Of Death, Democracy and Human Rights

In February 2007, former Taliban and Mujahideen groups managed to stage a rather uneventful rally in support of a legal amnesty for war crimes and human rights abuses for all the warlords as well as many ex-communist power brokers. It was quite a spectacle to see how groups who only years earlier distrusted one another like a pack of hungry wolves were now eager to go on the public record in the defense the atrocities they collectively committed. While they chanted “Death to Malalai Joya“, “Death to Sima Samar“, “Death to Communism”, “Death to America”; one female MP, Shakila, went a step further and famously chanted “Death to Human Rights” at the end of her speech. The rally brought together warlord now vice-president Karim Khalili, warlord now vice-president Mohammad Qasim Faheem, warlord and ex-president Burhanuddin Rabbani, notorious warlord and now MP Abdur Rab Rasul Sayyaf and even the least active Mujahideen factions who had all of a sudden been startled by the potential for their prosecution over crimes committed against defenseless citizens over a period of two decades and more. I won’t even try to ridicule the slogan “Death to human rights“, the statement speaks for itself.

Cartoon by Jafar Razai

In late October 2009, many students from the country’s largest educational institute Kabul University went on protest against NATO and American presence and against alleged de-Islamisation of the country. Slogans and banners had familiar tones as they chanted slogans such as “Death to America”, “Death to Democracy” and “No to Democracy, We want just Islam“. While elsewhere in the world students protest for better living conditions, more freedom and greater democratization of institutions; in Afghanistan students protest for a return to the dark ages, for ideological nightmares and for more brutality. Not surprisingly, this episode was an all male event. Women either did not take part or were kept away. This had me wondering as to what the hell it is that these people were being taught in their classes.

Earlier the same year when protesters took to the streets to protest for and against the notorious “Rape Law“, those for the laws, mainly including disciples of Islamic Republic of Iran funded warlord now MP Ayatollah Asif Mohsini, chanted “Death to America”, “Death to Israel”, “Death to Human Rights” and amongst other things ransacked a local school, pelted women protesters against the law with stones and condemned others to an eternity in hell.

More recently during the graduation ceremony of the Engineering faculty of Kabul University, the stage was adorned with a large banner similar to the Saudi Arabian flag or the former Taliban flag decoarted with Islamic chants , the ceremony started with shouts of “Allah akbar”, “Death to democracy”, “Death to freedom of expression”, “Death to America”. While many students were rejoiced by the slogans, others were stunned but had to observe silence as a measure of safety.

Such is the hegemonic power of Afghanistan’s albeit insane religious institutions that its fascistic grip permeates every sphere of life. And not surprisingly it is the students that are exploited first. After-all warlords and fanatics like Ahmad Shah Massoud, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Rasul Sayyaf had at one time or another been University students and in case of Sayyaf, a professor of Islamic studies.

I fear for the future of younger generation of Afghanistan, where over half the population is under the age of 18.


The Islamic Republic of Iran – A Review

It has been well over 30 years since Iran’s “hijacked” revolution and the establishment of the Ayatollah Kingdom where the Mullahs rule with an iron fist. Like all other so-called Islamic Republics and Democracies the constitution in Iran guarantees well versed phrases such as the freedom of speech, freedom of association, gender equality, freedom of belief, freedom of movement and many more freedoms but the same constitutions also categorically state and emphasize that “all laws and regulations must conform to the principles of Islam”. Hypocrisy? Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan beg to differ.

A glimpse of the achievements of the Islamic Republic of Iran is as follows:

  • Persecution, execution and imprisoning of LGBT

Execution of Kurds after failed uprising in Irani Kurdistan

  • Persecution of Afghan refugees and massacre of thousands [pdf] of them in the concentration camps of Tal-e Siyah (Black Hill) and Sang-e Sefid (White Stone)

Wrongly described as 22 years old to make way for the execution of 16 year old Atefah Sahaaleh

  • Persecution and execution of academics. usually under the notorious Islamic Penal code act Mofsed fil arz (corruption on earth)
  • Fraudulent elections and subsequent suppression of mass public protest in the latest chapter of dissent in Iran under the Green movement.
  • Summary execution and awarding of death penalty to over 3000 Afghans, mostly refugees.
  • … and many more.

