Stories about blasphemy

Series 2: “The Djinn” Part 2 Hercules

Having met the djinn once, I was looking forward to meeting him again. So a few days later, I went into the study and knocked on his ‘door’, the drawer at the bottom of my grandfather’s hat stand. “What?” responded an irritable voice. I opened my mouth, intending to ask him to please come out, before recalling that I didn’t know his name. What does one call a djinn in the absence of a name? Djinn sahib? Djinn ji? Or plain and simple ‘djinn’? He saved me from this dilemma by appearing just then, all six inches of him, complete with bikini, spats ...

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Dear Aasia Bibi, today I have no apology for you

Dear Aasia, I have so much to tell you. I have so much to talk to you about. I don’t know where to begin. Perhaps the best way is to start off by saying that I would never dare say such a callous thing like I know what you must be going through. I don’t. I have no idea what is going on in your head. I can’t even imagine how disgusted you must be feeling with life right now. However, I do know that you have every reason to feel disgusted. Aasia, you need to understand a few things about the ...

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I agree with Sam Harris and Bill Maher

A few days ago, social media went rife with people praising Ben Affleck. “Batman comes to the rescue” was the general sentiment tweeted by everyone and my friends happily posted the link to the clip from Bill Maher’s show. People were ecstatic that an American, a prominent actor at that, finally stood up for Islam on a highly rated TV show. The clip did not just cause a sensation in Pakistan; it opened a debate online with prominent analysts like Reza Aslan and Fareed Zakaria taking up sides and expressing their opinions. As I thought over what Maher and Sam Harris had said, I found myself ...

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So what if she is 8-months old? She is Ahmadi, kill her!

As Pakistanis prepare for the end of Ramazan and the arrival of Eid, we come across the news that an Ahmadi residence was set on fire by a mob, killing a mother and her two daughters, five-year-old Kainat and eight-month-old Hira. As are most religious crimes of vengeance, this incident also has roots in our archaic notion of blasphemy. People are only too keen to take justice into their own hands when it comes to religious sentiments, as this incident shows. Minorities bear the brunt of such accusations, although blasphemy laws have been used against Sunni Muslims as well to settle land and ...

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Will Muhammad Shoaib Adil be convicted for blasphemy or will the state save him?

“The clerics tried to attack me at my office and later at the race course police station. The police were very supportive and didn’t let them touch me. Later, they surrounded the race course police station and tried to pressurise the police. Luckily, some of my friends came to my aid and they did whatever they could to make sure I get out of police station safely.” He was freed from the police station in the wee hours of night, when the angry mob had dispersed. That day his life changed and he went into hiding along with his family. ...

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His only crime was being an Ahmadi

Ashir is just two-years-old. Yesterday, he was witness to the most horrific tragedy anyone can imagine. His father – a 50-year-old doctor – was brutally murdered in Pakistan. His crime: He belonged to the Ahmadiyya community. Dr Mehdi Ali was a US-trained cardiologist on a medical mission to Pakistan. He was visiting Tahir Heart Institute; a state-of-the-art Cardiology hospital in Rabwah, Pakistan. Many Pakistanis cannot even afford routine medical visits. Dr Ali was bringing specialised advanced medical care to these poor people, free of cost. It was the second day of his three-week humanitarian trip when tragedy struck. The doctor ...

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#BringBackOurGirls: Misplaced Muslim priorities and Nigeria’s Boko Haram

300 girls are being sold to slavery in the name of Allah (swt) as you read this; 300 girls, whose only crime was to go to a school and be educated in a system considered far too ‘Western’ by Nigeria’s al Qaeda offshoot, Boko Haram. Just yesterday, by killing another 300 civilians in the country’s Muslim-dominated north, Boko Haram proved to the rest of the country that it wasn’t going to sympathise with the ‘Western-influenced’ marches taking place in Nigeria. By the way, this Muslim-dominated north also follows the Sharia law. Looks like Nigeria’s extremists did not stop their “honourable uprising” even after northern Nigeria’s ...

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Blasphemous Punjab in a blasphemous Pakistan

This morning when I woke up, I did the first thing any sane human being would do; I checked the traffic on my page. After that, I opened Twitter and Facebook to see what I had missed throughout the night and one particular status caught my attention. A human rights advocate was shot dead in Multan. He was to defend a university lecturer who had been accused by a student group of having committed blasphemy. In days that I went to school, we could not have accused our professors of breathing too hard, out of respect. Today, academicians are scared to ...

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He killed her son, she spared his life

It was recently reported in The Guardian that during a public execution in Iran, 20-year-old Balal, who was convicted of killing his 18-year-old friend Abdollah Hosseinzadeh, had the noose around his neck when Abdollah’s mother stormed up to him, slapped him and then forgave him for murdering her son, halting the execution and saving his life. Photo: AFP Photo: Reuters As quoted by The Guardian, Balal’s mother hugged the grieving mother of the man her son had killed. The two women sobbed in each other’s arms – one because she had lost her son, the other because hers had ...

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We are all blasphemers

A few days back, as an aftermath of the sectarian violence in Rawalpindi on Ashura last year, I saw a post on a social media site which supported the idea of death by hanging for any act of blasphemy done against Allah (swt), the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), his companions (ra) and the Ahle Bayt. There were a lot of comments; emotionally charged Muslims, full with religious fervour, supported and encouraged the motion polishing their imaan. After going through a number of comments, I decided, it was time for me to finally explode. It had been a while since my last backlash on society, religious extremists and particularly anyone ...

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