CK Jaffer Sharief – A Resigned Man

Mr. C.K. Jaffer Sharief has been Member of Parliament for a long time. He has been part of every Lok Sabha from 5th to 13th Lok Sabha except 11th. This means that he has been in the apex body of Indian legislation from 1971 to 2004. He wasn’t part of 11th Lok Sabha so you can take two years out of that and you have an experience of 31 years as an MP. Continue reading CK Jaffer Sharief – A Resigned Man

Book Review – Alwaleed: Businessman, Billionaire, Prince

Alwaleed: Businessman, Billionaire, PrinceAlwaleed: Businessman, Billionaire, Prince
Author: Riz Khan; Published by: William Morrow, 432 pages
Book Review By Syed Ali Mujtaba

Any time one reads something on Saudi Arabia there is looming curiousity about the life and person of Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, the world’s fifth-richest man. Continue reading Book Review – Alwaleed: Businessman, Billionaire, Prince

Mehr Ali And Sher Ali – Qawwali At UCLA Royce Hall

Mehr Ali & Sher AliCouple of nights back (24, April, 08) came an unanticipated opportunity to watch and listen to two of great contemporary Pakistani Sufi Qawwali singers at famous UCLA Royce Hall. The concert was titled, Qawwali Music of Pakistan: Sufi devotional music. Among the audience was both Americans and sub-continental audience. Continue reading Mehr Ali And Sher Ali – Qawwali At UCLA Royce Hall

The Last Mughal

The Last Mughal

‘The Last Mughal’ by William Dalrymple has to be one of the most engaging and engrossing historical account of the great Indian mutiny of 1857. The book sensitively handles the issue with a balanced approach in terms of the references.

Keeping in mind the local sensibilities Dalrymple relied on an impressive list of sources, including people from Zafar’s court and other royals. Continue reading The Last Mughal

Islam, Muslims And Terrorism


Islam is being invariably associated with terrorism both in media as well as in political circles, especially in Western countries. When they hear it being condemned by Muslim theologians, it is celebrated as something unusual. It is strange irony of both misunderstanding and motivated propaganda that if a small band of Osama’s followers give call for jihad, it is taken as authentic Islamic call and if it is condemned by mainstream Islamic theologians, it is accepted with mixed feelings of celebration and skepticism. Continue reading Islam, Muslims And Terrorism

HT Creates “Terror Links”

You can excuse IB and law enforcement for some errors because of the nature of their job and the fact that they sometimes have to work with what little clues they have. But how can one excuse media who have the resources and the time to get it right and if they are not sure about a story they need not publish it.

We have commented on some of these stories before, latest one is from The Hindustan Times where they try to connect SIMI to Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) even though there is no proof offered and they end up contradicting themselves.

Publication: Hindustan Times
Journalist: Ashraf Engineer
Date: 17 Apr 2008

Jamaat denies terror links

Fair enough, headline is straight forward and one will expect reasons given by JIH on why they have nothing to do with SIMI.

Stung by a report on how it has thrown its weight behind the extremist Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), the Jamaat-e-Islami, an influential Islamic revivalist movement, has moved quickly to dissociate itself from the terror network.

The first paragraph itself sets the mood of the article and editorialise the story. 1. JIH is attempting to dissociate itself from “the terror network.” I am not sure but probably they are just referring to SIMI by that network term. So by their denial, JIH is proving that they were associated with SIMI. Therefore the earlier report by HT on how SIMI and JIH are linked is true. This original report is not on their website, it appeared on their Mumbai edition, few days ago.

On Tuesday, the Hindustan Times reported that Mohfammad Abrar — a top SIMI member who admitted to his involvement in the July 11, 2006, serial train blasts in Mumbai — claimed to have used the Jamaat’s Delhi office for a meeting. It appeared from his confession that the Jamaat was renewing its support for the banned group.

so the source of HT report is confession in custody by Mohammad Abrar. No independent verification was obtained.

On Wednesday, Mohammad Aslam Ghazi, spokesperson for the Jamaat’s Maharashtra unit told the Hindustan Times: “How much truth there is in the confession can be gauged from the fact that neither the police nor intelligence agencies have approached us, despite Abrar having made the claim days ago. Surely, they would have investigated us if the confession held any credibility.” He added: “Why Abrar made the statement is unclear, but it’s a lie.”

In the original report, HT did not mention if they ever approached JIH for their response. So they went ahead with their publication based on custodial “confessions” by a SIMI member. Information is obviously provided by IB to HT but IB or any govt. agency have not raided any JIH office based on such incriminating evidence. But this evidence was good enough for HT.

