Stories about Christian

Muslims in America, Christians in Pakistan

I don’t know much of the specific background of the anti-Christian rampage last week in Lahore. But is there anything I don’t know that would mitigate or excuse it? A major theme of my writing and public speaking is an insistence on distinguishing between what I call the Pakistan I know and love – a rich, diverse, fascinating smorgasbord of humanity – and the distorted, two-dimensional Pakistan that most Americans see on TV. But when what they see on TV is Muslim Pakistanis burning crosses in a Christian neighbourhood, it makes it even harder than usual for me and other ...

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Pakistan doesn’t deserve its Christian community

The year 2009 saw a series of attacks on the Christian community in Gojra that left eight dead and many vulnerable and scared for their lives. 40 houses and a church were set ablaze by an angry mob and the police watched despite the residents begging for protection. Again this week, an angry mob around 3,000 strong attacked a Christian community in search of a particular blasphemer, Sawan Manish who, was already captured and in custody since Friday. These young men – again not surprisingly – in front of the police expressed their rage and caused hundreds of Christians pain they never thought they could ...

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Why ban cousin marriages in America?

Cousin marriages – while common in Muslim societies – are a big taboo in the US. In fact, 25 US states actually ban such marriages. And the Muslim youth, inadvertently, is buying into this idea. On the contrary, acceptance for same-sex marriage is gaining such popularity that President Obama invoked gay rights in his inaugural address. My advice; never go to a barber shop in America while you are still mulling over such controversial topics because your mind may sputter a question like, “Why do we smother the discussion on the topic of first cousin marriages?” And you may get a response like, “Well, you don’t have to be an Einstein to know ...

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Christmas and Boxing Day: Celebrations in pictures around the world!

Christmas- a day of celebration for most of the world and Boxing Day – the perfect cherry on top. Besides Eid, Christmas takes priority in my life as well. My grandmother, a Czech national, Christian who converted to Islam long long ago still celebrates Christmas with the same zeal as she does Eid. Secretly, I believe Santa Claus still exists too. Many argue that being a Muslim I should not be celebrating a Christian tradition– however, being brought up in the family that I have, I believe that life is way too short and we need all the occasions we can ...

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A tale of eras: Christmas in Pakistan and Bethlehem

Pakistan, 21st December, 6pm: Rodney and his friends drive into their apartment complex in a truck, in which lay 10 meter long dried bamboo shoots, the kind used to put up wedding tents. Watching from the balcony of an apartment upstairs, Rodney’s cousins run down with machetes and knives to start stripping the bamboo into long yet tough strips. Kids are playing in the compound, cycling on their little 3-wheelers or playing among the cars, innocence abounding from them. 7:30pm: They now have ten strips of bamboo ready to be used. Time to go have some tea and talk about what comes next. As they ...

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Interfaith marriages: Why the taboo?

Ava and Neil made a great pair. It’s rare to come across a couple so compatible and in tune with each other. They complemented each other perfectly. Spending time with them was always a pleasure; there was never a dull moment with them around. Those two were the life of any gathering they attended. We spent many a year painting the town red, indulging in mischief and being what we were – a group of youngsters living it up and doing the things the young the world over do. Their love blossomed as the years wore on. After settling down in ...

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Can a non-Muslim hero be honoured in Pakistan?

That Pakistan is afflicted with the evils of bigotry and prejudice is no secret. But however much one gets accustomed — sadly, even immune — to this state of affairs, one is still left aghast at the extremely narrow worldview held by certain quarters. The recent backlash that was witnessed against the Dilkash Lahore Committee’s proposal — later thankfully approved by the city’s district coordination officer — to rename Fawara Chowk in Shadman after Bhagat Singh, the pre-Independence Indian freedom fighter, is a case in point. Now, one could have disagreed with this proposal on various grounds. One may argue that however ...

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Secularism is not atheism!

It is interesting to note how shifts in the political landscape are a regular source of new vocabulary. A breeze through comments on this newspaper’s website show the frequent usage of the word ‘secularism’ which was never a part of the average news reader’s vocabulary fifteen years ago. The word is now generously splashed around by commentators as they opine over news stories. Quite worryingly, secularism is often referred to as a political system which is both atheistic and un-Islamic – a misjudgement which causes one to choke with laughter and cry in despair at the same time. Painting secularism ...

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Please help me; I’m all alone

When the ship sank, we swam ashore onto a beach, six of us men, and three women who quickly moved away. Conferring amongst ourselves we agreed that we should set off immediately to explore the place and see how best to return home. Even by climbing a tree and squinting into the distance we saw no sign of land or ship anywhere on the sea that surrounded us, nor any sign of life on this little island: no smoke, no huts, nothing. But there were trees all around. It was a bountiful land. Like a gigantic orange vitamin-C the sun sank into the ...

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Don’t throw acid on the face of Islam!

I bet you didn’t know these two recent stories: A 49-year old female in New York suffered burns on more than 50 percent of her body because her father poured acid on her face and body. A 29-year-old female in Montreal suffered burns on more than 70 percent of her body. Why? Her boyfriend doused acid on her face during a fit of anger, literally melting her skin away. You didn’t know these stories because acid attacks are pigeonholed as a ‘Muslim problem’. And in these cases, neither the victims, nor the assailants, were Muslims. It is suggested that 99.9 percent of such attacks occur in the Muslim culture. Check out ...

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