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Right wing backlash against Pak Tea House

Kashifiat has posted an open letter addressed to me. I usually don’t answer such letters but this particular ‘letter’ has to be responded to because if you don’t respond to distorted and mala fide accusations, they come to be accepted as the truth. The superficial reason is that our whiz-writer YLH has used unparliamentary language while commenting but the reasons are far deeper – they have to do with the way we envision Pakistan in light of Quaid – Mr. Jinnah’s ideals and agenda for Pakistan and that we mince no words when exploitation and injustice occur anywhere.We have taken note of the commenting here and fixed the comments on a particular post and hope to have a stricter policy in future. However, we reiterate that we oppose the extremist ideologies which are eating Pakistan from within like termite.  What Kashif and his friends say is their right and we respect that.  Furthermore, I do not blame the young men and women of our age – they have been indoctrinated by the pernicious text-books, Zia’s ideology and the infiltration of Jamaat-i-Islami and jihadis into every nook and corner of Pakistan. This is why PTH, as a voice of reason, faces the dual challenge of tackling the right wing and handling the global stereotyping of Pakistan as a jihadi haven. Not an easy challenge by any account — Raza Rumi

Dear Kashif

I have been constrained to respond to your open letter that not only brings into question my responsibility as the founder-editor of Pak Tea House (PTH) but also distorts what this e-zine stands for.
There is absolutely no article on PakTeaHouse that represents an Ahmadi or any other sectarian view per se. I personally condemn sectarianism of any kind, and my writings testify to that.  Your charge of PTH as a pro-Ahmaddiyat portal is absolutely false unless you feel that speaking of Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan as an inclusive, liberal and secular state is an Ahmadi point of view, in which case  you might as well declare the Quaid-e-Azam an Ahmadi as well.  If PTH authors have spoken about the injustice against Ahmadis for their faith,  and there is considerable injustice against Ahmadis whether you admit it or not.  We have posted many many more articles about the discrimination against Christians.  Does that make us a Christian website as well?  We’ve posted innumerable articles on Pakistani Hindus and their contributions to Pakistani society ?  Do we become a Hindu website? Don’t you think there should be a limit to accusations?
I have followed the discussion that took place on the article ‘The burden of a “Liberal” extremist’.  YLH’s concern was with  Adil Najam and his website and not your article. I share many of Yasser’s concerns about the said article not to mention that it was heavily inspired by the Wikipedia entry.
You also pointed to bad language that Yasser has used.  We have IP addresses, internet records as well as a  plethora of documents that show how you have abused and attacked YLH and his family members in public.  There cannot be two standards here – I let YLH’s intemperate language go but have moderated some of the words which obviously have enraged some self appointed guardians of morality. This is to ensure that there is fairplay here.
As the founder-editor of PakTeaHouse,  I would ordinarily be very concerned by the language used by YLH against you and your friends but I am also alarmed at the way you lash out against him and his poor wife who has nothing to do with these debates. Is this fair and according to the ‘Islamic’ values you boast and preach?
I am not going to defend what Yasser believes in or does not – am not his lawyer and he is quite capable of defending himself. But let me assure you Yasser is not an Ahmadi and is certainly no follower of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, though it would not matter one bit to me if he was.  If anything, he criticises the nature of the A sect and has by and large followed the editorial line where we do not let the Ahmadi websites to post their links and undertake their subtle and not so subtle versions of prosletiyzation or tableegh.
The reason Yasser is important for Pak Tea House is that unlike many other liberal-secular variants of our public discourse, he is  a committed follower of Quaid-e-Azam and his real vision for Pakistan that we seem to have lost. Your claim that he does not call Jinnah “Quaid-e-Azam” is pointless like our hollow textbook writers. The Quaid himself wrote in one of his letters:
“I would prefer to be live and die as plain Mr. Jinnah”
It is sad that you accuse us of championing  a sectarian or communal cause because PTH speaks out for the rights of the Ahmadi minority as well as other minorities.  The reason for this is that we are loyal followers of the Quaid-e-Azam himself.
The largest number of complaints I get against YLH have nothing to with the Ahmadi or minorities issue-  it is that he has turned PakTeaHouse into a “JinnahTeaHouse” or that he is a right wing fascist or a secret follower of Jamaat-i-Islami. I am totally swamped by these cyber-shenanigans. But I sort of support YLH Jinnah-obsession for he is contributing to the movement for reinterpretation of Jinnah both in Pakistan and India. Even though I do not agree with him many times on his assessment of Gandhi and other historical matters, I am fine with him expressing his views. This is hardly an issue if we are willing to hear each other and not brand each other with tags, labels, names and accusations.
Let me make this very clear to you -  We are a liberal e-zine and yes we are a secular platform and above all we adhere to Jinnah’s ideals for Pakistan. If you have the problem with that- well too bad.  If you wish to write against us you have every right to do so.  At least you know that PTH does not adhere to any [mis]interpretation of the religion that leads to exclusion of fellow citizens, witch-hunts, suicide bombings or beheadings and lashings of young girls in public not to mention hanging dead bodies on the street.
We stand for a democratic, egalitarian, secular Pakistan that espouses the universal human rights and Islamic notions of brotherhood, equality and social justice and a state which is at peace with its neighbours and a respected member of the international community. Any exclusionary ideology, one that discriminates against humans and citizens, is not acceptable.
If you do not like that please do not visit us. There are plenty of portals where your will find a receptive audience.
Having said that we apologise for the intemperate langauge as it was not a personal affront against anyone but a result of our overactive writer being misunderstood and abused again and again. He should have shown more restraint I guess but I see that you and your followers are also quick to lose self control. Just see the kind of comments a supporter has left today calling me all sorts of names.
Let us hope we develop a culture of tolerance and healthy discourse free of invective and name-calling.
Regards
Raza Rumi

