Save Burma, let Pakistan burn

Social networks are crowded with pictures, pleas and appeals for the Burmese Muslims caught in the midst of a terrible conflict with the Buddhist majority in Burma. The tales and pictures (most of which are fake though) being used on social media are gut-wrenching and horrifying. Amnesty international has accused the security forces and ethnic majority of Rakhine Buddhists for the violence being perpetrated in the north. It should be well-known that this conflict is purely ethnic and has nothing at all to do with religion. Loss of life (in any way or form) is condemnable and all measures should be taken, to bring these horrific crimes against humanity to an end.

As with everything remotely related to Muslim persecution, my Pakistani (Muslim) friends are at the forefront of the campaign to ensure that the news reaches everyone. They consider this their ‘religious duty’ to make sure every Muslims is actively participating in spreading the news of such violence. Words being used to describe the acts of the Rakhine Buddhists are “shameful”, “heinous”, “criminal”, “in-humane” etc. Just yesterday I noticed a poster where it was claimed that Muslims aren’t allowed to say “Azaan” and that this was “cruel in-justice”. I cannot say it is true but it did sadden me, to think that an individual is being deprived of his most basic religious activity.

But then, it hit me, Burma’s situation is not that different from Pakistan. The majority Muslims in this country impose on (whatever) minority (is left) in this country. Christians, Hindus and other minority religions are being persecuted all the time. Even minority Muslim sects like the Shia sect is not safe from this persecution. They are killed upon identification, Christians and Hindus are forced to give up their religious belief and convert. Those who do and revert back are killed again. Ahmadis are barred from praying, their places of worship (which cannot be dubbed as mosques according to the constitution) are being demolished. They, and other minorities, even some Muslim sects are dubbed ‘wajib-ul-qatl’ (obligated to be killed) and yet the same Pakistani Muslims feel sorry when they find Muslims in the same situation?
hypocritical isn’t it?

In no way I am justifying the crimes against humanity in Burma. They have the rights of religious liberty and freedom of living and speech. But since when does a Pakistani Muslim care about it? Burma is not a Muslim state, if Pakistanis can legislate killing of people who believe in the freedom of speech, why are they outraged if another country uses something similar to it for Muslims? They celebrate when Mumtaz Qadri kills someone who have a different opinion on some issue, but they protest if the same thing happens in Burma. I hope they understand how it feels to be at the receiving end of this persecution which is deemed ‘HOLY’ by many. It isn’t that holy when it is brought upon them (or people from their clan).

The point of writing this is not to condemn the protests against these crimes being committed in Burma (they are to be condemned strongly), but to make my fellow Muslims understand that they are no different from these Burmese military men or the Buddhist majority, imposing their will on the helpless and exposed minority. I hope this might help them understand.

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

Taking hypocrisy to a new level

There is a saying,  “the true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity”; I think that this quote sums up all the politico-religious groups in Pakistan.

Since the infamous incident of Lahore, there has been a lot of controversy theories developing within the political system of Pakistan. This is a tough one for, not just for the government, but everyone even remotely involved with politics or government. Wikileaks have proven the fact that every political figure is either directly or indirectly in contact with the American establishment. Americans will not tolerate the fact that its ‘official’ gets punished for being a terrorist by another country, since they are the leaders in the global war on terror.

The issue has grown out of proportions, it’s now a matter of dignity rather justice. Americans have already announced that the case of Raymond Davis will affect the bonds between Pakistan and the United States, which (it may not appear the case to a commoner) is taken very seriously in Pakistani political camps. I don’t have to re-iterate the revelations of Wikileaks, one can figure why some in Pakistani politics are so keen to hand Raymond Davis over to American officials.

The most interesting side to this story is the one of our politico-religious sections. Progressions, are being carried out, speeches are being made, banners are raised and (American) flags are burnt in protest of the murders carried out by Raymond Davis in broad daylight. Ofcourse no one in their right mind can defend the extreme actions of Raymond Davis, every Pakistani is in a state of shock and rage after what happened in Lahore that day, this man should be brought to justice and that should happen in Pakistan only. But these people who are once again bringing the nation on the streets, are the same who not so long ago were celebrating the horrifying murder of Salman Taseer. Those who celebrate one murderer (Mumtaz Qadri) are condemning the other one (Raymond Davis). It really confuses me, how people follow these ignorant, self-centered, deceiving and self-proclaimed scholars who openly contradict their own actions? First the infamous ‘Namoos-e-Risalat Tehrik’, now Raymond Davis, they just need an issue, may it be calling Islam a peaceful religion (they don’t like it at all), or anything against the United States of America and they will make it look like its an ‘attack on belief’.

Why is it that the nation fails to observe their hypocrisy? When will Muslims of Pakistan will understand that fact that they are being played by these (self-proclaimed) religious scholars? How will the common Muslim know his religion is being hijacked by an ignorant man who doesn’t even know laws of Physics? The only way to put an end to this is to separate religion from politics. If that doesn’t happen, this menace will bring more shame and misery to the Nation.

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

اسلام اور توہین رسالت کا قانون

Some of my friends asked me to write my posts about blasphemy law in urdu language, so I am posting this summarized version of all my posts about blasphemy law in urdu.

(click on the image to enlarge)

What are you complaining for?

Pakistan PassportThese days, living in a foreign country with a green passport requires a lot of effort and caution. While we are already foreigners in that country, the cold response from the local community creates a much more alienated environment. A simple phrase, for instance ‘I am from Pakistan’ in a public place will turn alot of heads around you.

Recently a friend of mine lost his patience, when a ‘gora’ started hurrying his children away from him at a local market and started taking out his frustration on a ‘gora’, dubbing that ‘gora’ racist, narrow-minded, proud and many ‘other’ titles. When I heard his story, I was felt shocked and grieved. Shocked on the part of that ‘white’ man who was living in a country which is leading the campaign to remove racism, a country which boasts itself as a multi-cultural and a multi-racial country.

