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Islam and Sectarianism

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

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

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….

 

Pakistan’s Beleaguered Hazaras
Raza Rumi

…. 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

"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 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…..

 

The Bloodstained Bricks That Build Pakistan
Rafia Zakaria

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

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

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

“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.”….

Stay Away, Malala: Pakistan Doesn't Want Its Nobel Heroes
Reema Abbasi

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…..

 

Farahnaz Ispahani:  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
Farahnaz Ispahani,Former Pakistan MP

… 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”……

 

A Letter from Dr Abdus Salam to Malala
Faraz Talat

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.’…..

 

Crimean Tatars: Persecuted and Harassed
Amanda Paul

They are harassed by secret services and "self-defence forces" who search homes, offices and mosques. Tatar university students are being forced to apply for Russian citizenship and passports with the threat of not receiving their diplomas, if they refuse. Certain Islamic books, including school educational books, previously considered legal under the Ukrainian law, have been banned…..

 

The Ahmedis of Pakistan: Where Is This Hatred Really Stemming From?
Zeeba T Hashmi

Where is this hatred really stemming from? There is so much of it that an important international Pakistani physicist, Nobel Prize winner Dr Abdus Salam, has been deprived of national recognition and pride because of his Ahmadi connection. They did not even spare the respect and sanctity of his gravestone. Instead of praising Dr Abdus Salam for his pivotal role in the field of Physics, schools across Pakistan mount portraits of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, the known plagiarist and convicted thief who is being presented as a national role model…..

Demanding that Muslims must condemn the ISIS is typical xenophobic and communal nonsense. We don't have to condemn something that we didn't create nor support. Let those who created ISIS condemn it and stop supporting it. Let them freeze their funding which will stop them as surely as a hole in the head. Let their creators and funders understand that they are not fooling anyone. We the people of the world and we the Muslims are more than aware of what is going on and are able to see the schemes behind the events. We are not fooled by the whimpering of captive media who have sold the very spirit of free press and journalism down the drain…..

 
Clouds of Sectarianism
Dr Muhammad Ali Saif

ISIS has unleashed its blitzkrieg in Syria and Iraq. Its lightening advance in the Levant region has not only caused ripples in the western world but has also aroused sectarian animosity that had been simmering under the surface in the Muslim world. The recent massacre of Yazidis has further escalated the conflict by compelling the US and its allies to intervene ….

 

Principles of democracy cannot stand true in spirit unless much needed reforms in the electioneering process are made that can ensure representation of all segments of society. Without their voice, the election process remains dubious, despite the fact that it has been enshrined in the writ of the land and strategically designed ballot protocols are being followed.....

 

Pakistan Asphyxiating Minorities
Ambreen Agha

Extremist groups successfully target religious minorities and anybody who dares to speak out in their defence, including Government officials. Judges and lawyers have also come under threat for defending and acquitting blasphemy defendants....

 

Islam rejects sectarianism intolerance and extremism, which was the cause of decline of previous believers and corruption of scriptures. Allah says: “Their doom is because Allah has revealed the Book with the truth; surely those who seek causes of dispute in the Book (The Qur’an) are in extreme schism (divergence).”(Qur’an; 2:176). Initially the people followed the teachings of their Apostles and scriptures but later followers innovated and corrupted the original message creating sects….

 

The seat of this great sectarian battle was Rana Public School, owned and run by the MLA of the area Mr.  Noor Salim Rana. A small quarrel over a petty issue during the 15 August celebrations in the school turned into a Shia-Sunni clash in which dozens of holy fighters from both the ‘armies’ were injured. Some of them are cooling their heels in the local police station. The saddest part of this story is that a number of persons involved in this clash are students from Kashmir, majority of whom are from Shia community. They stay at a hostel near the school and study in colleges in the area. They are absconding after the incident.

 
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