Dr. Haneef: The plight of being a Muslim under John Howard
Decent people the world over heaved a sigh of relief when John Howard’s
regime announced there was no proof of Dr. Haneef’s involvement in the so called
‘UK terror attacks’ even though there was a twist to the wording. The twist
being the innuendo that there was no doubt of his involvement but the government
being democratic, and yes, civilised too, couldn’t proceed further because there
was ‘no proof.’
There was hope the young doctor could go back to his home in Bangalore and hold
his newborn baby, which is what he wanted to do when he bought the one-way
ticket out of Australia. Still fingers were crossed. You never know with
civilisation, do you? Anything can happen.
And sure enough, something did happen. The next day news had it that the Dr.
Haneef had given his SIM card to a cousin who happened to be involved in the ‘UK
terror attacks.’ He would be charged with ‘recklessness,’ for which he could go
to jail for 15 years if convicted. Chances are he will be ‘convicted’ and then
be deported. The corporate media will then tell us the nice white guys had freed
the Muslim doctor cum ‘terrorist’ and then, ever so subtly, sing their own
The latest news is Dr. Haneef has been given bail, but the Aussie authorities
have revoked his work visa and continue to keep him in custody. He’s been given
bail but is still in jail! And what’s more, he’s being kept in solitary
confinement. Why solitary confinement? Oh, that’s to ‘respect his privacy,’
according to Australia’s envoy in India. This is the height of cruelty. And it’s
supposed to be civilised.
The Aussie envoy went on to say Dr. Haneef would be accorded his rights
according to Australian law. For God’s sake, what kind of law is this that sends
someone to jail for 15 years for being ‘reckless’? Where are the human rights
guys? There is only one word to describe John Howard’s law, draconian. But John
Howard defends this law with the vigour emperor Bush has provided him with. Some
Here we have an innocent guy whose only ‘crime’ was to give his SIM card to a
distant cousin who the British say was involved in the ‘UK terror attacks.’
That’s all. For this he could go to jail for 15 years. Look at it this way. The
guy was leaving the UK and he did not have any use for his SIM card anymore and
so he gave it to his cousin. Big crime. Send the bloke to jail! For 15 years no
less. That’s the way civilisation operates in the free world. Hurrah.
Australia’s draconian laws are a throwback to the McCarthy days in the US.
Anybody seen with a commie then was guilty of being a commie. Guilty by
association, they called it. The other catchy phrase was ‘red under the bed.’
This was scare mongering at its best. The American ruling elite – the oligarchy
– have forever kept their people under a scare so as to prevent them from
scrutinising their conduct as the conglomerates they are aligned with rake in
the shekels, euros, dollars and what have you.
In the sixties and seventies it was the red menace. The propaganda was so
effective we all believed the commies were the bad guys. And yet Red Russia,
China or Cuba was not even as fractionally bad as we were trained to believe.
All the while it was America who was killing countless non-whites. In Vietnam,
America, with a little help from Australia, killed over three million people and
currently, as it continues its genocide of non-white people, over a million have
been slaughtered in Iraq and Afghanistan…. and still counting. All this to make
the world safe for capitalism... sorry…. I mean globalisation... no... no... I
Man, all along it was America and its satellites that were the bad guys, not the
commie countries. Right now it’s the ‘Islamic fundamentalists,’ ‘Islamofacists,’
‘Islamists,’ ‘Jihadists’ or ‘extremist Muslims’ who are the ‘Red Indians’ or
‘savages’ as the cowboy comic books depicted them. Now we know they were the
good guys and the good guys were the bad guys. Maybe in a few years from now, if
Uncle Sam has not nuked us for our own good and we are happily still alive and
kicking, the so-called ‘enemies of freedom and democracy’ may not be the bad
boys they are propagated to be.
In the meantime B.T. Venkatesh, Dr. Haneef’s lawyer in India, hit the nail right
on the head when he said the Australians were punishing his client because he
was Asian and because he’s a Muslim. But then there is nothing new in what
Venkatesh says. There has always been a racist tendency among Australia’s ruling
elite. Remember the slogan ‘Keep Australia White’? Fantastic. They grab the land
from the blacks and then want to keep it white.
Australia’s racism extended even to sports. Eddie Gilbert, the fastest bowler of
his time, - faster than even Larwood, according to Sir Donald Bradman – was
prevented from playing for his country. Why? Simple. Because he was black. He
was an ‘Abbo.’ That’s why.
As Dr. Haneef’s family moves from hope to despair, John Howard is trying every
trick in the book to fix Dr. Haneef so as to save face and curry favour with
Emperor Bush. However, news just in says he would be deported even if he were
innocent. Three cheers for civilisation! Hip... hip…
Hameed Abdul Karim
Delay over Widows’ and Orphans’ Pensions
How long must it take for a woman, after her husband who was a permanent and
pensionable labourer and later a watcher in the government service had expired,
to draw her widow’s pension?
Here is a strange case in the Agrarian Services Department at Ampara, where a
widow, who has now completed her seventy-ninth year and is the mother of 12
children, has still not been paid her W&OP although her husband expired six
years ago in 2001 and the department was furnished with his death certificate
Three Members of Parliament of the Ampara and Batticaloa Districts had made
representations to the head of the department and one member had even raised
this in parliament last year. Yet the situation remains dismal.
The department is so barren that it has no records of his service and the widow
had to furnish copies of her husband’s letters of appointments and promotions
from papers he had left behind.
Where has the breakdown been in this case? When the deceased husband was
appointed as a permanent and pensionable labourer and later as watcher in 1960,
the department should have obtained the necessary marriage registration entry
and furnished it to the W&OP Department for her to have been issued with a W&OP
number on a card.
