Edited by Gerald Boerner
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Copyright©2010 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved
[ 3996 Words ]
Quotations Related to MUSLIM
“He who becomes a Muslim does so in his own interest.”
— Abu Bakr
“At times one feels that what is being said in the West is that the fact that you are a Muslim predisposes you to this blind, stupid terrorism.”
— Lakhdar Brahimi
“Do not look down upon any Muslim, for even the most inferior believer is great in the eyes of God.”
— Abu Bakr
“All I wanted with that film was to represent the possibility that there might be normal people who are Muslim or Arab with the same fears, responsibilities, hopes.”
— Tony Shalhoub
“At the beginning of the twentieth century, every single leading Muslim intellectual was in love with the west, and wanted their countries to look just like Britain and France.”
— Karen Armstrong
“American officials have bent over backwards to show how sensitive they are to Muslim culture. It didn’t seem very effective. They seem to be worried about winning the respect of other people.”
— Tucker Carlson
“Even in the Western world, one cannot argue that the ideal has been achieved given the existence of issues like the integration, participation and representation of Muslim citizens, and occasional but lingering anti-Semitism.”
— Recep Tayyip Erdogan
“Beside all this I think there was something personal, being Muslim myself who lived in the west I felt that it was my obligation my duty to tell the truth about Islam. It is a religion that has a 700 million following, yet it’s so little known about it which surprised me.”
— Moustapha Akkad
Benazir Bhutto — First Woman Prime Minister of a
Modern Muslim Country
Benazir Bhutto (1953 – 2007) was a Pakistani politician who chaired the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), a center-left political party in Pakistan. Bhutto was the first woman elected to lead a Muslim state, having twice been Prime Minister of Pakistan (1988–1990; 1993–1996). She was Pakistan’s first and to date only female prime minister. She was the eldest child of former Pakistani prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Nusrat Bhutto, and was the wife of current Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.
Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister for the first time in 1988 at the age of 35, but was removed from office 20 months later under the order of then-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan on grounds of alleged corruption. In 1993 she was re-elected but was again removed in 1996 on similar charges, this time by President Farooq Leghari. She went into self-imposed exile in Dubai in 1998.
Bhutto returned to Pakistan on 18 October 2007, after reaching an understanding with President Pervez Musharraf by which she was granted amnesty and all corruption charges were withdrawn. She was assassinated on 27 December 2007, after departing a PPP rally in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi, two weeks before the scheduled Pakistani general election of 2008 in which she was a leading opposition candidate. The following year she was named one of seven winners of the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights.
Benazir Bhutto’s father, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was removed from office following a military coup in 1977 led by the then chief of army General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, who imposed martial law but promised to hold elections within three months. Nevertheless, instead of fulfilling the promise of holding general elections, General Zia charged Mr. Bhutto with conspiring to murder the father of dissident politician Ahmed Raza Kasuri. Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was sentenced to death by the martial law court.
Despite the accusation being "widely doubted by the public", and many clemency appeals from foreign leaders, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged on 4 April 1979. Appeals for clemency were dismissed by acting President General Zia. Benazir Bhutto and her mother were held in a "police camp" until the end of May, after the execution.
Struggle against Martial Law of General Zia-ul-Haq
After the overthrow of her father Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s government in a bloodless coup Benazir Bhutto spent the next eighteen months in and out of house arrest as she struggled to rally political support to force Zia to drop murder charges against her father. The military dictator ignored worldwide appeals for clemency and had Zulfikar Bhutto hanged in April 1979. Following the hanging of her father Bhutto was arrested repeatedly, however, following PPP’s victory in the local elections Zia postponed the national elections indefinitely and moved Bhutto and her mother Nusrat Bhutto from Karachi to Larkana. This was seventh time Benazir had been arrested within two years of the military coup. Repeatedly put under house arrest, the regime finally imprisoned her under solitary confinement in a desert cell in Sindhi province during the summer of 1981. She described the conditions in her wall-less cage in her book "Daughter of Destiny":
"The summer heat turned my cell into an oven. My skin split and peeled, coming off my hands in sheets. Boils erupted on my face. My hair, which had always been thick, began to come out by the handful. Insects crept into the cell like invading armies. Grasshoppers, mosquitoes, stinging flies, bees and bugs came up through the cracks in the floor and through the open bars from the courtyard. Big black ants, cockroaches, seething clumps of little red ants and spiders. I tried pulling the sheet over my head at night to hide from their bites, pushing it back when it got too hot to breathe."
