April 02, 2005

Iran & Terrorism: An Islamic Perspective

National Interest, Quarterly Magazine, Spring 2005, Page 22- 40
Word Count : 7603

The event of September 11 has changed the atmosphere dominating international scene. The US exploited these events to fill the vacuum created following the collapse of the Soviet Union. It tried to replace the danger of Communism with struggle against terrorism to promote US hegemonic aspirations. Advancing the so-called "axis of evil" by President Bush pursued this goal. Along these lines, the US charged the I.R.I with accusations of supporting terrorism.




This article tries to study the main roots of terrorist actions, Islamic view on violence, theoretical foundation of al-Qaeda group and finally the stance of the I.R.I toward international terrorism

Today's world is a dangerous place, both for governments and for people.
Terrorism with its various forms has become a great concern for every state all over the world. On the other hand, modern technology has radically transformed the nature of terrorist acts, so that today it has gained an international dimension. No Pirooz Izadi has a PhD in general linguistics and is a senior research fellow at the Center for Strategic Research. He has written many articles on political and international issues.

State throughout the world feels itself immune from the danger of terrorism. In the
current circumstances, struggling against terrorism has been placed at the top of the
states' agenda.

However, international terrorism serves as a pretext for the West, particularly the
US, to further its national interests and hegemonic aspirations. To bring strategic
regions and vast energy resources under its control, the US has begun to playa dangerous game, under the aegis of struggling against terrorism. False accusations are a part of this game and the countries which are resisting US unilateralism are the main targets of these psychological operations. One of the countries which is more often being accused of implication in international terrorism is the Islamic Republic of Iran, while the Islamic Republic of Iran itself has been the victim of the most atrocious terrorist acts.

Having briefly reviewed the historical background, definition, causes and motivations of terrorism, this article tries to make clear the stance of the Islamic Republic of Iran toward terrorism and theoretical and philosophical differences between Shia and al-Qaeda beliefs regarding how to deal with enemies.

Historical Background

Terrorism is not a new phenomenon. It can be traced back to the ancient periods. As
Walter Laqueur says: "One of the first reliably documented instances of terrorism
occurred in the first century B.C. The Zealots - Sicarri, Jewish terrorists dedicated to
inciting a revolt against Roman rule in Judea, murdered their victims with daggers in
broad daylight in the heart of Jerusalem, eventually creating such anxiety among the
population that they generated a mass insurrection. "(1)

Also, India witnessed another kind of violence which could be categorized terrorist acts. In the seventh century, the Thuggee cult strangled passersby as sacrifices to the Hindu deity Kali. The Middle East region experienced a wave of murders in the eleventh century by Shiite sect known as Assassins; they used to eat hashish before murdreing their civilian foes. (2)

In modern times, Russia faced anti- tsarist groups such as Narodnaya Volya (people's will) which committed some terrorist acts. A particularly notable successful early case of terrorism was the] 914 assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand by a Serb extremist, an event that helped trigger World War I.(3)

However, the event which marked the beginning of modern international terrorism occurred on 22nd July 1968 when the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) undertook the first terrorist hijacking of a commercial airplane.

As for the origin of the term "terrorism", for the first time, the term "terror" was employed in 1795 to refer to a policy systematically used to protect the fledgling French republic government against counterrevolutionaries.

Definition

There is no consensus on defining terrorism. Some experts have tried to identify the basic elements constituting terrorism. Frey and Morris enumerate its main features as follows:

- It has a political nature, aiming at bringing about political change;

- It has a non - state character;

- It targets the innocent;

- Terrorists do not abide by international laws or norms and to maximize the psychological effect of an attack, their activities have a deliberately unpredictable quality . (4)

Generally, targeting violence against civilians constitutes the axis of most of definitions presented for terrorism.

Along these lines, the US State Department defines terrorism as premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audiences)
Also, Paul Pillar, a former deputy chief of the CIA's counterterrorist center, argues that there are four key elements of terrorism:

- It is premeditated - planned in advance, rather than an impulsive act of rage;

- It is political - not criminal, like the violence that groups such as the Mafia use to get money, but designed to change the existing political order;

- It is aimed at civilians - not at military targets or combat - ready troops;

- It is carried out by subnational groups- not by the army of a country. (6)

As the above definitions indicate, terrorism is characterized by its political nature, its goal of influencing an audience and its non-state character, targeting mainly innocent civilians through preplanned actions.

However, it seems that to present a precise definition of terrorism, we need to somehow make a distinction between terrorism and resistance against occupation or operations carried out by liberation movements. A basic guideline which helps us to distinguish between terrorism and these operations is the principle of the immunity of civilians from any kind of aggression and attack whether in international or civil wars.

From philosophical point of view, two prominent contemporary philosophers, Habermas and Derida, attribute terrorist acts to modernization. While the first believes that terrorism results from the rapidity with which modernization has imposed itself on the traditional way of life leading to the emergence of defensive reactions, the latter says that these defensive reactions are the product of modernization.

Both of them regard globalization as a leading factor in the new wave of terrorism. Habermas considers the increasing inequalities as a result of the precipitating trend of modernization.

Derrida emphasizes the positive and negative aspects of globalization and expresses his concern about its negative consequence on the dynamism of struggles and wars. (7)
It can be said that modernization and consequently globalization have played a great role in the evolution of the new wave of terrorism. Conditions created by the forces of globalization have brought about anger and repulsion in some parts of the world. We discuss more about this in the next section.

Motivations and Goals

Among the factors which motivate terrorists to engage in violent actions against certain targets, ideology and beliefs are the most important ones. It seems that in every period, certain kinds of concepts have induced some people to get involved in terrorist acts. Generally, terrorist events throughout the world are motivated by campaigns of ethnic nationalism or religious extremism.

One of the most prominent experts in terrorism studies, David Rapoport, elaborating on the historical process of terrorism, recognizes four waves which correspond respectively to the break-up of empires, decolonization, leftist antiWesternism and religious inspiration. In his opinion, terrorism occurs in consecutive or overlapping waves. Here, these historical phases of terrorism that are motivated by certain concepts are briefly discussed.

First wave

In the 19th century, concepts such as universal suffrage and popular empowerment raised the hopes of people throughout the Western world. This wave originated in Russia; it was stimulated not by state repression but by the efforts of the czars to placate demands for economic and political reforms, and the inevitable disappointment of popular expectations that were raised as a result. The goal of terrorists was to engage in attacks on symbolic targets to get the attention of the common people and thus provoke a popular response that would ultimately overturn the prevailing political order. This type of terrorism was reflected in the activities of groups such as the Russian Narodnaya Volya (people's will) and later in the development of a series of movements in the United States and Europe, especially in territories of the former Ottoman Empire.

The dissolution of empires and the search for a new distribution of political power set the stage for terrorism in the 19th and 20th centuries. Rapoport believes that this first wave of terrorism ended with World War 1. But terrorist acts aiming at obtaining more democracy and political power due to the collapse of empires or struggle within them have not ceased to exist. Terror and violent operations raged in the Balkans after the downfall of the former state of Yugoslavia. Also, rebellious actions occurring in Aceh, Chechnya and Xinjiany suggest scrambles within vast (former) empires.

Second wave

This phase of terrorism which began after World War I, was inspired by the concept of national self-determination. It continues to exist at the present time. Those who committed terrorist acts in the framework of this wave of terrorism, aimed at winning political independence or autonomy. According to Rapoport, the mid - twentieth-century era of rapid decolonization spawned national movements in territories as diverse as Algeria, Israel, South Africa and Vietnam.

Third wave

The US intervention in Vietnam and particularly the subsequent defeat of the US by Vietcong gave birth to the "third wave" of terrorism characterized by "wars of national liberation". The predominant philosophy underpinning terrorist acts in this phase argued that the killing of innocent people would be justified, if the cause in the long run was "just".

During this phase, terrorism gained an international character, especially during the 1970s and the 1980s. This resulted in part from technological advances as well as increasing influence of media.

Fourth wave

This new phase of terrorist activity which reached its apogee on September 11,200 I, is motivated by religious motivations, therefore, it can be called, Jihad era. Rapoport maintains that the forces of history seem to be driving international terrorism back to a much earlier time, with echoes of the behavior of "sacred" terrorists such as the Zealots-Sicani clearly apparent in the terrorist activities of organizations such as al Qaeda and its associated groups. The main targets of these terrorists are the United States and the US-led global system.

The Jihad era is animated by widespread alienation combined with elements of
religious identity and doctrines)It can be observed that terrorism could be interpreted as a power struggle along a continuum: central power versus local power, big power versus small powers, modern power versus traditional power. It is also a part of a larger phenomenon of anti globalization and tension between the have and have - not nations, as well as between the elite and underprivileged within those nations.

This religious motivation takes its roots from the problems such as bad governance, nonexistent social services, and poverty. Those areas of the world which have not benefited the economic and political advantages of globalization constitute a fertile ground for terrorism.

On the other hand, the last wave of terrorism is not only a reaction to globalization, but also it is facilitated by it. The next section is dedicated to the impact of globalization on international terrorism.

Globalization and International Terrorism

Globalization, in its various forms including Westernization, secularization, democratization, consumerism and the growth of market capitalism, represents an onslaught to less privileged people in conservative cultures repelled by the fundamental changes that these forces are bringing-or angered by the distortions and uneven distributions of benefits resulted from it.(9) It can be said that globalization influences both means and ends of terrorism.

a)The Means
b)In the realm of the means, the following considerations can be mentioned:

1. The use of information technologies such as the Internet, mobile phones, and instant messaging has extended the global reach of many terrorist groups.

2. Globalization has enabled terrorist organizations to reach across international borders, in the same way that commerce and business interests are linked.

