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Books and Documents

Islam and Sectarianism

The Hazaras, a Persian-speaking Shia minority, immigrated to Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan from Afghanistan more than a century ago. Descendants of the Kushans, whose lineage also has Mongol influence, their communities are today found in parts of Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, India and central Asian countries like Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. Easily discernible due to their Central Asian features, the Hazaras have experienced increasing persecution, during the current wave of sectarian violence, spreading across Pakistan….

Balochistan appears to be caught up in a perennial state of crisis. The lingering Baloch separatist insurgency, organized crime patronized by powerful political elites, the pre-dominance of the security establishment astronomical levels of corruption and endless predatory political blackmail…

 
War and Peace in Waziristan
Salman Tarik Kureshi

The Army’s present action in North Waziristan and elsewhere, and the fact that it appears finally to be a no-holds-barred, across-the-board campaign against the insurgents, is in fact by far the most important event in this country’s recent history. That the media hoopla over the recent activities of Mr Khan and his cohorts drowns out public attention, and therefore support, to this campaign is at least unfortunate……

 
Death and Dead Bodies Are Not New To Sindh
Ayesha Siddiqa
Death and Dead Bodies Are Not New To Sindh
Ayesha Siddiqa

Sindh has had a legacy of great history and traditions. While we can all think of demons that can be held responsible for the current mayhem, there is no time to waste if we want to stop the bleeding. The state must be held accountable and made to stop this bloodshed…..

 

The Prophet PBUH distributed the booty but one man stepped forward looking strange: his eyes were sunken, cheeks puffed up and forehead extremely narrow wearing a Shalwar that hung at half calf. Why did Bukhari describe the appearance of this man? Others like Abu Jahal and Abu Lahab were never described like this. This was the Kharijee, his Shalwar tucked up above his ankles…..

..the current trajectory of affairs indicates that the government will remain cautious on the issue as radical elements continue to grow in Pakistan. In the process, it will continue to disregard international humanitarian laws and continue to commit human rights violations by backing the interests of one section of the society whilst excluding the aspirations of the other……

 
The Story of Swat
Zeeba T Hashmi
The Story of Swat
Zeeba T Hashmi

The Nizam-e-Adl fiasco and the TTP takeover of the entire area still didn’t cause any alarm bells to ring in the capital. It was only after the international media picked the story of a large number of IDPs from the area did the establishment take some notice and announce Operation Rah-e-Rast to bring order back to Swat. The people of Swat have seen enough bloodshed, and are still suffering from the psychological impacts of being crushed by terrorism and military operations. But they have learnt to become resilient……

 

Members of the Shoura Council stress the need for a clear definition of racism and a serious understanding of its threat to national unity. They also recommend necessary laws that criminalize incitement to racial hatred and a review of the curriculum to eliminate any racist or derogatory terms against any sect or race. ….

 

The general public in Pakistan may have sympathy for minorities but when it comes to the Ahmedi community; our human sympathy tends to fizzle out. It does not matter what level of education or profession one may belong to, the rights of Ahmedis is an issue that even military dictators and so-called revolutionary leaders who talk about “change” and “Insaaf” (justice) fall short of discussing....

 
Islam, ISIS and the Violence against Christianity
Syed Farid Alatas
Islam, ISIS and the Violence against Christianity
Syed Farid Alatas

The episodes of violence and intolerance of Muslims toward Christians and other Muslims have always been regarded by historians as exceptions. Al-Hakim’s persecution of Christians and Jews was seen as a rarity in Islam. The historian Michael Foss noted that “For more than three hundred and fifty years, from the time when the Caliph Omar made a treaty with the Patriarch Sophronius until 1009, when mad al-Hakim began attacks on Christians and Jews, the city of Jerusalem and the Holy Land were open to the West, with an easy welcome…” The question still remains as to what we are supposed to make of the Qur'anic verses that appear to support intolerance and violence against non-Muslims. There are two ways in which we can deal with this question. One is to show that these verses are to be interpreted in terms of their historical contexts. The other is to demonstrate how Muslims in history were guided by Islamic ideals and acted towards non-Muslim minorities…..

