A few weeks ago myself and an entire generation of Pakistanis and anti-terror folks around the world demanded a cross-border action against the TTP terrorists.
Today the Interior Minister Rehman malik has warned of a “secret operation” in Afghanistan against Maullana Fazlullah and Faqirullah “if they do not halt their terrorist activity in Pakistan.”
What nonsense. Why would Mr. Malik announce a “secret operation”? Why is he sending threats against Fazlullah and Faqirullah? Why hasn’t he already ordered the operation? Is the ISI sleeping? Is the army drinking sattoo? First Malik squeamishly demands “extradition”, now he issues this silly threat. We are sure the TTP and its foreign sponsors isn’t shaking in its boots from the Malik threat
Malik said “if any Pakistani was killed in the future, an operation would be conducted against terrorists hiding in Afghanistan.”
What garbage. How many more Pakistanis need to die before the TTP is decapitated and decimated?
“We will reply if there is any activity from Afghanistan,” Malik said.
Malik added that “he would provide details regarding the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in his upcoming book.”
Anything less than “I did it” would be unacceptable! He really needs to explain his actions post murder–when he took off in the back-up vehicle. He also needs to explain his connection with Shahanshah and and who killed Shahanshah. Malik also needs to shed light on the strange actions of Shahashah while benazir was making a speech at Liaqat Bagh.
n the third and final debate between US President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, India wasn’t mentioned at all, not even once, in the 90-minute debate.
Pakistan was mentioned 25 times and Iran was mentioned 47 times. Here is the count:
Iran: 47 times; Israel: 34 times; China: 32 times; Syria: 28 times; Pakistan: 25 times; Afghanistan: 21 times;
For US policy makers, India did not exist on the world map. Many analysts wondered why Bharat was left out and not discussed or mentioned?
Sadanand Dhume, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (a Conservative Neocon think tank) “India is much less central to US foreign policy than many pundits in New Delhi would like to believe.”
“India is a large and inward-looking country and in many ways it sees itself as the centre of Asia whereas in reality as this debate shows it is not quite the case,” Dhume, a contributing writer to The Wall Street Journal.
Nuanced but discernible: Romney Slightly more supportive of Pakistan during debate and during the campaign.
There was no vitriol against Pakistan, but Obama was more negative–especially when he justified the raid on Abbotabad. There didn’t seem to be much of a policy difference among the candidates on Pakistan. The foreign policy differences between the two candidates were slight. There were distinct nuances, but neither supported continuation of war, or the announcement of new wars. Both candidates are supportive of continued engagement and continuation of aid to Pakistan.
“But it’s important for us to recognise that we can’t just walk away from Pakistan. But we do need to make sure that as we send support for them, that this is tied to them making progress on – on matters that would lead them to becoming a civil society,” Romney said.
Romney voiced his support for the President’s ongoing policy of using unmanned weapons to attack terrorist targets, saying the U.S. should be ready by “any and all means necessary to take out people who pose a threat to us and our friends around the world.”
Romney on drones: “I believe we should use any and all means necessary to take out people who pose a threat to us and our friends around the world. And it’s widely reported that drones are being used in strikes, and I support that and entirely, and feel the president was right over the usage of that technology, and believe that we should continue to use it, to continue to go after the people that represent a threat to this nation and to our friends. But let me also note that as I said earlier, we’re going to have to do more than just going after leaders and – and killing bad guys, important as that is.”
Both are concerned about Pakistan’s Nuclear program. Even though Governor Romney has supported the drone strikes, he has generally been more supportive of Pakistan during the debate and during the campaign. Romney had declared that America should have sought permission from Pakistan before making the Osama raid. Obama displayed his general distrust for Pakistan during the debate when he said that if we had sought permission from Pakistan, Osama Bin Laden would have escaped. For the record, both candidates have supported withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014 with some nuanced differences. Romney said that the withdrawal would depend on conditions on the ground (which Obama will also do–but Obama’s withdrawal date is confirmed as per VP Biden).
Obama was not very positive about Pakistan “if we had asked Pakistan permission, we would not have gotten him (bin Laden). And it was worth moving heaven and earth to get him.”
When asked if the US should “divorce” Pakistan, Romney gave a strong No to the question.
“No, it’s not time to divorce a nation on Earth that has 100 nuclear weapons and is on the way to double that at some point, a nation that has serious threats from terrorist groups within its nation,” Romney.
