Saturday, November 1, 2008


I have received many mails from the US in response to my piece on Senator Barrack Obama. Some of them----possibly from supporters of Obama--- are downright abusive and sarcastic and some---possibly from supporters of McCain--- are inquisitive. I am extracting and reproducing below my reply to one of the mails. B.Raman
"Thanks for your message. I did receive your earlier message, but could not reply in time. I have mentioned in my piece why I feel troubled---- as an Indian--- by what seems to me to be a lack of transparency with regard to Senator Obama. It is a fact that in the 1980s many Afro-Americans embraced Islam and went to Pakistan. An organisation called Jamaat-ul-Fuqra headed by a Pakistani cleric then based in the US and married to two Afro-American girls played an important role in the recruitment of the Afro-Americans and sending them to Pakistan. I had written extensively on this organisation for various online publications. I understand that----interestingly---- a US think tank associated with the US Armed Forces has carried recently an article on this subject . I have not yet read that article. If I remember correctly, the name of that journal is Sentinel. I will re-check and let you know. As you may be knowing one of the purposes of the visit of Daniel Pearl to Pakistan in January 2002 was to investigate the links of this organisation with Afro-Americans and particularly to check whether this organisation had anything to do with the so-called shoe-bomber. Omar Sheikh trapped him under the pretext of organising an interview with its Amir Sheikh Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani.In the 1990s, some of the Afro-Americans had also undergone a training course in a Pakistani camp of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen. It is against the background of this flow of Afro-Americans to Pakistan in the 1980s and the early 1990s that I felt and still feel that Obama's visit to Pakistan should have been scrutinised a little more closely. I was surprised by the hostile comments I got from some Americans----apparently supporters of Obama--- to my article, some of them calling me a joker and using similar other abuses. Their intolerance of any attempt to draw attention to aspects which they don't like is disturbing. You should not use this for reporting since you are a journalist. Regards. Raman "