 
Your Terrorism Won’t Divide Us
Jamal Khashoggi
Your Terrorism Won’t Divide Us
Jamal Khashoggi

Don’t underestimate the threat of al-Qaeda, ISIS or Salafist Jihadism by saying they’re incapable of disintegrating our national unity. I hope the Shiites also clarify their stance towards extremists on their side, such as towards Nimr al-Nimr who has been detained and sentenced to death and who attacked the pillars of the Saudi state. Don’t be reassured by the romantic stories of Sunnis and the Shiites eating dates together in a farm in al-Ahsa. The Iraqis also ruefully speak of the days of co-existence between their Shiites and Sunnis….

 

…. the plight of the Hazaras is simply a replay of what happened with the community in the 1990s when the Afghan Taliban attacked numerous villages and eliminated hundreds of them. Supporting such ideological ventures abroad has evidently backfired…..

 
Ahmaddiyah Question: Setting Niazi Free
Nadeem F. Paracha
Ahmaddiyah Question: Setting Niazi Free
Nadeem F. Paracha

"If there was one man in the Bhutto cabinet in 1974 who was opposed to declaring the Ahmadiyya a minority, it was Maulana Kausar Niazi. He told me this himself. He recalled Niazi telling Bhutto, 'Please do not pursue this 80 years old problem. As far as clerics are concerned, one cleric can't bear to stand behind another to say his ritual prayers. Let them decide on their own; the government should stay away from this matter.'"….

 

Ordinary Iraqis have been caught in the middle of this escalating Sunni-Shia battle. Abu Ammar, a 33-year-old father of two, said he fled the area and now lives in a small rented house in Kirkuk, under the control of the Kurdish regional government, which has its capital in Irbil. “Shia and Sunnis lived side by side in the village. But when Isis took the village they burned the houses of our Shia neighbours. When the Shia militia forced out the Isis militants, they also torched the houses of Sunnis”…..

 
Sunni Extremism vs. Shiite Extremism
Abdulrahman al-Rashed
Sunni Extremism vs. Shiite Extremism
Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Sunni extremism often hurts the Sunni, rather than the Shiite community, unlike Shiite extremist organizations which rarely attack their institutions, communities and people. The reason is that extremist organizations like Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Iraq’s Asaib Ahl al-Haq are linked to governments and abide their policies of extremism management. It is impossible to do the same in Sunni communities because terrorist groups there, like al-Qaeda, are against governments and seek their overthrow…..

 

In a Pakistan grown fat with mighty mansions; theirs is the most earthly existence, attached to the land whose love is professed by all. But the earth does not belong to them, theirs is an enslavement created by the land and the men who own it and who own them. More than a million labour every day, child and sister and man and woman, shaping the bricks that build the nation. It is a nation that doesn’t care…

 
The Dilemma of Balochistan’s Zikris
Muhammad Akbar Notezai
The Dilemma of Balochistan’s Zikris
Muhammad Akbar Notezai

Zikris are followers of the Indian Sufi Syed Muhammad Jaunpuri. According to them, Jaunpuri founded the sect in the 15th Century when he claimed to be a Mahdi. The Zikri offshoot of his followers flourished in Balochistan in the 16th century. There is very little historical evidence of their arrival or history in Balochistan, but Mullah Murad is reputed to be the first local apostle of this sect….

 
Muslim Denominations: Are You Shia Or Sunni?
Farahnaz Zahidi
Muslim Denominations: Are You Shia Or Sunni?
Farahnaz Zahidi

Abba and I spent countless tenths of Muharram talking about the history of Islam and of the Karbala massacre, with him telling me both sides of the story. He would tell me to not listen to music loudly or not do anything on that day that would hurt the sentiments of Shia neighbours or friends. And he made sure that I understand that differences in perspectives are “natural, because Allah has created each one of us differently, and our circumstances shape us. Therefore, give each other margin”….