The police, meanwhile, are playing their cards close to their chest. Inspector General of Police (Indore Range) Anil Kumar, while maintaining that “there is enough indication that the Jamaat was harbouring and funding SIMI activists”, said they “have no evidence of it”. Madhya Pradesh investigating agencies were given Abrar’s confession, made after he surrendered in a Nagpur court in January.

there is “enough indication” but “no evidence.” Hmmm… plot thickens.

Ghazi, however, was at pains to explain that Jamaat had no association with SIMI. SIMI, he said, was formed just after the Emergency in 1975 and would seek the Jamaat’s advice on spiritual and other matters, but the organisations started drifting apart when the student outfit began showing signs of radicalism. In 1982, several small student bodies came together under the patronage of the Jamaat to form the Students’ Islamic Organisation (SIO), Ghazi said. However, SIMI refused to be part of it, thus sealing the dissociation between the two organisations.

Fact check HT folks! Emergency was on from 1975 to 1977 so when was SIMI formed. If you can’t get this simple fact right, then how much should I believe your other claims?

Anyway, I am not sure why HT feels that Ghazi was “at pains to explain” that JIH and SIMI are two different entity. Facts: SIMI formed on its own and not directly controlled by JIH. In 1982, SIO is formed by JIH but SIMI refuse to be part of it. Which shows that SIMI was an independent organization. JIH felt they needed a student organization i.e. SIMI was not what they were looking for.

I should remind you here that India will not ban SIMI until 2001. So JIH parted ways much before they came on the radar of Indian intelligence.

“In 1991,” said Rehan Ansari, coordinator of the Jamaat’s media cell in Mumbai, “the Jamaat made it clear through a circular that none of its members should associate with SIMI.” This was about the time, he said, when SIMI turned completely extremist.

Again, 10 years before India will ban SIMI in the wake of Sept 11th attacks on NYC, JIH tells its members to dissociate from SIMI.

“Far from being associated with us,” said Ansari, “SIMI saw us as a thorn in its flesh and would often whitewash SIO posters, overwriting them with their own messages.” In fact, “one of the foremost tasks” the Jamaat has undertaken is raise a voice against terrorism, said Ghazi.

The Jamaat, formed in 1941 in Lahore, manages 350 schools, 28 colleges, 25 hospitals, and Al-Jamiat-ul-Islamia university in Shantapuram in Mallapuram district, Kerala, apart from several mosques, hospitals, orphanages and vocational centres. It has, over the years, consistently refrained from doing anything that would make it seem to be a radical organisation.

So in the end, HT recognizes that JIH is nothing more than a social service organizations running various institutions to help Indian Muslims. Pay close attention to the last line and then read the first paragraph again.

Now read JIH’s denial as covered by

The original HT report about SIMI and JIH’s link was headlined “Dangerous Liaisons.” May be, same can be said of media and the governmen intelligence.

Crafting An Antidote For Extremism

Hand in Hand, in India

India has been reeling with rise of extremism on both sides of the camp- the Hindus and the Muslims. The most influential such groups is the Sangh Parivar, who will be my focus here. Rise of extremism in Muslims requires detailed analysis in it’s own “merit”, but the solutions are different in the two cases. The Muslim’s case has been analyzed in detail before at IM.
Continue reading Crafting An Antidote For Extremism

Indian Muslims Against Terrorism

An Indian MuslimRecent months have witnessed a spate of seminars, public meetings, rallies and press conferences organized by various Muslim groups across India denouncing terrorism and insisting that it has no relation whatsoever with Islam. These have been widely reported in the Muslim press, but, barring the recently-held Anti-Terrorism convention held by the Dar ul-Ulum Deoband, they have not received any attention by the so-called ‘mainstream’ Indian press. Continue reading Indian Muslims Against Terrorism

Muslims Should Adopt Advocacy Instead Of Protests

Hyderabad ProtestsThe number of Muslim students in India’s better universities, engineering colleges, medical colleges, IITs, IIMs, IIScs etc despite much growth of such institutions in recent years still hovers around a miserly two percent. Lack of education among the Muslim youth and their lack of competitiveness were recently pointed out by the Sachar Committee, who conducted a nationwide grassroots survey of the Muslim community, as a significant impediment to the community’s progress.
Continue reading Muslims Should Adopt Advocacy Instead Of Protests

Geert Wilders spreading ‘Fitna’

I just got the time to see the movie ‘Fitna’. Must say it was in a very bad taste, specially the way in which the movie suggested changes in Islam. If tearing pages of a holy book (symbolic gesture to remove some verses) is a solution for Mr Wilders then what wrong did the Talibans do when they blew those ancient statues!

Continue reading Geert Wilders spreading ‘Fitna’