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Peace and tolerance

Peace and tolerance

by Saad Hafiz In yet another manifestation of the hate that appears to be deeply ingrained in Pakistan, four members of the Ahmedi community in Gujranwala were murdered last week by a mob protesting an allegedly blasphemous post on Facebook by an Ahmedi youth. A mob incited by the pulpit, feeding on suspicion and rumour, killed the defenceless for simply being different. These acts ensure that minorities live with murderous intolerance that tarnishes society at large. It … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blasphemy, human rights, Islam, Islamism, minorities, Pakistan, Religion, Rights, violence

Don’t worry Braadir!

by Quratul Ain Haider Zaider I don’t care if Latif Johar is on hunger strike till death! Yeah I know he’s not eating anything from the last 35 days. It’s his choice after all. To hell with those people who are demanding their rights by indulging in novel techniques of protests in Balochistan. You know most of them are involved in anti state activities, and what is happening with them is what they deserve. Our agencies know better about the issue and we should not create any hurdle in their work due to our own naivety. Balochis are basically trying to gain the sympathy by these subterfuge acts. I laugh at the people who try to compare the situation of Balochistan with East Pakistan. They don’t know anything actually. Long Live … Read entire article »

Filed under: baluchistan, Blasphemy, Doctors, human rights, Islam, Islamism, liberal Pakistan, minorities, peace, Religion, Society, Taliban, violence

The bigotry I live with

Ahsan Iftikhar Nagi Over and again, I found myself in the same frustrating situation. I was repeatedly told that I – along with my community – was a non-Muslim. Each time, I tried to defend my position quoting the Holy Quran and sayings of Prophet Muhammad PBUH. I tried to explain why only God could decide one’s faith and I had all right to sincerely believe and consider myself a Muslim. This had become a daily exercise. My own colleagues insist that the Ahmadis are infidels, in my very presence. Some of them knew well that I was one. On a few instances, people even declared the Ahmadis “worthy of death” during routine conversations. Hearing such stuff frequently is not what frustrates me the most. The fact that I cannot respond to such bigotry because … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blasphemy, Citizens, Democracy, human rights, Islam, Islamism, minorities, Pakistan, public policy, Religion, Rights, Society

Mightier than the Keystroke

By KM Khan and Amaar Ahmad: We have often heard that “pen is mightier than the sword” but unfortunately in present Pakistan it seems that “bullet is mightier than the keystroke”. The attack on Raza Rumi back in March proves that our society is becoming intolerant with each passing day. The life of all law-abiding Pakistanis irrespective of their background is at stake. No wonder the country has been stamped by the United Nations as the most dangerous place for the journalists. Unlike any minority member of Pakistan such as Ahmadis, Hindus or Christians, Raza Rumi is like any other regular Muslim according to constitution; his would-be assassins did not want him dead due to religion but because of him being opinionated. It was due to the liberal views of Rumi that … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Ali Dayan Hasan Departs Human Rights Watch

(New York, May 3, 2014) – Human Rights Watch regrets to announce the departure of its Pakistan director, Ali Dayan Hasan, after 11 years with the organization. Hasan joined Human Rights Watch in 2003. Over the past decade, he has been a pioneering figure in the organization’s internationalization efforts, providing inspiration to replicate the process more broadly across the international human rights movement. With his background as a journalist, Hasan has shown what a gifted writer, tireless advocate, and constant media presence can accomplish in the most challenging of circumstances. In the face of public threats and at risk to himself, Hasan has been a powerful and relentless voice against abuses by government authorities and militant groups, and against complicity in such abuses by US and British authorities. Hasan’s exemplary body of work – … Read entire article »

Filed under: human rights, journalism, Pakistan

Muslims need to re-evaluate their interpretations and Ulema

By Amaar Ahmad: Chaos and violence in the name of Islam across the Muslim world should make us pause and evaluate the root cause of the problems. Is is not true that some Muslims (i) believe in violent Jihad against non-Muslims, (ii) believe in applying Takfir against fellow Muslims who disagree in interpretation of religion, and (iii) believe that punishment for apostasy or blasphemy is death? We must admit that these very beliefs are the root cause of so many conflicts. We must not deny that these so-called “Islamic” beliefs are used to fuel violence and terrorism today. We must accept that numerous religious scholars throughout history have believed in such violent concepts. Many apologists say that “Jihad” can only be conducted by state and not individuals. That blasphemy … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Does A Veil Define A Muslim Woman’s Character?

Haider Rifaat Fear is the first word that comes to my mind when I hear the phrase “Degradation of Women.” Islam, on every level has given women paramount rights more than any living being on earth. On account of the terrorist activities, millions of lives have been affected in both, rural and urban areas of Pakistan. Children’s mindsets, on the other hand are being brainwashed in some religious institutions, even today. Furthermore, several extremist groups have been using children as military weapons. In many rural areas of Pakistan, women are forcibly thwarted from holding pens in their hands. Similarly, there have been cases of sexual enslavement, castigation and physical ill treatment of women who struggled to receive better education from schools and colleges. One of the reasons as to why such … Read entire article »

Filed under: human rights, Islam, liberal Pakistan, Pak Tea House, Pakistan, Religion, Women

What Muslims Should Remember….

