Khilafat Spot; where the dawah carriers from Pakistan share the affairs of the Ummah!

This is the place to share the latest news, articles, views, opinions, political analysis, leaflets, links, etc. A great place to accumulate all the material that would help the dawah carriers in their dawah. Site developed and maintained by dawah carriers from Pakistan.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Islam’s grip on southern Kyrgyzstan rattles authorities (Political Analysis)

Source: Daily Times, Pakistan

By Simon Ostrovsky
Kyrgyz authorities fear today that a radical form of Islam is taking root despite their efforts.

A year ago, 44-year-old Avas Attokurov was drifting, drunk and without a job, constantly fighting with his family in this tiny, impoverished village on the slopes of the Pamir mountain range in Kyrgyzstan.

But then, at the urging of a neighbour steeped in religious training received in a neighbouring Country, he sobered up and, with Islam as his anchor, set about living his life according to a faith practised by his nomadic ancestors before it was banned by the Soviet Union.

“I thank Allah for giving me vision,” Attokurov said, explaining through a reedy Asian beard grown to conform with Islam’s precepts that he had bought a small mill and was now able to feed his family.

Attokurov’s story is typical of many in this poor region. Islam has emerged as a social mainstay in Kyrgyzstan’s south, a source of strength in an inhospitable, rural area where heroin use and alcoholism have soared and yearly wages rarely exceed 1,000 dollars.

But the rise of the religion, coupled with nearness of Afghanistan, where US-led forces continue to hunt Islamic militants, has prompted Kyrgyz authorities to see the region around Dzhany Bazaar as fertile for Muslim extremists.

A crackdown on Islamic “fundamentalism” was launched in 1999 after the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), an Afghanistan-based group allegedly linked to Al Qaeda, used Kyrgyz territory to stage attacks in neighbouring Uzbekistan.

That was redoubled after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, especially when a US airbase was opened in Kyrgyzstan to support operations in Afghanistan.

But Kyrgyz authorities fear today that a radical form of Islam is taking root despite their efforts.

“The number of extremists grows each year, primarily among youth, because of illiteracy and poverty and joblessness,” the head of a special police unit in the southern city of Osh established to tackle the threat, Hakim Razykov, told AFP.

His job, and that of his men, is to counter signs of extremism in the traditionally Muslim south, which is separated from the northern, more secular and Russian-speaking half of the country by hundreds of miles of mountains.

Earlier this year, they arrested 30 people believed to be IMU members in a raid in Osh during which they uncovered a weapons store. They swoop was planned after a suspected IMU militant from Uzbekistan blew himself up with a grenade during a document check last year, killing himself and a police officer.

Officers said most of those they consider extremists are ethnic Uzbeks but that fundamental Islam appeared to be spreading to predominantly Kyrgyz areas.

One officer declining to be named said there were signs that, while the IMU aimed to destabilise Uzbekistan, a shadowy new Kyrgyz group had emerged, allegedly financed by local businessmen.

The official crackdown has been zealous - too zealous according to the New York based Human Rights Watch.

Last year, 13 suspects were arrested on charges of extremism, though most were members of a non-violent but banned group calling itself Hizb ut-Tahrir, or the Freedom Party. They were seized as they distributed leaflets or congregated with other members of the organisation.

Security services were also keeping tabs on a half-a-dozen smaller groups also considered to harbour extremist views.

Hizb ut-Tahrir’s declared aim is to create a pan-Islamic state, or a Caliphate, governed by the rules of Islam through non-violent means. It has an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 followers in southern Kyrgyzstan.

An active Hizb ut-Tahrir member based in Osh said a court ruling banning the organization amounted to religious discrimination and expressed little hope that government pressure would ease after last week’s revolution that toppled the previous Soviet-era regime.

“The driver has changed, but the bus, the gasoline and the road it drives down are the same. The war against Hizb ut-Tahrir did not stop for a minute,” said Dilyardzhan Dzhumabayev.

He said that under a Caliphate, non-Muslims would be allowed to practice their own religion but would be subject to the rules of Sharia, or strict Islmaic law. “If a Christian steals his hand will be chopped off,” he said.

According to Dzhumabayev, the crackdown would only help his organisation.

Uzbek President Islam Karimov “did a great favour to the Hizb ut-Tahrir movement by tormenting and arresting its members, he caused the people to rise up,” he said, predicting that continued repression could create such a reaction in Kyrgyzstan. AFP


Click here to go to the source document.

Muslim groups divided on UK polls (Political Analysis)

By Indlieb Farazi
Saturday 09 April 2005, 7:27 Makka Time, 4:27 GMT

Some Muslim groups are urging members of their community to make their vote count in Britain's upcoming general election, but other organisations are telling voters to stay away from the polls.

Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation) UK, a Muslim group active across Britain, has launched a campaign urging British Muslims not to participate in the elections in May.

Imran Waheed, media representative for Hizb ut–Tahrir UK, told Aljazeera.net: "Part of the campaign is urging Muslims not to vote, as the existing political process and politics have brought false promises that harm our community.

"From an Islamic legislative perspective - as Muslims we can't participate in the British political system."

Waheed highlighted key issues such as the war on Iraq and anti-terror legislation that he says are harmful to the Muslim community.

The group, also known as HT, works throughout the Muslim world to re-establish the khilafah (caliphate), or Islamic form of government.

"We are not against the election process because in Islam you can elect the head of a Muslim state – the khilafah – but you cannot vote to support a non-Islamic political party whose agenda is not in the best interests of the Muslim community," Waheed said.

'Focused, not futile'

"We need to stand for Islam and build an Islamic community that is focused, not futile," he said.

As Blair continues his tour of the country trying to garner votes for the 5 May elections, it appears he will struggle to persuade many Muslims to cast their vote.

Mohammad Ali, an information technology engineer from London, said: "I won't be voting this year because I think it is not for man to make legislative decisions, when divine laws have already been set in stone in the Sharia.

"If there are new laws, then we need to turn to ijtihad – and take a strong look at what has been said in the Quran and Sunnah [teachings of the Prophet Muhammad]."

Trusted scholars, not elected representatives, should act on behalf of the Muslim community, Ali said.

Religious obligation

Another group urged Muslims in the United Kingdom to be politically active, calling it a religious duty.

The Muslim Association for Britain (MAB) is encouraging Muslim voters to cast their votes wisely and for candidates rather than parties.

Ihtisham Hibatullah of the MAB told Aljazeera.net: "We have been calling on UK Muslims to engage politically because this is their homeland. Any issues that are of concern to Muslims need to be exercised through their voter power.

"By disengaging in the political process, Muslims stand to lose out."

The Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPACUK) has put out a
Platform Issues Guide to help Muslims vote in the upcoming elections.

"We published the guide because we felt British Muslims are not fully aware of the huge variety of issues out there," Muddassar Ahmed, MPACUK spokesperson, said.

Ahmed derided the call to boycott the elections, saying of the Hizb ut-Tahrir: "They are in the minority opinion and are never going to become mainstream, because Muslims are taking a more practical way forward."

Shifting loyalties

About 1.1 million Muslims in Britain are eligible to vote.

Hibatullah said Muslims were a group traditionally supportive of Labour because the party appeared to be more concerned with Muslim issues.

He said that although Labour is most likely to win the 2005 elections, there are indications that the party will have a substantially reduced majority because of the implementation of anti-terror legislation and anger over the war in Iraq.

