Thursday, June 20, 2019

Totally baseless charges against Richard Falk


-- Nasir Khan, June 20, 2019

What this article says is an utter fabrication and distortion of the truth about the American Jewish academic Prof Richard Falk.

We all know quite well that he has never said anything against any ethnic group or the followers of any religion, including the followers of Judaism. But the absurd and odious propaganda against this honorable human being, who has stood for peace and justice in Palestine, is a pathetic attempt by this news-site to mislead the people and to falsify the facts about the work of this brave and noble man.


Over the years, he has been a victim of the Zionists' attacks and calumnies, but he has never compromised his principles or stopped his work to appease the Israeli lobby or its global agents. He has valiantly upheld the cause of the people of Palestine, who since 1948 have been ethnically cleansed and marginalized by the colonial-settler state of the Zionist terrorists. He stands on the side of a people who have been the victims of a brutal colonial power, Israel. All those people who stand for peace and justice in Palestine are proud to have Richard Falk as a clear voice of reason and truth.

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https://www.marxists.org/archive/lunachar/works/silhouet/plek.htm

 Furore over Falk visit
Richard Falk is set to speak in Sydney next month. Photo: Peter Haskin
JEWISH communal leaders are concerned about plans for Richard Falk, a US academic who has endorsed conspiracy theories and who is widely accused of antisemitism, to visit Australia to speak at the NSW Parliament and at the University of Sydney.
Falk, who for six years was UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian Human Rights, has consistently maligned Israel with anti-Jewish tropes. 
Invited this year to address NSW Parliament by Greens MP David Shoebridge, co-convenor of NSW Parliament’s Friends of Palestine group, Falk’s July 4 speech will be on A Future for Palestine: BDS, International Law and Beyond. 
During his visit, organised by BDS Australia, he was also scheduled to speak on “Israeli apartheid, international law and the academic boycott” at a talk sponsored by the Sydney Staff for BDS group at the University of Sydney. The Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) has written to the university’s vice-chancellor Michael Spence to protest.
Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) chair Dvir Abramovich, meanwhile, has written to Immigration Minister David Coleman asking him to refuse or revoke Falk’s visa.
In a 2007 article titled “Slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust”, Falk drew parallels between Israel’s conflict with Gaza and the Holocaust, and has stated, “Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with the criminalised Nazi record of collective atrocity? I think not.”
Falk, who previously visited Australia in 2013, has drawn flak from the British and Canadian governments, former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, former US ambassador Susan Rice, anti-racist organisations, and parliamentarians around the world.
Former British PM David Cameron denounced Falk for publishing an antisemitic cartoon purportedly about Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, which showed a dog wearing a Jewish head-covering urinating on a depiction of justice, and devouring a bloody skeleton. 
Falk was panned for claiming a link between the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and US support for Israel. He endorsed a book alleging the US connived in the 9/11 attacks. 
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies president Lesli Berger saw Falk’s visit to Parliament as “problematic on so many levels. Richard Falk is infamous for blaming Israel and the US for the Boston Marathon bombing and other equally outrageous remarks; BDS is an antisemitic policy; and it is entirely unacceptable that David Shoebridge has helped to facilitate the event by booking the venue. All of which make this function offensive in the extreme”.
Calling on the NSW Parliament to reconsider his invitation, Zionist Federation of Australia president Jeremy Leibler asked, “Where is the public interest test for the NSW Parliament to host a character like Falk?” 
He said Falk “is on the record openly expressing antisemitic tropes. He has compared Israel to Nazi Germany, praised terrorist group Hamas and supported the bigoted BDS movement. Falk’s speaking tour will do nothing to promote meaningful discourse and dialogue nor objectively and rationally discuss the Israeli–Palestinian conflict”.
Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein said, “It is clear no public good can be served by someone with his record coming here to spread divisive and ugly rhetoric. 
“We call upon Immigration Minister David Coleman to assess whether Mr Falk meets the good character test to visit Australia. 
“If he does enter Australia, we trust and expect that Australians will reflect on Falk’s record and treat his words with appropriate scepticism and disdain.”
ADC’s Abramovich stated, “Anyone who glorifies Hamas and supports violence against Israelis, and who peddles hateful slurs and theories should not be welcomed here. Mr Falk has used antisemitic imagery in the past, and has repeatedly refused to remove repulsive anti-Jewish rants from his personal blog.”
Stating that his organisation “is deeply concerned” that Falk is being hosted at the University of Sydney, AUJS chair Josef Wilkinson said, “Universities should not be welcoming people who hold ‘Tel Aviv’ responsible for the Boston marathon bombings.”
Insisting “This isn’t a political issue,” he added that when people with such views are allowed to spread their agenda in lecture theatres, “Jewish students are sent a very clear message.”

