Burnt alive: religion is served

While the 4th of July brought fireworks to the United States, a small town in Punjab Pakistan witnessed a totally different type of fireworks. An alleged blasphemer was burnt alive in front of hundreds of people, including those who are burdened with enforcing the law. The Police was found useless (as ever) in preventing mob justice. As always, none of the religious leader/(alleged) cleric failed to condemn the incident because it is a matter of ‘public emotions’. What is even worst is the fact that it was public knowledge that the man was mentally unstable. Even that never put any sympathy in the hearts of these (so-called) Muslims.

I am disgusted, both as a Pakistani and as a Muslim, I am ashamed to face questions which make their way towards me from non-Muslims outside of my country. How can I justify this barbarism to civilized people? How can I testify that Islam is a religion of peace and allows everyone the right to live freely? How can I tell people, that Pakistan is a nation of diversity, tolerance and compassion? A nation where Mumtaz Qadri, a convicted murderer gains fame by publicly killing someone whom he was asked to protect. A country where two innocent teenagers were beaten to death over an allegation of robbery.

These are just the highlights though, while other nations develop themselves day by day, Pakistan seems to be regressing into the dark ages.I am yet to see such incidents in Iran, Malaysia, Indonesia or even Saudi Arabia. Is Pakistan ‘more’ Islamic than these nations I quoted? I am sure the answer will be no. I wonder how many of these ‘Muslims’ present in the mob actually understand what are the teachings of the Quraan. I have given the famous example of the Ta’if incident, where Prophet (peace be upon him) was stoned by the ignorant people of Ta’if, rather condemn them, the Prophet (peace be upon him) prayed for them.

Do these people not read the Quraan? Can they not see that Quraan speaks of mercy more than punishment? Did they not learn the value of human life from the life events of the Prophet (peace be upon him)? When will Pakistanis stop being the care takers of Islam and understand that they are doing more damage to my religion than they are serving it.

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The distribution of hate

Social MediaSocial media, over the years have become (somewhat) integral in our lives. Hence, it was a matter of time before our emotions became digital too. Social media provides means of mass information sharing, here a message can reach millions in mere seconds, it is playing a vital role in shaping point of views of people who are linked with social media.

Of all the social media portals, facebook have been in focus for spreading hatred and religious bias, while it is also responsible (some say) for bringing the uprising in the Arab countries. Last year, facebook was under heavy criticism from the Muslims for an event that called for the people to depict the Prophet (pbuh). Many people left facebook, some deactivated their accounts and it was banned in certain countries (for a certain time). Many users protested over facebook, and shared an ‘anti-depiction event’ on their facebook walls and with friends. The same thing (with a twist) is going on again, some ignorant has made a page which is defaming the holy places of Muslims and Muslims are spreading the ‘anti cause’ everywhere on facebook, demanding the page to be removed.

While I do not judge the intensity of anyone’s faith and love for their religion, I think these ‘religious e-warriors’ fail to understand that they are the prime bearer of the message the ‘anti-Islamic entity’ wants to send out. Many of the Muslim users were unaware of this ‘anti-Islamic page’  until one of their deeply Muslim friend shared the message of protest and invitation to join the cause with them (same was the case with the previous anti-Islamic facebook event). If the few Muslims who saw this earlier would have had succeeded in ignoring it, they would have stopped this menace from spreading in the first place.

I am yet to see any of my non-Muslim friends spreading that anti-Islamic agenda for which our Muslim friends are protesting and asking other Muslims to join in. These people who are spreading this protest fail to understand that by spreading this protest, they are actually bringing more attention to an otherwise stupid, baseless, lame and an ignorant facebook stunt, directed towards enraging Muslims and mess with their emotions. By sharing the ‘Islamic cause’ is more of a damage rather than service to Islam.

The problem with Muslims (specially those who are familiar with the use of internet), in my opinion, is that they fail to ignore things which are insignificant and successfully ignore something thing which can help them stand united against these menaces which pop up every once in a while. The only way one can fight such menace is by ignoring its existence. It is not hurting Islam in any way, nor it will hurt us if we ignore it. But if Muslims keep spreading the word about it, then it is we who are helping this otherwise insignificant menace, to spread across the medium.

P.S: The purpose of writing this post is not to spread this menace (since it has already spread on facebook), rather ask my fellow Muslims to stop falling for this scam again and again.

Shariah, the Saudi style (protests and rallies banned)

Photo courtesy BBC News

Protests ‘contradict’ Islamic law and are banned, Interior ministry declares

Saudi Arabia has imposed a ban on protests and rallies, the interior ministry declared “the protests and rallies are in conflict with shariah”, hence dubbing them unIslamic.  It amuses me, how Saudi Arabia is the ‘authority’ on Shariah, if it’s in their interest, on a given day, a democratic practice (if it is non-violent and non-raging) which has been there through the history of mankind (not to mention at the time of the Prophet peace be upon him) is suddenly unIslamic! While their minions in Pakistan, continue not only to protest a controversial law, but also glorify a murderer.

