I am ashamed by this Ahmadi clause at a university in Lahore

A month ago, I got a very disturbing call at 8pm. One of the best engineering professors at a leading American university told me, in a flabbergasted tone, that something is troubling him and is related to Pakistan. “I have not seen such overt discrimination ever in my life,” he said. A few days before the distressed phone call, he and I had an interesting conversation regarding basic human rights when my column on pluralistic ramifications of Sufism and its association to the land of the subcontinent was published in a local newspaper in the US. He appreciated that I had tried to highlight the mystic culture ...

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Why can’t liberal Muslims get together to discuss issues that plague the Islamic world?

These are trying times we live in, gruesomely exhausting if one thinks deep enough to comprehend that things are changing in a dastardly manner. Humanity is beset with a challenging situation like no other time in modern world history whereby the colossal monster of Islamic extremism is impacting each one of us regardless of our beliefs or otherwise.  Europe, beyond the recent Paris attacks, will never be the same. While the French carried on with their lives after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the most recent carnage, many argue, may turn out to be Europe’s 9/11 type of wakeup call. The repercussions of this episode ...

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Why does the world continue to ignore these roots of Islamic extremism?

The ghastly terrorist attacks in Paris have once again put Islamic extremism under the microscope. Similarly to all religions, Islam is like a stream of water, available to anyone to drink from. Out of the two billion Muslims in the world, the vast majority draws from this stream uneventfully, living out peaceful lives. There is, however, a corrupt and hateful minority, drinking from an infected portion of the stream because it suits their world view. This infected stream has been allowed to flow for over half a century in the modern era, because confronting it would result in painful and costly soul searching ...

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Why Muslims should empathise with Islamophobia

After 9/11, the world was pushed into a forced and impetuous war on terror by the president of the United States in 2001. A war on terror means nothing less than more terror and the aftereffects of the war have shown that the war achieved little more than destruction.  But the infamous George W Bush in his post 9/11 speech said, “I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It’s practiced freely by many millions of Americans, and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit ...

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Pakistan’s children are unsheltered, uneducated and uncared for

The Pakistani state treats its children with criminal neglect despite many laws and policies to protect them. The Constitution guarantees children between the ages of five and 16 the right to compulsory education; yet over six million children are out of school, and others in government and private schools receive a compromised education with little practical relevance to their lives. Pakistani labour laws, although ambivalent on what constitutes juvenility, are consistent on the fact that children should not work in hazardous occupations or long hours or at all if they are under the age of 12. Yet, children work long hours and in ...

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Fear the wrath of God

What do women seeking abortions, homosexuals in the US military, the animistic tribe of the Pakistani Kalash, and Christmas celebrating, non-vegetarians have in common? Apparently, God hates them and so we all have to put up with terrorists, strong winds and the earth splitting wide open. “Look what the Kalash have done now” In the wake of November’s 7.5 magnitude earthquake, a tragedy that left over 390 people dead, Pakistanis have descended into their favourite game; the blame game. It’s a familiar, age-old phenomenon. The wrath of God has been a sound explanation for the cruel, unusual, confusing and tragic since the inception of religion, and, perhaps, humankind. ...

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The Paris attacks are an act of war – against Islam itself

The appalling attacks in Paris were, as Francois Hollande said, an ‘act of war’. They were Islamism’s declaration of war on free society – but, crucially, they represented something else. An act of war, by Islamists, upon Islam itself. As Douglas Murray says, it is lazy and wrong to argue that these attacks had nothing to do with Islam. The repugnant creed of the Islamic State (IS) is certainly related to Islam – but it is also inimical to Islam. The scenes in Paris will shock Muslims world over; indeed, when we Muslims hear of gunmen shouting “Allahu Akbar” before committing the very acts of murder explicitly prohibited by the Quran, ...

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My people’s deaths in Beirut do not matter as much as my other people’s deaths in Paris

I come from a privileged Francophone community in Lebanon. This has meant that I’ve always seen France as my second home. The streets of Paris are as familiar to me as the streets of Beirut. I was just in Paris a few days ago. These have been two horrible nights. The first took the lives of over 40 in Beirut, the second took the lives of over 100 in Paris. It also seems clear to me that to the world, my people’s deaths in Beirut do not matter as much as my other people’s deaths in Paris. ‘We’ don’t get a safe button on Facebook. ‘We’ don’t get late ...

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Is it terrorism itself or the cities where terror strikes that is more appalling?

The country’s capital was rocked by the deadliest terror attack it has seen in over 20 years. Dozens have been reported dead with some calling it a “satanic attack” and the world has not shed a tear. Yes, you have not posted or tweeted about it. You did not come up with any hashtags or express any condemnation. You just, perhaps, accepted it as a harsh reality and moved on because the capital was Beirut not Paris. The night before Paris was attacked, Beirut lost more than 40 lives and you moved on. You are not just the common Twitterati, you are the international ...

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What if Allama Iqbal had remained an Ahmadi?

Sir Chaudhry Muhammad Zafarullah Khan was one of the leading founding fathers of Pakistan. You know, the Pakistan Resolution that our national struggle was based on? He drafted it. He was the first foreign minister of Pakistan. He was known for his eloquent representation of Pakistan at the United Nations and is the only Pakistani to have served as the President of the United Nations General Assembly, and that of the International Court of Justice in Hague. While working in international diplomacy, Sir Zafarullah Khan’s tireless advocacy for the freedom of Arab states and for the resolution of the Kashmir ...

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