PETER KOHN

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The murdered youth of Gaza



These flowers are in memory of the Palestinian children and youth of Gaza, who have been killed, and are being killed, maimed and brutalized by the Israeli army.

The colonial-settler state of Israel knows it has the full support of the US and its various allies to commit such brutal crimes against a defenseless and besieged people within the Gaza enclave. There is no powerful voice in the world which tells Israel to stop these killings. As a result, Israel is free to do what it is doing in Gaza and the rest of the occupied territories of Palestine.
Many of us write and post articles and highlight the issues, but our words and protests are not able to save the life of a single Palestinian who becomes the victim of an Israeli bullet. Neither can our words stop the bullets of the Israeli army that rain on the Palestinians of Gaza when they protest against the Israeli blockade and their right to return to their homes from where they were driven out by the Zionist terrorists in 1948. As refugees they came to the Gaza enclave.
Is it a crime for a people to demand their right to return to their country and their homes? Not if sanity is allowed to play a role in such a situation. The besieged and brutalized people are asking Israel to lift its illegal blockade of Gza, which it has made into the largest concentration camp in the world, allow the evicted people to rerun to their homes under the rules of the international law.

There are people from democratic and socialist parties and organizations, writers and activists from various non-religious and religious identities and loyalties, including some Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, etc. who support the demands of the Palestinians of Gaza and of the occupied territories. Major humanitarian and human rights organizations show solidarity with such demands. But many far-right parties of fascists, Zionists, Christian fundamentalists, White and Jewish supremacists are opposed to any such solution. As far I am concerned, as a non-dogmatic Socialist writer and commentator, I will continue to stand to the last breath of my life with the oppressed people of Palestine and the restoration of their political rights.

At the end, I ask a simple question to all who read what I write: Where should the two-million people of Gaza go or do in the face of such Israeli atrocities that seem endless? I will appreciate any sensible response coming from anyone.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

A comment on Palestinians and Arab regimes




--- Nasir Khan, May 11, 2019

To expect anything positive or concrete for the struggle of the long-suffering people of Palestine from the Muslim countries in general and the Arab countries in particular leads us nowhere. Many Arab regimes, like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt are allied with the Zionists of Israel, many more are joining as close friends with the colonial state of the Zionists.
However, some occasional words of sympathy for the Palestinians by the Arab rulers are only to please the Arab masses. The rulers of the United States and Israel know the reality of such empty words of sympathy by the Arab despotic regimes; they are only for window-dressing, nothing else.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Defending the religious minorities of Pakistan


--- Nasir Khan, May 8, 2019

Over the years, many writers and public figures spoke against the victimization of a poor working class married woman. Now, finally Mrs Asia Bibi has been granted asylum in Canada, and has left her country, which the fanatic Islamist gangsters had made a hell for her and her family.

Is it possible that her case may bring some much-needed change in social practice, social attitudes and discriminatory blasphemy laws affecting the religious minorities of Pakistan? Will they be able to live freely in their country without any danger of violence and intimidation by misguided and violent Muslim mobs or some militant Islamist groups?

But first much has to change, including the blasphemy laws, the misuse of Islam by some mullahs and preachers who spread the poison of hatred and animosity against the religious minorities. In this the political and clerical establishment of the Sunnis bears a big responsibility. They are mostly the Sunni militant and terrorist groups working under different guises to serve Islam and Muslims who cause violence and spread terror.
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https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/08/asia-bibi-arrives-in-canada-after-leaving-pakistan?CMP=share_btn_fb&fbclid=IwAR2i3wU2hMmHBWDmBKRN-O-YKRi9plsafXSySgsBglktM_D_j5Bany3SV1Q



Asia Bibi arrives in Canada after leaving Pakistan

Christian woman freed last year after spending eight years on death row for blasphemy 


Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who spent eight years on death row in Pakistan for blasphemy before she was freed last year, has flown to Canada where she has reunited with her family, her lawyer has said.
“It is a big day,” Saiful Malook told the Guardian. “Asia Bibi has left Pakistan and reached Canada. She has reunited with her family. Justice has been dispensed.”
Wilson Chaudhry of the British Pakistani Christian Association said the family were living under assumed identities and with security in Canada that he expected would be beefed up with Asia’s arrival.
“I think when time moves on and tensions ease they would be living as normal people without security,” he said.
“For sure they would live with some new identities there. They would not use same identities which they have had back in Pakistan.”
The Canadian government declined to comment on the circumstances under which the family would be living in the country.
Bibi’s arrival in Canada could mark the end of a nine-year ordeal for the farm labourer whose case – based on a dubious accusation she had insulted the prophet Muhammad – became linked to the assassinations of a provincial governor and a cabinet minister and a cause célèbre among Christian and human rights activists.
She has been in protective custody since she was released from prison last year after Pakistan’s top court acquitted her of blasphemy. By the afternoon of the verdict on 31 October, demonstrators wielding clubs had blocked highways and were pelting police with stones in cities including the capital, Islamabad, and Karachi.
Islamist groups including Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP), a movement dedicated to upholding Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws, protested for three days after the verdict, paralysing parts of the country until the government struck an agreement that included a promise the case would be appealed. The supreme court upheld the acquittal in January.
Canada had offered Bibi asylum, but close friends had told the Guardian the woman was being prevented from leaving by authorities. Her children left for the country late last year.
Malook said Bibi’s safe arrival in Canada was the result of hard work by activists, foreign diplomats and others “who stood by Bibi in hard times and worked for her freedom”.
Protesters demonstrate in Karachi in November against Asia Bibi’s release
Pinterest
Protesters demonstrate in Karachi in November against Asia Bibi’s release. Photograph: Shahzaib Akber/EPA
Bibi, a Roman Catholic from the village of Ittanwala near Lahore, was accused by Muslim villagers of insulting the prophet in a row over a cup of water in June 2009. The supreme court judgment said there was no evidence to support the charge.
Five days after the altercation, a local mosque broadcast allegations she had committed blasphemy and Bibi was dragged from her home by a mob and beaten in the presence of police officers before she was taken into custody.
Bibi was sentenced to death in 2010 in what became Pakistan’s most infamous blasphemy case. She always maintained her innocence.
One of Bibi’s highest-profile supporters, the governor of Punjab Salman Taseer, was killed by one of his own security guards in January 2011 after he publicly appealed to the president of Pakistan to pardon Bibi.
Taseer was shot 27 times at close range by Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, who was showered with rose petals by supporters when he appeared in court. He was executed in 2016.
Pakistan’s first federal minister for minority affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti, who also supported Bibi and called for the reform of blasphemy laws, was killed by self-described Taliban gunmen in March 2011.
The only Christian in the cabinet at the time, Bhatti had predicted his own death and recorded a farewell tape that was released to television channels after he was killed, in which he vowed to fight for Christian and other minority rights whatever the cost.
“I will die to defend their rights,” he said on the tape released to the BBC and al-Jazeera. “These threats and these warnings cannot change my opinions and principles.”
Blasphemy is a highly inflammatory issue in Pakistan, where even unproven accusations of insulting Islam can spark lynchings. Human rights activists say blasphemy charges are frequently used to settle personal scores.
Asia Bibi
Asia Bibi had been in protective custody since her release last October. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who spent eight years on death row in Pakistan for blasphemy before she was freed last year, has flown to Canada where she has reunited with her family, her lawyer has said.
“It is a big day,” Saiful Malook told the Guardian. “Asia Bibi has left Pakistan and reached Canada. She has reunited with her family. Justice has been dispensed.”
Wilson Chaudhry of the British Pakistani Christian Association said the family were living under assumed identities and with security in Canada that he expected would be beefed up with Asia’s arrival.
“I think when time moves on and tensions ease they would be living as normal people without security,” he said.
“For sure they would live with some new identities there. They would not use same identities which they have had back in Pakistan.”
The Canadian government declined to comment on the circumstances under which the family would be living in the country.
Bibi’s arrival in Canada could mark the end of a nine-year ordeal for the farm labourer whose case – based on a dubious accusation she had insulted the prophet Muhammad – became linked to the assassinations of a provincial governor and a cabinet minister and a cause célèbre among Christian and human rights activists.
She has been in protective custody since she was released from prison last year after Pakistan’s top court acquitted her of blasphemy. By the afternoon of the verdict on 31 October, demonstrators wielding clubs had blocked highways and were pelting police with stones in cities including the capital, Islamabad, and Karachi.
Islamist groups including Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP), a movement dedicated to upholding Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws, protested for three days after the verdict, paralysing parts of the country until the government struck an agreement that included a promise the case would be appealed. The supreme court upheld the acquittal in January.
Canada had offered Bibi asylum, but close friends had told the Guardian the woman was being prevented from leaving by authorities. Her children left for the country late last year.
Malook said Bibi’s safe arrival in Canada was the result of hard work by activists, foreign diplomats and others “who stood by Bibi in hard times and worked for her freedom”.
Protesters demonstrate in Karachi in November against Asia Bibi’s release
Pinterest
Protesters demonstrate in Karachi in November against Asia Bibi’s release. Photograph: Shahzaib Akber/EPA
Bibi, a Roman Catholic from the village of Ittanwala near Lahore, was accused by Muslim villagers of insulting the prophet in a row over a cup of water in June 2009. The supreme court judgment said there was no evidence to support the charge.
Five days after the altercation, a local mosque broadcast allegations she had committed blasphemy and Bibi was dragged from her home by a mob and beaten in the presence of police officers before she was taken into custody.
Bibi was sentenced to death in 2010 in what became Pakistan’s most infamous blasphemy case. She always maintained her innocence.
One of Bibi’s highest-profile supporters, the governor of Punjab Salman Taseer, was killed by one of his own security guards in January 2011 after he publicly appealed to the president of Pakistan to pardon Bibi.
Taseer was shot 27 times at close range by Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, who was showered with rose petals by supporters when he appeared in court. He was executed in 2016.
Pakistan’s first federal minister for minority affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti, who also supported Bibi and called for the reform of blasphemy laws, was killed by self-described Taliban gunmen in March 2011.
The only Christian in the cabinet at the time, Bhatti had predicted his own death and recorded a farewell tape that was released to television channels after he was killed, in which he vowed to fight for Christian and other minority rights whatever the cost.
“I will die to defend their rights,” he said on the tape released to the BBC and al-Jazeera. “These threats and these warnings cannot change my opinions and principles.”
Blasphemy is a highly inflammatory issue in Pakistan, where even unproven accusations of insulting Islam can spark lynchings. Human rights activists say blasphemy charges are frequently used to settle personal scores.
Topics

