Friday, 29 September 2017

Natural Disasters: Punishment or Test from God?

Tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, fire and other natural disasters have been occurring throughout the passage of time.
Seeing the human suffering, death and destruction we are all shaken. It is difficult to forget the scenes of death, pain, cries of people, men women and children. Those who believe in God are concerned to know why God allowed these disasters to happen. Those who do not believe in God are ready to exploit this disaster to argue against God or His existence.
We see in this world all kinds of sufferings, evil and pain. We find sickness, old age and death. We see things that are ugly, people who are insane and foolish. We also see people who commit sins, show disloyalty, unfaithfulness, greed and insincerity. We see people commit rapes, murders, violence and wars. We know all these and many other problems. There are evils caused by human beings and there are natural disasters. There are sufferings for individuals and there are those that involve a large number of people.
The world, however, is not all evil. Beside all these negative things we also see beauty, health, prosperity, life, birth, wisdom, intelligence, growth and progress. We also see goodness among people, faith, sincerity, charity, love and the spirit of sacrifice. We see a lot of virtue and piety. It is also the fact that the element of good is more in the creation than the element of evil. We all see that there are more people who are healthy than those who are sick. There are more that eat well then those who starve. There are more people who live decent life then those who commit crimes. Goodness is the rule and evil is the exception. Virtue is the norm and sin is the aberration. Generally trees bear fruits, the flowers bloom, the winds move smoothly.
The question still remains why Allah allows sufferings. Why did He not create a world without any difficulty or pain? Let us ask this question to understand Allah's ways in His creation. The Qur'an tells us that Good and evil whatever happens in this world happens by Allah's Will (mashi'at Allah). Only Allah knows fully His Will. We finite beings cannot grasp fully His infinite Will and Wisdom. He runs His universe the way He deems fit. Allah says in the Qur'an:
No calamity occurs, except by the leave of Allah; and whosoever believes in Allah, He guides his heart. And Allah knows all things. (Al-Taghabun 64:11)
The famous Muslim philosopher, jurist and thinker Imam Ghazali (d. 11) elaborates this very clearly:
We believe that He is the Willer of things that are, and of things that happen. There does not come about in the world, seen or unseen, little or much, small or great, good or evil, advantage or disadvantage, faith or unbelief, knowledge or ignorance, success or loss, increase or decrease, obedience or rebellion, except by His will. What He wills is, and what He wills not is not. Not a glance of one who looks, or a slip of one who thinks is outside His will. He is the Creator, the Bringer back, the Doer of that which He wills. (A Short Creed of Ghazali)
As Muslims we believe that Allah is Wise and everything that Allah does is right, just, and fair. We must submit and surrender to His Will. The Qur'an has not given us all the details about Allah's Will, but it has enlightened us with the guidance that is useful and sufficient for us. The problem of the existence of evil in this world is a complex one and there is no one simple answer for it. There are several points that we have to keep in our mind to understand this issue:
1. First of all, Allah did not make this world a permanent world. This is a temporary world and every thing here has a time limit. When its time comes it dies, comes to an end and finishes. Neither the good things of this world are forever, nor the bad things eternal. We are here for a short time and we are being tested. Those who will pass this test they will find an eternal world that is perfect and permanent. Those who will fail this test they shall see the evil consequences of their sins and corruption.
Full article 

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Divya, a chartered accountant, was allegedly tortured and murdered by her in-laws after years of dowry harassment.

