Stories published in November, 2011

Eid Mubarak from Japan

Nothing is better than Eid falling on a Sunday when you are in a country where the day is not an official holiday. For me this was my first Bakra Eid away from home. I was dreading it. I knew I would feel homesick and the six other Muslims in my dorm shared the sentiment. We decided to stick together and keep busy. First things first, we had to decide where to go to offer Eid prayers. Our three options were: the Islamic Centre, Tokyo Camii and Otsuka Mosque. Over the past two months, we (the Muslims in my dormitory) visited Otsuka ...

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How the US will win

It’s not often that you end up on the same table with characters carrying such hefty, esteemed titles as the KarachiKid, TeethMaestro, DiscoMaulvi and US Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs. Not unlike the Mad Hatter’s tea party, the US Consulate General Karachi tossed a motley crew of media folk, bloggers, local Twitterati and ‘youth leaders’ into a quick brunch with US Under Secretary Maria Otero just to mix things up a little for the visiting diplomat. The selection of the guests was geared to create an “interactive session focusing on youth initiatives and blogging” as the invitation read. For independent ...

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Of goats and Imran Khan

This article is not about Eid and neither is it about Imran Khan. Life is not characterized by events, but by people’s reactions to events. Reaction No. 1: Two men on motorcycles, with goats in tow, were stopped by policemen on the road. The motorcycles were checked, the men were checked and the goats were checked too. That’s the scene that a friend Ahmed was witness to as his own goat-free car whizzed by somewhere in DHA. “They were goats, for god’s sake! Just goats!” Point. Reaction No. 2: Another friend, Amna, ‘likes’ the Facebook group “I was alive when Pakistan was waking up”, ...

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Shariah in the USA

This week, Michele Bachmann alleged that Shariah law in America would “usurp” the American Constitution. Senator Cain, too, recently made statements that he would not allow Muslims on his cabinet because of a “creeping attempt” to incorporate “The Muslim faith” into the American legal system. With 13 states having now banned Shariah law, the hysteria has really caught fire – and boy is it hot. Men like the New York-based lawyer, David Yerushalmi fuel this hatred. Despite his lack of credentials in Islamic law, Yerushalmi has rallied momentous support and become the recognized ...

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Do you kill your own goat?

Do you kill your own goat? No Why? It’s gross Hmm… so where do you think your masala ribs come from? An organ donor? How many people do you know that jump on the “qurbani is against animal rights” bandwagon every year around Bakra Eid? How many do you know who blindly accept that children being exposed to acts of slaughter has no deterimental effect on them? Reading the heated debate going on underneath the post “10 things I hate about bakra Eid” inspired me to go out there and shoot some reactions myself. While those against the practice of animal sacrifice presented “gross” and “cruel” as ...

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Using ‘Altaf Bhai’: The joys of studying politics

Being a student of political science comes with handicaps in a country where debate on current affairs and peccadilloes of politicians is ubiquitous, yet awareness of an academic discipline dedicated to the study of politics is scant. There’s one particular incident at Lahore airport that I vividly remember, when being a student of political science got me entangled in a rather bizarre situation. As I walked inside the international departure terminal, I noticed that yet another security check had been installed. Some men in shalwar kameez stood listlessly, as airport security personnel fiercely rummaged through their luggage. Being a ‘laadiss’ from a ...

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Will the real kasai please stand up?

With Eid-ul-Azha here, I understand how important it is to find a good butcher. Without one, the whole experience of qurbani (sacrifice) can be pain-staking and painful to watch. For many years now, I have gone out to find good kasais (butchers) for my family. I have thus gathered valuable tips to tell the real kasai from the fake one. So here are the key points you must keep in mind while looking for one: 1 – Original Kasais never wear jeans and shirts. Don’t judge a Kasai by his clothes – gauge their value by their work and experience 2- Whilee looking for a kasai, make sure to examine ...

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Ecological consciousness and Islam

I am always inspired by trash. When I see it on the roads, in parks, in hospitals and outside homes it sends me in a state of a deep reverie. A couple of years back, I was shaken to the core to do ‘something for my country.’ Looking for the answer of what could be done, I came across a newspaper article about some ‘crazy’ youngsters who, tired of the oblivion of their fellows and authorities towards matters of environmental consciousness, took it upon themselves to do something. They girdled up their loins with the motto that the least you ...

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On the shores of the Bosphorus

In a photograph laced with references, thirty-odd men, and two women, squint at the glaring sun as they pose on the European shores of Istanbul, the Asian side of the city rising over the choppy Bosphorus in the background. The subjects in the photograph were foreign ministers and representatives of 20 countries that participated in the Istanbul Conference for Afghanistan this past week. Pakistan stands out in the setting not just metaphorically, given its regional role post-US withdrawal from Afghanistan, but also quite literally — its foreign minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, is one of the two women, and possibly the ...

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Because I’m a lesbian

For 24 years, the horror of lesbianism haunted me. No, I don’t belong to an anti-religion, mod squad, liberal family. My family is as normal as any middle-class and religious family could be. After my teens, I grew up questioning my sexual orientation and my doubts turned into guilty trepidation when I realized this was not “just the phase” I was going through. This was the my life which I had been constantly denying. Being a lesbian in Pakistan where one is eloquently declared a sinner or deemed to have a psychological disorder, is like committing a crime. You are considered as disgusting ...

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