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Muslim scholar’s plan for a militia to fight global jihad

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I’m not sure if the name Maulana Syed Salman Hussaini Nadvi will ring a bell in many places. My own first reaction when I heard it was “Nadvi, who?”

But apparently he is a big cheese in Islamic circles.An influential theologian and author of numerous scholarly tomes in Urdu and Arabic, Nadvi is Dean of the Faculty of Shariah at Darul Uloom Nadwa, Lucknow, whose reputation as a premier institution of Islamic teaching ranks in the same class as Darul Uloom, Deoband. He is also a member of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board and Aligarh Muslim University’s court, its highest decision-making body.

So, what he says matters and carries weight. It is important to stress this because what he has done has shocked even conservative Muslims. Nadvi has written a long and passionate letter (in Arabic!) to the Saudi government offering to raise a militia of 500,000 Sunni Muslim Indian youth as his contribution to a “powerful global Islamic army” he has proposed in order to fight Shia militants in Iraq and “help Muslims in need” elsewhere. The army would become part of a Caliphate that he wants Saudis to set up for the Muslim ummah, the international Muslim community.

He also suggested that terrorists should not be referred to as terrorists as they were engaged in a “noble cause’’ and called for a “confederation’’ of all jihadi organisations so that they could transform themselves into a single “powerful global force”.

Earlier, Nadvisent fawning greetings to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the notorious Sunni militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and self-appointed caliph of a sharia administration he has set up along Iraq- Syria border.

Nadvi is the only Asian theologian of to have recognised Bagdhadi’s “Caliphate’’. But it is his offer of raising an Indian Muslim militia to fight on foreign lands which has caused a stir even in the normally complacent Muslim quarters as it comes amid mounting concern over the increasing radicalisation of young Indian Muslims who had far defied the global Islamisation trend.

Reports that four educated middle class Mumbai Muslim boys (two engineering students, one medical student, and a call centre worker) have fled the country to join jihadisfighting a vicious sectarian war in Iraq and Syria have deepened concerns about home-grown Muslim extremism and put the entire community under the scanner.

It now seems so long ago when the then US President George W. Bush hailed Manmohan Singh as the leader of the “most fascinating democracy in the world” pointing out that al-Qaeda hadn’t been able to “recruit a single Indian Muslim”. And The Washington Post commented that India’s s “large and tolerant” Muslim population “may serve as an ally against Islamic militancy”.
Suddenly, questions are being asked whether Indian Muslims are going the way of Pakistani youth. There are fears that what has started as a trickle with four Mumbai boys could turn into a “flood’’ if not nipped in the bud immediately. The Biju Janata Dal leader Jay Panda rightly reminded us of the Pakistani experience pointing out how “their youth got involved in jihadist activities, later on they came back and started hunting their own country’’.

Nadvi’s action, not surprisingly played up by the Urdu press which has its own sectarian agenda, is certain to encourage extremist elements already engaged in brainwashing and radicalising Muslim youth. There is a view that Nadvi may have broken Indian laws against inciting terror and there have been calls for an investigation into his conduct and for him to be stripped of his Indian nationality.

“The worrying thing for me is that this is not just his view. There are many takers for this view. If he is promising to put together an army of five lakh Muslim youth from the Indian sub-continent, essentially India, as he has no influence anywhere else, is he just making a tall claim? Only proper investigation can reveal,’’ wrote Sultan Shahin editor of the progressiveNewAge Islam website which published the text of Nadvi’s letter, both in Arabic and in English translation.

He pointed out that what Nadvi effectively wanted was for Saudi Arabia to “organise a Khilafat for the Muslim Umma, the global Muslim community, which would have a world Islamic Army in which he would contribute five lakh Muslim youth from India’’.

“He says there is no need for recruiting youth from among the messed up youth of the Gulf, when you can find them right here. This army would stand behind Muslims wherever they are in trouble. He wishes that terrorists should not be called terrorists and thus antagonised. They are sincere Muslim youth fighting for a noble cause. There should be a confederation of Jihadi organisations active across the Islamic world midwifed by Ulema who should help them hold a dialogue among themselves so they come together and iron out their differences and emerge as one powerful global force.’’

At the best of times, such conduct should be a matter of concern because it amounts to exporting terror but it becomes even more alarming in the current climate with a full scale bloody conflict raging across the Muslim world.

Ask Nadwi about his daft and dangerous proposal, and I’m sure he would do what all fundamentalists do–resort to some Islamic justification by selectively quoting the Qur’an and Hadith (compilation of Prophet Mohammad’s sayings and teachings).Believe it or not, there are people who cite Hadith to claim that a male child’s urine is purer than a girl child’s!

