Blasphemy for 8th graders

Published: September 27, 2011

An 8th grader was accused for blasphemy for misspelling the word 'naat'.

If we were wondering whether Pakistan could sink any lower as a nation where morals are concerned, I must say we definitely exceeded our expectations this past week. 

All issues related to the blasphemy law and its effect on the fabric of the current mindset in Pakistan can probably take a backseat to the idiocy that raised its head this week. In a spate of vivid defence of religion against the evil world, a teacher accused a 13-year-old Christian girl of blasphemy, alleging that a misspelt word had turned from praise to curse.

Of course, the initial reaction from all corners within and outside the country was predictable:

a)      The shocked liberals and mild-conservatives alike raised their hackles

b)      The ultra-conservatives were convinced of malicious intent

c)       Social networks were abuzz with condemnations of the teacher, the preachers, the girl and of course the inevitable RAW/CIA/Mossad connection

After all, the entire Western world has engineered the workings of the pen and wrist of a 13-year-old in a Muslim country.

Since enough and more comments and blog-posts have covered the above travesty of intelligence, I want to dwell on an aspect of the story which has given many of us cause for pause:

If there is no compulsion in Islam, why was this non-Muslims girl writing a naat for the Urdu language subject in an examination?

The incident is not one in isolation, but which has been conveniently swept under the rug for decades: the indoctrination of Islamic thought and doctrine into every aspect of culture, irrespective of the damage it causes to the culture itself.

When I was studying in St Lawrence’s Boys’ School in Karachi from 85-95, I vividly remember having to learn the hamd and the naat by rote, from Grade 3 to Grade 8. I am not talking about the Islamiyat classes. The hamd and naat were on page 1 and in the centre of the book respectively. The Urdu textbooks in our syllabus were issued by the Sindh Textbook Board and were mandatory for Urdu studies if you wanted to sit the Matriculation examinations when you hit grade 9 and 10.

This, by the way, was only one part of the problem.

Instead of a syllabus flowing with beautiful Urdu literature by Manto, Faiz, Haider, Iqbal and others, we had these sparsely populating our primary grade textbooks while the bulk would be made up of stories of the great Islamic conversions by the wonderful Muslim heroes of Arabia, who came and saved the former-infidels of the region. Day after day, we were forced to learn a history that had nothing to do with Urdu, but with Islam’s superiority.

In a Christian school, with Christian students.

We had no choice, as we were matriculation-based. When I reached grade 9, however, the introduction of a higher level of prose and the subsequent tashreeh classes we had to undertake opened my mind to a whole new realm of this beautiful and pure language. Suddenly, I saw religion completely disappear.

Needless to say, it became quite obvious to me at that point that under the pretext of an education in literature and linguistics, the children of Pakistan were being indoctrinated with the ideals that everything around them, their culture, language and history, was completely Islamic or from the Muslims. Zia, it seemed, had won

Which brings me to the 8th grade student accused of blasphemy. Why on earth was a poor girl of a non-Muslim religion being forced to learn – as I and countless others were – the prayers of another religion to pass an exam on language skills?

Why is it necessary for her to profess the faith of another, simply to earn a piece of paper that says to the world ‘I am literate’?

Before people jump on the ‘bash-Anthony’ bandwagon saying ‘well we were forced to learn the Our Father in the convent schools’, let me state clearly that I am against that as well. There is absolutely no justification whatsoever to force someone to learn the prayers of another in the name of education. It is fundamental violation of their rights as an individual. It is a guaranteed right based in the Constitution of Pakistan.

But lets not dwell on that. We all know just how well people’s rights are respected here, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.

Firstly, the die-hard defenders of anything blasphemy related have already made up their minds that pre-teen and early-teen girls are mature enough to know the difference between writing (not understanding, mind you, but writing) the words ‘laanat’ and ‘naat’. Apparently, these bigots seem to miss the point that if they are mature enough to understand this, surely they are mature enough to know what happened to Asia Bibi, and would think twice before bringing a rabid blood-thirsty mob to their homes with their actions.

The comments I hear on forums including right here on The Express Tribune scare me, where some even go so far as to become pseudo-handwriting experts, convinced that the dot on the noon in ‘naat‘ has no business moving a few atoms to the left.

Blasphemy for poor farmer-women, then shop-keepers, then doctors, and now 8th-graders. Stay warned, the next step will be blasphemy accusations on fetuses. Lord knows what the unborn must be cooking up in their half-formed brains.

Secondly, the good thing that has come out of the ridiculous injustice this girl is facing is that for once, this issue is bringing the indoctrination to light. I’m sure there must be someone from Pakistan’s educational establishment that can answer this one question:

Why are non-Muslims students in Pakistan forced to study the hamd and naat in an Urdu textbook?

Anthony Permal

Anthony Permal

A Catholic theologian who works as a digital marketer in Dubai.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Ali

    Totally agree, I had a christian friend in my class when i was growing up and always felt bad for him as he had to give islamiyat exams and cram all those things. I used to ask him but he remained silent mostly and just told me that its the only way. We need to look at our educational system and make a more neutral system. I will not comment on the obvious injustice meted out to the poor girl as a lot has been said alreadyRecommend

  • KolachiMom

    Just posted this question on another blog, then saw this. Bravo!! This question need needs to be addressed.Recommend

  • http://India Feroz

    Brother, is this some new discovery you have made that indoctrination is going on through the textbooks ? Not everyone took as long as you to find that out.Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    Incredibly insightful!

    The Islamic organizations would be crying tears of blood on national television, should they receive information that a certain school is teaching Muslim children Hindu bhajans, or Christmas carols. But I bet nobody at the education ministry is losing sleep over non-Muslim kids being indoctrinated with Islamic lessons?

    Does that seem just a little bit hypocritical?Recommend

  • Rabiya

    I was in school in 80′s era and in missionary school of Rawalpindi.There Christian girls always studied Scripture in place of Islamiyat. And at the same time our school allowed Millad for Muslims. This is the basics i learnt from age of 4..My prep to my matriculation. Total 11 years. What else I could say…..With modernization and technologically advanced we are loosing space and respect for others plus their religions. Recommend

  • Rabiya

    Jinnah was an outstanding lawyer who had studied law in London. He had a modern outlook on the world and was strongly secular. Part of the oath under which he took office reads:

    “No subject … in Pakistan shall, on grounds only of religion, place of birth, descent, color or any of them be ineligible for office.”Recommend

  • http://kashifmd.wordpress.com Kashif Chaudhry

    Tony, you raise a valid point and you raise it well bro. I, like you, long for the day when Pakistan understands that religion must be separate from State.Recommend

  • Jameel

    Why are non-Muslims students in
    Pakistan forced to study the hamd and
    naat in an Urdu textbook?