After her six month imprisonment in Sukkur jail, she remained hospitalized for months after which she was shifted to Karachi Central Jail, where she remained imprisoned till 11 December 1981. She was then placed under house arrests in Larkana and Karachi eleven and fourteen months respectively.
Self-Exile in London
In January 1984, after six years of house arrests and imprisonment, Zia succumbed to international pressure and allowed Bhutto to travel abroad for medical reasons. After undergoing a surgery she resumed her political activities and began to raise concerns about the mistreatment of political prisoners in Pakistan at the behest of Zia regime. The intensified pressure forced Zia into holding a referendum to give certain legitimacy to his government. The referendum held on 1 December 1984 proved a farce, and only 10% of the voters bothered to turn out despite the state machinery.
Further pressure from the international community forced Zia into holding elections, for a unicameral legislature on a non-party basis. The PPP thus announced a boycott of the election on the grounds that they were not being held in accordance with the constitution of Pakistan. She continued to raise voice against human rights violations by the regime and addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg in 1985,
Bhutto, who had returned to Pakistan after completing her studies, found herself placed under house arrest in the wake of her father’s imprisonment and subsequent execution. Having been allowed in 1984 to return to the United Kingdom, she became a leader in exile of the PPP, her father’s party, though she was unable to make her political presence felt in Pakistan until after the death of General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. She had succeeded her mother as leader of the PPP and the pro-democracy opposition to the Zia-ul-Haq regime.
The seat from which Benazir contested for the post of Prime Minister, was the same one from which her father had previously contested, namely, NA 207. This seat was first contested in 1926 by the late Sardar Wahid Bux Bhutto, in the first ever elections in Sindh. The elections were for the Central Legislative Assembly of India. Sardar Wahid Bux won, and became not only the first elected representative from Sindh to a democratically elected parliament, but also the youngest member of the Central Legislative Assembly, aged 27. Wahid Bux’s achievement was monumental as it was he who was the first Bhutto elected to a government, from a seat which would, thereafter always be contested by his family members. Therefore, it was he who provided the breakthrough and a start to this cycle. Sardar Wahid Bux went on to be elected to the Bombay Council as well. After Wahid Bux’s untimely and mysterious death at the age of 33, his younger brother Nawab Nabi Bux Bhutto contested from the same seat and remained undefeated until retirement. It was he who then gave this seat to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to contest.
On 16 November 1988, in the first open election in more than a decade, Bhutto’s PPP won the largest bloc of seats in the National Assembly. Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister of a coalition government on December 2, becoming at age 35 the youngest person—and the first woman—to head the government of a Muslim-majority state in modern times. In 1989, Benazir was awarded the Prize For Freedom by the Liberal International. Bhutto’s accomplishments during this time were in initiatives for nationalist reform and modernization, that some conservatives characterized as Westernization.
Bhutto’s government was dismissed in 1990 following charges of corruption, for which she was never tried. Zia’s protégé Nawaz Sharif came to power after the October 1990 elections. She served as leader of the opposition while Sharif served as Prime Minister for the next three years.
In October 1993 elections were held again and her PPP coalition was victorious, her to continue her reform initiatives. According to journalist Shyam Bhatia, Bhutto smuggled CDs containing uranium enrichment data to North Korea on a state visit that same year in return for data on missile technology. In 1996, amidst various corruption scandals Bhutto was dismissed by then-president Farooq Leghari, who used the Eighth Amendment discretionary powers to dissolve the government. The Supreme Court affirmed President Leghari’s dismissal in a 6-1 ruling. Criticism against Bhutto came from the Punjabi elites and powerful landlord families who opposed Bhutto. She blamed this opposition for the destabilization of Pakistan. Shortly after rising to power in a 1999 military coup, Pervez Musharraf characterized Bhutto’s terms as an "era of sham democracy" and others characterized her terms a period of corrupt, failed governments.
