A little girl clambers up her mother’s shoulder to catch a glimpse of Karnataka chief minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, as he arrives at Mudalapur in Koppal district on Wednesday during his visit of drought-hit areas.
Photograph: Karnataka Photo News
A little girl clambers up her mother’s shoulder to catch a glimpse of Karnataka chief minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, as he arrives at Mudalapur in Koppal district on Wednesday during his visit of drought-hit areas.
Photograph: Karnataka Photo News
Between the final procession and the actual immersion, an idol of the four-armed one undergoes a minor transformation, in Karwar on Tuesday.
Photograph: Karnataka Photo News
Near and dear ones, and doctors, give the scholar Pandit Puttaraj Gawai company at the Veereshwara Punyaashrama in Gadag on Tuesday.
The 96-year-old Hindustani and Carnatic instrumentalist and vocalist—an embodiment of a life devoted to art, culture, literature and learning—is in critical condition and on ventilator, at the ashram founded by his guru, Ganayogi Panchakshara Gawai.
Pandit Gawai, who had initially admitted to the KLE hospital in Belgaum, was shifted to the ashram in Gadag, as he had made it clear that he wanted to be with the destitute children, visually impaired children and children belonging to poor families, whose home it is, when the end came.
Photograph: Karnataka Photo News
All the world may pine for rains in summer, but if there is one lot that just hates it, it is young boys dealing in willow and leather.
In Malleshwaram in Bangalore on Thursday, a few young guns cover the turf and zip up their kits after the drizzle plays spoilsport with their most vicious plans for the day.
Photograph: Karnataka Photo News
It takes a particular genius to feel offended by a piece of art instead of the reality it mirrors.
Several students of Indian origin have been clobbered in Australia in an unceasing (and unacceptable) wave of attacks over the last few months; one of them even being killed last week. Yet, the response from both countries is beyond comical; it’s tragic to the point of being farcical.
Instead of telling the Aussies to “rack off, you bloody bonzers“, Indian foreign minister S.M. Krishna buffers up like a slow, dial-up modem, nods in agreement with what he is about to say, counsels Indian parents not to send their children for hair styling and facial courses, and cautions the media against “frenzied reporting”.
Australia instead of tightening security to reassure students, is happy to take truckloads of journalists on a junket to generate some good PR. Meanwhile, its acting prime minister, Julia Gillard, takes offence, not at the killing of a young man, but at this newspaper cartoon which she admits she hasn’t seen!
Cartoon: courtesy Prasad Radhakrishnan/ Mail Today
Also read: L’affaire Mohammed Haneef
ASHWINI A. writes: Strange is Dr Mohammed Haneef‘s demand for honorary Australian Citizenship, but stranger still is the statement of his publicity-savvy lawyer Peter Russo about Indians in general.
Just 10 days in India and Peter Russo seems to have gained expertise on the attitudes of Indians.
An Indian Express story quotes the know-all Russo as saying, “You’ve got to understand the Indians’ mentality—the mentality is to sue,” Russo said on ABC radio. “I didn’t realise that until I got over there and started talking to some of the relatives. But he specifically hasn’t asked me to sue,” he said.
If anything suing is hardly never an option for Indians simply because our laws in this regard suck. Suing is more the profession of western lawyers and we have heard stories of people in West—especially in US—making a living of it. Given this, Peter Russo’s statement is strange and it very insulting. He is perhaps talking about Dr Haneef’s attitude and not necessarily Indians.
The Australian Prime Minister John Howard‘s reaction to this rather bizzare demand is apt: “I won’t be doing that. There is no case for that to occur… but he wouldn’t be the sort of person you’d make an honorary Australian.”
Australia’s immigration minister Kevin Andrews has just released selected transcripts of Bangalore doctor Mohammed Haneef‘s conversation in an internet chatroom with his brother in Bangalore the afternoon before he was arrested in Brisbane while flying out to India with a one-way ticket.
Evidence which the minister claims suggests that Haneef had prior knowledge of the failed suicide bomb attack on Glasgow Airport by his cousin Kafeel Ahmed.
“In it, the brother of (Dr) Haneef says ‘nothing has been found out about you’ and asked when Dr Haneef would be getting out, to which (Dr) Haneef replied ‘today’.
“The brother asked whether he had permission to take leave and what he told the (Gold Coast) hospital.
“Dr Haneef said he told them his baby was born in an emergency caesarean. The brother told him to ‘tell them that you have to as you have a daughter born, do not tell them anything else’.
“The brother then said not to delay his departure and not to let anyone else use his number in Australia, nor to give it to anyone.
“The brother added that ‘auntie’ told him that brother Kafeel used it, he’s in some sort of project over there,” Mr Andrews said, in a reference to UK bombing accused Kafeel Ahmed…”
Read the full story here: Andrews documents Haneef suspicions
He is free, he is back, he is enjoying his new-born daughter’s warmth and innocence, he is planning an outing far from the madding crowd, and he is weighing his options over his career and future. But what is it that Dr Mohammed Haneef should do next?
Prakash Nanda in today’s Deccan Herald has a suggestion.
“Now it is the turn of Haneef to do something for his country and religion. As a true Indian and a proud Muslim, he must publicly condemn the likes of his cousins, Kafeel and Sabeel Ahmed, who plotted, unsuccessfully though, terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom. Such an open condemnation will go a long way in neutralising the rapidly growing worldwide belief that Islam, as a religion, is synonymous with international terrorism….
