Ghana: History And Current Conditions

(This article is courtesy of Wikipedia)

Ghana (Listeni/ˈɡɑːnə/), officially the Republic of Ghana, is a sovereign unitary presidential constitutional democracy, located along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean, in the subregion of West Africa. Spanning a land mass of 238,535 km2, Ghana is bordered by the Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north, Togo in the east and the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean in the south. The word Ghana means “Warrior King” in the Soninke language.[10]

The territory of present-day Ghana has been inhabited for millennia, with the first permanent state dating back to the 11th century. Numerous kingdoms and empires emerged over the centuries, of which the most powerful was the Kingdom of Ashanti.[11] Beginning in the 15th century, numerous European powers contested the area for trading rights, with the British ultimately establishing control of the coast by the late 19th century. Following over a century of native resistance, Ghana’s current borders were established by the 1900s as the British Gold Coast. In 1957, it became the first Sub-Saharan African nation to declare independence from European colonization.[12][13][14]

A multicultural nation, Ghana has a population of approximately 27 million, spanning a variety of ethnic, linguistic and religious groups.[5] Five percent of the population practices traditional faiths, 71.2% adhere to Christianity and 17.6% are Muslim. Its diverse geography and ecology ranges from coastal savanna’s to tropical jungles. Ghana is a democratic country led by a president who is both head of state and head of the government. Ghana’s economy is one of the strongest and most diversified in Africa, following a quarter century of relative stability and good governance.[15] Ghana’s growing economic prosperity and democratic political system has made it a regional power in West Africa.[16] It is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Group of 24 (G24).[17]

Here Is A Bible Lesson About The Temple Mount And It’s Importance

Here Is A Bible Lesson About The Temple Mount And It’s Importance

 

I am going to try to make this article as short and to the facts as my writing abilities will allow. I know that many folks will not like what I will be saying but as the saying goes ‘you can’t please anyone all of the time, and some folks none of the time’. I did dig into Wikipedia’s site to get conformation of some of the exact dates and to back up my Bible and schooling knowledge.

As most folks know, the Temple Mount is located in the ‘old city’ of Jerusalem and it is the current site of the ‘Dome of the Rock’ and the al-Aqsa Mosque. Time wise the Temple Mount is a Holy place to the Jewish believers first, then also to the Christian believers, and to the believers of Islam. This location even though it is on land that belongs to Israel their government allows Islamic believers to have almost full control of the site. Some may say, why would Israel allow this, the answer is simple, Islamist violence. Any time non-Muslims set foot on the Temple Mount Islamic believers act crazy and rush to violence.

 

For those who don’t know the background information concerning what these three religions believe I will give you a quick history. The Jewish people were ‘The’ chosen people of God first but because of their lack of faith and adherence to God’s teachings God took away that honor and with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ gave all people the chance of salvation. The Jewish people nor the Islamic people believe that Jesus  was ‘The Christ, The Messiah, The Promised One.” The Jewish folks are still waiting for ‘The Christ’ to come for the first time and Islam does not believe in ‘A Christ’. Christians believe that Jesus was/is the Christ and are waiting for Him to come the second time (the Second Advent). This is the location that Christians believe that Jesus ascended to Heaven in 29 A.D. and that this is the location where Jesus will rule the world once He returns and puts an end to the current system of evil and He brings down from Heaven the ‘New Jerusalem’. Jews believe that ‘The Christ’ when He comes for the first time will rule the world from there. Islam believes that their Prophet Mohammad ascended to Heaven from there in the year 632 A.D.

 

The first Temple was built by King Solomon and was finished in the year 957 B.C.. The Hebrew name for the Temple is Beit YHWH, which translates to ‘House of Yahweh, or Jehovah’. There were three Temples built on that location that in all covered 1,320 years. The first Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.. The second Temple was built from 538 to 515 B.C.. In the year 20 B.C. King Herod The Great expanded and renovated the temple and it became know as ‘Herod’s Temple’. This is the Temple where Jesus went to at the age of 12 when Mary and Joseph lost track of Him while they were in Jerusalem. This is also the Temple where Jesus threw out the money changers while referring to it as “His Fathers House.” This Temple was destroyed by the Romans in the year 70 A.D.. Another Temple was being rebuilt there when there was a large earthquake in the year 363 A.D. which destroyed it. After this time the people only built a wooden structure of worship there, this only lasted until the year 638 A.D. when the Muslim conquerors tore it down and they built their version of a worship center there. As I said earlier, this is now referred to as the Dome of the Rock along with their al-Aqsa Mosque.