“But we do need to make sure that, as we send support for them, that this is tied to them making progress on matters that would lead them to becoming a civil society.”
Obama on the other hand was all over the map and didn’t quiet answer the question, though he did want to stay engaged with Pakistan.
Both the candidates are supportive of the Drone strikes, but Romney may revert to the Bush position if faced with defiance from Islamabad (which has been lacking during the PPP government)–as may Obama. The Republican contender Mitt Romney said that he would continue to engage with Pakistan and would not abandon it because it was a Nuclear power. “So we’re going to have to remain helpful in encouraging Pakistan to move towards a more stable government and rebuild a relationship with us. And that means that our aid that we provide to Pakistan is going to have to be conditioned upon certain benchmarks being met.” He also said that “It is important for the US to recognise that it cannot just walk away from Pakistan, Romney”.
The 65-year-old Romney responding to a question about the US withdrawal said that Pakistan “is important to the region, to the world and to us” because it had 100 nuclear warheads and was rushing to build a lot more. “They’ll have more than Great Britain sometime in the relatively near future,” Romney said. “They also have the Haqqani network and Taliban existent within their country. And so a Pakistan that falls apart, becomes a failed state would be of extraordinary danger to Afghanistan and us,” he added. Romney argued that despite a strained relationship with Pakistan, the United States cannot afford to “divorce” Pakistan, which is a nation of over 100 nuclear weapons. “No, it’s not time to divorce a nation on earth that has a hundred nuclear weapons and is on the way to double that at some point, a nation that has serious threats from terrorist groups within its nation, the Taliban, Haqqani network. It’s a nation that’s not like others and that does not have a civilian leadership that is calling the shots there,” he said.
Romney supported Pakistan by saying “And so we’re going to have to remain helpful in encouraging Pakistan to move towards a more stable government and rebuild the relationship with us. And that means that our aid that we provide to Pakistan is going to have to be conditioned upon certain benchmarks being met.”
Romney supported Obama by saying. “I don’t blame the administration for the fact that the relationship with Pakistan is strained. We had to go into Pakistan; we had to go in there to get Osama bin Laden. That was the right thing to do,” said the Republican presidential candidate during Af-Pak section of the debate.
Roney said “This is an important part of the world for us. Pakistan is technically an ally, and they’re not acting very much like an ally right now. But we have some work to do. And I – I don’t blame the administration for the fact that the relationship with Pakistan is strained. We had to go into Pakistan. We had to go in there to get Osama bin Laden. That was the right thing to do. And that upset them, but obviously there was a great deal of anger even before that. But we’re going to have to work with the people in Pakistan to try and help them move to a more responsible course than the one that they’re on. And it’s important for them. It’s important for the nuclear weapons. It’s important for the success of Afghanistan.”
Discussing Pakistan, Romney said, “It’s a nation that’s not like others and that does not have a civilian leadership that is calling the shots there.
“You’ve got the ISI, their intelligence organisation is probably the most powerful of the three branches there. Then you have the military and then you have the civilian government. This is a nation which if it falls apart — if it becomes a failed state, there are nuclear weapons there and you’ve got — you’ve got terrorists there who could grab their — their hands onto those nuclear weapons”
President Obama is the only US president, or possibly the only American politician that has held office that correctly pronounces the name of the country.
The world is appalled. All civilized nations have condemned it. The Burmese (aka Mayanmar) authorities are on a rampage and have been on a rampage. The Muslims have been stripped of their citizenship and have no rights as human being.
The kingdom of Mrohaung used to own vast territories which included Chittagong. The kingdom came into conflict with the Mughals during the reign of Aurenzeb. It did survive the attacks, and continued to be independent for much longer. The British in all their wisdom did not give Mrohaung its independence when they left Burma.
As of 2012, 800,000 Rohingya live in Myanmar. Burma occupied the Muslim kingdom of Arakan on December 31st, 1784. Following the Burmese conquest of Arakan in 1785, as many as 35,000 Arakanese people fled to the neighbouring Chittagong region of British Bengal in 1799 to avoid Burmese persecution and seek protection from British India.
The Human Rights Watch urged the government of Myanmar to take immediate steps to stop violence against the Rohingya Muslim population in the Arakan State of western Myanmar.