"We have been advising the Muslim community to look at issues of concern such as the anti-terror law, war on Iraq, education, health, stance on Palestine before casting their votes," Hibatullah said.

Join the system

Khalid Mahmood, a Labour member of parliament and one of only two Muslim MPs in the country, said: "If you are not happy with the way things are done, then join Labour and change it from within.

"It is about time that the Muslim voters need to wake up and use the power they have in this democratic state."

But Waheed disagrees: "You don't have to vote or join a mainstream political party to be politically active. You can stand up and speak from the outside.

Waheed said voting every four or five years relegates personal responsibility from the community.

"The Muslim community can do a lot if they become politically active – but they need to follow an Islamic agenda and understand where their real interests lie."


Source: Al-Jazeera
Click here to see the source page.

Uzbek Court Convicts 9 For Religious Extremism (News item)

11 April 2005 --

A court in Uzbekistan today found nine people guilty of religious extremism and sentenced them to jail terms ranging from six to 13 years.

In one trial, the court found seven men and one woman guilty of religious extremism. The same court found another man guilty of the same charges at a second trial. All were allegedly members of the banned Islamic group Hizb-ut Tahrir that calls for the peaceful overthrow of the regime in Uzbekistan and the establishment of an Islamic government. Rustam Tulaganov was the defense attorney for all nine suspects. He said the evidence against his clients was flimsy and that the defendants had been tortured during interrogations. The announcement of the verdicts sparked a small demonstration outside the court as relatives of the accused called the court decision unjust.

(AFP/AP)
To see the source news item, click here.

Kazakh ban on Hizb ut-Tahrir will not prevent the return of the Islamic Caliphate (Press Release)

PR by Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain
3/29/2005 1:09:03 PM

London, UK, March 29 – Hizb ut-Tahrir, the non-violent Islamic political party that is spearheading the global work for the return of the Islamic Khilafah [Caliphate], believes that the Kazakh government’s banning of the party will not prevent the party from soon realising its goal.

Despite knowing full well that Hizb ut-Tahrir rejects violence, militancy or armed struggle as a method to re-establish the Islamic State, the Kazakh regime, following the example of other repressive regimes in Central Asia, has banned the party. In recent weeks and months, the Kazakh government has alleged that Hizb ut-Tahrir is linked to terrorism and has undertaken a brutal campaign of raids, arrests and intimidation in a vain attempt to thwart Hizb ut-Tahrir’s continuing intellectual and political work in Kazakhstan.

Commenting on the Kazakh ban, Dr Imran Waheed, the Representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, said, "In banning Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Kazakh government has illustrated its weakness and naiveté - despite such bans across Central Asia we continue to grow in strength and popularity in the region and the return of the Islamic Khilafah [Caliphate] is on the horizon."

"We challenge the Kazakh regime to confront us in an intellectual debate rather than hiding behind banning and censorship."

Notes to Editors:
Hizb ut-Tahrir is an independent Islamic political party. The party works throughout the Islamic world, including Kazakhstan, to resume the Islamic way of life by re-establishing the Islamic Khilafah [Caliphate]. The party adheres to Islamic law in all aspects of its work and considers violence or armed struggle against the regime, as a method to re-establish the Islamic State, to be forbidden by Islamic law. In the Western world, the party seeks to explain the Islamic ideology to Muslims, to create a dialogue with Western thinkers and to present a positive image of Islam to Western society.


Source : Web Wire
To see the source PR, click here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Western Doctrine (Newspost)

By Moez Mobeen, an ideology expert from Islamabad

This is in reference to Ms Sherien Mizari's article, " Romancing the Bush Doctrine". The learned writer has effectively pictured the mindframe of the political leadership of Pakistan. From the very day of the creation of Pakistan, the Washington factor has been the top priority of the policy makers in Islamabad. This defeatist and pessimistic approach of our leadership has been the main reason for us compromising on our islamic principles and interests at crucial decision making situations, sometimes even contradicting the ground realities. I would like to request Ms Mizari to bring in to the light of her criticism the present government and present alternatives which are practical and are not based on pragmatism. Pakistan's basis are ideological and its governmental structure should represent an ideological Islamic state. Its time we shun the western doctrine and look for alternatives.

Monday, April 11, 2005

A Terrorist Appeal to the Left

Note: This seems to be a criticism on the "Free Iraq" video prepared by HT.

A recently released propaganda video by the Islamic extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir is quite revealing. Not only does the video demonstrate the group’s growing effort to package arguments in a manner designed to appeal to Westerners on the political left, but it also serves as a barometer of radical Muslim groups’ broader shift in rhetorical strategy.
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To read the whole article, click here.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Article by Irfan Siddiqi

Response to the Road From Tashkent to the Taliban

uploaded 09 Feb 2005

The following letter was delivered to Zeyno Baran, Dimitri Simes (Centre President) and Geoffrey Kemp (Director of Regional Strategic Programs) at the Nixon Centre. It is a response to an article written by Ms Baran titled "The Road from Tashkent to the Taliban" which accuses Hizb ut-Tahrir of being a 'conveyor belt for terrorists'. It appears in the new Political Journal “New Civilisation” (newcivilisation.com)
=======================

Dear Ms Baran,

I read your recent article, "The road from Tashkent to the Taliban," with interest because it presented conclusions from a conference about Hizb ut Tahrir, the Islamic political party of which I am a member, and was published by the Nixon Center from which perceptive analysis might be expected. Furthermore, your visit to London a few months ago, where we met and discussed at some length, was an opportunity to assist you in arriving at informed opinions regarding Hizb ut Tahrir and the plight of thousands of our members in Uzbek torture camps.

I was soon disappointed, however, by the article's conflations, and its opening conjectures, which effortlessly transformed, as the paragraphs slipped by, into accepted facts. Along the way surprising charges were made against us; hatred, racism and anti-Semitism. I suggest that future conferences about us would be better served by having someone from Hizb ut-Tahrir present. I for one would be happy to oblige. Meanwhile, as Tom Paine once wrote, "It is often better, to pass some things over" and so, in deference to his wisdom, I will limit my response to the central argument of your article - that Hizb ut-Tahrir is a conveyor belt for terrorists.

First though, I must tell you that in one important respect I envy you your rare privilege. You are the director for international-security and energy programs within a centre that offers in depth thought and analysis, to a nation not only with the power to act, but more importantly with the moral conviction that its form of government, freely chosen, was built upon a set of declared thoughts; framed by Thomas Jefferson and approved by congress on the 4th July 1776. One year later John Jay expressed his sense of the blessing of a government based upon the choice of intellect; "The Americans are the first people whom Heaven has favored with an opportunity of deliberating upon, and choosing, the forms of government under which they shall live." Despite being labeled a terrorist, your first President fought, Jefferson's eloquent preamble etched into his heart, to liberate Americans from the arbitrariness of despotic British colonial rule. For the Declaration of Independence Americans can thank Tom Paine, one of Benjamin Franklin's 'value-added' recruits from Britain, who in January 1776 wrote a seditious pamphlet called Common Sense. The British viewed him as a traitor for the crime of calling for a declaration of independence, based, not upon the privileges of land or birth, but upon thoughts; "Can we but leave posterity with a settled form of government, an independent constitution of its own, the purchase at any price will be cheap." Had the conveyor belt been invented in that time it is conceivable that British international experts and law-enforcement agencies would have called his work a conveyor belt for producing terrorists. By calling Hizb ut-Tahrir a conveyor belt for producing terrorists, the Nixon Center showed its inability to appreciate a double irony.

