Tuesday, April 8, 2008

200 Women, Children rescued from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ

April 6, 2008 11:12 a.m. EST

Eldorado, TX (AHN)-- Some 200 women and children have been evacuated from the West Texas retreat owned by polygamist leader Warren Jeffs since Friday, but local authorities are still on the lookout for other members,including the 16-year-old girl whose abuse complaint triggered the massive operations.

Allison Palmer, assistant district attorney for the 51st Judicial District, said state troopers, child protection services and emergency personnel came in prepared for the worst case scenario since searching the temple presented a possible point of contention with the sect members, who don't allow nonbelievers inside.

Fortunately the days-long effort ended with neither injuries or violence. Authorities and Child Protective Service workers have begun interviewing the 46 young women and 137 children who have been removed from the complex so far. CPS official Marleigh Meisner said 18 of the children have been placed in state care because they either had been abused or were in imminent danger of abuse.

"We're really, really trying to be aware that their whole world has changed. We're trying to be sensitive to the fact that we've taken them from their surroundings," Meisner told the Houston Chronicle in an interview.

Also on Saturday, a San Angelo-based prosecutor said a man named in a Texas search and arrest warrant was being questioned by police in another state.

The warrant was issued after authorities received reports that the man had married the now 16-year-old girl who tipped the CPS off on the plight of women living inside the YFZ ranch. The girl is said to have an 8-month-old baby.

On Friday, police and the CPS served warrants at the 1,700-acre property located 160 miles northwest of San Antonio, following the girl's complaint.

The ranch, named Yearning For Zion, houses members of the 10,000-strong Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It has been led by 52-year-old Warren Jeffs since 2002. The group is one of several that broke away after the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints renounced polygamy in 1890.

Jeffs is currently imprisoned in Kingman, Arizona, awaiting trial on charges of being an accomplice to four counts of incest and sexual conduct with a minor.

He was sentenced on similar charges in November to two consecutive sentences of five years to life in prison in Utah.

Mayawati jealous of Rahul's successful visits: Congress

The Congress on Monday hit back at BSP chief Mayawati for her allegation that Rahul Gandhi takes bath with a "special soap" after his visit to Dalit homes, saying she was "jealous" and "scared" of the "extremely successful" visits of the young leader.

"I might not use such language as some other person or party. They are jealous and scared of the extremely successful visits of Rahul Gandhi," AICC spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters.

"Instead of shedding crocodile tears for such groups, Rahul Gandhi has shown true concern for them," he said.

In a new low in the war of words with Congress, the UP Chief Minister claimed that Gandhi takes bath with a "special soap" after his visits to Dalit homes.

"I don't want to react in the same idiom and make the same choice of words which have been used because I don't believe in this. I believe that in democracy there must be dignity of discourse," Singhvi said.

He said if Gandhi's "extremely successful" 'yatras' is causing alarm and "stomachache" to someone or some political party, then "I could only say it reflects their own inherited insecurity and does not have anything to do with Rahul Gandhi, who in a very candid, sincere, and an open person."

Monday, April 7, 2008

Let's worry about Islamofascism : Kanchan Gupta (Pioneer)

Daily Pioneer

The resolution adopted by Muslim theologians representing the various schools of Islam at the All-India Anti-terrorism Conference organised by Darul Uloom, Deoband, 'denouncing' terrorism but condoning radical Islam's ghastly excesses, apart from remaining silent on Islamist terrorism in India which continues to extract a terrible price, is of a piece with the Observatory Report on Islamophobia released by the Organisation of Islamic Conference at its recent meeting in Dakar, Senegal. Both documents seek to justify manufactured Muslim rage and lay the blame for the resultant death and destruction at the doors of everybody else but Muslims.

It is ironical that Darul Uloom, Deoband, should have taken it upon itself to preach to others the virtues of tolerance - Deobandis are known for neither tolerating others or their faith nor allowing Muslims the freedom to subscribe to modernism and its attendant values. Indeed, Deobandi madarsas at home and abroad, especially in Pakistan, are known to breed Islamofascists whose dark thoughts and darker deeds generate Islamophobia against which the OIC has demanded an international law. Of course, Islamofascism must remain unrestrained and Islamofascists must be allowed the right to practice their ideology of hate. To contest this would amount to Islamophobia, and Islamophobes, as we have now been told, have no right to exist. So, like the proverbial lamb, we should meekly surrender to our slaughter. The least we can do is believe the bogus declaration issued by mullahs who gathered at Darul Uloom, Deoband.