My grief was towards the behavior of my fellow countryman. True the ‘white’ man could have been racist but did we ever try to win their confidence? Within the past 63 years, did we as a nation contribute anything towards human kind? Rather we took huge lumps of loan from the international community, just to feed our hungry politicians! Do we have any inventor / innovator to celebrate? (I dearly wish we could claim and celebrate the likes of Professor Dr. Abdus Salam, whom our ancestors turned their backs on).

In their country, murder is a serious case, their law enforcement agencies don’t rest until the criminal is found and put to justice. In our country, hundreds of innocent people are murdered on daily basis, yet our law enforcement agencies are nowhere to be found. We are still unable to determine who or ‘what’ is causing the target killings in Karachi.

How is it their fault that they see us burning assets and properties of our own countrymen in order to record our ‘protest’ over an issue. Why is it that our politicians always run towards these regimes rather than their own constituencies to gain confidence?

Literacy rates are lower than any average country, education system is faulty, our nation is divided into class, religious, political and theoretical groups, our currency is a mess, our economics is going down the drain, our streets are filled with garbage, sewer systems aren’t proper, nearly half of our countrymen live below the line of poverty and yet, inflation is still on the rise.

Suicide rate is high, people are gunned down in broad daylight. In the presence of all these issues, the ‘religious leaders’ are only content to safeguard the controversial blasphemy law, their argument, “Because there is rule of law, hence we should not talk about changing blasphemy law”. On top of that, many in our nation are singing for their ‘hero’ the murderer ‘Mumtaz Qadri’.

These ‘goras’ they just don’t see us individually, they picture us as a whole nation. It isn’t their fault they have a horrible image of us in their imagination. The fault lies within us. If I am wrong, then pardon me for taking your time. But if I am right, then what are you complaining for?

The art of deception

Fareed Ahmed ParachA few days ago, I was watching a recorded program called “Faisla aapka” recorded on 8th January 2011 by Samaa News. The topic was tolerance, two participants of religious views and two participants of liberal views were invited to debate on the after math of the incident of 4th January 2011. One of the clerics while defending blasphemy law justifies it from the Holy Qura’an quoting verses from Chapter 33 (Surah Al-Ahzaab).

I was shocked to see that Mr. Paracha (from one of the politico-religious parties) was so confident when he was distorting the verses and the audience was applauding him for that, while the show host and the other cleric (from Sunni Tehrik) was backing him up referring to Chapter 9 of the Holy Qura’an. Let me explain to you what Mr. Paracha was referring to from the Holy Qura’an:

[33:56] Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet. O ye who believe! you also should invoke blessings on him and salute him with the salutation of peace.

[33:57] Verily, those who malign Allah and His Messenger — Allah has cursed them in this world and in the Hereafter, and has prepared for them an abasing punishment.

[33:58] And those who malign believing men and believing women for what they have not earned shall bear the guilt of a calumny and a manifest sin.

[33:59] O Prophet! tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers that they should draw close to them portions of their loose outer coverings. That is nearer that they may thus be distinguished and not molested. And Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful.

[33:60] If the hypocrites, and those in whose heart is a disease, and those who cause agitation in the city, desist not, We shall surely give thee authority over them; then they will not dwell therein as thy neighbors, save for a little while.

[33:61] Then they will be accursed. Wherever they are found, they will be seized, and cut into pieces.

— Surah Al Ahzaab

As you can see here, clearly Mr. Paracha is deceiving the crowd and imposing his views of the Qura’an. What he does is, read the first two verses and then joins verse 61 with verses 57 and 58, which ofcourse changes the entire context of the message. Allah (God almighty) is clearly saying that He alone is the one to punish those who malign Allah and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). To understand the rest of the argument one must know the pretext of this chapter(Surah Al Ahzaab). It deals with the vicissitudes through which Islam had to pass during the early years of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in Medina. The Jews of the surrounding tribes gave a hard time to the Muslims, even those tribesmen who were included in the pact of Medina didn’t leave any opportunity to create mischief. Those are being referred to as hypocrites. The main weapon in their armory against Islam, was spreading of false news to friendly tribes. This was an act of treason not blasphemy, the punishment for treason was capital punishment.

Now let us see what is written in Chapter 9 (Al-Taubah) to which the second cleric is referring to.

[9:12] Will you not fight a people who have broken their oaths, and who plotted to turn out the Messenger, and they were the first to commence hostilities against you? Do you fear them? Nay, Allah is most worthy that you should fear Him, if you are believers.

[9:13] Fight them, that Allah may punish them at your hands, and humiliate them, and help you to victory over them, and relieve the minds of a people who believe;

— Surah Al Taubah

Again, if viewed in context of the verse number 12, it makes total sense. It isn’t directed towards blasphemers, it is clearly saying about those who break their, oaths, these were the Jewish tribes which were included in the pact of Medina. No where in the above two verses does Allah (God almighty) asks the Prophet (peace be upon him) to kill any blasphemer. None of the Muslims try to research the references these clerics give out. This points out to two things, Muslims lack knowledge of the Holy Qura’an and Islamic History and two, they blindly follow what the mullah tells them. It was for times like these the Prophet (peace be upon him) predicted.

“There will be a decline in religious faith and nothing would be left of Islam except its name and nothing would be left of the Holy Qura’an except its text. Mosques though full of worshipers will be empty of guidance. The religious scholars will be the worst creation under the canopy of Heaven”.

(Mishkat-ul Masabih, p.88 & Kanaz-ul Ummal, vol.6 p.43).

%d bloggers like this: