Showing posts with label international law. Show all posts
Showing posts with label international law. Show all posts

Friday, November 29, 2019

'Jihad' and World Politics


One of the most misunderstood and much maligned concepts in the world of religion today is the doctrine of ‘Jihad’ in Islam. Unlike any other matter of devotional piety in any religion, ‘Jihad’ brings around it images of a deadly cocktail of religion, identity politics and armed violence involving wily politicians, extremists and terrorists; generating genuine anxiety, confusion and fear among the people. Indeed, ‘Jihad’ has come to mean different things to different people in our times. 

In our deeply troubled world, where powerful nations set the rules of the global game, non-State actors are also increasingly becoming vital players. In States where turbulent political conditions exist, ‘Jihad’ is almost invariably associated with the call to arms and violence by certain Muslim-groups ostensibly working to protect the collective interests of the Muslim communities concerned. For many governments with separatist movements or insurgent groups in their territorial domain; ‘Jihad’ is nothing but an ideology of unbridled violence and mayhem championed by non-State actorsIn sharp contrast to this, the groups fighting States look upon ‘Jihad’ as the ideology of their political resistance against unjust regimes- the moral and ethical justification for their militant campaigns against governments that ‘oppress’ the people. Inspired by their own notions of injustice and agency; often seeking retribution for alleged past crimes of the State concerned or to induce change in State policies vis-a-vis certain matters; organized groups as well ‘lone wolfs’- including suicide bombers- perpetrate violent crimes, targeting symbols of State power. These attacks often indiscriminately impact civilians as well, leading to ‘collateral damage’- unnecessary suffering for common people caught up in such incidents.

For instance, the horrific 9/11 terror attacks in the United States of America at the beginning of this century- in the year 2001- directed at the symbols of American military and economic heft resulted also in the death of thousands of people going about their everyday lives. The terrorists who executed this most audacious attack claimed they were driven by the ideals of ‘Jihad’ in committing this mass murder. Those who waged this ‘war’ on America were seeking vengeance upon the country for its dreadful policies abroad- including military interventions that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, and even destroyed entire societies in the Muslim world. Despite the moral high-ground the parties in conflict- States and the terror groups- seek to assert for themselves, both State terrorism and non-State terrorism are problematic for their means and methods of warfare and also due to the profound consequences such violence has upon its innocent victims, common folks like us.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Islam and International Law


Religion, Law and State

In his Friday Sermon of 08 November 2019~ 10 Rabi’ul Awwal 1441 AH, Imam- Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam Hadhrat Khalifatullah Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius spoke about the significance of law in upholding the dignity of the individual as well as in sustaining the global order for the collective progress of human kind. Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba) identifies the distinctive contribution of Islamic values to the development of International Law in this context. 

It is instructive to note that while modern international law was for long considered to be a product of Western, Christian civilization and generally traces its origins to the legal problems that emerged in the context of the European imperial conquests (of South America in the 16th century and Asia and Africa in the subsequent centuries); there is increasing recognition in the academic literature now regarding the  profound debt the discipline owes- in shaping the contours of the subject- to the seminal writings and juristic interpretations of Hazrat Imam Muhammad Al Shaybani (ra), the great disciple of the great Muhaddith Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifa (ra), almost eight centuries before European scholars like Hugo Grotius- the 'father' of international law- began to engage with, and write about, the discipline.   

International Law as it stands today may broadly be defined as an ensemble of normative rules and diplomatic practices that guide actor-expectations in the world of international relations. And the actors on the global scene include, besides the States, international organizations, a host of official governance networks; multinational corporations, indigenous communities and the civil society organizations campaigning on reforming the systems of global governance. Despite the dynamic nature of the actor-interactions as well as the development of global rules in specific areas; the foundational values of International Law remain the same: sovereign equality and peaceful co-existence of States; the sanctity of covenants and the bindingness of legal obligations; the obligation of the Parties to act in good faith; respect for the symbols and signs of sovereignty of States, including the privileges of ambassadors and State agents; respect for diversity of community traditions and practices, etc.  Hadhrat Saheb (atba) illustrates these points with reference to Qur'anic verses and Prophetic practices, as it is the task of the true believers in this era to shun hypocrisy and work to create a just world under Islam. 