“Of course, terrorists are found in all religions… However, there is a fundamental difference. Unlike terrorists of other religions, Islamic terrorists, invariably, justify their actions in the name of their religion. And unlike terrorists of other religions, whose goals are political and country-specific, Islamic terrorists have an international dimension.
“Haneef will do a great service by raising his voice against the xenophobiac Wahabiyism that is dividing not only the Indians but also the other “world citizens”. “
Read the full article: What Haneef should do
Christopher Hitchens: Why are we so scared of offending Muslims?
SUNAAD RAGHURAM writes: All is not too well in the immense country of Australia. Or so it seems.
A country that is known as much for venom spewing, bad mouthing cricketers who always try their best to stamp their supremacy on the cricket field, also has some grossly inefficient investigators and law enforcers. Or so it seems.
L’affaire Haneef has done to media headlines and television sound bytes in our country what even the tectonic shifting of Mount Everest probably cannot do. Or perhaps ten dozen tsunamis pounding the coasts of the world in one go!
One man gets detained in the wake of a terror attack. He cries out that he is innocent and obviously, so do his lawyers. A few weeks later, after the world, and mainly India, has been fed by the media, even the minutest twists and turns to the case, and the complete unabridged utterances of the dramatis personae, he is a free man.
The very basis of the practice of jurisprudence, anywhere in the world for that matter, obviously, unequivocally, states that no innocent man or woman or child should ever be punished. And seemingly, justice for Dr Mohammed Haneef came soon enough; his ‘thumbs up’ sign as he emplaned for Bangalore, saying it all.
Amidst the high drama the Australian authorities opened the curtain to; amidst the Indian media’s 24×7 kind of interest in the case; amidst the ‘vigil’ kept up by a brigade of reporters at the Bangalore residence of Haneef, which enabled us all to read the reports of who went in and who didn’t come out for how long—with the reporters just merely barely falling short of telling us the colour of the milk coupon for the day that was exchanged at the gate; amidst Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s inability to sleep well at night because one Indian was wrongly confined in a foreign prison; amidst the Indian government’s request to Australia to treat Haneef in total fairness; I simply cannot push an extraordinarily overpowering thought that has rendered me sleepless in Mysore for quite a long period indeed.
The thought of the media’s obsession with one case of wrongful detention, which without a shade of doubt shouldn’t have been ignored or condoned, but nevertheless definitely didn’t warrant an almost maniacal, quite ridiculously high powered focus, almost by the minute; so much so, that every single newspaper and television channel, made it look like highlighting the Haneef case was their very reason to exist as organisational entities.
To put it mildly, churumuri.com too is not innocent of the charge.
Who on this great earth should be telling the media that there are more Indians that one cannot perhaps even take count of, in various jails, ranging from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, from Tihar to Bihar to Kolar, just to name a few, who have been incarcerated in the most inhuman and devastatingly shocking conditions without even a remote possibility of a trial?
Who should be informing the media that among these sad, unfortunate set of human beings, a large percentage of them are completely innocent and mostly wrongly framed, either because of their misfortune which gave them a poverty ridden womb to take births in or as it happens so often in India, because of their so-called lower caste?
Who is there to tell the media that even these wretched men and women have families—mothers and brothers and sisters and fathers—who pine for their return and shed silent tears of angst and helplessness and frustration somewhere in the dingy confines of their ill lit huts? In some forsaken part of our country. Abandoned by god and law alike. With no hope of deliverance or release or liberation?
Where are all the members of civil liberties groups, and human rights activists; the kind of men and women who almost lost their voices in their quest to shout for justice for one man, Haneef; who do not deem it their duty to do the same for tens of thousands of others who have met the same fate as the doctor from Bangalore? In the jails of our land as also a few jails outside of our land?
Does the media have a conscience at all or is it just a question of taking back to the office some juicy, sensational paragraphs to write or video grabs to be aired for the world to revel in for the day?
The attention to the Haneef case bordered on a sort of pathological obsession, a kind of uncontrollable desire to beat the same tune from the same drum, while the sepulchral strains of a funereal dirge could be distantly heard from the cells of prisons around the country or elsewhere, where surely lie huddled, more than a bunch of men and women, all as much Indians as Haneef, miserable and lost, and plainly alive in body but shattered in soul. Withered and wasted.
Good night, Mr. Prime Minister.
Cross-posted on sans serif
The return of Dr Mohammed Haneef after four weeks in custody following a botched “terror” probe has sparked a new controversy: should—or should not—Australia apologise for the bungle? Australian Prime Minister John Howard has ruled out saying sorry: “Australia will not be apologising to Dr Haneef. He was not victimised. Mistakes happen from time to time and when dealing with terrorism, it is better safe than to be sorry.” Australia’s foreign minister Alexander Downer too has justified the screw-up: “What do you expect the police to do, fall on the ground and grovel? Eat dirt?”
But Haneef’s laywer Peter Russo has said an apology might not be out of place and Queensland premier Peter Beattie has said that Australia must issue a “formal apology” if the inquiry into the case found nothing. The United Indian Association and the Overseas and Australian Medical Graduates Association too have asked the government to apologise to the 230,000-strong Indian community in print and electronic media without any further delay to ensure that there will be no snowballing effect of the backlash on the community.
