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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Liam Neeson: I may become a Muslim

Catholic movie star is thinking about changing faith

Mosque-ars ... star Liam Neeson
Mosque-ars ... star Liam Neeson

HOLLYWOOD star Liam Neeson is considering giving up his Catholic belief and becoming a Muslim.

The actor, 59, admitted Islamic prayer "got into his spirit" while filming in Turkish city Istanbul.
He said: "The Call to Prayer happens five times a day and for the first week it drives you crazy, and then it just gets into your spirit and it's the most beautiful, beautiful thing.
"There are 4,000 mosques in the city. Some are just stunning and it really makes me think about becoming a Muslim."
Liam was raised in Northern Ireland as a devout Catholic and altar boy and was named after the local priest.
But the star — whose wife Natasha Richardson died aged 45 in a skiing accident in 2009 — has spoken about challenges to his faith.
He said: "I was reared a Catholic but I think every day we ask ourselves, not consciously, what are we doing on this planet? What's it all about?
"I'm constantly reading books on God or the absence of God and atheism."
Liam was criticised in 2010 after claiming Narnia lion Aslan — voiced by him in the movies — is not based on Christ as CS Lewis had claimed but in fact all spiritual leaders including Mohammed.
His latest film The Grey, about an oil drilling team who crash in freezing Alaska, is released in the UK on Friday.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

100,000 conversions and counting, meet the ex-Hindu who herds souls to the Hereafter

Deen Mohammad converted to Islam in 1989. He said when he read the Holy Quran he realised that 360 gods were useless. PHOTO:AYESHA MIR/EXPRESS
MATLI: Such are Deen Mohammad Shaikh’s powers of persuasion that he has converted 108,000 people to Islam since 1989, the year he left his birth religion Hinduism behind.
His multi-coloured business card describes the Matli dweller as the president of the Jamia Masjid Allah Wali and Madrassa Aisha Taleem-ul Quran – an institute for conversions to Islam.
The reedy 70-year-old brandishes an embellished cane. A red-and-white keffeiyah perched on his shoulder offers people a hint to his theological leanings.
As he speaks to The Express Tribune, his arm slices an invisible arc through the air. He is gesturing to a vast expanse of nine acres of donated land where converts are invited to pitch a tent and stay. “My heartfelt wish is that the entire world becomes Muslim,” comes his response, when asked about the en masse conversions. His piety is matched only by its ambition.
But contrary to the grandiose proclamation, this preacher isn’t a repository of rehearsed sound bites. It is only after he settles down on a charpoy that he deigns to embark on the journey of a Hindu named Jhangli who became an expert in evangelism.
“I always loved Islam,” he begins. “I read the Holy Quran and realised that 360 gods were not of any use to me.”
At first he had to study the Holy Quran in secret. There was the risk of being misunderstood if a Muslim caught him with the holy book. He started fasting and in fact he would begin a day before Ramazan started.
Shaikh’s mother grew alarmed at her son’s forays into another faith. She thought that if she married him off, he would not ‘leave’. Thus, he was barely 15 when his wedding took place, followed by a quick overtaking by nature – four girls and eight boys.
But despite this, he was drawn back to his curiosity and managed to find a teacher, Sain Mohammad Jagsi, who instructed him in the Holy Quran and Hadiths or sayings of the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh).
Fortunately, Shaikh’s uncle was of the same mind and the two men agreed that they would give each other the strength. Shaikh held off until his daughter was married to a Hindu as planned, since he had already “given his word”. Then there was no turning back.
After his conversion, Deen Mohammad Shaikh made it his mission to woo others. He began in his own backyard, preaching to family, before venturing beyond this comfort zone. Encounters with the rich and powerful helped pave the way. Retired Pakistan Army general Sikandar Hayat, who owns a sugar mill in Matli, offered Shaikh money, which he turned down. Instead, he urged Hayat to give jobs to some of the new converts. Hayat and his daughter proved extremely helpful in providing assistance.
Now, Shaikh says, his fame has spread and people come to him from as far as Balochistan, members of all religions and sects, who would like to convert. A small mosque has sprung up in his residential compound along with a number of rooms where children – mostly girls – are taught how to say their prayers and recite the Holy Quran.
One of the teachers is 14-year-old Sakina, who is just 15 days into the job. “Only a few students are difficult to teach,” she says while commenting on their ability to recite a text in an unknown language.
Shaikh is aware of the difficulties converts face while taking on what appear to be the initially daunting rigours of a brand new system. He makes life easy for the first 40 days. “They only have to pray farz!” he says while referring to the mandatory parts. This relaxed schedule ensures that they can ‘confirm their faith’. He understands that if he demanded they start out with praying five times a day to offer even the optional and ‘bonus’ parts, “They would run away!” as he puts it with a look of mock horror on his face.
Other than this, he is reluctant to actually explain how he influences the people. All he offers is a nugget of fire and brimstone: “I tell them that I was a Hindu too and that they would burn in Hell if they are not Muslim.”
More than saving a soul
There are other practical considerations that accompany conversions. In order to ‘save’ the converts from influential Hindus in other districts, Shaikh packs them off to Hub Chowk while the Kalima is still moist on their lips. “Their families would beat them up (for converting) otherwise,” he explains.
This trick of the ‘trade’ he learnt from personal experience. He alleges that he was kidnapped along with his daughter-in-law by influential Hindus who threatened him so that he would stop converting people. “They don’t want these poor Hindus to stand up to them when they become Muslims,” Shaikh maintains.
Despite 108,000 conversions, for which a record is kept, Shaikh still doesn’t feel his work is done. He wants everyone to be a Muslim and learn from his example. He also attends the Tablighi Jamaat’s annual congregation in Raiwind, although he doesn’t believe in sectarian divisions. “All groups are like brothers to me,” he declares.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 23rd,  2012.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Hindu group 'flew Pakistan flag to create tension'

