Monday, April 30, 2007

A Tale of Two States: India & Pakistan

Author : Jacob Thomas on Apr 29, 2007 - 12:23 AM

Recently, while glancing at the site, I was attracted by the title of an article:
“Al-Hind wa Bakistan … al-‘Ilmaniyya’ Tantaser” (India & Pakistan … Secularism Wins.)
Here was an Arab Muslim intellectual, who having compared the history of these two states since their independence from Britain in 1947, concluded that the Indian experiment was a success story, while in contrast, Pakistan has done very poorly. The following are excerpts from the article, followed as usual, by my analysis, and comments.

“As we compare the secular Hindu State of India with the Islamic State of Pakistan, we are struck by the utter contrasts between the two. To begin with, India’s president now is a Muslim, which indicates that his religion did not keep him from reaching this high position. Furthermore, we should remember that he has played a major role in the development of the Indian nuclear program. Add to that, India has made great strides in the fields of technology, economics, agriculture, and education. It has achieved a remarkable level of democracy in its government. Compare all that success with the awful backwardness of the Islamic State of Pakistan, its system of religious education, its failing economy, the rise of terrorism with the blessing and encouragement of the tribal and religious leaders of the land.

A comparison between India and Pakistan would lead an independent observer to pity the Pakistani government and its Muslim people. In contrast, India, having adopted a secular model for its government, has managed to spare itself many problems. It is true that India is not free of Hindu fanaticism; nor may we forget that its society is marked by the existence of the caste system; and has to cope with the problems stemming from population explosion. However, by adopting a secular system of government within a democratic framework, India has been in a better position to tackle its many challenges, when compared with such countries as Pakistan and Egypt.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Our Loving God

Our Loving God

We’ve a story to tell to the nations, That shall turn their hearts to the right,A story of truth and mercy, A story of peace and light,
We’ve a song to be sung to the nations, That shall lift their hearts to the Lord,A song that shall conquer evil, and shatter the spear and sword.
We’ve a message to give to the nations, That the Lord who reigns up above Has sent us His Son to save us, And show us that God is love.
We’ve a Savior to show to the nations, Who the path of sorrow has trod,That all of the world’s great peoples might come to the truth of God.

Refrain: For the darkness shall turn to dawning, And the dawning to noonday bright;And Christ’s great kingdom shall come on earth, the kingdom of love and light.
By H. Ernest Nichol

Children brought up in Christian homes are learning great truths from their earliest days. The Sunday school is where they learn hymns that will last them a life time. Hymns that will shape their attitudes towards all the peoples of the world.

One of the earliest hymns a child would know from memory is:

Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.. Little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong.
Jesus loves me, He who died. Heaven’s gate to open wide. He will wash away my sin. Let His little child come in.
Jesus loves me, loves me still. Though I’m very weak and ill, from His shining throne on high comes to watch me where I lie.
Jesus loves me. He will stay. Close beside me all the way. If I love Him, when I die, he will take me home on high.

Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.

By Anna Bartlett Warner (1820-1915)

For the Christian, heaven is the home we long to see. Our expectations are centered on being “at home with Jesus.” We have felt his love all our lives. Hatred is never a part of our thoughts, unless it is hatred of the evil forces of life. But we struggle to “love our neighbor as ourself”. This is part of our Christian teaching.

We serve a risen Savior while we are here on earth, but heaven is our true home where we will enjoy eternal life with all the saints of the Lord.

In this year 2007 we see a great need to speak more about this quality of “love” to counterbalance the frequent unhappy evidence of the power of “hatred” in the lives of those who have been brought up without such love. We cannot imagine a mother rejoicing in the death of her suicide bomber son because he will then be blessed with the attentions of a promised “black-eyed” woman. Such insensitivity to the many deaths caused by that same son is beyond our comprehension.

In the month of March, 2007, a large group of Arabic speaking persons gathered in Zurich, Switzerland to address an enormous topic: The Plight of Minorities and Women of the Middle East and North Africa, with special emphasis on the role played by the Muslim Brotherhood in respect to horrific persecution. Think of how many people this encompasses. The group includes the Christians of Iraq and the new Christians of North Africa, and likewise includes the unhappy land-locked Kurds who have never been allowed their own country, plus many other minorities.

They need our love and our prayers. They are our neighbors.

Posted by Shirley

Monday, April 09, 2007

Happy Easter from the Mesopotamian

After almost two month's silence our Iraqi friend posted a very positive and hopeful blog. It was dated April 7, 2007 and headed up "Happy Easter." We like to increase the coverage of voices like his, coming from the beleagured city of Baghdad. Here is what he has to say:

Regarding the situation in Iraq, again, events are unfolding in a way that I fully anticipated before.

Remember how I emphasized the importance of two things. The first was the Zarqawi document. I proclaimed it to be the single most important and prophetic document in this whole Third Gulf War affair. Remember how little confidence he had in the Sunnis, and his final prophetic derisive remark: "after all they are Iraqis, too". Yes the Sunnis are proving to be finally Iraqi above all, and the end of the Al Qaeda-Wahabi scourge is going to be at the hand of these very Sunnis on whom they counted to base their Taliban-like Caliphate.

The second thing: my emphasis on the "Anbar Slavation Council", and the necessity to promote and support this movement. The Al-Qaeda terrorists are defeating themselves by their blind brutality against all who oppose them. Also their stifling ideology simply cannot be tolerated long by the Iraqis that I know from any sect and ethnicity. Well the snow-ball effect has started and it would be very stupid not to invest in this natural movement which has already proved its tremendous effectiveness, having almost already cleaned the Anbar, with very modest numbers of poorly armed tribesmen. But these tribesmen know exactly where to find the enemy. Besides, this is a very good antidote to sectarianism. Sectarian civil war is receding now, as most Shiaas and Sunnis have both a common enemy now.

As the Iraqis have surprised the World before, during events such as elections and the like, I expect the World has a very big surprise in store in the not too distant future.

The haters, doubters, defeatists, anti-America psychopaths etc. are going to have some very nasty surprises. This apparently endless and unresovable conflict is going to be suddenly and incredibly concluded in an abrupt and rather anticlimatic manner, and that before the end of the Bush term, too.

This is my prophesy, and also my fervent hope.

Despite all the errors, sacrifices, bloodshed and suffering, Iraq, our beloved Mesopotamia is going to emerge more united than ever and Sunni, Shiaa , Kurd and all other ingredients of Iraqi society are going to live in a harmony unknown in all their long history. This is my prediction and my dream. Have I ever told you anything before that has not been vindicated by the unfolding events ?

Best regards to all my friends.