    The idea is that over time they will ‘see the light’ and convert, and then get killed as a Muslim by one of the opposing sects.Recommend

  • Sikandar

    Tony there is no way out, not only for Pakistan but even for some of the other countries too. Only time will tell.Recommend

  • islooboy

    i heard some 4 years ago there was a campaign in hazara division of no christians in hazaraRecommend

  • islooboy

    there is only one way out that is calling ulema so they could say that she is na baligh so she wouldnot be punished i want her ou but i cant help herRecommend

  • baqar

    Well Tony certainly i agree with you, but I have been a student of a convent school and as far as i remember when we had islamiat session Christian students used to go to another class for their religious studies. Moreover, Islamiat was optional for them in board exams. COrrect me if i am wrongRecommend

  • MA

    I am a Pakistani writing these lines from Canada.

    Our Kids are learning about Christianity , Halloween and 90 percent of things which are peculiar to western culture and religion.

    When we get sick , we are forced to eat Western food as their cooks or kitchens cannot cook East Indian or Pakistani food, although in our city, atleast 40 percent of patients belong to either India or Pakistan.

    If we complain then we are told , “if you don’t like every thing of this culture , then don’t live here and simply go back”

    In Havelian case , that teacher has handled the case in a foolish manner.
    She was not teaching “naats” to that Christian girl , rather than that she had a question about definition of “naat”, which she was asking from 99.9 percent Muslim students.

    Pakistani people are not very clever or tactful , hence in order to save that family they simply transferred them to Wah , which is a better town than Havelian.

    I believe in any similar situation in the Western world, authorities would have taken victim in their custody or would have asked the family to move to some other safe area.

    Bullying or mob murders are not a new idea in the Eastern or western schools of this huge and strange world.

    A little mistake which could have been ignored or fixed on the spot, has now gone on international media and lot of opportunist so called journalists and NGOs will try to milk Western donors for speaking up in the favour of minority rights etc. Recommend

  • Anthony Permal

    @baqar:
    Baqar, my article clearly talks about the Urdu subject, not Islamiyat.Recommend

  • Anonymous

    @Kashif Chaudhry:
    how can we think of separating religion from state? when we fought and achieved this state for sake for Islam in the first place?? we dont practice religion here, thats an other thing and this blesphemy issue, thats one more separate issue anyways but personally, i would never want it to be a secualr state!Recommend

  • Ibrahim

    Because Muslim kids who grow up in America have to go through all the Christmas celebrations and activities in school there (even though they claim to separate state and school from religion)! There is no harm in learning about information pertinent to the majority of the population, however, the blasphemy accusations need to be checked and brought under control, because this case is quite moronic. In ACTUAL Islam, if there is any doubt in the mind of the offender that they are making a mistake, you cannot award Hadd! In this case the confusion is very obvious and no one should even be making a mess of this, especially since it is a kid. Get rid of the British Blasphemy Laws we currently have and implement the Islamic version please!Recommend

  • http://www.ibloguniverse.com Saadi

    Asking a question to the authorities that don’t even know about the basics of learning in schools and colleges? Wait for the time when there will be a real educated “Education Minister” who will understand that not only Muslims are living in Pakistan but there are Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and followers of other religions as well.

    If they can think about a criminal act of dissolving HEC to provincial levels so that students will learn about provinces not the country then why can’t they think about dissolving Religious portions of academic courses as well? Religion cannot be eliminated but it can never be imposed as well.

    I can really understand the mental level of that school teacher – These so called “Galli Muhallah” Schools are doing nothing but spoiling the future of children by appointing People rejected from society as TEACHERS.Recommend

  • http://rorolia.wordpress.com/2011/08/16/what-aamir-apology-should-have-been/ Xain Gardezi

    Completely agreed with the part about religious education being forced. Whether its happening to non Christians in convent school or to non muslims in our matriculation system.

    BUT, I find it hard to digest the fact that some 8th grade can cofuse naat with laanat. Its not about the dot of noon. What about ‘laam’ man?

    In any case, for the first it appears Mullahs have not created havoc for such a case and the response seems sensible (not of the school administration though)

    It however has opened up a valid point that why on earth would any person be forced to say prayer of another religion Recommend

  • Faisal Irshad

    Very nicely put. As the physicist Steven Weinberg once said:
    “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”Recommend

  • Anthony Permal

    @Ibrahim:

    Obviously you can’t read.

    And by the way, you’re wrong. Muslims kids in America don’t HAVE to go through Christmas celebrations. They have choices and guess what, they have a judiciary which listens to minorities. Unlike Pakistan, where the majority decides what the minority can ‘benefit from learning about’, as you put it.

    Ridiculous.Recommend

  • M Ali Khan

    @Ibrahim:
    kids in American schools also learn about and cherish Jewish, African-American, Latino, Native American cultures too.

    Religious education in public schools and education syllabi is OPTIONAL in America, rather than MANDATORY as is the case with Pakistan.

    “In ACTUAL Islam, if there is any doubt in the mind of the offender that they are making a mistake, you cannot award Hadd!”
    In actual Islam, a rape victim must produce FOUR MALE MUSLIM WITNESSES in court to prove she was raped (never mind the medical evidence) or risk being accused of qazaf and extra-marital/pre-marital intercourse. In actual Islam, a woman’s testimony is considered HALF of that of a man, and non-Muslim testimonies count for less than a Muslim man’s testimony as well.

    do you really wanna go down that path here?Recommend

  • zafar maliCk

    tony, you took a strong step on this critical issue…i appreciate you on raising this valid point…totally agreedRecommend

  • Anthony Permal

    @MA:

    What absolute drivel!

    In Canada, they do not FORCE you to do any of what you mentioned. You have choices, and I am astounded at the complete and utter ridiculousness of the food argument when you get sick!

    Pakistani food isn’t necessarily known as the most healthy food in the world, you know? And if you get sick, Western hospitals feed you HEALTHY food, not qorma. Next time you suffer from heartburn, I’ll be sure to let the hospital there know to serve you some Nihari with an extra serving of oil.

    And surprisingly, you’ve completely missed the point of the blog! This post isn’t ABOUT the blasphemy per se, but the reason behind the confusion: why is the Naat in the Urdu book in the first place?Recommend

  • Saad

    A very thoughtful piece, save for this little gem “Instead of a syllabus flowing with beautiful Urdu literature by…Iqbal. Seriously Mr. Permal? The same Iqbal who has no parallel in urdu literature insofar as misogyny, antisemitism and bigotry are concerned?
    I for one would be glad if the Iqbal academy which wastes valuable taxpayer money by churning out useless “research” papers be closed, once and for all. Moreover it would be a good idea if our curriculum is purged of the poetry of a person who is was an inspiration to Maudoodi and continues to be an inspiration for for all those who want to take over the Red Fort in Delhi.Recommend

  • Abdullah

    Brother I totally agree with you but don’t blame only Muslims for this, your people have enough authority and freedom in this country to earn these Rights. now don’t say Islamic Political Parties wouldn’t allow you to do this. Did any of your leader every try???Recommend

  • peria

    @Feroz:
    Atleast he had the sense to point out to you and the lot who have a been silent spectator.
    Its the level of question in mind which brings down people like you with lot of spare time….Recommend

  • peria

    Made for MEN only…..not women…they are being treated as slave.Recommend

  • peria

    @Jameel:
    You mean Muslim being killed by Muslims, just like the same way, how it is being done, systematically.