Were the production of terrorists our goal, we would find it hard to compete with American foreign policy, which Muslims perceive in the same way that Americans perceive the brutal tactics of the English during the War of Independence. A picture, it is said, tells a thousand words; and Muslims have many pictures of US foreign policy in action, from many theatres, over many years. I tend to agree with a recent headline from Robert Fisk, "What better recruiting sergeant could Bin Laden have than the President of the United States."

While it is true that Hizb ut-Tahrir is opposed to American colonial interests and dares to espouse an alternative ideology, it would be trivial to content ourselves with stirring up anti-American feeling because there is no shortage of such feeling already in the world today. The effort that we put into changing peoples thinking is to convey them towards a stated objective. We hope that it will lead there inevitably as if by standing upon a conveyor belt, and certainly we are not relying upon chance. We desire to see the fruit of our hard work, and that is why Hizb ut-Tahrir's ideology and its method of work has been meticulously thought out and published in many detailed books; including one on the subject of thinking itself. We have published a draft constitution for the coming Khilafah State, and this along with many of our books is available in the English language. We too are working, in one sense, as your forefathers did, upon establishing governance based upon the ideas that we hold dear. We share the confidence of your own forbears and we share their words when we say; "we have it in our power to begin the world over again. We are not insulting the world with our fleets and armies, nor ravaging the globe for plunder. Beneath the shade of our own vines are we attacked; in our own houses, and on our own lands, is the violence committed against us." Tom Paine was referring to the suffering of Americans, but Muslims in Falluja, Baghdad, Najaf, Ramallah or Gaza city could be forgiven for thinking that he was writing about them. Muslims are victims of what they perceive to be State terror, and for resisting occupation, are themselves called terrorists. Even those who have chosen to address the root cause of Muslim weakness by working politically and intellectually to reestablish the Khilafah are assaulted with the charge of terrorism - and for doing less than Tom Paine's followers. They fought on the battlefield with muskets and flintlocks - Hizb ut-Tahrir on the other hand has sought only to fight thought with thought.

Some in America argue that we might become frustrated and follow the example of your ancestors who resorted to changing their government by violence. While we appreciate their resistance to colonial exploitation, it must be understood that our reality is different to theirs in one very important respect, and that necessitates a different course of action - which we have been explaining for over fifty years.

The Muslim countries are indeed afflicted with despotic arbitrary rulers, and notwithstanding the West's active support for most of them they themselves are not foreign - they are sadly from amongst us and are supported by Muslim elites from amongst us. Furthermore, the Muslims who are suffering this despotism lacked, initially, a clear ideological thought as to the system that should replace them. Many Muslims have hitherto adopted one of two approaches.

The first, which acknowledges and strengthens the authority of illegitimate rule, has been to seek gradual reform through efforts to achieve power sharing. Hizb ut-Tahrir is not alone in believing that "to expend millions for the sake of getting a few vile acts repealed, and routing the present ministry only, is unworthy the charge, and is using posterity with the utmost cruelty; because it is leaving them the great work to do, and a debt upon their books, from which they derive no advantage."

The second approach is violent insurrection against our rulers in Uzbekistan and other Muslim countries. This also we reject. While, for example, any wise observer can conclude that the US will probably, in the face of adamant local resistance, leave Iraq, weakened by the experience; Muslims will still not have solved their own fundamental problem of stable progressive governance. Iraq, like all the other colonial creations was in a pitiful condition prior to the recent US invasion and faces the same prospect also after the removal of foreign occupation. Here is where our experience of despotism differs from yours, for we Muslims ourselves, notwithstanding foreign interference against us, have primarily to change our own society by changing the thought upon which society is built.

British readers will understand the distinction between government and society from the writings of John Locke. Americans will have found this concept expressed a century later by Tom Paine; "Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins." Americans should not be blamed, however, for not knowing Hizb ut-Tahrir's view of the distinction between society and government, and perhaps if they believe their president they would not expect Muslims even to hold a view about such things. They ought, however, to expect the experts from the Nixon Center to know Hizb ut-Tahrir's political philosophy before they seek to guide American foreign policy further into the abyss.

Whoever studies our literature will know that we too distinguish between society and government, and, that while we seek a change of government, it is society that is the object of our work. This important distinction drives our equanimity towards submissive power sharing and violent insurrection, both of which we reject, as the one serves to strengthen the corrupt thoughts and emotions that define society while the other bypasses society in order to place seized power upon a foundation of mere sand. We seek to establish the Khilafah form of government upon a foundation of firm insightful acceptance by Muslim society. We also believe in the necessity of Khilafah for the protection of humanity, and that the world will nevertheless challenge this new State and will rightly expect Muslims to explain their ideology. No one at the Nixon Center should feel patronized if I quote, for the benefit of a wider audience, the first sentence from the first of many books that our members, from Britain, Uzbekistan or elsewhere, are obliged to study and live by if they wish to remain in our Party, Man progresses as a result of his thoughts…"

Our members across the globe strive for the intellectual elevation of society, and one of our fundamental concepts is the adherence to the Islamic legislative texts in all areas of life. It was impossible to replace the tyrannical rulers in our countries when the society understood that the rituals of worship had to be carried out according to the Islamic texts but failed to grasp the importance of adhering to these same texts in political and economic matters. It would also make nonsense of our work to clarify to the society the details of Islam's political system, while ignoring its own method for gaining political power. We defined this method in great detail, deriving its legitimacy from the peaceful efforts of the Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings be upon him) to spread his ideology to all sectors of society and to pursue the acquisition of support and authority from the influential leaders of his day. How could we forsake our own ideology by ignoring the prophetic method for change? For this, he was abused and banished for a time by the society he sought to change. Some of his followers were tortured - beaten, burned, crushed and humiliated, others were killed - both men and women. Nevertheless, he refused to take up arms against the regime and that is a legislative proof for us. Those humble Muslims, those heroes, those brave hearts who by the thousand have joined our work in Uzbekistan, who suffered most terrible torture at the hands of America's most cruel ally, seeking only the pleasure of their Lord, are the last ones on the face of the earth from whom we expect betrayal and abandonment of the principles for which Hizb ut Tahrir stands by conspiring in any way to create explosions in Tashkent.

Your article called for naming the war correctly as, "a war of ideologies" and at last I do agree with you. Our only weapon in this war is thought, and there is no better weapon than this for those possessed of confidence in the intellectual strength of their ideology. You, on the other hand, wrote, "the ideology of democracy and capitalism has failed in most of the Muslim world." You noted the need for U.S. allies to "pay attention to socio-economic equality and injustice in their societies so that people do not turn to radical ideologies in the first place." By addressing this point it is implied that poverty and bad conditions, rather than intellectual disagreement, are the main factors promoting opposition to US allies, but please consider this - there is no moral equivalence between the food that buys submission and the lack of food that prompts resentment. The one is a measure of cowardice the other of intelligence. Tom Paine has expressed it better than I could, "Hath your house been burnt? Hath your property been destroyed before your face? Are your wife and children destitute of a bed to lie on, or bread to live on? Have you lost a parent or a child by their hands, and yourself the ruined and wretched survivor? …. The more men have to lose, the less willing are they to venture. The rich are in general slaves to fear, and submit to courtly power with the trembling duplicity of a Spaniel." Is it possible that the truths that Americans have held for three centuries to be self-evident are in some way flawed, or are they forgotten relics like the quaint language of Tom Paine? The Nixon Center could better advise American policy makers that a nation that rose from humbler beginnings to later sell its products all over the world ought not now to presume that the whole world can be bought over to accept its ideology by the filling of stomachs.