Such hypocrisy, from someone who claims to be the ‘servant of the house of Lord’. It isn’t surprising though, we have seen the same ‘twisting of Islamic references‘ from Pakistani (self-proclaimed) clerics too. However, the sad part is that the Islamic world (the common Muslim) fails to see this bigotry. It is due to the ignorance of common Muslims, they are being deceived  by the (self-proclaimed) religious elite. Islam have been hijacked by this elite and being used against a common Muslim. It will be interesting to see how clerics in Pakistan ‘interpret’ Saudi opinion (fatwa) about protests. If they do own it as Islamic, how will they justify their actions on the ‘protection’ of the controversial blasphemy law.

The “delusional” Pakistani Media and the “scared” elite

In the aftermath of the inhuman murder of ex-minister of minorities Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti, the reaction/analysis of numerous media anchors, defense analysts and the political elite was very baffling and chary. It was shocking to see that those who have the responsibility to inform the country, educate them about their surroundings and happenings, are misleading the entire nation. They are trying to ‘clear’ the name of the terrorist group called Tehreek-e-Taliban, by claiming ‘international conspiracy’ is behind this ghastly murder.

They defend their perspective by claiming the fact that ‘no Muslim can throw pamphlets with Holy scriptures written on it, on the ground‘. With all due respect, does Taliban do anything ‘Muslim’? Does the Taliban have any respect for Islam and Islamic values? They conspire against the state, eradicate innocent people, damage state / civilian properties, is there ANYTHING Islamic about that? If you claim to be the ‘free media’ savior of the nation, whistle-blower of crime and corruption, why aren’t you free to criticize the Taliban and condemn them?

The only reason I can take from this behavior is that everyone, even the media and the government is scared of the Taliban or avoiding their name on purpose. Why? Because they are either scared, or have political interests associated with these incendiary organizations. Some time ago, I heard on the news that one of the famous media figure had relations with some Taliban militants, he was recorded on live call with someone. Back then, it came as a shock to me and I couldn’t believe it. Today I am forced to think otherwise.

If (lets say hypothetically) it is a ‘foreign conspiracy‘ or work of ‘international agents‘, then why isn’t there any reaction from the religious section yet? The Sunni Tehreek has given a call of strike, not because of the murder, but to protest against the price hike! Seems like a murder of a parliamentarian is normal to them, as they have their own issues to protest for.

They are overlooking the fact that Mr. Bhatti, a while ago, told the government and the media that he has received threats from militants, regarding his stance on the controversial blasphemy law. The intelligence agencies have warned Ms. Sherry Rehman, that she ‘might be‘ the next target. Is that an international conspiracy too? Is she getting calls from India or America? All these factors conclude that the culprit is indeed these extremist, ignorant, militant groups, who are not only ruining the reputation of Pakistan but hurting the cause of Islam too. So stop defending them, stop getting scared and delusional IF you claim to be free. Because if the media and information sources are delusional and political elite is scared, God knows what will become of the nation.

What “Mullah” want

Yesterday’s tragic incident, is nothing but a slap to the face of the nation. It wasn’t just a murder of a man, it was a murder of moral values given to us by Islam. It is not just the funeral of Shahbaz Bhatti, it is the funeral of Islamic principles, torn apart by the nation which claims to be the caretaker of this great religion. Every human, irrespective of their religion (except for many in Pakistan) has condemned this gruesome act of brutality. However, yet again, the clergy is quiet, none has come forward and condemned this heinous crime. Why? Because the killing machine called ‘Tehreek-e-Taaliban Pakistan” claims this murder in the name of the infamous, controversial blasphemy law.

I know, it came as a shock to me too. Not that the clergy failed condemn this act, but the fact that the atrocious Taliban are actually standing up for “rule of law”? There is a catch to this, they ONLY want to defend the blasphemy clauses while they are happy to break every other law in this country. All of a sudden, constitution is very important to them. Where is the mullah now? Are you happy ‘maulvi sahab’? Isn’t this what you really want? What else do we need to prove that this law is nothing but shame and misery towards Pakistan and the nation.

It is time to repeal this law once and for all, it has already claimed lives of many innocent people and have brought misery to others. Those who speak for it cannot bring forth a single piece of evidence neither from Holy Scriptures, nor from history. The facts they put forward are distorted and disgraceful, which have been proven over and over again. Yet the nation is unable to see through their disguise of ‘Holy men’, what deceiving and hypocritical beings they are.

Even if this incident doesn’t open our nation’s eyes, then I am afraid no Messiah is going to come for them. Pakistanis should understand the fact that these self-proclaimed religious scholars and these extremists, jihadist, ignorant and blood thirsty butchers (call them Al-Qaeda or Taliban) are one and the same. They have already hijacked our peaceful religion Islam and are using our beliefs against us, they want to rule the nation with fear and ignorance, that is what the Mullah want.