    Right Brother??/ .Recommend

  • peria

    @Loneliberal PK:

    Its more than Hypocritical brother…..since past more than 1400 years ag…u just had a wake up call.Recommend

  • S.R

    A non Muslim Pakistani student have to learn naat or hamd as her course in Urdu language ,similarly as a Muslim student in any non Muslim state have to learn about their religious believes.What you should understand is that religion and culture always influence the literature of a language.However I strongly condemn the charges against this innocent little girl,but this has nothing to do with eradication of Muslim history from the syllabus of Urdu language.If you consider it is you who are acting as extremist here and no one else Recommend

  • http://India vasan

    I read in the comments section below the news article on the same subject by one commentator advising that the girl should be punished and that too by forcing her to convert to Islam or marry a muslim man as she is old enough to marry. That is when I puked at the audacity of the Pakistanis. God save this country. Pakistan has definetely gone to dogs.Recommend

  • http://India vasan

    malik
    Sep 25, 2011 – 8:36PM
    Reply

    @Muhammad Waqas Luqman:
    I agree with you sir. The media is misleading everyone saying she is a 6th-grader instead of saying she is 14 years of age

    14 is not a kid, but, a good enough age for getting married in our earlier Arab societies. So, she should be treated as an adult. The punishment for her should be that she should apologise for the blasphemous act and convert to Islam immediately. Or she should be made to marry a Muslim man.

    The above is quoted verbatim under http://tribune.com.pk/story/259907/girl-accused-of-blasphemy-for-a-spelling-error/
    The only bit I agree is that conversion to Islam or marrying a muslim is definetly a punishment. I disagree that the girl desevers such a horrible punishment.Recommend

  • Leila Rage

    @M Ali Khan: Im afraid you’re mistaken about the Islam stipulations regarding rape. This is a common misconception in Pakistan because people confuse adultery and rape, or because they tend to read biased translations of the Holy Quran or because this is simply what they have been told by some ‘learned’ ulema. You see, the 4 witnesses are ONLY required when a woman is ACCUSED of ADULTERY so that people dont make such accusations lightly and malign a woman’s character. Witnesses are not required for rape, the woman’s own testimony is enough, supported by medical evidence. As regards a woman’s testimony, this was only due to the conditions in pre-Islamic arabia and need not apply to us today because back then a woman rarely ever left her house or worked and so in business and financial matters her testimony was considered half of a man’s.

    A good and balanced translation worth reading is the translation of the holy Quran by Ahmed Ali.Recommend

  • Ibrahim

    @ANTHONY PERMAL:
    I said that the case against the girl is ridiculous. However, sticking to the point, I was a Muslim kid who grew up in America so do not tell me, based on your theoretical knowledge, what does and does not happen. There is no choice, it is all integrated into the activities including easter related things. I even had to take home-economics (mandatory) in which we cooked food with lard (pig fat) in it. I even had to go hungry the day they served hot dogs made of pork and pizza with pepperoni made from pork. And stop telling MA who lives in Canada what he and his family have to go through based on your theoretical knowledge and wishful thinking.

    @M ALI KHAN:
    Kids in America do have to learn about that as well because America is a melting-pot with large populations from all those cultures. I even had to sing Hannuka songs which are Jewish religious songs. Did I complain and cry about it? NO! I absorbed information without forgetting who I am because my parents taught me well, Alhamdolillah. Additionally, this is not a rape case so stop confusing yourself. The rest of the laws do make sense if you implement them correctly. The testimony of women in certain cases (not all) is half because giving such testimony is considered to be a burden which women have been relieved of and it saves them from being blackmailed into giving false testimony. If you really want to go down that path, I am game. I will give you the wisdom behind every law including the testimony of non-Muslims as well. Most of the stuff you are talking about related to procedural manipulations are problem of the political system in Pakistan and the fact that Police anre not independent (And you as a voter are directly responsible for that).

    So to both of you, and in general, we live in a country with at least 97% Muslims. If we put a naat in Urdu, then it is our choice. Tell your kids to learn it to pass. They don’t have to believe in it. Considering the fact that our women are not allowed to wear a niqab (veil) in France and the men are not allowed to pray on the streets on Friday (BEING MINORITIES) I don’t think WE OWE YOU ANY EXPLANATIONS! This is “OUR WAY OF LIFE”! Live with it or go somewhere else.

    As for the apologist Muslims trying to apologise and side with Tony here, get some self-esteem! “He who stands for nothing, falls for everything.” (Forgot whose quote this was)Recommend

  • Anthony Permal

    @S.R:

    You said ‘similarly as a Muslim student in any non Muslim state have to learn about their religious believes’.

    Actually, no. They don’t have to. Who in the world told you this, and which non-Muslim country forces you to learn this, can you please name them with references of this?

    And this has EVERYthing to do with eradication of Muslim history from the syllabus of Urdu language, because the former has nothing to do with the latter. Recommend

  • Anthony Permal

    @Abdullah:

    Don’t blame the Muslims? Umm, what? Who else can I blame? The martians?

    And I’ve already addressed the ‘rights’ issue in the article.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Education has never been a high priority for any of our governments as it impacts the common/poor man.
    During Zia’s time changes were made to the education system for all the wrong reasons.
    This innocent 8th. grader is a victim of that legacy. A wrong we are too lazy to correct.
    A system that has caused people to forget words such as tolerance, forgiveness, respect etc. virtues promoted in all religions without exception.Recommend

  • Shaikh PhD

    We learn lies in school, most is propaganda and false history. I never believed anything, and I am sure most intelligent students realise it sooner or later. Look most the responses on ET are quite balanced. Of course, ET readers are way above average in education. Recommend

  • Ibrahim

    @Leila Rage:
    Although you are right that M. Ali Khan has no clue at to what he is saying, I am afraid you do not either. The 4 witnesses rule is definitely there and it is there not to deprive women of filing cases but it is primarily there to prevent people from accusing others UNJUSTLY! It is more important to save innocent people from being wrongly accused than to make it short and simple for actual victims. If a woman is unable to prove the rape then it is unfortunate, but you must remember two things: Firstly, that it is better to hide such stuff if it cannot be proven as the world does not end for the victim, but it would if an innocent person is falsely imprisoned or killed. Secondly, if you are a Muslim, then you believe that on Judgment Day, Allah will set the score right anyway and the offender will get his due punishment. It is better to be patient! God knows best.

    As for things applying then and not now, I am very sorry but the laws don’t change, especially not the ones related to Hadd which are a right of Allah.