I hope you now understand the basis of Hizb ut-Tahrir's confidence in its ability to effect enduring change in the Muslim world without the need for a single bullet. We should meet and discuss these issues. Perhaps the ideology of democracy and capitalism has failed because we didn't understand it correctly, or perhaps it is just wrong. Either way, honest discussion could bear more enduring fruit than socio-economic and political cosmetic surgery. While our ideology is, of course, very different from the secular ideology of the Nixon Center, we should at least agree upon basing arguments on a high standard of reasoned thought - rather than a mosaic of hearsay, assumptions and orphaned facts. Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair.


Yours sincerely,
Dr Abdullah Robin

Source: www.newcivilisation.com

Separating state and religion (Newspost)

By Moez Mobeen
April 6, 2005
This is in reference to an article published in the News Post authored by raziq hussain. The author has suggested to the president to separate state from religion as he thinks this would aide the president in the implementation of the agenda he is so vocal about.

I totally agree with the author to the point that implementing the concept of separating state and religion would help the president achieve his goals. However what i would like to ask is why Mr Raziq Hussain and the President are so shy to use the actual word, secularism, (meaning state should be separated from religion) for their propaganda. If they are so sure about the path they describe as "enlightened moderation" then why choose covert means to call to it? Guising the concepts of secularism under the name of Islam and calling to it is an acceptance that the public opinion is against it.

Islamabad.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Kyrgyzstan uprising worries western world (Article)

By Bagila Bukharbayeva
Associated Press Writer

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- The main mosque in Bishkek, still a mainly secular government town, is increasingly packed for Friday prayers, with the overflow of worshippers forced to follow the service from the courtyard.

The western world, Russia and China, all increasingly concerned by spreading Islamic extremism, are watching Kyrgyzstan closely after last week's uprising that overthrew President Askar Akayev.

There were no signs that radical Islam had a hand in the demonstrations that turned into a revolution of sorts when protesters stormed government buildings Thursday, enraged by their poverty, alleged fraud in the most recent election and the corruption of the Akayev regime and family that has been in power since before the Soviet Union collapsed nearly 15 years ago.

But there are fears that radical Islamists could see an opening in the turmoil of a post-Akayev Kyrgyzstan and find inspiration in the swift and almost effortless ouster of his government.

However, the imam of the Bishkek Central Mosque, Abduhali Khaji, said he opposes creation of an Islamic state, which is the main goal of radical Islamic groups such as Hizb-ut-Tahriri that operate underground throughout Central Asia. The imam's religious activities and the mosque are state-approved.

"Their idea is to take power by force. Shariah (Islamic law) does not allow it," he said in an interview Sunday. Hizb-ut-Tahrir claims to reject violence.

The imam, dressed in a white skullcap and blue robe, said the number of Kyrgyz turning to Islam is growing rapidly "because Islam is the newest and truest religion."

He claimed 5,000 people come to his mosque to pray every Friday.

Radical Islam was a bugaboo for the Soviet Union long before its collapse and was partly behind Moscow's decision to invade Afghanistan in the last days of 1979. The movement continues to bedevil Central Asian leaders, especially in neighboring Uzbekistan, where deep-rooted radical groups have been accused of a series of bombings and militant incursions.

Thousands of Muslims have been jailed in Uzbekistan over the past few years in a government campaign that critics say has affected many innocent believers and only inflamed anger against the harsh rule of President Islam Karimov.

Imam Khaji is 65 and studied Islam secretly during the Soviet era in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, also a Central Asian neighbor to Kyrgyzstan. He said he has not seen members of radical Islamic groups conducting propaganda or trying to recruit new members in his mosque, but, added, "Maybe they do it secretly."

But the radicals are present, "many of them," he said, especially in parts of southern Kyrgyzstan, which is a more traditional region with a big ethnic Uzbek population.

An analyst who observed the recent parliamentary election campaign in the south said Hizb-ut-Tahrir was actively involved, with members backing candidates sympathetic to Islam.

The analyst, who asked not to be identified out of concern about possible retribution because of the tumultuous situation in the country, said Hizb-ut-Tahrir members also came to watch anti-Akayev rallies in the south, where the protests that led to his ouster first took hold.

Nurlan Alniyaz, an expert on Islam from neighboring Kazakhstan, predicted the activity of extremist Islamic groups would grow in the midst of the current political instability.

"In the south, there are whole neighborhoods that follow one or another radical group, but the new leaders will now be busy dividing offices among themselves, including top security and police positions," he said. "It will take some time before they begin to pay attention to the Islamic issue."

With the sudden collapse of Akayev's government, Islamic groups "also saw how easy it is to take power," he said "Probably, Hizb-ut-Tahrir will not go that way, but some other groups, like remnants of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, could."

The IMU, designated by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization, is blamed for a series of armed incursions into Uzbekistan from Kyrgyz territory in 1999-2001, as well as other attacks. The group had bases in neighboring Afghanistan and is believed to have been largely destroyed during the U.S.-led war there after the Sept. 11 attacks.

An informed Western observer said Friday that while Kyrgyzstan is probably the second most fertile ground in the region for Hizb-ut-Tahrir, after Uzbekistan, he believes it's "still not that widespread" here. But he said the new authorities will find it harder to keep extremism in check if they fail to come through with democratic reform and economic development in the generally poor country.

Economic resentment among the Kyrgyz runs deep and mainstream, state-sanctioned Islamic leaders don't escape it.

On Sunday, a group of teenage boys took shelter from a wet snowfall under a sheet-metal roof in the central mosque's courtyard.

Asked if the chief mufti was in his office next to the mosque, one of the boys said: "Look: Their expensive cars aren't there."

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Kazakistan Bans Extremist League (News item)

ASTANA, March 28 (RIA Novosti) - The Kazakh capital's city court qualified the Hizb-al-Tahrir as an extremist organization to outlaw it throughout the country.

"Extremist aspects have been revealed in Hizb-al-Tahrir activities, with leaflets disseminated to call for unconstitutional action," said Judge Zhanat Zhumabayeva, as she was announcing the verdict, which may be appealed against at the Supreme Court within the next fifteen days, as the Kazakh legislation has it.

The Hizb-al-Tahrir (Islamic Liberation Party) has been active in Kazakhstan since 1998. The Prosecutor General's experts qualify it as spearheaded against the constitutional regime. The Hizb aims to violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Kazakhstan, undermine national security, and instigate religious and social strife, they argue.

More than 180 instances were registered last year alone, on which the Hizb-al-Tahrir was circulating leaflets and other printed matter that contained unconstitutional appeals. Criminal proceedings were launched on 111 related cases in 2004.

Sheikh Tahieddin Nabhoni established the Hizb-al-Tahrir, 1953, on the basis of the Muslim Brothers' Palestinian branch. Abu Rusht, alias Abu Yassin, Palestinian Autonomy national and present-day Hizb leader, is on the international "wanted" list, and the Interpol is on his track.

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Tajik Islamists get longer jail terms (News item)

Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Apr. 4 (UPI) -- Four Islamist extremists in Tajikistan will get longer prison terms, Interfax news agency reported Monday.

The Sogdi regional court in northern Tajikistan has re-examined charges brought against four members of the Hizb ut-Tahrir extremist organization, which is officially banned in Tajikistan. The court re-sentenced them to longer prison terms, a court official told Interfax.

