“If a rape victim marries her rapist, she will not have a bleak future”: Well done, Malaysia

“The thing is, they have an opportunity – with a marriage they can lead a healthy and good life.” These are the words of Shabudin Yahya, a Malaysian Member of Parliament (MP) for the ruling coalition party, when referring to rape victims. The outrage doesn’t stop there, however, since the MP went on to say, “For a woman that was raped, if she can marry (her rapist) she would not go through such a bleak future. At least she has someone who can become her husband. So this will be a remedy for social problems.” Shocked as I was, I pushed the laptop to ...

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Is Afghanistan side-lining the US for its alliance with Russia, Pakistan and China?

It has become increasingly apparent that there is a strategic realignment of alliances within the Indian subcontinent. Pakistan has come to replace the United States with China, and hopes to include Russia, as it continues to be alienated within Washington through its policies. The possible tripartite alliance may also be extended to Iran, which is also interested in joining the group. If the Donald Trump administration’s “America First” policy continues to play a stronger role in American foreign policy, it may further invite additional players into the already dense region. The increasing ties between the United States and India have also led to several rumours of a souring of relations between ...

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With no medical reasons or links to religion, why are women still being circumcised?

Africa and certain parts of the Arab world are not the only places where the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) prevails, as Indonesia is currently on the hot seat for allowing female circumcision on girls as young as one-year-old.  On March 27th, a disheartening video of an Indonesian toddler surfaced which shook people around the world. In the said video, Salsa Djafar is shown decorated in a crown with ribbons and shiny clothes, ready to be circumcised. The video is not to be watched by the faint-hearted as it truly captures the pain of the little baby girl while ...

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Oh Canada…

Fear is an unusual entity. More often than not, it is unwarranted and unreal. But it becomes the biggest reality some of us will ever experience. And if we aren’t careful, it becomes us. It becomes the people around us.  A lot has already been said about Islamophobia. A lot has been spewed in the broad spectrum of bigotry, hate, prejudice, terrorism and intolerance. In Canada, in the wake of the recent racist attack on a Quebec mosque early this year, the Canadian government decided to pass an anti-Islamophobia motion known as M103. As per the bill, the government felt compelled to “recognise the need ...

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The curious case of Hussain Haqqani

In ancient cultures across the globe, people believed that the gods punished them directly for their transgressions. These punishments would be in the form of droughts, excess heat or cold or simply too much rain. Numerous outcasts or prisoners paid the price as human sacrifices to the gods including children sacrificed by the Aztecs. In certain cultures, the sins of the people were transferred onto a goat by a priest and then sacrificed to pay for peoples’ transgressions. A similar story can be found in the Bible. Hence the term ‘scapegoat’ was born. I think it’s best to state the ...

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Why didn’t the FBI disclose the Trump-Putin investigation pre-election?

While my heart goes out to the latest victims of the continuing global mass carnage, here in Washington, the cat is officially out of the bag! With an emphatic ‘yes’ (to Russian hacking) and a firm ‘no’ (to Barack Obama ordering Donald Trump’s wiretapping), FBI Director James Comey sealed the deal of what could turn out to be the most controversial presidency in US history. This is not a left-wing conspiracy against Trump. This is not even the fulsome fake news. This is all really real. On March 20th, the FBI director testified in the Congress that Trump has been under investigation for a possible collusion with the Russians who might have helped ...

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In Pakistan self-preservation takes precedence over loyalty to the nation

Many today will be looking back at the two fateful days in our history that share a common date – March 23rd. The first of these was in 1940 on which the Lahore Resolution was adopted, calling for the formation of a separate state for Muslims in the Subcontinent. The second was in 1956 when the Dominion of Pakistan became the Islamic Republic of Pakistan with the passage of our first Constitution. The past is all well and good. And much will be made of it today. But the questions that we really need to be asking, as the years ...

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Does Imran Khan stand a chance in the 2018 General Elections?

The Nolan brothers are a great team; they have teamed up for some impressive films such as The Dark Night Trilogy, producing ground-breaking action cinema. What intrigues me even more is that some of the lessons from their films are also applicable in the factual world. When Bane cornered Batman in The Dark Knight Rises, beating him to a pulp, he uttered the movie’s famous lines, “Peace has cost you your strength, victory has defeated you…” A tired and peaceful Batman had won his victory and thus gave up the struggle that made him who he was. There are some parallels that ...

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In defence of Ayyan Ali

Despite the fact that neither reading nor writing are genres of interest that our nation generally associates with, we are all familiar with a story authored by the legendary 13th century Persian poet, Sheikh Saadi. The hikayat (as Saadi would put it himself) goes by the name of “A Stupid Friend” and narrates the story of a man who decides to befriend a monkey and ends up getting his nose chopped off, the story concludes with the moral that “a wise foe is far better than a stupid friend”. I don’t know why my subconscious manages to recollect this story every time I see our adorable Imran ...

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The world will judge Islam by the way Muslims behave in the name of Islam

A year ago, the government took a bold decision by hanging Mumtaz Qadri, the murderer of late Salman Taseer. The funeral, despite the media’s lack of coverage, was attended by thousands of people, highlighting the appeal of a man who was nothing but a murderer. One year later, thousands of hardliners defied the rally ban to attend his first death anniversary. The sad reality is that for many, Qadri is a hero, and the significant percentage of those who disagree with his actions have an “empathetic” attitude towards him. I have heard people coming up with all kinds of justifications ...

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