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65 Responses to "Right wing backlash against Pak Tea House"

  1. PMA United States Unknow Browser Unknow Os says:

    Kareem: The moderator has asked us to close this discussion and so I would. As parting comment please do not misunderstand me. I am a long time friend of some Ahmadiyya as well as Sunni-Palestinian-Muslim individuals. Unlike our coreligionists someplace else we all go to the same mosque and stand in prayers side by side with no religious or personal frictions. At the sometime I am privy to the discussions that go on here about the Ahmadiyya presence in Israel where Muslim-Palestinians are suffering at the hands of the Israelis. There will be no further response from me on this subject. May we all live in peace regardless of our religious affiliation. Take care my friend.

  2. Kareem United Kingdom Unknow Browser Unknow Os says:

    “Ahmadiyya presence in Israel where Muslim-Palestinians are suffering at the hands of the Israelis. ”

    Ahmadi presence in Israel is same as non-Ahmadi presence. Both were occupied by Israel, both existed before Israel came into being. What is different between one and the other? What is the issue here? I have yet to undertsand your complain.

  3. rashid United States Unknow Browser Unknow Os says:

    @PMA

    To set the record straight.
    PMA writes, “Reportedly Ahmadiyya Jamaat has a mission center in Israel where the group is received with a warm welcome.”

    PMA you need to specifically mention by ‘Ahmadiyya Jamaat’ you mean QADIANI-AHMADIS (or Qadiani Group), who have mission center in Israel where the group is received with a warm welcome.

    The other faction of Ahmadiyya Movement aka Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement (LAM) aka LAHORI-AHMADIS do NOT have any such mission in Israel. They always remain out of political activities. They did support creation of Pakistan as any other Muslim in Indian subcontinent. Quaid-I-Azam use to forward mail, regarding questions about religion of Islam, as many in west thought being leader of Muslims he was scholar of Islam, to Maulana Muhammad Ali president of LAM. QA frequently used quotes from LAM English language organ ‘The Light’ in his speeches. Shaair-e-Mashriq Muhammad Iqbal even after developing differences with Qadiani-Group use to attend LAM religious conferences, preside their conference sessions, and make financial contributions. Woking Muslim Mission/ Mosque run by LAM was the place where critical role was played for creation of Pakistan.
    For many of you it may be news:
    Woking Muslim Mission’s role in the creation of Pakistan
    Ch. Rehmat Ali got his spark of inspiration in the Drawing Room of the Mission House
    http://www.wokingmuslim.org/work/pakistan.htm

    For many of you it may be important that LAM is NOT Qadiani-Group:
    http://www.ahmadiyya.org/clarifi.htm

  4. rashid United States Unknow Browser Unknow Os says:

    @Kareem

    Ahmadiyya Jamaat QADIANI-GROUP NEEDS TO COME CLEAN.

