Muslims under siege in India, says SDPI chief

Updated 03 April 2014

Muslims under siege in India, says SDPI chief

Muslims are under siege in India, not only from parties in the country but also from outside forces, the leader of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) told Arab News here on Wednesday.
The threat was from the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), the Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena in India, and rightwing Zionist organizations abroad, said A. Sayeed, SDPI’s national president.
Sayeed said the SDPI launched in June 2009 in New Delhi to bring serious politics to the table. He said politicians these days are only interested in positions and money. “This type of contaminated politics is found in India and all over the world.”
He said there are too many apolitical people in the country, including some intellectuals, writers and opinion makers watching from the sidelines. “They are not getting involved in politics. We find them on television programs discussing everything under the sun. There is a need for such people to come forward and work to clean up politics. This is the necessity of the time,” he said.
He said Israeli and other global anti-Muslim forces are influencing the Indian government. “They want political monopoly over Muslims in the entire world, not only in their countries, but communities in other countries. That is why they are targeting Indian Muslims,” he said.
Sayeed said the SDPI has formed committees in 13 states and has a presence in another five states. Some members hold seats on local bodies with the cooperation of others. “Rather than going for political positions we are at present focusing on organizing Muslims and other marginalized communities and bringing them under a single leader. That is more important for us than gaining any positions in the present situation.”
Sayeed claimed that many political parties have “bought” Muslim leaders. “Even ‘maulanas’ are sharing platforms with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. In such a situation, you cannot expect all Muslims to come together under one umbrella and work for a single cause. That is a truth from which we cannot escape,” he said. “We have to work for the emancipation of the community, and to achieve that we will have to fight very hard. Some internal work needs to be done in the community itself. At the same time we have to have internal secularism in the Muslim community.”
He said some Muslim parties are working toward this goal in parts of the country and have posts in various state governments. In Bangalore, the SDPI has one member, in Kerala three municipal councilors, and in Karnataka eight municipal councilors and several panchayat members.
“On a local level it is somewhat OK for a newly formed party. None of the leaders of our party has any experience in politics. This is not a party that has departed from any other main political party. It is not a faction. It is a grassroots party. We are training our cadres and members to work in the political field.”
He said the party does not have massive funding and collects monthly subscription fees from members. “We go to the public for donations. We don’t have much money in our purse. Ordinary people support us. That is our source of income,” he said.

Saudi Arabia ‘racing into the future’ with Formula E

Updated 15 December 2018

Saudi Arabia ‘racing into the future’ with Formula E

  • A first for Saudi Arabia and the region, the event’s magnitude reflects the Kingdom’s goal of hosting major events and promoting them domestically and globally
  • “This is unprecedented and fabulous,” one concert-goer said. Another said: “I can’t believe I’m in Saudi Arabia.” 

RIYADH: Formula E is one for the books. Attracting fans from all over the world, the mega event — held in the historic Saudi town of Ad Diriyah, a UNESCO World Heritage Site — is set to revolutionize motorsports by using only electric race cars. 

Officially known as the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, the race expects to draw 40,000 attendees, with access not only to the race but also to the Kingdom’s largest ever festival for music, entertainment and cultural activities.

A first for Saudi Arabia and the region, the event’s magnitude reflects the Kingdom’s goal of hosting major events and promoting them domestically and globally.

A milestone was marked as Bandar Alesayi and Ahmed bin Khanen became the first Saudi I-Pace eTrophy racers, sponsored by the General Sports Authority (GSA). 

Both drivers predict increased grassroots support in the Kingdom for youths to train in carting and race-car driving.  

At 1.76 miles long with 21 corners, the track is somewhat tricky for first-time Formula E drivers.

“The system is like Mario Bros when they get the little star and go faster,” said Formula E founder and CEO Alejandro Agag. The new electric circuit in Saudi Arabia has been hailed as one of the best Formula E tracks.

The three-day event is hosting some of the world’s top singers, including Jason Derulo, Enrique Iglesias, Amr Diab, Black Eyed Peas, David Guetta and One Republic, along with DJ EJ. 

“This is unprecedented and fabulous,” one concert-goer said. Another said: “I can’t believe I’m in Saudi Arabia.” 

Outside the venue, Al-Bujairy, one of Ad Diriyah’s historic areas, hosts high-end restaurants, cafes and local designer outlets overlooking the historic district of At-Turaif, which was once home to the Saudi royal family and has newly opened for visitors.

Another area of interest is the Family Zone, with many events and activities to entertain all age groups. Men, women and children are given different driving experiences.

In Ad Diriyah’s Formula E, only one car is allowed per driver instead of two, making pit stops more crucial in terms of timing.  

“Attack mode” gives cars a temporary power boost from 200 to 225 kilowatts, equivalent to 268-302 horsepower. Drivers need to move to a certain area on the track to activate this mode.

“Saudi Arabia is racing into the future with Formula E, as we open the Kingdom to the world in a transformation that’s being supercharged by the Vision 2030 plan, driven forward by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal Al-Saud, vice-chair of the Saudi Arabian General Sports Authority, told Arab News.