    Additionally, reading just a translation of the Quran does not get you laws. You have to do Ijtehad through the Quran and Sunnah and a lot of other things before you get to the law. There is a whole system and it makes sense so please follow it. Recommend

  • Leila Rage

    @Ibrahim: There’s no need to get so offensive and judgemental. What is it to you if I am a Muslim or not? Mind your own business.

    Secondly, the 4 witnesses stipulation is there I agree, but as said before for ADULTERY and not RAPE. You see, it is NOT “better to hide such stuff if it cannot be proven as the world does not end for the victim”. Do you have any idea what physical, emotional, and psychological effects rape can have on a victim? For them the world DOES end even if it doesnt come out. Since you have not been through this torture you are being a typical insensitive Pakistani guy. If rape is not witnessed, then you mean that the rapist should go free so that his confidence increases and he rapes other women. Wow. and then when they dont have any witnesses either he’s free again. How wonderful.

    Also, if we leave everything up to the day of judgement then why do we bother with courts and jails? Even thieves and murderers shouldn’t be brought to justice because Allah will punish them eventually right? Yeah, Im sure that’s why Islam has the punishment of cutting off a hand for a thief and stoning for a RAPIST. Thats also why God must have said “I help those who help themselves” right?

    and no woman would just accuse a man of rape falsely. Do you know what women have to go through to even file a case? Do you know how hard it is for them? I wish that God had made you a woman so you yourself understood the suffering of women and stopped making these STUPID claims, because I don’t believe that God could be so cruel to women. It is the MEN interpreting the laws of God who have been chauvanistic pigs in saying what you say. Recommend

  • http://www.elucidations.org Abu Bakr

    @Ibrahim:
    Listen to me. Your absolutely despicable argument is that the 4 witness rule is okay so that it doesn’t accuse people unjustly of crime and that the world doesn’t end for the victim? This is beyond the realms of the ridiculous. This my dear friend is so evil and absurd to its very core that you better re-evaluate the religion you believe in. You’re telling me that a woman who has been raped, who was been sexually abused, given physical anguish and life scaring mental torture – should provide FOUR people who witnessed the act? Four people who watched this happen to her? Who stood by and gazed on for however long she was being hurt against her will? This is preposterous. Absolutely preposterous. You say this is necessary to protect innocent people from being blamed for rape? WHY can’t a woman testify against a man, and then the decision be made in court? The assaulter has the safety of her having to do the absolutely impossible task of producing four witnesses? It is more important to save innocent people from being wrongly accused then conducting investigations on rape? If a woman is unable to prove rape (which is impossible in the way you desire), then SHE is sent to prison. You term this as “unfortunate”, bravo. You say these things are better hidden? Walk a mile in a person’s shoes before judging him/her. Get a sex change, get raped, and tell me you don’t want justice and want to hide it.

    The problem my friend is that instead of understanding religion, you accept anything anyone tells you about it. All religions speak of justice, good deeds and kindness. If laws have been made based on a religion, they have a context, a time in history, and a reason. As time goes on, and the world evolves, so should your vision and mind. When rape can be proved today medically and through other evidence.. then why do you need this ordinance? Is your faith so insecure, that you NEED it implemented every where? Do you have concrete evidence that your religion categorically asks for this? TODAY? The good Lord has breathed into you His spirit, a good conscience and common sense. Now tell me you want to see a raped woman go to jail because she didn’t find 4 people who saw her get assaulted.Recommend

  • malik

    @MA:
    there is a difference; you went to Canada to have a better life other than the one in Pak. Whereas the 8th grader was born in Pakistan. She belongs here. But you don’t belong to Canada. Recommend

  • Yousuf Jamil Siddiqui

    True! I totally agree with you! Very well written!Recommend

  • Sajjad Hussain

    Disgusting.The school girl has been expelled from school and her mother have been transfered to another station.The teacher should have counselled the child instead of making hue and cry and creating problems for the administration,child and her mother.The teacher is not fit for teaching and must be sacked.Recommend

  • http://twitter.com/AnasRq Anas

    Well written article. Human civilization has learned that it is always best to keep state & religion separate. Don’t know when Pakistan will realize this reality. As far as religion is concerned, it should be thought as a subject, not preached as a “true faith” that you must follow.

    I’m also surprised at some of the comments concerning Canada & US. I grew up in US, studying in the public school system, & there hasn’t been a single day when I felt that I was being taught a Christian or Jewish prayer. & as far as the hospitals are concerned, I’ve had a fair share of sicknesses & would disagree with what’s being said. The hospitals not only ask you about your diet restrictions & try to provide you “hallal,” “vegetarian” or “kosher” foods but also will invite an Imam if you need it for any religious reasons. So let’s not spread false propaganda about other countries in an attempt to deviate from the actual topic. We Pakistanis seem to do that a lot. Recommend

  • Nowadays phenomena

    Criticize muslims, specially muslims in pakistan but be silent when Quran burned at Rev. Terry Jones’ tiny church, when millions of innocent muslims killed in iraq and afghanistan on so called terrorism, when mass graves found in Kashmir, when Israel attacks Ghaza, and FREEDOM FLOTILLA, when USA hit innocent people with drones.Recommend

  • John B

    @Ibrahim:
    Stop making things to suit your religious bigotry no children in American / Canadian school is forced to eat anything.

    Many American kids do not like the school cafeteria food and they pack their own lunch, if the school menu of the day did not suit their taste.

    No one in home science class cook food with lard, either. You are either misguided or deliberate in your statements to justify the injustice to this poor girl. Recommend

  • MA

    Dear Anthony: some times peope project their own hatred on others and in basic psychology it is known as projection.

    Action of one ignorant person cannot be projected on the whole Muslim nation.

    Food is a basic human right, so when we get sick then we desire if we get basic soup or “daal ” with whole wheat bread etc., which is much healthier than fine flour buns and deep fried patties made from processed meat having lot of preservatives in it.

    Word “naat ” is a part of basic urdu vocabulary and we don’t know what actually happened on the ground and why a 14 years old would write it so differently.Recommend

  • Mubarik

    @MA:
    What you are saying is utterly false. I have been in Canada for the last 24 years. My kids have gone through Canadian education system and have graduated from Canadian Universities. We have never faced what you are telling the ET readers. I take break every Friday to go to Friday prayers and none of my bosses (all non-Muslims) have objected. Recently there was an important meeting called by company president and it fell at Jumma time. After receiving email I went to my manager and told him that meeting time clashed with my Friday prayer time. My manager told the president about this clash and meeting was postponed so that I could go to my Friday prayers. No society is 100% perfect but I will give Canada at least 90% and I will not give even 10% to Pakistan. Recommend

  • Sadiq Nagri

    Freedom of reliogn is the basic right of citizens, they should not be forced to learn the tenets of a religon that they don’t profess. The inclusion of Islamic material inside books caouses lots of contention and dispute even among muslims. In Giglgit for example violent clashes erupted that engulfed the whole region because of the islamic material bieng taught at schools taht favoured one sect over the other. I am devout muslim but I havn’t learnt an iota of islamic knowledge from my school as all we do with it is to cram and then pass the exam. Religious education should be taught but at the same time it should also not be compulsory. Recommend

  • Raja Islam

    @Ibrahim:
    There should be no blasphemy laws period. You cannot stifle peoples voices under threat of death. Everyone has a right to voice their opinion whether someone thinks it right or wrong.Recommend

  • Naveeda Shaikh

    They are being forced to study Islamic subjects or Islam-oriented subjects because of our educational system of Zia.I will not say that let the educational system be changed, it can never. History has been distorted, pseudo thinkers false think tank.

