The Social Media Musings of this Autumn

Last few days have been hectic for the people of sub-continent, well it always has been like that. Being from Kashmir has always been a tough job to be on Social Media as along with Kashmir, you have to keep an eye whats happening in India and Pakistan which Kashmiris manage quite well. First of all let me start from the Hometown where the talk of the town is the most recent BOPEE Scandal involving its former chairman and some agents who sold the Entrance Question Papers to some wealthy people in order to get admission in the prestigious medical colleges of J&K. As the scandal was about one of the most important exams in any medical students life or for that matter the parents hopes, it naturally had to get over the top reaction from the general public. Naturally the students who had been burning the midnight oil for qualifying the most prestigious exam would have been most aggrieved and the mental trauma is understandable and so of their parents also. Well its not the first time that medical entrance has been plagued by this BOPEE scandal, similar thing happened in 2003 BOPEE exams. Same level of hue and cry was raised and same tone of reaction was aroused in general public and what happened to that case, need not to mention. But in this case another thing was added which was not only discussed in social media circles but in newspapers also. A section of public including a well to do journalists looked like they were more interested in the name of the BOPEE ex-chairman than the grievous crime itself. When i saw the discourse of this scandal involving Mr. Mushtaq Peer, i was confused that are people discussing the scandal genuinely as should be the case, are people discussing the scandal because it just involves Doctors ( as it has fake glamour attached to it ) or people are discussing it because the surname of the accused person is Peer. And to add insult to the injury big columns were written discussing that the said person has Peer as surname and also attached his name with the fake Peer who would love to proclaim his name as Syed Gulzar Ahmed Bhat involved in the infamous Sex Scandal. With such discussions, Kashmir earned a distinct title of distinguishing crimes based on his or her caste. No one can give a satisfactory answer that how does a crime committed depend on ones caste, whether he is Bhat or Peer in Kashmir. Further more the Chief Minister of J&K went a step further in this tragicomic situation, he said that the accused Ex BOPEE Chairman is a Muslim, no wonder what happens to the secular state at that time. The prisms with which these so called intellectuals see the picture seems to be biased. Few years back i read a book on Kashmir written by David Devdas in which he pointed out that Kashmiri politics is also caste based and gave his explanation. Well to my knowledge and  understanding of nature of Politics in Kashmir, i couldn’t understand on what basis he said it. Did it matter for the common masses that Muhammad Abdullah was a Sheikh or Peer, Maqbool Bhat was a Bhat or a Peer, Yusuf Shah was a Syed or Bhat and so on and on. Not justifying the crimes committed by the so called upper caste including Peers in any way but a place where society is divisible at many junctions, having this kind of notorious discourse whether the crime committed by peer or a non-peer is beyond any logic of understanding. Castigating one community alone is not going to solve any-ones problem, the rot runs deep in the society as corruption or any vices has become more and more part of this fragile society from bottom to top.

Now opening a window to the Pakistan where there is usually a bad news coming in every day. Few days back a riot took place in Rawalpindi involving two sects of Muslims on 10th Muharram where many died and dozens got injured. On the social networking sites, people were more interested on who actually were responsible not for breaking the law of land but just for they get some brownie points in criticizing the other sect tarnishing all the values of humanity if ever it was present. There were proofs given by people who actually were sitting some thousands of miles away from Rawalpindi on who were the perpetrators of the riot. Whosoever were the minds behind the riots, how does it matter with which sect they belong to ? More icing on the cake when twitterati began giving suggestions to stop these kind of riots in future by suggesting to ban Ashoora and Mawlid processions . Wonder, how will it help in country where Masjid and Imambargahs were not spared of bombs by terrorists, so how does these kind of shallow ideas emerge from anyone’s mind. I have never participated in any Mawlid or Ashoora processions but banning any religious procession is strictly against the tenets of freedom of speech and religion. And the irony is those demanding ban on religious processions were, are and will be the most iconic voices in portraying the Islamophobia in West, a simple case of one bigot calling a other bigot, a bigot. If anyone doesn’t give right to express his or her own opinion in his or her own way, never expect that this person will give you to raise your own voice tomorrow on any other issue. Now it has been a routine on social networking sites to discuss religion freely with the availability of Sheikh Google. Come Muharram – discuss Shias, Come Rabiulawal – discuss Barelvis and Sufis, Come the stupidity and abuses by the family of Saud – discuss Wahabis and Come some unusual Fatwas – discuss Deobandis. You will get bundles of Fatwas of Shirk and Kuffr from those who even don’t know you and will be targeted in groups as if the only thing left in their life is to prove that they all along are right, rest can and should go to hell. Some of us hold our head so high that it gets impossible to argue but little they know that this arrogance can also fall just like the Tehelka Head.