The stateless Rohingya,have long been considered by the United Nations as one of the most persecuted minorities on the planet.
Aung San Suu Kyi is silent.
The United Nations on Friday warned that the hostilities could jeopardise the country’s widely-praised reforms, which include the release of hundreds of political prisoners and the election of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to parliament.
- The United Nations earlier said 3,200 had made their way towards shelters in Sittwe, with a further several thousand on the way.
Residents of one camp in a coastal area on the outskirts of Sittwe said they could see boatloads of Rohingya on the shore.
- “The security forces are not allowing them to come in. Some people are on the shore and some are still on their boats.”
- He added the group of several thousand people, including women and children, was believed to be from just two towns.
Burma’s president Thein Sein’s has admitted an unprecedented wave of ethnic violence has targeted his country’s Rohingya Muslim population, destroying whole villages and large parts of towns.
The attacks in Arakan province in the country’s west – also known as Rakhine – appears to have been part of a wave of communal violence pitting Arakan Buddhists against Muslims .
New satellite imagery shows extensive destruction of homes and other property in a predominantly Rohingya Muslim area of the coastal town of Kyauk Pyu – the epi-center of widespread new violence and displacement.
Aung San Suu Kyi, the darling of the West is silent.
- The Rohingya, are under “vicious attack”. Rangoon must ensure protection for the affected Muslim and Buddhist communities in the region.
- A total of 811 destroyed building structures can be identified from the images of the eastern edge of Kyauk Pyu city – a Rohingya area. The destruction was caused by arson attacks occurring October 24.
- The victims were mostly Muslim Rohingyas.
- “Unless the authorities also start addressing the root causes of the violence, it is only likely to get worse,” said Phil Robertson, HRW deputy Asia director.
English: Silver_coin_of_king_Nitichandra_Arakan_Brahmi_legend_NITI_in_front_Shrivatasa_symbol_reverse_8th_century_CE. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
“Burma’s government urgently needs to provide security for the Rohingya in Arakan state, who are under vicious attack,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Unless the authorities also start addressing the root causes of the violence, it is only likely to get worse.”
Myanmar State television had reported Friday night that 67 people had died, 95 been injured and 2,818 houses were burned down from Sunday through Thursday in seven of the state’s townships. Human Rights Watch said that the true death toll is higher than that officially reported, based on witnesses’ accounts and a history of government undercounting in cases that might reflect badly on it.
Why doesn’t Aung San Suu Kyi speak up?
Muslim settlements have existed in Arakan since the arrival of Arabs there in the 8th century CE. The direct descendants of Arab settlers are believed to live in central Arakan near Mrauk-U and Kyauktaw townships, rather than the Mayu frontier area, the present day area where a majority of Rohingya are populated, near Chittagong Division, Bangladesh.
According to Charles Kimball In the 14th century Arakan was a pawn that frequently changed hands in the struggles between Ava and Pegu. Things began to look up, however, when King Narameikhla (1404-34), aided by the sultan of Bengal, recovered his throne from a pro-Burmese usurper. At the end of his reign he built a splendid new capital, Mrohaung, and Arakan’s golden age began.
Kimbal says that “Relations with the Mogul Empire went from bad to worse as the 17th century progressed. The first Mogul attack retook Dacca, but the invading fleet was smashed before it could get out of the Ganges delta (1629). In 1660 a Mogul prince, Shah Shuja, fled to Mrohaung when he failed to keep his brother, Aurangzeb, from usurping the Mogul throne. Shah Shuja asked for ships to convey his family and retinue to Mecca, but none were supplied. Then the Arakanese king, Sandathudamma, asked for one of Shah Shuja’s daughters in marriage and was indignantly refused. Fearing he would be handed over to the Moguls, Shah Shuja tried to escape; on the second attempt he was killed in a riot and his treasures were confiscated.”
Kimbal futher adds that “When Aurangzeb heard the news, he demanded the surrender of Shah Shuja’s children; Sandathudamma refused and war broke out. At first the war went well for Arakan, with the Feringhi making two devastating raids on the Bengal coast. But at a crucial moment they quarreled with the Arakanese, and when the Moguls offered employment most of the Feringhi switched sides. The result was an overwhelming Mogul victory at the battle of Dianga (1666), where the Arakanese fleet was destroyed and Chittagong (held by Arakan since 1459) was taken back.”