    It is known fact that Qadiani-Ahmadis under direction of their Khalifa 3 Mirza Nasir Ahmad, and his younger brother, who later became Khalifa 4 Mirza Tahir Ahmad threw total weight of their organization behind Z.A. Bhutto and his Pakistan Peoples Party in 1971 elections. Qadiani Jamaat was very much instrumental in PPP win Punjab and NWFP. Because of this people like Mirza Tahir Ahmad were on first name basis with ZAB. Jamat-I-Islami and other religio-political parties did not like role played by Qadianis in 1971 election. More over they needed whip boy to get even with ZAB. Rabwah Railway station incident in summer of 1974, in which Medical College students were mutilated with the consent of ZAB by Qadianis. Provided the much needed opportunity. On other hand as ZAB gives his reason for declaring Qadiani-Ahmadis (and unfortunately also Lahori-Ahmadis who had NO part in this politico-lego-religio drama) non-Muslim (kaffir) in Col Rafi ud Din, the military liaison during his incarceration, ‘Bhutto kay akhari 323 din” (the last 323 days of Bhutto). ZAB says: Qadianis were becoming King Maker like Jews in USA.

    ZAB was under impression that by appeasing Mullah-Maffia in 1974 and also by cutting to size the budding King Makers in Pakistan he will achieve more than what is apparent. Unfortunately, for ZAB appeasing of Mullah-Mafia did not stop there. Then he had to enact more laws in 1977. And this led to “Islamization” by Zia Ul Haq. Unfortunately the tree which was planted in 1974 has spread its root all across the country, and its leaves are shadowing every Pakistani.

  5. rashid United States Unknow Browser Unknow Os says:

    @PMA

    To set the record straight.
    PMA writes, “Reportedly Ahmadiyya Jamaat has a mission center in Israel where the group is received with a warm welcome.”

    PMA you need to specifically mention by ‘Ahmadiyya Jamaat’ you mean QADIANI-AHMADIS (or Qadiani Group), who have mission center in Israel where the group is received with a warm welcome.

    The other faction of Ahmadiyya Movement aka Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement (LAM) aka LAHORI-AHMADIS do NOT have any such mission in Israel. They always remain out of political activities. They did support creation of Pakistan as any other Muslim in Indian subcontinent. Quaid-I-Azam use to forward mail, regarding questions about religion of Islam, as many in west thought being leader of Muslims he was scholar of Islam, to Maulana Muhammad Ali president of LAM. QA frequently used quotes from LAM English language organ ‘The Light’ in his speeches. Shaair-e-Mashriq Muhammad Iqbal even after developing differences with Qadiani-Group use to attend LAM religious conferences, preside their conference sessions, and make financial contributions. Woking Muslim Mission/ Mosque run by LAM was the place where critical role was played for creation of Pakistan.
    For many of you it may be news:
    Woking Muslim Mission’s role in the creation of Pakistan
    Ch. Rehmat Ali got his spark of inspiration in the Drawing Room of the Mission House
    http://www.wokingmuslim.org/work/pakistan.htm

    And For many of you it may be important that LAM is NOT Qadiani-Group:
    http://www.ahmadiyya.org/clarifi.htm

  6. AZW Canada Unknow Browser Unknow Os says:

    May I add my two cents here:

    It does not matter what Qadiani/Ahmedi/Lahori group was up to in 1974, 1971, 1954, 1947, 1933 or for that matter today.

    It is not the main point whether a group is a Kingmaker or a victim at any point in history.

    Kashif Siddiqui and Adnan Siddiqui can go on and do all the ideological debates they want with Qadianis, Shias, Ismalilis or others they believe are outside of “their” Islam or with “loose” religious values.

    The crux of the matter is that the Siddiquis, JIs, and the right wing cannot invoke state to proxy fight for their behalf. State has to protect Qadianis from Siddiquis and JIs, and (equally importantly) vice versa.

    In the eyes of the state, both of them are equal citizens with equal rights, and no side can violate the others’ rights because one thinks they follow are “correct” religion.

    Therefore justifying whether Ahmedis did something or not in the past, or whether they are good or bad as a group is simply a moot point.