Heart-breaking :( 

Regret washes over Indira every time she thinks of her 25-year-old daughter. It weighs her down, paralysing her with guilt. She had pushed Divya to return to her husband’s house despite her repeated pleas that she was being tortured and harassed.  
It’s been two months since Divya, a chartered accountant from Mannargudi in Tamil Nadu was allegedly tortured and murdered by her in-laws on July 17.  
Caving into repeated harassment
The dowry harassment had begun weeks before her wedding in 2013 to Elan Cheran, a doctor. While Indira says that Elan’s family demanded Rs 25 lakh, they eventually paid up Rs 15 lakh in cash, and 100 sovereigns of gold in the hope that it would secure their daughter’s future happiness.  But it was never enough.
The harassment began days after the wedding. “Her mother-in-law would scold her for everything. They did not even let her eat food properly. We even tried speaking to her mother-law but nothing changed,” says Indira.
Over the course of four years, Divya returned to her family home multiple times, each time with a plea not to send her back.  
“Divya used to keep coming back home and would tell us that she does not want to go back to her husband’s house. She was tortured there. How could we let her stay at home? She was young and I thought fights are common in every house. I would keep telling her respect your in-laws and do not argue with them,” recalls Indira.
Every time the chartered accountant came home with a fresh list of demands from her in-laws, her family would cave in. They coughed up Rs 7 lakh in cash, sent many gifts including a TV, beds and other household items.  
ge: Divya with her husband and in-laws
Now four years later, Indira admits that her biggest regret is sending her only daughter back to her harassers. She says, “The only mistake we did was to send her back to her in-laws’ house. I want to tell all parents that they should never send their daughters back if they tell them about any dowry harassment.”
The last time Divya had come to her parents’ home was two days before she was allegedly killed. This time she had arrived with her husband Elan and son.
“One month before the murder, her husband’s family treated her very well. They pretended that everything was fine. They did not want us to have any doubts. If I had known that they will murder her, I would have never sent her back. She herself would not have gone back,” laments Indira.
On July 17, Divya’s father-in-law and two other men allegedly hit her and suffocated her to death using a pillow. The father-in-law had allegedly confessed to the crime, telling the police that his wife and him had wanted their son to get married again so they could get more dowry.
Divorce never an option
Although Divya’s family never imagined that her in-laws would murder their only daughter, they admit that divorce was never an option.  
Premkumar says, "We never thought of divorce as an option as we thought everything will be alright in sometime. If we knew it will lead to my sister's death, we would have definitely thought of it."
The social stigma that comes with separation and divorce have forced many families including Divya’s to push for reconciliation, whatever the cost. With their marriage strained, Divya’s family hoped that taking the issue to the panchayat would help resolve their marital problems.  
“Both the families were called, we sorted out the problems and sent my daughter back,” recounts Indira.
But the harassment persisted. Divya would very often return home only to be sent back days later. It became routine, her family admits. “Her in-laws never used to allow her to stay at our house for more than three days. They will have some demand. I will take money or get whatever they want from my son and then we will send her back,” says her mother.
Following Divya’s murder, the police arrested five people in the case, including her husband Elan Cheran, his parents, and two other men - Shivakumar and Senthil. All five accused have been remanded to Trichy central prison, and a case has been filed under Section 498A (Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and Section 302 (Punishment for murder) of the Indian Penal Code.
“Around 10.30pm that night, her mother-in-law called me and asked me to come to their house, saying that Divya is unwell. By the time, I reached their home, they had taken her to a government hospital. When I reached the hospital, I realised she was murdered by her in-laws,” Premkumar recalls.
With Divya’s face covered in marks, Premkumar filed a complaint with the Mannargudi town police station the next day.
Her story, however, is hardly the first in Tamil Nadu or in India.
In 2015, Tamil Nadu reported 65 dowry deaths while across the country 7634 women had died following dowry harassment. In other words, according to  National Crime Records Bureau dowry claims at least 21 lives every day. The conviction rate, however, remains abysmally low at 34.7%.   
But Premkumar hopes and prays that justice will prevail and that Divya’s killers will be brought to book. “In most of the cases, the accused are out on bail. The court must punish them, so that, no one else does the same,” he says.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Modern “halal” meat is a mockery of Islam

O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth [that is] lawful and good and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy [2:168]
Eating meat in Islam is not a right or a duty. Eating meat is a privilege, extended to us by Allah with responsibilities attached.
Unfortunately, many Muslims today don’t seem to care about the food they eat, at the expense of their akirah. This article is a warning to Muslims around the world to start paying attention before its too late.