 

Even though older Islamic writings do refer to the older Jewish Temples being located there, since the rebirth of Israel in 1948 modern-day Palestinian’s and their leaders deny the existence of those Temples. Many of these folks have been trying to deny the existence of Israel before 1948 denying that Israel has ever had any ties to the ‘Holy Land’ or the Temple Mount. People whom have any interest in truth refer to this evil as a “campaign of intellectual erasure.” If you have any questions on what I have written please leave me a comment and I will answer you.

So In Germany There Is No Freedom Of Speech: Can’t Call A Pedophile A Pedophile?

So In Germany There Is No Freedom Of Speech: Can’t Call A Pedophile A Pedophile?

This post is mostly a copy paste of an article in “The Muslim Issue”. The German Chancellor says you can’t say bad things about a country’s leader even if what you are saying is the truth. So, you can lie and that is okay? The German leader does not seem to have any problem with the rampant pedophilia that she is responsible for bringing into Germany. She may be a smart person when it comes to economics but when it comes to the actual safety of the German people in their own homes, streets, or shopping centers she turns a blind eye. Please read this reblog from the Muslim Issue below to see what you think of these issues.

(THIS ARTICLE WAS FIRST PUBLISHED ON APRIL 15TH OF 2016)

MUSLIMS WORLDWIDE

Germany: Merkel grants Turkish request to prosecute comic over Erdogan insult

4 Votes

Merkel screwed by Erdogan

Text by FRANCE 24
Latest update : 2016-04-15

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that Germany had accepted a request from Turkey to seek prosecution of a German comedian who read out a crude poem about Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on German television.

Erdogan had demanded that Germany press charges against comedian Jan Boehmermann after he mocked the Turkish leader in a show on German public broadcaster ZDF on March 31, suggesting that he hits girls, watches child pornography and engages in bestiality.

It is illegal under German criminal code to insult a foreign leader, but the law leaves it to the government to decide whether to authorise prosecutors to pursue such cases.

This has put Merkel an awkward position. The driving force behind a controversial European Union-Turkey migrant deal, she has already come under fire for ignoring human rights and press freedom violations in Turkey in an effort to secure its cooperation.

“There were different opinions between the coalition partners – the conservatives and the SPD [Social Democrats],” Merkel told reporters at the Chancellery in Berlin.

”The outcome is that the German government will give the authorisation in the current case,” she added, stressing that this was not a decision about the merits of the prosecution’s case against Boehmermann.

Merkel’s announcement sparked sharp criticism from the SPD, her centre-left coalition partner, which was opposed to Turkey’s request.

“This was the wrong decision in my view,” said Thomas Oppermann, leader of the SPD in parliament. “Prosecution of satire due to ‘lèse-majesté’ does not fit with modern democracy.”

Anton Hofreiter, parliamentary leader of the opposition Greens, said Merkel must now “live with the accusation that the deal with Turkey is more important to her than defending freedom of the press”.

Sahra Wagenknecht of the far-left Linke accused Merkel of kowtowing to the “Turkish despot” Erdogan.

‘Merkel is walking quite a difficult diplomatic tightrope’

‘Wrong signal’

Boehmermann, an impish-looking 35-year-old, is known for pushing the boundaries of satire. Last year he claimed to have manipulated a video of Greece’s then-finance minister Yanis Varoufakis in which he is shown giving the middle finger – known as the “Stinkefinger” in German – to Berlin for its tough stance in the debt crisis. The video infuriated German politicians.

The cult comedian made clear before reciting the poem about Erdogan that he was intentionally going beyond what German law allowed.

ZDF has since removed a video of the poem from its website. But Boehmermann has received backing from prominent German artists and a poll for Focus magazine showed 82 percent viewed the poem as defensible.

He is reportedly under police protection and cancelled his last show on ZDF.

In giving her statement, Merkel pressed Turkey – a candidate country for European Union membership – to uphold the values of freedom of expression, the press and art.

She justified the decision to accept the Turkish request by pointing to the close and friendly relationship Berlin shares with Ankara, referring to the three million people with Turkish roots who live in Germany, the strong economic ties between the countries and their cooperation as NATO allies.