Early evidence of Bengali Muslim settlements in Arakan date back to the time of King Narameikhla (1430–1434) of the Kingdom of Mrauk U. After 24 years of exile in Bengal, he regained control of the Arakanese throne in 1430 with military assistance from the Sultanate of Bengal. The Bengalis who came with him formed their own settlements in the region.
Following the Burmese conquest of Arakan in 1785, as many as 35,000 Arakanese people fled to the neighbouring Chittagong region of British Bengal in 1799 to avoid Burmese persecution and seek protection from British India.
Rohingya scholars have successfully written the Rohingya language in various scripts including Arabic, Hanifi, Urdu, Roman, and Burmese, where Hanifi is a newly developed alphabet derived from Arabic with the addition of four characters from Latin and Burmese.
British Francis Buchanan-Hamilton in his 1799 article “A Comparative Vocabulary of Some of the Languages Spoken in the Burma Empire,” Buchanan-Hamilton stated: “I shall now add three dialects, spoken in the Burma Empire, but evidently derived from the language of the Hindu nation. The first is that spoken by the Mohammedans, who have long settled in Arakan, and who call themselves Rooinga, or natives of Arakan.
Old coin of Arakan, today Rakhine, Myanmar. Minted by Shams al-din Muhammad Ghazi, sultan of Bengal. Dated AH962 (= 1554/5 AD). Obverse: kalima within square. Reverse: (above and right:) Shams al-Dunya wa al-Din abu al-Muzaffar (within square:) Muhammad Shah Ghazi khalled Allah mulkahu wa sultanat (below:) sanah 962 (left:) zarb Arakan (with low “a”). More or less similar to this coin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
MA Chowdhury a historian says that among the Muslim populations in Myanmar, the term ‘Mrohaung’ (Old Arakanese Kingdom) was corrupted to Rohang. And thus inhabitants of the region are called Rohingya.
Amnesty International also issued a separate statement calling for more government action to protect lives.
“These latest incidents between Muslim Rohingyas and Buddhists demonstrate how urgent it is that the authorities intervene to protect everyone, and break the cycle of discrimination and violence,” Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific deputy director, Isabelle Arradon, said in a statement.
In June, ethnic violence in Rakhine killed at least 90 people and destroyed more than 3,000 homes. About 75,000 have been living in refugee camps ever since. Curfews have been in place in some areas since the earlier violence and were extended in scope this past week.
The unrest in Rakhine state has caused a fresh exodus of people fleeing for safety from Rohingya minority areas.
Aung San Suu Kyi doesn’t say anything!
- Tens of thousands of mainly Muslim Rohingya are already crammed into squalid camps around the state capital Sittwe after deadly violence in June. Rakhine state officials said the latest bloodshed had caused an influx of boats carrying around 6,000 people to the city.
- “The local government is planning to relocate them to a suitable place. We are having problems because more people are coming,” said Rakhine government spokesman Hla Thein. Some of the displaced are still on boats while several thousand have docked on an island opposite Sittwe.
- Chris Lewa, head of the Arakan Project, which campaigns for Rohingya rights, said the recent spate of clashes were “far deadlier” than the June unrest.
- “Rakhine State has now spiraled into complete lawlessness,” she told news agency AFP on Saturday. “Violence is spreading to the south and east with the clear purpose of expelling all Muslims, not just Rohingya.”
Very poor cosmetic surgery will never take away the scars and when the cretins in the corridor of Pakistani power tell India that Pakistan is prepared to look to the future and not our history you are so wrong.
Krishna made unacceptable statements about Pakistan and its links to International terrorism and linking the talks to the Mumbai attack before his arrival. He is a diplomatic therefore satisfies all corners of Idnian society and continues charge an innocent Pakistan.
This is a Politician who has no real credible plan for peace and is using diplomacy to jostle for a greater role in Central Asia. It is clear at the back of this facade is America who feels they can make these two countries come together without a real push for a framework of Peace.
Pakistan can never give up Kashmir and India has made it clear she will never give up the occupation of India and the UN resolution will continue to stand against India.
Pakistan is owed so much by India and without India delivering what belongs to Pakistan, these two neighbours can never ersolve their differences and will continue to play the other off in a post American invasion of Afghanistan.