Six members of a right-wing Hindu group have been arrested in India's southern Karnataka state for raising Pakistan's national flag on a government building.
Police say those arrested belong to the Sri Rama Sena group.
The flag was raised in Sindgi, near Bijapur, on 1 January, leading to angry protests by Hindu organisations and the stoning of a Muslim prayer hall.
Police say Sri Rama Sena was trying to create "communal disharmony" in an area with a sizeable Muslim presence.
Sri Rama Sena is a fringe group that claimed responsibility for attacking women outside a pub in the coastal district of Mangalore in 2009, saying that allowing females in pubs was against Indian culture.
'Dividing society'
Inspector general of police Charan Reddy told the BBC the situation in Sindgi was "now peaceful".
"It seems they were out to create communal disharmony," he said.
Hindu organisations had called for strikes in a number of towns around Bijapur to protest against the flag-raising.
But Mr Reddy said police investigations had led them to members of the Sri Rama Sena, a group founded by Pramod Muthalik after it broke away from the Bajrang Dal, an affiliate of the long-standing Hindu nationalist organisation, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Mr Muthalik is the leading suspect in the attack on the women in
Former chief minister and Janata Dal Secular party leader HD Kumaraswamy said of the flag-raising: "It is such a shame. I blame the RSS and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the incident. They want to divide society on religious lines."
Bijapur is close to Hyderabad in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and is a historic town with a sizeable Muslim population.
Police arrested Sri Rama Sena members for the desecration of a mosque in Mysore a few years ago.
The carcass of a pig was thrown near the prayer hall, an act that triggered major riots between Hindus and Muslims.
Karnataka was also rocked by a series of attacks on churches by right-wing groups in 2008, immediately after the BJP came to power.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Court orders Google and Facebook to remove all anti Islamic content.

Social websites including Google and Facebook have been ordered by an Indian court to remove all 'anti-religious' and 'anti-social' content within six weeks.
On Saturday a Delhi Court ordered 22 social networking sites, including Yahoo and Microsoft, to wipe the objectionable and defamatory contents and file compliance reports by February 6, 2012.
Additional Civil Judge Mukesh Kumar passed the order on a suit filed by Mufti Aijaz Arshad Qasmi seeking to restrain the websites from circulating objectionable and defamatory contents.

Qasmi had objected to a number of images on the websites which he complained would cause 'irreparable loss and injury to the people who are offended by them'.
He argued that some of the images defamed Hindu gods, Prophet Mohammed and other religious figures, India Today website reported.