Coming to the Indian Media where the most covered news this time is the Tehelka scandal involving Tarun Tejpal. A magazine which began with humble origins with the motto of crusade against the wrongdoings finds itself entangled in the web of accusations which are very gory. And many media houses and political parties grinding there own axes against the Tehelka Magazine. Well the idea of Tehelka was shattered long before and some shine it had left, also is now faded. Being an avid newspaper reader, i remember that day when Tehelka became a print newspaper ( don’t remember it was weekly or fortnightly) and i bought it for ten bucks few years back and also remember the scold i got from my grandfather when he asked me why i bought a newspaper for ten bucks !! Such was my trust with the brand of Tehelka but it soon started to fade out. The Tehelka is all there, it has fallen in this season of fall, leaf by leaf in front of the 24*7 circus of TV News channels.

Now moving on to the biggest news this week is that of successful talks between the Global superpowers including USA with Iran. The Iranians celebrated it with fervor in view of easing of sanctions against them on the issue of nuclear energy. The success can be attributed to the new moderate President of Iran, Mr. Rouhani along with his Foreign Minister. But the successful talks have made some angry which include Saudi Family and Israel. Not to forget to mention that what murky things Iran is doing in Syria has nothing to do with the Common Iranians who are suffering due to the harsh sanctions against their own country. A common Iranian and the Ayutullah regime are two separate entities. Long before if u would be discussing Iran with anyone, two separate views emerged, one being blinded by his pro-Iran regime loyalties and other being blinded by his anti-Iran stance with both having shades of sectarianism associated. When confronted with own middle-path unbiased views, none believed, each giving its own version. The truth being mixed with the tales of Iran by the Iranian Press TV and the Pro-American Media including CNN and FOX. That is what happens when a country lives in isolation for more than three decades which makes it difficult to tell people the real picture.

And the social media musings with its fallacies go on………………….

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World’s 500 most Influential Muslims in 2012 (particularly from India and Pakistan)

Well this years worlds 500 most influential Muslims list is out which is done by The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center of Jordan. The report is issued in cooperation with Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at George Town University in the United States. The list was first published in 2009 and since then it is published annually. The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center is an independent research entity affiliated with the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought which is headquartered in Amman. The books chief editor, Abdallah Schleifer, who is a professor emeritus at the American University in Cairo in the book’s Introduction talks about the euphoric romance of the Tahrir Square, the Syrian uprising & the insurgency, the intervention in Libya, the Arab-Iranian cold war undergoing currently, the rise of Turkey, Muslim Brotherhood & Salafis and also about the Facebook generation, as how they have influenced the Muslim world. The editor tells us that more western Muslims have made into the list than expected but explains that the book is not about the Most Influential Muslims in the Muslim world only but Most Influential in the whole World so the Muslims residing in west have greater role in allaying the fears of any proverbial Clash of Civilizations for a peaceful Common World. It needs to be mentioned that American Muslims have dominated the list for the first time in four years since it began its publication. The book points out that it is to ascertain the influence some Muslims have on this community, or on behalf of the community. Further the book says that, ‘The influence can be of a religious scholar directly addressing Muslims and influencing their beliefs, ideas and behavior or it can be of a ruler shaping the socio-economic factors within which people live their lives, or of artists forming popular culture.’

       The publication has selected Muslims from a range of categories of influence which are 13 in number. These are :-

  1. Scholarly
  2. Political
  3. Administration of Religious Affairs
  4. Preachers and Spiritual Guides
  5. Philanthropy/Charity and Development
  6. Social Issues
  7. Business
  8. Science and Technology
  9. Arts and Culture
  10. Qur’an Reciters
  11. Media, Celebrities
  12. Sports
  13. Radicals                                                                                                                        

              Most of the top 50 slots are dominated by Political & Religious figures with all of top 10 being Political and Religious figures. The top position was maintained by Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud who is holding this spot continuously for last 4 years due to the vast influence as proclaiming himself the Custodian of Holy cities of Mecca & Medina, being the controller of globes largest oil reserves & heading the worlds largest Daawa network promoting the Salafism. He is followed by Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is numbered as second due to his charisma in driving his country to success. At 3rd position is Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, a descendant of Holy Prophet (SAW) and has been talked as someone who successfully blended reforms & evolution not a revolution for his country. Fourth place went to Dr Mohammed Badie, a veterinary pathologist, the supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood at present. At 5th place is Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani who is more known for the establishment of Al Jazeera Network. At 6th position is Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei & at 7th is King Of Jordan who is the custodian of Holy Sites in Jerasulem also. Sheikh Al-Azhar Dr. Ahmad Al-Tayeb is numbered at 8. Indonesian president who is also a pop singer is numbered at 9 & Turkish spiritual preacher & thinker, Fatehullah Gullen, a follower of Said Nursi is listed at number 10. His Gullen Network has considerable influence in Turkish society which also run the Turkish newspapers, ‘Zaman’ & ‘Todays Zaman’ besides a bank & a TV & Radio Channel. Others in Top 50 include :