The judicial board of the Sogdi region earlier found the previous sentences too mild and demanded the case be reviewed. Interfax said.

The four Hizb ut-Tahrir activists were arrested in the Sogdi region in early 2004 and sentenced by a local court to between two and a half and seven years in prison. However, after reviewing the case, the court re-sentenced them to between eight and a half to 11 years in prison, the news agency said.

Some local analysts believe the tougher punishments are part of preventive measures taken after the revolution in Kyrgyzstan late last month, while others connect it with the revival of Islamic extremism in northern Tajikistan, Interfax said.

According to Tajik law enforcement bodies, more than 20 Hizb ut-Tahrir members have been arrested in the Sogdi region since January 2005, Interfax said.

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Hizb-ut-Tahrir representative detained in Ukraine (News item)

05.04.2005

SIMFEROPOL, April 5 (Itar-Tass) -- Representative of the Hizb-ut-Tahrir international Islamic political organization in the Crimea Abdusalam Selyametov was detained in Simferopol on Tuesday for appeals to legalize the Hizb-ut-Tahrir Party, which is outlawed in many countries, in Ukraine.

He was charged with illegal engagement in politics.
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Islam’s grip on southern Kyrgyzstan rattles authorities (News item)

By Simon Ostrovsky
Daily Times

Kyrgyz authorities fear today that a radical form of Islam is taking root despite their efforts.
A year ago, 44-year-old Avas Attokurov was drifting, drunk and without a job, constantly fighting with his family in this tiny, impoverished village on the slopes of the Pamir mountain range in Kyrgyzstan.
But then, at the urging of a neighbour steeped in religious training received in a neighbouring Country, he sobered up and, with Islam as his anchor, set about living his life according to a faith practised by his nomadic ancestors before it was banned by the Soviet Union.
“I thank Allah for giving me vision,” Attokurov said, explaining through a reedy Asian beard grown to conform with Islam’s precepts that he had bought a small mill and was now able to feed his family.
Attokurov’s story is typical of many in this poor region. Islam has emerged as a social mainstay in Kyrgyzstan’s south, a source of strength in an inhospitable, rural area where heroin use and alcoholism have soared and yearly wages rarely exceed 1,000 dollars.
But the rise of the religion, coupled with nearness of Afghanistan, where US-led forces continue to hunt Islamic militants, has prompted Kyrgyz authorities to see the region around Dzhany Bazaar as fertile for Muslim extremists.
A crackdown on Islamic “fundamentalism” was launched in 1999 after the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), an Afghanistan-based group allegedly linked to Al Qaeda, used Kyrgyz territory to stage attacks in neighbouring Uzbekistan.
That was redoubled after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, especially when a US airbase was opened in Kyrgyzstan to support operations in Afghanistan.
But Kyrgyz authorities fear today that a radical form of Islam is taking root despite their efforts.
“The number of extremists grows each year, primarily among youth, because of illiteracy and poverty and joblessness,” the head of a special police unit in the southern city of Osh established to tackle the threat, Hakim Razykov, told AFP.
His job, and that of his men, is to counter signs of extremism in the traditionally Muslim south, which is separated from the northern, more secular and Russian-speaking half of the country by hundreds of miles of mountains.
Earlier this year, they arrested 30 people believed to be IMU members in a raid in Osh during which they uncovered a weapons store. They swoop was planned after a suspected IMU militant from Uzbekistan blew himself up with a grenade during a document check last year, killing himself and a police officer.
Officers said most of those they consider extremists are ethnic Uzbeks but that fundamental Islam appeared to be spreading to predominantly Kyrgyz areas.
One officer declining to be named said there were signs that, while the IMU aimed to destabilise Uzbekistan, a shadowy new Kyrgyz group had emerged, allegedly financed by local businessmen.
The official crackdown has been zealous - too zealous according to the New York based Human Rights Watch.
Last year, 13 suspects were arrested on charges of extremism, though most were members of a non-violent but banned group calling itself Hizb ut-Tahrir, or the Freedom Party. They were seized as they distributed leaflets or congregated with other members of the organisation.
Security services were also keeping tabs on a half-a-dozen smaller groups also considered to harbour extremist views.
Hizb ut-Tahrir’s declared aim is to create a pan-Islamic state, or a Caliphate, governed by the rules of Islam through non-violent means. It has an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 followers in southern Kyrgyzstan.
An active Hizb ut-Tahrir member based in Osh said a court ruling banning the organization amounted to religious discrimination and expressed little hope that government pressure would ease after last week’s revolution that toppled the previous Soviet-era regime.
“The driver has changed, but the bus, the gasoline and the road it drives down are the same. The war against Hizb ut-Tahrir did not stop for a minute,” said Dilyardzhan Dzhumabayev.
He said that under a Caliphate, non-Muslims would be allowed to practice their own religion but would be subject to the rules of Sharia, or strict Islmaic law. “If a Christian steals his hand will be chopped off,” he said.
According to Dzhumabayev, the crackdown would only help his organisation.
Uzbek President Islam Karimov “did a great favour to the Hizb ut-Tahrir movement by tormenting and arresting its members, he caused the people to rise up,” he said, predicting that continued repression could create such a reaction in Kyrgyzstan.
AFP

Source: Daily Times
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Why the West has lost the ideological war against Muslims! (Article)

by Abid Mustafa
Media Monitors Network
(Friday 11 March 2005)


"The West has spent the last two hundred years combating Islamic thoughts in the hope of dissuading Muslims from Islam. This campaign began with the orientalists who studied Islam and attacked its beliefs and rules."

"The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do."
-- Samuel P. Huntington

During his visit to Europe, George Bush emphasised to his European hosts that spreading freedom and democracy was the only way of defeating terrorism in the Middle East and the wider Muslim world. His remarks echo a familiar tenet of his presidency - freedom triumphing over terrorism.

But, by coining the struggle as freedom versus terrorism, the Bush administration has avoided answering some pertinent questions like - What is terrorism? Who are the terrorists? Who is the enemy in the eyes of Bush and his acolytes the neo-conservatives?

The 9/11 Commission (by no means the first) stressed that the term war on terrorism was misleading and recommended that it should be renamed to place greater ideological emphasis against Islam. In October 2001 US General Wesley Clark, said that the US war against terrorism "was a war over Islam" that would define Islam "as either a peaceful or militant" force in society [1]. Yet others have argued that it should be appropriately labelled war against political Islam.

Whatever differences exist amongst America’s political elite over the naming of the war there are few to be found amongst ordinary Americans. Thanks to the Islamaphobic corporate media, most Americans irrespective of their political orientation view the war on terror as a fight against Islam.

The same milieu exits in Europe. The lack of boldness on part of the Europe’s political class to confront Bush on these questions together with the Islamaphobic media has convinced ordinary Europeans that their new enemy is Islam and Muslims who live in their midst

Before 9/11 Muslims long held the view that American intervention in their lands is part of the ongoing struggle between Islam and the West. The aftermath of 9/11 only served to reinforce this view. Today an overwhelming majority of Muslims believe unequivocally that the war terrorism is a war against Islam and Muslims.

Hence, behind Bush’s charade of fighting terrorism the clash between Islam and the West is well and truly under way. This struggle is being fought at several levels. The most important of all is the ideological struggle. The winner of this battle will decide whether the future belongs to Islam or Western secular liberalism.

