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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

The Pragmatic Liberal

The Pragmatic Liberal

Raza Habib Raja This article tries to evaluate the politician Benazir Bhutto and the way she affected her party and the Pakistani political landscape. Since the article tries to adopt a CRITICAL approach therefore it points her weaknesses besides appreciating her strengths. Cult of personality which has become somewhat of a rarity in the West is an integral part of the political culture here. Such personality cults form around Political leaders, particularly famous ones, in our part … Read entire article »

Filed under: Benazir Bhutto, Democracy

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

Hate Virus in Our Society

Obaidullah Khan Ours is a diseased society and anyone who has any sanity left in oneself would hardly differ with it. Many a times a single disease causes multiple symptoms in a body. A deep study of our diseased society may reveal that there is a virus of Hate in our society causing many deteriorating symptoms. Our society as a whole is suffering very badly with the effects of Hate whether be it individually, socially, politically and most important of all religiously. Anyone can understand that hate is the opposite feeling of Love which is a positive emotion in a human body and a very essential in building positive and constructive tendencies in the human character.  But in contrast to that we as a nation espouse hate, causing a downfall in … Read entire article »

Filed under: Identity

The Problem with these “Born Again Muslims”

The Problem with these “Born Again Muslims”

Raza Habib Raja I am often perplexed by “born again Muslims”. This is an interesting category which generally before “rediscovering” Islam has often lived a very “secularized” life. People belonging to this category have often indulged in extravagances and different kind of “vices”. But at a certain age, generally in late thirties or early forties, they rediscover Islam. This “rediscovery” often comes when they are past their prime and old age is just about to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Remembering Salman Taseer (Shaheed)

Remembering Salman Taseer (Shaheed)

By Amir Abbas Turi Salman Taseer, the late Governor Punjab, became the first non-American who has been honoured with the Martin Luther King Junior Peace Award for his efforts in promoting human rights and peace. This prestigious Award is given to Taseer at a time when the Pakistani nation is deeply divided in its opinion about the question of martyrdom. While the United States has honoured him for his courage, unfortunately, Taseer remains one of the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Justice, Media, Terrorism