An empty series of meetings, empty promises and the usual cosmetic surgery to hide the scars of partition and 2 centuries of divisions left by the British.
I will say if India has the conviction to peace and give Kashmiris their self determination and remove forces from Siachen, return Sir Creek, Manvadar and Junagadh. At the same time drastically change her Pakistan centric hatefilled media & foreign policy she will have so much to gain.
Pakistan too will then stop her hostile Indian centric foreign policy and Pakistan too will stop supporting separatist movements inside India.
Together Pakistan & india can link Central Asia, North Asia with South Asia & The Asia Pacific. We can make this Asia’s century a region with far more potential than Europe. Instead we will remain fragmented as nations across Asia and non Asian state actors will take advantage of these divides, monopolising on the potential we have as one to make themselves prosperous.
Bold moves will be needed from India if real Peace is to come about & I speak as a Kashmiri and a Pakistani, we in Pakistani will only then appreciate the gesture of friendship which will be reciprocated.
We as a nation had nothing to do with Mumbai and certainly our ISI and government had nothing to do with Mumbai while India continues to arm, fund terrorists from within Afghanistan to kill, main Pakistani men, women and children.
I talk about the sold out Sardars of Baloch that have never represented the proud and patriotic Balochis. I talk about Tereek-e-Taliban and I talk about the attrocities of Indian military in Kashmir.
Why does Pakistan suddenly excuse Indian aggression, attrocity towards Pakistani people. 65 years of aggression, hate for Pakistan and 2 centuries of hatred for the Muslim inhabitants of the Indus sonce the white man set foot on the sub continent.
There will be no movement by India on Siachen, Sir Creek, Junagadh, Manvadar and they will never allow peace and tranquility to flourish in Jammu & Kashmir. Jammu & Kashmir which has seen a rise in attacks on innoent Muslim Kashmiris this year, thousands of year old masjids burnt, desecration of the noble Qu’ran Al Furqaan on numerous incidents across Kashmir.
India has absolute contempt for an Islamic Kashmir and has no intention to give Kashmiris their right to a fere and fair plebiscite as agree through a UN resolution.
India and our contact with Indians winessed daily on this and many sites have contempt for Pakistan and Pakistanis and we have equally returned that favour.
If India really seeks a stable and progressive Pakistan she will have to accept Pakistan as an equal, bring peace to Kashmir and stop meddling in Pakistani politics nor plotting terror inside Pakistan.
If India really seeks a stable and progressive Pakistan she needs to curn her home grown Hindu terrorists and stop defaming Islam and mistreating Muslims which has direct repercussions on her relationship with the Islamic rrepublic of Pakistan.
If India really wants peace Pakistan needs to understand it should stop demonising Pakistanis and control her scavangerous media against Pakistan and Pakistanis.
For us a real sign of Peace is resolving Kashmir, returning Sir Creek, Manvadar, Junagadh to Pakistan. A complete stop of Indian terrorist activities in West & Central Asia aimed at Pakistan.
We do not need bollywood and visas we need conviction and tangible tokens of a real friendship.
Was Musa Ibm Maymun the great Arab Scholar a Muslim or was Moses Maimonides a Jew. In a great testimonial to interfaith harmony the magnificent Sultan Saladin had appointed many Jews to the highest ranks in his cabinet. Moses Maimonides was one such individual. He was the potent Surgeon General and personal physician with immense powers.
Moses Maimonides is considered the most important thinker of modern Jewish thinking. He is often called “the 2nd Moses” to highlight his importance. However most Arab scholars own him as an Arab thinker. This offers us great opportunity to build interfaith bridges among the monotheist religions. To this purpose we wormed AJMA (American Joint Multifaith Association).http://www. ajma.org
- Among Maimonides scholars there is a long-standing debate regarding the allegation that as an adolescent he and his family converted to Islam
- Citing four Arabic sources, Kraemer surmises that Maimonides “practiced Islam in Fez and eventually left and sailed to Acre. We do not know whether he was already a practicing Muslim when he came to Fez.”
Not only did Musa write and work for the Jewish community openly, he is considered the most important writer of Jewish thought who really consecrated Jewish ideas. Now Magid seems to repeat what Islamic scholars have been saying for hundreds of years. Most of the ideas proposed by Moses were hugely influenced by Muslim thinkers and Islamic thought. In this sense Judaism owes Islam a lot. The formation of Kaballah from Sufisim is one such example. Magid lists the “pillars” as another.