Questions: Should Australia say “We are sorry” at the highest level? Should India insist on it so that the right signal is sent out that the human rights of its citizens cannot be trampled upon so brazenly? Is it so humiliating for Australia to say sorry if a mistake has been made? Could it cement better relations between Indians and Australians? Or in the name of the war on terror, should civility like civil liberties be thrown out of the window?
P. Mahamud in today’s Deccan Herald captures the Australian Police delivery even the Sheikh of Tweak, Shane Warne, hasn’t bowled yet: the ball that goes to the batsman as a legbreak—and then spins back to the bowler as an offbreak.
The dramatic but not unexpected decision of the Australian police to drop all charges of terrorism against Mohammed Haneef is the best piece of news a Friday morning could have brought for the family of the Mudigere-born doctor. And it is sweet vindication for his wife Arshiya who has consistently maintained her husband’s innocence.
But the decision, exactly 25 days after he was picked up with a one-way ticket for a flight back home, is also a valuable lesson for an increasingly suspicious world that is quick to condemn, conclude and hang. Here, then, are eight lessons we can pick up from the arrest, release, continued detention, and eventual exoneration of a son of Karnataka on a faraway continent.
8. Thank god for the media and judiciary: The war on terror has emasculated the legislature and the executive in democracies across the world. The judiciary is the only pillar preventing the war from getting totally farcical. And if it weren’t for the Australian media, especially the stellar role played by The Australian, Haneef’s civil liberties would have been sealed and sold to the lowest common denominator by now.
7. Human rights are global: The right to a dignified life is not the exclusive privilege of the rich, white or those of the right religion or language. It is everybody’s. Men and women; rich and poor; white, black and brown; Christian, Hindu and Muslim. This is not about pseudo-secularism—it’s about being human and reacting as humans, not as hate-spewing, scare-mongering pseudo-nationalists.
6. Common sense isn’t quite so common after all: Even Haneef’s newborn baby, Haniya Kulthum, would have had a simple explanation for his SIM card or his one-way ticket back home, but who in his right uniform likes to listen to a newborn baby even if it’s talking common sense when there is an asymmetrical global “war” without an end in sight to fight?
5. White police are no better than ours: Discrepancies between the Australian police interrogation transcript and their affidavit in court show that the slick efficiency of white cops is only in Hollywood flicks and they are no better or worse than their brown and black counterparts. And that white, brown or black, police have an pavlovian ability to do their political masters’ bidding.
4. Politicians will do anything to stay in power: White politicians haven’t descended from the high heavens. They too are in the game for power, pelf and profit, and will do anything to ensure their continued supply. Godhra magically happened just when Narendra Modi was about to face an election. Mohammed Haneef happened when John “Adolf Hilter” Howard was going for an election.
3. Stand up, speak up, be heard: Indian public opinion has been unduly subdued and cautious in the Haneef case. Partly because of the fear of being proved wrong, largely because of the religious hatred that the pseudo-nationalists have injected in us. But if you can’t find your spine even if—especially when—it doesn’t concern you, when the facts stare you in the face, maybe you should consult your doctor.
2. Terror laws are a joke, here, there, everywhere, anywhere: Any law which allows civilians to be picked up on the flimsiest of pretexts, to be released when nothing is found, and then threatens him with a jail sentence if he tells the world what he underwent in custody means you are just a pawn in a larger game against a faceless enemy. Fear nobody in questioning the mockery of your civil liberties.
And, finally, the biggest lesson from l’affaire Mohammed Haneef is not a cliche, after all.
1. You are innocent until proved guilty: Nothing is what it seems from the outside in the modern world. There are layers and then there are layers. Talk is cheap, but it pays not to prejudge; not to jump to a conclusion that someone else, playing on your fears and fantasies, has cooked up for you. It isn’t over till the fat lady has sung.
Read churumuri.com‘s full coverage here: L’affaire Haneef
The involvement of doctors in the failed attacks in London and Glasgow last month evoked shock worldwide. Eboo Patel writes on Slate that this was the whole idea.
“In traditional, territorial war, the enemy is obvious, and the mission is clear: Kill the guys with red helmets, capture that hill. In asymmetrical, ideological war, it is hard to tell friend from foe… It is a type of macabre magic intended to create the illusion of enemies everywhere.”
Terror groups have shown that poor, uneducated people—even children—are perfectly capable of carrying out terrorist attacks. So, why go to the trouble of recruiting doctors and teachers?
“Because middle-class professional terrorists play a trick on people’s psychology. The instinct of “I can’t believe that a doctor would do this” quickly morphs into, “You can’t trust any of those Muslims.” For some people, this provokes open season on Muslims. Mosques are torched, Muslim kids are beaten up at school, women in headscarves are harassed, the Prophet Mohammed is depicted in a despicable manner.”
Read the full article here: Is your Muslim doctor your enemy?
An interesting piece in today’s Melbourne Age, based on the transcript of Mohammed Haneef‘s interrogation by the Australian police, says it is illuminative of the “ill-lit gulf of misunderstanding that exists between the hugely different cultures of the East and West”.
Dr Haneef can speak English, and the interrogation takes place in English. But, writes Sushi Das, “good communication is not just about literally understanding the words spoken, but also about detecting the nuances embroidered in those words.”
“The police struggle to understand Haneef’s family connections. They also appear to lack a rudimentary understanding of basic terms. Haneef explains he is a Muslim. To work out if he is Sunni or Shiite, the policeman asks: “You said you were Islam, do you ascribe to any sort of strain?”
“Perhaps it’s just the oddity of spoken words written down, but an understanding of Islam as the religion and a Muslim as a follower of that religion might have made for sharper communication. Later, Haneef tries to explain the concept of Mufeed—a club of doctors who get together to socialise.
“Asked whether the word is Indian or Arabic, Haneef says it means “something beneficial”, adding “It’s, that’s it from Udo …” “So it’s an Udo?” asks the policeman. Could Haneef have said or meant that Mufeed has its origins in the Urdu language? Is it possible that police did not know Urdu is an Indian language?
“At the end of the interview Haneef is asked whether he has anything to add. “I haven’t done any of the crimes,” he said. “I don’t want to spoil my name and my profession.” In typical Indian fashion a man in a desperate situation raises the last thing he can cling to—his honour.
“In the West, where the concept of good character has long been replaced by the notion of a great personality, honour may seem quaint. But in the East, it is central to life. Did the police understand that?”
Also read: From us to them: rack off you bloody bonzers
The Age, Melbourne, is reporting in tomorrow’s editions that the Australian government is contemplating deporting Dr Mohammed Haneef “immediately” to contain the political damage from the inept handling of the case.
“Our best option is to cancel the Criminal Justice Certificate, which was issued to keep Haneef here in Australia after we cancelled his visa, and that is my understanding of what our intentions are,” one Government source told the paper .
“Cancel the certificate and get this guy out of Australia. The story ends there and he can become someone else’s problem.”
Read the full story here: Government plan to jettison Haneef, end backlash
It ain’t over till it is really over, but after a week of torment, are things finally looking up for Mohammed Haneef? The Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahmed has met the doctor’s young wife Firdous Arshiya. A cousin from his wife’s side, Imran Siddiqui, is winging his way to Australia. And, above all, the Australian Police have finally admitted discrepancies between their interrogation of Dr Haneef and the affidavit filed by them before the court.
In this picture released by the family, mister and missus in happier times pose at Surfers Paradise during a beach holiday earlier this year.
Photo courtesy: Sydney Morning Herald
Must read: The trials of a ‘good Indian son’
When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he was spending “sleepless nights” thinking of what the families of the Bangalore terror suspects were going through, the BJP pounced on the words of sympathy.
With a flash of amnesia that repeatedly afflicts his party, L.K. Advani thundered that the PM should have sympathised instead with the relatives of the victims of the terror unleashed in Bombay.
Rather than fulminating at the prime minister, writes Ashok Mitra in today’s Telegraph, the BJP top brass would do better to sit back and review the sequence of events over the past decade-and-a-half.
“They might as well do some introspection on the organic relationship between terror and counter-terror, a relationship so symbiotic that beyond a point it is impossible to decide whether what is often dubbed as counter-terror was not, really and truly, the original act of terror, and what passes as terror is merely a response to a grievous historical wrong.
“Was not the demolition of the Babri mosque the provocation for the January 1993 explosions in Bombay? And was not the holocaust let loose in Gujarat responsible for the growth of a certain consciousness in some minds, culminating in the July incident in Bombay last year? In between, of course, was the ghastly business at the Godhra rail station, the culpability for which is yet to be determined.
“Indira Gandhi’s misdoings in Kashmir in 1984 similarly gave birth to a chain of consequences which have contributed to the seemingly irretrievable spoliation of the environment in the valley. Unless there is a great catharsis, and parties that claim to be the nation’s largest organize some house cleaning, reposing confidence in the concept of India as an integrated nation would be increasingly difficult.”
Read the full article: Aspects of civilisation
A prisoner, believed to be Dr Mohammed Haneef, is driven from the Brisbane watchhouse in a police vehicle on Wednesday.
Photograph by Eddie Safarik
Photo courtesy: Sydney Morning Herald
The Mohammed Haneef episode has slipped rapidly from a tragedy to a farce. Arrested in the wake of the failed attack on Glasgow Airport for the cardinal sin of lending his SIM card to his cousin Sabeel Ahmed, whose bother Kafeel Ahmed drove the jeep, the case has become a disgraceful demonstration of how India protects its citizens abroad.
Even as the Indian government and its diplomats have watched, Dr Haneef has become a pawn in Australia’s politics in the name of the “War on Terror”. Given bail after being detained for a fortnight, he has been stripped of his visa, threatened to be deported, labelled a “terrorist”, and has now been condemned to solitary confinement for 23 out of 24 hours a day.
In all the time, the Secular Republic of India has looked on haplessly as a citizen of its soil has been deprived of his civil liberties, robbed of his freedom and human rights, and humiliated by having his “character” questioned. India’s meek response threatens the wellbeing of its citizens in every part of the globe.
Today it is Haneef, tomorrow it could be any one of us.
It is now time to send a strong diplomatic signal that India will not tolerate any further circumcision of its citizens’ rights without clinching evidence being provided that Dr Haneef has a stronger, deeper involvement than has been made public. The Indian high commissioner to Australia should be recalled to show that India is one with Mohammed Haneef.
Also read: I would fail character test: Haneef judge
The publication of the transcript of Dr Mohammed Haneef‘s interrogation by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has led to readers of The Australian debating the pros and cons of the actions of their government.
This is what some of them are saying on the John Howard regime’s move to nullify the bail granted to Dr Haneef by a court, revoke his working visa and that of his wife, and to place him in a detention centre, and threaten to deport him back to India.
Frizz of Sydney: Under John Howard this country is turning into a regime worse that the ones it purports to be saving us from.
