Stories about israel

Lessons from Abbas Town: Stick together, whether you are Shia or Sunni

In a town where Shias and Sunnis had lived together peacefully for years, worshipped just down the street from one another, played cricket and often sat together in the evenings to chat, a sign survived amongst the rubble which read in Urdu, “A Muslim is a brother to another Muslim.” It symbolised the brotherhood of the town’s Shias and Sunnis. It was such a town in Karachi, home to outspoken women and communal harmony that was struck by terror one year ago today. “It looks like Israel bombarded Palestine,” exclaimed one man from Abbas Town as residents had approached Hamid Mir with one heart-wrenching account ...

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I entered Jerusalem as a Pakistani Muslim

While I was planning a trip to Jerusalem, I knew that I was taking the risk of losing my money on hotel bookings and transport, as well as the time and effort that went into planning the trip. I visit Pakistan quite frequently and had been to Lebanon, which Israel is technically still at war with since 1948. I planned to enter Jerusalem via Jordan so that in case Jerusalem did not work out for me, I could fall back on Plan B and start my trip to Jordan earlier than scheduled. I set out at 7am from Madaba in central Jordan, still doubtful ...

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US-Iran renewed ‘friendship’: What’s in store for Pakistan?

On November 24, six major powers agreed with Iran on a landmark interim accord over Iran’s nuclear program. Tehran has committed to halt uranium enrichment beyond five per cent in return for some relief from sanctions, signalling the beginning of reconciliation with the major powers that would make the world safer. Some reports suggest that the P5+1, a group of six world powers including US, Russia, China, UK, France and Germany, dialogue was merely a show. It was the Obama administration’s secret diplomacy that succeeded. This shows the willingness of Washington to resolve the long-standing dispute through diplomacy. The interim deal, for six months, has benefited both sides. Iran has ...

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Farewell Mandela, farewell to the voice of morality

Omar Khayyam’s words ring in my ears today as the world bids its last farewell to Nelson Mandela, “Lo! Some we loved, the loveliest and best that time and fate of all their vintage prest, Have drunk their cup a round or two before, and one by one crept silently to rest.” I was still a child in the late 1980s. I was too young to understand the ways of the world, blissfully unaware of the earth-shattering global events that dominated the newspaper and the daily news program on PTV. I did not understand why the Berlin Wall fell, who George Bush was, ...

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Global powers have to stop playing political chess with Syria

It has been quite a while since the people of Syria began to assert their rights and demand freedom from the clutches of dictatorship. However, as time passed things have taken a turn for the worse. Although the initial uprising was inspired by Syrian neighbours – both, immediate and distant – unfortunately, this simple and just assertion was turned into a global issue by the Big Five countries in the United Nations. These nations played politics at the cost of innocent human lives and even Muslim countries have shown helplessness in stopping the ruthless and continuing massacre of Syrian civilians. On the one hand is Bashar ...

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Who poisoned Yasser Arafat?

In November 2012, when forensic teams exhumed Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s remains for examination, few expected such a shocking outcome; an outcome that would not only shake the world, but also possibly put a severe dent in the already stalled Palestinian peace process. According to the investigation reports, there were indications that Yasser Arafat may have been poisoned (with Polonium), and thus, previous claims of his natural death were refuted. Arafat died after his health severely deteriorated in his compound in Ramallah, in 2004, where more than 250 Palestinian leaders and officials were besieged and bombarded by the Israeli forces. The mysterious nature of Arafat’s death always ...

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Who will end the anti-Muslim discrimination: The White House or the “Right” House?

This is the story of two Washington Iftar dinners. First, the Israeli Ambassador, Michael Oren, invited Muslim leaders to a diplomatic Iftar dinner last week and Imam Antepli of Duke University wondered aloud if the event was meaningful. Then the Obama administration invited Muslim leaders to the White House Iftar dinner and Omid Saifi, the Islamic studies professor from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, called to boycott it. It’s obvious that we, the American Muslims, are struggling to identify the right posture: Boycott, and you sever a diplomatic tie; attend, and you are seen as the “enemy’s” ally. While I empathise with the demands laid out ...

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Deported from Israel for being a Muslim who visited Pakistan

Destination: Israel Purpose: To visit Jerusalem and everything within it which ‘drives men mad.’ I had spent months preparing for my trip to the country with the primary aim of visiting Jerusalem and seeing the great historical landmarks such as the Al Aqsa mosque and Wailing Wall. I had purchased clothes appropriate for the sweltering heat of the Middle East, booked my flight well in advance and converted almost all of my remaining savings to Israeli Shekels in an almost hyperactive state of eagerness. It was in this mood that I reached Ben Gurion airport on the morning of the 24th of ...

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Is Israel really Pakistan’s enemy?

Growing up in Peshawar, a slightly conservative city of Pakistan, my sentiments as a child were nothing different from those of others in most parts of the country. I had a slight disliking for India, and sheer hatred for Israel. Words such as ‘Jewish lobby’, ‘Zionists’, ‘Freemasons’, and many others – whose meanings many of us did not even know – kept ringing in our ears through religious scholars, teachers, friends and peers, and we used to associate all of them directly with Jews, especially Jews of Israel and those having major shares in US corporations. The Indian intelligence agency Research and ...

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Is Obama’s visit to Israel going to change history?

“Speaking as a politician, I can promise you this; political leaders will not take risks if the people do not demand that they do. You must create the change that you want to see.” This was one of the highlights of Obama’s speech, who was addressing Israeli students and youth in Jerusalem, during his three day trip to the holy-land, his first as a US president, where he tried to reach out to the people of the region, rather than giving the spotlight to political leadership. Although most parts of his speech came as expected, it also had chunks of surprises for the Israelis and ...

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