3. Terrorist organizations are broadening their reach in gathering financial resources to fund their operations. (10)

It can be concluded that terrorist organizations have obtained the same ability in terms of communication, coordination and cooperation enjoyed by other international actors, including states, multinational corporations, non-governmental organizations and even individuals.

b) The Ends

The objectives of international terrorism have been also influenced by the process of globalization. The United States has become the main target of international terrorism. Frustrated populations seek to assert identity or meaning against forces of homogeneity threatening their culture. They face the secular future brought about by Western-led globalization. Also, the US foreign policy toward different regions of the world has been the responsible for terrorist acts. Anti- Americanism is closely related to antiglobalization , because (intentionally or not) the primary driver of the powerful forces resulting in globalization is the United States.(11) In conclusion, terrorism is to be considered as a by-product of broader historical shifts in the international distribution of power in all of its forms- political, economic, military, ideological, and cultural.(12)

Also, terrorist organizations operating around the world can be categorized based on their Source of motivation. The next section is allocated to this subject.

Terrorist Organizations

There are four types of terrorist organizations based on their motivation:
1. Left- wing terrorists: inspired by communist movement often engage in brutal criminal-type behavior such as kidnapping, murder, bombing and arson, often directed at elite targets that symbolize authority. They are active mostly in Western European countries.

2. Right-wing terrorists: mostly motivated by racist and fascist orientations targeting objectives related to race, ethnicity, religion or immigrant status. Often, they engage in violent actions with enormous propaganda influence. They are active in West Europe, particularly in Germany.

3. Ethnonationalist/separatist terrorists: having a clear political or territorial aim enjoying support among the local population of the same ethnicity. Usually, their campaigns are lengthy.

4. Religious terrorists: characterized by feeling engaged in a Manichaean struggle of good against evil, engaging in violent behavior directly or indirectly to please the perceived commands of a deity, being unconstrained by secular values and laws, and finally displaying a complete sense of alienation from the existing social system.

Along with the above four categories, there are terrorists who campaigns for single issues such as environmentalists, animal rights activists and anti-abortion extremists; and also state and state- sponsored terrorism conducted by oppressive regimes.

Below diagram shows terrorist activities in terms of motivation, agents of violence, nature of activity and additional remarks.

Some scholars regard split between Islamic and Western civilizations as the main Source of terrorism; in the next section, we discuss this issue.

International Terrorism: Islam vs. West

Click here to see the chart

Recently, Professor Bernard Lewis, one of the famous orientalists, in his book titled

“What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response”, discussed preconditions led to the political, ideological and violent struggles between Arabs, Muslims and finally the fundamentalist Muslim terrorists of today and the West.

Since Lewis belongs to the same school of thought as Samuel Huntington, he considers the difference between the Islamic world and the West as the main root of the violent anger of Muslims toward the West as expressed through the actions of terrorist and radical groups.

Also, he sees the humiliation and resentment felt by Muslims facing the West a result of falling behind Western civilization. In his opinion, Islamic civilization which had prospered for centuries gradually fell into decay:

"For centuries the world view and self-view of Muslims seemed well grounded.
Islam represented the greatest military power on Earth - its armies, at the very same time, were invading Europe and Africa, India and China. It was the foremost economic power in the world... It had achieved the highest level so far in human history in the arts and sciences of civilization (l3)

Lewis believes that the world of Islam is looking for a scapegoat, thus it tries to place the blame on the developed and Christian world.

Along these lines, Lewis analyzes Palestinian issue: "the struggle for Palestine greatly facilitated the acceptance of the anti- Semitic interpretation of history, and led some to blame evil in the Middle East and indeed in the world on secret Jewish plots."

This analysis is based on this idea that in the Middle East, Arabs blame Jews and US for their backwardness. In fact, this is a cynical ploy used by unpopular governments to justify their actions which have brought about so far nothing than poverty, underdevelopment and tyranny.

But, it should be said that as Alamdari writes in his article. "Terrorism cuts across
the East and the West: deconstructing Lewis's Orientalism", terrorist acts committed by "Islamic fundamentalist" groups are an entirely new phenomenon and related to the past few decades; they have no relation to differences between East and West that have clearly existed for the previous four centuries".( 14)

Therefore, we observe that the views expressed by some scholars like Lewis are not well-grounded and ignore many basic facts. Again, in this regard, Alamdari says that "it is not just Muslims who are left behind the West. Almost the whole of the East and large portions of Latin America and Africa are experiencing similar backward conditions of industry and technology and suffer from poor economies. (IS)

It is concluded that the real reason of violence lies in something else. As discussed above, it is struggle between the have and the have nots.

AL- Qaeda: Its ideology and appeal

To understand the nature and appeal of al- Qaeda and its leader Bin Laden, it is necessary to explore its ideological foundations based on interpretation of Islam prescribing terror and violence to reach its goals. However, political factors can not be ignored in the formation of al-Qaeda's ideology. In what follows, the idea behind al-Qaeda is described.

Many believe that there is a connection between Wahhabism and al-Qaeda's ideology. But, with a glance at the historical conditions rising to the emergence of Wahhabism, it is observed that it is not true. As Maha Azzam says "the teachings of Mohammad Abdel Wahhab (the founder of what later came to be referred to as Wahhabism) are a very particular response to Arabian society during the eighteenth century that emphasized the singularity of God in the face of a growing appeal of saint adulation and a excessive visitations to shrines and an unembellished and strict adherence to the Koran.”(16) This is the Islamic school of thought which is the source of legitimacy of ai-Saud government. The scope of this interpretation of Islam is not restricted to Saudi Arabia, it has expanded throughout the world. Azzam says that "there is no evidence that Bin Laden or his followers would describe themselves as Wahhabi, although they may be inspired by the spirit and tradition espoused by Mohammad Abdel Wahhab. A number of Islamists claim that Binladen has no connection with Wahhabism and also point to his Yemeni background, which is typically non- Wahhabi."

Also, idea behind al- Qaeda organization is related to Salafi interpretation of
Islam. Salafi is considered to be a puritanical interpretation of [slam founded on
adhering to the interpretation of the early followers of Islam(I7) On the other hand,
al-Azhar University which advocates a more moderate interpretation of Islam believes that all good Muslims are Salafi by definition. Obviously, those in al-Azhar University and Wahhabi sheikhs in Saudi Arabia consider suicide bombings as non Islamic acts.

Therefore, there is much confusion over Salafi school of thought. But, it is also true that teachings of the sheikhs in Saudi-founded schools in Pakistan gave rose to the radicalism of the Taliban.

If we refer to the political background of Bin Laden as an activist, we see that at first he was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, a non- Wahhabi organization. This organization broke off its links with bin Laden in the mid-l980s when he established
al-Qaeda.

An important point which should not be forgotten is that a prerequisite for those who sought to be a member of al-Qaeda was to learn Urn al- Sharia" (knowledge of
Islamic law) .One of the main components of the related courses was the work of a twelfth - century Muslim scholar Ibn Taymiyya who believed the necessity for Muslims to oppose tyrannical rule by force. Ibn Taymiyya advocated direct action against oppressors. The member of al-Qaeda is of different nationalities with different levels of Islamic knowledge. Therefore, Islamist individuals and groups which have joined al-Qaeda have rather common interests in struggling against a common enemy and not against Islamists inspired by Wahhabism.

As a result, al-Qaeda is a multi-national terrorist organization whose scope of activity covers the entire globe. It is worth mentioning that many people who were attracted to al-Qaeda were non-Arab, including individuals of Asian, particularly Afghan and even European origin.

It seems that those who participated in the Afghan jihad committed terrorist acts against their own regimes and having strong religious enthusiasm constitute a major part of the members of al-Qaeda. Usually, these people contemplate an enemy who is the embodiment of all the ills affecting the Muslim world, especially the US because of its support of Israel and the corrupt dictatorships of the Middle East.

Therefore, the ideological motivation of al-Qaeda must be sought in the political situation of the Middle East. The idea which reinforces this fact is a treatise published by al-Zawahri, one of the main partners of bin Ladebn, entitled "Shifa' Sudur al-Muminin (The Cure for Believers' Hearts) which provides some explanation for terrorist attacks.

This treatise presents the main issues facing the Islamic movement in order of priority. Al-Zawhari who is an Egyptian, is influenced by Nasserism, as a result, he places great importance for the Palestinian issue. He believes in the expulsion of all the Jews from Palestine.
For this reason, he considers traitorous all Arab and Islamic regimes that have recognized the existence of Israel or have ties with the US government that is the main supporter of Israel. Based on this argument, Saudi regime is placed outside the fold of Islam. In his opinion, Saudi Arabia and the US used a kind of ploy in supporting Afghan Mujahideen to distract the Arab Mojahideen from their real goal.

Also, al-Zawahri first coined the name "al-Qaeda" for such an establishment as "the base of their operations in Afghanistan, from where they could undertake their worldwide struggle.”( 18)

An implication of this principle is that al-Qaeda must be struggling against the
oppressive regimes trying to suppress physically and intellectually Islamists. AI
Zawahri considers these regimes as clients of the infidels, Christians and Jews.
According to Islamic law, it is something which places these regimes outside the fold
of Islam.

Another important point which has a major contribution in justifying the killings
of innocent civilian people is the subject of personal responsibility. As Azzam writes: "al-Zawahri argues that the rank and file of these oppressive regimes can not take refuge in their claim that they were merely following orders but must accept personal responsibility. ,,( 19) Even, he extends this principle to include all the people who work for such regimes or support them. The mere fact of working for or supporting such regimes makes them party to the crimes of these regimes and therefore a legit inmate target. Al-Zawahri sees a contradiction between being a Muslim and serving in such regimes. This view also applies to how al-Qaeda group treats the civilian citizens of Western countries. Due to the fact that civilians in the west elect and pay for their governments, they are responsible for the actions of these governments. This makes them legitimate targets.

