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Islamic reformation

Islamic reformation

by Saad Hafiz It is hard to dispute that there is a cancer of extremism within Islam today. Groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Taliban reinforce a particularly harsh description of Islam as terrorist-prone, modernity-proof, plagued by fanaticism and susceptible to the hellish clarion call of jihad. The frequent incidents of beheading, suicide bombing and lynching confirm that a section of Muslims celebrate violence and intolerance and harbour deeply reactionary … Read entire article »

Filed under: Al Qaeda, Islam, Islam for Peace, Islamic Holy Book Quran, Islamism, Middle East, minorities, Pakistan, Religion, Terrorism

Religious Bigotry and Pakistan

Religious Bigotry and Pakistan

Raza Habib Raja There is that nauseating feeling which I am experiencing right now and worse this feeling is now a common occurrence. Some things become a regular pattern and when they do so, the issue is systemic. What has happened a few miles from Lahore is not a new incidence. A Christian couple has been burnt to death for allegedly desecrating Holy Quran. Past few years have witnessed a flurry of such incidences. With each such … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blasphemy, liberal Pakistan, minorities, Religion

Fascisms of every kind

Fascisms of every kind

by Saad Hafiz As was the case in the 1930s, the global forces of reaction are emerging with populist appeals directed against immigrants, ethnic and sectarian minorities. Society’s seemingly permanent infatuation with xenophobic demagogy is alive and well. It is a conducive environment for the most reactionary and chauvinistic elements in society to prosper. They are egged on by opportunistic leaders who find a way to harness the smouldering anger and disenchantment of vulnerable sections of … Read entire article »

Filed under: Constitution, Democracy, Elections, Islamabad, movements, Politics, Revolution

Photo of the Day: Religious Clerics in Action

Photo of the Day: Religious Clerics in Action

Malik Omaid With Tahir ul Qadri and Imran Khan’s dharna duet on full swing, religious clerics jump in adding their share to the political crisis in the country by trying to convert it into a religious and sectarian crisis.   … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blasphemy, Constitution, Democracy, Elections, Images, Islamism, minorities, Pak Tea House, Parliament, Photo of the Day, Photos, Religion, Revolution

LGBT Pakistan: Lesbians’ lives on the line

LGBT Pakistan: Lesbians’ lives on the line

This article was first published in BBC News Asia. Pak Tea House is sharing this post to our readers to highlight the issue and the plight of these women. Urdu literature had raised this topic nearly a century ago with the famous short story “Lihaf” which deals with the plight of women trapped in patriarchal and oppressive conditions. Something that is so widespread in our culture must be talked about and not brushed under the carpet. As Columnist … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blogging, Citizens, culture, Democracy, Education, Egalitarian Pakistan, human rights, Islam, Islamism, Justice, LGBT, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, liberal Pakistan, Pak Tea House, Pakistan, Religion, Rights, secular Pakistan, secularism, sex, Women

Burqah Ban, Multiculturalism and Liberal Secularism

Burqah Ban, Multiculturalism and Liberal Secularism

Raza Habib Raja In a land mark judgment, the European Court of Human Rights has upheld a ban by France on wearing the Muslim full-face veil — the niqab. According to the press release of the court judgment: The European Court of Human Rights held by a majority, that there had been no violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights, and no violation of Article 9 (right to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Pawns in a game

Pawns in a game

by Saad Hafiz It is no exaggeration to state that women have lived under centuries of arbitrary androcentric traditions and religious intolerance. An early illustration is the tale of Hypatia of Alexandria, a female philosopher and mathematician, born in Alexandria, Egypt in 370 CE. Hypatia was the daughter of the mathematician Theon, the last professor at the University of Alexandria, who tutored her in math, astronomy and the philosophy of the day, which, in modern times, … Read entire article »

Filed under: ancient civilisations, History, Honor Killing, human rights, Philosophy, Religion, Revolution, Women

Social Media outrage on Lahore Honor Killing

Malik Omaid Farzana Iqbal, 25 was killed by two dozen men including her father and brother in front of Lahore High court with passerbyes watching her being stoned to death. Her crime was that she married without the consent of her family. Last year 869 women died in so-called “honor killings”. Social media showed huge outrage on this barbaric event and many prominent tweeters showed their anger and anguish through demanding justice from the responsible institutions and condemning justification of “Honor killing” by hiding under any religious or cultural excuse. Below are some selected tweets from prominent tweeters highlighting this horrific issue: [View the story "Social Media outrage on Lahore Honor Killing" on Storify] … Read entire article »

Filed under: Activism, Citizens, Honor Killing, human rights, Justice, Lahore, Pakistan, Rights, Society, Storify, Twitter, Women

Who moved my “liberal” cheese ?