Here's a confession: There was a time of innocence when I believed in the thesis that there is more than one Islam. There were those with whom you could swap ideas, share jokes and even the cup that cheers. A decade later, during which time I spent three years in Cairo and travelled more than once into the heart of Islam - well, almost, since non-Muslims are not allowed beyond Jeddah, the gateway to Mecca and Medina - I stand converted to the view that any talk of there being a moderate Islam or Islam as a religion of peace merely because of the salutation sa'laam is so much bunkum.

In any event, the ummah sees Islam as a religion that demands absolute submission, which is not really the same as a religion that is predicated on peace and equality. And although the Quran does not stress on compulsion, it does not overflow with kindness towards those who do not submit to god's will either. The best they can hope for is to be protected by a treaty (dhimmah), which in this day and age would mean unlimited appeasement, and the privileges of the dhimmi are purchased by paying jiziya apart from humiliating conditions of subservience, for instance communal budgeting and a 'Muslim first' policy, as is being done in our country.

The manufactured rage over Pope Benedictine's comments at a German university about how the Sword of Islam cleared the way for Islam's march beyond Arabia - he was quoting from an obscure Byzantine text - revived memories of the late Aurobindo Ghosh (he spent his last years waging an intellectual battle against Islamofascism from his perch in Texas) and his painstaking research to prove that Islam and peace never co-existed; that the sword of Islam is as much a reality today as it was in the distant past. In a sense, he was right, as much as the Byzantine text the Pope quoted is correct in pitilessly stating a fact that we tend to overlook in our zeal to draw distinctions between moderate and fanatical Islam to cover up for the crimes of the latter more than anything else.

Indeed, India's history records this fact in the most lurid colours. The mass slaughter of Hindu men and enslavement of Hindu women and children, the destruction of Hindu antiquities and temples (of which the best examples are Somnath, Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura), the brutal efforts to efface Hindu tradition and the rapacious means adopted to expand the frontiers of Islamic rule - Jadunath Sarkar and RC Majumdar have chronicled how Muslim invaders, and later those who sat on the masnad of Delhi, were relentlessly engaged in waging jihad against Hindus - are too well-known to require elaboration.

The bloodletting in Jammu & Kashmir, the ethnic cleansing of the Valley to lay the foundation of Nizam-e-Mustafa, the bombings in Mumbai and elsewhere, the persecution of Hindus in Bangladesh and Malaysia by preachers of fanatical Islam who have now come to dominate the centrestage of politics in those countries and the pathetic, craven approach of accommodation and concession adopted by the political class of India which was, and continues to be, reluctant to confront the truth, should fashion any honest critique of Islamism and highlight its fascist character. This is not about indulging in Islamophobia, which so agitates the OIC and its cheerleaders, but about coming to grips with the true dimensions of Islamofascism, which should be of over-riding concern for those who believe in freedom and cherish the values of modernism that collectively form the foundation of free and plural societies.

Yes, there will be strident criticism and staunch opposition to any attempt to expose Islamofascism for what it is. And the most strident criticism and the staunchest opposition will not come from the OIC and the mullahs of Darul Uloom, Deoband, but from those who wilfully ignore facts to foist fiction which encourages bigoted hate mongers to typecast those who are appalled by Islamofascism as Islamophobes. The protest will primarily come from two quarters:

  • The Lib-Left intelligentsia, which continues to labour under the self-perpetuating myth that all of Islam is a religion of peace and only an insignificant, fringe minority is to be blamed for distorting the great faith that was born in the sterile sands of Arabia; and,
  • The so-called moderate Muslims who till now have skilfully used doublespeak to position themselves as representatives of the ummah, more so in liberal democracies. Their status is now seriously threatened by those who have no hesitation in acknowledging the true nature of Islam both as a faith and a weapon of subjugation.
Those who believe in liberty and freedom of thought need not fear either. Being charged with Islamophobia is a small price to pay for securing our future.