Another issue which is crucial in the ideological and political thought of al-Qaeda is to justify certain terrorist acts such as suicide attack. Suicide is clearly and absolutely prohibited under Islamic law. As a result, to find a theological backing for using suicide attacks, al-Zawahri advances some instances in early Islam when some Muslims were captured by the "idolaters". They were asked to recant on pain of death. But, they refused; this refusal, in al-Zawahri's opinion was an act of suicide for the glory of God. Here, greater good necessitates that a faithful Muslim commits suicide. As for collateral damage, that is unintentionally killing and hurting innocent people mainly children and Muslims, leave aside those who considered responsible for the actions of Western governments and their clients, al-Zawahri put forward the need to react to exceptional circumstances. As Islamic principles definitely reject collateral damage, when Muslims are facing exceptional circumstances that are confronting over powering enemy and having weak resources, a more lax interpretation of law will be possible.

Therefore, the greater good of Islam and exceptional circumstances provide a justification for some actions which are prohibited by Islamic teachings. In fact, the political theory has imposed its necessities on Islamic theology and what is called Ibn Taymiyya teachings. According to this new interpretation of Islam, there is a complete separation between the Islamists and the "enemy" including all Muslims who are in any way connected to non-Islamist regimes in the Islamic world as well as all citizens of Western countries that recognize the state of Israel, even if at times they support Muslim causes in Afghanistan or Bosnia.

It seems that the views expressed by al-Zawahri is corresponding to the jurisprudential concepts of "dar-al-Islam" (the abode of Islam), "dar- al-Kufr" (the abode of infidelity) and "dar- al- Harb" (the abode of war), but in his radical interpretation of Islamic principles, he assumes that "dar-al-Kufr" is tantamount to "dar-al-Harb". Based on this peculiar interpretation, he draws very dangerous conclusions leading to disastrous consequences.

The appeal of al-Qaeda all over the world results from this fact that angry and frustrated people, particularly Muslims see that this organization can deal severe blow to the power structure of the West. As Azzam says: "for the time being, al-Qaeda remains a revolutionary group with an ideology that diverges greatly from the mainstream, but whose actions find general popularity by feeding on long-standing feelings of despair and impotence in the Muslim street"(20)

In conclusion, it should be said that religious terrorists like those belonging to al-Qaeda group often see violence as an end in itself, as a divinely inspired way of serving a higher cause. Atrocities made by them have been unprecedented, as Hoffman notes even such earlier arch terrorists as Carlos the Jackal and Abu Nidal never "contemplated, much less attempted, the complete destruction of a high- rise office building packed with people."(21) But as seen earlier, for al-Qaeda and other similar organization, mass killings are considered not only acceptable but "holy".

In the next section, methods used by al-Qaeda group and also its scope of activity, its organization and its operational abilities will be discussed.

Al-Qaeda in Action

As said before, the increasing lethality of terrorist attacks conducted by religious terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda attracted the attention of world public opinion. Al-IQaeda rhetoric shows that this group contemplates no truce with the West until the US has been tamed by fatalities in the millions. A tape broadcast in May 2003 with the voice of al-Zawahri declares that "the Crusaders and the Jews only understand the language of murder, bloodshed... and of the burning towers.”(22)

The presence of al-Qaeda throughout the world is very considerable. As intelligence agencies say al-Qaeda is present in over 60 countries, and at least 20/000 jihadists were trained in its Afghanistan camps.(23) Despite the arrest of some of its senior leaders, it is supposed that over 18/000 potential al-Qaeda terrorists are still at large.(24) Although, al-Qaeda has been deprived of a physical base for training and operation after the fall of the Taliban, it has resorted to more resilient means. Its cells are operating semi- autonomously while maintaining links through field commanders to leaders who are probably hiding in Pakistan's cities or tribal areas near the Afghan border.

Today, al-Qaeda relies more on local groups that have only lose connection with the al-Qaeda leadership or are merely inspired by it. Recently, some groups like Jemaah Islamiah in Indonesia, the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) of Algeria, al-Ittihaad al-Islamiya in East Africa, and the Salafist Jihad of Morocco have been suspected to be involved in terrorist operations, but it seems that they have no direct operational links with al-Qaeda. However, al-Qaeda can act as a source for ideological inspiration, financial assistance and logistical helps. On the other hand, as mentioned in an IISS report, Bin Laden's charisma, presumed survival and elusiveness enhance the organization's iconic power and its attractiveness to would- be terrorists.

This unique position means that the new al-Qaeda remains a terrorist "network of networks" with unparalleled global leverage. (25)

Al-. Qaeda's Connection with Shiite Groups

Al -Qaeda's Sunni composition, its advocacy of a radical and diverted interpretation of Islam, which even contradicts the principles incorporated in mainstream traditional Sunni teachings and its atrocities against innocent people all over the world which is different from operations conducted by Shiite groups in Palestine and Lebanon against Israeli occupying military forces and can be considered as legitimate self-defense, make this group completely in contrast with combatant Shiite groups whose activities are geographically limited and pursue a legitimate goal which is driving Occupying forces out of their territories.

These Shiite groups direct their operations against certain military targets within a certain geographical place. They never pursue global ambition. Principally, al-Qaeda, an extremist Sunni group, regards Shiism as heretical. Also, there is no strong evidence that a tactical alliance is forged between Shiite groups such Hizbullah and al-Qaeda. In the next section, terrorism is studied from Islamic Shariah and particularly, Shiite point of view.

Islam and Terrorism

As many terrorist acts are perpetrated by or upon Muslims, or within Islamic territories, it is necessary to study how Islamic legal theory, the Shariah, regards terrorism. Before entering the subject, presenting some elementary description about Shariah is something useful. The term "shariah" originates from "shari" which means "law-giver". Allah or God is the supreme law-giver, but the "Shariah" is not exclusively, or even predominantly, a divine set of rules. Rather, it is a man- made system of jurisprudence, created over thirteen centuries ago and adapted to the cultures and physical environments of Muslims. It has been developed drawing on the Koran, Sunnah (sayings and deeds of Muhammad), consensus (among leading clerics) and in Shiism, what is called "Ijtihad" (inferrences made by qualified jurisprudents). By this process, a network of interrelated legal principles has developed into"Islamic law".

As Schwartz quotes: "The Shariah", the complete body of Islamic legal rules and Islamic legal method, must never be thought of as a single, black-letter code. Nor should the "shariah" be dismissed as a purely abstract collection of theories that have
no binding legal authority. The "Shariah" is a living law: it is the highest source of legal reference in Saudi Arabia, Iran and several Persian Gulf Sheikhdoms; it is incorporated into the constitution of many other states with a substantial Muslim majority; and it is a recognized unifying authority of every Arab nation."(26)

The "Shariah" does not address directly the issue of terrorism, but there are many principles which condemn violent acts committed against people. For example, killing an innocent person is a great sin. As the Koran says: "Slaying of one innocent person is tantamount to the slaying of all humanity."(27) Here, the Koran explicitly recognizes the importance of human life.

Also, a Muslim can not resort to murder or violence for inviting people to convert to Islam. Invitation to Islam must be done by faith, free choice and in an open environment. The freedom of religion and respect for the beliefs of other people are of high position in Islamic principles.

According to Islamic jurisprudence, all wars are illegal except for the "Jihad" the holy war to spread the worship of Allah. (28) It is worth mentioning that the term "Jihad" does not mean fighting or war at all. As Khadduri says: "A translation truer to the original Arabic would be "effort", "attempt" or "exertion" as the exertion of all of a person's efforts to overcome evil.(29) Jihad does not necessarily involve actual physical fighting. It is a kind of eternal, philosophical cont1ict or as Sarakhsi interprets, a responsibility enjoined permanently until the end of time. (31) In fact, "Jihad” is a duty to preserve Islam. It is not a continuous struggle or armed warfare rather it may be best understood as a "state of war" in which other forms of non-violent persuasion are equally valid.(30)
Along these lines Imam Khomeini emphasizes that "serious efforts" to preserve
Islam does not necessarily imply actual battle: "We must begin our work with propaganda activity...we must expose this treachery and must shout at the top of our voices so that we make the people realize that Islam is right and that infidels are wrong"(32)

As said before, there is an established view in Islam that the world is divided into two spheres: the "dar-al-Islam" (the abode of Islam) and the "dar- al- Kufr" (the abode of infidelity). According to the most prominent Islamic jurists, war is permitted only when the "dar-al-Kufr" takes an offensive against the "dar- ai-Islam". In this case, the "dar- al-Kufr" becomes "dar-al -harb" (the abode of war).

Also, there are strict regulations governing the Jihad. For example, killing the
non-combatants (even famers, merchants, businessmen and contractors whose activities may reinforce the war abilities of enemy) are forbidden and also using military equipments is subject to some restrictions. Using poisonous materials; burning enemy's soldiers, whether alive or dead; cutting trees; creating arson in farms and interrupting drinking water are severely prohibited.

As a result, resorting to force in Islam is permitted only under the conditions that it is done as self-defense act with maximum tolerance, preceded by peaceful alternatives and being consistent with all procedural constraints.

There are another set of forbidden acts which corroborates the condemnation of each instances of terrorist acts. As Shwartz says: "Islamic law provides for extensive protections of diplomats, restricts the taking of hostages and prohibits unnecessary destruction of an enemy's real or personal property."(33)

On the other hand, threatening security or committing any act of sabotage which are aimed at creating panic or subverting the Islamic government are considered as the examples of Muhareba (war against God) and spreading corruption on the earth. Also, those who commit armed robbery with the aim of bringing about an atmosphere of instability and insecurity among people, are categorized as "Muhareb".

It can be concluded that committing any act of violence is permitted in Islam under very specific conditions, among which self- defense is the most important one.

Of course, resorting to retaliatory act or punishing criminals by executing them are permitted when they meet standards determined by the "Shariah". Generally, murder, piracy (naval, air or ground), kidnapping and disturbance of the peace are among the crimes which must be severely punished.