    I promise you sire, no solution for it! I found for the one, fell into the depth and could not fetch any. Recommend

  • Raja Islam

    @Ibrahim:
    You forget that in countries like the US if you make a mistake or disagree with a religious belief or teaching you are not killed for it.Recommend

  • Raja Islam

    @Anthony Permal:
    It is not the majority who decides, but it is illiterate bureaucrats who are scared of the mullahs who decide. Recommend

  • Raja Islam

    @Ibrahim:
    Who decides what is Hadd and who makes these likes. Is it fundamentalists like you or a bunch of illiterate mullahs or is it an educated elected legislature with the help of jurists?Recommend

  • SilentObserver

    @ Ibrahim Your part of the country that does not rule you out because ur in minority and here in Pakistan minorities are treated like Dogs…..Did anybody forced you in US to convert otherwise they will kill you and your family? How many time you were forced not to offer your prayers in Mosque? Let me give your more insight about the hatred against minorities, Minority students do have the option to take ethics instead of Islamiat but nearly 2% student get pass in that subject. Did you ever faced such extremism in YOUR COUNTRY called US and btw if you hate it too much then leave US. Recommend

  • Disco Molvi

    @Ibrahim:
    If you had, by mistake, mispronounced the hebrew words in those Hannuka songs, would the rabbis and your jewish teachers and colleagues had been in furor and accused you of committing blasphemy and beaten you over it? Or would they have accepted it as a mistake?Recommend

  • alan

    Underlying problem is supremacist mentality behind state of Pakistan especially against the indigenous Hindu and Buddhist cultures of South Asia. Therefore those cultures have been destroyed in Pakistan and people driven out, killed or converted. Now, Christians are the most visible non-Muslim minority left and are having to face the bulk of supremacist ideology.Recommend

  • M

    Dude chill out.

    No harm in learning what a naat means. its a type of poetry. Praise of God is called Hamd and praise of another person is called “qaseeda”. A poem with 5 line stanzas is called “Mukhammas”. I think so far its learning urdu.

    As for convents, I dont know the details, but I believe they are overtly religious schools, so it is understandable if they teach something religious over there. No Fuss. Just chill.Recommend

  • Achoowehshi

    @Ibrahim: One.. you are very opinionated and nothing wrong with that! Two.. your views about keeping quiet when a rape victim (man or woman) can not prove rape.. sickening!Recommend

  • http://pioussluts.wordpress.com EoH

    Bhago Bhago Mullah aaya!!!!

    LOL very well written; i can’t agree more.Recommend

  • muhammed ali

    why anyone has to study that in school? keep all religions away from school!!!! BRING SECULAR REFORMS IN EDUCATION!!!!!!!Recommend

  • Shiraz

    This debate is getting interesting but also dragging.
    Permal, you point is valid. But, Naat or Hamd are the important ‘genre’ of Urdu poetry a Ghazal or Qaseeda or Nazm or Manqabat.

    teaching naat or hamd is not an issue, as far as its definition is concerned. an urdu speaking/learning student must have knowledge about the term/genre of urdu poetry. There are also ‘Marsiya’ in text books by Meer Anis or Dabeer. How can one neglect these important sections of the Urdu Poetry as the student of Urdu??

    Personally, I am not against it. As I studied Hindi Language at University level, and we studied ‘India text books’. and we also read parts related to Hindu Mythology in it. :-)

    Yes, I am against the selection of text book courses, its of course biased. And the ‘Ignorance’ of teachers and education system is also critical. Recommend

  • Ibrahim

    @ANAS:
    Your so-called civilized world has been hijacked by atheists so separating state and religion is not a problem for them. Since you have no clue, you are okay with it and think it is cool. We Muslims, however, know for a fact that in OUR religion, we CANNOT separate the state and religion. We can’t even separate the way we go to the bathroom from our religion….AND GUESS WHAT, WE LIKE IT THAT WAY! I have one little question for you since you are in denial. Can a Muslim walk into any McDonald’s in America and get halaal food? If your answer is a “no”, then back off because our Urdu syllabus WILL have as many Islamic references as we like. You can cry about it all you want.

    @JOHN B:
    I never said anyone was forced to eat anything but those things were on the menu (in simple words, no one bothers whether Muslims can eat it or not). Packing lunch from home doesn’t change that fact. All I mentioned were things which are conducted according to the American way of life without regard for Muslims. America is a relatively liberal society, but these issues do exist, and I HAVE witnessed them myself. However, the point I was making was that IT IS THE AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE and they have defined it and they really don’t owe anyone an apology for it. There is no need to pretend like America is designed for the Muslim way of life BECAUSE IT IS NOT! On the flip side of the coin, the point I am trying to make is that here in Pakistan, we THE MAJORITY MUSLIMS decide OUR WAY OF LIFE. It might not be designed for Christians, but guess what, like the Americans, we don’t give a rat’s a**. This is OUR country and there is no way in hell that we are going to force 97% of the people to change their lives for 3%. That is not democratic from anywhere and frankly, it is none of your business.

    I have already mentioned that the girl should not be hassled, however, I do have to say, as was mentioned above, that it is not only a matter of a dot being misplaced. You have to add a “laam” (equivalent of an L) which only a retard, or a smart-ass, would do at the age of 13! Even then, since she is a kid, the benefit of the doubt should be given to her. This argument we are having, however, has NOTHING to do with the girl any more. It is about Christians, along with illiterate Muslims in Pakistan trying to get us to change our syllabus to the detriment of 97% of the population. Hell will freeze over, but that is not going to happen.

    As for the lard story. Go to Clague Junior High in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and ask them what they put in the cookies and for greasing the pans. I don’t have to prove this to you. I know it for a fact and your denial won’t change anything.

    @MUBARIK:
    Okay, so you had a good experience. Many Christians have had good experiences here too. Why don’t you look towards France for a second and tell me how people can stop women from wearing the veil if they like and the issue where Muslims have been told that they cannot spill over on to the streets to pray on Jummah? Is that not unfair to minorities? it is happening though, right?

    @RAJA ISLAM:
    So long as there are God fearing Muslims, there will be a blasphemy law. Additionally, you forget that in America they blaspheme a million times every day and do not care about it…from Lady Ga Ga to every day stuff. They have already abandoned all religion after separating it from the state. It is a non-issue for them and they don’t care. We are not trying to emulate them and we have our own values! AND when was the last time an educated legislature was elected in Pakistan. Ones who have legal Islamic knowledge to even comment on such things? NEVER! These laws were made over a millennium ago. The problem with the current blasphemy law is that the British made it over a hundred years ago and we still have not brought it back under Islamic law, which is far more lenient.