Can it get any more absurd than this? Yet such claims, citing unreliable and inauthentic Qur’anic verses and the Prophet’s sayings are routinely made on Islamist websites making a mockery of Islam. The reason they get away with it is because the Qur’anic text is hugely ambiguous and often contradictory, allowing people to cherry- pick to back their argument. Likewise, the Prophet ‘s sayings are too numerous and were uttered in vastly different situations. It is easy to manipulate them by plucking them out without context—such as the claim over the relative purity of a male child’s urine vis- a-vis a female’s. Islamic theology is full of inauthentic Hadith. Even many authentic Hadith have been found to be flawed because of misinterpretation or contextual mistakes.

Coming back to Nadvi, it will not be easy to dismiss his behaviour as the act of a mad mullah. Because, as I pointed out, he is no ordinary clergy but a highly respected figure. And so is the institution he represents. What is particularly disturbing if it is true, as Shahin points out, that Nadvi’s view is widely shared by mainstream Muslims.

My own sense is that moderate opinion is far more widespread than there is public evidence for it. But moderate Muslims are reluctant to speak up for a variety of reasons. One is the fear of playing into the hands of Hindu Right. Second, most Muslims don’t have sufficient knowledge of Islam to challenge those who invoke Islamic teachings to justify their actions. Third, many simply want to get on with their lives instead of sticking their neck out.

But time for such excuses is over. If Muslims are serious about rescuing whatever remains of moderate Islam from the jihadi mafia which is acquiring ever more menacing teeth with each passing day, they cannot remain passive spectators any longer.

Canadian News

Joint statement from the Greater Toronto Area & Hamilton Mayors and Chairs

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford, left, and Toronto Mayor John Tory
Ontario Premier Doug Ford, left, and Toronto Mayor John Tory take part in a candlelit vigil to honour the victims of a deadly shooting in Toronto on Wednesday July 25, 2018. Ten-year-old Julianna Kozis of Markham, Ont., and 18-year-old Reese Fallon of Toronto were killed in Sunday's shooting attack, and 13 other people were injured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

We are united in fighting COVID-19 – protecting our residents and saving lives.

While the measures we have taken to stop the spread of the virus have made a difference, this virus has still taken far too many lives in our communities and continues to threaten the lives of our residents.

At the same time, there is no denying the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the economy. Jobs have been lost, many businesses have closed or are at risk of closure, and many families are worried about their financial future.

We’ve been hit hard but that’s why it is so important that we keep moving forward and come back as strong as possible.

Today, the GTHA Mayors and Chairs met to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on the region and how our municipalities can work together on the economic restart and recovery.

We know the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area alone is projected to lose 355,000 jobs and 28% of GDP along with $894 million in lost wages and $3.7 billion in revenue losses for businesses. This will be felt right across the GTHA but it also threatens the provincial and national economies.

A strong recovery right here in the GTHA is crucial to healing the economic damage done by COVID-19 and helping the families and businesses all governments have been working to protect throughout this emergency.

Ontario’s economy and Canada’s economy need the GTHA to come back stronger than ever when the restart begins.

We are determined to deliver this recovery and we agreed today that the GTHA municipalities will be working together to successfully and smoothly reopen our vital regional economy when the time comes.

We also discussed how we can in a consistent way achieve significant, necessary financial support from the other governments to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and protect our ability to contribute to the recovery. A strong recovery needs strong cities and regional governments.

We have agreed we will work together to share information about our respective financial positions and explore together measures we can advocate to the other governments which will help to ensure the financial stability of local and regional governments in the GTHA.

Our child care and recreation programs help parents get back to work.

Our emergency services keep people safe.

Our transit systems get people to work and home safely.

Our major infrastructure projects – often built in conjunction with the other governments – will help kick-start the recovery and create countless jobs.

Our economic development activities attract jobs and investment.

We built a strong and vibrant GTHA and we know that we will need to come back even stronger and as quickly as we can in order to keep Canada’s economy going.

With the cooperation and support of the provincial and federal governments, we are ready to rise to this challenge.”

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Canadian News

Four People Charged in Mississauga Pedestrian Fail to Remain Fatality

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Investigators from the Major Collision Bureau have charged four people in Mississauga’s most recent fatal fail to remain collision.

On Thursday, February 15, 2018, at approximately 8:40 p.m., the victim, a 61 year-old female from Mississauga, was struck by a south bound vehicle as she was crossing Mavis Road in the area of Knotty Pine Grove in the City of Mississauga. The vehicle did not remain and the victim, having suffered major injuries, was pronounced dead at the scene.

