By New Age Islam Edit Desk
30 June 2013
Finally, the entire New Age Islam website has been banned in Pakistan. Readers in Pakistan informed us about an hour ago. After blocking one page, then 2/3, then 4/5, then 10 pages of New Age Islam in Pakistan, mostly pages from our Urdu and Arabic section, now the whole website is blocked. During the last week we have kept our readers informed of not only the pages blocked in Pakistan but also how our thousands of readers in Pakistan are beating the ban. Indeed, one reader sent us a video of exactly how they are able to open blocked pages of New Age Islam in Pakistan.
We found the ban of a few pages in Urdu and Arabic a good opportunity to analyse why some particular pages of the website had been blocked and what does it tell us about the mindset of people who run the Pakistan government. This led us to the conclusion that the Talibani elements in Pakistani army and the bureaucracy probably forced PTA, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, to ban some of the ‘offensive’ and ‘objectionable’ pages of New Age Islam. It was perhaps then that the Pakistan government woke up to the realisation that blocking only specific pages could send the 'wrong' message that the Talibani elements were behind the ban as the articles that were blocked only hurt the interests of Taliban and other extremist and Salafist-Wahhabi forces in Pakistan.
This would clearly show that the pages were blocked not because it hurt the interests of Pakistani nation but because the articles refuted and opposed the un-Islamic views of Taliban on suicide bombing, rights of Muslim women, on the education of girls and on the killing of Shias and other minorities in Pakistan by Taliban and on the power of peace. By banning the whole website now, they seem to be on a damage control mode. They want to create the impression that the website was banned because it published ‘offensive’ content and not specifically for publishing anti-Taliban content. But the damage is already done and New Age Islam readers globally, particularly in Pakistan, have seen the real forces and motive behind the ban.
Here we reproduce from our earlier write-up a brief review of the pages that were blocked and the possible reasons for blocking them.
First article that was blocked (according to our information) was an Urdu humorous piece on Shah Rukh Khan written and posted by a Pakistani journalist and blogger Mohammad Izhar ul Haque on his blog. The article exposed the hypocrisy of the Pakistani leaders and the social ills of the conflict-ridden city of Karachi in particular and of Pakistan in general. The issue of extortion on a big scale, the kidnapping and killing of minorities like Sikhs and Hazara Shias and the sectarian politics and violence in Pakistan was sarcastically dealt with in the article.
Another article that was blocked was an article by Nastik Durrani, a regular columnist of New Age Islamwho writes on the social, educational and religious issues of Muslims and mostly criticises the ill practices of Muslims and their narrow minded approach to their understanding of Islam, their obscurantism, their sectarian obsessions and their historical mistakes and wrongdoings. He also criticises the lack of scientific attitude and approach of Muslims in a no holds barred and irreverent style that might offend many Muslims. The article titled ‘The Elements Of Sex And Death In The Suicide Of Terrorists’ dealt with aspects of sex and death in the life of terrorists who commit suicide and embrace death only in the hope of getting 72 houris in heaven. Terrorist ideologue Maulana Masood Azhar never tires of describing how a suicide bomber goes to his target visualising what he is going to do with his 72 wives in heaven soon. Thus these terrorists do not have a broader view of a Muslim’s life in the world. The article will clearly not go down well with terrorists and their masterminds who brainwash innocent and mostly poor and unemployed Muslim youth into turning into a suicide bomb for their own political ends.
Another article blocked by Pakistan was one by renowned Islamic scholar Muhammad Yunus whose landmark book ‘The Essential Message of Islam’ co-authored by Ashfaque Sayyid was authenticated by the Al-Azhar University. The article titled, ‘The Qur’an Offers Protection and Coequal Personal Rights to Women’ asserted that Islam granted equal social, economic and even political rights to women. Since the idea of equality of women in Islam is rejected by Islamists, the article will also not go down well with them. Recently, during the elections in Pakistan, Muslim women in tribal areas of Pakistan were barred and forcefully prevented from casting their votes by Taliban and other militant outfits of Pakistan. Since the article promotes the idea of equality of women vis-à-vis men, it had to be blocked to save Muslim women of Pakistan from the ‘ill-effects’ of the’ misleading’ thoughts of Muhammad Yunus.