    @SielentObserver:
    You aren’t too silent, are you? I am no longer in the US. I don’t hate the US, all I’m doing is letting you see that life there is not designed for Muslims because they are a minority, which is fair. Likewise, we the Muslims make the rules here.

    @DISCO MOLVI:
    Even though I am not Jewish, I never once messed around with the pronunciations of the words out of disrespect or by mistake. I sang it properly without letting any perversion get the better of me.

    @ALAN:
    Come visit Taxila with me. Not only will I show you the remains of the oldest civilization on earth but I will also show you hundreds of artifacts and statutes of Budha still preserved. Additionally, Sikhs visit Pakistan every year for their pilgrimage. Stop basing your arguments on preconceived notions. We have EVERY right to try and revive and protect our religion in our country, whether you think it is supremacist behavior or not.

    @ACHOOWEHSHI:
    Call me opinionated all you want, I am not the one trying to force a minority demand on the majority. I can point out a million sickening things about the West and Common Law. I can probably point out many sickening things about where you come from. It is our way of life. If you cannot understand the wisdom behind it, then you don’t have to. Recommend

  • Ibrahim

    @Leila Rage:
    I never commented on your religion at any point. All I said is that you don’t have a clue as to what you are saying. Provide evidence of the lack of 4 witnesses for Rape. Don’t give me updated Pakistani Law as a reference. I would like an Islamic reference. Please stop getting so emotional. If the 4 witnesses are present, by all means stone the rapist to death. However, without 4 credible witnesses, is there a possibility that a girl (I’m not saying all do) could try to accuse someone falsely for other reasons. Could someone pay a girl to pretend that she has been raped? All of these are a possibility so you need to understand how Law works. It is also imperative to provide protection to people who are actually innocent and are being framed. The 4 witnesses rule was primarily put in place to protect women from being falsely accused of illicit behavior. There is always a trade-off…you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Just compare two situations: one where a rape victim is unable to provide 4 witnesses and is unable to register a case; and the second where a girl is paid by any rival of a person to falsely accuse a person of rape and he subsequently gets stoned to death. Which of the two is a greater injustice? For two minutes think like a non-biased and neutral human, from a legal perspective, rather than a woman.

    @ABU BAKR:
    Chill dude, I feel for rape victims, i really do, but the law is made with wisdom and after looking at the trade-off, it is better this way. Calling me names out of your self-righteousness is not going to change things. If you remove the 4 witness thing, you will find far more women and men in jail, being flogged, or stoned because a SINGLE person with an ulterior motive accused them…maybe even after having consensual sex. We aren’t retards, the Law has been made very balanced. Far more women are getting harassed and raped in America every day, but how many of them get justice? What are your comments about the Anita Hill and Clearance Thomas case? Recommend

  • Ibrahim

    Another example I would like for you to ponder over, in case you remove the 4 witness clause: a rejected ex-boyfriend of a girl accuses her of having illicit relations with someone else, just because he got rejected, and he pays the guy a lot of money to bear the resulting 100 lashes who subsequently testifies that they have had those relations. As a result, the girl also gets flogged and her reputation in a society like ours is ruined. Paying off 4 people and getting them to coordinate their stories is a bigger deterrent. Do you really want to open Pandora’s Box? I think you people are just emotional people who don’t really think things through. Please forget overall Islamic legal discussion and stick to the topic. It is our country, our language, our history and our syllabus. Please mind your own business. Unless you can make all restaurants and fast-food joints halaal for us, kindly do not comment on our internal matters. Thank you. Recommend

  • hassan

    @Ibrahim:
    you say; ‘The 4 witnesses rule was primarily put in place to protect women from being falsely accused of illicit behavior.”

    During the days of our beloved Prophet, it was the norm to have sex in presence of witnesses. So, 4 witnesses are required to prove the illicit nature of sex.

    Otherwise, this law would not have found a place in our Holy Book. Is this what you want to say? Don’t you think this is called ‘defending the indefensible’?Recommend

  • Abdul Rehman Gilani

    I condemn this incident, even though I support the blasphemy law. The religious scholars have also given their reaction, which is positive, and should have been included by the blogger.Recommend

  • Anthony Permal

    Is it just me, or has NO one among blasphemy-law supporters realised that this post is NOT about the blasphemy law but about Urdu?Recommend

  • Pakistani

    Why not remove ban on talk over Holocaust???? Why not an article over it???Recommend

  • Anthony Permal

    @Pakistani:

    Two reasons:
    1) Two wrongs don’t make a right;
    2) Because this is an issue directly related to Pakistan and I’m a Pakistani, hence I’ll talk about my own country’s issues. Recommend

  • from India

    Islamic conversions ? Islamic superiority ? ROFLMAO ..didn’t your text books mention how people didn’t embrace Islam following the true message of Mohammed but were forced to convert to Islam ? Till date the Arabs feel proud of their past misdeeds and many Pakistanis try to be a wannabe Arab …lolRecommend

  • Anthony Permal

    @Ibrahim:

    Uh, this IS my business. It is NOT only YOUR country, syllabus etc.

    This is EXACTLY what my earlier blog post was about in July: the sheer audacity of some Pakistanis to literally make all us minorities NON-Pakistanis. We don’t exist. We don’t matter. We are slaves to what the majority desires.
    Recommend

  • A

    Why are non-Muslims students in Pakistan forced to study the hamd and naat in an Urdu textbook?

    I am very sorry for the answer but thats the way most people will argue in Pak:

    “We are supposed to bring the infidels to the light of truth. It is our farz to ask them to convert to our religion.”Recommend

  • Sultan

    @MA: Things must have changed a lot in Canada.

    I never had to participate in grade school in any activity which my parents would have objected to. Parents raise these concerns at the beginning of the year, and teachers are required to make reasonable accomodations.

    A number of Christians object to Halloween due to its pagan origins and their children are excused for any related activity or lesson.

    No one was ever forced to eat anything, the day the class made wonton soup I brought a sandwich from home just as the rest of the class did every single day.