Enviroangel of Sydney: How is Dr Mohammed Haneef guilty of anything if the other parties involved (in the UK) haven’t been charged with anything? How can you take away his visa, send him to a detention centre and then when this is all said and done, deport him? What the hell is going on? What happened to “innocent until proven guilty?” John Howard, you are not proving anything by the actions that are being carried out with Dr Haneef. The only thing you are doing is making a fool of yourself and your government and everything that the Australian people stand for. It’s a disgrace!
Earl Grey of Perth: He gave a SIM card to someone 12 months prior to a crime being committed by that person in another country. The SIM card was not used to commit the crime. Essentially, he has done nothing, our judicial system has said he has done nothing and yet the government is locking him up. Is this possibly Australia’s first (and hopefully last) political prisoner?? No, there is David Hicks and all of the boat people. Give it another year or two and anyone that blogs against the govt may also get locked up. People laughed when Paul Keating referred to similarities between John Howard and Adolf Hitler. Some of those people may be now be reconsidering their views.
Disconcerted of Melbourne: What ever happened to separation of powers? The legislative is there to make laws, not to independently decide who gets locked up, undermining the decisions of the judiciary. How can a man who is ruled by the judicial arm to be of sufficiently good character to release into the public while awaiting trial, be detained by an immigration minister based on “character grounds” only moments after?
Sensible of Quensland: Australian government is taking this thing personally. Why to cancel wife’s visa when you are questioning Haneef and moreover when there is NO proof that he has done anything. Reading the leaked transcript (shame on you Howard government), it is so clear that Haneef is an innocent person. He just happened to be at wrong place at wrong time. They are capturing a wrong person to prove “something” to the world. This is extremly ridiculous.
Kerry of Adelaide: What has happened to the separation of powers? Where is the presumption of innocence unless or until proven guilty? The interference of the Immigration Minister in this situation is probably unprecedented, vindictive and unprincipled. If this case goes to trial, how can Dr Haneef hope for a fair trial, given that the Minister has publically besmirched his character? Furthermore, Labour’s fawning acceptance of every aspect of this case has decided my vote—Labour, you don’t deserve it, you have proven yet again you offer no real alternative to Liberal.
Christine of Mackay: Andrews and Rud are both just scoring political points. There is nowhere near enough evidence to take away his visa, or to detain him. On top of that, he is here on a skilled immigrant visa. When he lost his job, he would automatically also loose his visa. Shame on the both of you!
Sandesh of Queensland: I am just going through the pdf file of transcript.. How would you know that detectives didn’t hold gun on his temple to say “Yes” to all the questions?
David of Doncaster: If an attack such as the attempted recent UK failures succeded say in Brisbane and killed friends and relatives of the previous correspondents, I would bet my life that their attitudes to this case would be totally different. (The hypocrites!)
cYNNIC of Geelong: Too fearful to comment in case my citizenship is revoked and I am sent back to where I came from. All I say is its children overboard again….and to you Johnie, the smart cookie Rudd is he didnot fall for it this time!!!
Give them nothing of Targetsville: Goran, it is just axegrinders coming to the wheel. The vast majority agree with the governments position on this, don’t kid yourselves.
David of South Australia: Putting Haneef into Immigration Detention is a mean trick from a mean and tricky government… Why is everybody so surprised? It’s been one underarm bowl after another since 1996 with this lot.
Anthony of Sydney: Great wedge Mr Howard. He has forced Rudd into abandoning any principles of a fair go by joining the Government in condoning justice by Ministerial Degree. It takes Howard’s cynical manipulation of terror and immigration off the table leaving us to vote on interest rates. Will the British Government re-arrest his cousin now they know he has had reckless contact with the terrorist suspect Dr Haneef, continuing the circular argument. PS: I recklessly lost my phone and SIM a while ago, should I be afraid?
abc of Melbourne: After reading all the comments and news articles, I am glad there are some people look beyond the religion, race and colour. It makes me feel good people are standing up against all this crazy affair. According to the situation and government, parents could be liable if their kids did something wrong just because they fed them and brought them up. All brothers and mates need to be careful too. you can’t give anything to anybody, even Salvation Army too.
Dan de Leau of Sydney: The most depressing thing about this entire episode is that nothing the government has done surprises me. The arbitrary misuse of executive power to subvert the judicial process and keep someone in custody is exactly what you’d expect from a government that demonises desperate refugees in boats, incarcerates children in concentration camps in the desert and habitally tells whatever bald faced lies it needs to maintain its grip on power.
Dan de Leau of Sydney: To “David of Doncaster” – I take it from your comments that you have some evidence that Haneef had planned a bomb attack in Brisbane. I think you should tell the AFP what you know—the very best they could come up with after all that time in custody, all the material collected in Britain and during the various searches conducted on Haneef’s home, workplace etc, and the extended interviewing over some days, was a charge of recklessly lending a SIM card to a relative a year ago.
Carla of Melbourne: I’m not surprised at all with this. Poor Dr Haneef. Soon the world will become so insular, we won’t speak to each other in fear of a terrorist association being made a year later, or maybe 20 years later. I’m ashamed of the John Howard government. This is a shambles.
Your Remital of Melbourne: I have two impressions from reading the interview: 1) The Australian Federal Police were grasping at straws and 2) The AFP officers do not have a solid understanding of Islam.
