Akbar focused on blasphemy. "There's an elephant in this hall which we have not addressed and I think it is time, if we want to take this matter seriously," he said. "The tongue can also wound and the wound inflicted by the tongue goes straight to the heart. They don't lacerate the body, they lacerate the heart. And the heart remembers much longer than the mind. And that's the problem with any wounds inflicted in the sphere of blasphemy.... Blasphemy is injury to the icons of the faith. You don't have to be abusive,"…
In fact, intolerance and even bloodthirstiness -- not to mention justifying slavery, the subjugation of women and the stoning of homosexuals -- were seen as grounded in Christianity, as well as in Jewish religion and tradition, including the Hebrew Bible where an angry and vengeful God instructs the Children of Israel to destroy the non-believers That was then….
The Nawaz Sharif government says madrasas are sacrosanct and will not be investigated, but a growing body of facts in the media says madrasas are involved in terrorism through the training of killers and “excommunication” (takfir) of the Shia community. The state itself apostatises Ahmadi Muslims but baulks at takfir of the Shia counted as Muslims in the census. Most madrasas have gone on record — they may deny it — in calling the Shia Kafir. Their Fatwas have been used as handbills prior to Shia massacres.....
But the government’s biggest liabilities are the result of its own greed. Officials have never been shy about dipping into public troughs but the present lot is, by common consent, especially avaricious. Last year the governor of the central bank said that $20 billion had gone missing. He was sacked for his trouble….
In reality, considering the daily wear and tear a family can exercise
on anyone’s will, the Court's terms and conditions are unlikely to mean much
when it comes to Uzma’s ability to make choices for herself....
... if Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi decide to trade with each other,
the media in both countries will likely be a force-multiplier (as in 1999)
aiding their initiatives because there can be no better people-to-people trust
building exercise than one which creates powerful business vested interests
The exact motivation of the murders is still unclear and some say everything began with a dispute over parking space. Yet, people normally don’t commit massacres for parking space, and enough signs point to a hate crime: The victims were targeted because of their very Muslim-ness. This is not the first time that hatred of Muslims, also called “Islamophobia,” causes blood spill….
“Cut my own throat if I’m lying, but I swear to you: around us, right now, all around us are Hindu women held captive by Muslim husbands,” Vijaykant Chauhan said on our first meeting. “Islamic terrorists are using the sacred land of Hindustan, the wealth of Hindustan and Hindustan’s daughters to breed children who are sent to Madrasas, trained in Pakistan and turned into more terrorists who want to destroy India.”....
When 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram in north-eastern Nigeria last April, it took Jonathan forty days even to mention the incident. Ten thousand Nigerians have been killed by Boko Haram in the past year, but he didn’t even mention the organization’s name in the speech launching his re-election campaign…..
That is why the supporters of the governing party in Turkey claimed that ISIL was a temporary phenomenon, while the Sunni response (against the growing influence of Iran) was a permanent issue to be taken seriously. ….
Like so much else in Pakistan, Valentine’s Day is a political event. As has been the case in the recent restive years, the arrival of the mid-February homage to love is accompanied by posters and billboards as well as terse castigations for would-be revellers. “Sorry Valentine’s Day: I am Muslim”...
Watching violent videos lead to some amount of desensitisation, especially in young children who cannot understand why someone is being so cruel and unfeeling to another person. You have to explain violence to children and adolescents in a language they understand,".....
A retired air vice marshal of the Pakistan air force, Shahzad Chaudhry, who has emerged as a “realist” opinion-maker, had this to say about the visit: “25 years from now, if not earlier, four nations will stand tall on the map of the world: the United States of America, China, Russia and India… India will soon be up there with them, which is why I say 25 years. If these countries interact, sometimes competitively and at other times harmoniously, it shouldn’t come as any surprise.”....
Many conscious citizens say there is hardly any democracy in Bangladesh at present. In 1991, a system for peaceful transfer of power through acceptable election was formed. Many used to talk about it jokingly as 'one day democracy' or 'election day democracy.' But after the January 5, 2014 election, it was seen that the government along with the political party in power could manipulate the election result as per their desire. The people are expressing concern about future elections where similar manipulation in favour of the party in power could be possible under the existing modified constitutional provisions. This would become a threat to peaceful transfer of power as per will of the people, ultimately leading towards dictatorial autocracy. This is not the spirit of the Liberation War….