Sweet nothing had been done on this then, leading to the groping in the dark
now. The department was then a money spinner involved in the purchase and sale
of paddy and does not seem to have taken care of its labour folk.
What is worse, even certificates of marriage end death registration entries sent
by the widow by registered post to the commissioner in 2001 appear to have been
lost or misplaced and copies had been called for again after six years!
The question arises as to what could have happened to the W&OP contributions
recovered from the deceased husband while he was in service.
Incidents of this nature call for case studies. If the department had been a
private institution, ugly incidents of this nature would not occur!
K. A. Thavarasa
Those vehicle permits for parliamentarians
There is much talk about vehicle permits issued to parliamentarians. Will the
Members of Parliament please come public and voluntarily declare:
1. That no vehicle permit was obtained or
2. That a vehicle was purchased with the permit obtained, which vehicle is
presently being used by him or her to serve the people or
3. That the vehicle purchased using the permit was donated for political party
If, however, no vehicle was purchased using the permit, what was done to the
permit needs to be explained. Will a journalist ‘with pen and paper’ please
collect the information and publish it?
Upali S. Jayasekera
Impurities in soft drink bottle
A fortnight ago I purchased a bottle of cream soda and when I got home, I
noticed many impurities floating inside the bottle. I took the suspect bottle
back to the shop and upon complaining to the seller, I was told that he was
unable to examine and check each and every bottle he bought. He suggested that I
should exchange the suspect bottle for another. However, had I done as he
suggested, this complaint would have gone unnoticed and several such cases would
I wrote a complaint to Cold Stores Ltd., but they don’t seem to be interested
for I have received no reply to my complaint. As an alternative I wish to
complain about this matter to the government authority which deals with subjects
of this nature. I would be thankful if I could be informed as to who the
authority is and where the office is located. I would appreciate if I could be
supplied with the postal address of the relevant authority in order to
communicate with him on this subject.
I am proud to say that ever since its entry into the newspaper business, I have
been a patroniser of The Nation. I will continue to read The Nation for I am
fully satisfied with the money I spend buying your paper.
Sharia! Whose Sharia in Saudi Arabia?
The case of Rizana Nafeek, a Sri Lankan housemaid sentenced to death on June
16 by beheading with a one month period for the right of appeal by a Saudi Court
in Dawadimi, has once again brought into question the system of justice
practiced in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In February, four Sri Lankans were
executed for armed robbery and their headless bodies left on public display in
The rulers of Saudi Arabia are justifying the execution by reference to the
Sharia which they claim that they are implementing. In 2005, 191 persons were
executed. After dropping to 38 in 2006, in 2007 it is already at least 102
including three women, according to Amnesty International.
To say that they are implementing the Sharia which is of divine origin is
ridiculous. If the Sharia is truly implemented, it is the rulers, not the
subjects, who should be executed as they have no legal right to rule.
Under the Sharia, Islam does not permit monarchial dynastic rule and all
monarchies in the persian Gulf region including Saudi Arabia are thus illegal.
The system in Saudi Arabia which is flaunted as the Sharia is in actual fact a
tribal and traditional system drawing its legitimacy from the pre-Islamic Jahili
system of tribal and clannish rule.
The autocratic Saudi regime which in fact is the ruling Al-Saudi family,
something unheard of in Islam and Islamic history, exercises absolute power and
control of the wealth of the country as its hereditary birthright, with no
accountability to anyone at all. They have invested their oil wealth in the US
and Europe, forsaking poor countries worldwide. The claim that they are
implementing Sharia law is a huge deception.
Amnesty International has pointed out that “court proceedings fall far short of
international standards for fair trial and take place behind closed doors.
Defendants do not have the right to formal representation by a lawyer and in
many cases are not informed of the process of legal proceedings against them.
They may be convicted solely on the basis of confessions obtained under duress,
torture or deception.”
Speaking on the housemaid’s sentence, Kate Allen of Amnesty International
further called it “an absolute scandal that Saudi Arabia is preparing to behead
a teenager who didn’t have a lawyer at her trial.”
“The Saudi authorities are flouting an international prohibition on the
execution of child offenders by even imposing a death sentence on a defendant
who was reportedly 17 at the time of alleged crime,” she said.
In Islamic law, it is an obligation of an Islamic government to provide all
facilitie to legally defend those facing criminal charges. However, in the Saudi
system the government asserts it has no obligations to provide legal assistance.
The total cost of the appeal for Rizana Nafeek is US$ 40,000, approximately Rs.
5 million. The accused has no chance whatsoever! She had no access to lawyers
either during interrogation or her trial and was believed to have confessed to
murder during police questioning. She has since retracted her confession,
suggesting that her confession had been taken under duress.
The Saudi regime is making the Divine Sharia a travesty and a mockery to bring
ridicule on the divine religion of Islam and its just Sharia. In the latest
development at time of writing, to save Rizana Nafeek, the Sri Lankan Ambassador
in Saudi Arabia appealed to the media to be cautious in its coverage. This is
due, he said, to concerns that the coverage could influence decisions made
during the course of negotiations between the two sides in the case.
“The disclosure of certain details as well as mischievous reporting on a global
perspective could have serious repercussions on Nafeek’s case,” Sri Lankan
Ambassador A.J.M. Sadique told Arab News without elaborating.
“Now that the imminent danger to Rizana’s life has passed, and the matter is
before the courts for judicial consideration, we would like to ask for every
effort to avoid public discussion of the case, lest it be construed as contempt
of court which could be prejudicial to Rizana’s case,” said Ambassador Sadiq.
Such disclosures are in fact irrelevant as it was the media’s role in
highlighting the plight of poor Rizana that motivated concerned people and
international human rights organisations to agitate for justice for Rizana, thus
exposing the so-called Sharia system in Saudi Arabia as a façade.