Industrial meat, egg and dairy operations operate under a capitalist system, not the Shariah. Consequently the only important component is money, not animal welfare or health. Under the Shariah animals have rights. Abuse of animals is haram. If you’re familiar with Islam then you know a woman went to hell for denying a cat food and water and on the day of judgement Muslims will have to account for their treatment of animals too.
So how are you going to explain to Allah on the day of judgement your decision to support a system that is inherently cruel and violates the rights of animals? In a sahih hadith the Prophet (saw) warns us that we’ll be cursed if we mistreat animals.
Jabir reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, prohibited beating or cauterizing animals on the face.
In another narration, the Prophet said, “Allah has cursed whoever does this. Let not one of you mark the face or strike it.
Yet most industrial animal facilities routinely beat animals and cauterize them on their face. In fact de-beaking (burning the beak off) is routine in all cage and battery chicken facilities. If you buy cage or battery chicken you’re providing a financial incentive for these companies to keep burning these chickens beaks off. How will you as a Muslim explain your actions to Allah on the day of judgement?

Often people will counter this point by saying that while their treatment is wrong, because they were slaughtered correctly the meat is still halal. This might be true, but its a technical truth that goes against the spirit of this religion, just like temporary marriage (Mutah or Misyar — Dont believe me? See what Qaradawi says about it). Furthermore, just because it is halal doesn’t mean you have to buy it, and while you might not be punished for eating the meat you might be punished for supporting the system. Do you want to take that risk?

Furthermore, eating meat every day comes at the expense of the wider globe. The carbon footprint from the meat industry grows with every passing second and the destructive results from climate change are already having a terrible effect (particularly in many Muslim countries). We know the Prophet (saw) and the Sahaba rarely ate meat so why do we need to eat it every day? Even if you argue that they rarely ate it because they were often poor or travelling you need to ask yourself the single most important question:
Would the Prophet (saw) do this today?
Would he eat meat from tortured animals? Would he eat meat every day knowing how detrimental industrial farming practices were on the globe? Would he buy meat knowing his money would be used to support a system that causes nothing but pain, misery and destruction?
Think long and hard about those questions.
This doesn’t mean you have to stop eating meat though, but if you want to actually respect the Shariah and follow the sunnah of the Prophet (saw) then you need to actually know what you’re eating. That means spending more money to buy free-range meat products that are in line with the spirit of the Shariah. It also means putting your money where your mouth is and not supporting halal businesses that source their meat from unethical suppliers. If you have a favorite restaurant that cooks amazing chicken biryani, find out where they get their chicken from and if its not acceptable tell them.
At the end of the day the choice is yours but if you love this religion and you care about your akhirah then stop treating animals like commodities and treat them like our Prophet (saw) would. Talk to your parents about this issue. Talk to your families about this issue. 

Monday, 25 September 2017

Christian teenager beaten to death by classmates in Pakistan


Pakistan hang your head in shame! Utter disgrace!

A Christian teenager has been beaten to death by his classmates in Pakistan. 
Sharoon Masih was the only Christian in his year and was attacked after he apparently drank from the same glass as a Muslim.
The 17-year-old had only been at MC Model Boys Government School Burewala in Punjab for three days before the incident. 

Friday, 22 September 2017

The Contradictions of Hajj, Through the Lens of a Smartphone

In Mecca, I hiked nearly an hour under the remorseless afternoon sun to visit the Cave of Hira, where the prophet is believed to have received his first revelation: “Recite!” There are no golden signs, air-conditioning, wheelchair ramps or video presentations here. The austere cave used to offer a clear line of sight to the Kaaba, but now the view is now obscured by that monstrous, $15 billion, Saudi-government-funded clock tower and the accompanying world’s tallest hotel.