On Saturday, February 17, 2018 shortly before 7:00 p.m., Satchithanantha VAITHILINGAM, a 60 year-old male from Brampton, and the driver believed to be responsible in this incident, surrendered to police at 22 Division. Satchithanantha VAITHILINGAM has since been charged with Fail to Remain Cause Death.

Hivissa SATCHITHANANTHAN, a 25 year old female from Brampton, Shajeetha SATCHITHANANTHAN a 28 year-old female from Brampton and Gowtham SATKUNARAJAH a 28 year-old male from Brampton have each been charged with Accessory After the Fact in relation to this incident.

Satchithanantha VAITHILINGAM will answer to his charge on March 12, 2018. Hivissa SATCHITHANANTHAN, Shajeetha SATCHITHANANTHAN andGowtham SATKUNARAJAH will answer to their charges on Monday March 26, 2018 at the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton

Anyone who may have witnessed the collision, have dashboard video footage of the incident or who may have any information regarding this incident is asked to contact investigators with the Major Collision Bureau at (905) 453-2121, ext. 3710. Information may also be left anonymously by calling Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or by visiting www.peelcrimestoppers.ca or by sending a text message to CRIMES (274637) with the word ‘PEEL’ and then your tip.

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Canadian News

Justin Trudeau in India: Hug missing! Mounting pressure?

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The much publicized and anticipated visit of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to India was marred with questions. The questions were centered on the kind of welcome he would be given in the Sikh dominated state of Punjab. Also the famous hug by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was being anticipated. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finally made his much-touted visit to India. He landed on the Indira Gandhi Airport, New Delhi only to be received by Gajendra Singh Shekhawat not even a Cabinet Minister in Narendra Modi’s government.

He is presently the second rank Minister of State for Agriculture.  That comes in complete contrast to the warmth that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his NDA government has generally displayed towards the visiting dignitaries.  Only a couple of weeks ago, when the heads of the 10 ASEAN states arrived in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn’t receive Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the airport, as he has previously done with many leaders including Barack Obama, Xi Jinping, Shinzo Abe, and Benjamin Netanyahu.

The fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn’t join him is all surprising even when Prime Minister Trudeau visited Gujarat. This is unusual because the Indian Prime Minister has set a trend that he always accompanies head of the state when they visit his home state.

Even Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath did not show up, let alone accompany Prime Minister Trudeau to the Taj. However, during Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s 15 January visit to the Taj Mahal at Agra, Yogi Adityanath had received Netanyahu and his wife and shown them around as well as hosted a lunch for them. For first three days, none from the executive or the elected representative held any meeting with the delegation.

Media in India is trying to spread a message that the cold treatment given by Prime Minister could be because two of the four Sikh members of Trudeau’s cabinet – Harjit Sajjan and Amarjeet Sohi – support the Khalistan movement. However, had that been the case his visit to Punjab would have got a similar response.  However, the Punjab Government led by Captain Amarinder Singh rolled out a red carpet during his stay at Amritsar and even the two leaders held some fruitful discussions.

Thus putting an end to those criticisms that that Prime Minister Trudeau’s visit was devoid of any warmth.  Chief Minister of Punjab Amarinder Singh, for instance who met Prime Minister Justin Trudeau setting aside his earlier prejudice that he exhibited during the visit of Defence Minister Harjeet Singh Sajjan.

In recent months, Gurudwaras (Sikh temples) in Canada, the United States and Australia have banned Indian officials from visiting gurudwaras and the moment started with Gurudwaras here in Toronto. Could that be the reason for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to not accord one of the warmest welcomes that he is known to provide?  Or the use by Canada’s parliament of the term genocide to describe mass killings of Sikhs in India in 1984 has left the Indian Prime Minister disturbed?  However, more than Prime Minister Modi, this could have left the Congress party in troubled waters, but that was also not the case as Amarinder Singh hails from the same party.

The lukewarm welcome to Prime Minister Trudeau can have its political ramifications too. Will it hamper the significant 2015 deal, in which Canada agreed to supply 3,000 metric tons of Uranium to power India’s atomic reactors?

Somewhere Prime Minister Modi has not taken the issue of non allowing entry of Indian officials to Gurudwaras and the statement on Genocide too lightly. Prime Minister Modi however has failed to understand that Canada cannot curtail the right of freedom of speech and expression of its citizen.

Two nations perhaps failed to resolve the matter before Prime Minister boarded the flight from Canada and not welcoming Prime Minister Trudeau could be a tactical decision to put pressure on him. With Prime Minister Modi preferring to meet him at the far end of the tour has conveyed a lot about the myopic approach of Prime Minister Modi.

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