Islam and Sectarianism
I have now become part of the people many feel morally obligated to sympathise with. It was easier empathising with the Baloch, the Ahmadis, the Hazaras and the Shias of Parachinar and Gilgit-Baltistan. But now I am on the side, where friends, some directly, others between the lines, try to tell you it’s time to go.....
Crucially, the Quran is silent on how a state’s ruler is to be chosen and what might be legitimate grounds for his removal. Revealed for the purpose of separating right from wrong rather than politics, the Book does not specify the limits of the ruler’s power or that of the shura’s (consultative body). Also unmentioned is the manner in which the shura, which could potentially appoint or remove a ruler, is to be chosen. Would there be an executive, judiciary, or government ministries and what should their functions be? Islam’s other source of definitive authority, the Holy Prophet (PBUH), did not outline the process for selecting future leaders of the faithful. Whether he actually specified his immediate successor remains deeply contentious....
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty
Little can be expected from the Federal Government as well, given the steps that were taken in the aftermath of the Peshawar attack. Islamabad has chosen to intensify selective operations against domestically oriented terrorist formations, even as it continues to support a range of terrorist groups operating against Afghanistan and India, or who support ‘global jihad’. Unfortunately, these distinctions are far from sustainable, as most state sponsored groups in Pakistan maintain some contact with the anti-state formations and, crucially, share a common ideology with these....
The past few days have proven themselves to be a turbulent period for Pakistani cyber-mujahedeen, which started with the emergence of an extremely indecent, indecorous and utterly gross trend on Twitter – “#EkCrorePakistanMulhid”. Just listening to the name of the trend gave one’s nerves and heart a violent twist, and a cursory read made one desire an ablution to regain purity....
Mehr F Husain
Now ‘Shia-hunting’ is fast becoming a sick sport of a
kind. And the recent suicide attack on a Shia Imambargah indicated that Shia
genocide is also an element of the war on terror that needs to be examined....
It is, once again, the criminalization of the state in Pakistan, and the unwillingness to abandon Islamist extremism and terrorism as instruments of state policy, that have resulted in the unbridled and self-destructive violence in Sindh. With the consolidation of the power bases of various armed extremist formations in Karachi - and progressively in other areas of Sindh - the situation is bound to deteriorate further…..
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…..