  • Muhammad Morsi Isa Al-Ayyat
    Egypt
  • Sultan Qaboos bin Sa’id Aal Sa’id
    Oman
  • Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hussein Sistani
    Iraq
  • Sheikh Dr Ali Goma’a
    Egypt
  • General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
    United Arab Emirates
  • Sheikh Dr Yusuf Al Qaradawi
    Qatar
  • Amir Hajji Muhammad Abd Al Wahhab
    Pakistan
  • H.E. Sheikh Abdul Aziz ibn Abdullah Aal Al Sheikh
    Saudi Arabia
  • Dr K.H. Said Aqil Siradj
    Indonesia
  • Sheikh Salman Al Ouda
    Saudi Arabia
  • H.E. Sheikha Munira Qubeysi
    Syria
  • Sheikh as Sultan Muhammadu Sa’adu Abubakar III
    Nigeria
  • Sheikh Ahmad Tijani bin Ali Cisse
    Senegal
  • President Abdullah Gül
    Turkey
  • Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah
    Brunei
  • Mufti Muhammad Akhtar Raza Khan Qaadiri Al Azhari
    India
  • Sheikh Muhammad Sa’id Ramadan Al-Bouti
    Syria
  • Seyyed Hasan Nasrallah
    Lebanon
  • H.E. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah
    Mauritania
  • Mohammad bin Mohammad Al-Mansour
    Yemen
  • Shah Karim Al Hussayni
    France
  • Justice Sheikh Muhammad Taqi Usmani
    Pakistan
  • Sheikh Mohammad Ali Al Sabouni
    Syria
  • Dr Amr Khaled
    Egypt
  • President Mahmoud Abbas
    Palestinian Territories
  • Habib Umar bin Hafiz
    Yemen
  • Queen Rania Al Abdullah
    Jordan
  • Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser Al-Missned
    Qatar
  • Professor Dr M Din Syamsuddin
    Indonesia
  • Maulana Mahmood Madani
    India
  • Habib Ali Zain Al Abideen Al Jifri
    United Arab Emirates
  • Sheikh Hamza Yusuf Hanson
    United States of America
  • Professor Dr Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu
    Turkey
  • Professor Dr Seyyed Hossein Nasr
    United States of America
  • Sheikh Mehmet Nazim Adil Al-Qubrusi Al-Haqqani
    Cyprus
  • Sheikh Professor Dr Mustafa Ceric
    Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Dr Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri
    Saudi Arabia
  • Khaled Mashaal
    Palestinian Territories
  • Dr Aref Ali Nayed
    Libya
  • Timothy Winter (Sheikh Abdal-Hakim Murad)
    United Kingdom
          From the subcontinent, at 17th position is the 89-year-old Amir (leader) of Pakistan’s Tablighi Jamaat, Hajji Abd Al Wahhab.
           At 26th position is Mufti Muhammad Akhtar Raza Khan Qaadiri Al Azhari, a Barelwi Leader and Spiritual Guide from India having given over 5000 rulings till date.
           At 32nd position is Justice Sheikh Muhammad Taqi Usmani, a leading scholar of Islamic jurisprudence of Deoband school of thought from Pakistan.
           At 40th position is Maulana Mahmood Madani, Leader and Executive Member of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, India.
           Also American Muslim Scholar, Shaikh Humza Yusuf is ranked at 42nd, the leading American Muslim in the list.
           Among the Honorable mentions, Dr Tahir ul Qadri, Dr Zakir Naik, Tariq Ramadan & Sheikh Al Sudais are there in the list.
           In the Scholarly list include – Allama Zia al-Mustafa Sahib who has been nominated as successor of Mufti Akhar Raza Khan, Asghar Ali Engineer, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, Bahauddeen Muhammed Jamaluddeen Nadwi & Maulana Kalbe Saqiq, all from India. From Pakistan, Dr Tahir ul Qadri, Dr Akbar Ahmed, Dr Farhat Hashmi & Grand Ayutullah Muhammad Hussain Najafi are included. Besides them, Shaykh Ninowy, Tariq Ramadan, Shaykh Muhammad Al Yaqoubi, Shaykh Imdad Hussain & Ingrid Mattson are also included.
         Among the Politicos, Ahmedinejad, Khatami, Larijani, Major Jaffri, Mir Hossein Mossavi, Jalili Saeed, Dr Masoumeh & Dr Zahra are from Iran. Sirajjudin Haqqani, Hekmatyar, Hamid Karzai & Mullah Omar are from Afghanistan. Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani & Imran Khan are from Pakistan. From UK, its Lord Nazir & Lady Sayeeda Warsi