So the question that now arises is who is winning the battle of ideas? The answer is that the West long ago lost the ideological war against Islam. This due to the following reasons:

1). The West has spent the last two hundred years combating Islamic thoughts in the hope of dissuading Muslims from Islam. This campaign began with the orientalists who studied Islam and attacked its beliefs and rules.
For instance they attacked the divinity of the Quran, jihad, polygamy, the Islamic punishment system and the Caliphate. But despite this organised effort to alienate Muslims from Islam, the West is facing a resurgent Islam both at home and abroad.

In the West, Islam is the fastest growing religion both amongst immigrants and the indigenous community. Between 1989 and 1998 the Islamic population in Europe grew by over 100 percent, to 14 million (approximately 2 percent of the population), according to United Nations statistics [2]. "Within the next 20 years the number of British converts will equal or overtake the immigrant Muslim community that brought the faith here", says Rose Kendrick the author of a textbook guide to the Koran [3]. America is not immune from this phenomenon. One expert estimates that 25,000 people a year become Muslims in the US; some clerics say they have seen conversion rates quadruple since Sept. 11[4].

Conversion figures aside, the attitudes of Muslims living in the West towards secular liberalism is equally damning. A recent ICM poll surveying Muslim attitudes in Britain published the following results: 81% view freedom of speech as a means of insulting Islam, 61% support the Sharia, 88% want Islam in schools, and 60% do not think they need to integrate.

If this is the outlook of Muslims in one of the main citadels of enlightenment then one can only guess the stance of Muslim world towards secular liberal values. Suffice to say that the West has failed to convince the Muslim masses that Western culture is better than Islam.

2). In the past the West employed the services of modernists such as Rifa’a At-Tahtawi (1801-1873), Jamal Ad-Din Al-Afghani (1838-1897), Muhammad Abduh (1849-1905), Taha Hussein (1889,1973) and Rashid Rida (1865-1935), Syed Ahmad Khan (1817-1898) to spear head their campaign of introducing Western culture under the guise of Islam. The impact of these reformists has not only been nullified but also reversed.

Today’s modernists find themselves in precarious situation. They are despised by Muslims and are seen as instruments of the cultural imperialism undertaking the West’s bidding to defame Islam.

In Western eyes they are viewed as being too Islamic and are no longer entrusted with the responsibility of turning Muslims away from Islam. America’s decision to revoke Tariq Ramadan’s visa and the media outrage at Al-Qardawi’s visit to the UK epitomises West’s mistrust of modernists. On the whole they are discredited and have become irrelevant in the battle of ideas between the West and Islam.

3). The biggest blow dealt by the West against the Islamic world came on March 3rd, 1924, when Britain through her stooge Mustafa Kamal destroyed the Caliphate. Lord Curzon speaking in the House of Commons said, "The point at issue is that Turkey has been destroyed and shall never rise again, because we have destroyed her spiritual power: the Caliphate and Islam. “ Subsequently, the European powers curved up the Islamic lands between them establishing direct colonial rule over the Muslim people.

The Muslim masses for the first time were exposed to Western solutions ranging from economic solutions which plundered their wealth to an educational syllabus which disconnected them from their history, reduced Islam to a mere set of rituals and taught them how to think like Westerners.

Moreover, Islam was effaced from temporal life only to be replaced by a secular rule. Later the West granted pseudo independence to the Muslim countries they had invented and appointed loyal servants to safeguard Western interests and to rule over Muslim people on their behalf.

If the West had thought that eight years of subjugation to secularism would have been enough to deter the Muslim masses from political Islam then they were gravely mistaken. The ferocity and direction of today’s Islamic revival has seized the attention of Western leaders. Vladimir Putin, Tony Blair and Donald Rumsfeld have joined a long chorus of Western leaders in 2004 warning about the dangers of a resurgent Caliphate. This was aptly summed up by Kissinger who said,”…what we call terrorism in the United States, but which is really the uprising of radical Islam against the secular world, and against the democratic world, on behalf of re-establishing a sort of Caliphate [5]”.

4). There is an inherent flaw in the ideology of secularism, which has led to its predictable rejection by the Muslim world. This is because secularism insists on restricting the role of Islam in society to personal worships only. Political decisions about running the society are left to human beings. This directly contradicts the doctrine of Muslims, which considers politics an indivisible part of Islam i.e. to Muslims Islam is politics. Bernard Lewis gave a similar assessment and said, “The absence of native secularism in Islam and the wide spread rejection of an imported secularism inspired by Christian example, may be attributed to certain profound differences of belief and experience in the two religious cultures [6]”.

Furthermore, secularism always leaves a spiritual void, especially when human beings are confronted by problems, which they are unable to solve. Separating God from temporal matters only accentuates this feeling
It is this intellectual weakness that has contributed to the dramatic rise of political Islam under the secular autocratic rule, which pervades much of the Muslim world.

The West should take heed from the inability of communism to dissuade Muslims from Islam. Communism a far deeper ideology than secularism also failed to convince the Muslim masses of materialism and man made laws.
5). The duplicity of the West in promoting Western values across the Muslim world has greatly undermined its credibility. Especially, after September 11, when Western doubles standards reached new heights. It was the episode of Abu Ghraib that revealed the true extent of the Western hypocrisy and hatred towards Muslims.
Western ideas such as freedom, democracy, human rights were given a devastating blow not by Muslims, but by America the so-called defender of liberty. Even the agent rulers in the Muslim world were left gasping and could not shield America from the evil crimes she had committed.

In one swoop, America by its own handiwork had permanently damaged its standing in the Muslim world and had gravely weakened the very ideas that represent the cornerstone of Western civilisation. So much so, that many non-Muslims are questioning the validity of these ideas and the deceitful role played by their governments abroad.
Hence for the very first time, Western governments are faced with the challenge of convincing their own citizens why these values have to be curbed at home, while these values are forcibly thrust upon the Muslim world. Perhaps Westerners should seek solace in the words of Oscar Wilde who said, “Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.”

These are some of the reasons, which have contributed to the Muslim world’s rejection of Western culture and its secular liberal philosophy.

The stark reality facing Western governments today is that the Muslim ummah (Muslim nation) has won the battle of ideas. The chapter of ideological struggle between the Muslim ummah and the West is more or less closed. But the chapter of political struggle between the ummah and the West is still open- albeit for limited period. This is because the West and their surrogates have no political legitimacy left in the Muslim world. These surrogates only survive because of dogged support from Western powers.

Therefore the West and their puppets stand alone in coercing the ummah to accept Western values. While the ummah stands firm rejecting Western culture and calling for the return of a global Islamic state. The two positions are irreconcilable and polarisation in viewpoints between the regimes and its people cannot continue indefinitely.

It is only a matter of time before Muslims overthrow the secular order, which has been unjustly imposed upon them. Sensing the failure of its surrogates to contain political Islam, the West under the pretext of fighting terrorism has sought to re-occupy the Muslim lands in a desperate bid to reinforce its values and to safeguard its material interests.

West’s behaviour towards the Muslim world can be likened to that of a failed schoolteacher. A failed schoolteacher is a person who continues to beat his pupils in the vain hope of imbuing them with the values of the school. Instead, the teacher not only loses control of the class but also brings down the very establishment he is trying to protect.

Indeed Westerners have got far less to fear from the Islamists and more to fear from their own governments who in the name of freedom and democracy are slowly but surely ebbing away at the very foundations of their civilisation.