    Regards,

    Adnann

  7. Ahmed Ireland Unknow Browser Unknow Os says:

    I am a former Ahmadi. I beleive that ahmadi sect is nuts. But being one of them I know them in and out. And they have traditionally supported all Muslim political causes. Within the Jamat, I have always heard resentment for Israel and great Sympathy for Palestine. I have seen Palestinian Arab Ahmadis on MTA regularly. There is an ahamdi center in Haifa before the formation of Israel. They live there as other Arab muslims.

  8. rashid United States Unknow Browser Unknow Os says:

    @PMA

    Setting the record straight.

    PMA writes, “Reportedly Ahmadiyya Jamaat has a mission center in Israel where the group is received with a warm welcome.”

    PMA you need to specifically mention by ‘Ahmadiyya Jamaat’ you mean QADIANI-AHMADIS (or Qadiani Group), who have mission center in Israel where the group is received with a warm welcome.

    The other faction of Ahmadiyya Movement aka Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement (LAM) aka LAHORI-AHMADIS do NOT have any such mission in Israel. They always remain out of political activities. They did support creation of Pakistan as any other Muslim in Indian subcontinent. Quaid-I-Azam use to forward mail, regarding questions about religion of Islam, as many in west thought being leader of Muslims he was scholar of Islam, to Maulana Muhammad Ali president of LAM. QA frequently used quotes from LAM English language organ ‘The Light’ in his speeches. Shaair-e-Mashriq Muhammad Iqbal even after developing differences with Qadiani-Group use to attend LAM religious conferences, preside their conference sessions, and make financial contributions. Woking Muslim Mission/ Mosque run by LAM was the place where critical role was played for creation of Pakistan.
    For many of you it may be news:
    Woking Muslim Mission’s role in the creation of Pakistan
    Ch. Rehmat Ali got his spark of inspiration in the Drawing Room of the Mission House
    Go to:
    wokingmuslim dot org backslash work backslash pakistan

    For many of you it may be important to know that LAM is NOT Qadiani-Group:
    Go to:
    ahmadiyya dot org backslash clarifi dot htm

  9. Dear Raza & Yaseer

    Keep strong and keep fighting,we have seen JI since the day of 1970s thug attacks on liberal students in lahore karachi universities. The thugs which were the student leaders like fareed paracha are now MNAs and morality police on TV.

    Not to worry.I was roughed up by IJT activists in 1988 because Dr Ghansham Parkash was the Sindh president of DSF,how can a Hindu be a president of students in muslim country,well it was not my fault that a)Dr Parkash was Hindu b) citizen of Islamic Republic of Pakistan and C) how dare the students of Sindh elect a Hindu as their president?

    Jamaat Islami is the evil (need I say Illegitmate )child of American conservatism and Muadudi ‘s Muslim Brotherhood ideology.No one can forget that JI enjoyed the American dollars and now enjoys Al Qaeda and Saudi dollars.May Maududi,Tufail Mohamed and Zia burn in hell of eternity

    All the support to Liberal and Progressive writers of Pakistan.

  10. PMA United States Unknow Browser Unknow Os says:

    Since reference to my earlier comments keep coming up I need to add few words of clarification here. I hope the PTH administrators will allow me that. I do not belong to the school that takes upon itself to define who is Muslim and who is not. Individual’s religion matters the least to me. I view Jamaat-e-Islami and Ahmadiyya Jamaat or for that matter any other Jamaat, and there are hundreds of them worldwide, with same attitude. They are out there mostly to serve the spiritual needs of their followers. I have no problem with that. The problem starts when these Jamaats get involved in politics and start playing political games. At that stage these Jamaats are no longer just religious organizations. They are religio-political organization. Since we are discussing only two particular Jamaats here I will leave the role of other politico-religious Jamaats out for the time being.

    In Pakistani context both Ahmadiyya and Islami Jamaats are religio-political organizations with international reach. Both parties have their extra-Pakistan political contacts, supporters and protectors. They both fight for the same turf except Islami Jamaat being larger and stronger has been able to outmaneuver the Ahmadiyyas. My point is that in a free and fair society, which Pakistan must be, there must be room for every religion and its sects, every political thought, and yes for those who do not belong to any religion or political thought. That is my vision of Pakistan. But for that to happen we need a culture of tolerance and not extremism. I hope I am not the only one in this echo chamber.

  11. YLH United Kingdom Unknow Browser Unknow Os says:

    PMA,

    My only concern is that you can’t compare the thugs and violent extremists of JI with the soft spoken and gentle preachers of JA which mind you has gone through the worst persecution in modern times.