Policies for Women
During the election campaigns the Bhutto government voiced its concern for women’s social and health issues, including the issue of discrimination against women. Bhutto announced plans to establish women’s police stations, courts, and women’s development banks. Despite these plans, Bhutto did not propose any legislation to improve welfare services for women. During her election campaigns, she promised to repeal controversial laws (such as Hudood and Zina ordinances) that curtail the rights of women in Pakistan. Bhutto was pro-life and spoke forcefully against abortion, most notably at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, where she accused the West of "seeking to impose adultery, abortion, intercourse education and other such matters on individuals, societies and religions which have their own social ethos."
The Zina ordinance was finally repealed by a Presidential Ordinance issued by Pervez Musharraf in July 2006.
Bhutto was an active and founding member of the Council of Women World Leaders, a network of current and former prime ministers and presidents.
Policy on Taliban
The Taliban took power in Kabul in September 1996. It was during Bhutto’s rule that the Taliban gained prominence in Afghanistan. She, like many leaders at the time, viewed the Taliban as a group that could stabilize Afghanistan and enable trade access to the Central Asian republics, according to author Stephen Coll. He claims that her government provided military and financial support for the Taliban, even sending a small unit of the Pakistani army into Afghanistan.
More recently, she took an anti-Taliban stance, and condemned terrorist acts allegedly committed by the Taliban and their supporters.
Charges of Corruption
After the dismissal of Bhutto’s first government on August 6, 1990 by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan on the grounds of corruption government of Pakistan issued directives to its intelligence agencies to investigate the allegations. After fourth national elections, Nawaz Sharif became the Prime Minister and intensified prosecution proceedings against Bhutto. Pakistani embassies through western Europe, in France, Switzerland, Spain, Poland and Britain were directed to investigate the matter. Bhutto and her husband faced a number of legal proceedings, including a charge of laundering money through Swiss banks. Though never convicted, her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, spent eight years in prison on similar corruption charges. After being released on bail in 2004, Zardari suggested that his time in prison involved torture; human rights groups have supported his claim that his rights were violated… (See References for more detail.)
Early 2000s in Exile
In 2002, Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf amended Pakistan’s constitution to ban prime ministers from serving more than two terms. This disqualified Bhutto from ever holding the office again. This move was widely considered to be a direct attack on former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. On 3 August 2003, Bhutto became a member of Minhaj ul Quran International (an international Muslim educational and welfare organization).
While living in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, she cared for her three children and her mother Nusrat, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, traveling to give lectures and keeping in touch with the PPP’s supporters. They were reunited with her husband in December 2004 after more than five years. In 2006, Interpol issued a request for the arrest of Bhutto and her husband on corruption charges, at the request of Pakistan. The Bhuttos questioned the legality of the requests in a letter to Interpol. On 27 January 2007, she was invited by the United States to speak to President George W. Bush and Congressional and State Department officials. Bhutto appeared as a panellist on the BBC TV programme Question Time in the UK in March 2007. She has also appeared on BBC current affairs programme Newsnight on several occasions. She rebuffed comments made by Muhammad Ijaz-ul-Haq in May 2007 regarding the knighthood of Salman Rushdie, citing that he was calling for the assassination of foreign citizens.
Bhutto had declared her intention to return to Pakistan within 2007, which she did, in spite of Musharraf’s statements of May 2007 about not allowing her to return ahead of the country’s general election, due late 2007 or early 2008. It was speculated that she may have been offered the office of Prime Minister again.