Raza Habib Raja It is often claimed by my fellow Muslims that the world is unfair to us and harbors misperceptions about Islam. What Muslims often overlook is that world’s perception about them as well as Islam is shaped by their actions. So this is what they should remember before complaining. If you endorse terrorism, either openly or through apologetic defense, and that too on religious grounds, then please do not expect the world to consider Islam as a religion of peace, because it simply won’t. It is hard to imagine it doing so when some of the followers are ready to blow themselves in the middle of crowded places which contain even little children on the pretext that Israel has been unfair to Palestinians! Or West has been unfair to Islam. It is even … Read entire article »

Filed under: Islam, minorities

The Elevator to Power

Saad Hafiz Dramatic reporting and exposés on western news channels suggest that Islamic radicalism is flourishing in the member states of the European Union and in North America. News items tend to focus on a small segment of Islamic activists who espouse extremist and radical ideologies and who have resorted to violence and terrorism against both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. This does not support the sweeping, superficial theory offered by some who represent the Islamo-phobic school of thought, namely that Islam as a whole — and not only its radical factions — is intrinsically militant, fanatical, evil, violent, anti-western and anti-Semitic. Studies have singled out political Salafism, the fastest-growing global radical Islamic movement, which preaches a strictly conservative form of Islam, as attracting second and third generation immigrants in the West. This … Read entire article »

Filed under: Islam, Islamism, Religion, violence

Certainly Not My Sultan!

By K M Khan: The Turkish dramas are popular these days. While I am not a fan of the Turkish dramas but for curiosity’s sake I started watching “Mera Sultan”. The historical drama is mainly about the life of Sultan Suleiman, the lord of the Ottoman Empire during its golden days. The drama is magnificent with beautiful clothes and ornaments. Honestly, one admires as well as envies the life of the princesses who all the time wear glittery clothes and jewels and have servants at hand round the clock. The Sultan, who is admired by every girl in the harem, is a charmer and the ladies will do anything to catch his eye. The drama itself is made splendidly and resolves more around the personal life of the Sultan and the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

The Mullahs are coming!

By Sher Sultan The Mullas are coming! They are coming in all hues and shades. All styles of facial hair are on display. With close cropped beard, to a totally unkempt one, with heavy moustache accompanying a beard, to a solo beard with clean shaven upper lip – these are not just random fashion statements. Every specific facial hair style represents a specific school of thought, commonly known as a FIRQA. The truth of the school is articulated not just through facial hair style, but through the apparel as well. The close cropped bearded one believes in all secular dresses, and partakes of all secular professions, becoming an engineer, a doctor, or a professor. One of them was teaching me at the Executive MBA classes at I.B.A., and never let go … Read entire article »

Filed under: Humor, Islam, Islamism, Taliban

The Attack on Church, Taliban and Democracy’s Paradox

The Attack on Church, Taliban and Democracy’s Paradox

Raza Habib Raja Today another suicide blast took place targeting the Christian community. I really don’t know what to say because a suicide blast is in fact no longer news unless it accounts for many causalities or targets a minority. The latter grabs attention less because of the horror of the local populace but more due to the international spotlight. And ironically the spotlight always ends up making Pakistanis defensive. It has to be a conspiracy to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Army, Islam, liberal Pakistan, minorities, Taliban

Islamic concepts of fighting insurgency

By Abdul Qayyum Khan Kundi Today I got another question emphasizing that whether Islamic concepts instructs that we should negotiate with insurgents. Before I give my view on this, I want to qualify three things: Until few years ago it would have been possible to hold negotiations with Pakistani Taliban as they had grievances about social injustices and rule of law. It was a local issue and their objectives were very clear Quran has clearly stated that in bilateral relations Muslim countries should work together to develop stronger economic and security ties with each other. It also instructs not to form security alliances with non-Muslim countries at the expense of a Muslim country. That does not mean Muslim countries can not have trade and other relations with non-Muslim countries. Protecting lives and property of … Read entire article »

Filed under: Islam, Taliban

Who is a Muslim?

Raza Habib Raja Pakistan, as we know, is not a very tolerant country for minorities. We all know that Christian colonies have been attacked whenever a member of their faith was accused of blasphemy. Likewise, there have been forcible conversions in Sindh of some Hindus. Yes, there is no doubt that minorities suffer a lot in Pakistan but there is a category (which has various sub-categories) which has suffered even more in Pakistan. This category is not a fixed category as the basis for inclusion in this category is dependent by who is trying to include you. This is the category of Muslims who are assumed by some or majority to be Non-Muslims. In fact, literally everyone is potentially a member of this category in the eyes of some. The biggest “crime” in Pakistan … Read entire article »

Filed under: Islam, minorities

The Convenient Omissions From Islamic History

This is an insightful and intelligently argued article sent to us by Miss Mahnoor Khan. She makes a very pertinent point that the present Muslim mindset and for that matter to some extent even extremism, are outcomes of the way Islamic history is being taught. By Mahnoor Khan Do you really know Islamic history? From school to universities, Pakistanis are taught Islamic history through multiple subjects, it is part of syllabi of Islamiat, Pakistan Studies, some Urdu texts, and of course actual History course also. In my opinion history is an important subject and should definitely be part of the curriculum. If taught well, history can be a wonderful and enjoyable subject, as it opens the bygone worlds to us, and provide links to our own roots as human beings. The problem is … Read entire article »

Filed under: History, Islam