Islam and Sectarianism
Pakistan’s story began with a parting — partition from India — and now, for a growing number of people, it is ending with another parting. Negombo, a beach town 24 miles from Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, is refuge for hundreds of Ahmadi Muslims fleeing persecution in Pakistan…..
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty
Disappearances and the state's 'kill and dump policy' continue to cause great distress in Balochistan, feeding the crisis of mistrust between the Baloch people and Islamabad and prolonging the insurgency. Islamabad's strategy of creating and supporting Islamist extremist groups to manage domestic political challenges has enormously aggravated the problem in both North and South Balochistan, though these groups are most active in the North. ...
Sevgi Kuru Açikgöz
He posted a tweet tagging the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality's Directorate for Public Transportation, asking whether public transportation (buses, trains and ferries) would be free of charge on Christmas day, since that is the practice during the Muslim feast days of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. The directorate responded to Bağdat in the negative. The columnist responded: “But why? I also pay my taxes as a citizen, so I expect equal service.”….
Muhammad Akbar Notezai
All the religious minorities’ woes, whether abduction for ransom, religious persecution, migration or killings, started after the year 2000 in Balochistan, during the tenure of former General Pervez Musharraf’s regime. Also, due to the war on terror, religious minorities began to suffer a lot in Balochistan. Christians and Parsis have now started complaining about mortal threats to their lives. As far as the Parsis in Balochistan are concerned, they are reputed to be old, educated and organised dwellers in the region….
Last week, pamphlets warning parents not to send their daughters to schools were distributed in various parts of the Makran region. On December 4, two unidentified men on a motorcycle killed prominent educationist Zahid Askani in Gawadar city. A militant group calling themselves as Daesh – the Arabic name for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS – claimed responsibility for the attack. They told reporters he was killed for promoting an education system that contradicted Islam and the Sharia law…..
In an unprecedented expression of support for religious minorities in Pakistan coming from a religious group, the Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) demanded equal rights for the country’s minorities and stern action against forced conversion of Sindh’s Hindu girls to Islam ….
The Black Sea region of Turkey is often considered the most conservative, nationalist region of Turkey. The murder of Hrant Dink by a boy from the Black Sea region, attacks on Catholic priests and the fact that the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has almost no presence throughout the region testify to the nationalist and religious conservatism of the area. Yet, in this age, I would not expect a local education director go to the extent of condemning Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations as Christian propaganda and suggesting parents to save their children by not allowing such events…..
Engage with the Other in a spirit of learning. Be authentically curious, leave your cognitive comfort zone, challenge your misconceptions, break the intellectually suffocating routine of life and emancipate yourself from prejudices. Dialogue is then an adventure, for which we set off to discover the Other and through the Other we discover ourselves. Dialogue is then not only for expediency. We need the Other to know more. Humility stems from a deep realization of our limitedness and need. Humility opens our cognitive doors to the Other. Egoism is the closure of those doors…..
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…
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……
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……
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....
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…..
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…..
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 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…