- Once, when discussing passages from The Guide for the Perplexed and Mishneh Torah, a Muslim scholar insisted that Maimonides’ positions were “pure Islam” and that “Ibn Maimun” — as he is known in Arabic — “is a small ‘m’ Muslim,” citing chapter and verse of thinkers Maimonides never mentions.
- Kraemer’s lights, Maimonides did not simply live and work among Muslims; his entire worldview was infused with Islamic methods, ideas and ideology.
- The author argues, for example, that the subtle balance in Maimonides’s legal code between “preservation of tradition on one side, and change and progress on the other” stems from his melding of the Talmudic tradition with key principles of Islamic legal interpretation
- The fact that Maimonides cites some Islamic sources, especially the philosopher Abu Nasar al-Farabi (c. 870-950), is well known. More subtle is the way even his ostensibly Jewish positions, and the methods he uses to reach them, appear to be taken, sometimes verbatim, from the Muslim tradition
- More subtle is the way even his ostensibly Jewish positions, and the methods he uses to reach them, appear to be taken, sometimes verbatim, from the Muslim tradition. One of Maimonides’ great theological innovations, for example, was his Thirteen Principles of Faith, a list of Judaism’s central beliefs.
- As Judaism is a religion founded on law and not on belief per se, no such creed had been attempted before. But the notion of principles, or pillars, of faith had existed for some time in Islam, and Kraemer contends that several of Maimonides’s specific articles of faith — including the first (God’s existence), second (divine unity) and particularly the third (God is not a corporeal being) — reflect the influence of such Islamic thinkers as al-Farabi, Ibn Sina and Ibn Tumart, founder of the Almohad movement.
Musa Ibn Maymun as he is known to Arabs wrote all his books in Arabic except one. According to my friend Rabbi Vernon, the lines between the faiths were not so sacrosanct at the time of the ’2nd Moses”. Moses says as much. His one of his letters he says that there are multiple paths to salvation and certainly Islam and Judaism are two of the main ones. His sons were Muslims.
- Two ironies emerge from Kraemer’s book.
- First, that the great architect of medieval and modern Judaism seems to have lived for a time, at least outwardly, as a Muslim; whether this was a feigned or true conversion, he was an insider in Muslim culture.
- And second, that what is often considered original in Maimonides is not very original at all. Throughout the book, Kraemer shows how many of Maimonides’ contributions are derivative, not just of Aristotle andPlato, but also of Muslim thinkers.
- He notes that Maimonides’s discussion of the five types of speech in Jewish law employs the same five categories contained in Islamic jurisprudence.
- He shows that Maimonides’s prohibition of using sacred poems for mundane purposes (such as setting them to music at communal gatherings) is taken directly from a commentary on Plato’s Republic by the Muslim philosopher Averroes.
This age old controversy is addressed once again my Magid in a new book
The Great Islamic Rabbi
Did one of Judaism’s most venerable sages live as a Muslim?
The Life and World of One of Civilization’s Greatest Minds
There are few things all Jews can agree on, but one may be that there is no figure in Judaism in the last 1,000 years who is as revered as Moses ben Maimon (1135-1204), better known by the Greek form of his name, Maimonides. Reformers and ultra-traditionalists, rationalists and mystics claim him as their inspiration. He created the template for medieval and modern Jewish thinking on matters stretching from law to science, medicine to philosophy, messianism to politics.
Joel L. Kraemer’s extensive biography Maimonides brings this venerated rabbi and physician to life for a new generation of readers. It is the work of a scholar deeply engaged with Maimonides’ ideas and the world in which he lived; the book is lucid, entertaining and incisive. While many biographies of Maimonides have been written, Kraemer does what few have attempted: He presents the great Jewish sage as deeply embedded in an Islamic cultural, religious and intellectual milieu.
The book is divided into two parts: an analysis of the Islamic context in which Maimonides lived, describing in detail the places he frequented (Spain, Morocco, the Holy Land and Egypt) and the people he met; and a survey of his writings, including volumes of letters and records of his extensive medical practice as well as his 14-volume code of Jewish law, Mishneh Torah, and his philosophical masterwork, The Guide for the Perplexed.
