Stories about religion

Was Sonu Nigam merely stating what many in India already feel?

In a country of over a billion people, personal space in public places is hard to come by. The streets are packed with hawkers, walkers, vehicles and animals of all stripes. A cacophony of sights, sounds and smells compete for your attention. Nobody gives a second thought to jostling or getting jostled, and the concept of the three-foot circle of inviolable personal space, so sacred in the West, is a virtual non-starter in ‘anything goes’ India. There are high levels of tolerance in this country and somehow everything gets accommodated. People adapt and adjust to the constantly shifting landscape and the new additions in their ...

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An open letter to the man I birthed

Last year, I entered the world’s finest and most respected club – motherhood. From then till now, my life has been a real rollercoaster ride. I never imagined my life as a nappy-changing, breastfeeding mother, but doing all this just made me more complete than ever. People had warned me that raising a boy was a different job and it truly is. Giving birth to a boy in a society like ours is a victory itself. The first words you hear after your delivery are,  “Mubarak ho, beta hua hai!” (Congratulations, it’s a son!) Every face around you, from the Dadi to the Nani, glows with the reassurance that ...

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I met a Jew who didn’t judge me for being a Muslim or a Pakistani

We believe we live in a connected world today, but is that really true? A few days ago, I asked my friend what she thought of it and she said, “We can connect to any part of the world with one click. We can access any information in the spur of a moment. What else is connectivity?” I partially agreed with what my friend had to say but I still wondered if we really are living in a connected world. We live in a world where we are limited within our own small worlds, which are usually only as big as our mind-sets. And the ...

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Lindsay Lohan might be converting to Islam, but how is that our business?

A blogger posted a screenshot of Lindsay Lohan’s new Instagram bio. She had deleted all her posts and the bio read “Alaikum salam” which translates to “peace be unto you.” As a joke, I took a screenshot of the bio and put it up as my cover photo on Facebook. One of my friends asked in the comments,  “What?” Another one commented, “All she has to do is be herself.” Lindsay Lohan has been the poster child for Hollywood’s influence gone wrong on child stars. From her shopping habits, to friendships, to her drug addiction; everything about her has been considered public property. Her ...

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Is The OA just another Stranger Things?

On December 16th, 2016, Netflix released a new science fiction show called The OA which tingled with fantasy elements and supernatural vibes. The show is created by Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij and the executive producers include big names such as the recently discussed Brad Pitt. The series focuses on Prairie Johnson, an adopted young woman who comes back after being missing for seven years. The OA. Upon her return, Johnson calls herself “The OA”, exhibits scars on her back, and can see, despite having been blind when she went missing. She refuses to tell the FBI and ...

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An open letter to the world from a hijabi

Writing this letter was hard. I didn’t even know where to start. I guess my life and this letter are quite similar in this regard. I know what some of you might be thinking – “what is this girl blabbering on about, and why are we even reading this?” – but it’s important for me to explain to you and make you understand where I’m coming from. I need to salvage the last bit of hope I have remaining. You don’t know me personally but I am a Pakistani hijabi. I have two of the most deplored identities in the ...

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Have Muslim countries failed its women due to religious orthodoxy?

A few months ago, when Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy won her Oscar, I got into a heated argument with one of my friends. His contention was that people like her were ‘maligning’ the image of Pakistan by unnecessarily inflating some isolated incidents. In his opinion, her efforts were just creating negative stereotypical images of Pakistan and which made ‘enemies’ of Pakistan feel comfortable in their hate. In his opinion, Pakistan’s gender related issues were not systemic and were blown out of proportion. “It is just a tiny minority which is indulging in honour killings and it is unfair to present Pakistan in such a negative light”, he argued. Is he ...

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Silence: Watch, drool, absorb, repeat

Woah! Just woah! Am I crazy if I just keep on watching something on loop ad infinitum? The trailer of Martin Scorsese’s much awaited passion project ‘Silence’ has finally dropped, and boy am I stunned speechless. Scorsese’s adaptation of Shūsaku Endō’s novel was definitely at the top of my most anticipated list for a long while now, and we finally get a peek into what’s actually in store for us. Silence book cover. Photo: Wikipedia For nearly three decades, the celebrated filmmaker has been planning to adapt Silence, and I will be honest, the premise of two Jesuit ...

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Can we blame the West for thinking of Muslims as they do?

In recent times, religiously motivated terrorism incidents have taken place in the West, from Brussels to New York. Due to these barbaric acts perpetuated by extremists, ordinary Muslims are also facing excessive backlash in Europe as well as in the United States. We, as Muslims, are correct to complain that it is unfair to bracket ordinary Muslims with the extremists, but at the same time we need to understand that our negative reputation is not merely due to organisations like ISIS but also because of our behaviour in general. I am not trying to equate extremist organisations like ISIS with normal and moderate Muslims here, ...

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I had a traditional education in a convent and I loved it!

A few months ago I came across some photographs of my old school taken in the 1920’s. What was amazing was that these photographs showed the school just as I remember it. St Joseph’s Convent School for Girls is a private, selective school in Karachi, Pakistan. It was founded in 1862 by Belgian nuns. Today there are around 2000 students on roll. It’s an all through school. What do I remember about my time at the school? Well, obviously my friends. Many of us are still in touch with each other. When we meet we are the same happy-go-lucky, giggling teenagers we were at school. We ...

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