Education Poisoned!

BBC reports that “Scores of schoolgirls in the Afghan province of Kunduz have fallen ill over the past week…”

It is always the weak and the defenseless who end up shouldering the biggest burden of war. Demolition of schools and education centers and systematic eradication of teachers, academics and other professionals of liberal education has been a trait of the Islamic movements in Afghanistan. While Taliban can not be blamed, not yet, for this particular case, nonetheless; the activity of the Taliban/ Islamist insurgency has been directly proportional to the destruction of infrastructure, mainly schools, in the areas. This has been more prevalent in Taliban controlled areas in northern Pakistan, areas in Southern and Eastern Afghanistan don’t lag far behind with numerous cases of schools being torched and teachers being targeted and murdered. What is worth noting is that in the overwhelming number of such incidents it is the education of Afghanistan’s 80% illiterate female population that suffers.

During the conflicts in the 70s, 80s and early 90s, the situation was hardly different when yesterday’s Islamists and today’s defenders of Afghan democracy, that is the Mujahideen and the Northern Alliance, would torch schools, scare and force parents away from schools, kidnap and execute teachers and academics under the pretense that the Communist PDPA was spreading secularism and threatening the existence of Islam.

Another parallel system of “education” that has successfully flourished over the last few decades is the exponential growth in the number of madrassas from localized few to tens of thousands, initially under the guidance of ISI/America/Saudi jihad and then the holy alliance of the Taliban/AlQaeda tag team. Again, most madrassas are boys only and their output has led us to where Afghanistan stands today. It is a fact that these madrassas have produced a generation of fundamentalist, militant and exceptionally stupid Islamists and no one relevant ever talks about or acts to close them once and for all.

Bravo, misogynist scum of the world. Bravo!

Of Churches and Madrassas

Madrassa (n): A building or group of buildings used for teaching Islamic theology and religious law, typically including a mosque.

We have all heard about rampant child abuse and cover-ups in Catholic Churches in the US, Ireland, Australia, Germany and many other countries. Recently there have been extensive reports in the media about a cover-ups of scandals from the 70s involving the Pope himself. Despite the apologies, one can be sure that there will be investigations and the buck has to stop somewhere.

The pattern of abuse is and has been well and alive in a more camouflaged manner in the seminaries of another monotheistic religion. Islamic Madrassas, considering their arrogant teachings to the young, should be the first stop for anyone wishing to investigate abuse under the banner of religion. It is rife and rampant and for the most part stays under any and all radars.

add to that a death upon all non-conformist believers

The fact that madrassas, especially ones established with Saudi funding during and after the Afghan Jihad, have had production lines of militant Islamists, sectarian murderers and hardliner jihadis for many decades; is well known. The rise of Islamic militancy in Central and South Asia has been synchronised with rise of Madrassas. While Madrassas had traditionally been very local in their influence, with the inception of Afghan Jihad, Madrassas started popping up all around the then Communist-ruled Afghanistan with the main concentration being around major Pakistan cities of Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar and Southern Punjab. Elsewhere grand Mosques and madrassas were constructed, funded by oil revenue, in newly independent Central Asian states as well as Western Chinese province of XinJiang.

I think that one of the tragedies of this story is that the Saudi Arabians exported their problem by financing the schools, the madrassas, all through the Islamic world. I saw this in Uzbekistan a few years after Uzbekistan got out of the Soviet Union, became an independent state in cities like Tashkent and Samarkand, where the Saudis were funding these schools teaching Koranic studies and creating a class of people for whom education was simply the Holy Book, the Koran. – Richard Holbrooke, then US Ambassador to the UN

The exploitation of young minds and emotions through past-expiry-date religious text, propagation of voilence and hate is in itself an unforgivable abuse of human dignity. Taliban leadership and the bulk of their cadre were a direct output of Pakistan based madrassas. Madrassas in Northern Pakistan have been labeled as Taliban universities for their unashamed and open vocal and material support for the Taliban-Islamic fascism during its life in power.Unlike ordinary graduates, graduates from these universities ended up fighting for to spread the past-expiry-date teachings of Mohammad and his companions in Afghanistan, Kashmir, Chechniya and other vulnerable spots as well against sects and groups they deemed as not-islamic-enough such as the Shiites, Ahmadis and others.

