October 18, 2015
 Abbas Rattani
TOPICS

The importance of the Battle of Karbala and our ignorance towards it

With the Islamic month of Muharram upon us, I wanted to take the opportunity to implore Muslims (and whomever might be interested) to check out some of the events happening in their municipalities on the remembrance of the battle of Karbala. I will not talk about the battle itself, rather I would like to provide a few reasons as to why learning about this battle is vital for all Muslims. Though I cannot speak to the accuracy of the content of the lectures that are happening in your area, I still implore you all to attend these events in order to gain knowledge of ...

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Self-immolated rape victims and the inflammable Punjab police

Recently, I came across an incident that saddened me deeply. It was about a woman, Sonia Bibi, who was raped by three men and set herself ablaze in front of a police station in the Saddar area of Muzaffargarh due to the slacking attitude of the police. The incident is not the first of its kind. Another man, namely Shahbaz, died of self-immolation, after the police failed to take action on his application against a tax official. Similar tragedies have taken place over the course of time. Last year, a woman from Dera Gazi Khan set herself on fire as a protest against the ...

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Is Putin’s ‘holy war’ aimed at saving the Middle East or bolstering Assad’s regime?

The last time Russia conducted military operations in the Middle East, the word ‘Nazis’ was not preceded by the prefix ‘neo’ and Russians were still called ‘Soviets’ without any accompanying nostalgia. In other words, the last time Russia warred in the Middle East, it was World War II. That is, at least, according to CBS News’ Steve Kroft, who last week interviewed President Obama on 60 Minutes. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan seems to have been lost to oversight, but that’s another matter. Perhaps in tribute to the American adage of ‘coming back with a bang’ (but don’t tell the Russians that), Mr Vladimir ...

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Taliban and al Qaeda were creations of the United States, what about ISIS?

After chasing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) out of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown just about 100 miles from Baghdad, ISIS was supposed to be on its way out. The Iraqi forces held their own, as their prime minister famously claimed having won the ‘psychological battle’ against the jihadist group. But if events over the past few weeks have indicated something, it is that the ISIS is no ordinary foe. For its sheer, brutal efficiency and an unnerving desire for the creation of the caliphate, it is scarier and more strategically organised than any terrorist group that has ever come before it. It ...

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NA 122 by-elections: A futile power competition serving no real purpose

October 11, 2015, will be one of the most anticipated and crucial contests in a by-election. It is not Aleem Khan versus Ayaz Sadiq, but Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) versus Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N). Political observers and analysts are seeing this as a decisive battle between two fierce rivals. The by-election in NA 122 is, for almost all practical purposes, a question of political survival for both PTI and PML-N. The election is being seen by both parties as an opportunity for vindication of their stance regarding the fairness of general elections 2013 (General Elections 2013). The chairman of PTI himself contested and lost to Ayaz Sadiq of ...

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How much should we celebrate the Supreme Court’s verdict on Mumtaz Qadri?

There is a Chris Rock quote I like sharing whenever someone seeks positive strokes for completing a responsibility they believe is a grand achievement. In his standup, the comedian speaks of fathers who are proud of sending their kids to school or staying out of jail, “You’re supposed to, you dumb m*****f*****! What kind of ignorant s*** is that? ‘I ain’t never been to jail!’ What do you want, a cookie?! You’re not supposed to go to jail, you low-expectation-having m*****f*****!” Well, Chris, as it turns out, after years of disappointment, the good people of Pakistan now carry desperately low expectations. Today, ...

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Why progressive Muslims and atheists should work together

Can progressive Muslims and atheists actually find ways to work together? Some of my atheist comrades may disagree with me, but I think so. Of course we may diverge on whether a God exists, or if there is an afterlife, but when it comes to this world and the problems humans face, our tribes have much we agree on. Our agreements are not petty or tangential. They are sources of energy that can be harnessed for a much needed change. So what do we agree on? Well besides opposing theocracy, blasphemy laws, and Bronze-age ethics, we promote human rights, freedom of conscience, separation of mosque and state, education, and compassion. You could imagine how ...

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145 school shooting cases and lax gun control laws – When will the US learn?

Thursday, October 1st was a horrific day in the US as it witnessed its 145th educational campus shooting of 2015. In the worst of the 17 college campus shootings of the year, 26-year-old Chris Mercer shot and killed 10 students and wounded nine others of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. In the ensuing police shootout, Mercer himself was killed. As the country scrambled, yet again, to figure out who exactly is accountable, President Barack Obama not only placed the blame squarely on ineffectual gun control laws but also expressed his frustration at being hand-tied in a GOP-run congress that leaves him unable to take firmer measures. The ...

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Should Nepal be declared a Hindu state in the new constitution?

Nepal’s new constitution is one step forward but two steps backwards. Although, it took the Himalayan state an estimate of eight years to build this constitution, but unfortunately, the document prepared by the representatives does not live up to their status. Hence, here lies the crux of the conflict that the Nepalese society has been witnessing for the last month.  Three sections of the society – Madhesis, Janajatis (indigenous people) and women – feel neglected due to the new constitution and they have been very vocal against this matter. Among them, Madhesis  inhabit Nepal’s southern plains and share the border with India. Under the leadership of ...

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Modi’s visit to the US is not as warm as it looks

From holding the title of the first person to be denied US visa and prohibited from entering US soil for nearly 10 years for his deliberate inaction in stopping the Gujarat massacre, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has certainly come a long way, judging by the warm welcome awarded by the Obama administration. His previous record of being a ‘severe violator of religious freedom’ has been conveniently shrouded with diplomatic immunity as he conducts flurry of meetings with American statesmen, prominent Indian Americans, and heads of Fortune 500 companies and tech corporations. Pakistani anchor Dr Shahid Masood hit the nail on the head when he compared Modi ...

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