Gerry P of Queensland: This Haneef affair has really bought the “Left Wing, Do Gooders & Bleeding Hearts out of the woodwork, if they had been at the pointy end of terrorist activities maybe their views would be different. I believe that if anyone has been associated with terroist activity, no matter how small, get rid of him/Her.
The Australian newspaper has published a leaked transcript of Bangalore doctor Mohammed Haneef‘s interview with the Australian police following his arrest in the wake of the failed attack on Glasgow Airport.
By HEDLEY THOMAS
Terror suspect Mohammed Haneef describes jihad as a life struggle rather than a violent revolution and reveals he feared being “framed”.
In his first taped interview with Australian Federal Police officers, a 142-page transcript of which was leaked to The Australian yesterday, Dr Haneef, 27, who is at the centre of a growing international furore, insists he is a Muslim with moderate views.
He told AFP agent Adam Simms that he had never had firearms, explosives or terrorist training, and that he knew nothing about the failed bombings, linked to his second cousins, in London and Glasgow. He also denied he had ever been asked “to take part in jihad or anything that could be considered similar to jihad“.
“Every drop of blood is human. And I feel for every human being,” he said.
But he admitted obtaining a loan of 200 to 300 pounds (approximately Rs 20,000-30,000) in June 2004 from Glasgow bombing suspect Kafeel Ahmed, for a medical qualifying exam. “When I asked him (when to) pay him back, he said, ‘Just give it to any of the poor in India’.”
Dr Haneef also transferred 900 pounds that he said was intended for his family from England to India using Kafeel in October 2005.
The Haneef affair yesterday threatened to damage relations between Australia and India, with high commissioner John McCarthy called into the Indian Foreign Ministry in New Delhi. Australian authorities also cancelled the visa of Dr Haneef’s wife, Firdous Arshiya.
Australian intelligence authorities were also investigating a report in the Indian newspaper, The Asian Age, that alleged Dr Haneef was a senior organiser for the now-banned group the Students Islamic Movement of India, when he was at medical school.
In the lengthy interview after his arrest at Brisbane International Airport on July 2 for allegedly supporting a terrorist organisation, Dr Haneef stated:
“I’m clear from any of the things. I haven’t done any of the crimes. And I don’t want to spoil my name and my profession. And I’ve been a professionalist (sic) until now and I haven’t been involved in any kind of extra activities.”
Lawyers for Dr Haneef, whose visa to work in Australia was cancelled by Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews on Monday after a Brisbane magistrate had granted him bail over his alleged terror connection, will today launch a Federal Court action in a bid to secure his freedom.
Andrews made his decision that Dr Haneef had failed a “character test” after receiving secret information from the AFP, which had held him in custody without charge for a fortnight.
The AFP suspects Dr Haneef may have known about the terrorist attacks in Britain before they were hatched.
In his first interview with the AFP, Dr Haneef shed light on his sudden attempted departure from Australia to India with a one-way ticket after a conversation on July 2 with his father-in-law, in which Dr Haneef mentioned that his second cousin, Sabeel Ahmed, had been arrested over the foiled terrorism attacks in London and Glasgow. A year earlier, Dr Haneef had given his mobile phone SIM card, which had unused credit, to Sabeel Ahmed.
“I had mentioned to him about this incident in the UK—that Dr Sabeel has been arrested. So (my father-in-law) he said to me, ‘Why are you worried about that?’ So I just said, ‘Keep calm, if we have not done anything, then just nothing to worry’.”
Dr Haneef said that after he was told by his father-in-law to call British police “and let them know whatever’s going on”, Dr Haneef told the AFP that he repeatedly tried to telephone one of the police officers, Tony Webster, in Britain to explain the SIM card issue, but that the calls went unanswered.
Dr Haneef said his father-in-law booked and paid for the one-way ticket “because I didn’t have money”. “I asked him to book a ticket for me now and ah, I (was) going to get a ticket … with my money when I come back.”
While he responded to questions about his religion, Dr Haneef declined to talk about his political views, including the war in Iraq.
The record of a subsequent interview has not been obtained by The Australian, but in the July 2-3 questioning session Dr Haneef was asked about his family ties, his knowledge of terrorism, his reasons for trying to leave Brisbane abruptly to travel to his family in India, the transfers of modest sums of money between Australia, India and Britain, his communications with terror suspects, and his SIM card.
He denied he had undertaken”any religious training”, adding:”When you are growing up you get up with the, ah, things – how to read a Koran, how to perform a salaam. I haven’t had any formal teaching of that.
“Jihad, to my understanding, it’s a struggle. Just life itself is a struggle. The proper meaning of jihad is just struggle. I would say that’s a basic sort of understanding I have. Yes it is often misquoted and misinterpreted in different context.”
Dr Haneef, who agreed to conduct the interview without a lawyer, said he was not up to date with political news from abroad.
Simms: “I guess what I’m getting at is like what are your thoughts in relation to Iraq. The situation in Iraq. The situation in Afghanistan. Do you have any views on that?
Haneef:”Well I don’t like to comment on the thing about (that).” When asked about his prayer routine, he said he sometimes attended Liverpool main mosque in Britain and a chapel in the hospital where he worked. Asked about his sudden decision to leave the Gold Coast Hospital on July 2 where he has been working as a registrar since last September, Dr Haneef said his father-in-law organised a one-way ticket for him to India to visit his newborn daughter, who was delivered after an emergency caesarean section on June 26 in Bangalore.
