Stories about Belgium

As a Muslim, I strongly support the right to ban the veil

I was raised as an observant Muslim in a British family. Women, I was taught, determine their own conduct — including their ‘veiling’. We’d cover our hair only if we freely chose to do so. That’s why I’m baffled by the notion that all good Muslim women should cover their hair or face. My entire family is puzzled by it too, as are millions like us. Not until recent years has the idea taken root that Muslim women are obliged by their faith to wear a veil. It’s a sign, I think, not of assertive Islam, but of what happens ...

Read Full Post

The best and worst moments of Euro 2016

UEFA Euro 2016 signed off with numerous lasting memories. It is now time that we bid farewell to a tournament that brought a number of awe-inspiring moments and left the game with a healthy prospect. This year has been full of surprises in the world of football with underdogs breaking through the dominion of strong teams to claim prizes they previously never dared to dream of. Let’s look back at the tournament. Best moment: Of all the outfield players, Hal Robson-Kanu makes a Johan Cruyff turn During 55 minutes of flogging through a tied score-line against Belgium, Aaron Ramsey charges down the right flank, finds Robson-Kanu, who swiftly finds ...

Read Full Post

I want a Liverpool versus Liverpool UEFA Euro 2016 final

FIFA World Cup..  Nah! UEFA Euro.. Meh!! Copa America.. Not a chance!!! Africa Cup of Nations.. Are you frikkin kidding me??? We are a strange lot, we club football fans. Even while there’s a major international football tournament going on, someone like me is more interested in something as insignificant to an outsider as, well, Liverpool (LFC)’s pre-season training.

What really sets your pulse racing?

     View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
That in no way should mean that I am not fully aware of what is going in any of the aforementioned ‘country versus country’ tourney, but putting it mildly let’s just say… ‘Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn!’ That is unless one of my ...

Read Full Post

Brussels Attacks: These attacks are a home grown problem

It seems like us Pakistanis are not the only ones who get caught in compromising situations nowadays. Case in point right now is Belgium. Despite knowing about the link between Molenbeek, notoriously dubbed as Jihadi Central and only three miles to the west of Brussels, and the brutal Paris attacks, how is it that Belgian authorities remained so complacent? After all, they had conducted multiple raids at this particular neighbourhood, hadn’t they? Let’s say somehow they overlooked the potential threat of a hotbed of extremism existing nearby due to some error, but were previous incidents not warning enough? With events like the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the ...

Read Full Post

Terrorism doesn’t care if you are non-Muslim or Muslim, Brussels and Turkey are proof of that

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack in Brussels. This could be a revenge attack in response to the Paris terror suspect Salah Abdeslam’s arrest in the city, last Friday. This could also be a symbolic attack against the European Union. Or it could just be another venue for a terror attack after Turkey, as the world watches in horror. It would be an oversimplification to suggest that ISIS is a group of overzealous Muslims working towards the ‘holy’ cause of establishing an Islamic Caliphate; they kill innocent civilians, both Muslims and non-Muslims. They work carefully to draw a wedge between ethnicities within a country to ...

Read Full Post

Why has it become so acceptable to know English but not know Urdu?

“Humne Urdu k saath sautanon wala sulook kara hai aur almiya ye k ye samjhanay k liye bhi aik dusri zubaan ka sahara lena parega.” (We have always treated Urdu as a step-child and the worst part is, in order to fully understand our native language, we seek help from a foreign one.) It hits hard, doesn’t it? Sadly, what we never realise is that language is an art that breathes with those who breathe it. It matters not which language you speak, neither does is matter what your prowess is in the language, but what does matter is the respect any and all languages command. ...

Read Full Post

Good vs evil: Where does America stand?

Having read through the 500-odd page US Senate report on CIA torture and all of its gory details, I can understand why the CIA, Pentagon and White House didn’t want this report to come out. Remembering the international outcry over the pictures that were leaked from Abu Ghraib and Bagram, the US intelligence services knew the powder keg that they were hiding from the world. They knew what they had done were crimes against humanity and no amount of verbal discourse would make this acceptable, tolerable or forgivable. There are two parts of this discourse that are disturbing to me as a human being. First, ...

Read Full Post

Racism, Islamophobia and… steno-typists?

We’ve all read reports of the Belgian police (mis)identifying a Pakistani man as a terrorist. They thought his cricket bat (wrapped in a t-shirt to protect it from rain) was a rifle. The news was followed by reports that the Pakistani embassy in Belgium has sacked the young man’s father for damaging Pakistan’s reputation. The foreign office issued a prompt denial: “Muhammad Tufail Abbasi, steno typist in the commercial section in the Embassy of Pakistan, Brussels, has been transferred back to the headquarters by the Ministry of Commerce on completion of his four year tenure.” Ridiculous, right? Now let’s talk about something even more ridiculous about ...

Read Full Post

Why didn’t the Pakistan embassy stand up for Assim Abbasi?

In 2004, I travelled to Belgium to visit my uncle who was residing and doing business there. I found the people to be very welcoming, the architecture was outstanding and, of course, the world-famous chocolate was delectable. So when news emerged this week of a Pakistani, Assim Abbasi, residing in Belgium being wrongfully identified as a crazed, fundamentalist gunman, when in fact, he was holding a cricket bat, sent out alarm and disbelief.  Understandably, emotions are running high following the attack on a Jewish museum in Brussels but the fact that the Belgian police and media failed to make the necessary checks meant an innocent ...

Read Full Post

Chelsea – The clear winners

Amidst the last-minute deadline day transfer scramble that every football fan relishes, one club that kicked-back and relaxed was the Chelsea FC. José Mourinho and crew did a spectacular job and they stood as the best example of how to do business in football. They started out from the word ‘go’ with a clear plan in mind, never pouncing on any prospect meaninglessly yet always taking full advantage of whenever an opportunity arose. The dead weight and surplus of the squad was swiftly gotten rid of and the loan game was played shrewdly and to maximum effect. The club’s official website reports that the West ...

Read Full Post