The Islamic Republic of Iran and Terrorism

The Islamic Republic of Iran has been established according to Islamic principles, particularly principles based on Shiite jurisprudence. As a result, above mentioned principles are governing the behavior of the Islamic Republic of Iran at the domestic and international levels. Irrespective of some extremities carried out on the early days of the revolution due to revolutionary enthusiasm and some actions committed by a few deviated groups in the intelligence establishment during the second decade of the Islamic revolution, other accusations brought against Iran, particularly by the US, are baseless. In fact, no strong evidence has been provided to show any kind of relationship between Iranian government and international terrorism. It seems that today a major part of accusations brought against Iran relates to its support of radical anti- Israeli groups in Palestine. Bearing in mind that Iran's support of Palestinian cause has only been of moral nature, we should differentiate between terrorism and resistance against occupation. Of course, killing innocent civilian people is not acceptable under any condition. But, operations conducted by Palestinians can be evaluated as an intrinsic right of legitimate defense, self-defense, right to obtain independence and autonomy and right of self-determination.

On the other hand, Iran as a leading player in the Islamic world, feels obliged to play its role in defending the rights of Palestinian people. However, in dealing with radical groups which are active in the scene of Arab-Israeli conflict, the Islamic
Republic of Iran has urged them to adopt a more moderate position. As Gary Sick writes: "In recent years, Iran has openly called on Hezbollah to display prudence and self-restraint to prevent Israel from finding a pretext to attack Lebanon again.”(34)
In addition, despite some hard-line anti-Israeli statements made by a group of radicals within the political system of the Islamic Republic of Iran, its official stance is not very much different from some official opinion which is expressed publicly or privately in the Islamic world. Iran has stated repeatedly that it would accept any settlement that is satisfactory to the Palestinians and that it will not try to impose its views by force.
In fact, in defending the right of Palestinian people, Iran implements its job as a leading Islamic country. Fierce opposition to Israeli occupation is a touchstone of principles advocated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and undoubtedly in Iranian view, there is a difference between terrorism and struggle for liberation.

Another point which has recently been advanced by the United States is the cooperation between Iran and al-Qaeda operatives to take refuge within its territory and facilitated the passage of them through the country. Along these lines, Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador to Afghanistan said: "Hard- line unaccountable elements of the Iranian regime facilitated the movement of al-Qaeda terrorists escaping from Afghanistan.(35) But the fact is that the very lengthy border between Iran and Afghanistan and Iran and Pakistan has made it very difficult to control. However, the government has managed to detain many fugitives and has extradited them to their countries of origin.

Here, the interesting point is that deep ideological differences between the Islamic Republic of Iran and al-Qaeda make any connection between them an impossible thing. As mentioned in earlier section, al-Qaeda advocates a deviated interpretation of Islam mixed with politics. This interpretation is much different to main stream Islamic teachings and is devised for certain political purposes. On the other hand, al-Qaeda and the Taliban, its main supporter, are radical Sunni groups having fundamental differences with Shiite groups. As for allegations that there is a connection between al-Qaeda and some elements in Iran, possibly via Hezbollah, Gary Sick says: "Those allegations strained credulity, however, given Iran's vigorous opposition do the Taliban government in Afghanistan and its al-Qaeda supporters.

Al-Qaeda is a Sunni Muslim group that espouses the views of the most extreme pro
ponents of the Salafi school of Islamic thought, which regards Shiism, the religion practiced most in Iran and by HizbulJah in Lebanon, as heretical".

In the process, the reaction made by Iran to the September II attacks is very significant. In sharp contrast to much of the Arab world's concealed happiness that the United States had received a terrible blow, Iran responded with official statements of condolences and during the US attack on Afghanistan, despite its opposition to military action, cooperated with coalition forces on issues such as humanitarian relief, search and rescue and other practical matters. Also, after the fall of the Taliban government, Iran actively participated in the Bonn talks to establish a new interim government in Afghanistan. This behavior even attracted the attention of US officials.

But, Iran did not receive an appropriate response from the US government. Instead,
President George W. Bush identified Iran as a member of the "axis of evil".

Generally, the stance of the Islamic Republic of Iran toward terrorism is reflect
ed in the statement made by President Khatami during an interview with the CNN:
"Terrorism should be condemned in all its forms and manifestations; assassins must be condemned. Terrorism is useless anyway and we condemn it categorically...
At the same time, supporting peoples who fight for the liberation of their land is not, in my opinion, supporting terrorism. It is, in fact, supporting those who are engaged in combating state terrorism. "(36)

Conclusion

After the end of the Cold War and particularly after the September II attacks, the
United States has used terrorism as an alternative for the threat of Communism to improve its interests throughout the world.

US unilateralism has exploited terrorist acts within the US territory and around the world to consolidate itself, under the banner of struggle against terrorism. But, through adopting a more realistic view, the roots of violence and terrorism must be looked for somewhere else. Globalization and its various aspects need to be studied more carefully. The main question is that whether globalization works in the interests of everyone. Although the benefits resulted from globalization is in deniable, undoubtedly it has entailed many negative aspects including poverty, misery, environmental degradation, organized crime and international drugs trafficking leading to the loss of many lives and to the anger and frustration of many people living in those parts of the world which had not obtained any benefit from the process of globalization.

In fact, terrorism is the product of inequalities existing in the world. As argued in this article, divisions and inequalities in the world provide a fertile ground for terrorism. Analyzing the phenomenon of terrorism from the point of views stated by some scholars such as Huntington and Lewis does not take into account the main roots of hatred and anger felt by Muslims and other people living in the South. These theses build on some deviated historical arguments to justify the confrontation between Islam and the West. But, the fact is that Islamic radicalism is the product of the behavior of Western powers. The only way to root out terrorism is to tackle its real causes and motivations.

This situation paved the way for the growth of radical Islamism which manifests itself in such groups like al-Qaeda. These groups devised a political ideology based on some extremist religious interpretation to attract frustrated Muslims all over the world and to prepare them for embarking on direct action against oppressive Western powers. They began to commit terrible terrorist acts which shocked the world public opinion. Their attacks were very extensive in terms of the number of victims and the methods used including suicide bombing.

The West and particularly the US tried to exploit these terrorist acts to consolidate its domination and to humiliate the Islamic world. The II September events pro
vided an opportunity for the US to attack Afghanistan and Iraq and to increase its military presence in strategic points throughout the world. In the process, countries which pursue an independent stance were accused of sponsoring and supporting terrorist acts. The Islamic Republic of Iran is among the countries accused of supporting and harboring terrorists.

As said before, deep ideological differences between Iran and al-Qaeda and its affiliated groups make any connection between them out of question. The leaders of al-Qaeda advocate an interpretation of Islam which has no room in the mainstream of Islamic thoughts. Their ideas are of political nature and they use Islam as an instrument for justifying their horrible acts. In fact, their brand of Islam is not a religious doctrine; rather it is to be used as an instrument for political purposes.

As a result, any kind of conformity between the behavior of the Islamic Republic Iran and that of extremist Sunni groups such as al-Qaeda is not observed. As said before, Iran opposes every terrorist acts. Therefore, Iran's opposition to all terrorist forces trying to threaten stability and security at the regional and international levels will never end.

Footnotes

I. Walter Laqueur, Terrorism, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson , 1977, pp. 7-8.

2. Walter Laqueur, the Age of Terrorism, Boston & Toronto: Little, Brown & Co. 1987, pp. 12-13. 3. See, Audrey Kurth Cronin, "Behind the Curve: Globalization and International Terrorism".
International Security, Vol. 27, No.3 (Winter 2002/3), p. 36.

4. Ibid., p. 33.

5. "Terrorism: An Introduction", Council on Foreign Relations, http://cfrterroris-.org

6. Ibid.

7. See, "What Is Terrorism", Iran Newspaper, April 27. 2004, p. 10.

8. See David C. Rapoport, "The Fourth Wave: Septamber 1 I in the History of Terrorism". Current
History. December 2001, pp. 419-424.

9. Cronin, opacity, p. 45.

10. Ibid., pp. 46-5 I.

11. Ibid., p. 52. 12. Ibid., p. 53.

13. Bernard Lewis, What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response, Oxford University Press, 2002, p. 6.

14. See, Kazem Alamdari, "Terrorism cuts across the East and the West: Deconstructing Lewis's Orientalism", Third World Quarterly, Vol. 24, No.7, 2003, p. 182.

15. Ibid., p. 183.

16. Maha Azzam, "Al-Qaeda: The misunderstood Wahhabi connection and the ideology of violence",
Briefing Paper No.7, The Royal Institute of International Affairs, February 2003. p.2.

17. Ibid., p. 3.

18. Ibid" p. 4.

19. Ibid., p. 5.

20. "Terrorism: An Introduction", opacity. p. 4.

21. "Transnational Terrorism after the Iraq War", Net effect, IISS, June 2003, p. 2.

22. Ibid.,

23. Ibid., p. 3.

24. David Aaron Schwarts, "Terrorism and Islamic Law", Columbia Journal of
Transnational Law. VoL

29. No.3. 1991, pp. 635-6.

25. "The Holy Koran", 5:32.

26. Ibid., 9:5.

27. Khadduri, "Political Terrorism in the Muslim World", in B. Netanyahu (ed), Terrorism: How West

Can Win, 1986, p. 165.

28. Ibid., p. 166.

29. Schwartz, opacity. p. 642.

30. R. Khomeyni, Islamic Government, pp. 56-57.

31. Schwartz, opacity. p. 648.

32. Gary Sick, "Iran: Confronting Terrorism", The Washington Quarterly, Autumn 2003, p. 85.

33. Ibid., p. 91.

34. Ibid.

35. Ibid., p. 89.

'We Are Like The Jews'

'We Are Like The Jews'

Politics apart, Brahmin-bashing is rampant in literary and cultural
worlds too

ASHOKAMITRAN


The acclaimed Tamil writer opens his heart to S. Anand on the
experience of being a Brahmin in Tamil Nadu.

