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Category Archives: Muslim

stop treating Malala as pinata


[Let me clarify here, I don’t have any insider information nor I have long pattern recognizing machine working on some historical data to predict she is puppet of any western country. I am not resident of Swat but I am Pakistani and have spent long many years in Pakistan. So I don’t know the “inner story”  and I will not give any credence to such things. My view is based on what is just infront of me and it changes.}

It has been experience of being stuck between two fighting spouses, they are fighting about something but don’t know what. One is arguing about what happened on Monday party other is shouting about burned toasts in the morning breakfast.

Malala is great, Malala is enemy puppet, Malala deserves all the praise, Malala was never shot ,……  this shouting match has to stop, instead everyday it is on increase. Each day we see Malala being honored by one or other organization, being interviewed by one reputable newspapers or other TV program, and on other side we see more voices from sideline jumping in the ring.

To pro Malala supporters, supporting a person shot due to her ideas and service is something everyone should do. One should stand by that person, if that person is an innocent child one should be ashamed of society where children could be targeted. The question one should ask is are we supporting Malala or are we supporting our desires that could take in shape of Malala? Are we condemning anyone criticizing Malala’s nomination for Nobel peace prize because we feel this huge sympathy wave for her can push committee to give Pakistani citizen second one or we seriously believe she deserves peace prize?  or (which I hope is false) we believe with her we can sell the image of Pakistan that can justify certain non-democratic practices?

Frankly she does not deserve what we are doing with her. She could be great leader in few years, she could be great representative. She is eloquent, she is determined, she has charm and she knows what she wants. In her age that is more than one can ask for.

She has been given a second life, a second chance. There are many shiny steps in her way, why is this hurry of giving everything to her in a single year, without giving her opportunity to earn it. She can go miles ahead of where we are pushing her.

She does not need Nobel prize today. All the honors that have been bestowed on her are more representative of other’s desire than her doing. They are exposing her to the elements she should not be exposed to.

Why a BBC journalist be so clueless to let her make statement “you want to go outside, you must go with a man – if even your five-year-old brother goes with you it’s fine, but you must have someone else, a girl cannot go outside all alone.” and let it be representative of large and diverse country. When I heard this sentence, it appeared to me childish until I remembered it was spoken by a child. A child that, from her sentence could be assumed, has not experienced world outside the realms of male in her household. That appears to have not been to any other city of her country or met people from other parts of her country to know so little of it. (I am not saying women in my country are free and they can go out 1 am in the night alone or huge chunks of their lives are lived under the gaze of male family members)

Assed Baig is right when he calls this situation White Savior complex, although I don’t agree with his arguments. Shazia Ramzan, Kainat Riaz and  Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi are victims of war but they unfortunately are bystanders, they were not attacked because of their views, Malala Yousafzi was.

She is a teenager, a special one but still a teenager. She deserves to say erroneous things and take back. She should be given time, where she form her views, understand the world more deeply and more independently. Why should she have to declare infront of the world she still non-western girl?

To anti Malala, seriously most of you are behaving like kids in the school. I can understand the frustration, it looks like universe has decided to honor someone from among us and reason has been given that she has been our savior; only that many among us don’t agree with that. It is same frustration that one feels, when some foreigner makes tall claims about Benazir Bhutto, making her to be some human right champion. It’s frustration when people among are given projection to be our representative without our consent. But it’s not her mistake.

You are saying she is being used? you say there are other people who deserve it? we can discuss it, but again it’s not her mistake. Who among you (yes all the grown men and women) can say I don’t deserve it when given such honors? And Nobel prize? who among us has enough courage to say “No I have not done enough” when you have been shot for your cause  (few years back a very eloquent person who has never been part of anything consequential just said, he was humbled but still accepted the award).

And is it really bad that she gets Nobel Prize? people less deserving than her have gotten Nobel prize for peace. I might not believe she deserves Nobel prize, but I will be happy if she wins (people with bloodied hands have got that prize) she atleast is only accused of not doing enough.