The Sangh Parivar and the Shiv Sena are to India what the Jamaat-e-Islami, the Taliban and their ilk are to Pakistan. Though Pakistan has officially been an “Islamic Republic” virtually from the moment of its birth, it still is far from the ideal of an Islamic State where only the Sharia rules. So the Islamists are working overtime to realise their totalitarian fantasy. Post-Partition India thankfully opted for a secular state. But since the mid-1980s, Hindutvawadis have worked zealously to steer the country’s polity in the direction of a “Hindu Rashtra”. With a self-proclaimed “Hindu nationalist” now at the helm, why be surprised if they today feel emboldened to speak and act as never before?....
Before that the idea of ethnicity-based nationalism was alien to Kashmir. Pandit Prem Nath Bazaz invented it and later propagated it with the help of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and Moulvi Masoodi. They coined a special term for it—Kashmiriyat, which signified that “Kashmiris” were a separate Quaum (nation) by virtue of their common ethnicity, language, culture, habits and habitat, political interests, etc. The term “Kashmiri” is a vague and tricky one. It could be applied to mean the inhabitants of Kashmir Valley as also the inhabitants of the entire former Princely state of Kashmir.....
I realised that he delivered this kind of a speech because he believed it is possible in India to realise the dream of diversity. Thereby, he quoted Article 25 of the Indian Constitution that guarantees religious freedom to all Indians, which is part and parcel of our fundamental rights and societal ethos. Some well-meaning but closed minded elites have misunderstood this as preachy or patronising — this is far from the truth. As someone coming from Northeast India, I can visualise the impact of this speech on ethnic communities in Nagaland or Manipur or Mizoram, and the realisation there that Mr. Obama is quoting from their own Constitution about a fundamental human right that it guarantees….
What’s worse — Qadris and Mirzas who claim human lives out of misplaced loyalty to faith or ethnicity, or their defenders who project vile criminals as patron saints? Legislators who don’t have the sense to understand whether the 21st Amendment is a good or bad law, or legislators who know full well what a stain it is on our fundamental law and sense of propriety and are still willing to sign on the dotted line? Perpetuating injustice through unjust laws or by deliberately enhancing the gap between law and its implementation?....
Ali Khan Mahmudabad
The fact is that the only reason the Vice President has been targeted is because he is Muslim. Sushma Swaraj, minister of external affairs, and Rajnath Singh, the home minister, were both also present during the ceremony and neither saluted the flag. The openly bigoted and often abusive kind of language in much of the commentary is not an aberration. All one has to do is to read the comments on any article (perhaps even this one) that is about Muslims or Islam.....
The rage was suicidal. The ruling party, instead of condemning the rioters, launched a tirade against Denmark and emphasised the importance of Islamic protest. After that, boys from Lahore’s schools and colleges entered the streets with clubs in their hands and set about breaking cars and setting them on fire. The police stood aside watching, probably longing to get into the act of destroying Pakistan. They saw boys get together in a phalanx, firing their guns in volleys.....
The Preamble Matters
Secularism, understood as a non-theocratic state that shows equal respect for all faiths, is by no means an imported concept. If it is, isn’t parliamentary democracy also imported from the West? Its high time Modi stopped this needless debate and, instead, turned his government’s attention to putting the kernel of secularism and socialism into practice.....
Rarely has one of Saudi Arabia’s ageing rulers moved so nimbly. No sooner had King Salman taken the crown on January 23rd after the death of his half-brother, Abdullah, than he immediately settled one of the most pressing questions of his rule: who would be the next king and, crucially, who would be the king after that. “The king did 90% of his job in just one day!” jokes one Saudi…..
Meanwhile, the government of Nawaz Sharif would do well to heed Musharraf’s words regarding General Raheel Shareef’s decisive moves and action-oriented globetrotting. “It’s not he who’s doing that, it’s those countries who are giving him that stature. The army is the only stabilising institution in Pakistan. That is why they give importance to the military chief. Especially when they also see the degree of bad governance going on….
To say that religion and politics should not be mixed has not only become a cliché, but may be missing the point altogether. Many tall leaders found the reason for their political action in their religious faith. Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr are examples…..
Ultimately, Mr. Hadi’s government collapsed through a series of grievous omissions: inaction in the face of powerful militias, unwillingness to impose law and security all over the country, and a failure to improve the lives of ordinary Yemenis. Mr. Hadi and the United Nations were not able to create the change that Yemenis took to the streets for in 2011. The Yemen model has been replaced by the Houthi model, with its simple adage: Violence pays…..