For the Tamil Brahmins, it has been one century of being on the
defensive. The community feels castrated. The Brahmins have never
anyway been the placard-holding type; they have rarely expressed their
feelings openly. The Tamil Brahmins have been used to taking insults.
Hence perhaps the lack of visible protests or reactions. Theirs is a
guilt-ridden existence, their spirit has been killed by a negative
self-perception… They have been driven to a quiescent state. Their
situation is very similar to that of the Jews in the 1930s.

With the anti-Brahmin movement dictating the terms, the urban Brahmins
began to eschew ethnic markers that revealed their identity. They gave
up the kudumi (tuft), began to sport moustaches like non-Brahmins,
changed the manner in which they spoke Tamil, changed their attire,
some even began to eat meat… they did everything so that they are not
identified as Brahmins in the public sphere. These were all modes of
defence, strategies for survival.

Today, few Brahmins speak the brahminical dialect. Despite all these
camouflages, even today 50 percent of the Brahmins stand out in a
Dravidian setup. One can easily mark them out physically! They are so
obvious! Over the years, it has been fed into their psyche that they
are different from the Dravidians. The Dravidian movement always
called them vandherigal (immigrants/ outsiders)… Even in non-Vedic
classical texts, there's an injunction to safeguard and feed the
Brahmins.

The Sangam epic Silappadikaram was written by a Jain monk, Ilango
Adigal. When a wronged Kannagi ordains the burning of Madura, she
says: 'Let the city burn except the Brahmins and cows.' Even the Jaina
author showed high regard for the Brahmins. But the last 50 years have
been very tough. The Brahmins gave up on government jobs, and in
whatever they did have had to work harder to prove themselves. Natural
discipline and thrift are brahminic qualities that have survived. If a
nonbrahmin has a windfall he just spends it on meat and drink. The
Brahmin always saves for the rainy day.

Though not a follower of the math, I had some regard for the earlier
pontiff. In 1951, my mother was widowed. In 1954, Periyaval
(Chandrashekarendra Saraswati) had camped in Chennai's T.Nagar area as
part of chaturmasya. It was a time when M.S. Subbulakshmi sang for the
first time in the presence of Chandrashekarendra Saraswati, but at
that point he ignored her and Sadasivam too. My mother repeatedly
visited the Acharya on an empty stomach at his T. Nagar camp, but he
never blessed her with the holy water since she was an unshaven widow.
I never had much interest even in Chandrashekarendra Saraswati. The
last I saw him was when my son and I attended the centenary
celebrations of Periyaval (Chandrashekarendra Saraswati). He was a
merely an exhibit on the occasion. It was humiliating to the
Paramacharya.

After Jayendra Saraswati took over, I never visited the math. Jayendra
Saraswati has been silly at times, making loose remarks and courting
controversy. But when his arrest happened, I personally felt very
shocked. Now, I'm indifferent. There must have been something murky in
the Kanchi math. But the manner in which the case has been treated
makes us feel that there is indeed persecution. Irrespective of a
Brahmin's faith or belief in the Kanchi math, the arrest of the
Shankaracharyas and the manner in which the case is being dealt with
is a humiliation for the entire community. The only sign of hope after
the Shankaracharya's arrest is that several women have come out in
protest.

This is encouraging and extraordinary for the community.

Brahmin-bashing is not confined to politics. It is a pastime of the
cultural and literary worlds as well. Even the Tamil film industry
merely caricatures the Brahmin. It is a totally non-brahminised public
sphere that Tamil cinema depicts. It is very difficult for a Brahmin
to get a foothold in the film industry today—as an actor, assistant
director or lyric writer. Earlier, when Brahmins played a significant
role in establishing the film industry, the world of cinema had a
neutrality, but today an obviously non-Brahmin ethos permeates it.

[When pointed out that Kamal Haasan and Mani Rathnam are significant
Brahmins in the industry today:] Kamal Hasan is a beef-eater who to
debrahminise even espoused the philosophy of the Dravidar Kazhagam.
Mani Rathnam is an intelligent filmmaker, he is a good entertainer,
and yet the intellectual class of the little magazines circle targets
every film he makes. There's an undercurrent of anti-brahminism in
everyday life.

The Tamil Brahmin community appears doomed. I see no possibility of a
good leadership emerging from this community. Jayendra Saraswati
certainly would not have made for a good leader. He is very poor in
his understanding of religion or politics. C. Rajagopalachari would
have been a good choice, but then he is not around. Institutions like
Thambras cannot really provide the leadership we need. A Brahmin
resurgence is very unlikely. Even in terms of Brahmin tradition, very
few are learning the Vedas.

Maths may offer freeships for Vedic pursuits but there are few
takers. Priesthood or the Vedic way of life is no longer a viable
means of livelihood. Nor are there any Brahmin landlords left. My
father-in-law owned a lot of land. Each time he got a daughter
married, he sold a part of it… today his family owns no land. Even
rituals have merely become social occasions. The marriage rituals are
also much-abbreviated to reduce costs. Fortunately, the upanayanam
(thread ceremony) still continues, but this is more an occasion to
meet up with relatives. Sandhyavandanam should be done three times a
day by a thread-wearing Brahmin. It is good thing to do. But who
performs it? A Brahmin does sandhyavandanam only once in his lifetime
and that is on the day the thread is bestowed on him. 50 years hence,
perhaps even upanayanam would be given up.

Rituals are not easy to follow. They require a lot of energy and
money. The 13-day post-death rituals are very, very difficult to
observe. When my sister died, we stopped with the cremation rituals.
Soon we may not have priests who know how to perform these obsequies.
I have told my sons not to perform them for me... I of course remember
my father on the day of his death, but I also wonder why are we really
bringing the spirits of the dead back to this stupid world.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is the full text; an abridged version appeared in the print
magazine

http://www.outlookindia.com/full.asp?fodname=20050411&fname=Brahmins+%28F%29&sid=2&pn=2

SECULARIST DOUBLECROSS BEHIND VISA DENIAL

Rogue elements within the Indian Government fed false information to deceive the U.S. State Department. Their agenda to sabotage growing Indo-U.S. relations in the war against terrorism.


N.S. Rajaram


Diplomatic gaffe
There is an influential group of rogue elements that has wormed its way into the Indian Government that is bent on sabotaging growing Indo-American relations in defense and anti-terrorism. That is the picture emerging from individuals close to the Indian government as well as U.S. diplomatic sources.



The newly appointed Secretary of State Dr. Condolezza Rice is known to be friendly towards India. Yet, on the heels of her maiden visit to the region as Secretary of State, she found herself embroiled in a major controversy over a relatively minor issue like visa to a local politician. She had more important things to do. But as a result of this inadvertent diplomatic gaffe, the State Department is now engaged in a damage control exercise, no matter what its public posture. (A great power like the U.S. can hardly admit that it committed a blunder.)



It was not supposed to happen this way, especially since Dr. Rice was the highest U.S. official to visit the region after President Bush’s second inauguration. One can never be sure, especially after the diplomatic gaffe over visa denial, but Dr Rice seems to have come with directions to make two major announcements. First, an October visit to India and Pakistan by President Bush. Second, increased defense and technology cooperation with both India and Pakistan against the background of improving Indo-Pak relations. The major beneficiary would be India in both defense and nuclear technology.



This was derailed by rogue elements within the Indian Government, which managed to deceive some American officials by feeding false information. They told State Department officials that the Indian public would overwhelmingly welcome any U.S. action against the Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, who they assured was extremely unpopular in India. Believing this would be seen as a friendly gesture to further improve Indo-U.S. ties, the U.S. announced denial of visa to Modi.



The Indian reaction was exactly the opposite of what the U.S. had been told. They were totally unprepared for it— with Indians seeing the decision as an assault on India’s sovereignty. The U.S. had committed a major diplomatic blunder over a relatively minor issue.



Rogue elements: their agenda
Who was behind this act of sabotage? Accounts vary in detail, but all agree on one point: the initiative to deny visa to Modi came from the Indian side, and from people at the highest levels of the Indian Government, possibly the PMO itself, though as usual, Sri Manmohan Singh was kept in the dark. It is no secret that in the present government, political cronies and court favorites— anti-Hindu activists and sundry missionaries enjoy extraordinary influence. Now, some of them have wormed their way into an outfit close to the U.S. State Department.



Their identity came out in the open within a week, when the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released a 283-page report "Supporting Human Rights and Democracy.” What is strange about this report is that it compliments the UPA but reiterated its concern over the situation in Gujarat— about school textbooks of all things! In a condescending tone, the report observes: "Following its electoral victory in May, the government [UPA] began to address a number of human rights concerns that have arisen in recent years. For example, it moved quickly to rewrite school textbooks...”



This is a dead giveaway. Since when did the U.S. Government begin to worry about textbooks in Gujarat schools? Actually, what the report contains is a word-for-word reproduction of numerous charges by Indian secularists, especially Christian missionary activists like Father Cederick Prakash, George Sajjan and others of their ilk carrying on anti-Hindu propaganda under the cover of “human rights.” They used their contacts in the U.S. Christian Right (evangelicals) to get their input into the USCIRF report. Then they used their media contacts in India to give exaggerated importance to this part of this unreadable and never read report as “State Department” policy, which the gullible Indian media seems to have swallowed.



The truth of the matter is that USCIRF is not a government body but a commission of outside experts on contract to the Government. (I have served in similar capacity for NASA and other U.S. organizations.) Their reports are signed off by a relatively minor bureaucrat (called a “contract monitor”), and are filed away into obscurity. What made it different this time were two initiatives: (1) a successful effort by moles in the Indian Government to mislead the U.S. leading to Modi’s visa denial; (2) a media campaign for their input into the USCIRF report with exaggerated claims. It is no accident that the head of the USCIRF happens to be one Priya Bansal, an Indian American with close ties to Gujarat based Christian organizations.