Another article that was blocked was by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, titled ‘The Power Of Peace Is Greater Than The Power Of Violence’. One wonders how such an article that stresses on the power and importance of peace affect the peace and harmony of a country that boasts of its Islamic identity and legacy. Maulana Wahiduddin Khan’s article only emphasized the message of peace brought by Islam and the gist of the article was that ‘Peaceful methods are far more effective than violent methods. Constructive goals can be achieved only through peaceful means, while violent ways lead to destruction and ruin.’ Such an article or message can only be disturbing the peace of mind of the group that believes in the ideology of violence and bloodshed. By blocking the article of a world renowned Islamic scholar and exegete of the Quran means that those controlling the policies of the Pakistan government are illiterate morons who are unaware of the teachings and ideals of Islam and are far removed from the understanding of the Quran. Anyone who equates Islam with violence has no business calling himself Muslim.
Recently, the Urdu daily Jang, Pakistan had carried an advertisement from Pakistani inviting prospective buyers for pieces of pall of Kaaba (the covering of Kaaba) worth Rs 4 crores in his possession. The advertiser said that he was selling it due to financial constraints. An Urdu columnist of Pakistan has penned an article on the advertisement criticizing the mindset of those who do not hesitate to even sell the pall of the holy Kaaba for money. The pall of Kaaba is removed every year and the old one is cut into pieces and gifted to influential pilgrims, foreign dignitaries and politicians. Since the pall of Kaaba (Kiswah) is embroidered with gold and silver threads, it is very costly. The website of the Ministry of Hajj only says that the old Kiswah is cut into pieces and gifted to pilgrims. However, the fact is that ordinary pilgrims are not gifted the pieces of removed Kiswah and only influential and rich dignitaries coming to Saudi Arabia to perform hajj qualify for the gift. An email was sent to the Ministry of Hajj, Saudi Arabia on behalf of New Age Islam asking them to provide us the names of people or dignitaries who received the sacred pieces of Kiswah last year but there was no reply from the ministry. It seems the advertiser is some influential dignitary of Pakistan who received a valuable piece of Kiswah by the Ministry of Hajj and now wanted to sell it off. This was the first time Kiswah was put on sale. There also seems to be a scandal involving the old pieces of Kiswah that are going in the hands of unscrupulous influential persons who get it and then sell it in the market, making money out of Kiswah. This article titled ‘Kiswah, Pall of Kaaba for Sale in Pakistan’ written by Fazal Hussain Awan in Urdu and published in an Urdu daily was also blocked because it apparently tarnished the image of Pakistan and pointed to a Saudi scandal.
The Urdu translation of an article by Faiz ur Rehman titled ‘Towards a Progressive Interpretation of Islam’ was also blocked. The article argued with references from the Quran that Islam did not advocate Polygyny and it puts conditions for more than one marriage. It also referred to a recent judgment by an Indian court that held that Islam did not profess Polygyny. The article argues that the Quran mentions Polygyny only once in the Quran but Muslim men took this exception as a rule and made it a dominant practice. The author also argued that the Quran disapproves multiple marriages and therefore the practice of Muslims having more than one marriage was against the ideals of Islam. Since this article also struck at the root of a rampant practice in which the mullahs believe and who see women as an object of sex, the article was blocked too.
An Arabic Translation of an article titled ‘How Terrorism Lures Youths in the Maghreb?’ was also blocked. The article exposes the fact that the terrorist organizations in the Maghrebi states of the Arab peninsula lured the youth with the promise of houris and paradise and trained them to become suicide bombers. Such an article could only affect the prospects of a jihadi or terrorist organization and therefore we will not be wrong if we infer that those blocking the page must belong to some terrorist or extremist organization practicing the same. Do we need to name the organizations? Since the article was in Arabic, it might alert the Muslim youth of the Arab countries and expose their un-Islamic ideas and ideology to them, the article needed to be blocked.
Another article which was blocked was a refutation of an article titled ‘The Duty To Enjoin Good And Forbid Evil’ published in the Urdu mouthpiece of Taliban, Nawa-e-Afghan Jihad. The magazine is carrying out a series on the subject of enjoining good and forbidding evil in Islam. The Taliban is presenting its own interpretation of Qur’anic injunctions and Hadiths on the duty to enjoin good and forbid evil. In the name of enjoining good and forbidding evil, Taliban profess the violent practice of implementing their rigid interpretation of Islamic Shariah giving every citizen the authority to impalement Shariah by force. Since education for girls is according to them an evil, they forbid the evil by destroying girls’ schools and colleges and attacking girls like Malala and recently attacking a school bus of a women’s university. Previously, they forbade the ‘evil’ of music by killing a singer of Swat named Shabana. So this is their interpretation of the duty to enjoin good and forbid evil. In the refutation, New Age Islam had exposed their misinterpretation, so this article too was blocked. Obviously, no one except the Taliban or people with a Jihadi mindset were affected by the refutation, so the article was blocked clearly by those who are the supporters of Taliban in the government of Pakistan.