By Yasser Latif Hamdani The beauty of freedom of speech is that  every opinion, even the most idiotic and nonsensical opinion, is allowed to be aired. It is therefore left to the marketplace of ideas to determine what is or isn’t a viable idea.  My blog here should be read in this spirit, as should the shrill responses it will elicit. I have spent the better part of the last 17 months fighting the landmark Youtube case in the Lahore High Court. In the process I have encountered threats from religious right, abuses attacks and physical threats. Yesterday I won a small victory when the High Court acknowledged that the YouTube Ban was unsustainable and that the government was hiding behind a Supreme Court order. Why did I fight this so vehemently? I was not … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

In the Name of Religion

Farah Sheikh   The call to prayer resounds throughout the walled city and drowns the clankingsound of ankle bells on her feet. The symbol of moral correctness and religious enlightenment stands proudly above and is matched by the fortress of debauchery below. From Badshahi Mosque, he heads back to the narrow road that leads to her dilapidated house. It has been a hard day for her-feeding the neighbor’s orphan children, looking after her deceased sister’s children and taking the injured stray dog to the vet. But what a naked eye sees is the anklet around her feet that chains her existence to nothingness. She has been marked as un-Islamic. His ebony black beard makes him an object of mockery. He realizes that he truly does not belong to his so-called elite society. He … Read entire article »

Filed under: Religion

Democracy and religion

By Saad Hafiz The theological ethicist Reinhold Niebuhr summed up his arguments on democracy and religion in two powerful sentences: 1) “Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary” and 2) “Religion is so frequently a source of confusion in political life, and so frequently dangerous to democracy, precisely because it introduces absolutes into the realm of relative values.” Taking heed of Niebuhr’s concerns, modern secular, mostly western liberal democracies have tended to exclude religious considerations from civil affairs or public education.  These societies actively foster democratic traditions and institutions and discourage strident religious dogma.  Secular institutions ensure equality under the law, human rights, freedom of expression and respect for all religious beliefs.  In the political sphere, a tradition of free and fair elections encourages politicians and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Democracy, Education, History, Islam, Pakistan, Religion, Rights

Crying Over Spilt Milk

Crying Over Spilt Milk

By Obaidullah Khan If you are living in a wooden cottage and see someone setting the very next wooden cottage on fire, what would you do? If you sit quietly and watch silently, thinking that a very next cottage on fire will cause no harm to my wooden cottage then you certainly are none other than a Pakistani. Believe it or not, we Pakistanis have the very same mindset as a whole. We damn care what … Read entire article »

Filed under: Al Qaeda, Citizens, Democracy, human rights, Islam, Islamism, liberal Pakistan, minorities, Pakistan, peace, Punjab, Religion, Rights, Rural, secularism, Sindh, Taliban, Terrorism, violence

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

The Islamization of Pakistan

The Islamization of Pakistan

by Syed Foaad Hassan Quaid-e-Azam in his March 1940 presidential address said “It is extremely difficult to appreciate why our Hindu friends fail to understand the real nature of Islam and Hinduism. They are not religious in the strict sense of the word, but are, in fact, different and distinct social orders; and it is only a dream that the Hindus and Muslims can ever evolve a common nationality. This misconception of one Indian Nation has … Read entire article »

Filed under: Islamism, Jinnah

Why it Happened?

Why it Happened?

It has been three years since Governor Salman Taseer was slain. As some commemorate his bravery, this is also a time for reflecting on why it happened. And more importantly why there were actually people throwing rose petals on the murderer, Mumtaz Qadri and why there was little to no public condemnation when he was murdered. To some extent the murder of Salman Taseer happened due to the extreme reverence attached to religion and the Prophet … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan