* Same old, same old:
UK Muslims stage protest over being questioned at airports
* Robert Spencer:
“Psychological torture.” Come on. If these demonstrators had any concern at all for preventing another terrorist attack in the U.K., they would accept the inconvenience of questioning as the price of preserving British society. I myself am often singled out for extra sceening, and while it can be annoying, I would never term it “psychological torture” — I am glad to see security personnel doing their jobs.
And then Mohammad Asif affects high dudgeon at Afghans being asked to become “informers and spies”! You would think that he and the people he represents would be honored at being asked to join the war effort against those they themselves would call hijackers of their religion. I am about to go out to speak at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and I know what I will find there: large numbers of angry Muslims pretending that I am fabricating the jihad terror threat and the textual grounds within the Qur’an and other Islamic texts that jihadists point to in order to justify their actions. They will loudly complain about the bare suggestion that some Muslims might be waging a jihad against the West. But ask them to join, then, in the defense of the West, and they’d be asÂ outragedÂ as these protestors in Scotland.
“Protest over Muslim ‘harassment,'” from theÂ BBC, JW
* Same song & dance in India:Â NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Hundreds of Islamic leaders in India demanded Tuesday that the government protect their community from persecution, saying Muslims were being unfairly targeted in a police crackdown after bombings across the country.
A protest has been staged outside Strathclyde Police headquarters over alleged “harassment” of Muslim travellers at Glasgow Airport.About 60 demonstrators claimed that Pakistani and Afghan passengers had been “interrogated” for up to three hours by officers from Special Branch.
They accused police of operating “discriminatory policies”.
Strathclyde Police said it welcomed dialogue over the implementation of terrorism legislation.
President of the Scottish Afghan Society, Mohammad Asif, said Strathclyde Police had a duty to treat Muslim passengers like “human beings”.
“Muslim community members have been singled out for questioning for no apparent reason other than being Afghan or Pakistani,” he said.
“This treatment is unacceptable in a democracy and we are fed up with the discriminatory policies of Strathclyde Police Special Branch.
“We cannot bear the psychological torture anymore. The authorities treat us like terrorists, as well as putting pressure on Afghans to become informers and spies, but we are not going to be intimidated and pressurised.”
Indian Muslim leaders slam government on crackdown
By Rina Chandran
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Hundreds of Islamic leaders in India demanded Tuesday that the government protect their community from persecution, saying Muslims were being unfairly targeted in a police crackdown after bombings across the country.
Communal politics has surfaced as an issue ahead of a general election due in early 2009, with attacks on Christians and suspected Islamist bombings polarising a secular government and Hindu-nationalist opposition.
“Today, with the injustice and harassment, Islam and Muslims in this country are under threat,” said Maulana Syed Ahmed Bukhari, influential leader of the Jama Masjid mosque, the largest in north India.
* Â “injustice” for Muslims means not living under Islamic law, the sharia.
“We have been quiet for a long time, but we cannot take this anymore. We too have rights.”
Â Â Â Â Â Â * which means the right to ‘strike terror in the hearts of the enemy…”Â 3:151Â We shall cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve,
Bukhari said neither the ruling Congress nor the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were a suitable option for the minority Muslims, who make up 13 percent of India’s 1.1 billion-plus population.
“They think we only have these two options,” he said, addressing a crowd of Muslim leaders and others on the lawns of the Jama Masjid, a 17th century mosque built by Mughal kings.
“But water will find its way, it will find its own level.”
Bombings by suspected Islamist militants have killed hundreds of people in recent months, and Muslim leaders accuse the police of indiscriminate arrests of young Muslim men who have been labelled as terrorists and paraded before the media.
Some analysts said many Muslim leaders were seeking to shore up their political position before elections. Muslims are key voter bases for the Congress and for regional parties.
“Just as the Congress and the BJP use terrorism to secure their voter base, the Muslim leaders are also using it to secure their position,” said Ajai Sahni, executive director of the Institute for Conflict Management.
DIFFICULT BALANCING ACT
In the last election in 2004, Congress came to power partly due to a secular backlash against the incumbent BJP-led government, especially after the Gujarat riots in 2002 when more than 2,000 Muslims were massacred by Hindu mobs.
India’s election commission said Tuesday it would hold five state elections in November and December that would gauge the political climate before next year’s general election.
But the Congress party, labouring with economic woes, has been losing ground to the BJP, which is calling for harsher anti-terrorism measures, in state elections over the last year, and cannot be trusted to do justice to Muslims, Bukhari said.
“Muslims should unite, leaving aside ideological and sectional differences,” he said.
The government held Monday a meeting of the National Integration Council, a panel of public figures, to discuss communal tension, the first time the group has met since 2005.
“The Congress is really keen to establish its secular credentials and wants to show it is leading from the front,” said Seema Desai, an analyst at consultancy Eurasia Group in London.
A number of smaller, but important, regional parties such as the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal are keen to reach out to their Muslim vote bank, and that will put more pressure on Congress, she said.
“So Muslim leaders will be heard more than might have been the case in the run up to the national elections,” Desai said.
(Editing by Alistair Scrutton)