He said he told an administrator at the hospital that,”my wife has given birth to a child last week and my child is still admitted in the hospital and I have to go to see them”.
Federal police suspect that Dr Haneef was escaping Australia because he was connected to the foiled terrorist attacks in Britain that had been hatched days earlier by a second cousin, Kafeel Ahmed, and another man, Bilal Abdulla. Kafeel Ahmed suffered burns to 90 per cent of his body from the bungled attack on Glasgow airport.
Dr Haneef told police how after failing his medical exams and feeling”a bit low” he visited Kafeel Ahmed when he was studying at Cambridge in 2004, and stayed for a day in his room.
“I just went around the university and he showed me the campus.”
He said his mobile telephone contract went from August 2005 until August 2006, but as he was leaving Britain in July”there was still one month left on the thing so (Sabeel Ahmed, the brother of Kafeel) asked me to leave that, because … there were some free minutes left.”
Simms:”What information do you have in relation to the attempted bombing in London?”
Simms: “On June 29?”
Haneef: “I, I really don’t know anything about that.”
Simms: “You know the attempted bombing we just had, in London. You must know.”
Haneef: “Ah, I gather about Glasgow thing and there was some plot in London. But I don’t know, I have not any relation with that at all.”
Simms: “Do you know anything about that at all.”
Simms: “In your time around the people you know in the UK, did you at any time see any explosive devices, any components, electrical components?”
Haneef: “No I haven’t.”
Simms: “Did you ever have any prior knowledge or suspicion of the failed attack in London on June 29, or the bomb attack at Glasgow airport on June 30?”
Courtesy: The Australian
Download the full transcript here
Each new act of Islamist terrorism—in India or elsewhere, successful or otherwise—ends up with each side languidly reading by rote their response from the same dog-eared notes; from the same ideological position they have been plonked in for months, years and decades.
Muslims slip into a defensive mode. They blame poverty, unemployment, discrimination, Islamophobia for leading their youth astray. Or, where applicable, point some really long fingers at Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Palestine, Chechnya, and/or American foreign policy.
Muslim-bashers thump their chests and say, “What did you expect? Didn’t we tell you?” Secular fundamentalists warn against tar-brushing a whole community with the same brush. And liberals accuse “moderate” Muslims of not speaking up and making their voice heard.
Well, two moderate Muslims have spoken up in today’s papers and they are both worth hearing.
The Hindu‘s London correspondent Hasan Suroor laments on the editorial page of the paper that the default position of Muslims has become one of denial. “In other words, don’t blame us; it’s all other people’s doing. We are only the victims. I wish this was true. But it isn’t. We are not just the victims.”
“First and foremost, Muslims must acknowledge what Ziauddin Sardar, one of Europe’s most prominent Muslim scholars, calls the “Islamic nature of the problem.” Islamist extremism has not descended from another planet or been imposed on the community from outside. It breeds within the community and is the product of a certain kind of interpretation of Islam. And, in the words of Sardar, terrorists are a “product of a specific mindset that has deep roots in Islamic history.
“In a seminal essay, “The Struggle for Islam’s Soul” (New Statesman, July 18, 2005), Sardar argued that Islamists were “nourished by an Islamic tradition that is intrinsically inhuman and violent in its rhetoric, thought and practice” and this placed a unique burden on Muslims as they tried to make sense of what their co-religionists were doing in the name of Islam. To deny that they are a product of Islamic history and tradition is more than complacency. It is a denial of responsibility, a denial of what is happening in our communities. It is a refusal to live in the real world,” he wrote…
“More Muslims need to realise that Islamist terrorists are not simply “misguided” individuals acting on a whim but that they are people who know what they are doing and they are doing it deliberately in the name of Islam. However perverted their interpretation it remains an interpretation of Islam and it is not enough to condemn their actions or accuse them of hijacking Islam without doing anything about it.
“Let’s face it; there are verses in the Koran that justify violence. The “hard truth that Islam does permit the use of violence,” must be recognised by Muslims. When Islam was in its infancy and battling against non-believers violence was deemed legitimate to put them down. Today, when it is the world’s second largest religion with more than one billion followers around the world and still growing that context has lost its relevance.
“Yet, jihadi groups, pursuing their madcap scheme of establishing Dar-ul-Islam (the Land of Islam), are using these passages to incite impressionable Muslim youths. Yet there is no sign of a debate in the community beyond easy platitudes, and it remains in denial.”
An equally compelling voice is of M.A. Siraj of the BBC World Service.
“Muslims,” he writes in today’s Deccan Herald, “also need to resist the tendency to romanticise the past. It is a pet pastime of fundamentalists of all variety. No nation has grown powerful by imitating its ancestors. It is one thing to respect the traditions and quite another to imitate them. Those very traditions were innovations of their own times. So old formulae need not be replicated but the method of arriving at the formulae should offer guidance.”
“A thorough analysis would reveal that the lot of the Muslims would not change by hate-mongering against the West, given the current asymmetry of military power between the Muslim nations and the West. The West’s hegemony does not emanate merely from great strides it has made in science and technology but also from organising its society on the basis of the rule of law, democracy, secularism, equal rights for women, plural ethos and minority rights.
“All such ideas are anathema to the clerics, who in their pursuit of puritanism, see no scope for them within Islam. The pertinent question therefore for Muslims to ask is: Will the jihad or terror elevate the ummah to the level of the West, or ensure equality and justice for the people it is trying to safeguard, endow those (Muslims) nations with well-established conventions and institutions, which is vital to sustaining a modern state?