To be very frank, this hue and cry on every Nobel Prize is getting old now, if we are really pissed that West picks less deserving people for the Nobel Prize and reason is some conspiracy, then for god sake start something good yourself. Start some prize where you can pick people on merit.

Back to Ms. Malala.

In the end, I believe she is destined to bigger things, but she needs to go through much more to get there. Being shot for your views and still stand on your ground is a big sacrifice; however it’s much more painful to live and serve. This is not a single act and it’s beginning not end.

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Want to protest against attacks on minorities; then meet them


[With about 80 people dead in the attack on Church and resent earthquake (in which it is feared deaths to reach 1000) both indicate how ineffective our govt. has been in protecting and serving it’s citizens. A deafening silence for the earthquake victims on social level shows how much we have just accepted that our govt. cannot do anything for us.]

[note: a friend pointed out that what I wrote feels like I am saying only minorities are being targeted. No they are not the only ones, there have been consistent attacks on masajids, bazars and security forces. Ones who are attacking minorities are attacking all Pakistanis (Daata Darbar attack is not so distant event). However it does not mean our society does not need more open communication among religious groups living in it.  We all might not be spilling hate about them, but we do get criminally silent whenever someone is killed in the name of blasphemy. Putting a friend’s face to group might reduce our biases. ]

Let me start by saying I don’t believe in protesting against terrorists. No I don’t believe that holding banners and marching while shouting slogans on the Mall road (Lahore) is going to deter terrorists from attacking another mall or church or school or masjid; brutally and cowardly killing innocent people. So all those questions about shame of being Muslim and protesting against terrorist just indicate how naive are we.

I am not talking about not protesting against government, we can protest against lack of security, unequipped and poorly armed police and poorly functioning security net that should have predicted such event.  We can protest against all this but against terrorists such protests loose their meaning. Why? because they are cancer. One does not protest against cancer that plagues ones body. One takes action against it, medical procedures aside, one changes his/her life style, throws away tobacco, adds more greens in diet, starts running a bit. One takes stock of everything he/she has been doing till now and changes it.

If we are  really serious in fighting this menace, if we really want to remove cancer from our bodies we should change what we have been doing till now. We have been living in monolithic society in a non monolithic population. We have been ignoring all that is different to us, like they don’t exist. Lets change that, lets allow us to get familiar with who live among us.

Lets go to Church on weekend with our families,  invite members of Hindu community to our masajids, learn basics of Sikh religion, let scholars of different religions come and give lectures in our universities. Let them explain what they believe in and let us tell them what we stand for. Lets have a picnic where our kids can play together.  Lets make it difficult for this cancer to spread to our next generation.

Let our kids know people with other faith are not some strangers but part of our society; it’s OK to be different, it alright to believe in something other than what you believe in. But most importantly let us teach them what other beliefs are. Lets burst the bubble we have been living and accept there is more than just what we have been told. And we do that by listening to people of different faith, let them tell what their religion is not what our imagination has cooked up. 

All the goals of removing hate from our books are great, but they will not be solved by some govt. they will be solved when majority of us will have one friend who is not from our religion. When our friends will not shy in telling they are Ahmedi or Shia or Christian or Sunni or atheist or agnostic, that will makes us question all the hate we have unconsciously living with.

If we want to protest, lets protest by action and do something that will last long. Lets take a first step and meet each other, lets make one friend this week who is not in agreement with our belief system.

 

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4th Nov & 11 May; crossing University Ave.


Yes it is about elections in Pakistan, but it about my experience also….. and it’s invitation to cross the University Ave. so read if you are interested. It is about a day some years ago.

In less than 30 minutes I must have crossed the University Ave. 30 or 40 times; whenever the traffic light turned red and pedestrian light switched on, I crossed the road. I crossed it with my other friend and there might be 100 students doing the same thing, right on the corner of Swamp Restaurant.

Just an hour or so ago,  ABC news has said polls are closed and they were ready to declare Obama President of USA; date was Nov. 4 2008 (yes I had to go back and check date, as people who know me know I don’t remember dates).

And these students excited on the prospect of something new, on promise of something different, a change, these young people just few years in their twenties (some even younger than that)  were on roads of Gainesville. It looked so easy in the end, it looked like all the worry of past so many months of seeing Sarah Palin heart beat away from becoming the most powerful person on earth, was nothing.

I think there were some exams going around and few were told about the results while they were taking tests. And in some cases teachers promised they will not going to look at the results till the end of the class. Now when results were out, as per the boring tradition, no one knew what to do, no one knew if any celebratory party was going around. Gators did what we were accustomed to do, gather at University Ave. (some new kids don’t remember old days of us winning those championships and closing down of University Ave., good old days)

I don’t know how it started, but students started crossing the University Ave. 30, 40 people on each side whenever the pedestrian light switched students will cross the road, high fiving people coming from other direction, shaking hands and talking and enjoying.

It was a monumental moment, even for me who is not American. I who came from the country where every 10 years the army takes over, where the best leaders you get are Bhuttos, I who was sad and angered when I had seen my countrymen cheering for Musharaf; I was happy this change coming in a country which is blamed for many things wrong in my country. I was happy to see the system work.

Might be because this was first time I have seen the election really working and choosing a person which I felt was far better choice than opponent. Might be because there were not cries of rigging and Mc Cain accepted results quite honorably. Might be because I saw the process giving opportunity to people to prob the candidate (unfortunately the 2012 elections were quite a disappointment in that respect)

No, I was not disillusioned like many of my American friends (living in Pakistan makes you too wise and cynical to believe in the oratory skills of a leader), but his ideas were grate. He looked like a leader willing to take charge, willing to defend his position, willing to admit his mistakes.

Yes did I have hope, of course, I had hope, did I had expectation? No I did not had any expectation of him bringing world peace or changing the America in 100 days.  Or he is going to radically change the philosophy with which the big nations run the world.

Today I am hopeful that we are going to see the same thing in Pakistan, an election after 5 years of completion of the Constitutional Assembly. Election, not because someone took 10, 20 thousand people and blocked the constitution avenue or did the train march towards Islamabad (never understood this name, because no trains go to Islamabad) and not because Army general pushed his stick on the chest of PM for announcing elections.

And I am hopeful because an outsider has ruined the party for others, Imran Khan and PTI long time in making have finally got enough muscle to push the old guard a little bit. It is not same comfortable run towards election. Again I have hope, but I have no expectation.

Why I have no expectation, because like Obama, he is new but like Obama he has Old guard around him. Like Obama he has words, courage and vision but no clear path. No expectation because he did not understood beauty of system and cried of fall of government too many times in past five years. No expectation because he and most of his supporters think, matters could be solved by just nomination of one person. I have no expectation because he will have to do on job learning, it is different than coming on television and giving policy speech on prompt.

I have hope because unlike the two parties that have their roots in being raised by the Dictators this one does not (atleast not directly). To refresh memories both Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif were part of Dictatorship. Unlike the two other parties, this party does not appear to have roots in one area or province, unlike other parties it does not have the family members nominated or “elected” to main party posts. Unlike other parties it worked for last 15 years to reach here. Unlike other parties it does have “ideas” about the situation and are willing to come out and say them. Even when this lets supported of other “silent” parties claim title of “secular parties” (interesting to see PPP do that when PPP elected President of Pakistan was absent for air waves on the killing of the Governor of Punjab or of the Minister of Minority affairs).

I have hope because hundreds of thousands of youngsters that had nothing to do with this system few years back are putting their hearts in it. I know many will have their hearts broken within few months of election.

I have hope because I am up for long run and long fight, I don’t believe in miracles that change nations (I have seen too many of those) or in revolutions that claim to burn down old cancers. I believe is long, tiring battles where grounds are won inch by inch.

So yes I have hope, and I wish my people will vote (whoever you try to vote to, it’s up to you);

So yes I will, when the elections will be over and results come in, go to the University Ave. right in front of parking lot of the Chemistry department and will cross the road. I know it is totally unrelated and non-consequential action, benefiting no one. But I will be there for myself and for my hope of Pakistan’s future.  You are welcome to join.

 

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Doing more than just sit in


Today saying “I am Shia too” will not do,

today just doing sit-in will not do. Those 100 dead men and their families deserve more than that from us.