But the Association of German Journalists (DJV) said Merkel had sent the “wrong signal” to the Turkish government and added that her references to violations of the right to freedom of press and opinion in Turkey had not made up for that.

A Turkish group called the Union of European Turkish Democrats, which has posted videos online supporting Erdogan, filed a complaint with Austria’s media watchdog on Friday over Austrian newspaper Oesterreich reprinting parts of Boehmermann’s poem under the headline, ‘Is this confused poem art or a scandal?’

Merkel said the German government planned to remove the section of the criminal code that requires it to grant permission for prosecution in such cases.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)

If I Dislike What You Do: That Means I Must Hate You; Right?

If I Dislike What You Do: That Means I Must Hate You; Right?

 

I make these observations from sixty years of life, with thirty plus behind the wheel of a truck roaming the lower 48 States and all Provinces of the beautiful country of Canada. These are just a few thoughts, don’t mean that I agree with any or all of them, how about you?

  1. Being I don’t care anything for the game of Hockey: That must mean that I am anti-Canadian, right?
  2. I really don’t care anything for the sport of Basketball: So you know, I’m prejudice toward tall folks.
  3. I don’t care anything about Horse Racing: That means I must be anti-short people.
  4. I really don’t care much about Car Racing: Does this mean I’m anti-Hill Billy?
  5. I care nothing about the game of Soccer: So, that means I gotta be anti-rest of the world, right?

 

I am anti violence, what does that make me? A target, a patsy? Only a fool breaks into another man’s house to see if they will be carried out.

I am anti-hate, anti-racist, what does this make a person? Does this make one naive, or, maybe more Christ like?

If one is anti-Democrat does it then make them minorities and poor folk haters? Maybe a person just can’t personally back a ‘Party’ who is responsible for the death of millions of babies each year!

Of course if one is anti-Republican it must mean you hate grumpy, old, rich, white guys? Isn’t self-absorbed politicians of our time, whether they are Republican or Democrat enough to make the “system’ puke out a 3rd, 4th, or even 5th ‘Party’?

Bernie or Trump, these two ends don’t attract each other, yet millions flocked to them, for what, hope?

Anti-Islamic terrorism ideals are not anti-Muslim or anti-Persian, to not be so is, anti-humanity and anti-God!

What can people do when you are hated by millions? Do you let them stay and kill you? Do you physically remove them from your living area? Do you let them stay and you also stay and try to live with them, or maybe convert them?

Like I said at the beginning this article like most of my articles are for the reason of creating thought, hopefully among many, hopefully thoughts of caring about each other when possible, hopefully eliminating hate some day.

Don’t Like Muslims; That Is Racist: Not Trusting Islam Is Wisdom?

Don’t Like Muslims; That Is Racist: Not Trusting Islam Is Wisdom?

 

For those who are reading this that are from outside the States and who aren’t regular fans of American TV and radio you may not understand America’s different forms of racism’s. Only as in an example do I use the following term ‘nigger’ but I know no better way to try to match it (hatred and stupidity), with the stupidity and hatred of saying Muslim/Islam as though both are evil or bad. Though I have been blessed by God that I do not have a racist heart I have still seen and heard the comments and actions of others who felt free to talk around me simply because I was White. What I am getting at with the ‘nigger’ correlation is this, I have seen where an age of ignorance prevailed before my time here on this planet. I see and have seen where many Whites and other Colored People refer to the American Black Person as a nigger, simply because they were raised in the theory of ‘each is the other’. All the Black folks that I have ever been around know plainly what that term really means and that it doesn’t have anything to do with a person’s skin color. I have said that to some older White folks and received a big question mark formed into their blank looks. I have known several White and Hispanic niggers during my life time, what many non-black folks in America don’t really understand is that calling a Black person that, you are really telling that person that you don’t think anything of them as a person, as a human-being. ( Sort of like how an Islamist feels about Christians and Jews).

Referring to a ‘Muslim problem’ when you are really speaking about the issue of the people we tend to match up with Islam is not ‘each is the other’. Friends saying Muslim when we are meaning Islam is equivalent to calling a Black person a nigger simply because they are a black-skinned person and not realizing your own error. There are a lot of racist Black folks in this country just like there are racist Whites, Hispanics, Orientals, Africans… you get the picture, we humans can be stupid no matter what skin color we have. Example of stupidity would be saying that Christianity is a White persons religion, or, only White persons can be Christians. These are all examples of religious ignorance mixed with some racism and a whole lot of stupidity. The end result is always bad when we say one thing yet meaning something else. Folks like Donald Trump need to know this difference and believe it (the Truth) if he or our society have any hope of a world with some peace in it. Truth is that ‘most’ people who are Muslim by birth location, skin tone, where, how they grew up do tend to be believers that Allah is God, but not all Arab/Muslim born people do so, some are even Christians, even Jewish Muslims. Mr Trump, please clarify exactly what you think and believe on this issue because one is not automatically the same as the other and the World needs to know that the American President knows the difference in exactly who/what is the enemy, before you attack, know your endgame. By the way Mr. Trump, are the people who say they are Persian (like Iran) not a Muslim like a person from Libya, but what do you say Mr. Trump, are they all ‘just Arabs/Muslims’? It is much easier to quarantine a skin color than it is to quarantine a Faith/Belief  system?

A (Flaw) That Is A Fundamental Of Islamic Teaching?

A (Flaw) That Is A Fundamental Of Islamic Teaching?

 

Did the young American Muslim man get snookered/taken/conned, by a ‘fundamentalist’ plant in the case of the San Bernardino California murderers? If this is so, then very few would know that for a fact, but damn, that would be low to do to a man wouldn’t it? But now we are thinking with a Christian/Jewish/Hindu/Buddhist theologies. I didn’t say Islam for a reason, at the very core of what a religion teaches, is fundamentally what the religion believes. This is true of all religions, all religions have core items in its doctrines/teachings that the rest of their Scriptures are built upon. People who have been brought up in the Islamic Faith that I have spoken with throughout my years of travels know very well what their teachings say to do to a non-believing Nation, how to bring it down from the inside as they are being attacked by Allah’s soldiers from the outside. They know what they are supposed to do by Islamic teachings! People that kind of hate for any thing living is beyond sad and it is beyond evil, I just wish more people could see reality/truth for what it is and not try to be such fantasy seekers.

 

Think what a wonderful “gift from Allah” it would be if our young, lonely, Muslim American man got his ‘bride wanted’ ad answered by an ISIS “plant”? Would you not think that this would be a flashing neon light to an intelligent ISIS (or any other hate group) computer person? Talk about getting a sleeper, someone so far under the radar that they weren’t even on it. I am not saying that the young man was or was not a devout Muslim but by what we here on the evening news he was a life long member of that faith. Folks it does appear that the young bride and her husband had to have had at least some training in firearms, this was not the first time they ever picked up a firearm. Two years a bride, two years to bring him deeper into his faith. Two years, not to radicalize, but to fundamentalism. Folks even a sleeper in a religion when coupled up with someone they love who is devout in that same religion, the sleeper tends to awaken. It is very unfortunate for all the folks that believe in Islam as well as very unfortunate for all the rest of the world that at Islams core is the belief that all of the world (and they do mean you and me) will faithfully worship Allah everyday of your life, or you must be killed. Folks no other main religion on the planet teaches such hate and carnage as something that their faithful followers must do. You and the rest of the world are at war right now and this war is intended to kill more people than Hitler ever dreamed of. People, if we let any one disarm us then we are allowing those people who did so, to have you and all of your family set up to be slaughtered. It would be nice if these things were not so but they are and each generation has to learn to cope with what reality is, or as you die will you still be denying when there is a gun at your head?

Why The West Grew Rich

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE PAKISTANI NEWS AGENCY ‘DAWN’)

 

ABOUT 1,000 years ago, when Europe was supposedly traversing through its dark ages, the Muslim empire was the envy of the world. Its wealth and material standards were such that Cordoba alone was pronounced as the ‘ornament of the world’ by Hrotsvitha, a mediaeval German writer and Nun. By 1500, it was China and India whose riches and wealth became the stuff of fables. By the 17th century, the tide had started turning in favor of northern European nations. By the mid-19th century, this turnaround was complete. What accounts for this transformation?

The literature on this topic, suffice to say, is so vast as to be almost incomprehensible. One can, though, make a general distinction. Some of this literature concerns the question of ‘how’, the other concerns the question ‘why’, with the remaining being a combination of both. In this article, I want to briefly share the findings of two excellent new books on this topic by Jared Rubin (Rulers, Religion and Riches) and Joel Mokyr (A Culture of Growth), that tackle the question of ‘why’.