The worst creatures

atrocious

The deadly blasphemy law claims another victim

Our Minister for minorities Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti was assassinated today in Islamabad. Another victim goes down to the deadly blasphemy laws. Interestingly, there are reports of pamphlets seen by the crime scene which were ‘allegedly’ distributed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or ‘Al-Qaeda’, claiming who ever fiddles with the blasphemy law will be punished.

It made me wonder, since when does ‘Al-Qaeda’ and the TTP care about the constitution? Even if they do, does our constitution have this one article only? It is amazing to note that these law breakers stand for something in the constitution too. Goes to show what kind of people ‘defend’ the blasphemy laws.

Pray tell (by Nadeem F. Paracha)

January 23, 2011 (Dawn Opinions)

Oh, my, that label again: ‘Liberal extremist.’ What on earth does it mean? Absolutely nothing. Great wordplay and deliciously idiosyncratic, but that’s about it.

However, since the popular electronic media in Pakistan is usually about a rather nihilistic strain of whatever it considers to be news and analysis, this topsy-turvy label has become the catch-all term of a number of TV anchors, hosts and, ahem, analysts.

So, then, what is a liberal extremist? How many Pakistanis do you know who advocate the abolition of faith, legalisation of cannabis, the creation of nude beaches, support gay marriages or… oh, okay, so this is not what you mean. Then what? If you guys who have suddenly become so fond of this phrase mean by it Pakistanis who emphasise reason over passion (especially in political and theological matters), or who find religion synonymous with humanitarianism, tolerance and compassion, or who like political parties that they support to retain a degree of secularism, or those who cherish the concept of social and religious pluralism and diversity, if these are the dreaded liberal extremists so many Pakistanis have suddenly started moaning about, then I pray for me to become one of the finest liberal extremists in this land of the pure.

So, can one suggest that what passes as being plain old liberal elsewhere becomes liberal extremism in Pakistan? There is another innocent question I would like to ask of all those who have been swinging their fists by suggesting the following brilliant insight: ‘The problem in Pakistan is religious extremism and liberal extremism.’

If so, then pray tell, dear sirs and madams, exactly how can one couple the two phrases in the same sentence? To begin with, one can safely suggest that those you call liberal extremists constitute an embarrassingly minute percentage compared to the glorious blooming and flowering we have seen of what are called religious extremists.

Over and over again we have heard and seen the delightful things faith-based extremists advocate, preach, feel happy about and shower rose petals for, but what have the malicious liberal extremists to gloat and float about? I’ve heard arguments (and that’s about it) from the liberals in the following cases, but no liberal extremist distributed sweetmeat when Dr Aafia was convicted; never saw this extremist chant ‘yea, baby, let’s have more,’ when the news of a drone attack breaks; never seen one claiming that such or such person should be killed just because he or she disagreed with the liberal extremist. Sure he or she may have a sympathetic argument about what their counterparts may consider to be treason, sacrilege, etc., but that’s it.

Kindly stop using this term, liberal extremists, as if it was an indigenous made-in-Pakistan media masterstroke. The term first began being used in the US during the 1970s. It was coined by some ultra-conservative Republican politicians and Christian evangelists against certain mainstream American newspapers, TV channels and filmmaking circles. These guys from that country’s far right in politics and religion thought that the American media and Hollywood were brimming with atheists, agnostics and liberals who were soft on the Soviet Union (mostly because the media was opposing the war in Vietnam).

It was a lunatic fringe whom the then liberal American media suspected of having extreme political and religious views, and this fringe retaliated (in typical knee-jerk fashion), by calling their detractors as liberal extremists. This term was again used during the conservative Reagan years in the 1980s against mainstream media outlets who were opposing his overtly laissez faire economic policies and his arming of the paid mercenaries to topple the revolutionary leftist regime in Nicaragua.

By the end of the Cold War (1990), the liberal extremist tag was hung around social and environmentalist groups that began agitating against large multinational corporations and ‘globalisation.’ The media in this respect was finally let off the hook and the reason was simple. With the arrival of such monsters like FOX-News and SkyNews, things in this respect were turned on their heads when it was the media that began adopting this term for detractors of corporate capitalism and the new millennium’s ‘neo-con’ polices.

In Pakistan it was the military dictatorship of General Musharraf who first used this term. In many of his apologetic speeches he defended his (albeit half-baked) actions against extremist religious organisations by adopting the old 1970s American ultra-conservatives’ mantra of being against both extremes (religious and liberal). However, the irony was that genuine liberalism (that the American conservatives used to call liberal extremism in the US) was almost non-existent in Pakistan.

Right-wing apologists of faith-based extremism now found in abundance in the FOX-News like environment in Pakistan’s electronic media have simply picked up where Musharraf had left: Blame the large-scale presence of both state sponsored and populist, civilian extremism in the country on the handful of vocal liberals by calling them liberal extremists. Of course, intoxicated on the delusion that they have discovered a perfect explanation to defend their sheepish defence of violence-prone extremism, they conveniently forget it is not liberal extremists blowing themselves up in public places or showering rose petals on killers.

by Nadeem F. Paracha

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