    To compare the level of tolerance in Canadian society for freedom of belief and expression to ATTEMPTED MURDER in Pakistan, is a most foul thing and wretched thing to do.
    Recommend

  • Ibrahim

    @Anthony Parnel:
    Anthony, my fellow Pakistani citizen, please try to understand what I have been saying all along. Yes, minorities do matter, and they should be taken care of, however, according to the most basic rule of democracy, the majority rules. You being a minority cannot dictate to the majority that we cannot include religious beliefs in the syllabus of our national language. In America they teach four main languages in at school-level: French, German, Latin and Spanish. Can I dictate to them that they should include Urdu as well because maybe there are 1% Pakistanis living there? No, I cannot, because it does not make sense. Similarly, your demands, even though you are Pakistani, are extremely un-democratic. Do you get it?Recommend

  • Ibrahim

    @from India:
    I am not an Arab, nor do I want to be one. I was not forced into becoming a Muslim, but I am defending Islam am I not? Your logic is kind of weak and not based on reality.Recommend

  • Disco Molvi

    @Ibrahim:
    That’s very remarkable quality of you not making any mistakes.
    But that was not what I asked.
    Let me rephrase.
    Suppose IF you HAD (I’m not saying you did) by mistake(i.e not on purpose) MISPRONOUNCED the words in that jewish prayer.
    Would you have been thrashed and accused of committing blasphemy by your jewish colleagues/teachers?
    Or would they have had corrected your mistake?Recommend

  • Ibrahim

    @Disco Molvi:
    The purpose was not to concentrate on the mistakes part but the perversion part. If I had accidentally/cleverly used a word that sounded similar but had a derogatory meaning, they would not have appreciated me but yeah, I agree they would have corrected me, maybe harshly, but not killed me. It is quite possible they might have imprisoned me like they would if I denied the holocaust!!!! However, that is another matter and we are different, meaning Muslim, and we treat blasphemy in a more serious manner. We don’t have to do everything exactly the way they do. Did the cartoon caricatures of the Prophet (pbuh) make you angry or do you think that was okay? Where are you going to draw the line for blasphemy? Recommend

  • Ibrahim

    Anyway, legal issues cannot be discussed with so many breaks in the middle. Blasphemy, etc. are detailed discussion. My final input related to the syllabus issue is that 97% are Muslim and the majority decides. There is no way that the syllabus should be changed to suit the remaining 3%.Recommend

  • Khan Sahib

    The folks like us should storm the dimwits in power and have this overturned, because it is a travesty!Recommend

  • Ali Noor

    @ET: sorry if my earleir comments were too hateful to publish.

    @anthony: i remember clealry dropping urdu as a subject and opting for a different subject in both my o-levels and later in fsc. Its compulsory upto secondary school but after wards u can opt out. Recommend

  • Dee Cee

    @Ibrahim: So, you are arguing that Muslims in India, along with Hindus, should be forced to read Hindu religious text in class? I am an Indian, and I studied in a Hindu religious school, but I had no religious text or anything to do with religious rituals or practices in the syllabus. Our school, since its was a sort of a religious school, used to encourage students to buy books about the school’s ideological master, but it was never a compulsion. And other regular schools, have no way of including anything religious in the curriculum. The only religious focus we have is on Sufis and Bhakti leaders, and I remember reading about Akbar’s Deen-i-ilahi as opposed to Aurangzeb’s ziziya. Siraj-ud-daula was as much a hero, for opposing the British, as Swami Vivekananda, for advocating self-reliance. However, all this was in History, and, as Anthony keeps on reminding, not in a language and literature class. Btw, our “religious” school had prayers twice a day and Muslim students, yes there were a few, were not required to join. We also celebrated Christmas, I remember certain Hindu preists offering “cake” and doing “aarti” to a photo of Jesus. We offered puja for other religions as well, except Islam. As a 13-year-old, I had asked one of the authorities why we don’t celebrate Eid and they said that they wanted to, but local ulema thought it would be blasphemy offering “puja” to a portrait. So, my point is, despite a religious majority, it is not necessary to have religion overwhelmingly in a syllabus.

    I, however, have to agree that the majority culture generally pokes in to the way of living of minority culture. We have a Hindu idol where I work; although no one is supposed to worship there, I think it is “poking” its existence among the non-Hindu employees, who are around 30% or so. I have asked for the removal of the idol. The point is that iif the majority is religious in public sphere, it will be difficult for the minorities. You have it easier, and you can’t deny that fact, in the US because the majority doesn’t care that much about religion. If it were an overtly religious majority, you would have to write hymns in praise of Jesus, and writing “Bejesus” would have got you expelled. Please do not compare with western nations. You mention the ban on hijab, but conveniently forget the ban on cross and “all” religious symbols. In your heart, you know that overall the West allows more freedom to minorities than Pakistan (and, yes, India) does. And that is why you mentin the half-fact about ban on hijab and suppress the ban on all religious symbols.

    I am not asking you to give up your religion, or feel oppressed by anything that is offensive to yours. But, please do not propagate anything that is offensive to others either. Whatever huge troubles you might have faced bringing meal from home on lard days should sensitize you to the fact that lard was not mandatory. Whereas a syllabus is. Hence, stop comparing the “optional” American way to the “compulsory” things in syllabus.

    As for rape, are you sure that if you are raped in a forest you will be able to get 4 witnesses? Your “false accusation” argument is incorrect again, because an innocent person will not get convicted just by accusation. There needs to be evidence (circumstantial and forensic). Whereas the 4 witness criterion will make it impossible for a majority rape victims to even register a case because criminals try not to keep witness to crimes and witnesses do not usually come forward for fear of hassle. You are clearly indoctrinated, and not by Islam by the way. Whatever you call your religion, it is not the same I learnt to respect from men and women who had more interest in “loving” Allah and his creation than “finding excuses to hate”. And yes, they are true Muslims, the ones who increase respect for Islam, the ones who make others convert to Islam by being extremely good people. Recommend

  • Anthony Permal

    @Ibrahim:
    First thing, my name is Permal, not Parnel. For someone who stated you didn’t even make a mistake in Jewish prayers, you couldn’t even type my name right? Even though it’s all over the page?

    Second, you’re wrong about democracy. You’re talking about majoritarianism. Two TOTALLY different things.

    Here’s what democracy is: Democracy is a form of government in which all people have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal (and more or less direct) participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law. It can also encompass social, economic and cultural conditions that enable the free and equal practice of political self-determination.

    So, no. You CANNOT dictate what goes into the syllabus or law just based on a majority. Get out of your foxhole and stop pretending to be an intellectual. Recommend

  • Leila Rage

    @Ibrahim: My dear sir, again you confused adultery and rape in your little hypthetical scenarion…
    “a rejected ex-boyfriend of a girl accuses her of having illicit relations with someone else, just because he got rejected, and he pays the guy a lot of money to bear the resulting 100 lashes who subsequently testifies that they have had those relations.”

    In this scenario it is a charge of adultery so 4 witnesses makes sense. You failed to show me how a WOMAN would be harmed by the removal of the 4 witnesses clause because you quoted what I already agree with…the adultery issue. Not rape.

    Here’s something for you to ponder over…
    1) What sort of “credible witnesses” would they be if they just watched a woman get raped without trying to save her? And do you think the rapist would be stupid enough to assault the woman in a place where they would be witnesses?

    2) What if there are no witnesses, BUT medical and forensic evidence proves the rape as well as the identity of the rapist (DNA testing of bodily fluids)? Do you really think the man should still go free, even though there is NO shred of doubt that he did it?

    3) What about marital rape? Surely no one has 4 other people standing around in their bedroom….