‘Why Self-Confidence Is Necessary for Today’s Women’ also can be an article that deserved to be blocked in a so called progressive Islamic state like Pakistan. One can only cry at the tragic plunge of the intellectual fall of the people in control of Pakistan’s policy. The article only stresses the need for self-confidence in Muslim women so that they can contribute to their family and society in a better way. Since the morons of the extremist organizations of Pakistan are against giving any social or political space to women, they cannot allow the promotion of the idea of self-confidence in Muslim women, especially the women of Pakistan. They want women to be subservient to men in every sphere of life not able to assert their personality and role in the society. Hence, the need for them to block the page.
Above all, the article informing our readers about the blockage titled ‘Pakistan Government Bans Some Pages of Multilingual Islamic Website New Age Islam: Not Difficult To See Why’ was also blocked so that the Pakistani people cannot learn of this great act of saving the Pakistani Muslim community from the ‘harmful’ and ‘misleading’ content posted on New Age Islam.
Now it has become all the more evident who is running the new government of Pakistan.
URLs of the related posts on this subject:
‘Azan: A Call to Jihad - On the Road to Khilafah’: A
Comprehensive and Conclusive Refutation by an authoritative Quran
Purpose Has A Birth And Death; Therefore, God Is Beyond Purpose.
Bowl of Saki, July 26,
by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:
again it may be said, there is a purpose above each purpose, and there is again
a purpose under each purpose; and yet beyond and beneath all purposes there is
which we call composition and decomposition and construction and destruction of
things, all those are due to change, one thing turning into another. There is
no such thing as death or real decomposition or destruction. It may be
destruction of that particular object, but although that part which appeared in
certain form or color has changed, it is not the true elements of the thing
which have changed. Therefore birth and death, composing and decomposing form
the constant changes in the appearance of things of life.
difference between the life known to the generality and the life which is
unknown is that of illusion and reality. Man mocks at the idea if he be told
that all this is illusion, until he dives deep and finds out by comparison that
this life which is subject to birth and death and subject to changes is a life
and yet no life. This life is like a bubble in the sea. The bubble is existent
and yet in reality non-existent when compared with the sea. And yet we cannot
say that the bubble is non-existent, for it merges in the same sea in which it
once appeared; so nothing takes it away but its own source and its original
There is only one being, God, who is above
birth and death; all else is subject to the law of birth and death.
Every purpose has a birth and death;
therefore, God is beyond purpose.
There should be a balance in all our
actions - to be either extreme or lukewarm is equally bad.
Bowl of Saki, July 24,
by Hazrat Inayat Khan
There are two forces in us, love and
reason. We must keep an even balance between the two. If we give too much
expression to love we become unbalanced and fall into trouble. And if on the
other hand we lean too much on the side of reason we become cold.
In balance lies the whole secret of life
... All religions and philosophies have laid down certain principles such as
kindness, truthfulness, forgiveness, but the mystic lays no stress on
principles, he allows everyone to have his own principles, each according to
his point of view and evolution. For example, there are two men, one is so
merciful that he will not even harm an insect, and he could not draw a sword to
kill another human being, while the other man for the sake of his people is
content to fight and to die. These are two opposite points of view, and both
are right in their way.
The Sufi therefore believes one should
let each hold on to the principle suited to his evolution, but for himself he
looks beyond the principle to that which is at the back of it, the balance. He
realizes that what makes one lose balance is wrong, and what makes one keep it
is right. The main point is not to act against one's principles. If the whole
world says a thing is wrong, and you yourself feel that it is right, it is so,
perhaps, for you.
The question of balance explains the
problem of sin and virtue, and he who understands it is the master of life.
There should be a balance in all our actions. To be either extreme or lukewarm
is equally bad. There is a saying, 'Jack of all trades, and master of none.'
This is very true, as there has been too little effort given, so that no one
thing has been done thoroughly.
Success, failure, progress, standstill,
one's state of being, it all comes from the condition that a person is
experiencing within himself. ... according to the Sufi idea the condition of
life around one depends absolutely on the condition of one's inner self. So
what is needed to change the conditions in outer life, or to tune oneself, is
to work with one's inner self in order to bring about the necessary balance.
There should be a balance in all our
actions -- to be either extreme or lukewarm is equally bad.