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Posts tagged with: Religion

Intolerance in The Name of Religion

After Lahore blast, people will give you different reasons for the blasts; they will say that it is Pakistan and America’s fault; America and Pakistan trained these people earlier to fight against Soviets, and now they have turned against both; they will say these people have nothing to do with Islam, and Islam is a peaceful religion; they will say these people do not represent Islam. May be it is true. But somehow, somewhere religion is involved, and one can not deny that–hence, these savage killers believe that they are just about to meet 71 virgins after committing mass murder. They are doing all this in the name of God, the most compassionate, the most merciful; whether with his approval or without.

It is not just one particular religion, most religious people, whether belonging to Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism or Islam, are different from people, who let’s say have very casual attitude towards religion or do not believe in God at all. Here in USA, I have personally experienced, the more religious a person is, it is more likely that person would hate certain “others”. In the case of Christian religious fanatics in USA, they have long list of people whom they hate, but these days mainly Muslims.
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Bishop Ijaz Inayat Questions the Gojra Killings

I share with you an email sent by Bishop Ijaz Inayat from the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Karachi where he talks about the killing of seven Christians in Gojram Please circulate widely so that people who matter must not pay only lip service every time but come down with a heavy hand on the culprits and prevent such incidents from happening. Compensations alone though cannot compensate for the fear and terror created in the hearts of our Christian and non-Muslim brothers and sisters.

gojra christians for peaceIn reference to the news, “Seven burnt alive in Gojra” printed in Dawn of 2nd July 2009.

According to Print, Electronic media and versions from the eyewitnesses there were veiled persons in the mob that attacked “Christian Town”, Gojra yesterday burning alive persons and creation tension both for public and the Government.

The Police, Administration and the people say they could not be handled. The vital question is, who were they and why they needed to hide their faces while they were protesting the desecration of the “Holy Quran”, thought to be noble cause by the Muslims.
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Deconstructing Human Conflict: My Thoughts

Guest Blog by Hassan Baig

Conflict has been one of the centerpieces of our existence since the dawn of the human race. Different millennia may have seen different markers of our species’ cultural and technological progress, the constancy of conflict has never fluctuated. And the present day is no different – us Pakistanis know that especially well. It is hence imperative that we understand the philosophy of conflict; for without such understanding, we cannot frame an untainted, objective worldview for ourselves and for our future generations. The following lines are my attempt to deconstruct conflict and to add a footnote in the affiliated discourse we see unfolding everyday in various media.

It is universally understood that all human beings are born with an innate sense of self-preservation. And this, in turn, has given birth to the mental constructs of The Self and The Other. These constructs pervade the entire species and promote self-centricism in every belief mankind has ever or will ever hold. A self-centricism which then manifests itself in terms of religious, social, political, racial, ethnic, capitalistic, egoistic, anthropomorphic etc differences – i.e. the faces of conflict can be many even though the core is shared.
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10 lessons all Pakistanis must learn

Guest Post by Hassan Baig


“Mulk khud hi chalta rehay ga” (approximate translation: the country doesn’t need our contribution to thrive) is a sentence many Pakistanis are prone to saying. I confess that till a few years ago, I myself was confident of this misleading notion. Misleading and dangerous – especially in today’s volatile climate. As Pakistanis, it is imperative that we come to terms with the fact that no heavenly Manna will alleviate our country’s plight. The job rests squarely on our own shoulders; with the destiny of a whole nation tethered to our will and to the execution of that will. And so as the clock ticks and the prophets of doom raise a foreboding murmur from East to West, it is high time for us to learn some crucial lessons. Lessons without which our collective slumber will only deepen:


1) Extremism always overcomes moderation. History is fraught with examples of moderate majorities ruled and controlled by extremist minorities. Therefore unless we are extreme in our moderation, our endeavor – any endeavor – is doomed to be highjacked by powers which know more meticulous passion. From the radicalized Islamic cleric who preaches bigotry and hatred to the Neoconservative-backed Christian televangelist who sermonizes the urgency of preparing for an ethnic genocide pithily called Armageddon, we today live in an increasingly polarized world. And since Pakistan exists on the very fault-lines of this burgeoning conflict, our problems are exacerbated. Regardless of what stance we take or which side we pick, our country will remain on the receiving end for the foreseeable future. And regardless of how hastily we disregard conspiracy theories, the extreme forces on all sides will continue to augment their belief systems with hybrid religiopolitical prophecies. Prophecies which have a way of snowballing into self-fulfilment. Therefore it is critical that we take our moderate stance to be more of a proactive doctrine rather than apolitical aloofness. Our very existence depends on it.

