Search for Common Ground, (CGNews) Common Ground News http://www.commongroundnews.org 

 
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