Among Maimonides scholars there is a long-standing debate regarding the allegation that as an adolescent he and his family converted to Islam (either in his Spanish hometown of Córdoba or later in the Moroccan city of Fez) to avoid the ire of the Almohad dynasty, and that he lived as a Muslim until early adulthood. No credible evidence of this exists in Jewish sources. We know, however, that many in his family’s social class did feign conversion to survive the militant Islamic regime that expanded across Northern Africa and much of the Iberian peninsula in his lifetime. Citing four Arabic sources, Kraemer surmises that Maimonides “practiced Islam in Fez and eventually left and sailed to Acre. We do not know whether he was already a practicing Muslim when he came to Fez.”
The Jewish position has been that Maimonides did not convert but rather engaged in “taqiyya” or dissimulation and, at most, lived as if he were a Muslim, something quite common of Jews in that perilous period. As I read Kraemer, that distinction (outright conversion vs. dissimulation) may be important to many Jews, but it is practically irrelevant to this biography. By Kraemer’s lights, Maimonides did not simply live and work among Muslims; his entire worldview was infused with Islamic methods, ideas and ideology. The author argues, for example, that the subtle balance in Maimonides’s legal code between “preservation of tradition on one side, and change and progress on the other” stems from his melding of the Talmudic tradition with key principles of Islamic legal interpretation.
I, too, have sensed the Islamic influence on Maimonides, especially when reading his works with Muslim colleagues. Once, when discussing passages from The Guide for the Perplexed and Mishneh Torah, a Muslim scholar insisted that Maimonides’ positions were “pure Islam” and that “Ibn Maimun” — as he is known in Arabic — “is a small ‘m’ Muslim,” citing chapter and verse of thinkers Maimonides never mentions.
The fact that Maimonides cites some Islamic sources, especially the philosopher Abu Nasar al-Farabi (c. 870-950), is well known. More subtle is the way even his ostensibly Jewish positions, and the methods he uses to reach them, appear to be taken, sometimes verbatim, from the Muslim tradition. One of Maimonides’ great theological innovations, for example, was his Thirteen Principles of Faith, a list of Judaism’s central beliefs. As Judaism is a religion founded on law and not on belief per se, no such creed had been attempted before. But the notion of principles, or pillars, of faith had existed for some time in Islam, and Kraemer contends that several of Maimonides’s specific articles of faith — including the first (God’s existence), second (divine unity) and particularly the third (God is not a corporeal being) — reflect the influence of such Islamic thinkers as al-Farabi, Ibn Sina and Ibn Tumart, founder of the Almohad movement.
Two ironies emerge from Kraemer’s book. First, that the great architect of medieval and modern Judaism seems to have lived for a time, at least outwardly, as a Muslim; whether this was a feigned or true conversion, he was an insider in Muslim culture. And second, that what is often considered original in Maimonides is not very original at all. Throughout the book, Kraemer shows how many of Maimonides’ contributions are derivative, not just of Aristotle and Plato, but also of Muslim thinkers. He notes that Maimonides’s discussion of the five types of speech in Jewish law employs the same five categories contained in Islamic jurisprudence. He shows that Maimonides’s prohibition of using sacred poems for mundane purposes (such as setting them to music at communal gatherings) is taken directly from a commentary on Plato’sRepublic by the Muslim philosopher Averroes.
Kraemer’s subtitle, One of Civilization’s Greatest Minds, is unfortunate, because the book undermines this claim throughout. Kraemer shows that for Jews and Judaism, Maimonides was certainly an innovator, and the depth of his knowledge and compassion was truly astounding. But as a contributor to the ideas of Western (including medieval Islamic) civilization, he did not have much new to offer. ·
الليله يا (حبي الامارات ) كلنا جيناك
اجمل التهاني في ميلادك نهديك
ونقول ياعل السعد يلفاك
وياعل الفرح يلوح في لياليك
اليوم كلنا جيناك
والكل جاك وبارك بمولدك وهناك
واحلى عبارات الفرح نهديك
يا اسوره والله الطيب مبداك
ويرتاح لك كل من يخاويك
Nowadays operators and media players are looking for common revenue opportunities. In the last years they have been collaborating through the launch of many new TV services, such as IPTV and mobile TV. In research for higher quality mobile TV experience, a new trend is up with broadcast mobile TV.