Arthur Herman, a U.S. historian, in a controversial letter published in The Wall Street Journal on 14 June 2007, in response to an article by Bhutto highly critical of the president and his policies, described her as "One of the most incompetent leaders in the history of South Asia," and asserted that she and other elites in Pakistan hate Musharraf because he was a muhajir, the son of one of millions of Indian Muslims who fled to Pakistan during independence in 1947. Herman claimed, "Although it was muhajirs who agitated for the creation of Pakistan in the first place, many native Pakistanis view them with contempt and treat them as third-class citizens."
Nonetheless, by mid-2007, the U.S. appeared to be pushing for a deal in which Musharraf would remain as president but step down as military head, and either Bhutto or one of her nominees would become prime minister.
On 11 July 2007, the Associated Press, in an article about the possible aftermath of the Red Mosque incident, wrote:
Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister and opposition leader expected by many to return from exile and join Musharraf in a power-sharing deal after year-end general elections, praised him for taking a tough line on the Red Mosque. "I’m glad there was no cease-fire with the militants in the mosque because cease-fires simply embolden the militants," she told Britain’s Sky TV on Tuesday. "There will be a backlash, but at some time we have to stop appeasing the militants."
This remark about the Red Mosque was seen with dismay in Pakistan as reportedly hundreds of young students were burned to death and remains are untraceable and cases are being heard in Pakistani supreme court as a missing persons issue. This and subsequent support for Musharraf led Elder Bhutto’s comrades like Khar to criticize her publicly.
Bhutto however advised Musharraf in an early phase of the latter’s quarrel with the Chief Justice, to restore him. Her PPP did not capitalize on its CEC member, Aitzaz Ahsan, the chief Barrister for the Chief Justice, in successful restoration. Rather he was seen as a rival and was isolated.
Return to Pakistan and the Assassination Attempt
Bhutto was well aware of the risk to her own life that might result from her return from exile to campaign for the leadership position. In an interview on September 28, 2007, with reporter Wolf Blitzer of CNN, she readily admitted the possibility of attack on herself.
After eight years in exile in Dubai and London, Bhutto returned to Karachi on 18 October 2007, to prepare for the 2008 national elections.
En route to a rally in Karachi on 18 October 2007, two explosions occurred shortly after Bhutto had landed and left Jinnah International Airport. She was not injured but the explosions, later found to be a suicide-bomb attack, killed 136 people and injured at least 450. The dead included at least 50 of the security guards from her PPP who had formed a human chain around her truck to keep potential bombers away, as well as six police officers. A number of senior officials were injured. Bhutto, after nearly ten hours of the parade through Karachi, ducked back down into the steel command center to remove her sandals from her swollen feet, moments before the bomb went off. She was escorted unharmed from the scene…(See References for more detail.)
On 27 December 2007, Bhutto was killed while leaving a campaign rally for the PPP at Liaquat National Bagh, where she had given a spirited address to party supporters in the run-up to the January 2008 parliamentary elections. After entering her bulletproof vehicle, Bhutto stood up through its sunroof to wave to the crowds. At this point, a gunman fired shots at her and subsequently explosives were detonated near the vehicle killing approximately 20 people. Bhutto was critically wounded and was rushed to Rawalpindi General Hospital. She was taken into surgery at 17:35 local time, and pronounced dead at 18:16.
Bhutto’s body was flown to her hometown of Garhi Khuda Bakhsh in Larkana District, Sindh, and was buried next to her father in the family mausoleum at a ceremony attended by hundreds of thousands of mourners.
There was some disagreement about the exact cause of death. Bhutto’s husband refused to permit an autopsy or post-mortem examination to be carried out. On 28 December 2007, the Interior Ministry of Pakistan stated that "Bhutto was killed when she tried to duck back into the vehicle, and the shock waves from the blast knocked her head into a lever attached to the sunroof, fracturing her skull". However, a hospital spokesman stated earlier that she had suffered shrapnel wounds to the head and that this was the cause of her death. Bhutto’s aides have also disputed the Interior Ministry’s account. On December 31, CNN posted the alleged emergency room admission report as a PDF file. The document appears to have been signed by all the admitting physicians and notes that no object was found inside the wound.