Others such as the infamous Red Mosque Madrassa in the Pakistani capital Islamabad sought to implement Shariah, first through kidnappings of people they deemed as unholy, then through armed protests and then a confrontation with the Pakistan state that ended up in hundreds of casualties. In addition to that the Pakistani Taliban leadership in Swat and Waziristan have all been madrassa students and instructors.

Madrassa students tend to come from poverty stricken families, many of whom give up their children so that they can worry about making even more of them without concerns for their upbringing. Once in the madrassa the issues extend beyond what has already been mentioned and sexual abuse, beating, torture and exploitation are the norm:

“In December, in another part of Karachi, Muhammad Askoroni’s mother noticed a bite on the 10-year-old boy’s neck. The child started crying and vomiting when asked what happened, said his mother, Dil Jauher. The boy’s claim: a cleric at his madrassa sodomized him after evening Quran classes, according to a complaint filed with police and the rights group Madadgaar.

Jauher claims a madrassa official and village elders offered her a bribe to keep the incident quiet. ‘But I want justice for my son,’ she told AP.”

Even when reported, these incidents attract little to no attention as they guys with beards and AK47 are usually deemed to be above the law.

“The files of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan include the affidavit of Atif Rehman, who was 11 when he was admitted to the Lahore Children’s Hospital in April 2004 with head injuries and extensive bruises. He told investigators he was routinely beaten with iron rods at a madrassa in the northern city of Faisalabad and was chained when he tried to escape.

‘The boy was bleeding from the mouth and nostrils,’ said his father, Muhammad Aashiq, according to the commission report.

A madrassa teacher, Qari Mahboob Aalam, denied the torture allegations, but admitted ‘it is a practice to chain students,’ the report said.”

The cases are not only limited to the madrassas in Pakistan:

“In Bangladesh, rights groups have increased calls for madrassa investigations after a teacher was arrested in March and charged with raping girl students, who are allowed to attend the schools that in many other countries are male-only.”

I was surprised to find that there are roughly 1600 madrassas operating in the UK alone and even in the country built on bills such as Megna Carta, madrassas have lived up to the expectations:

“Students have been slapped, punched and had their ears twisted, according to an unpublished report by an imam based on interviews with victims in the north of England. One was ‘picked up by one leg and spun around’ while another said a madrassa teacher was ‘kicking in my head – like a football’, says the report which was compiled by Irfan Chishti, a former government adviser on Islamic affairs.”

Such abuse and practices are rife in Madrassas all across the world as the fundamental principles being taught and practiced in these seminaries leave room for all sorts of exploitation, abuse, voilence and murder so long as it is done under the banner of the guy in the sky.

Dubai: A private Quran teacher, charged with raping an 11-year-old schoolboy over a seven-month period and showing him pornographic material on his phone, has been referred to court.”

and so, religious seminaries continue on wrecking the lives, thoughts and emotions of the young and the weakest in the society and from there on, the whole society. So long as the open discussion of these topics remain cultural taboos, Islamic centers will abuse anyone and everyone of their choosing. Unlike the international fury and criticism aimed at the Catholic Church for its part in Child abuse and subsequent cover up, few dare to talk about the menace that these madrassas symbolize.

There is the Taliban and then there are these people

There was that video of an underage girl being flogged in Swat Pakistan for allegedly stepping outside the house without the escort of an immediate family member. This of course was nothing compared to the countless other incidents and videos of beheadings, summary executions and other acts of atrocity committed at the hands of the warriors of Islam.