Notes:
[1]. Wesley K. Clarke speaking on BBC World's Hardtalk programme, October 292001
[2]. Muslims in Europe, The Economist, October 18, 2001.
[3]. The Spread of a World Creed, The Times, November 9 1993
[4]. Islam Attracts Converts by the Thousands, The New York Times, October 222001
[5]. Henry Kissinger, Hindustan Times, Nov 2004
[6]. What went wrong?, Bernard Lewis, 2003

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Bush exports democracy abroad, cultivates totalitarianism at home (Article)

by Abid Mustafa
(Thursday 17 March 2005)

"...Muslims who are still enchanted by western values need to realise that the western powers are not interested in the liberation of the Muslim world. Nor are they interested in granting Muslims freedom and democracy."
On the 8th of March 2005, President George Bush citing progress in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine said that democracy was beginning to spread across the Middle East and that “the authoritarian rule is the last gasp of a discredited past.”

The Bush administration and its supporters have seized upon the events in the Middle East to give an upbeat assessment of democratic reform and America’s standing in the region. Some have even gone far as making comparisons with the fall of the iron curtain, while others are pointing to a vindication of Bush’s foreign policy since 9/11.

However, behind the rhetoric, Bush’s vision of exporting democracy to the Middle East and other parts of the world falls way short of the very same democracy standard America routinely employs to dismiss election results, castigate despots, and put states on notice.

A central tenet of democracy requires people to choose legitimate representation in an environment that is impartial, free from local intimidation and foreign intervention. Bush was quick to apply this standard to Ukraine and more recently to Lebanon.

In the case of Ukraine, Bush contravened this standard, as evidence emerged that the US embassy was responsible for spearheading Yushchenko’s “Orange Revolution”.

In Lebanon, Washington’s open incitement and support for the “Cedar Revolution” and its demand that forthcoming elections cannot be fair and free, unless Lebanon is completely free of Syrian occupation stinks of hypocrisy. Resounding

Were not the elections in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine held under American and Israeli occupation? Were not the candidates vetted by America? Was not the atmosphere prior to and on the day of the elections one of insecurity and fear? Were not the election results manipulated and the electoral process staged managed? Clearly the answer to all of these questions is a defiant “yes”. Hence the elections in these countries can only be described as unfair, illegal and imposed on the people.

But according to Bush’s democracy yardstick the dodgy elections in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine were a resounding success. Even by third world standards such elections would have been declared null and void.
Likewise, Bush has failed to evaluate Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia against his benchmark for democracy. Musharraf’s sham referendum in 2002, Mubarak’s upcoming presidential façade and the Saudi municipal elections, which bars women from participating, can only be regarded as an indictment against democracy.
Rather than punishing these states for subverting democracy, Bush has rewarded them with billions of dollars in aid and offered muted criticisms in their defence. This was particularly evident, after Bush’s inauguration address. The US State department scuttled to assure the rulers of Egypt, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia that they were not targets of his speech.

Ironically, Iran, which is comparatively more democratic than Egypt and Saudi Arabia put together, has been earmarked for regime change. However, America is more concerned about securing Iran’s huge oil and gas reserves than about nurturing democracy in Iran. In 1953, America worried about the nationalisation of Iranian oil removed the then elected Prime Minister, Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh and replaced him with the Shah – an absolute monarchist.

America‘s obsession with making bold claims about spreading democracy and liberty, while simultaneously propping up despotic regimes has a notorious history. On March 12 1947, President Truman said, “One of the primary objectives of the foreign policy of the United States is the creation of conditions in which we and other nations will be able to work out a way of life free from coercion…totalitarian regimes imposed on free peoples, by direct or indirect aggression, undermine the foundations of international peace and hence the security of the United States.”

Henceforth, America armed with the “Truman Doctrine” proceeded to sabotage democracy and freedom throughout the Muslim world in return for exploiting resources for her multinational corporations and safeguarding her strategic interests. America did this by supporting all manners of secular autocracies, monarchies and sheikhdoms.

Bush’s vision for a democratic Muslim world is the same as the Truman Doctrine. In both, the exporting of democracy and liberty, as well as the support for dictatorships is totally subservient to American corporate interests.

America is not alone in promoting its corporate interests dressed up in western values. Other western powers most notably Britain, France and the EU compete with the US in trouncing these values. The banishment of slavery in the 19th century and drive to grant independence to colonies in the 20th century were solely motivated by rivalry between great powers to hold onto their precious resources. Exporting western values was the least of their concerns.

Today, there is a bitter struggle between the EU and America over the resources of the Muslim world, in particular its energy reserves. Bush under the cover of freedom and democracy is seeking to remove those regimes that are either pro-European or look towards Europe for guidance and assistance. The EU-US conflict over oil and gas can be found in Muslim countries like Sudan, Morocco (Western Sahara issue), Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Libya, and the Gulf sheikhdoms.

Those minority of Muslims who are still enchanted by western values need to realise that the western powers are not interested in the liberation of the Muslim world. Nor are they interested in granting Muslims freedom and democracy.

These Muslims should take a quick look at the domestic affairs of western countries and they will quickly learn that western values are only a myth. The anti-terror laws in Britain, the Patriot Act in the US, the indefinite detention of Muslims in Guantanamo and Bellmarsh (UK) and the humiliation of Muslim prisoners in Abu Ghraib, Bagram and Basra clearly belittle their values.

As for westerners, they need to take a serious look at how their governments are using the war on terrorism as an excuse to enact draconian laws that are transforming their liberal societies into totalitarian ones.

Measures such as imprisonment without trial, internment of citizens, extra judicial torture, concentration of power in the hands of the executive, unelected government advisors, ministers over-ruling the judiciary, greater press restrictions, pre-packaged news stories, suppression of information and intrusion into personal privacy strike at the very heart of liberal democracies.

How soon America and Europe transform themselves into a fortress of totalitarianism depends upon whether Americans and Europeans value liberty and democracy above safety. Benjamin Franklin, once said, "Those that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

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Unveiling Secularism (Article)

by Abid Mustafa
(Thursday 17 March 2005)
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"Islam is the sole ideology in the world where people of different faiths can worship and perform their religious duties without experiencing reprisals or insecurity. "
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On the 3rd of March the British Court of Appeal ruled that Shabina Begum could wear her Jilbab (gown) to school, instead of the school uniform. Commenting on the verdict Lord Justice Brooke said, “Her freedom to manifest her religion or belief in public was being limited.” The announcement differs from France’s decision to ban Muslim girls wearing hijab from schools and Germany’s decision to outlaw Muslim women from wearing hijab in public offices.
One may think that at last, Muslims in Britain can find some solace under British secularism. Think again! A day before the verdict, Home Office minister Hazel Blears said that UK Muslims should accept that people of Islamic appearance are more likely to be stopped and searched by police. The number of searches targeting Asians has risen by 300%, since the introduction of anti-terror laws. It is a regular feature of western governments to eschew religious freedom in return for demonstrating intolerance towards Muslims and their right to practice Islam.
Since September 11, under the pretext of the war on terror, the West has undertaken a host of measures specifically aimed at Muslims living in the West. These measures include arbitrary arrests, physical torture, imprisonment without trial, surveillance of mosques, muzzling of Imams, and deaths in police custody. Some have even been forced to become spies. Muslims have also witnessed the endless vilification of Islam by the western media.
All this has left an indelible impression on Muslim minds that secular democracies in the West are incapable of guaranteeing Muslims the peace and security to practice their religion.
The plight of Muslims living under secular dictatorships supported by the West is much worse. In countries like Uzbekistan, Muslim males are routinely arrested for having a beard or visiting the Mosques too often. In Turkey, Muslim women who opt for university education are forced to abandon their hijab.
But the fiercest punishment is reserved for those who seek to criticize these tyrannical regimes; imprisonment, torture and extra-judicial killings can routinely be found in such countries. So we also find Muslims living in the Muslim world convinced that secularism is flawed and unfit to govern them.
Even non-Muslims living under secularism feel that their religion is vulnerable. Many Christians in the West view gay bishops, women priests, illegitimate children, and the commercialization of Christmas as malicious attempts by secular fundamentalist to subvert Christian values and replacing them with secular ones.
Likewise, secularism has failed to protect the Christian sects in Northern Ireland and safeguard the lives of Jewish, Christian and Muslim people living in Palestine. India, the largest secular state in the world, is prone to religious violence where Hindus, Christians, Muslims and Sikhs are all victims of secularism. So, just like Muslims, non-Muslims are also looking for an alternative system that can provide them with an opportunity to practice their religion in peace.
Islam is the sole ideology in the world where people of different faiths can worship and perform their religious duties without experiencing reprisals or insecurity. In practice this is secured by the Caliphate state. In the past the Caliph safeguarded the rights of non-Muslims and Muslims alike, without discriminating between them. Take the case of Palestine: under the shade of the Caliphate, Muslims, Jews and Christians lived in harmony, a feat unrivalled in the history of mankind.
By pressing ahead with the forced secularization of Muslims, Christian and Jews, western governments run the risk of alienating them. Instead, the West should re-evaluate its policy of coercive assimilation and critically address the broader question of our time - as to whether secularism can really guarantee the rights of people belonging to different faiths.

