Monthly Archives: June 2010

Yet again politicized

Religion is something which is politicized as much as elections in our country. Dreamed to be a secular, liberal and dynamic state by the founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, soon after independence we had a Council of Islamic Ideology (CII).
The first question would be why only one particular religion? Why not a council for Christian Ideology or Council of Hindu Ideology. Agreed that they are less in numbers but if the government has made it an obligation to consider religion in state policy then let’s consider all of them without any discrimination. Plus being less in number makes them already marginalized so they need special protection.
Even if you still insist on having a CII then make sure that the person who heads it must be someone conscious of what comparative religion is and must not be associated with any party or ideology that has a tendency to force their version of religion. The appointment of JUI senator Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani as Council of Islamic Ideology chairman seems inexplicable.
Being spoiled with the menace of terrorism, the need of the day was to appoint someone neutral, balanced and liberal in his approach towards religion. Any institute which threatens to initiate death to ‘religious intellectualism’ needs to be checked. By such steps Pakistan can be threatened by the same ‘Islamization’ process which it endured in Zia era. History repeats itself, very tragically.

Stupidity Personified

001Till this day we had heard numerous Fatwa’s and what not and some of them were actually funny but with this fatwa every limit to hilariousness has been beaten.
Reports say that a Saudi cleric belonging to the Saudi Royal court has issued/suggested a fatwa advocating women to breast feed their male colleagues to establish maternal relationship between them. That way they can work freely in a multi-gender environment without violating Islamic laws as they would have maternal relations with their colleagues.
No, you didn’t read it wrong. That’s what it said. The roots of this go back to 2007 when a cleric from the prestigious Al-Azhar University said something on the same lines. Ezzat Attiya said if a woman were to breast-feed her male colleague five times, the two could safely be alone together; a woman at work can take off the veil or reveal her hair in front of someone whom she breast-fed. He wrote this in an opinion issued in May 2007.
Now in 2010, the Saudi cleric has repeated the idea or more like personified the stupidity in his own words. The Muslim world has gone fatwa-mad or rather; it has gone mad through fatwa’s. From Egypt to Pakistan, learned and not-so-learned sheikhs and imams are issuing fatwa’s on everything, from who can be justifiably killed to whose breasts you are allowed to suck. Fatwa’s are being announced on satellite channel phone-ins, on dedicated websites and by special committees set up by radical and terrorist organizations. Nothing, it seems, is out of bounds or too absurd to be the subject of a fatwa. Fatwa’s have become an essential weapon of ideological war. The fatwa issued in December by a cleric in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province provides a good example. Posted on walls in the town of Darra Adam Khel, it described all human rights organizations, including the Red Cross, as agents of “the Jews and the west”. It urged Muslims to target such groups as a duty, by murdering members, destroying their homes, burning their vehicles and seizing their assets. It was one of countless fatwa’s to emerge from NWFP targeting human rights organizations and activists, particularly women. The powerful obtain fatwa’s to harass the less privileged. Sunnis use fatwa’s to persecute Shia’s, minority sects and Christians; chauvinists use them to oppress women. In most cases, the bogus nature of these fatwa’s is all too evident. Why worry about Islamophobia and those who paint Islam in all the colors of darkness? Some Muslims do a good enough job of making a mockery of Islam themselves, thank you!

An unexciting anecdote of Budget 2010-11

The Federal budget was announced on 5th June 2010. Till today both houses of parliament are in session to debate the budget and the government’s spending for the next fiscal years but for some reason, the whole process has failed to attract parliamentarians to attend the sessions. The attendance remains very low. Being the most effectively air-conditioned building in Islamabad (not to mention the whole of Pakistan), uninterrupted power supplies and free food, even all these temptations failed to lure them to attend the sessions.
A leading Newspaper captured the jest just right and reported the following:
“According to the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN), only on the first day of the budget session was a healthy 72% of the National Assembly members present in the house. After that, attendance nose-dived. Three days later, 122 members were present at the onset of the sitting and they were reduced to 71 by the end of the session. By June 10, the session started with 42 parliamentarians though by the end of the day, 104 members turned up. On June 12, 47 members showed up. The numbers have remained more or less the same since then.
We wish that the present government, which has taken so many other positive steps for strengthening democracy, will also take steps to help our legislators improve their performance and contribute more effectively for the betterment of this nation.”
On one side where you have a declining economy due to terrorism and power-crisis, new taxes are being imposed on the already marginalized tax-payer, the least the parliamentarians can do is participate in the debate to generate new ideas to put an end to these miseries.

From Battle grounds to Football Grounds

The FIFA world cup frenzy started and the whole world went into the football fever. But there are some individuals who did not. Their reason yet again, it’s against ISLAM. So much has been written against the atrocities of religious extremists and at times one feels that no matter how much you write, it’s still not enough because the religious extremists always come up with something bizarre. This time it’s Football. What in the blue hell were they thinking?
BBC reported that in Somalia gangs of religious militants have stated patrolling to find people who are watching the FIFA world cup on TV. Once caught doing this ‘Criminal Activity’ of watching a football match, they are man-handled by these militants. Two people have been killed. Football fans are forced to watch these matches in secret or in government controlled areas.
If you think this is not related to you then think again because it is. A report on a local news channel explained that in Quetta football fans are forced to stay inside due to worsening security situation.
This is what ‘religious Militancy’ has brought us and the world over. Yet if people protest if a political party allocates a huge sum of money to a banned outfit to carry out ‘Charity’ activities, they are labeled as ‘Kafir’s’ and the Maulvi’s go red. When was the last time religion told you not to watch or play football? Ponder and think about it.

A culture of “Hate-speech” through the lens and the brush

This post is actually a continuation of the last post which was about Pakistan being the 5th most violent country in the world. Hate-speech means bigoted speech, attacking or disparaging a social or ethnic group or a member of such a group. As a nation we have forgot what the words liberalism means. Violence and intolerance have becomes our traits whether in speech or act. Below are some illustrations and picture which would highlight this even more.
The first picture is from Lahore and what is shown in the picture is quite evident. The “Lahore massacre” is result of these fault-line sin our social system. The second and third illustrations speak about the hypocrisy of the Mullah.
Yes, this is humor in a way but within this humor is a very sensitive issue, a volcano that erupts every now and then. There are some thoughts to ponder about.
IL’s message to its readers today will be: Liberate yourselves.

Pakistan: 5th most violent country in the world

Think tanks, writers and the civil society organizations have been continuously and tirelessly working on creating awareness about the growing intolerance and violence in our society. There were times when their efforts were dubbed as too far sighted. But now we have a proof. Recently, a report by Institute for Economics and Peace in Australia states that Pakistan is the 5th most violent country in the world. With 2809 people losing their lives in 2008, 3318 in 2009 and almost 1200 in the first half of 2010, we have no reason to doubt this report. The religious extremism has resulted in a growing violence throughout our homeland.
The report which mentioned Pakistan as the 5th violence country states Iraq as the most violent one while New Zealand being the beacon of peace. May be we can learn and implement the policies adopted by New Zealand not only at the national level but the root level. People must learn from people. How to co-exist and how to find common grounds with one another?
IL-Pakistan takes this opportunity to invite its readers to indulge in a debate that may lead to possible solutions to reduce the level of violence in our society.

A Mosque from where it all started

Ground Zero is the name given to the place where once the mighty twin towers stood. After the attacks in Sep 11th, they were reduced to mere rubble. Today after almost 9 years from that sad day, the world saw the rise of fascist elements, the fight against the militants by peace loving nations and the literature development to avoid future catastrophes like these.
The most astonishing development in this regard probably happened last week when NYC government announced that it has approved building an Islamic cultural centre two blocks away from Ground Zero. Initially this did spread and unwanted notion but later on after deliberate debate, the government decided to go ahead with the plan. This should serve as an eye-opener for all the people who refute the idea that by working together we can find a way to co-exist with other faiths.
While registering his remarks, Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer said that “for anyone to imply that a mosque is not appropriate in New York…that is just an un-American attitude. I’ll do everything I can to make sure this mosque does get opened and people have the right to assemble there and practice their religion.”
Isn’t this an answer to those who kill other people in the name of God within their own country? Shouldn’t this be a response to people who do not let other people practice their faiths openly?
The proposed Islamic center is to be built on the site of a former clothing shop and is planned to contain sports facilities and a theater as well as the mosque.

What Pakistani 13 year old are experiencing

Today my hope and pride have vanished,
that I do not deny

Today I sunk to the floor sobbing
With my arms open wide

The power does not lie with you,
to discuss or decide
who is worthy to be alive, and who
must be made to die

Do not go out to play children,
you may not come back inside

If tear-smeared faces of broken families
begged you to stop killing their sons,
would you reflect and see your wrongs,
or would you still load your guns?

For every girl who lost a father,
every wife who is now a widow,
I hope you see that you have spilled,
the blood splattered on my window

You do not hear the mourning mothers,
you do not see your father cry
then it is our sons and daughters,
Not your brothers and sisters that die

Do not go out to play children
you may not come back inside

By: Kamini Masood