We the facebook protesters, who are doing laudable service by spreading information about Quetta sit in, should do something more important. We should start conversation and initiate process of putting in paper solid demands.

We should start conversation about how really to safeguard Quetta and Balochistan, we should help shape what expectation from govt. should be. Instead of just slogans we should put point of actions. Each of us wants justice for the ones who have been killed and targeted. But what is that “justice”? We want the peace and security but “how” is where our politicians and we are failing. We are demanding but our demands are hollow and ambiguous.

There is big blank bag of nothing, whenever I hear demand restructuring of police or swift justice. These are empty, lazy slogans. And we all get engulfed in them, because they are easy to make and in the end these make it easy for us to blame others for the failure.

Some of us wants army to come and take up the govt in Balochistan, but what they going to do? Do they have investigative powers and abilities? What mechanism will keep check and balances? How the ones who are arrested will be prosecuted? don’t we remember news of alleged terrorists being released because prosecution could not  build case or police (or army personnel) made procedural mistakes while arrest and investigations ? Will just putting more men on street will do away with the terrorists? What about the hateful material and attitudes we all are harboring for each other’s sects?

Quetta needs much stronger plan. It needs increase in police force, it needs cameras on the roads, it needs better intelligence operations, it needs better bomb detection equipment., change in the “educational material” to include acceptance of what is different. It needs our help to construct charter of demands, a blue print that we should use for all the cities on Pakistan. Most of all it needs better Civil Local Govt.. not the old ideas of putting Army in-charge.

It needs our help in making us realize once for all that there is no silver bullet, we can’t just ask for messiah to come and relieve our pain. It needs our sit-ins, but it need us also to do our job that is converting slogans into documents of practical plans.

 

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Egypt, Morsi and dictatorship (some words from Pakistan)


Let me start by saying I blame Morsi,….

What Egypt is going through is exactly what happens when dictatorships fall. One feels like after years of stability we are entering a destructive era. Tensions and temperatures increase, every system appears to be crumbling and people are ready to fight each other. Suddenly ones who never thought of speaking, because they were not allowed to speak, start shouting. They want to tell what they think, …….

it’s ugly but that’s what happens when a prisoner after spending years in dark cell comes out, he feels he got blind. Freedom is weird, angry beast, but it is most beautiful one also.

So I am not too disappointed from Egypt’s situation, because unlike Iran where people just resistance against theocracy in name of revolution never took root, here we can see that people are eager to protect it.

What Egyptian people are going through is what nations go through when rebuilding, everyone has it’s own dream how new house should look like. Unfortunately instead of having these discussions  in the rooms, coffee houses they are having these discussions on streets. Because their experience tells them that unless roads are not blocked no one listens. (like in Pakistan, where unless tires, sometimes with car on them, are not burned  no one takes notice). Again it is unfortunate byproduct of the dictatorship.

Now why I blame Morsi, well simply because his actions are unlawful (as per my knowledge of Egyptian law). Whatever be the hindsight, whatever be the good end and good intentions be. He is wrong, He should not have done that. When I first heard of it, I felt ok he is trying to protect the constitution. But then one has to ask protect the constitutional assembly by unlawful act? One can ask what unlawful act? He has only declared himself above the reproach of Egyptian Court for just for small amount of time. Question is what stops him extending it? and What stops him from declaring something similar in future? Even if he is a good person with good intentions, he will be setting precedent. That’s what is scary.

Morsi says he wanted to protect the results of revolution, then he should have let the courts do what they thought was lawful. Their decision even if lawful, if had been against the popular feeling, would have resulted in more united resistance of people. Now he has taken away the right of people to argue for him. Now their arguments are based on rhetoric that he has good intentions, he had to protect revolution instead of some solid logic. And as Pakistani how many time I have not heard these logic  I cannot forget the day Gen. Musharraf unlawfully overtook government, I saw same arguments by my fellow countrymen, then when he removed judges first time, then when he did the referendum and then when removed judges second time sighting terrorism and danger to country.