That tableau is a perfect symbol of the strained marriage between the house of God — the Kaaba, in Mecca — and the House of Saud, which controls everything related to the sacred mosques. In adherence to the reactionary religious ideology it embraces, the government has allowed the prophet’s house to fall into decrepitude. It has flattened the home of his first wife, Khadija, and installed public toilets where it used to stand. But it has no objection to the construction of extravagant hotels not far away.

These government’s conflicting values were on display wherever I looked: While non-Muslims are forbidden from even entering Mecca, everyone is free to eat American Hardee’s hamburgers or KFC fried chicken, or buy a Rolex watch across from the Kaaba. It’s forbidden to excessively venerate the prophet and his companions, but there’s no problem with the giant posters of King Abdulaziz, King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, that are all around town.

But whenever I found myself lamenting the ugliness and hypocrisy of these elements of my journey, the people I met reminded me why I was there, with displays of untarnished spirituality. In the prophet’s mosque, local people brought bread, dates and milk to feed fasting pilgrims. Children begged me to eat from the plates they had prepared, hoping to gain some of the blessings. In the desert plain of Arafat, east of Mecca, I walked with nearly two million pilgrims to the Mount of Mercy. Men and women offered whatever they had: water, food, ice cream, a helping hand for a wheelchair-user. They shared the shade under their umbrellas, and sometimes even the clothes off their back with fellow pilgrims. We were united in a shared journey: seeking to find forgiveness, mercy and salvation.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

‘A disaster in the making’: Pakistan’s population surges to 207.7 million

For years, Pakistan’s soaring population growth has been evident in increasingly crowded schools, clinics and poor communities across this vast, Muslim-majority nation. But until two weeks ago, no one knew just how serious the problem was. Now they do. 

Preliminary results from a new national census — the first conducted since 1998 — show that the population has grown by 57 percent since then, reaching 207.7 million and making Pakistan the world’s fifth-most-populous country, surpassing Brazil and ranking behind China, India, the United States and Indonesia. The annual birthrate, while gradually declining, is still alarmingly high. At 22 births per 1,000 people, it is on a par with Bolivia and Haiti, and among the highest outside Africa. 
“The exploding population bomb has put the entire country’s future in jeopardy,” columnist Zahid Hussain wrote in the Dawn newspaper recently. With 60 percent of the population younger than 30, nearly a third of Pakistanis living in poverty and only 58 percent literate, he added, “this is a disaster in the making.”

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Islam and Muslims in Japan

Contrary to popular belief, Islam in Japan is growing, mainly due to indegeneous Japanese people reverting to Islam.

Professor Tanada from the Faculty of Human Sciences, Waseda University says the following:
Japan, which is also a Muslim-minority country, also experienced a growth in Muslim population during the bubble economy. Based on the data of 2016, there are currently approximately 120,000 Muslims from overseas and 10,000 Japanese Muslims living in Japan. Although most Muslims in Japan lives in the three major metropolitans areas of Japan (Greater Tokyo Area, Chukyo Metropolitan Area and Kinki Region), the Muslim network has never ceased expanding throughout Japan.

Since the beginning of 1990s, there has been increasing number of mosques being built across the Japanese archipelago, including Hokkaido and Okinawa prefectures. Even though there are currently over 90 mosques throughout Japan, most Japanese are not aware of it. Nevertheless, as there is an increasing number of movements and initiatives to promote understanding in Islam and Muslims in recent years, more and more mosques are accepting tours and organizing events for Japanese to participate.

It is estimated that the population of Muslims will continue to grow in Europe and Japan, however, the growth does not only lies in the number of Muslim immigrants. In countries like England, half the population of the Muslim community are born and raised in these countries. Even in Japan, about half of the permanent Muslim residences have settled down and build a family, suggesting that Japan will see an increase in the number of second and third generation Muslims in the near future. These Muslims are going to be “hybrid Muslims” that will be exposed to diverse cultural background. They will be the key people to bridging the local community with the Muslim community. I hope that when we meet them in the near future, we will be able to learn and work together in harmony.

TRT world did a feature on Tokyo Mosque Iftar here. The following is a video from that feature

Learn more about Islam and Muslims in Japan at Islam Awareness Homepage: Japan

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

‘It only takes one terrorist’: the Buddhist monk who reviles Myanmar’s Muslims

Ashin Wirathu
Islam represents only 5% of Myanmar’s population of 54 million, but nationalists like Wirathu are pushing the idea that the faith puts Buddhism, and the very essence of Myanmar, in jeopardy. He claims the 1 million Rohingya Muslims living in precarious conditions in his country – described by human rights agencies as the most persecuted people on Earth – “don’t exist”.
“It only takes one terrorist to be amongst them,” he says. “Look at what has happened in the west. I do not want that to happen in my country. All I am doing is warning people to beware.”
Wirathu adds that if Donald Trump or Nigel Farage need some advice he will happily share his ideas. These include infiltrating the Facebook pages of Muslim groups, getting all Islamic schools to record their lessons, and government surveillance of internet activity, including emails. Wirathu claims he has his own army of individuals screening the net in Myanmar.
On the well-documented situation of the Rohingya in Rakhine state – where people have been left without access to medicines, aid, and basic human necessities such as clean water, sanitation and food – Wirathu is dismissive. The Rohingya have been mostly couped up in camps since the 2012 violence, and the silence of Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy on their plight has attracted growing criticism.
Wirathu rejects the stateless Rohingya as illegal immigrants, a view echoed by the government. He will only discuss them if the description “Bangladeshis” is used, and even then Wirashu says the situation is not as it is portrayed.
“If it is true what [outsiders say], then I would offer help but I have visited the camps on many occasions. The aid agencies are refused access because they are using the refugees to fill their own pockets. Bangladeshis are posing for the media. They are not starving. They have so much food that they are selling it on in their shops – stealing even from their own.”
On the allegations that women have been abused and raped by the military, he laughed: “Impossible. Their bodies are too disgusting.”
There have been calls outside Myanmar for Aung San Suu Kyi to return her Nobel peace prize for her failure to tackle the situation with the refugees, which has broken her own promises on human rights.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Deeds after death?

Image result for muslim grave

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “When the human being dies, his deeds come to an end except for three: ongoing charity, beneficial knowledge, or a righteous child who prays for him.” (Muslim)

The more I think about this, and face the daily challenges of fatherhood the more I realize the last of the three mentioned here is the most difficult to attain.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Central African Republic (CAR), DRC & Congo-Brazzaville

The Central African Republic (CAR) descended into a crisis after President Francoise Bozize was overthrown in a coup. The ongoing tensions between political factions soon became a religious one, when ordinary Muslims and Christians turned on each other as the violence escalated across the country. Thousands have been killed and almost a quarter of the population displaced in a conflict that is fast spiralling out of control. Al Jazeera's Hyder Abbasi explains the story in 60 seconds.

World's most neglected conflict rages on in the CAR

Violence in the Central African Republic has fallen from the world's radar, but that does not mean the conflict is over.

A comprehensive new report by the UN, released this week, makes the extent of the devastation abundantly clear. It should draw urgently needed attention to this bloody crisis and spur action to help it end.

The 369-page "Mapping Report" documents serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law from 2003 to 2015, and in the Central African Republic the task was immense. An eight-member team conducted field investigations and combed through 1,200 documents. They cover 620 crimes "of the most serious gravity" committed by various parties, including village burnings, killings and rape.

UN sees early warning signs of genocide in CAR. 

UN sees early warning signs of genocide in CAR.

