Stories published in February, 2015

Who will help the Christian slum dwellers in Islamabad now?

Three-year-old beady eyed Nazia frolics mischievously around the room, trying to coax a response from me. Her mother scolds her, ordering her to go play with her younger brother outside. I, for one, am glad that Nazia is a child as she is oblivious to the constant fear that looms over her family – a fear of being left homeless by the end of this year. Nazia and her family are one of the 80,000 unfortunate slum inhabitants, living in Maskeen Colony Islamabad, one of the thirty odd slums that have been notified by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for evacuation on the pretext of being ...

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Chapel Hill: Should Muslims in America worry?

Almost 13 and a half years ago, 9/11 set in motion US involvement in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and escalated tension between fundamentalists and the world. Despite this, the United States, with a population of 300 million, including roughly two percent or six million Muslims, has seen relatively few domestic attacks against or by Muslims. Prejudice exists, nevertheless. On February 10, at Chapel Hill, self-professed atheist Craig Stephen Hicks murdered three young Muslims, Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, may they rest in peace. This tragedy stands in infamy with Major Nidal Hasan’s Fort Hood killing spree in 2009, but in the ...

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Humanity check: Did you grieve Shia genocide as much as you did the Pak-India match?

Mass graves are no longer an alien phenomenon for Pakistani Shias. Not counting the numerous target killings that have taken place so far, there have been three major attacks in 2015 till now. On January 9, there was an attack on an imambargah in Rawalpindi, which left seven people dead; on January 30, an imambargah was targeted in Shikarpur, culminating in 61 deaths. And recently, an attack on the imambargah in Peshawar resulted in deaths of 19 Shias. On January 11, Dr Asim was murdered in a target killing in Peshawar. Thirty-nine days later, his son was one of the hostages in the Peshawar imambargah attack, along with ...

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Would our children survive if they were Hansel and Gretel?

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” – Eleanor Roosevelt Case 1 Her mother jumped out of a window and died, the eight-year-old then had a stepmother. The stepmother wasn’t half as bad as the father; he was the one who abandoned her, she was his child and hence the responsibility to love her was his. He abandoned the little girl emotionally and left her in the complicated ...

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Roy is only a “tarka” of star power, nothing else

Sometimes a movie is advertised and marketed with a promise to deliver an all-in-one production – but in reality, it is nothing more than amateur work at best. Roy is one such movie. What do you expect when you have a cast which includes a pure entertainer like Ranbir Kapoor, a dependable actor like Arjun Rampal and a gorgeous beauty like Jacqueline Fernandez? A blockbuster movie. Yet, Roy is nothing more than one big enigma. Audiences everywhere were anxiously looking forward to watching the two talented hunks share screen presence, but sadly, that too couldn’t save the boat from sinking. ...

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How can Muslims fare with the #ChapelHillShooting and #CharlieHebdo?

January 7, 2015 – Paris, France Two deranged men walk into an unsuspecting newsroom and turn the workspace into a warzone. “Allahu Akbar!” The men chant during their attack, scapegoating Islam and Allah in the process. The numbers start piling up: 50 shots fired, 11 injured, 11 dead and one religion to blame. Cherif and Said Kouachi’s act of insanity will now be added to the steadily growing list of horrific deeds committed by a select few individuals that have come to define a community of over 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide. January 7, 2015 – London, United Kingdom I’m sitting at home, reading about the Charlie Hebdo shooting online. My thoughts ...

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‘Whiplash’ takes you into the mind of your scariest teacher

Think of the most terrifying teacher you have faced, the thought of whom still makes you jittery years after graduation. If you dare, he may appear on your screen in the shape of the tyrannical Terrance Fletcher in the latest cinematic masterpiece, Whiplash. JK Simmons, best known as the meme-worthy boss of Peter Parker in the earlier Spiderman movies, finally lands himself a role where his naturally fiery eyes and hardened countenance are put to good use. In Whiplash, Simmons plays a dreaded conductor at a cut-throat conservatory for gifted musicians. The Shaffer Conservatory, being no place for passionate amateurs with newly purchased instruments, has a dire reputation ...

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With their powers combined, this is what an India-Pakistan combined XI would look like

Tomorrow, all statistics and records will go out the window – it will be all about which players perform best as a unit under pressure. But before the big eleven, let us see which team has the better players. Rohit Sharma versus Nasir Jamshed The competition for the opening slot is as good as a walk over. All the talk before the World Cup around India’s batting is about Virat Kohli but at almost 28, this World Cup comes at the prime of his career for Rohit Sharma. Sharma has an average close to 39 but he is one of those ...

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“Love the way you lie” – The recipe of truth and deception

Valentine’s Day is here and love is in the air. But think again; is this day really about celebrating love and truth? In relationships, honesty and truth matters less than we think. Relationships do not work if we are brutally honest; they only last if we use a secret ingredient called ‘healthy white lies’ – if used correctly and in appropriate amounts. Relationships are about deceit – tons and tons of deceit Every once in a while we need to disguise our feelings. We smile while actually screaming in our head and we tell lies all the time, particularly when it comes ...

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Really Pakistan? Haya Day on Valentine’s Day?

It’s that time of the year again. Women are anxious and men are distraught; the day when every guy and girl sitting together are stared at suspiciously; the day when people are edgier than usual; the day you are confused about how to celebrate this day because it also happen to be the day students fear being seen in public with someone from the opposite gender because of the ‘consequences’. While the world celebrates Valentine’s Day today, the students at the University of Karachi are celebrating something different. These students have given various names to this day, including Hijab Day, Haya Day and ...

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