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Who is Zaid Zaman Hamid? Brasstacks or Yousuf Kazzab Prophecy?

In the past few weeks there has been a buzz spreading around Pakistan’s digital world talking about the recent fame surrounding the TV show personality Zaid Hamid who conducts a show on TV One called Brasstacks.  It should be mentioned that brasstacks is reportedly a paid-for show which has started airing barely a few months back and has developed a very strong following amongst the masses.  Admittedly Zaid Hamid is quite eloquent in his show and is well versed in his explaining his innumerable concepts of ranging from economic terrorism by the Zionists to other such issues which are poised at him even Islamic issues

I too have been guilty of occasionally catching a glimpse of his show and did even carry his five part series on Economic Terrorism.  All seemed well until a close associate contacted me via facebook sharing his concerns about Zaid Zaman Hamid and revealed his suspicious association with Yousuf Ali, a self proclaimed prophet from Lahore in the 1990’s.  Zaid Zaman was purportedly the right hand man of Yousuf Ali and was fondly referred to as his Hazrat Ali.  Zaid Zaman was instrumental in spreading the message of prophecy far across Pakistan, to develop a large cult like following in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad mostly due to Zaid Zaman’s excellent communication skills.

Yousuf Ali had been preaching his divine revelation to his followers for quite many years when finally a handful defected and braved to testify against him in the Lahore High Court which ultimately gave Yousuf Ali, a death sentence on charges of Blasphemy.  Yousuf Ali was then confined to Kot Lakhpath jail and in 2001 was shot dead by a fellow prisoner.  Throughout the legal proceedings one witness after another testified to the fact that Zaid Zaman was a key figure in the promotion of Yousuf Ali’s Kazzab movement.  I have been told that there even does exists an analog video of Zaid Zaman standing beside Yousuf Ali while he addressed his followers in Lahore.  Somehow the fact that Zaid Zaman was a key figure in this movement is generally a foregone conclusion, as there are one too many eye witnesses and more importantly numerous had testified the fact which may even be present in the records of Lahore High Court, including Zaid Zaman’s testimony to the honorable judge, all records are securely preserved in the archives of Tahaffuz-e-Khatm-e-Nabuwwat in Karachi.
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Profiting from Religion: Land Grabbing Business and Christian Minority in Pakistan

Guest Blog by Silence from Islamabad Observer

Religion is basically meant to be personal belief of a person or group of people. It is outrageous, shameful and downright arrogant of the religious groups to use religion as a source of profits. However since the times immortal, criminals, religious clerics, land grabbers and even power hungry kings and democratic leaders have been using religion as a source of exploitation and profiting. “Crusade” of George W Bush in name of ‘war on terror’ and killing of innocent women and children by ‘Taliban’s’ in name of Islam are two sides of same coin. The basic goal is to exploit sentiments of religious groups for personal gains.

Religion is also a favorite tool of criminals and land grabbing mafias. The bloody episode of ‘Red Mosque’ in Islamabad, we witnessed recently, is not the only example. In every city and town, criminal gangs have occupied public or private land; they would build a ‘mosque’ on it and sell the adjoining lands for commercial or residential purposes. Even green belts, public parks and educational institutional institutions are not safe from these gangs. Whenever government authorities want to evict these gangs and demolish the illegal buildings, it would become a religious issue. If authorities demolish the illegally built mosque, it will bring a religious and political storm. The illegal mosques built on public lands in Islamabad were saved from being demolished by countrywide protests leading to interference of ‘Imam-i-Kaba’.

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Tell me Sahar Ali

Guest Post by temporal of Baithak Blog

In the nearly 800,000 sq kms of land that covers all the vistas – from the parched deserts of Balochistan and Sind in the south to the peaks of K2 and Nanga Parbat in the north – from the (negroid) Makrani fishermen of the south to the blue eyed beauties of Kailash and Hunza – from the chattering elites, net journos and the do-gooders of Karachi, Lahore and other urban centers to the rural villages bereft of basic utilities – 97 % of the 160-170 million Pakistanis are united by their religion (Islam) and divided by the many gods they follow.

Did I utter a blasphemy?