There is more to this treachery than hatred of Modi. It is part of a larger agenda to sabotage improving Indo-U.S. relations. In fact, on the heels of this setback, the U.S. made a major announcement: it wants to help India become a major power in the 21st century, which these rogue elements want stopped. Nor do they not want improved Indo-Pak relations. Keeping the conflict alive serves their interests better.



In this nefarious campaign, the culprits seem to have enlisted the help of some right-wing evangelical elements and Leftist academics in America. Both are traditionally anti-Hindu. In addition, many of them intensely dislike Dr. Condoleeza Rice as too moderate and too friendly towards India. My information is that two institutions, one a university in Georgia with links to conservative Christian outfits and the other, the so-called California Institute of Integral Studies, were at the vanguard of this campaign.



One cannot also rule out an element of racism in all this, for many of these Christian right-wingers are only one generation removed from the Civil Rights Movement, which they bitterly opposed. They see Dr. Rice as a moderate African American, and a brilliant and successful one to boot. (Indian Christians of course prefer to associate with whites and generally avoid blacks as I have noticed in the U.S. Their wish is to see India ruled again by white people.)



Dysfunctional government

What seems to have caught the Americans on the wrong foot was the near dysfunctional state of the UPA Government with its multiple power centers (and without accountability). After nearly six years dealing with a capable government with firm direction and strong leadership, they did not expect to be blindsided by rogue elements going over the Prime Minister’s head and meddling in international relations. Americans took their statements about Modi in good faith, only to be stabbed in the back. It was a classic case of double cross.



One can be sure that Americans have taken note of this and will be more careful in the future. A great power does not like to be made a fool of. The U.S. Government is not the UPA government and Condoleeza Rice is not Manmohan Singh. She is a brilliant and cultured person who does not surround herself with political cronies like Margaret Alva and Ajit Jogi or unscrupulous foreign adventurers like Quattrocchi, Benny Hinn— and now Grace Brenta.



There are unconfirmed reports that U.S. authorities are looking into the activities and the funding sources of those behind this misadventure— like the impoverished California Institute of Integral Studies. Its loudest voice, an academic nonentity called Angana Chatterji is close to several Islamist publications and websites, where she has condemned President Bush and his policies while taking a consistently pro-Jihadi stand. She has openly boasted that she was responsible for the Modi visa denial.



In the final analysis, the Indian Government and its spinelessness leadership was more to blame for this diplomatic fiasco than anyone else. But thing is certain, “human rights” has been hijacked by Jihadi sympathizers hostile to both India and the United States. One can only hope that Indians have learnt their lesson. Americans certainly have.

March 31, 2005

Crisis in the Catholic Church

DER SPIEGEL 13/2005 - March 26, 2005
URL: http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,348471,00.html
Crisis in the Catholic Church

The Pope's Contradictions

By Hans Küng

Outwardly Pope John Paul II, who has been actively involved in
battling war and suppression, is a beacon of hope for those who long
for freedom. Internally, however, his anti-reformist tenure has
plunged the Roman Catholic church into an epochal credibility crisis.

REUTERS
Don't be fooled by the crowds: Millions have left the Catholic Church
under Pope John Paul II's leadership.

The Catholic church is in dire straits. The pope is deathly ill and
deserves every bit of sympathy he can get. But the church must live
on, and in light of the selection of a new pope, it will need a
diagnosis, an unadorned insider analysis. The therapy will be
discussed later.

Many marvel at the staying power of this highly fragile, partially
paralyzed head of the Roman Catholic church, a man who, despite all
medications, is barely able to speak. He is treated with a sort of
reverence that would never be extended to an American president or a
German chancellor in a similar state. Others feel put off by a man
they see as an obstinate office bearer who, instead of accepting the
Christian path to his own eternity, is using all means at his disposal
to hold on to power in a largely undemocratic system.

Even for many Catholics, this pope at the end of his physical
strength, refusing to relinquish his power, is the symbol of a
fraudulent church that has calcified and become senile behind its
glittering façade.

The festive mood that prevailed during the Second Vatican Council
(1962 to 1965), or Vatican II, has disappeared. Vatican II's outlook
of renewal, ecumenical understanding and a general opening of the
world now seems overcast and the future gloomy. Many have resigned
themselves or even turned away out of frustration from this
self-absorbed hierarchy. As a result, many people are confronted with
an impossible set of alternatives: "play the game or leave the
church." New hope will only begin to take root when church officials
in Rome and in the episcopacy reorient themselves toward the compass
of the Gospel.


Hans Kung

Hans Kung is one of today's leading Catholic theologians. Küng, a
Swiss national living in the southern German city of Tübingen, has
been embroiled in an ongoing feud with church authorities for decades.
As a result of his critical inquiries on the papacy, the Vatican
withdrew his church authority to teach in 1979. Nevertheless, Küng,
75, is still a priest and, until his retirement in 1995, taught
ecumenical theology at the University of Tübingen. As president of the
Global Ethic Foundation, Küng is also an advisor to the United
Nations.
CONTINUE
One of the few glimmers of hope has been the pope's stance against the
Iraq war and war in general. The role the Polish pope played in
helping bring about the collapse of the Soviet empire is also
emphasized, and rightly so. But it's also heavily exaggerated by papal
propagandists. After all, the Soviet regime did not fail because of
the pope (before the arrival of Gorbachev, the pope was achieving
about as little as he is now achieving in China), but instead imploded
because of the Soviet system's inherent economic and social
contradictions.

In my view, Karol Wojtyla is not the greatest, but certainly the most
contradictory, pope of the 20th century. A pope of many great gifts
and many wrong decisions! To summarize his tenure and reduce it to a
common denominator: His "foreign policy" demands conversion, reform
and dialogue from the rest of the world. But this is sharply
contradicted by his "domestic policy," which is oriented toward the
restoration of the pre-council status quo, obstructing reform, denying
dialogue within the church, and absolute Roman dominance. This
inconsistency is evident in many areas. While expressly acknowledging
the positive sides of this pontificate, which, incidentally, have
received plenty of official emphasis, I would like to focus on the
nine most glaring contradictions:

HUMAN RIGHTS: Outwardly, John Paul II supports human rights, while
inwardly withholding them from bishops, theologians and especially
women.

The Vatican -- once a resolute foe of human rights, but nowadays all
too willing to become involved in European politics -- has yet to sign
the European Council's Declaration of Human Rights. Far too many
canons of the absolutist Roman church law of the Middle Ages would
have to be amended first. The concept of separation of powers, the
bedrock of all modern legal practice, is unknown in the Roman Catholic
church. Due process is an unknown entity in the church. In disputes,
one and the same Vatican agency functions as lawmaker, prosecutor and
judge.

Consequences: A servile episcopate and intolerable legal conditions.
Any pastor, theologian or layperson who enters into a legal dispute
with the higher church courts has virtually no prospects of
prevailing.

THE ROLE OF WOMEN: The great worshiper of the Virgin Mary preaches a
noble concept of womanhood, but at the same time forbids women from
practicing birth control and bars them from ordination.

Consequences: There is a rift between external conformism and internal
autonomy of conscience. This results in bishops who lean towards Rome,
alienating themselves from women, as was the case in the dispute
surrounding the issue of abortion counseling (in 1999, the Pope
ordered German bishops to close counseling centers that issued
certificates to women that could later be used to get an abortion).
This in turn leads to a growing exodus among those women who have so
far remained faithful to the church.

SEXUAL MORALS: This pope, while preaching against mass poverty and
suffering in the world, makes himself partially responsible for this
suffering as a result of his attitudes toward birth control and
explosive population growth.

During his many trips and in a speech to the 1994 United Nations
Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, John Paul II
declared his opposition to the pill and condoms. As a result, the
pope, more than any other statesman, can be held partly responsible
for uncontrolled population growth in some countries and the spread of
AIDS in Africa.

Consequences: Even in traditionally Catholic countries like Ireland,
Spain and Portugal, the pope's and the Roman Catholic church's
rigorous sexual morals are openly or tacitly rejected.

CELIBACY AMONG PRIESTS: By propagating the traditional image of the
celibate male priest, Karol Wojtyla bears the principal responsibility
for the catastrophic dearth of priests, the collapse of spiritual
welfare in many countries, and the many pedophilia scandals the church
is no longer able to cover up.

Marriage is still forbidden to men who have agreed to devote their
lives to the priesthood. This is only one example of how this pope,
like others before him, is ignoring the teachings of the bible and the
great Catholic tradition of the first millennium, which did not
require office bearers to take a vow of celibacy. If someone, by
virtue of his office, is forced to spend his life without a wife and
children, there is a great risk that healthy integration of sexuality
will fail, which can lead to pedophilic acts, for example.

Consequences: The ranks have been thinned and there is a lack of new
blood in the Catholic church. Soon almost two-thirds of parishes, both
in German-speaking countries and elsewhere, will be without an
ordained pastor and regular celebrations of the Eucharist. It's a
deficiency that even the declining influx of priests from other
countries (1,400 of Germany's priests are from Poland, India and
Africa) and the combining of parishes into "spiritual welfare units,"
a highly unpopular trend among the faithful, can no longer hide. The
number of newly ordained priests in Germany dropped from 366 in 1990
to 161 in 2003, and the average age of active priests today is now
above 60.

ECUMENICAL MOVEMENT: The pope likes to be seen as a spokesman for the
ecumenical movement. At the same time, however, he has weighed heavily
on the Vatican's relations with orthodox and reform churches, and has
refused to recognize their ecclesiastical offices and Communion
services.

The pope could heed the advice of several ecumenical study commissions
and follow the practice of many local pastors by recognizing the
offices and Communion services of non-Catholic churches and permitting
Eucharistic hospitality. He could also tone down the Vatican's
excessive, medieval claim to power, in terms of doctrine and church
leadership, vis-à-vis eastern European churches and reform churches,
and could do away with the Vatican's policy of sending Roman-Catholic
bishops to regions dominated by the Russian Orthodox church.