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Israeli elections change nothing





--- Nasir Khan, April 10, 2019

Now Benjamin Netanyahu has got his mandate renewed to kill and crush the Palestinians and further expand the Zionist state in the occupied territories. Israel has the backing of the rulers of the United States and of many other countries to do whatever it wants to do with the defenseless people of Palestine. The allies of Israel will not allow anyone to stand in the way of brutal Israeli crimes against a colonized people. Such is the reality of military and political power in a world where truth and justice find no place for the victims. 

Indeed, there are many people who continue to oppose Israeli oppression and its crimes against humanity. They raise their voices in international forums, write in the news media and show their solidarity with the Palestinians. But such voices cannot stop Israeli oppression and its systematic expansion of illegal settlements in the occupied areas. The United States, along with its close allies, is the biggest obstacle in the path of justice for the Palestinians, because it neutralizes all the UN resolutions on the issue.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

The anomaly of a constitution embedded in one religion in a multi-religious country

-- Nasir Khan
 
A constitution that is partially religious and partially democratic can never be fully democratic and fair to all sections of a given society. The problem gets worse in conservative and tradition-bound societies. The Constitution of Pakistan is framed within the parameters of a religion, not all religions that exist in that country. Therefore, its exploitation by religious extremists and manipulative politicians was/is inevitable.


In a democratic society, a majority, political or religious, works and is responsible for the welfare of all. But it does not happen in this way in conservative and traditional societies.
The victimization of religious minorities in Pakistan has been a big problem, and much of it is due to a problematic constitution. As a result, Islamist extremists and Muslim fanatics can target any innocent person under false charges of blasphemy in one shape or the other, as has happened many times in Pakistan. 


The Constitution of Pakistan needs a change where the exploitation of Islam will no longer be possible. We should respect all religions and believers of such religions as in democratic countries of western Europe. 

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--------https://thediplomat.com/2019/03/how-pakistans-constitution-facilitates-blasphemy-lynching-and-forced-conversions/

How Pakistan’s Constitution Facilitates Blasphemy Lynching and Forced Conversions

Islamic supremacy, sadly, is written into Pakistan’s constitution.
By Kunwar Khuldune Shahid, March 27, 2019 
     
Over the past week, a student in Bahawalpur killed his teacher over blasphemy and two Hindu minor girls from Ghotki were kidnapped and forcibly converted to Islam before being married off. Blasphemy linked vigilante violence and forced conversion of Hindu girls not only prevail in Pakistan, but the perpetrators of these two atrocities usually enjoy complete immunity. That’s because these acts of persecution and violence are rooted in an idea that the state has failed to curtail, but instead propagated: Islamist supremacy.

According to a Human Rights Commission of Pakistan report, over 1,000 non-Muslim girls are forcibly converted to Islam every year. Meanwhile, over 4,000 blasphemy cases have been registered since 1986, with at least 75 people being extrajudicially killed over accusations of insulting Islam since 1986 – the year Sections 295-B and 295-C were added to the Pakistan Penal Code, which sanctioned the death penalty for blasphemy.