Renewed clashes in the Central African Republic (CAR) are early warning signs of genocide, the UN aid chief said on Monday, calling for more troops and police to beef up the UN peacekeeping mission in the strife-torn country.

Some 180,000 people have been driven from their homes this year, bringing the total number of displaced in the CAR to well over half a million, said Stephen O'Brien.

"The early warning signs of genocide are there," O'Brien told a UN meeting following his recent trip to the CAR and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"We must act now, not pare down the UN's effort, and pray we don't live to regret it."

Muslims return to CAR to find their homes are gone

Observers warn that if land and property are not returned, there will be no peace in the Central African Republic.

M Babakir Ali cuts a lonely figure sitting on a plastic chair outside a rundown cafe in the PK5 district of Bangui.

Once the owner of five houses and 18,000 square metres of land in the Foulbe district of Pk13, on the outskirts of Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, Ali is now reduced to a pair of jeans and a short white sleeved shirt. The thin vertical stripes are faintly visible beyond the creases. He is a refugee in his own city.

"I left for Chad in January 2014 because of what happened on the streets of Bangui," Ali says.

Ali says he watched as bodies of young Muslim men were dragged through the streets of the capital and then piled at a local mosque in what was to signal the changing fortunes for Muslims in the country.

He was right.

In early January, Muslims in the PK5, PK12, PK13 districts of Bangui were hunted down, mutilated, burned alive and left on the streets. Muslims in the towns of Bossangoa, Bozoum, Bouca, Yaloke, Mbaiki, Bossembele and others also fled, as Anti-balaka embarked on a reign of terror across the northwest and southwestern regions.

Ali gathered his family, and fled to neighbouring Chad, too.

With the unrest in Bangui lifting in 2016 as the country neared elections, he decided to come home.

But he knew he would face a new struggle on his return.

"I knew my houses and my land, that everything had been taken," 45-year-old Ali says. "I knew I would be coming back to nothing."

Ali speaks in short and abrupt sentences. The already battered plastic chair bends and shifts with his every gesture. There is a calm dissonance in his moist, jaundiced eyes even as he explains that his property was sold to a third party by a local chief.

"I am not the only one. So many from my district have returned, and have nowhere to go," Ali says, looking away.

More information about the situation in Central African Republic (CAR) here:


Democratic Replublic of the Congo (DRC) violence displaces 3.8 million: UN

Senior UNHRC official says the number of people displaced in the country has nearly doubled in six months.

The number of people displaced by conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo has nearly doubled in the past six months to 3.8 million, according to a UN official.

George Okoth-Obbo, the number two official at the UN's refugee agency (UNHCR), said food and clothing was needed for the 1.4 million in the volatile Kasai region who have fled their homes in violence that has killed more than 3,000 people.

"Immediate protection" was required, he told AFP news agency on the last day of a three-day visit to the country, in particular for children "who are sleeping in conditions that are difficult to imagine".

According to the UN's Okoth-Obbo, about 33,000 Congolese have fled the region for Angola, and "the conditions today in Kasai are such that we cannot encourage or promote the return of refugees".

Okoth-Obbo added that the country is also having to cope with the arrival of about 500,000 refugees fleeing fighting in Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan and the Central African Republic - where about 60,000 people have fled to Congo this year.

UN: Millions of people face acute hunger in DRC

UN food agencies say number of people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance surged by 30 percent in a year in DRC.

About 7.7 million people are on the verge of starvation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a 30 percent increase since last year, according to UN food agencies.

The number of people on pre-famine levels of food insecurity and requiring urgent humanitarian assistance rose from 5.9 million to 7.7 million between June 2016 and June 2017, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) said on Monday.

One in 10 people living in rural areas suffers from acute hunger, while chronic malnutrition affects 43 per cent of children under five years, the FAO report said.

Claude Jibidar, director of WFP's operations in DRC, said on Monday that the situation was especially dire in the diamond-rich central Kasai region where a revolt has been raging for the past year, with both government and fighters accused of atrocities.