 

As ISIS cast its net wide threatening even Turkey, which is slowly shedding its image as a “secular” Muslim country, the scene is fast changing in West Asia. However, going by the instances of Sunni countries brazenly overlooking ISIS means of terror to preach majority Shias “true” Islam, new seeds of sectarian schism have been sown. Hordes for Muslims from around the world, including the West, are either making a beeline for ISIS cadre ship or are emotionally supporting the “religious” cause……

My Enemy’s Enemy - the Battle for Secularism
Maryam Namazie
My Enemy’s Enemy - the Battle for Secularism
Daniel Silas Adamson

“Although we may have deeply disagreed with your views, we committed an unforgivable sin in the Arab world when we responded with indifference to the fatwas and calls for your death. So indifferent were we that we colluded – even if just by our silent complicity – in excluding and eliminating difference, while acting as if the whole thing had nothing to do with us. And so here we are today, paying the high, blood-soaked price of that collusion, and finding ourselves the main victims of the obscurantist ideology now infiltrating our homes and our cities… What a shame this much blood has had to be spilled for us to realise, finally, that we are digging our own graves when we allow thought to be crushed by accusations of unbelief.”….

Tragically, she is not Pakistan’s first Nobel-winning pariah. Her predecessor was Dr Abdus Salam, who won the physics prize in 1979. Also in exile when his Nobel honour was announced, Salam, an Ahmadi, left Pakistan when the Bhutto regime decided to pass an edict that declared Ahmedis as non-Muslims.  Today, his pioneering work in subatomic physics, his prediction of the ‘God particle’ or Higgs Boson, and his Nobel, failed to keep him alive as a hero in his land…..

 

… atrocities on minorities in Pakistan were one of the worst in the world, and blasphemy laws were used against non-Muslims as instruments of repression and suppression in almost 99.9 percent of the cases. False blasphemy cases, changes in school curricula, attacks on places of worship, terrorist attacks, kidnappings and forced marriages were used as part of what she termed “militant hostility”……

 

We don’t like heroes, Malala. We like battered souls that we can showcase to the world. We want to humiliate the ‘colonialists’ and the ‘imperialists’ for their crimes, real or imagined, against the Muslims of the subcontinent. We want them to acknowledge the Iqbalian paradise we lost to the plots and schemes of the ‘outsiders’. Any mention of the incalculable harm caused by perpetrators within us, does not assist that narrative. We do not want to acknowledge the bigotry within, of which I know something too…..

If the world of the Islamic Uma is not a homogenous one, contrary to what the elites would like us to believe, then Muslim populations in sub-Saharan Africa are equally heterogeneous. They share the same pillars of Islam, but they live their religion rooted in local languages and cultures and in accordance with the religious values of the land. There is not a strong Arab-Islamic cultural heritage here, which makes these differences more pronounced. This is most notable in the degree of secularisation of laws and political systems……

 

According to a parable, when Prophet Abraham was cast into a fire by the tyrant king Nimrod, the spectacle was met with horror by a small bird. It spread its wings and soared to a nearby river, where it filled its beak with water. The bird carried these meagre drops to where the fire was lit before going back for more. The water it fetched was of course, not enough to quell the raging flames. An arrogant crow mocked the bird's scurrying efforts and haughtily told him: ‘How can you hope to douse the fire with such little water? Surely you realise that there is nothing you can do?’ The bird remained unperturbed and calmly replied: ‘When I meet with God, He will not ask me whether I was able to put out the fire, He will only inquire whether I did my part to see that it was extinguished.’…..

 


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  • Good column! Jamelle Bouie is a very valuable acquisition for NYTimes' op-ed page.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
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    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • When governments pander to orthodoxy, they make good governance impossible.
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  • @Mohammad Hussain HINDUS HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN HARMONY WITH ALL COMMUNITIES. TROUBLE SHOOTERS GET WHAT....
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  • @Na H Il FACTS ARE BASED ON COMMON SENSE, WHICH IS MOST UNCOMMON WITH PEOPLE WHO USUALLY BRUSH IT ASIDE.
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  • MADRASSAS ARE THE ROOT CAUSE OF RELIGIOUS FANATICISM AND SHOULD BE BANNED FOR RELIGIOUS HARMONY.
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