Rubin’s book concentrates its analysis on the divergence between the West and the Muslim world (especially the Middle East), and what factors gave rise to disparity in development outcomes. He debunks the idea of ‘backwardness’ of the Islamic faith, which supposedly held back the Muslim world. If that were the case, he argues, there never would have been a wealthy Muslim Spain. In general, he traces the great divergence between the West and the Middle East in the way that religion and government interacted over time.

The separation of religion from statecraft set the stage for European ascent.

Before the divergence began, the Christian West and the Muslim East used to derive their authority and legitimacy from religion. The real source of power lay with religious figureheads like the pope, followed by the rulers and their cohorts. Whatever economic activity there was, it was shaped in a way to benefit these entrenched groups. But then Europe gradually broke away from religion as its source of legitimacy. As the tight bond between religion and state loosened, economic and financial concerns became top priorities.

As nation states like Britain and the Netherlands adopted the parliamentary system of governance, the hold of the entrenched classes started to relax since parliamentary legitimacy required participation of the common man. This participation meant they could now stake a claim in the state’s riches, and also realise it through good policies.

What accentuated this break between religion and the state in Europe? One of the most iconic inventions of history, the printing press! In 1440, Gutenberg invented the printing press, revolutionising the spread of knowledge and ideas. Once restricted to only the church, knowledge now began to spread to all parts of Europe as books and pamphlets became easily available to the public. This, over time, gave rise to a movement (reformation and enlightenment) that gradually withered the grip of papacy and kings.

This marvellous invention, however, did not make it to the Muslim world till 1727 as leading religious figures saw it as a threat to their monopoly. They convinced successive sultans not to let this ‘un-Islamic’ invention enter their blessed lands. This 300-year gap, Rubin argues, is one of the most important factors (though not the only one) in explaining the divergence in wealth between the West and the East. At a time when Europe moved towards economic empowerment, technological change and inclusion, the Muslim world’s energies were focused on preserving orthodoxy and exclusion of people from the fruits of knowledge and empowerment.

Mokyr’s book, in contrast, focuses on reformation and enlightenment that drove Europe ahead of others. Why did these not occur in China or the Muslim world and only in Europe? His narration revolves around the political fragmentation in Europe that beset it in the wake of the rise of nation states. Political fragmentation gave rise to fierce competition, not just in commerce and trade but also in ideas which spread as innovations like the printing press made their presence felt.

Nation states, as they raced to embrace science and technology, also competed for leading scholars and thinkers. This spawned a culture of openness, not just in science but also in ideas. No longer did it remain possible to repress ideas and criticism since critics could now always find refuge in another state open to ideas and criticism. This cycle of openness became unstoppable with time, and complemented advances in technology and knowledge. This, argues Mokyr, explains to a large degree why European nation states were able to leave others behind.

To summarise, for Rubin, the answer lies in legitimacy derived from religion changing to legitimacy derived through people. This was made possible by inventions like the printing press, which tilted the balance in favour of trade, commerce and the people. For Mokyr, the answer is to be found in a cultural change brought on by the rise of nation states, their intense competition in various spheres of life and political fragmentation within Europe. Importantly, a common strand in both these books is to be found in the separation of religion from statecraft which set the stage for European ascent.

The above is but a tiny fraction of the wealth of knowledge available on this particular topic, and in no way does justice to such an important question. Interested readers can access hundreds of books and other material to contemplate this issue, such as the outstanding Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, or How the West Grew Rich by Nathan Rosenberg. What can be concluded is that there is no single factor that can explain the rise of the West. It’s the coming together of a host of factors that propelled economic growth. What we also know is that almost 500 years since this divergence in Europe’s favour is supposed to have begun, the pendulum is now again swinging towards the East (China and India, for example). Their rise is another interesting story, perhaps worthy of a future column.

The writer is an economist.

[email protected]

Twitter:@ShahidMohmand79

Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2017

 

 

Trying To Restore Religious Harmony In The Islamic World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

Opinion

Restoring the Religious Discourse

Muftis, religious authorities, scholars, professors and politicians from China to the Americas all met in al-Azhar in Cairo, Egypt, to discuss the international crisis facing Muslims and Islam as a religion. They all agreed that extremism and fundamentalism are dangerous threats that must be tackled.