Read the Friday Sermon Below: 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Middle East On the Brink

Based on recurring Divine inspirations and special Messages in recent times, the Divine Servant of our times Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius has been and is inviting the attention of the international community to the looming dangers lurking beneath our troubled global order. These Divinely-inspired warnings, often stated in the course of several Friday Sermons, have also been shared through the Sahih Al Islam Blog and could be read, among other places, here and here. When they look at, read up and reflect on these profound words intimating about the extraordinary dangers facing our small world; knowledgeable Muslims will remember the prophecies contained in the Holy Qur’an, as well as in the Prophetic traditions on the portents/events of the End Times. Ahmadis among them will also remember the dire warnings lefty behind by the Promised Massih (as) in the last century and also the unfulfilled aspects of those grim prophecies concerning the Later Days. 

The World at the Brink

There is little doubt that humanity is at the brink of Disaster(s) in our times. World nations are today facing multiple dangers of an existential proportion: of environmental degradation, species extinction and the grim prospect of nuclear annihilation. The unsustainable consumption patterns in the industrialized world have produced the irreversibly great danger of global warming and climate change as science now confirms. The devastating consequences of this drastic change in weather patterns would be felt everywhere. Indeed, climate change threatens as it comes home not just in the main lands of the major continents, but even the inhabitants of remote island nations who had done nothing comparable to the industrial world to bring about the whole problem.

Likewise, powerful nations have arrogated to themselves ‘total security’ of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and they threaten other nations that defy their dictates. So much so that countries like North Korea seek nuclear capability as a security imperative; triggering global fears of a nuclear war in the not so distant future! Short of being fully wiped out from the very face of the earth through the aforesaid blinding passions of riches and excesses, the unbridled armament race among the nations has the potential of promising a veritable Hell on Earth for those of us- the hapless common humans- who are condemned to live amidst all these dangers.

The multilateral system, forged after the Second World War, is bedevilled by multiple crises and is incapable of providing effective solutions to the manifold challenges of global governance- poverty and rising inequality; environmental degradation; the arms race and the quest for nuclear weapons; internal conflicts and terrorism; racism and xenophobia, national chauvinism and Islamophobia, etc. International institutions and organizations are designed in such a way that these works to protect the entrenched interests of the Big Nations, rather than seeking to sub serve the larger cause of global justice and equity. These organizations largely ignore the real concerns of the poorer nations when they raise their experiences of injustice and victimhood, seeking redressal of grievances, justice and equity.

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Rohingya Exodus and India's Policy

A Panel Discussion 

Peace and Justice Forum, a student-run Discussion Forum at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, recently organized a Panel Discussion on the ongoing refugee crisis in India's neighbourhood. With hundreds of thousands of people belonging to a minority Muslim faith in the Buddhist-majority Myanmar being suddenly forced to abandon their homes, flee from the land and seek refuge abroad, especially in Bangladesh; the Discussion took place against the backdrop of the evolving national debate in India on the crisis in the region. 


Mr. Siraj, a refugee from the Rohingya community, was one of the Panelists, sharing a searing testimonial of what it means to be a refugee, being forced to abandon one's people and livelihood behind to escape injustice and oppression in the land. He spoke of a time when his grandfather and others of that generation and before could work and live as common citizens in Myanmar with all legal rights and civil protection available to all other citizens in the country, pointing to the enormous change in the fortunes of Rohingyas from being 'citizens' to 'stateless persons' in Myanmar. Two journalists on the Panel- Mr. Prashant Tandon and Mr. Akhlaque Usmani- shared their perspectives on the problem, reflecting on the Rohingya community's travails in recent decades as well as on the debate currently on the issue in the Indian media and government circles. 


As a student of international law and justice, this writer had the pleasure and privilege of chairing the programme that included a lively opinion-sharing,  question-answer session with the audience. In that public conversation, one could argue that international law considerations are potentially important on three distinct sets of issues and concerns in the context of the present problem from the standpoint of (i) ensuring accountability of the perpetrators of the crimes against humanity in Myanmar; (ii) providing immediate humanitarian relief and  assistance to the victims of the forced displacement; and (iii) the duty/responsibility/obligation of States like India to receive refugees even in the absence of a national refugee law.