“The Muslim community has reached such a pathetic low because the clerics mock at the scientific knowledge available today. Could not the Muslim intelligentsia take up the task of interpreting the religious text in consonance with the modern day needs? Should Muslims continue to depend on a bunch of mullahs, who have next to nil knowledge of history, society, geography and economy and modern values?
“Terrorism is no route to attain parity with the West, let alone subjugate it. Islam today needs to coexist with other faiths, not to prevail over others. Muslims would need to restore reason and rationale in their scheme of things.”
Academics and intellectuals have been largely impervious to the jihad phenomenon, but American writer Robert Spencer has tackled the issue head-on with such tomes as The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion, and the Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), which have become bestsellers despite mainstream bookstores not selling them.
Next month, he has a new book out: Religion of Peace? Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t. His blog www.jihadwatch.org attracts hundreds of thousands of readers each month. In an interview with The Catholic Herald, Spencer says there is a deep ideological affinity between the Left and the jihadists because both believe in achieving power the same way.
“Whenever the hard Left gained power they instituted a reign of terror in order to create what they envisage as a just society, brought about by force. Islamic law works in much the same way: utopia created by force.”
While the world—and India—tries to make sense of what is happening in London and Bangalore and Brisbane and everywhere in between, why young able-bodied men are being drawn into the fold of radical Islam, Spencer makes these salient points:
# I was surprised to see that there was indeed religiously sanctioned violence in it [the Koran], as well as some others things which I found disturbing. But it was all intriguing, because I was entranced by the shorter, poetic chapters. I thought it very striking that this beauty could co-exist with clear mandates for warfare and violence against unbelievers.
# The best way to counter genuine hatred of Muslims would be for the Islamic community to end their support for the ideology of violence.
# It [Islamophobia] is a fictional, trumped-up political term, there to deflect attention away from the violence committed by Muslims in the name of Islam. Victim status equals privileged status in the West. People know they can be free from criticism and ordinary scrutiny.
# Fascism lasted 25 years, Communism for 75; Islam is 1,400 years old, the imperative to make war against unbelievers is 1,400 years old and they believe they are fighting a 1,400-year-old struggle. And jihad will destroy us if we don’t do anything about it.
Read the full interview here: ‘Jihad will destroy us if we don’t act now‘
Mohammed Haneef, the Bangalore doctor detained for “recklessly” lending a SIM card and buying a one-way ticket, is now out on bail. But only just. The next hearing is a month and a half away. Till such time he cannot leave Australia to see his new-born child or family. His working visa has been revoked because he failed a “character test”. He has to present himself before the police thrice a week. His landlord wants him out. Etcetera.
While the family will view today’s developments positively, a good point to ponder is if Indian civil society has failed to rise to Dr Haneef’s defence. The mandarins of the external affairs ministry have been sleeping. Our political and secular tigers have been napping. Our human rights bodies have been silent. Much of the media has played along gladly. Barring Prime Minister Manmohan Singh‘s “terrorism has no religion” appeal, there hasn’t been a squeak in India.
Obviously, it’s risky to stick the neck out when the full facts are not known. But shouldn’t civil society—not just Muslims but Hindus and everybody else—have risen to Dr Haneef’s help with greater alacrity and speed? Shouldn’t India have brought greater pressure on Australia given the flimsiness of the “evidence”? And, by looking the other way, have we all contributed to the devious “all Muslims may not be terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims” theory in a way?
SUGGI RAJ writes from Bangalore: As Karnataka shows an almost pornographic interest in the Brothers Ahmed, and their Glasgow plot that went phut, here’s a bomb that should blow a small hole in our skulls.
More farmers have committed suicide in our State in the last 14 months than the number of people who have died due to acts of terrorism in the entire country last year.
# Why aren’t we talking as much about those deaths?
# Why is all our attention focussed on a failed terror bid?
# And is death worth taking note of only if it is attained at the hands of an unknown, unseen terrorist?
The numbers are revealing:
# As many as 11,500 farmers have ended their lives in India in the last six years. Of these, 5,980 are from Karnataka alone. That means every other farmer who has walked into a death trap was from Karnataka.
# In the last 14 months, around 350 farmers have committed suicide in Karnataka.
# The number of those died due to terror in all of India in 2006 was around 280.
These are not numbers pulled out thin air. These are some of the findings of National Social Watch Coalition, a Delhi-based conglomerate of voluntary groups, released on June 30. Yet while we collectively beat our breasts over what didn’t kill anybody in faraway Glasgow, we think little of what happens in our own backyard.
Equally disturbingly, our media, including this website, has no inclination to go behind these numbers. In the Glasgow plot which killed nobody, they are hysterically probing the background of the perpetrators, their motives, etc.
Why isn’t the media expending even an ounce of the same energy in finding out who is dying, why, and how we could stop the flood?
Our political and administrative masters have no time except to mouth the usual cliches and platitudes. And when the humble son of the soil from Holenarsipur, H.D. Deve Gowda, opens his mouth, it is not to offer commiserations, but to berate a debt-ridden farmer who tried to end his life in his residence: “If farmers want to commit suicide, let them do so.”
Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, it appears, is more worried about the form of the Indian cricketers on the field than the farms of the poor farmers. And in the State, the men in power seem more worried about the outcome of the game of musical chairs, which is scheduled in October.
So, who has time for the poor farmer in the time of sexy Glasgow?