At the conference of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Saudi deputy Minister for Islamic Affairs, Endowment, Dawa and Guidance Tawfiq al-Sudairi made the best and most direct speech. He called for restoring the religious discourse from the extremists and so-called educated people, who as he described had “harmed the religion’s tolerant teachings and who have been manipulated by opportunists.”

Sudairi called for “unifying efforts on the political, intellectual, security and religious fronts to confront deviant ideologies.”

It is unanimous that everyone is agreed against terrorism. This may also no longer need reiteration and reminders, because by far the most important matter which requires consensus and a plan of action is fighting the widespread extremism and fundamentalism.

No one can claim that terrorism can exist without extremism embracing and encouraging it.

It is impossible for a terrorist to grow up in and emerge from a moderate environment.

Even terrorists who have come out of liberal or tolerant societies are always victims of extremist ideologies in their societies in the virtual world, like chat rooms and social networks.

Tens of thousands have joined terrorist groups and all of them without exception are products of extremist rhetoric.

The truth is that terrorists, despite the threat they pose to the world, are less harmful than extremists.

The damage caused by extremists is far more harmful on Muslim societies and other communities. What extremists and fanatics do is worse than the deeds of organizations like ISIS and al-Nusra Front whose members are few among a sea of extremists.

Terrorism is the final step in the ladder of extremism. We cannot neutralize terrorism without fighting extremism. This is a truth that should always be in the mind of those involved in the matter.

Extremism must not be confused with extremist tendencies of some individual Muslims.

Muslim conservatives have the right to their beliefs and to practice their rituals as they deem appropriate. This is their right, as it is the case in all religions. However, this turns into extremism when they try to impose their views on everyone.

The most dangerous form of extremism is the mobile kind. It is usually based on exploiting religious activities that initially had no political purpose in the past, such as education, media, charity and collecting funds, and expanding operations to include students, women and foreigners.

These organized operations travelled to poor and regions and developed countries all over the world where they exploit wars, famine and injustice against some Muslims to plant seeds of extremism. Those seeds remain for a long time and eventually become a local culture.

If you can imagine this, then you can understand how extremism began and how terrorism emerged. You will also realize that combatting extremism is more important than fighting terrorism.

Sudairi’s statement at the conference in Cairo and his calls for the reestablishment of the religious discourse are at the core of this crisis. His suggestions should be the conference’s plan of action and agenda that require collective efforts to be achieved.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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Pakistan sounds alarm over ‘nuclearisation’ of Indian Ocean by India

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWS)

Pakistan sounds alarm over ‘nuclearisation’ of Indian Ocean by India

WORLD Updated: Feb 13, 2017 08:52 IST

IANS
IANS
Islamabad

Pakistan

Pakistan says Indian Ocean faced challenges to peace due to its militarization, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, increased missile capabilities and power projection by foreign militaries.(AFP File Photo)

Pakistan is determined to counter growing threats to peace in the Indian Ocean, particularly from its “nuclearisation” by India, foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz said.Aziz on Saturday said the Indian Ocean faced challenges to peace due to its militarization, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, increased missile capabilities and power projection by foreign militaries, Dawn online reported.The foreign affairs advisor also listed piracy, illegal fishing; human, drugs and arms smuggling; maritime pollution and climate change as major problems.

“This trend is likely to intensify in the coming years,” he warned at the ‘International maritime conference on strategic outlook in Indian Ocean region, 2030 and beyond – evolving challenges and strategies’.

“We are aware of our national interests and every effort will be made to strengthen our capacity to ensure that we remain ready to meet the emerging maritime security challenges. For us, to remain oblivious of the developments taking place in the Indian Ocean region is not an option.”

Aziz said nuclearisation of the Indian Ocean had further destabilised the region.

Read more

It was in Pakistan’s ves­ted interest that the region remai­ned peaceful as 95 per cent of the country’s trade took place through sea and it had over 1,000 km long coastline, an Exclusive Economic Zone of around 300,000 sq km, the Karachi port and the newly built deep-sea port of Gwadar.

He said the Indian Navy’s substantial expansion was a cause of concern for Islamabad. “Pakistan has a strategic stake in the peaceful navigation and security of the Indian Ocean region.”