Both blasphemy lynching and forced conversion are rooted in the Islamist clauses etched in the Pakistani Constitution. These range from the preamble naming the country an “Islamic” republic and granting sovereignty to Islamic scriptures to upholding violent penalties for breaching Islamic injunctions.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
Supremacism of any form can eventually evolve into a rallying call for violence against “the others,” with this month’s Christchurch terror attack being a gory manifestation of white supremacist militancy. Similarly, violence often is a corollary of religious supremacism, as exhibited by the Hindutva surge in India and the radical Buddhists in Myanmar.

These aforementioned forms of ideological violence flourish despite the lack of legal sanction provided to them. That’s where Islamist legislation in Pakistan, and a few other Muslim countries, further adds to the vicious inertia by violently penalizing any Sharia violations.
Little wonder that the student who killed his professor for “speaking against Islam” expressed no remorse. The murderer’s interpretation of blasphemy in this case was the professor organizing a party with intermingling of male and female students.

When outraging “religious feelings” of only Muslims carries the death penalty, not only does it intrinsically subjugate other religions, but the intangibility and unquantifiability of the crime leaves it open to Islamist vigilantes.

Furthermore, in Pakistan’s case – unlike Saudi Arabia and Iran for instance – the fact that the state hasn’t judicially executed anyone for blasphemy further encourages mobs and vigilantes to take matters in their own hands. That is precisely what the Bahawalpur murderer said: He accused the state of “freeing the blasphemers,” referring to the acquittal of Christian woman Asia Bibi last year.
The blasphemy law acts as a menacing deterrent in forced conversion cases as well, given that objections to “embracing Islam” can be similarly deemed sacrilegious. Furthermore, even though most of the forced conversions are child marriage cases, the state’s reluctance to act is also rooted in the fact that 16 years remains the marriageable age for girls in many parts of the country.

Not only do Islamist groups become the biggest hindrance in legislation against child marriages and the upholding of women’s rights, attempts to ban minors’ religious conversion have similarly been shot down as “blasphemous.” Of course, any conversions in the country are one-way, for Pakistan is one of 13 Muslim states where leaving Islam, or apostasy, is punishable by death. The Islamist groups regularly cite the Sharia clauses in the Pakistani Constitution to shoot down any legislation that contradicts the narrowest interpretation of Islam.

Similarly, the ideological roots of forced conversions – most of which involve Hindu girls – can be traced to Islamic supremacism, branches of which self-manifest in the anti-Hindu bigotry etched in Pakistani curricula and mainstream narrative with the much-needed educational reforms yet to be carried out by the state.

Furthermore, given that most of these cases take place Sindh, the only Pakistani province that has established 18 as the marriageable age, even the limited action that is taken to counter the forced conversion and marriages is taken in light of Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act. That allows the state to shelve these cases as child marriages alone, ridding itself of any responsibility toward protecting the forced conversions of religious minorities.

Earlier this month the government took the historic decision of sacking a minister for exhibiting anti-Hindu bigotry. Arrests have also been made in the Ghotki sisters’ case, further hinting at the state’s intent to right its wrongs from the past.

Even so, any long-lasting change would need reforms in Pakistan’s Islamist laws. Because as long as a state upholds one religious community over the rest and imposes that majority religion’s laws on all of its citizens, it can neither truly safeguard the rights of its minorities nor can it claim to be a democracy.

Blasphemy lynching and forced conversions can only be curtailed by upholding human rights and ensuring that the civic law supersedes religious law. That, in turn, is only possible through secularization of the constitution.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

My response to someone who defends the present Israeli state

-- Nasir Khan,  March 28, 2019
If we go so long back in history, or even before the Christian era, many colonial empires rose and fell. Among them were ancient Egyptians and their control over the Middle Eastern countries. That came to an end. So was the case with the vast Persian empire or the Roman empire, Alexander's empire, the Mongol empires, etc.; they all came to an end. Over the last five centuries, the European colonization of the Americas took place. The colonial powers like Spain, Portugal, etc. lost their colonial possessions there. The British, the Dutch, the French and the Portuguese who had colonized most parts of Africa and Asia finally had to give up their colonies.

The colonial-settler state of Zionists that came into being with the help of British imperialists will also come to an end. It does not mean the people will disappear, but the power of this colonial Zionist state which closely follows the former South African colonial model of Apartheid system will not last forever. Hitler's Third Reich did not last a thousand years, as Hitler has thought it would. The Zionist state will not last thousand years either, if we can draw some lessons and conclusions from history.