Stories about clerics

Beards are not just for terrorists

For years I lived any young adult’s dream; there was music, parties, banter, unorthodox festivities, substance abuse and a fair degree of foul play. Then things changed radically – it was nothing short of a revolution; I grew a beard. After extensively studying and reading about both Islam and other religions, I started to pray five times a day and even encourage friends and colleagues towards the path of salvation. I have finally chosen spirituality over (supposed) rationality and have given up on worldly desires to pursue those of an eternal life. Why did I grow a beard? For me it was simple: a ...

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Pakistan’s mullahpoly: My way or the highway

In Pakistan, it seems as though religious clerics have acquired a copyright over Islam, and are exercising this right in its full capacity, including its publication, adaptation, distribution and interpretation. I can safely say that most of us believe that Islam is a religion for all humanity and everyone has a right to learn and practice it. However, the custodians of Islam in this country like to follow and impose their self proclaimed rule. If “Islam Incorporated” was a company than religious fanatics would be the management. The creditors (Islamic sects) loan its goods and services; shareholders (madrassah owners) invest their ...

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Do we need to rethink segregation?

We often hear rhetoric condemning western culture for being lewd and too open towards sexuality. We accuse it of objectifying women and accrue this as to why they have high cases of rape and child molestation. But take a look at the source of these accusations – the ones pointing the finger,  our religious clerics have made headlines of their own for all the wrong reasons. Clerics and prayer leaders in Pakistan made news when they were found guilty of child molestation, victimising young boys and girls who were their students in madressahs. Although Islam strictly mandates harsh punishment to perpetrators, the ...

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On blasphemy, clerics and intolerance

Intolerance is making headlines again. One can elucidate that local cleric Qari Salam’s decision to facilitate an FIR against Aasia Bibi or the appointment of JUI-F cleric Maulana Mohammad Khan Sherani as the 12th chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) show that we are victims of our own social confusion. I couldn’t help but notice that the history of intolerance and ignorance has always been battling against humanity. One of my colleague who visited Aasia Bibi’s village in Nankana to interview Qari Salam was astonished by the lack of remorse he felt regarding the decision to facilitate the ...

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Losing logic: Political pardons in Lahore

You have got to love politicians. It’s ‘adorable’ how they seem to have been invented from the same mould. The Punjab chief minister directed authorities last Sunday that all cases registered against clerics “who raised a voice against the anti-Islamic steps and barbarities of Musharraf” be withdrawn. According to Sharif, the clerics deserved credit for upholding the truth during the dictator’s regime.  But the authorities concerned, the home and public prosecution departments, are now in a conundrum, disagreeing over what the CM meant. The former believes that the order only extends to the cases registered against religious leaders who held ...

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