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Gaza Under Attack

Gaza Under Attack

by Vijay Prashad More than ten days of Israel’s war on Gaza have passed. It has been catastrophic for this small piece of land – and for the Palestinians who live a bare life on that land. On Wednesday, Israeli forces shot at and killed four young boys who were playing hide and seek right in front of the hotel — Al-Deira — that houses the international press (and where many on this list have stayed at … Read entire article »

Filed under: Justice, Middle East, Palestine, peace, violence, war, World

Muslim Identity Crises : From Golden Ages to Militancy

by Fazal Abbas “Read! (Iqra)” said Archangel Gabriel. “I am unable to read.” replied Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Gabriel caught hold of Prophet (pbuh) and embraced him heavily and then said again, “Read!” Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) replied again, “I am unable to read.” Gabriel embraced the Prophet (pbuh) again and said to recite the following verses: “Read! in the name of your Lord who created – created man from a clot. Read: for your Lord is Most Bountiful, who teaches by the pen, teaches man that which he knew not.” — Quran, Sura 96 (Al-Alaq), verse 1-5 In the history of the religions of the world, the Holy Quran holds a distinctive attribute for being the only holy book whose first word of its first revelation decreed the pursuit of knowledge. So why is it that the religion … Read entire article »

Filed under: Education, History, Imperialism, Islam, Pakistan, Religion, Society

Indian Election campaign posters in Urdu

Indian Election campaign posters in Urdu

By Admin C M Naim, an eminent academic, writer and translator has been tracking the election campaign. Here are a few posters in Urdu language. The ironical part is that the communal party BJP that considers Muslims as ‘suspect’ citizens uses Urdu language. For electoral gains, ideology has to be sidelined. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Democracy, dynasties, Elections, India

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

A conversation with a constitutional Kaafir

Balal Haider Ahmadis are constitutional Kaafirs in Pakistan. The best part is Pakistan is the only country in the world which proudly presents us with such a Politico-Religious categorization of its people. Below is a conversation from a daily life of a constitutional Kaafir (CK) and Radicalized Constitutional Muslim (RCM)… CK: “Asalam o Alikum my dear friend” RCM: ” Yala Harama, you go to jail, how dare you speak the words which sends peace to me, you!!, let me call the police station.” CK: “I am so sorry my friend I am just used to spreading peace and teachings of love. I am sorry to have offended you, Let me do some Astagfar.” RCM: ” Toba Toba, you are using an Arabic word, how dare you act like a muslim” CK: ” I am sorry, I … Read entire article »

Filed under: Activism, Short Story

Jamat-e Islami, A Common Inheritance of Pakistan and Bangladesh

By Obaidullah Khan Bangladesh and Pakistan have some common features with respect to their foundation. Both were made for the Muslims of the Subcontinent (not for Islam). A sense of deprivation and desperation played the key role behind their coming into being. And then a common inheritance, Jamat e Islami, with an identical part to play in the formation of these two sovereign and independent states, was another similarity. Unfortunately, for both states that role was antagonistic and in support of the parent unified countries, united India in case of Pakistan and united Pakistan in case of Bangladesh. So in a sense Jamat e Islami in both the cases supported the preexisting scenario and opposed the independence movement of these states. Surely as patriot Pakistanis we are aggrieved in the case … Read entire article »

Filed under: Politics

Individual liberty or societal damnation – a simple choice

By Javed Hassan Muslims are rightly proud of great thinkers who emerged from the Islamic milieu of the so called Islamic Golden Age. Avicenna, Omar Khayyám , Averroes, Razi, and many more not only carried forward the Greek tradition of rational enquiry but also innovated and brought about new discoveries. We should rejoice the greatness that was once there, and the potential that we might still have to achieve such heights again.  However, before that happens we need to ask ourselves the question that Dawkins posed to all of us, ‘why are there only ten Muslim Nobel laureates compared to thirty from Trinity College Cambridge/”. It’s worth noting that there are some two hundred plus Jewish recipients of the prize. Why has there been virtually no major scientific contribution from Muslims since … Read entire article »

Filed under: Islam

Understanding Quaid-e-Azam’s Speeches in Light of Misaq-e-Madina

By Riaz Haq An ongoing debate about the vision of Pakistan’s founder flares up every year around Christmas time which coincides with Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s birthday. It is centered on one key question: Did the Quaid want an Islamic state or a secular one? Islamic or Secular Pakistan?   Here are a couple of excerpts from Quaid-e-Azam’s speeches given at different times which are often cited in this “Islamic vs Secular Pakistan” debate: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State” “Who am I to give you a constitution? The prophet of Islam … Read entire article »

Filed under: Bangladesh, Pakistan, Partition

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

Islam and the West

By Saad Hafiz The Islamic world and the west appear to be caught up in an intensifying phase of political and cultural conflict. Each side views the other with mistrust and suspicion and both have a shopping-list of grievances. Over-zealous punditry on television, in the op-ed pages, on campuses and in strategic studies think tanks reinforce the fear that Islam and the west are on a collision course. Great stress is laid on the political and cultural divide, futility of communication and engagement and cries of hegemony and imperialism. In this cacophony, those who seek dialogue and reconciliation between the faiths struggle to be heard. Muslim self-confidence, which was at its peak some centuries ago, has disappeared. Religious literalism has gained centrality over reason in the Islamic worldview. Long buried is the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Islam, Media, Society, south asia, Terrorism, war, World

The Partition debate

by Saad Hafiz The intense debate over the Partition of India in 1947 continues six decades later. Some commentators have described the partition as neither inherently desirable nor necessary feasible but tragically inevitable. They attribute this to the Congress and Muslim League’s incompatible visions for India, which led to deadlock in talks forcing the British to impose a solution. Others suggest that the partition was a crude and unthinking form of gerrymandering with tragic consequences leading to a permanent poisoning of Hindu-Muslim relations. They dismiss it as a socio-religious experiment, a failure of leadership that the worst possible alternative was chosen. Messrs Gandhi, Jinnah, Nehru and Mountbatten, the main players in the partition saga have been praised or vilified as strong-willed visionaries or mediocre statesmen. It has been suggested that they … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

The real jihad

Saad Hafiz The prevailing largely negative view of Islam in the non-Muslim world is reinforced by the attacks on soft civilian targets like shopping malls and churches. As a result, the world is becoming increasingly familiar with Salafi militants and Deobandi extremists who have instigated terrible acts of terror and violence as part of a jihad or ‘holy war’. Their aggressive acts can hardly be explained away as armed resistance that early Muslims were permitted to engage in but only under certain stringent conditions. They contribute to the growing perception that Islam is in some singular way linked to terrorist violence primarily directed at the other faiths. Even standard intellectual perspectives are tagging Islam as having a predilection for violence. According to this view, Islam is defined as intrinsically violent and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Islam

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