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Musharraf is America's trump card in her plan to confront Iran (Article)


With most of the world transfixed on the EU and American talks with Iran over its nuclear programme, Musharraf the American stalwart in the region is ready to pull the carpet from under the feet of the negotiators.

Musharraf’s admission in late February, that his country's scientists had transferred some centrifuge parts to Iran has come as a blessing for the Bush administration. Bush and his courtier of advisors have been trying to paint Iran’s nuclear capabilities as a threat to US interests, but have so far lacked physical evidence to substantiate their claims.

However, Musharraf’s confession together with the announcement made by his Foreign Minister Kasuri that Pakistan will handover parts of used centrifuges to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has given American officials a newfound opportunity to put an end to EU’s dialogue with Iran and press the UN Security Council to take action against Iran.

With the US offering measly economic incentives to Iran to surrender its nuclear programme and the sudden manifestation of Pakistani centrifuges, the EU’s strategy of engaging Iran looks to be heading towards a dead-end.
If Musharraf’s smoking gun turns out to be true, then the EU will be hard pressed not to support America’s position of raising the matter before the UN Security Council. And then the world will be engrossed in a rerun of the events that preceded the Iraq war. We can expect UN resolutions, intrusive weapon inspections, and Iran’s ‘full-compliance’ followed by a declaration of war.

But none of this would have been possible without Musharraf’s dogged support for American foreign policy. Besides the handover of centrifuges, Musharraf has painstakingly used Pakistani assets to pave the way for a possible US assault against Iran. He has exploited the long-running insurgency in Balochistan to build fresh military installation and has deployed thousands of troops. This unprecedented step plus the surrender of DalBaladin (Balochistan) airbase, which was given to Americans after 9/11, is intended to bolster US fighting capabilities. In January 2005, he also helped the American forces familiarise themselves with the terrain of Karachi city by facilitating joint exercises between the Pakistani and the American army. The aim of the exercises was to help American soldiers become well acquainted with the landscape of Karachi which resembles Tehran in many ways.

Besides this , some press reports indicate that the level of cooperation between Musharraf and Bush administration is much deeper than what Musharraf’s is prepared to acknowledge publicly. Richard Sale, the intelligence correspondent for United Press International, wrote that Musharraf had allowed Iranian anti-regime fighters to operate from Pakistan's Balochistan province that abuts Iran. Earlier, this year, Seymour Hersh published an article, which stated that, Pakistani scientists and US commandos were operating deep inside Iran.
Such reports seem to be highly credible when measured against the backdrop of the military activity in Balochistan and Musharraf’s recent statement on Iran, when he said,” We hope the US doesn't attack Iran. In the event of an attack, Pakistan will remain neutral."

Indeed Musharraf has become the first Pakistani leader who has an unyielding desire to put American interests before Pakistani interests. It was Musharraf who made it possible for America to defeat the Taliban and then helped America reduce the threat posed by the Pushtun tribes towards Karzia’s leadership. He did this by conducting numerous operations in the tribal administered areas. It was Musharraf who helped America achieve a close relationship with India. He terminated the jihad, pulled backed the troops from LOC, abandoned the Kashmiris and gave India the upper hand over Kashmir. Now Musharraf is preparing to abandon Pakistan’s relationship with Iran in return for a few dollars and some F-16s. No wonder Condoleeza Rice described America’s relations with Pakistan as the best ever.

Some people think that Pakistan’s inability to stand up to America is due to its weakness. Nothing could be further from the truth. America’s reliance on Pakistani assets such as its intelligence, army, security forces, air bases, airspace and nuclear weapons clearly highlights America’s weakness and demonstrates Pakistan’s strength.
Without these strategic assets America could not have confronted the Soviet Union, proliferated nuclear weapons, removed the Taliban from power, forged a closer relationship with India and deployed Pakistani troops under UN’s mandate to safeguard her interests around the world.

Pakistan’s weakness to confront America has more to do with her insincere leadership then the limitation of her strategic assets. If Musharraf had shown one iota of sincerity for Pakistan he could have done many things to prevent America from consolidating its grip over Pakistan. For instance, he could have negotiated economic self-sufficiency in return for providing military assistance. By Pentagon’s own admission Pakistan suffered a $10 billion loss as a result of supporting America’s war on Afghanistan. To date, Musharraf has neither asked for this amount to be reimbursed nor demanded that Pakistan’s foreign debt, which stands at $38 billion to be retired. Instead, Musharraf settled for a meagre sum of $3 billion dollars. This amount is to be paid in instalments and is tied to Pakistan forsaking its Islamic ideology in return for adopting western values.

Musharraf could have followed the example of Turkey who at the height of America’s belligerence towards Iraq rejected America’s offer of $22 billion to open up its border with Iraq. Instead, Musharraf has not only opened up Pakistan eastern and western flank to India and America, but is preparing to grant US access to Pakistan’s border with Iran.

But, of all the options Musharraf could have used to resist American demands, the threat of using Pakistan’s nuclear weapons was the most effective and the most obvious. This has worked very well for North Korea. She has managed to protect her strategic assets as well as her integrity. Rather than learning from the example of North Korea, Musharraf has done the exact opposite and has used the nuclear issue to help America frame another Muslim country.

Musharraf, like his predecessors has ruined Pakistan. The leaders of Pakistan-be they civil or uniformed have left no stone unturned and have placed every asset at the service of their American masters.
As for those who yearn for Pakistan’s strategic assets to be used for the benefit of the Muslim ummah must now realise that this can never be accomplished within the ambit of secular politics.

The only way for the people of Pakistan to regain these assets, and use them for the benefit of Muslims is to work for re-establishment of the Caliphate. The Caliphate will produce leaders that are sincere to its own people and never surrender their assets to the imperialist powers.

About the author of this article:
Abid Mustafa is a political analyst who specialises in Muslim affairs. He contributed this article to Aljazeerah.info.

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