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#1 [Permalink] Posted on 24th November 2015 10:07
While it is a risky business to blame your ills on external agencies yet in some cases there is no alternative but to identify your detractors and lay the responsibility where it belongs.

West, today, has the Muslim world in its grips.
Yet the west is the most confound social group today.
And it is because of the so called Islamic terrorism.
Anything you say in favour of Islam and Muslims and you run the risk of being misunderstood.
Yet there is no alternative to engage the west in academic discourse regarding the character of Islam and the mindset of Muslims.

We have to impress upon those western people who are ready to listen that we have our concerns and that the west is trampling upon our life space knowingly or unknowingly.

Academic argument is a powerful tool.
This is an assertive tool.
It is also non-abrasive.
It is also non-offensive.

Allah swt says that argue with the unbelievers in most beautiful manner.

Late Maulana Rehmatullah Kairanvi (RA) ( of Izhar-ul-Haqq fame), Dr Wazir Khan, Ahmed Deedat and today Dr Zakir Naik, Shabir Ally and Ali Ataie have been engaging the western audience in a beautiful discussion on theological issues.

We have to do the same on issues that relate to social, cultural, economic, business, commerce, trade, industry, scientific, technological, political and military matters that bear upon the interests of Muslim Ummah.

This is not difficult yet it is very effective.
Edward Said did precisely that - in the field of orientalism and the west did not have an answer.

A single positive program is better than a thousand reactionary steps.
We can figure out positive assertive steps only if we talk about our issues in an academic manner.
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#2 [Permalink] Posted on 10th December 2015 10:37
Give Your Time and Energy


The way Maulana Rahmatullah Kairanvi and Dr Wazir Khan hammered the Christian preachers with evidence from their own Bible.
The way Shaikh Ahmed Deedat thrashed the Bible thumpers with their own tricks.
The way Dr Zakir Naik, Shabir Ally and Ali Ataie have been bulldozing the apologists of Christianity and west.
In the same way there is this need to do academic thrashing of the west for the following.

For constraining our social space.
For encroaching upon our cultural space.
For dominating our economic, trade, commercial, financial and industrial space.

For suffocating our scientific and technological growth.
For stifling our military profile.
For sitting on our political space.

Dear brothers and sisters each one of the above is a big problem and it is a tall order to take up any one of the above tasks.
Yet please do not be discouraged for this can be done.
Thus take up you favourite topic and go about thrashing the west academically.
Put your time and energy and do your research and confront the west.
Find your resources, on line or in the libraries or wherever.

I have personal limitations and can take up only a few of the above.
Yet I am with you.
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#3 [Permalink] Posted on 17th December 2015 09:09
The Only Solution


Those of us who do not want to end up on the wrong side of a mighty force, the west, the only way out is the academic interface with them.

To assert before them that is a non-risky preposition.
It is only academically that we can assert that Islam is not west.
We have our own way of life and it is different from western way of life that is merely a few centuries old.

It is only academically that we can make our position clear to the west.

Academic route is non-abrasive and non-destructive too.

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#4 [Permalink] Posted on 17th December 2015 10:23
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Academic route is for people like you Maripat. The rest of the brothers will hardly manage except brother abdur rahman and muadh
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#5 [Permalink] Posted on 18th December 2015 10:29
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I am already there ya akhi-al-aziz.
I need many more mouths to articulate these things.
The paradigm of interaction between the west and Islam has to be turned to this direction.
It can be done. Inshaa Allah.
This is what I intend to focus upon now onwards.

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#6 [Permalink] Posted on 18th December 2015 10:50
The Debate Debacle


I have an inconvenient news to share on the debate sector of academic interface.

I watched two later day debates of Shabir Ally. One is with Nabeel Quraishi and the other one with Jay Smith.
I noticed a certain amount of decline in the results.
It is clear that quraishi is not a good apologist for the new faith he has adopted yet the public goes by the impression and that way he has been holding fort. Similarly for jay smith, by now he knows what Shabir has to offer and worked out very rounded responses to his criticism and his own 'strong' arguments for Christianity. At the truth level he too has nothing to offer but impressionwise he has been blabbering enough to keep the Christian flock in control.