    The problem with JI and JA is the same at the end of the day. Both are variants of Sunnism and therefore lack the sensitivity, modernity and liberalism that the Shia branch bestows on Islam.

    Still we can’t compare JA which was always a patriotic organization with jamaat e islami. May I also say that JA doesn’t seem to be involved in any politics.

  12. PMA United States Unknow Browser Unknow Os says:

    YLH (August 25, 2009 at 7:38 pm): Yes I have seen the persecution of Ahmadiyya families in my own hometown in Pakistan. This was back in the 70s when ZAB was in power and the religious fever was at high pitch. A mob, not necessarily all belonging to Jamaat-e-Islami, attacked homes and businesses of known Ahmadiyya families in town. The families inside responded with gunfire. The mob set the buildings ablaze with kerosene, dragged the individuals out, and hexed them to death. This is the most repulsive thing I have witnessed in my life. On the other hand, being a minority in Pakistan the Ahmadiyya group does not resort to violence. Their mode of operation is non-violent and behind the scene. But trust me, Ahmadiyya group is not composed of all angels. There are bad people in that group too. I was trying to avoid the mention of other religio-political groups in Pakistan, but since you have brought it up, the Shia Mullahs of Pakistan have their godfathers in Iran, just like Sunni Mullahs have theirs in Saudi Arabia. The bottom line is that this mix of religion and politics in Pakistan, from all sides, has poisoned the society to no avail. Our society is being torn apart by the religious and sectarian hatred and conflicts mostly instigated by religious politicians from all sides.

  13. Kareem United Kingdom Unknow Browser Unknow Os says:

    “In Pakistani context both Ahmadiyya and Islami Jamaats are religio-political organizations with international reach. Both parties have their extra-Pakistan political contacts, supporters and protectors.”

    PMA that’s where you are wrong. What you have said about Jammat Islami is correct in fact it is a political party with a religious garb to get support from religion loving masses. It has even registered itself as a political party.

    Jammat Ahmadiyya is purely a religious organisation. All its contacts are its own missionary activates which it does as any religious organisation and is doing for over a century all over the world where it can reach. Over time geo-political changes occur in various parts of the world to which you unfairly connect Jammat Ahmadiyya to.

    As far Jammat Ahmadiyya’s “political” involvement, it supported Pakistan as it was a Muslim cause not an Ahmadiyya cause. Same with Kashmir issue and with Palestine issue. This is not political activity but supporting a Muslim cause as a nation or Umma or whatever you want to call it. As for supporting PPP in 1971 this party was the only major one which did not want to declare Ahmadis as non-Muslim so voting for PPP was a natural choice. Ever citizen or group votes based on what they see favourable, that does not make them political per se. Jammat Ahmadiyya was and remains strictly a religious missionary movement. Very much like traditional Islam from its inception is still a religion and not a political party no matter how many Muslims get involved in politics. You need to see the differences where they exist.

    Most of all Ahmadis as a political system are strictly for a secular system which separates religion from state. This is in stark contrast with those religio-political parties that you have mentioned above.

    As for Jammat Ahmadiyya’s “supporters and protectors” can you elaborate who you are referring to? I think you are subscribing too much to conspiracy theories as usual and not focusing on the obvious explanations and facts. Ahmadis don’t indulge in extremisms so they have a good rapport all over world including in Pakistan where they are sometimes persecuted. If Ahmadis are known as law-abiding and peaceful citizens by others then that is not a support under some sort of conspiracy. What goes around normally comes around; if you are nice to others then others are usually nice to you too. Also people show sympathy when they find Ahmadis are unduly being persecuted. This is only natural and no conspiracy there.

    PMA , problem is you never provide any evidence but make baseless claim. Once challenged you back track and claim its others who make those claims. First of all as a fair person you should confront the claimants for proof rather than blame Ahmadis for what they have not done and indeed there is no evidence for it. Second you should not propagate what you don’t know for a fact or have any substantiation for it. A little lesson in etiquettes.

  14. Raza Rumi Cambodia Unknow Browser Unknow Os says:

    All that needs to said here has been said. Alas, this debate is turning into a sectarian warfare.
    The comments therefore are closed now.
    Thanks for participating.
    RR

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