The pope could do these things, but John Paul II doesn't want to.
Instead, he wants to preserve and even expand the Roman power system.
For this reason, he resorts to a pious two-facedness: Rome's politics
of power and prestige are veiled by ecumenical soapbox speeches and
empty gestures.

Consequences: Ecumenical understanding was blocked after the council,
and relations with the Orthodox and Protestant churches were burdened
to an appalling extent. The papacy, like its predecessors in the 11th
and 16th centuries, is proving to be the greatest obstacle to unity
among Christian churches in freedom and diversity.

PERSONNEL POLICY: As a suffragan bishop and later as archbishop of
Krakow, Karol Wojtyla took part in the Second Vatican Council. But as
pope, he disregarded the collegiality which had been agreed to there
and instead celebrated the triumph of his papacy at the cost of the
bishops.

With his "internal policies," this Pope betrayed the council numerous
times. Instead of using the conciliatory program words "Aggiornamento
- Dialogue and Collegiality -- ecumenical," what's valid now in
doctrine and practice is "restoration, lectureship, obedience and
re-Romanization." The criteria for the appointment of a bishop is not
the spirit of the gospel or pastoral open-mindedness, but rather to be
absolutely loyal to the party line in Rome. Before their appointment,
their fundamental conformity is tested based on a curial catalog of
questions and they are sacrally sealed through a personal and
unlimited pledge of obedience to the Pope that is tantamount to an
oath to the "Fuehrer."

The Pope's friends among the German-speaking bishops include Cologne's
Cardinal Joachim Meisner, the Bishop of Fulda Johannes Dyba, who died
in 2000, Hans Hermann Groer, who resigned from his post as Vienna's
cardinal in 1995 following allegations that he had sexually abused
pupils years before and the Bishop of St. Poeltin, Kurt Krenn, who
just lost his post after a sex scandal emerged in his priests'
seminary. Those are just the most spectacular mistakes of these
pastorally devastating personnel policies, which have allowed the
moral, intellectual and pastoral level of the episcopate to
dangerously slip.

Consequences: A largely mediocre, ultra-conservative and servile
episcopate is possibly the most serious burden of this overly long
pontificate. The masses of cheering Catholics at the best-staged Pope
manifestations should not deceive: Millions have left the church under
this pontificate or they have withdrawn from religious life in
opposition.

CLERICALISM: The Polish pope comes across as a deeply religious
representative of a Christian Europe, but his triumphant appearances
and his reactionary policies unintentionally promote hostility to the
church and even an aversion to Christianity.

In the papal campaign of evangelization, which centers on a sexual
morality that is out of step with the times, women, in particular, who
do not share the Vatican's position on controversial issues like birth
control, abortion, divorce and artificial insemination are disparaged
as promoters of a "culture of death." As a result of its interventions
-- in Germany, for example, where it sought to influence politicians
and the episcopacy in the dispute surrounding the issue of abortion
counseling -- the Roman Curia creates the impression that it has
little respect for the legal separation of church and state. Indeed,
the Vatican (using the European People's Party as its mouthpiece) is
also trying to exert pressure on the European Parliament by calling
for the appointment of experts, in issues relating to abortion
legislation, for example, who are especially loyal to Rome. Instead of
entering the social mainstream everywhere by supporting reasonable
solutions, the Roman Curia, through its proclamations and secret
agitation (through nuntiatures, bishops' conferences and "friends"),
is in fact fueling the polarization between the pro-life and
pro-choice movements, between moralists and libertines.

Consequences: Rome's clericalist policy merely strengthens the
position of dogmatic anti-clericalists and fundamentalist atheists. It
also creates suspicion among believers that religion could be being
misused for political ends.

NEW BLOOD IN THE CHURCH: As a charismatic communicator and media star,
this pope is especially effective among young people, even as he grows
older. But he achieves this by drawing in large part on the
conservative "new movements" of Italian origin, the "Opus Dei"
movement that originated in Spain, and an uncritical public loyal to
the pope. All of this is symptomatic of the pope's approach to dealing
with the lay public and his inability to converse with his critics.

The major regional and international youth events sponsored by the new
lay movements (Focolare, Comunione e Liberazione, St. Egidio, Regnum
Christi) and supervised by the church hierarchy attract hundreds of
thousands of young people, many of them well-meaning but far too many
uncritical. In times when they lack convincing leadership figures,
these young people are most impressed by a shared "event." The
personal magnetism of "John Paul Superstar" is usually more important
than the content of the pope's speeches, while their effects on parish
life are minimal.

In keeping with his ideal of a uniform and obedient church, the pope
sees the future of the church almost exclusively in these easily
controlled, conservative lay movements. This includes the Vatican's
distancing itself from the Jesuit order, which is oriented toward the
tenets of the council. Preferred by earlier popes, the Jesuits,
because of their intellectual qualities, critical theology and liberal
theological options, are now perceived as spanners in the works of the
papal restoration policy.

Instead, Karol Wojtyla, even during his tenure as archbishop of
Krakow, placed his full confidence in the financially powerful and
influential, but undemocratic and secretive Opus Dei movement, a group
linked to fascist regimes in the past and now especially active in the
world of finance, politics and journalism. In fact, by granting Opus
Dei special legal status, the pope even made the organization exempt
from supervision by the church's bishops.

Consequences: Young people from church groups and congregations (with
the exception of alter servers), and especially the non-organized
"average Catholics," usually stay away from major youth get-togethers.
Catholic youth organizations at odds with the Vatican are disciplined
and starved when local bishops, at Rome's behest, withhold their
funding. The growing role of the archconservative and non-transparent
Opus Dei movement in many institutions has created a climate of
uncertainty and suspicion. Once-critical bishops have cozied up to
Opus Dei, while laypeople who were once involved in the church have
withdrawn in resignation.

SINS OF THE PAST: Despite the fact that in 2000 he forced himself
through a public confession of the church's historical transgressions,
John Paul II has drawn almost no practical consequences from it.

The baroque and bombastic confession of the church's transgressions,
staged with cardinals in St. Peter's Cathedral, remained vague,
non-specific and ambiguous. The pope only asked for forgiveness for
the transgressions of the "sons and daughters" of the church, but not
for those of the "Holy Fathers," those of the "church itself" and
those of the hierarchies present at the event.

The pope never commented on the Curia's dealings with the Mafia, and
in fact contributed more to covering up than uncovering scandals and
criminal behavior. The Vatican has also been extremely slow to
prosecute pedophilia scandals involving Catholic clergy.

Consequences: The half-hearted papal confession remained without
consequences, producing neither reversals nor action, only words.

For the Catholic church, this pontificate, despite its positive
aspects, has on the whole proven to be a great disappointment and,
ultimately, a disaster. As a result of his contradictions, this pope
has deeply polarized the church, alienated it from countless people
and plunged it into an epochal crisis -- a structural crisis that,
after a quarter century, is now revealing fatal deficits in terms of
development and a tremendous need for reform.

Contrary to all intentions conveyed in the Second Vatican Council, the
medieval Roman system, a power apparatus with totalitarian features,
was restored through clever and ruthless personnel and academic
policies. Bishops were brought into line, pastors overloaded,
theologians muzzled, the laity deprived of their rights, women
discriminated against, national synods and churchgoers' requests
ignored, along with sex scandals, prohibitions on discussion,
liturgical spoon-feeding, a ban on sermons by lay theologians,
incitement to denunciation, prevention of Holy Communion -- "the
world" can hardly be blamed for all of this!!

The upshot is that the Catholic church has completely lost the
enormous credibility it once enjoyed under the papacy of John XXIII
and in the wake of the Second Vatican Council.

If the next pope were to continue the policies of this pontificate, he
would only reinforce an enormous backup of problems and turn the
Catholic church's current structural crisis into a hopeless situation.
Instead, a new pope must decide in favor of a change in course and
inspire the church to embark on new paths -- in the spirit of John
XXIII and in keeping with the impetus for reform brought about by the
Second Vatican Council.

Indian 'Kayada' (Law) or Al Qaeda

Author: Vijaykumar Bandal

Publication: Vivek Weekly (Marathi) - Free translation

Date: April 3, 2005 (From advance copy)



"I have read the manual of Al Qaeda and that night I could not sleep up
3 a.m. It is terrible is spreading hate among castes and religions". It
is great misfortune of our country that a Mumbai Judge had to state
this firmly in the Court. By this hard slap, now at lease our rulers must
get up fully awake.



Police again arrested Senior Superintendent of CID Prafulla Bhosale and
his 4 colleagues on the charge of murdering Sayyad Khwaja Yunus, an
accused in the Ghatkopar Bomb explosions. There is a suspicion that this
is being done on the changing depositions of another accused in the
explosion Dr Abdul Mateen. In this questionable action, the brave Police
have accused the investigating officers of acting as per the Al Qaeda
manual.



While arguing before the Mahanagar Magistrate A. V. Kulkarni, Adv.
Satish Maneshinde claimed that the CID Police are following Al Qaeda
manual. He pointed out that a very widespread conspiracy of ending the morale
of Police force has been hatched by the Accused in the Explosion case
and as it is being well responded by the Police, the objective of Al
Qaeda is being achieved. He handed over the manual itself to the Judge.



The Judge not only was unhappy by reading the manual but he was
terribly worried. While approving the bail for Bhosale and others, the serious
opinion expressed by him cannot be neglected.



"Oh Muslims, this is not Arabstan, but this is Hindusthan. Live here
peacefully and let also live," said Justice Kulkarni loud and clear.



The Muslims all over the world feel that this is a safe land for them.
Because, here they get the protection by the selfish rulers. Hence, the
terrorist organizations and their stooges can perpetrate anything they
want to do and this is an often recurring experience.