    Just think over it. Like you said Ijtihad and Ijma is important, because God expects people to use the brains He’s given them. Recommend

  • vickram

    Ibrahim, thanks a lot. I wish there were muslims in india are as enlightened as you.

    Not many muslims in india are like you. They don’t understand your view that muslim community in india – being in minority – cannot dictate terms to the majority hindus.

    Ibrahim, you should pass this message to all Ummah. You should tell them clearly ‘If you are in minority, keep quiet and don’t demand special laws for you !’

    I think people in France may even be tempted to give some award to you !!!Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/NeenaHanif The zenith of enthusiasm by NH

    I was also amazed when read the news but through your blog you have very beautiful highlighted the issueRecommend

  • Shakeel

    @MA:

    I am surprised you know so little about the country that you immigrated to. You say “I believe in any similar situation in the Western world, authorities would have taken victim in their custody or would have asked the family to move to some other safe area”. US and Canada go out of their way to take care of the minorities. Offcourse, if you don’t like the food, get it from home just as my kids do. Certain public schools even allow muslim students to walk out of class for prayers in a separate area in the school itself. None of the public schools in Canada teach Christianity as Islamiyat is taught in schools in Pakistan. The question still remains “Why are non-Muslims students in Pakistan forced to study the hamd and naat in an Urdu textbook”.Recommend

  • Shakeel

    @Ibrahim:

    Don’t BS. There are no Christmas celebrations in US public schools that you are forced to attend. My kids go to a public schools in the US.Recommend

  • orr ali

    i understand that there should be freedom of religion but at the same time we cannot ignore the fact that we should respect each other’s religion. Muslims cannot tolerate something that is meant to defame or mock Islam or Islamic and Islamic figures. For example I like chinese girls but at the same time i cannot sleep with them as there is some limit to freedom. Similarly there should be a limit to freedom of speech as well. You can say anything as long as it doesnot hurt someone.Recommend

  • Pavan

    Nothing wrong with Naats and Hamds being taught. Don’t they teach tolerance to tolerate a lil spelling mistake of a 13 year old.
    I’ve studied through the same system i find nothing wrong in it. I never rote learned the naats or hamds. If only you understand the context of them they’re not harmful as all. But it’s a pity that those who claim they understand a lot of them don’t know a thing.Recommend

  • Zaheer Bajwa

    Please Let the discussion remain about the incident highlighted without bringing in unrelated issues.

    When teaching a language, religion should not be mixed. No language belongs to only one religion.
    Each person should be free to learn his/her faith what ever they profess. The education system should not force to learn another religion, where ever one may be.

    Please let the sanity prevail. I know the most common sense is “nonsense” but can we overlook such innocent mistakes, heavens would not fall if she made this mistake.Recommend

  • Cynical

    What do you expect? This Pakistan the land of pure. Recommend

  • Bilal

    Mr. Permal

    Nice article. Will really appreciate if you could write some lines about the lunatic Terry jones who gave verdict to burn the Quran. Recommend

  • http://India vasan

    If ever law requires 4 witnesses for a rape case and a case has 4 witnesses who certify, the witnesses should be hanged before the rapist is punished. Cant 4 people prevent a rape??Recommend

  • Ibrahim

    @Shakeel:
    I never said “force”. Learn to comprehend what the other person is saying. All those celebrations were there and kids were encouraged to participate in them. I could’ve raised a storm, BUT BEING THE MINORITY, I UNDERSTOOD THAT IT IS THEIR CULTURE. I DIDN’T CRY ABOUT IT OR TRY TO CHANGE IT. I have lived through them and all I am saying is that the minority here should also live through the culture of the majority. Recommend

  • Ibrahim

    @Anthony Permal:
    I suggest you stop with the direct insulting comments or allow ET to let me reply to you in the same tone. The fancy statements about equal self-determination or whatever you were saying up there is hogwash. It is majority rules and that’s something you have to face. AND when I say democracy, I am referring to Islamic democracy NOT Western Democracy which is a farce. You guys make up different rules to suit yourselves.

    If even the minority has those rights then why are Muslim women in France not allowed to wear a niqab? How are you going to twist your words to get out of this one now? Recommend

  • Doctor

    @ MA / Ibrahim and others – what lies. Children in the US are not forced to learn any of these things. The public school system here is completely devoid of religion and works very hard to do that. Schools go out of their way to make it the “Holiday Season”, not “Christmas” so all religions and groups are included.

    Do not for one second compare the US to Pakistan in the manner that minorities are treated. We minorities are generally treated very well in the US. No one in the US is killed for being a Shia. No one is discriminated against for being a Muhajir.

    Anthony has written very well and he is 100% right. Let’s not forget that much of what is taught in our Pakistani textbooks is factually incorrect and pure indoctrination. You could really say that then students who master these lies get the best marks and therefore Pakistan’s “top students” are really dummies. I guess it shows in who runs Pakistan.Recommend

  • KolachiMom

    @Ibrahim:

    Firstly, that it is better to hide such stuff if it cannot be proven as the world does not end for the victim, but it would if an innocent person is falsely imprisoned or killed. Secondly, if you are a Muslim, then you believe that on Judgment Day, Allah will set the score right anyway and the offender will get his due punishment. It is better to be patient! God knows best.

    EXCELLENT point!!!!! You are SO right. Let’s abolish the blasphemy law, hide the stuff when it happens, because it’s not the end of the world for anyone to hear something they find nasty, but it would if an innocent person is falsely imprisoned or killed. Secondly, if you are a Muslim, then you believe that on Judgment Day, Allah will set the score right anyway and the offender will get his due punishment. It is better to be patient! God knows best.

    Brilliant suggestion Ibrahim. Thank you for making a wonderful case for the very people you oppose!!Recommend

  • Ibrahim

    @Leila Rage:

    The example I gave was of fornication not adultery. Adultery only happens after you have been married and for that you get stoned to death not flogged. The word Zina covers both. The term that covers Zina is illegal sexual intercourse. I don’t have the time to play Islamic Law 101 with you, but they all require 4 witnesses. I do agree that by keeping a standard law, the rape victims tends to suffer because it might rarely be possible to produce 4 witnesses but by changing it you might open up other fronts of unfairness by covering this one.

    Medical forensics is not reliable because that does not tell the intention of a person. Is it not possible for a woman to have consensual sex with someone and then claim rape? She will have the medical evidence but the intent will not be shown there. It is still a trade-off and it is not really possible for you and I do look at all the permutations and combinations and try to cover them here. This is not the topic of this thread so we should not really get into this here.

    However, I would like to make it clear, contrary to some people’s allegations, I have not once spoken ill of rape victims. All I have said is that trying to cover this loophole uncovers many more. None of us are really qualified to judge what is best, however, my only advice is to approach an issue pragmatically and not emotionally. Most of you just deal in emotion. It would be better if we try to focus on more effective implementation of the law and stop people from manipulating loopholes rather than attacking Islam, which seems to be everyone’s favorite past-time these days. Recommend