The order will raise serious questions about how users' posts and opinions will be edited, censorship and freedom of expression.

On December 22 Judge Kumar had issued summonses to the social networking sites, demanding they remove photographs, videos or texts that might offend religious sentiments, the Hindustan Times website reported.
The order comes a day after a criminal court issued summonses to the sites for facing trial for allegedly webcasting objectionable contents.

Santosh Pandey, appearing for complainant Mufti Aijaz Arshad Qasmi, told The Hindu Times after the court hearing that the websites have to submit a report to the court by February 6 describing the action they had taken to remove the contents from the websites.
Representatives of Yahoo India Pvt Ltd and Microsoft told the court that they had not got copies of the order and complaint against them, but Qasmi's

The order comes at a controversial time as IT minister Kapil Sibal had recently discussed with representatives of some of the companies ways to guarantee the offensive contents are not posted.
India Today quoted him as saying: 'There were some demeaning, degrading, clearly pornographic depictions of gods and goddesses which no reasonable, sensible person anywhere in the world would accept, on any site.

counsel told the court that he would supply the relevant documents to them, according to the Hindustan Times.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Printing Money Without A Printing Press !!! A Brief Study of Conventional Banking System

A large number of banks have gone bankrupts due to loan losses or credit losses.But where does the money vanish ? Let me make it simple for my readers. Suppose if  you  put $1000 in a bank. As per the rule (with a little difference here and there, the bank cannot trade with your entire money, so it has to keep atleast 10 % ) The bank will keep $100 and it will lend out the remaining $900. Then I will apply for a loan and get $ 900.. But that is your money, right ? I may not pick up the money so it remain there in my account, but in the bank's ledger the amount is now  $1,900 !!! Then Robert applies for a loan, so he get from my $900, so he get $ 810,  but he too does not require it now so he sticks it inthe bank. There fore  in the Bank's ledger it is now 1710... and this goes on till your money is counted as $10,000 in the ledger but actually it is only $1000.

  It means there is no new wealth actually, unless every single money is paid back with interest. But we all know that not loans are paid back, and this is a global financial epedemic of not repaying your loans. And in the current crisis, many many loans aren’t being paid back – which means that dollars are out there that shouldn’t be out there – they are supposed to be representing wealth, but that wealth doesn’t exist, and never will, so the result is the inflation of the currency. This problem is created because of the “easy money” (banks can lend out almost an endless supply, so they do), so investors and loan recipients take unreasonable risks, and end up creating a buying/selling craze (like the recent housing bubble). An even worse result is that once the banks teeter on the brink of failure, the government swoops in and bails them out (which the banks knew the government would do – which is why they played games with our money) – with your money. Our money.

 Conventional banks are the biggest culprits of present  money crises. Look at another example. You are a middle class person who dreams of buying a house. So you put your wealth in fixed deposit for a few years hoping the wealth to grow and you can afford to buy a house. There are hundreds of  depositers likes you. What does the bank do with your money ? After all it has to pay big fat heavy salaries to its caravanic staff. So they will approach a builder. The builder  is running short of money to errect  his structure. So he has two options.
1. To sell his products quickly with a little margin like other products (grains, vegetables...)
2. Take a loan from the bank and complete the project without selling his product at a lesser price. This is more beneficial for him. There fore he takes a loan from the bank which was actually your money. So he waits for customers who can pay him more. Now you cannot buy that house because it is expensive, more than your savings plus interest. 

  So the bank comes to you again offering you EMI, Easy Money Installment. You are told that you will have to pay easily for next 220 months and own our house. And you fall for that. So your deposit is now mortgaged as a guarentee. In the end, the builder becomes richer and you have to slought for 220 months to own that flat which is actually bought by your own money via a housing loan and interest.

  One day you come to know that there are hundreds of defaulters who have not repaid the  loans, so the bank does not have money to pay salary and the  rent of huge offices and other bills. This is what has happened in global economy where besides individuals and companies, even nations and states are on the verge of bankruptsy...

Author: Nisaar Nadiadwala speaks and writes on socio-educational issues from Islamic perspective. He can be reached at