Forecasters argue that this market should explode in the next 2 years, but the first services launched in Japan, Korea, USA and western Europe are experiencing difficulties to become profitable. With the knowledge of these first experiences, players involved in the development of upcoming European services need to make key decisions for the future.
A new approach So far most mobile TV services available are provided through common mobile networks such as 2,5G or 3G. The user gets TV service delivered to its terminal thanks to unicast transmission, which means that a specific link is created everytime the user wants to use the service. Unicast mobile TV should benefit from improved quality thanks to forthcoming mobile network technology called 4G or LTE (Long Term Evolution), providing increased capacity broadband.
Broadcast mobile TV technically differs from ‘traditional’ cellular-based mobile TV as it uses a dedicated broadcast network in a similar way to Digital Video Broadcast networks such as French TNT. The main interest for this technology lies in higher definition experience and improved service continuity.
Broadcast mobile TV as a high potential market competing with next generation cellular networks
According to ScreenDigest, mobile TV (both cellular-based and broadcast) should pull more revenues than mobile music and mobile games industries combined thanks to 4,4 billion euros of revenues on the global market in 2011, and 1 billion euros in Europe The market size should rapidly become substantial as mobile TV could cover half a billion users in the next five years, says Cantab Wireless. ScreenDigest experts also argue that broadcast mobile TV will become the leading solution with 60% market share in 2011, but it might be threatened by forthcoming LTE networks, that should be operational from 2012.
Mobile TV revenues forecasts in billion euros(source: Screen Digest 2007)
Convergence between telcos and the medias These promising figures are appealing both for telecom and media players. On one hand, TV broadcasters have to deal with a more and more competitive environment and a TV advertising market that reached maturity. For example in France, TV advertising investments fell down by 4,5 % in 2008 (estimation by Hersant Media), leading media groups to diversify their businesses toward new channels. On the other hand mobile operators are developing initiatives to deliver value added services to their customers and create new revenues above ‘traditional’ voice services. The collaboration between French operator SFR and TV broadcaster MTV – including dedicated contract, phone and MTV content – brings us an example of a successful collaborative offer as it reached 1 million subscriptions.
Difficulties to reach cost effective solutions By contrast with successful cellular-based solutions, broadcast solutions need new spectrum allocation and dedicated infrastructure, which requires big investments. In France the cost for the chosen DVB-H infrastructure is estimated at about 60 million euros a year for the first 10 years to cover 1/3 of the territory. This aspect raises hesitations among operators, media players and infrastructure providers wondering about how to share this investment.
In addition, existing business models do not meet success so far. The fee-based model set up in Italy, Germany and USA relies on stable subscription revenues, but it reaches a narrow audience because of a too high price for a service that differs from consumers’ habits. Besides this the free-to-air model (financed by advertising) adopted in Asia generates audience growth but poor revenue performance. For example in Korea, the service offered by TV Channel T-DMD reached 10.3 million users, but the revenue generated is far too low (6 million USD) compared to operating costs (40 million USD).
Synchronization and content strategies as key success factors
One key question to make broadcast mobile TV a successful business is how to coordinate players driven by different interests. Operators’ strength lies on knowledge in mobile business models. A fee-based model would give them market leadership through the benefit of contracts subscriptions they provide. TV broadcasters’ strength is rather based on established relationships with content producers. A free-to-air model would give them an opportunity to get direct profits from advertising.
In Austria the regulator KommAutria required players to sign cooperative agreements and elaborated an incentive free offer distributed for 6 months to encourage users’ subscription. Today this ‘cooperative model’ is investigated with scrutiny by players willing to invest the market.
Another key success factor is providing contents that meet customers’ expectations, which raises different positions. In France government representatives advice programs to be different from traditional TV whereas other approaches argue customers expect similar programs whatever the terminal is.
A mid term vision.
Broadcast mobile TV should rapidly attract a rising number of users whereas operators, broadcasters as well as content owners may not benefit from significant revenues before 2 or 3 years. However this topic requires quick action from players in order to start building up a customer base which will later become mature enough to move toward a subscription model before LTE (4G) networks become operational. Operators not investing now in this market will soon tackle with the risk of missing potential benefits that could be reached through a business model based on a combination of contracts and advertising profits. Above any technological choice (broadcast vs cellular networks) the future of mobile TV is a matter of business model decision.