Be ready to fight fundamentalism
the last few weeks the press has carried news about the
conversion to Christianity of one Rahaman of Afghanistan.
Rahaman was jailed and put on trial. His case was dismissed
and he was freed from prison because he was deemed mentally
unstable. Had it not been for the international attention
and the pressure of external leader, Rahaman would in all
certainty have been executed.
Exile seems to be the fate of Rahaman. Still, mullahs are
calling for his death.
This situation is revealing. Even though Afghanistan has
been liberated from the hold of Taliban rule and Pakistan
influence, fundamentalist Islam is still very strong.
There is an absence of what we in liberal-democratic societies
take for granted. Thus, Afghanistan is on the path of democratic
reform but important pillars of any democratic society pertaining
to fundamental freedoms and rights of the individual do
not seem to exist.
Hence the jailing and the call for the death penalty for
what we consider to be a personal matter of ones religious
What has taken place in Afghanistan is consistent with the
Quran and the hadis. Chapter 5:36 of the Quran
is used to justify the Islamic position of conversion.
In the hadis, there is the account of eight men who had
accepted Islam but returned to their original faith. The
Prophet Muhammad had them tracked down. When they were brought
before him he got their hands cut off, and their feet
and put out their eyes and threw them on the stony ground
until they died.
As Ram Swarup wrote in his Understanding Islam Through Hadis
Religious Faith or Fanaticism, One can accept Islam
freely, but one cannot give it up with the same freedom.
The punishment for apostasygiving up Islamis
Exclusive theologies and ideologies invariably implement
this type of intolerant edict.
Islamic cultural imperialism in Afghanistan has certainly
achieved a thorough process.
A few hundred years ago Afghanistan was a Hindu/Bhuddist
area and in ancient times was part of the Indus/Harrapan
civilisation. As in Arabia and other Islamic states, this
preIslamic period is viewed as an age of darknessthere
is even the murder of history.
We in Trinidad must be on our guard, ready to combat these
expressions of fundamentalism. The recent statement by Sunni
organisations against the Shiite festival of Hosay can be
viewed as bordering on this.
Referendum aims to alert citizens
Hart in an April 5 (Ideas needed, not referendum)
letter gives an unjustified slant to the proposed Keith
Noel Committee citizens referendum.
The referendum is put forward by the Keith Noel 136 Committee
to alert the citizens of their civic duties, that is, to
call their parliamentary representatives to be accountable
to the people who put them into office.
With the past and present representation it is understandable
to see why Hart would want the public to find solutions
as the representatives are void of ideas.
If the present leaders on both sides of the House do not
even listen to their fellow MPs, and where it is that the
public is told in no uncertain manner that Cabinets
decisions will be carried out regardless of contrary opinion
of any Tom, Dick or Harry, it is a futile mission to suggest
solutions to our present issues.
It is evident that in her final paragraph Hart has resolved
her own concerns by calling for better leadership. We therefore
hope that Hart and other concerned citizens would come on
board and support the countrys first referendum on
crime, poverty and leadership.
owe more than $32m
Government says it is going after the assets of the Muslimeen
and its members for the $32 million in damages to state
Are we to suddenly believe that after giving this notorious
group state contracts (NHA), control of the gang-ridden
URP and Cepep and hundreds of millions of dollars in aggregate
that it now wants to collect a mere $32 million?
The newspapers and TV have constantly exposed the hundreds
of millions of dollars lost over a three-year period to
people the same media identified as Muslimeen. We were told
of members driving luxury cars.
Added to that, the Government has publicly admitted it lost
hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from illegal
Yet after a couple of truckers were arrested and charged
$100 each, the entire matter has been dropped as though
it never existed, even by the media.
What has happened to the investigations that were being
undertaken by the Ministry of National Security? And what
has happened to the hundreds of millions?
If, as was being said by many, it was indeed the Muslimeen
or others, then the State should be going after those funds
rather that the mere $32 million.
Was there a deal to dole out hundreds of millions of state
dollars to this gang in order to facilitate them with the
funds to repay the State?
And isnt it strange that our most rabble-rousing group
has suddenly become quiet? I dont believe its
too late to go after these hundreds of millions.
It is also strange that PM Manning could not bring in foreign
assistance (US and UK) before now. What took the Government
so long? Were there not solutions aplenty from all quarters
including New Yorks Rudy Giuliani?
It was only after Muslimeen leader Abu Bakr was behind bars
did we learn about foreign police help.
The Governments timing surely suggests the desire
to show the international community that there was no complicity
between the State and gangs in T&T.
Will the Yardies terms of reference allow them to
investigate the rape of our treasury or just to work with
the special anti-crime unit? It is convenient that they
are restricted to anti-crime measures, judging from the
unit they are attached to, under the leadership of Brigadier
Joseph and Minister Martin Joseph, and not under the far-reaching
authority of the CoP.
Did someone say the Opposition was hoodwinked again into
supporting the new government police authority?
Focus on issues, not Dookeran
PNM executive, Winston Dookeran does not want to change
the national watchwords. He just wants us to focus on truth,
justice and freedom.
I am sure poor Sean Luke would like to know the truth behind
his brutal killing and that justice will be served. As well
as freedom for other children from all crime.
Please, PNM, focus on the real issues. Dookeran simply made
a suggestion for discussion. Contrast this with PM Mannings
summary decision to place the coat of arms on his car.
Parenting is serious business
a recent executive meeting of the National Muslim Womens
Organisation, members expressed their deep sense of sorrow
and horror at the recent killing of Sean Luke.
As mothers, our hearts go out to Pauline Lumfai at the brutal
manner in which her little angel was murdered.
Our one consolation is that he is free from suffering, with
his creator in paradise.
Our members also viewed with concern the fact that two teenagers
have been charged with the murder. We urge parents to take
the responsibility of parenthood seriously. Always be there
for your children so that they can confide in you with their
problems. Do not be strangers to your children. Rather,
be their friends and confidants.
We continue to pray for the safety and security of all people
in this beloved country of ours.
National Muslim Womens Organisation
Mastana host victim of politics?
is a great joy and relief to see Mastana Bahar, the peoples
programme, back on the air on channel 4.
While Sardar is an excellent host, it is worrying as to
why Jamal is no longer the host. The Ministry of Culture
can perhaps answer this question.
Hopefully it is not a case of victimisation as Jamal is
associated with a political entity opposed to the machinations
and destructive agenda of the PNM.
If this is the case it will be even more disgusting when
one considers that his sister Nafeesa is a deputy leader
of the party. There is truth in the adage: great is the
PNM and it shall prevail after all.