I think Shabir got to develop some teeth otherwise all the gains might be washed out.
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#7 [Permalink] Posted on 18th December 2015 12:39
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I have to agree seen Shabir Ally against both those protagonists, Shabir just does not have any charisma, he is very dull and he presents his arguments in a very dull and boring fashion. With the Christians Jay Smith and Nabeel Qureshi they dont present any strong arguments but they know how to put on a show and perform on a stage and be coulourful. So even though Shabbir Ally might present stronger academic arguments he creates the impression through his dull and lack lustre speech that he lost.







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#8 [Permalink] Posted on 18th December 2015 13:34
For those who want to indulge with genuine people seeking answers about quora.com might be a good platform.
There are many people asking honest questions there but the problem is that it gets answered by people who do not know Islam well enough.
Posted via the Muftisays Android App
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#9 [Permalink] Posted on 21st December 2015 03:17
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I tried to go there but then the usual login procedure came in.
I was discouraged.
I have done my quota of foruming and hence not really motivated to go to one more.
But Jazakallah for telling us.
Younger ones might be sporting enough to give it a try.

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#10 [Permalink] Posted on 23rd December 2015 03:01
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#11 [Permalink] Posted on 23rd December 2015 06:14
Here is one possible answer.

In the name of Allah swt after peace and salutations on beloved Prophet SAW.
Christianity is a faith that purportedly implements the teachings of Prophet Isa (AS).
He was sent to the Jewish people and they mostly rejected him.
In fact the Bible scholars tell us about a few incidents when non-Jewish people were mentioned to him and he did not like to be bothered with such matters.
Thus unless the person asking above question is Jewish he simply does not have the option to follow Jesus Christ, Hazrat Isa (AS).

That is true for most of the Christians today - they were not supposed to be Christians from the word go.

For the rest of the people the religion is Islam.
that is there in the noble Qur'an.
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#12 [Permalink] Posted on 2nd May 2018 08:04
Pankaj Mishra says that this is a crisis situation that Donald Trump has become the leader of the free world.

We Muslims and even the rest of the world knows that the same crisis has been going on for quite sometime. There is no other explanation of the fact that people like the two Bushes have been the Presidents of US. Trump is not an isolated example.

That the Muslim world has neither been able to take advantage of this sorry state of affairs nor has been dealing with the west in a professional and mature manner speaks volumes of our own incompetence and as well apathy.

Muslim academicians and professionals with diplomatic bent of mind have to come forward and take a lead in this matter.
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#13 [Permalink] Posted on 21st January 2019 09:01
This Putin video is at least one year old.
Here he says a few things about morality that I find agreeable.
The title is why the liberals hate Putin so much.
It was posted today by Yusuf Al-Khattab on Facebook.
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#14 [Permalink] Posted on 21st January 2019 09:26
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The Strong eat the weak. Weakness is a sin. Nay! Weakness is apostasy.

The Kuffar are on haq and we are on batil.

As soon as we do what we are told to do, we will rule again.

I apologize to pollute your thread but I think you will not mind these four lines.
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#15 [Permalink] Posted on 5th May 2020 13:59
5

Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems


Financial meltdown, environmental disaster and even the rise of Donald Trump – neoliberalism has played its part in them all. Why has the left failed to come up with an alternative?
George Monbiot

George Monbiot


Fri 15 Apr 2016 12.00 BST
Last modified on Wed 29 Nov 2017 10.47 GMT



Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you’ll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is?

Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007‑8, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse, the slow collapse of public health and education, resurgent child poverty, the epidemic of loneliness, the collapse of ecosystems, the rise of Donald Trump. But we respond to these crises as if they emerge in isolation, apparently unaware that they have all been either catalysed or exacerbated by the same coherent philosophy; a philosophy that has – or had – a name. What greater power can there be than to operate namelessly?


So pervasive has neoliberalism become that we seldom even recognise it as an ideology. We appear to accept the proposition that this utopian, millenarian faith describes a neutral force; a kind of biological law, like Darwin’s theory of evolution. But the philosophy arose as a conscious attempt to reshape human life and shift the locus of power.