What Morsi did is the modus operandi of dictators, which he does not want to be or atleast I wish he does not want to be. He should take a step back allowing judges do what they think is lawful, challenge their rulings, instead of assuming what they will do and setup precedent which future dictators will use.

 

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Beating your wife? Why are we not rejecting these?


Somehow I reached to this video(http://youtu.be/Y-Tw7WhH_aQ ) in which some Arabic (socalled) scholar was telling about Rules of Beating your wife. He had audacity to say that this honors the wife, because it is for her discipline. Oh no wait wait, he does say that man cannot beat wife on food or work or anything else, he can beat wife for only one point, i.e. when she refuses to sleep with her? Get it!

Well I don’t, For the people who actively believe that it is to give discipline to wife, what if the husband is undisciplined? he is selling things of house, he is misbehaving with the relatives, or anyother thing for which anyone thinks that wife could be beaten, should not wife has a right to beat her husband?

I don’t get why Muslims cannot setup a committee for Ijtihad and say you know these things even if previously thought to be valid (which I don’t believe were valid at anytime, I believe beating wife is misrepresentation of the word) are no more valid. Why are we shy of taking important decisions?

We need to understand that cannot live in this “push everything under the carpet” situation, we need to talk and discuss these very serious issues. We need to tackle such issues, make declaration that acts of one person beating other, acts of having slave or any such actions have lost all of the validity, even if such validity existed.

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2012 in Muslim

 

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Salman Taseer’s Murder: Belt up to fight the intolerance


You must have heard the Parent example for rationalizing violence, The Parent example goes like this, with little variations; “If a shopkeeper curses your father and uses —- words for your mother, will you beat the heck out of him or not?”  This is most used example to justify violence especially in the cases related to Blasphemy. Well I can beat the heck out of that guy but then I will spend years in the jail.  Most importantly from when the Emotional Responses become basis for actions, judge might reduce my punishment but punishment I will get.  Question should not be what I will do, question should be what Law says.

Why I am telling you about this?

When I heard about Salman Taseer’s murder I was thinking it will result in huge change in Pakistan

After just few hours I know what direction we are going. In all the media not one religious scholar has clearly condemned the killing. Fazl-ur-Rehman have included the phrases, that hint that they hold Salman Taseer to be responsible for his murder.  Some other religious and non-religious leaders were clearly saying that he should have been more careful in presenting his views.

Fan page has been setup on the Facebook for that murderer,  he is being called Ghazi by some religious group openly, a guy on twitter is sending salutes to the killer, Adil Najam of Pakistaniat.com is getting threatening comments on his blog, the people on the news channels are rationalizing actions of Malik Mumtaz, some religious leaders are advising against offering funeral prayers, and list continuous.

It’s time to belt up and stand up against the intolerance; it’s time to start telling “No it is not Ok for some one to be whacked up for what he/she has said”

No, no one should be declared Non-Muslim for their views, it’s only their right to declare their faiths.

It’s time to start asking our leadership for condemning such actions.

If we will stand up, if we don’t speak up; we might see people been killed for even things smaller that this. I was horrified to see a guy saying those who question Blasphemy Law are hurting feelings of people of Pakistan and then in not so open phrases defending the killer. This all appeared like threat to other people who criticize Blasphemy Law made by Zia-ul-Haq.

Let’s raise the voice so that Mumtaz Qadri does not become hero, we should be strong to disallow creation of other Mumtaz Qadri’s, we should make enough noise so that people should think twice before supporting a murderer.

 

P.S.

I hate terrorists, not only because they kill people. But also because they make Martyr out of those who should not be respected; first Zia should have been hanged he became Shaeed, Benazir should have been tried for all the corruption and mismanagement she was made Shaheeda and now Suleman Taseer who should have been removed from governorship (for bullying the elected govt. of Punjab not on his stance against Blasphemy laws) and spend rest of days thinking about days in governorship has become Shaheed.

But all things aside, his death will play an important role here in which direction Pakistan has to go. He is high profile enough to not let the matter die for weeks. It will be interesting to know what khutbaas are given during Friday prayers; and how people react when Malik Mumtaz is tried in the courts.

 


 

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