GayandRight

My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (www.freethinkingfilms.com)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Taliban enforcing 'Jazia' on Sikhs...

They are taxing the Sikhs...
Kalyan Singh’s feelings are now memories, his bucolic life in complete disarray. Much of Orakzai began to change when, early in 2008, Tehrik-e-Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud’s men swept in here from South Waziristan through the neighbouring North Waziristan, inaugurating a reign of terror. Soon, Hakimullah Mehsud, Baitullah’s deputy, established an ‘Islamic emirate’ here, evoking horrific images of religious intolerance that scared a few Sikh families into migrating to Peshawar.

Kalyan Singh refused to shift out from what he saw as his ancestral home, believing he was safe living among the Orakzai tribals. But then, a fortnight ago, Hakimullah descended on the Ferozkhel valley and ordered members of the Sikh community, including women, to gather in an open area. They were told they were now in the custody of Taliban, and that they must pay jazia (a religious tax imposed on non-Muslims living under Islamic rule in the medieval times) or convert to Islam.

The soldiers of the Islamic emirate then picked up Kalyan Singh, tortured him in custody for 10 long days even as negotiations for the amount to be paid as jazia kept apace. Herjeet Singh, a local Sikh, quotes an eyewitness to say, "The militants convened a shura of their own and passed the verdict that Sikhs should pay Rs 100 million as jazia. Our elders pleaded that poor members of the community have no means to raise such a huge amount." Herjeet is among those who sneaked out of Orakzai before jazia was imposed.

The Sikh community’s plea prompted further talks, with the Taliban scaling down their initial demand to Rs 40 million, ultimately agreeing to Rs 12 million as the jazia, a source told Outlook. Kalyan Singh was then set free and asked to raise the demanded amount. His and 50 other families were held hostage. They were warned that any attempts to escape would lead to the slaying of men and conversion of children and womenfolk to Islam. "This is unheard of. Our forefathers lived among the Pashtuns for centuries and were never subjected to such humiliation and barbarism," laments Herjeet Singh.

Kalyan, these days, is in Peshawar, persuading the Sikh community here to somehow raise the whopping amount. Sources say he has managed to collect Rs 3.5 million. Only when Rs 12 million is paid fully will the Sikhs in Ferozkhel be set free, provided protection and allowed to practise their religion.

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