          In the list of Administration & Religious Affairs, Shaykh Aboobackar Ahmed, VC of Sunni Cultural Center in Kerala & Sayeed Ibrahimul Khaleel Al-Bukhari, patron Ma’din Academy, are from India. From Pakistan it is Ameer Jamaateislami Pakistan, Syed Munawar Hassan & Dr Anwar Hussain Siddiqui.
           In the List of Preachers & Spiritual Guides, from India they are Allama Qammaruzamman Azmi of Barelvi school of thought, Syeddna Burrhanudin of Bohra faith, Dr Zakir Naik & Professor Syed Ameen Miyan Qadri of Barkatiya Silsila. From Pakistan, Dr Ahmed Rafique Akhtar, Maulana Shah Hakeem Akhtar, a sufi scholar, Sheikh Muhammad Ilyas Qadri, patron of Dawateislami, Maulana Tariq Jameel of Tablighi Jamaat & Shaikh Muhammad of IIPC. From UK, it is Pir Allauddin Siddiqui (actually from Mirpur, Kashmir), Shaykh Abd alQadir As Sufi & Abd al Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq. Others include Yusuf Estes, Imam Suhail Webb, Zaid Shakir, Shaykh Hisham Kabbani & Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.
           In the Field of Philanthropy, Charity & Development : Azim Premji & Maulana Badruddin Ajmal from India and Abdul Sattar Edhi & Professor Dr Adib Rizvi from Pakistan.
           Under Social Issues list, Nobel Prize winners Shirin Ebadi (Iran), Tawakul Karman (Yemen), , Yunus Muhammad (Bangladesh) are included. Also Malalai Jolla from Afghanistan, Salman Khan of famed Khan Academy from USA & Dalia Mogahed, a senior analyst at Gallup Center for Muslim Studies in USA are in the list.
            In the Business List, Bakr Bin-Laden of famed Bin Laden Constructions of Saudi, Iranian Business-Woman Anousheh Ansari, Prince Abdul Waleed Bin Talaal, Sri Indrwati of Indonesia & Dr M El Erian, CEO of PIMCO from USA are included.
            In Science & Technology list, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam from India, Dr Ali Akbar Salehi from Iran & Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan from Pakistan who are all nuclear scientists are in it. Also from Pakistan is co-ordinator general of OIC’S COMSTECH, Ata ur Rehman. Turkey’s Adnan Akhtar, more famously known as Harun Yahya is also in the list.
             In Arts & Culture List, from India are Music Composer AR Rehman, Actors Shahrukh Khan & Irrfan Khan. From Pakistan former Pop Singer Junaid Jamshed, Qawalli singer Abida Parveen, & famous reciter of naats, Owais Raza Qadri are found. Also Zain Bhika, Maher Zain, Sami Yusuf & Yusuf Islam are the popular singers in the list.
             In the Quran Reciters, none from subcontinent has made it into the list.
             In the Media List, Wadda Khanfar ex DG of Al Jazeera, Red Capped self-styled Defense Analyst, Zaid Hamid from Pakistan, & Mir Shakil ur Rehman, owner of Pakistan’s biggest media network, the Geo/Jang Group, Asif Maandvi, Saad Mohseni, Riz Khan, Fareed Zakariya & Rageh Omaar are in the list.
              In the Celebrity & Sports list, Hashim Aamla, Zinedine Zidane, Fredric Kanoute, Mohammad Ali, Mo Farah and Cardio-thoracic sugeon Dr Mehmet Oz are included.
              In the Radicals list, Ayman Al Zawahairi & Hafiz Saeed are included.
   The Book concludes with talking of issues which have engulfed the Muslim World right now which are :

1. U.S. Foreign Policy in the Muslim World

2. Islamophobia

3. Circumcision Controversy – In Germany

4. Interfaith

5. Jerusalem

6. Palestinian Statehood

7. Gaza

8. Massacre of the Rohingya Muslims

9. Destruction of  Sufi Shrines – In Libya, Mali & Egypt

10. The Fight for Al-Azhar – Between Traditionalists & Muslim Brotherhood

11. The Integral Chairs – The International Initiative for the Islamic Integral Professorial Chairs.

You Can Download the 2012 Book of Worlds 500 most Influential Muslims  here below :

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