Would you blame me for questioning when one group praising the Beneficent (Rehman) kills the other who believe in the Merciful (ar Rahim) ? How can the killer and the killed invoke the same Allah?
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Interview with Mangal Bagh

Guest Blog by Faisal K. from Deadpanthoughts

Just who is Mangal Bagh Afridi a khurram agency bus driver turned religious zealot? Or a savvy implant by the ISI into this troubled sector to bring about a liberation of the locals from the foreign Taliban. According to noted history Mangal bagh came into being when Mufti Munir Shakir who had established a radio station in the Khurram agency for broadcasting his views over the airwaves handed over the torch to a young Mangal who then used this pirate radio station to become an overnight success and gathered thousands of followers around him hence forming the militant group Lashkar E Islam. He is a known media savvy militant and quite a character in giving statements. Below is a fictitious interview of Mr Bagh.

F.K: So why the name Mangal?

Mangal: Assallam O alikum wa rehma tullahe wa ba ra ka tu hu, I chose the name Mangal because of the way it sounds. It rolls off the tongue, you know brother I used to be a bus driver and heard many Indian songs while driving around bara, try it “Mangale Mangale Mangale Mangale ho”

F.K: what is the purpose of the “Lashkar E Islam?

Mangal: What is your purpose of coming here? Brother look at your face in the mirror you have forgotten how to smile, you know why? Because you let your women ride you like he goats and nod in silly discussions about the fate of the world when you can decide your destiny yourself, you are just a child.
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…and Maulana Owais Raza Qadri was weighed in Gold

I have been forwarded these pictures of a famous religious poet [naat khawan] Owais Raza Qadri [official website] which I am told were taken last year when the poet received the Govt of Pakistan award for the Best Naat Khawan of 2007, and the consequent celebration was telecasted live on QTV [Quran TV].

Muhammad Owais Raza Qadri, 38 year old young man has achieved much and is a highly celebrated Naat Khawan with many TV appearances in various channels across Pakistan and to add to his fame he also has quite a large number of much sought after naat audio albums to his name

These are two images, both showing him sitting on a weighing scale while he is being weighed in gold, in certain sects of Islam this actually signifies a mark of respect for a Naat Khawan who has sung many naats in praise of Muhammad (PBUH), mind you this gold is not for any personal benefit but is actually going towards Zakat charity alone [I am told].
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Self flagellations, a religious practice or child cruelty, a critical analysis

Guest Post by Amjad Malik

Message of Imam Hussain, the grandson of last Prophet of Islam of sacrifice is greater in spirit and is held very dear by billions of Muslims across the globe and the message is remembered zealously during the first month of Islamic calendar Muharram. The Ashura ceremony takes place during this month to commemorate the courage & sacrifice of Hussain, a central figure of the Shia faith and his disciples in many Muslim countries adopt various means to express their grief which include holding processions, reading and listening to the tragic events as they unfolded during that month in the battlefield of ‘Karbala’, chest beatings as well as self flagellation. In order to express extreme solidarity a small percentage use five bladed whip attached to a chain and a wooden handle to carry out the matam called ‘Zanjeer Zani’. The practice has been on going for centuries.

In January 2008 during Ashura, a devout Shia Muslim first flogged himself and later considering it part of his religion allowed two under-16 boys to use the bladed whip to flog themselves until their backs bled during a shia religious ceremony. He was charged upon a complaint of the mother and statements of the boys that they were forced and he was later convicted by a Jury upon a trial at Manchester Crown Court on two counts of Child cruelty in August 2008. He will be sentenced this September. This is a land mark case carrying serious repercussions on religious practices of a Muslim minority and critics view this prosecution as a tip of the iceberg and consider this policy decision will trigger more cases in future. This incident has initiated a debate where self flagellation as a religious ritual is up against the child protection laws.
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Ahmedis expelled from Medical College

BBC Urdu reports that a group of 23 Ahmedi students having been expelled from a Medical College in Faisalabad on 4th June 2008. The pretext was that it would create a law and order situation because the Islami Jamiat-e-Talba (IJT) had protested that these students were propagating their religion which these students deny. Even if this were true, whether they have or do not have the right to do this can be looked at by a court of law. Expelling the students from the college is illegal and usurps the right of Pakistanis of any religion, color or caste to have education. Some of them have spent four or five years in this college already.

I do understand that this is a sensitive issue, but if we do not stand up for the rights of Pakistanis and minorities (as Ahmedis by law are in Pakistan) who will. Is it fair that mob mentality should not be allowed to pressurize institutions to take such action? If we succumb to accepting this think of Muslims as a minority in India or any where else in the world.