Al-Qaeda commander Mustafa Abu al-Yazid claimed responsibility for the attack, describing Bhutto as "the most precious American asset." The Pakistani government also stated that it had proof that al-Qaeda was behind the assassination. A report for CNN stated: "the Interior Ministry also earlier told Pakistan’s Geo TV that the suicide bomber belonged to Lashkar i Jhangvi—an al-Qaeda-linked militant group that the government has blamed for hundreds of killings". The government of Pakistan claimed Baitullah Mehsud was the mastermind behind the assassination. Lashkar i Jhangvi, a Wahabi Muslim extremist organization affiliated with al-Qaeda that also attempted in 1999 to assassinate former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, is alleged to have been responsible for the killing of the 54-year-old Bhutto along with approximately 20 bystanders, however this is vigorously disputed by the Bhutto family, by the PPP that Bhutto had headed and by Baitullah Mehsud. On 3 January 2008, President Musharraf officially denied participating in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto as well as failing to provide her proper security.
The international reaction to Bhutto’s assassination was of strong condemnation across the international community. The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting and unanimously condemned the assassination. Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa stated that, "We condemn this assassination and terrorist act, and pray for God Almighty to bless her soul." India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he was "deeply shocked and horrified to hear of the heinous assassination of Mrs. Benazir Bhutto. … My heartfelt condolences go to her family and the people of Pakistan who have suffered a grievous blow." British Prime Minister Gordon Brown stated, "Benazir Bhutto may have been killed by terrorists but the terrorists must not be allowed to kill democracy in Pakistan and this atrocity strengthens our resolve that terrorists will not win there, here or anywhere in the world." European Commission President José Manuel Barroso condemned the assassination as "an attack against democracy and against Pakistan," and "hopes that Pakistan will remain firmly on track for return to democratic civilian rule." US President George W. Bush condemned the assassination as a "cowardly act by murderous extremists," and encouraged Pakistan to "honor Benazir Bhutto’s memory by continuing with the democratic process for which she so bravely gave her life." Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone expressed the sadness of Pope Benedict XVI, saying that "the Holy Father expresses sentiments of deep sympathy and spiritual closeness to the members of her family and to the entire Pakistani nation." Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang said that China was "shocked at the killing of Pakistan’s opposition leader Benazir Bhutto" and "strongly condemns the terrorist attack."
Please take time to further explore more about BENAZIR BHUTTO,
her ROLE AS PRIME MINISTER OF A MUSLIM COUNTRY (PAKISTAN),
CHARGES OF CORRUPTION AGAINST HER GOVERNMENT, and her
ASSASSINATION by accessing the Wikipedia articles referenced below…
Other Events on this Day:
Charleston, South Carolina, which had established the first library in the English colonies in 1698, passes an act allowing inhabitants to borrow its books.
William Becknell reaches Santa Fe, an event that opens the Santa Fe Trail.
Union general William T. Sherman leaves Atlanta in smoldering ruins as he begins his “March to the Sea”.
Oklahoma becomes the forty-sixth state.
Dr. Samuel H. Sheppard is acquitted of charges that he murdered his pregnant wife, Marilyn, in 1954. Sheppard served nearly 10 years in prison before his acquittal.
Benazir Bhutto is elected prime minister of Pakistan. Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party wins a majority in the National Assembly, making her the first woman to lead a Muslim nation in modern history.
- In 2004…
National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice is selected by President George W. Bush to succeed Colin Powell as secretary of state. She is the first African American woman to hold the post; he was the first African American to do so.
Dates and events based on:
William J. Bennett and John Cribb, (2008) The American Patriot’s Almanac Daily Readings on America. (Kindle Edition)
Background information is from Wikipedia articles on:
Wikipedia: Benazir Bhutto…
Wikipedia: Corruption Charges against Benazir Bhutto…
Wikipedia: Assassination of Benazir Bhutto…
Brainy Quote: MUSLIM Quotes…