The selfish political people are more worried about the people who have
done the explosion than about the victims. Indira Gandhi, who
disgusted, had said that Muslims also must learn to live neatly with their
neighbours. But it is not heeded. On the contrary, the accused in the Bomb
explosion makes a cruel joke of democracy by contesting election against
a person who had adorned the chair of PM.



The judge feels that even after freedom also, the 'Divide and Rule'
policy is in vogue in India. Events supporting this are taking place
regularly. Jihadi terrorist organization distributes statements, CDs etc.
to nurture the communal hatred. The organizations like SIMI which were
started for students, are also used in this connection. There are a
number of incidents in which Muslim youths and poor people are
systematically turned into terrorists. But action against them is Zero!



The system of action used by Al Qaeda to keep the people committing
terrorist acts safe is detrimental to the country in all respects. For
that purpose, Police, Advocates, Journalists and politicians who have come
up from its teachings are employed. A mountain of a mole of an action
against minorities is made out. After watching the sabotaging activities
of the terrorist, some Police Officers took action against the
terrorists. To make that action useless, Al Qaeda has hatched this conspiracy.



If somebody is arrested for any bomb explosion or any other terrorist
activity, his relatives cry out foul from their navel, make a loud noise
in the world. Then the leaders, journalists, advocates and police run
to their assistance. Afterwards, with the help of these, hit at the
Police machinery itself. For that purpose, if required, take the support of
Human Rights activists. This is the technique adopted by terrorists.
Now it is accused that this is a move of by changing the deposition again
and again, involve the police officers and drag them to the custody.



Under the leadership of such people who are drawn knowingly or
unknowingly in such vicious circle a dais is prepared to get sympathy to the
accused in cases like bomb explosions. Instead of investigating against
the accused, charges are framed against the investigating officers. As
the Police Officers dedicated to the duty are forced to stand in the
cage of the accused, their morale is destroyed. According to the opinion
of Justice Kulkarni, therefore, the people concerned should make
cognizance of this side.



The possibility of terrorist organizations and their supports in case
of need, attacking the judiciary system also cannot be denied. The
demands like 'change the judge' or 'change their jurisdiction' are not
new to them. Mohammed Afroz against whom action was taken under POTA on
the suspicion that he had connections with terrorist organizations, had
to be released by the Police to their extreme regret. Now he is ready
to take action on the ex-Police Commissioner.



The stand of police against terrorists must be clear. They should be
suppressed by any such charges. It is not expected that they should make
a mountain of court directive and act wrongly. It should be minutely
observed if anybody is taking revenge on his colleague on the basis of
such court's directive. All the people concerned should have complete
details of the ways of working of the advocates and their background.



If actions are taken dancing on the tunes of the accused, his
relatives, advocates and leaders, it should not be a surprise to anybody is
tomorrow Home Minister himself or even Chief Minister goes in the cage of
accused. Because, in case of any terrorist activity taking, they are the
persons who pass orders to take strict action.



It is extremely necessary to take notice of the distress and sentiments
of the judge who tells in the court courageously and fearlessly, "I am
a small judge. Today I do not have any protection. But I am a true
citizen and nationalist of this country and hence only I am speaking".
This brave talk of this judge was printed only by "Saamanaa" (mouthpiece
of Shiv Sena). With the fear of Jihadis, no other 'secular' daily showed
even the courage to publish it.



(The writer is senior crime reporter.)

March 30, 2005

India specific US report-- by a neo-Jayachand

Rajaram

http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/shrd/2004/43112.htm

This a trivial and embarrassingly bad report, not something that the
Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice would presnt before the U.S. Senate or
the Congress.

The following points are worth noting:

1. It gives a certificate of good conduct to the UPA government, but
expresses impatience for not doing enough, especially with regard to the
Gujarat Cm Modi.

2. It complains about rewriting history books! To quote: "Following
its electoral victory in May, the Government began to address a number of
human rights concerns that have arisen in recent years. For example, it
moved quickly to rewrite school textbooks (which the previous Government had
rewritten to promote the BJP's Hindu nationalist propaganda) in order to
stress the contributions of the Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist and Christian
minority communities. However, the rewrite of the textbooks has not been
completed, and the state of Gujarat has not recalled its old textbooks or
announced plans for their replacement.

This ios puerile and a dead giveaway. This is the work of a secularist
hack and not something that would be written by State Department official.
In fact, the claims and the charges are verbatim the same as those made by
the Gujarat based missionary Father Cederick Prakash.

What this means is that the Leftist - missionary clique has found a
minor bureaucrat in the State Department to sign it and file it away. They
have then fed it to the media with the hope of inducing a knee-jerk reaction
from Indian politicians, who they hope will be intimidated by "American
wrath" at Modi's behavior.

This is typical indian Christian thinking: they believe that everyone
shares theor own slavish attitude towards their White Sahibs.

The important thing to note is that these people are now acting like
Jayachands-- having failed to dislodge Modi and the BJP Government, they
want to bring in some foreign power to do it for them.

The important thing is for India not to fall for it.

USA meddling in India praises 'rewriting' textbooks

Press Trust of India

WASHINGTON, March 29. — Despite being a “vibrant democracy”, India’s human rights enforcement record has been “poor” and needs improvement, the USA has said in a report.

In its second such report in a month, the US State Department yesterday criticised New Delhi’s human rights record but said the new UPA government at the Centre has started addressing rights concerns that have “arisen over the years”.

While lauding the Centre for “rewriting school textbooks” and “addressing the aftermath of the Gujarat riots”, the 293-page report, titled “Supporting Human Rights and Democracy,” reiterated concern over the situation in Gujarat.

“Following its electoral victory in May, the government began to address a number of human rights concerns that have arisen in recent years. For example, it moved quickly to rewrite school textbooks... in order to stress the contributions of the Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist and Christian minority communities,” it said. However, it said, the rewriting of the textbooks has not been completed, and alleged that Gujarat government has not recalled its old textbooks or announced plans for their replacement.

“The government also began to address the aftermath of the Gujarat riots,” the report said and noted that the Supreme Court ordered local courts to reopen over 2,000 cases of the riots. But by the end of last year, “the report on the number of cases that should be reopened had not been submitted to the Supreme Court, and only three cases related to the rioting had completed trial in the lower level courts,” the report charged.
The report referred to allegations of witness intimidation, cases that have not been reopened, and increasing displacement and “ghettoisation” of the Muslim community. The report also said that Pota-like laws such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act remained in force in many states, “leading to serious rights violations”.
http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=1&theme=&usrsess=1&id=72596
**

American State Department is confused.
American State Department is confused. If I motivate Indians to revive best of ancient Hindu values and reject all limitations and stupidity of foreign imported idea then the same sate Department will say India is lacking freedom of religion.
The selfish conversion based domination of specific religious agenda or propaganda based conflict producing agents deviated us from higher self-realization and conscious evolution. The Hindu philosophy of self-realization and conscious evolution is still far more relevant for individual liberty and spiritual democracy than stupid American concept dogma based religious freedom. This confused state department does not understand only evolved and conscious human can offer more rights and equality to all citizens and to achieved that goal revival of powerful and universal Hindu values are far more important than stupid American concept of religious freedom. I do not understand when Hindus in India try to revive beautiful concept and far better Hindu concept in India how America criticize them on the one hand and expect better human right on the other.
What ever the problem that exist in India today is due to deviation of ancient spiritual consciousness after foreign Muslim invasion and British colonialism in India. We all must remember ancient India was far more evolved as per as human values are concern more than either modern India or America. So if America really interested in better human rights then better support reviving the higher quality of Hindu spiritual wisdom that flowed in India from the beginning of time, the prerequisite for the real evolution of absolute freedom of human mind and life without attachment to love and live in peace and harmony with nature and all life forms around us. But due to too much Ego and allergy towards Hindu wisdom this confused State Department will always try to find every single flaws of India than finding the best of India. If I put my entire energy to find more flaws of America then I can assure you America will have far bigger lists of limitations than India as per as realization of core human values and conscious knowledge is concern.
I can prove it and demonstrate it if anyone challenge me or Hindu spirituality. Now tell me what is America interested ? Is it real preservation of Human right by revival of core powerful Dharma principle of ancient India or stupid religious freedom and degradation of Hindu values and thereby no sense of what is right and wrong in society. I can assure you my friend India had far better human rigs after foreign Muslim invasion and British colonialism in India. We all must remember ancient India was far more evolved as per as human values are concern more than either modern India or America. So if America really interested in better human rights then better support reviving the higher quality of Hindu spiritual wisdom that flowed in India from the beginning of time, the prerequisite for the real evolution of absolute freedom of human mind and life without attachment to love and live in peace and harmony with nature and all life forms around us. But due to too much Ego and allergy towards Hindu wisdom this confused State Department will always try to find every single flaws of India than finding the best of India. If I put my entire energy to find more flaws of America then I can assure you America will have far bigger lists of limitations than India as per as realization of core human values and conscious knowledge is concern. I can prove it and demonstrate it if anyone challenge me or Hindu spirituality.
Now tell me what is America interested ? Is it real preservation of Human right by revival of core powerful Dharma principle of ancient India or stupid religious freedom and degradation of Hindu values and thereby no sense of what is right and wrong in society. I can assure you my friend India had far better human right with Hindu values when rest of the many were simply sleeping in the dark age of civilization. So stop preaching India and start listening about intellectual and conscious universal ideas of Hindu thinkers and learn to respect the depth of realization of Hindu India Mind of master and thinker. I do know India has problem but root of all of our problem is gradual disconnect from our original root. We all must remember by cutting our original root we can never grow our tree of modern civilization or development of a advanced and developed India in the 21st century. My dear and beloved countrymen please pay attention to what I say and become far more evolved society so that same America will say that we have to learn a lot from your heritage than preaching you all the time. Joi Hind!
Acharya-Ji (Devotee of Mother India)

http://www.thestatesman.net/page.discuss.php?clid=1&theme=&usrsess=1&id=5587&newsid=72596