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that “the market” delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.

Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

We internalise and reproduce its creeds. The rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit, ignoring the advantages – such as education, inheritance and class – that may have helped to secure it. The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances.

Never mind structural unemployment: if you don’t have a job it’s because you are unenterprising. Never mind the impossible costs of housing: if your credit card is maxed out, you’re feckless and improvident. Never mind that your children no longer have a school playing field: if they get fat, it’s your fault. In a world governed by competition, those who fall behind become defined and self-defined as losers.


Among the results, as Paul Verhaeghe documents in his book What About Me? are epidemics of self-harm, eating disorders, depression, loneliness, performance anxiety and social phobia. Perhaps it’s unsurprising that Britain, in which neoliberal ideology has been most rigorously applied, is the loneliness capital of Europe. We are all neoliberals now.
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***

The term neoliberalism was coined at a meeting in Paris in 1938. Among the delegates were two men who came to define the ideology, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. Both exiles from Austria, they saw social democracy, exemplified by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and the gradual development of Britain’s welfare state, as manifestations of a collectivism that occupied the same spectrum as nazism and communism.

In The Road to Serfdom, published in 1944, Hayek argued that government planning, by crushing individualism, would lead inexorably to totalitarian control. Like Mises’s book Bureaucracy, The Road to Serfdom was widely read. It came to the attention of some very wealthy people, who saw in the philosophy an opportunity to free themselves from regulation and tax. When, in 1947, Hayek founded the first organisation that would spread the doctrine of neoliberalism – the Mont Pelerin Society – it was supported financially by millionaires and their foundations.

With their help, he began to create what Daniel Stedman Jones describes in Masters of the Universe as “a kind of neoliberal international”: a transatlantic network of academics, businessmen, journalists and activists. The movement’s rich backers funded a series of thinktanks which would refine and promote the ideology. Among them were the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Centre for Policy Studies and the Adam Smith Institute. They also financed academic positions and departments, particularly at the universities of Chicago and Virginia.
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As it evolved, neoliberalism became more strident. Hayek’s view that governments should regulate competition to prevent monopolies from forming gave way – among American apostles such as Milton Friedman – to the belief that monopoly power could be seen as a reward for efficiency.

Something else happened during this transition: the movement lost its name. In 1951, Friedman was happy to describe himself as a neoliberal. But soon after that, the term began to disappear. Stranger still, even as the ideology became crisper and the movement more coherent, the lost name was not replaced by any common alternative.

At first, despite its lavish funding, neoliberalism remained at the margins. The postwar consensus was almost universal: John Maynard Keynes’s economic prescriptions were widely applied, full employment and the relief of poverty were common goals in the US and much of western Europe, top rates of tax were high and governments sought social outcomes without embarrassment, developing new public services and safety nets.

But in the 1970s, when Keynesian policies began to fall apart and economic crises struck on both sides of the Atlantic, neoliberal ideas began to enter the mainstream. As Friedman remarked, “when the time came that you had to change ... there was an alternative ready there to be picked up”. With the help of sympathetic journalists and political advisers, elements of neoliberalism, especially its prescriptions for monetary policy, were adopted by Jimmy Carter’s administration in the US and Jim Callaghan’s government in Britain.


After Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan took power, the rest of the package soon followed: massive tax cuts for the rich, the crushing of trade unions, deregulation, privatisation, outsourcing and competition in public services. Through the IMF, the World Bank, the Maastricht treaty and the World Trade Organisation, neoliberal policies were imposed – often without democratic consent – on much of the world. Most remarkable was its adoption among parties that once belonged to the left: Labour and the Democrats, for example. As Stedman Jones notes, “it is hard to think of another utopia to have been as fully realised.”

***

It may seem strange that a doctrine promising choice and freedom should have been promoted with the slogan “there is no alternative”. But, as Hayek remarked on a visit to Pinochet’s Chile – one of the first nations in which the programme was comprehensively applied – “my personal preference leans toward a liberal dictatorship rather than toward a democratic government devoid of liberalism”. The freedom that neoliberalism offers, which sounds so beguiling when expressed in general terms, turns out to mean freedom for the pike, not for the minnows.

Freedom from trade unions and collective bargaining means the freedom to suppress wages. Freedom from regulation means the freedom to poison rivers, endanger workers, charge iniquitous rates of interest and design exotic financial instruments. Freedom from tax means freedom from the distribution of wealth that lifts people out of poverty.


As Naomi Klein documents in The Shock Doctrine, neoliberal theorists advocated the use of crises to impose unpopular policies while people were distracted: for example, in the aftermath of Pinochet’s coup, the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina, which Friedman described as “an opportunity to radically reform the educational system” in New Orleans.
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Where neoliberal policies cannot be imposed domestically, they are imposed internationally, through trade treaties incorporating “investor-state dispute settlement”: offshore tribunals in which corporations can press for the removal of social and environmental protections. When parliaments have voted to restrict sales of cigarettes, protect water supplies from mining companies, freeze energy bills or prevent pharmaceutical firms from ripping off the state, corporations have sued, often successfully. Democracy is reduced to theatre.


Another paradox of neoliberalism is that universal competition relies upon universal quantification and comparison. The result is that workers, job-seekers and public services of every kind are subject to a pettifogging, stifling regime of assessment and monitoring, designed to identify the winners and punish the losers. The doctrine that Von Mises proposed would free us from the bureaucratic nightmare of central planning has instead created one.

Neoliberalism was not conceived as a self-serving racket, but it rapidly became one. Economic growth has been markedly slower in the neoliberal era (since 1980 in Britain and the US) than it was in the preceding decades; but not for the very rich. Inequality in the distribution of both income and wealth, after 60 years of decline, rose rapidly in this era, due to the smashing of trade unions, tax reductions, rising rents, privatisation and deregulation.

The privatisation or marketisation of public services such as energy, water, trains, health, education, roads and prisons has enabled corporations to set up tollbooths in front of essential assets and charge rent, either to citizens or to government, for their use. Rent is another term for unearned income. When you pay an inflated price for a train ticket, only part of the fare compensates the operators for the money they spend on fuel, wages, rolling stock and other outlays. The rest reflects the fact that they have you over a barrel.

Those who own and run the UK’s privatised or semi-privatised services make stupendous fortunes by investing little and charging much. In Russia and India, oligarchs acquired state assets through firesales. In Mexico, Carlos Slim was granted control of almost all landline and mobile phone services and soon became the world’s richest man.

Financialisation, as Andrew Sayer notes in Why We Can’t Afford the Rich, has had a similar impact. “Like rent,” he argues, “interest is ... unearned income that accrues without any effort”. As the poor become poorer and the rich become richer, the rich acquire increasing control over another crucial asset: money. Interest payments, overwhelmingly, are a transfer of money from the poor to the rich. As property prices and the withdrawal of state funding load people with debt (think of the switch from student grants to student loans), the banks and their executives clean up.

Sayer argues that the past four decades have been characterised by a transfer of wealth not only from the poor to the rich, but within the ranks of the wealthy: from those who make their money by producing new goods or services to those who make their money by controlling existing assets and harvesting rent, interest or capital gains. Earned income has been supplanted by unearned income.

Neoliberal policies are everywhere beset by market failures. Not only are the banks too big to fail, but so are the corporations now charged with delivering public services. As Tony Judt pointed out in Ill Fares the Land, Hayek forgot that vital national services cannot be allowed to collapse, which means that competition cannot run its course. Business takes the profits, the state keeps the risk.

The greater the failure, the more extreme the ideology becomes. Governments use neoliberal crises as both excuse and opportunity to cut taxes, privatise remaining public services, rip holes in the social safety net, deregulate corporations and re-regulate citizens. The self-hating state now sinks its teeth into every organ of the public sector.

Perhaps the most dangerous impact of neoliberalism is not the economic crises it has caused, but the political crisis. As the domain of the state is reduced, our ability to change the course of our lives through voting also contracts. Instead, neoliberal theory asserts, people can exercise choice through spending. But some have more to spend than others: in the great consumer or shareholder democracy, votes are not equally distributed. The result is a disempowerment of the poor and middle. As parties of the right and former left adopt similar neoliberal policies, disempowerment turns to disenfranchisement. Large numbers of people have been shed from politics.