"Food security and nutrition ... are deteriorating in many parts of DRC, but nowhere is the situation more alarming than in Kasai," he said.

According to the FAO report, farmers have been unable to plant their crops in Kasai for the past two seasons because of fighting that has seen their villages and fields pillaged.

An estimated 1.4 million people in Kasai and in the eastern province of Tanganyika had been forced to flee their homes this year, it said.

A steady flow of refugees from neighbouring countries and a spread of fall armyworm infestations are also putting a strain on resources, according to the report.

"The situation is set to get worse if urgent support does not come in time," said Alexis Bonte, the FAO's representative in the DRC.

"Farmers, especially those displaced - majority women and children - desperately need urgent food aid but also means to sustain themselves, such as tools and seeds so that they can resume farming."

Conflicts have displaced about 3.7 million people within the country, according to FAO.

More information about Islam and Muslims in Zaire (Democratic Republic of the Congo) here:


For generations, immigrants from other African countries have comprised a significant minority of residents in Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of Congo. These immigrants constitute several distinct “stranger” populations within Congolese society. While they play a significant role in the Congolese economy, they also encounter discrimination in their daily lives and face hostility from indigenous Congolese. Popular discourses in Brazzaville widely represent African foreigners as a malevolent presence and a threat to Congolese interests. Such discourses fit into broader conflicts over identity, belonging, and access to resources on the continent. This paper, based on ethnographic and survey research carried out in Brazzaville, examines the case of that city’s immigrants from the West African Sahel. It situates tensions between them and their hosts in the context of contemporary political and economic dynamics in post-colonial Congo, and specifically links them to exclusionary place-based identity as a political force in contemporary Africa.

For more information on Congo-Brazzaville:

Saturday, 9 September 2017

The Battle for Myanmar’s Buddhist spirit

A good video from The Guardian, UK. In Myanmar, different groups of Buddhist monks are battling with how to deal with the country’s minority Muslim population. While some advocate peace, others, such as the extremist Ma Ba Tha, are stoking up hatred and violence. The Guardian visited Myanmar to investigate how the monks’ actions are threatening to destabilise the country’s newly established democracy.

More info here.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Feed the poor....

Image result for feed the poor

A man asked the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) ‘Which deeds in Islam are the best?’ He (ﷺ) replied, ‘To feed the poor and to greet everyone, whether you know them or not.’ (Bukhari and Muslim)

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Gang Rape and murder in Bangladesh

From Faceboook of @taqbirhuda
This woman, Rupa, was gang raped in a moving bus by 5 bus helpers near Mymensingh, Bangladesh. Because she had the audacity to scream the rapists broke her neck, killed her and threw her body out of the bus when passing a secluded area. She was on her way back home after giving a registration exam in a neighbouring city.
At one point when all passengers got down from the bus helper Shamim dragged Rupa to the back and attempted to rape her. In a state of utter helplessness, she offered Shamim all the money she had and her mobile phone and desperately pleaded to be let go. Shamim accepted her offerings but still went on to rape her. Then, two other helpers, Akram and Jahangir, also decided to join in and took turns raping her while the bus driver Habib kept on driving without a care as Rupa's horrendous ordeal unfolded.
This is almost identical to the notorious 2012 Delhi rape case which sent shockwaves around the world. Yet Rupa's horrific gang rape and murder incident is barely sending shockwaves in her own country. A few impersonal and perfunctory news-reports here and there, a few words of anger in response to them but nothing we won't eventually forget in a day or two because that's how desensitised we've become to the ever frequent phenomenon of violence against women.
She was an aspiring lawyer working for an MNC, with hopes and dreams she couldn't live to fulfil. Where is her story? Where is the nonstop coverage? Where is her photo in the leading English dailies? Where is her basic right to safety in something as ordinary and routine as bus travel? Most importantly, where is the outrage and impetus for change?