Recently, local Afghan Television Channels broadcast video clips of two women being publicly flogged by a local cleric, under the instructions of a local government backed warlord, for fleeing abusive husbands. Welcome to the new Afghanistan. I have nothing more to add. You watch it yourself!

Saudis – notorious as usual: 75-year-old woman facing 40 lashes

And most people thought not letting women drive was bad, the leading state sponsor of Islamic extremism (neck to neck with Iran) continues breaking in to new grounds as its acts of imposing Sharia’h maintains its ruthlessness.
Saudi Arabia’s state sanctioned and widely revered by Muslim fundamentalists, style of punishments include amputations of hands and feet for robbery, and flogging for lesser crimes such as sexual deviance and drunkenness, public beheading, segregation and apartheid targeting non-Muslims. The number of lashes ranges from dozens of lashes to several hundreds.
Those of us who have witnessed Taliban rule in Afghanistan know that the overwhelming majority of the Taliban drew their inspiration from the Saudi style of governance, except that in Afghanistan there was no oil and therefore, not a similar quality of life for men. Nonetheless, Saudi elite paid regular visits to the Taliban ruled Afghanistan to hunt from animals and buy sex slaves.

A Taliban fighter with the amputated limbs of the victims paraded through the streets of Kabul. Source: Rawa.com

More recently, the Saudi minister of the interior (Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz) is reported to have ordered the immediate detention and flogging of a 75-year-old woman, Khamisa Mohammed Sawadi; who is facing 40 lashes.

More from Sydney Morning Herald

The farce that is the Hajj festival

A few days ago Muslims the world over celebrated the Eid-ul-Adha marking the end of the Hajj festival. The festival also commemorates prophet Abraham’s offer to slaughter his son, Ismail, to comply with Allah’s commands given to him in his dreams.

Firstly, coming from a religion that proclaims itself as the monologue of peace, it is obviously quite absurd for its followers to be celebrating an attempted slaughter of a human being, albeit a supposed prophet. All this while in the same breath, majority of the Muslims claim that the use of human slaughter as a form of punishment by the Taliban and other jihadists “has nothing to do” with their religion. Not to mention, thousands of other examples of human beheading and slaughter during the spread of Islam. Obviously, excuses are comically parroted all the time:

“Mashallah! Look at the spirit of sacrifice of Abraham, the willingness to slaughter his own son in the way of Allah”, devout Muslims would say. Absurd, to say the least.

Furthermore, it is shocking to see how people with a claim to a supposed civilization, believe that Allah is pleased by their offering of animal flesh and blood as a sign of devotion. The guy in the sky is all powerful and wise, yet, he gets pleased when offered with a dead animal. Reminds me of the human and animal sacrifices performed by the Mayans, Maoris and the recent one in Nepal. The difference being that Islamic ones appear to be more common and widely accepted as the norm.

Secondly, while the overwhelming majority of Muslims, particularly, those performing the Hajj, hail from financially backward communities, mainly third world nations, it goes without saying that spread across towns and slums in Pakistan, North Africa, Afghanistan, Central Asia, Indonesia and so on; these communities are financially disadvantaged and their members can barely afford food and other necessary supplies. In case of Afghanistan, people are so poverty stricken that many resort to selling their children to earn bread, tens of thousands of children die of malnourishment, lack of infrastructure and support pushes more needy people towards death and despair on everyday bases, yet…

… yet from these very communities and countries, tens of thousands of selfish, hypocrite, arrogant and amazingly stupid people pour tens of thousands of dollars per person in to the pockets of an oil rich state, whose only major achievement has been the funding of Islamic fundamentalism across the world, … all to please the guy in the sky. It is a reliable source of income for state whose oil revenue funds brain washing and suicide attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan on daily bases, a state where public beheading is a normal rule of law, a state that has inspired beheading, slaughter, abuse and oppression in tens of countries including Afghanistan, a state that has produced Bin Laden.

It frustrates me when these very Hajjis complain about lack of financial support from the NGOs and the government.

Amazing what religion can do to people.