Chris Hedges remarks that “fascist movements build their base not from the politically active but the politically inactive, the ‘losers’ who feel, often correctly, they have no voice or role to play in the political establishment”. When political debate no longer speaks to us, people become responsive instead to slogans, symbols and sensation. To the admirers of Trump, for example, facts and arguments appear irrelevant.

Judt explained that when the thick mesh of interactions between people and the state has been reduced to nothing but authority and obedience, the only remaining force that binds us is state power. The totalitarianism Hayek feared is more likely to emerge when governments, having lost the moral authority that arises from the delivery of public services, are reduced to “cajoling, threatening and ultimately coercing people to obey them”.

***

The invisible doctrine of the invisible hand is promoted by invisible backers. Slowly, very slowly, we have begun to discover the names of a few of them. We find that the Institute of Economic Affairs, which has argued forcefully in the media against the further regulation of the tobacco industry, has been secretly funded by British American Tobacco since 1963. We discover that Charles and David Koch, two of the richest men in the world, founded the institute that set up the Tea Party movement. We find that Charles Koch, in establishing one of his thinktanks, noted that “in order to avoid undesirable criticism, how the organisation is controlled and directed should not be widely advertised”.

The words used by neoliberalism often conceal more than they elucidate. “The market” sounds like a natural system that might bear upon us equally, like gravity or atmospheric pressure. But it is fraught with power relations. What “the market wants” tends to mean what corporations and their bosses want. “Investment”, as Sayer notes, means two quite different things. One is the funding of productive and socially useful activities, the other is the purchase of existing assets to milk them for rent, interest, dividends and capital gains. Using the same word for different activities “camouflages the sources of wealth”, leading us to confuse wealth extraction with wealth creation.

A century ago, the nouveau riche were disparaged by those who had inherited their money. Entrepreneurs sought social acceptance by passing themselves off as rentiers. Today, the relationship has been reversed: the rentiers and inheritors style themselves entre preneurs. They claim to have earned their unearned income.
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These anonymities and confusions mesh with the namelessness and placelessness of modern capitalism: the franchise model which ensures that workers do not know for whom they toil; the companies registered through a network of offshore secrecy regimes so complex that even the police cannot discover the beneficial owners; the tax arrangements that bamboozle governments; the financial products no one understands.

The anonymity of neoliberalism is fiercely guarded. Those who are influenced by Hayek, Mises and Friedman tend to reject the term, maintaining – with some justice – that it is used today only pejoratively. But they offer us no substitute. Some describe themselves as classical liberals or libertarians, but these descriptions are both misleading and curiously self-effacing, as they suggest that there is nothing novel about The Road to Serfdom, Bureaucracy or Friedman’s classic work, Capitalism and Freedom.

***

For all that, there is something admirable about the neoliberal project, at least in its early stages. It was a distinctive, innovative philosophy promoted by a coherent network of thinkers and activists with a clear plan of action. It was patient and persistent. The Road to Serfdom became the path to power.

Neoliberalism’s triumph also reflects the failure of the left. When laissez-faire economics led to catastrophe in 1929, Keynes devised a comprehensive economic theory to replace it. When Keynesian demand management hit the buffers in the 70s, there was an alternative ready. But when neoliberalism fell apart in 2008 there was ... nothing. This is why the zombie walks. The left and centre have produced no new general framework of economic thought for 80 years.

Every invocation of Lord Keynes is an admission of failure. To propose Keynesian solutions to the crises of the 21st century is to ignore three obvious problems. It is hard to mobilise people around old ideas; the flaws exposed in the 70s have not gone away; and, most importantly, they have nothing to say about our gravest predicament: the environmental crisis. Keynesianism works by stimulating consumer demand to promote economic growth. Consumer demand and economic growth are the motors of environmental destruction.

What the history of both Keynesianism and neoliberalism show is that it’s not enough to oppose a broken system. A coherent alternative has to be proposed. For Labour, the Democrats and the wider left, the central task should be to develop an economic Apollo programme, a conscious attempt to design a new system, tailored to the demands of the 21st century.

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