“We realise the economic potential of the region. As the third-largest ocean providing coastline to more than 30 countries, the Indian Ocean provides connectivity not only to important regions in Asia, particularly South Asia and the Middle East, and Africa, it also connects Australia with Europe. Regular dialogue between stakeholders on security and safety have never been so important.”

He said an estimated 55 per cent of oil reserves of the world and 40 per cent of gas were located in the region.

“Today, some 40 per cent of the global trade passes through the Indian Ocean. With the rise of Asia as the global powerhouse, the region indeed offers the unique platform for the globalised world as an attractive trade route. At present ports in the Indian Ocean handle about 30 per cent global trade and half the world’s container traffic. But the establishment of a new system of routes and ports will further increase the economic importance of this ocean,” he said.

Read more

Aziz said the Indian Ocean region was not all about war.

“It is a catalyst for peace and prosperity, cooperation, collaboration, connectivity and stability and security.”

He suggested that Pakistan, taking advantage of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), should begin working on two supplementary corridors.

“There should be a corridor connecting Pakistan to West Asia and Africa. The West Asian corridor could go by Iran to Central Asia and Moscow and via Iran and Turkey to Europe and a second corridor would pass through or around the Gulf region and penetrate into Africa,” he said, pointing out that Africa in particular was an upcoming continent with lots of potential.

Jakarta Indonesia: Hardline Muslims Protest There Being A Chinese Christian Governor

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

Jakarta vote: Indonesia hardliners call for Muslim governor

  • 8 hours ago
  • From the section Asia
Islamic hardliners demonstrate against Basuki Tjahaja PurnamaImage copyright GETTY IMAGES
Image caption Hardline Muslims have been marching against Jakarta’s ethnic Chinese Christian governor for months

Tens of thousands of Indonesians have gathered in Jakarta to urge people to vote for a Muslim candidate to be the capital city’s next governor.

The incumbent, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok, is an ethnic Chinese Christian currently on trial after being accused of insulting Islam.

Despite the court case, Mr Purnama is still expected to win Wednesday’s vote.

The campaign against him has been led by Muslim hardliners, stoking fears of growing religious intolerance.

Crowds gathered for mass prayers around the city’s Istiqlal Mosque on Saturday, urging people to cast their ballots for Muslim leaders.

Supporters of several Islamic groups held posters with messages such as “I’d prefer if my leader is a Muslim” and “It is forbidden to pick an infidel leader”.

Hardline protesterImage copyright GETTY IMAGES
Image caption Hardliners insist that the city should be governed by a Muslim
mass prayer at Istiqlal mosqueImage copyright EPA
Image caption The event centred on the Istiqlal Mosque drew tens of thousands of people

The action follows big protests against Mr Purnama in December and a rally that turned violent in November, leaving one man dead and dozens of police and demonstrators injured.

Mr Purnama became Jakarta’s first non-Muslim governor for 50 years and the first ethnic Chinese to hold the position when he took over from Joko Widodo – now the president – in 2014.

He won popularity for his no-nonsense style, as well as his stances against corruption and in favour of public transport and greater access to healthcare and education.

But some Islamists rejected him from the outset because of both his religion and ethnicity.

His position has been undermined by the court case against him, with prosecutors arguing that he insulted Islam by misusing a Koranic verse.

Mr Purnama had said that Islamic groups using a passage of the Koran to urge people not to support him were deceiving voters.

The verse is interpreted by some as prohibiting Muslims from living under the leadership of a non-Muslim.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Mr Purnama wept as his trial opened in December

Mr Purnama insisted his comments were aimed at politicians “incorrectly” using the verse against him, not at the verse itself.

Rights groups say the authorities have set a dangerous precedent in which a noisy hardline Islamic minority can influence the legal process.

Mr Purnama is facing two prominent Muslim challengers for the Jakarta governorship.

If none of the contenders gets more than 50%, a run-off election between the two top candidates will take place in April.

Christians represent less than 10% of the country’s 250 million people, and ethnic Chinese about 1%.

In 1998, a wave of anti-Chinese sentiment led to mobs looting and burning Chinese-owned shops and houses, leaving more than 1,000 people dead.

However, Muslims in Indonesia are largely moderate and the country’s largest Islamic organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama, had advised its members not to take part in the recent anti-Ahok protests.