Stories about minority rights

Hello, I am an Iftarholic and I have a few confessions to make

When Ramazan began, I told myself that I am going to use this opportunity to secure a place in heaven, to achieve a significant share of 72 hooris (nymphs) – the halal way of course – and lose some pounds off my protruding belly. Sadly, my pre-Ramazan resolutions faced the same fate as my new year resolutions do each year. Come Ramazan, the first roza to be precise, I found this insatiable, almost corrupting desire inside me to go crazy on the iftars. No matter who it was arranged by, no matter what the menu was, and no matter how tough the days were, I was thrown into this ‘hunger games’ type of a competition. ...

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Why can’t Muslims celebrate Christmas?

Moderating BBC Asian Network phone-ins, the DJ’s energetic voice brusquely interrupted my overlapping memories of Christmas and Eid. Coarse cotton straight from the forty-yard tha’an bolt. Shimmering saris, suits, and achkans. Coriander, jasmine and mustard seed hair oil. Old spice, khas attar, and shalimar. Narcissus and roses surrounding individually wrapped fruits in da’ali gift baskets. Desi ghee from mithais scintillating with gold and silver leaves. Gota, glitter, and glitz. Teeth shining from a walnut bark rub, lips red, eyes sparkling. Cakes decorated with ‘Happy Christmas’, ‘Happy Eid’, ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘Eid Mubarak’. And then British Asians hyper-ventilating on BBC with their glottal stops and vowel shifts in top gear, breathing hard over ...

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There is no place in Pakistan for men who do not consider women their equals

The acrimonious display of chauvinism by Hafiz Hamdullah in a talk show is rightfully being condemned in all quarters of the media. However, we need to go a little further in examining this overt manifestation of a rot that is deeply entrenched in our midst. To start off, Hafiz Hamdullah’s failed attempts at intimidating and shouting down Marvi Sermid are a continuation of his past behaviour during televised debates. It also seems the pious senator reserves the worst of his bullying for the fairer sex. And this is the crux of the issue – I believe the honourable Hafiz was apoplectic ...

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“We will beat them, we will lynch them”, they chanted, before setting fire to the Ahmadi factory

With the recent rise of Islamophobia in the United States, most Pakistanis have suddenly become experts on minority rights. My social media timelines are filled with Pakistanis urging the West to accommodate Syrian refugees escaping persecution, and be more accepting of pluralism. I also see my countrymen condemning the Western media for having double standards, and not giving enough airtime to aggrieved Muslims. Many have also erupted in fury over Donald Trump’s recent Islamophobic comments.  All these grievances in far-off lands are justified, but an incident here at home on Friday has put our uprightness on these same issues in question ...

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The Cult of Sarfraz Ahmed – Doing more harm than good

It started during the World Cup 2015. What was first a dialogue from an extremely popular and recent Indian movie, took over nearly all Pakistani TV stations. It was simply inescapable. Any news channel you surfed through, you would hear it, “Sarfraz dhoka nahin day ga!” (Sarfraz won’t betray you!) Photo: Reuters In the midst of an inauspicious start to the World Cup campaign and the team management’s baffling decision to persist with the woefully out of form Nasir Jamshed, a state of frenzy engulfed the nation over the perceived injustice done with Sarfraz Ahmed, Pakistan’s hero of the previous ...

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Are we not ‘Pakistani’ enough for them or are we not ‘Muslim’ enough?

I got to work and checked my phone; there were a dozen missed calls and messages from my friends and family – all in a span of 30 minutes. Being a Karachiite, I instantly knew something was wrong. As soon as I read my father’s message, I froze. I was stunned at the words before me. An attack had taken place and this time it was our community. 45 of our people. We were no longer the silent observers. We were the victims. When I reached my cubicle, I could hear news of the attack blaring from multiple TV screens. I sat and watched news ...

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Is a secular Pakistan the answer to our problems?

And now, since they have nothing better to do, the powers that be have fired another tester round in the sky out of the lame notion of keeping themselves busy in the business. A 17-judges bench headed by chief justice of Pakistan, Justice Nasirul Mulk, contemplated vigorously on Monday as to how Pakistan can be declared a secular state. Some suggested getting it done through the constituent assembly, while others advised to hold a referendum. Going with the definition of secularism, it is defined as, “The separation of government institutions and the persons mandated to represent the state from religious institutions ...

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24 absurd beliefs Pakistanis have

Norms are beliefs about how members of a group should behave in a particular context. They are informal and often ‘invisible’ understandings and rules that govern a group’s behaviour towards particular religious, social, cultural, political and socio-economic triggers. Norms generally define what is acceptable in a society or group and are the building blocks for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes, behaviours, ideologies and narratives. These rules are generally implicit. In addition to what is considered normative in societal, political or cultural context, there are smaller groups within a society which endorse a particular norm. On one hand, norms define how to move, what to wear, how ...

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#Ferguson: Was it only about being black?

The world has rallied around Ferguson after a grand jury refused to indict an officer for killing Michael Brown. Add the deaths of Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, revisit past cases of police brutality such as Abner Louima (1997) and Amadou Diallo (1999), and what’s the result? Marches in New York City and Washington DC, and thousands of protestors demanding an end to racism and murderous cops. The international press magnifies this narrative and creates morality plays out of American drama. Shehzad Ghias wrote, “Racism is still prevalent in the United States.” Ahson Saeed Hasan stated, “Cops essentially have a license to kill!” These views are shared by many inside and outside the US. But are they flawed? Do ...

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Our little heroine

She stings when she speaks, And she speaks like no other, She has sharp features, And she taunts like my mother.   In a land like Pakistan, She enjoys the Indian summer, She reminds me of that chicken, From the cartoon, Road Runner.   She’s our proverbial grandma, Whom we don’t have to teach, Even though we still judge, How she speaks for her deeds.   She’s the best of the best, At the practice of peace, Known as “little heroine”, Since the good old eighties!   Not in popularity contest, She rose to prominence; She had nerves to fight dictators, Questioning the Hudood Ordinance!   She’s been beaten, tear gassed, And at one time house-arrested, For the rights of our minorities, She has always protested!   She’s been vilified and hated, By the experts ...

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