Stories about extremist

There is no difference between Christmas and Eid

Tis’ the season to be jolly! December always comes with great tidings; winter chills, hot chocolate, numerous holidays and an opportunity to make new resolutions. And along all this, it also brings the joyful day of Christmas. This day is an embodiment of religious beliefs, which celebrates a miraculous event and a time of togetherness. Two billion Christians all over the world celebrate this day with great spirit and felicity. As a child, the idea of Christmas for me was all about decorating Christmas trees, receiving presents and Santa stuffing himself down a chimney. I used to be most excited about meeting Santa ...

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Be pro-Gaza, not anti-Jew

Repeat after me: “All Jews are not extremists.” “All Jews do not hate Palestine.” “All Jews do not want to eradicate Muslim identity.” Each “Jew joke” you share with your Whatsapp friends’ group insults the religious sentiments of at least 13,854,800 people in the world. Each ‘gas-the-Jews’ holocaust meme you forward reduces the inhuman slaughter of 11 million innocent people killed in one of the worst genocides in human history, to a derogatory laugh. The persecution of innocent people in Gaza is the direct result of a horrible territorial conflict. It has very little to do with the teachings of Judaism or Islam ...

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Learning from the Indian elections, despite Modi’s win

Despite being upset about Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Modi Sarkar claiming undisputed victory in the Lok Sabha, I could not help but notice the immaculate election process that is being conducted by the Election Commission of India (ECI). To hold an election process for an estimated 814 million voters over the span of five weeks is not only a daunting process but one that is easily subjected to chaos and anarchy. However, having followed the election process diligently, I was convinced that the election process was as peaceful as it could get, even with the BJP rally fiasco in Varanasi. BJP’s ...

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Not every Hindu or Muslim is an extremist, Mr Nayyar

This piece has been written with reference to senior Indian journalist Mr Kuldip Nayar’s article ‘Communal Politics and India’s election’ in this newspaper. As a humanist, I genuinely wish Pakistan the very best in the context of development and I have cited some pieces by liberal Pakistani intellectuals and made some statements about Pakistan in this article only in the spirit of constructive criticism. While I deeply respect Mr Nayar and share his commitment to India’s pluralistic ethos, and I have written a book aimed at addressing and dispelling anti-Muslim prejudices in the Indian context, and have written articles critical of Narendra Modi and the BJP, I ...

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Elections 2013: It’s my way or the highway

In a politically charged environment with Pakistan’s most voter-aware elections just a few days away and sentiments running high, it seems even the most liberal among us have forgotten that agreeing to disagree is a basic tenet of a democratic set-up. I may not be an absolutist when it comes to freedom of speech, but am certainly one who believes that we all have a right to peacefully express what we feel, whether in the form of a discussion at a chaai dhaaba, on twitter or in the form of my vote. And this right belongs to all — the ...

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Shahbaz Taseer kidnapped, and a scream that never ends

This is my country – a place where governors are murdered for fighting for minority rights by bearded men claiming higher moral ground in the name of religion. This country – where entire families are targeted for the alleged sins of a single individual. A place where justice is a joke, and every good deed can be counter-argued with ten evil deeds making us all, indeed, rotten to the core. I am talking about the abduction of the late Governor Salmaan Taseer’s son, Shahbaz Taseer today. I wake up to yet another morning of screams inside my head; visions of death, ...

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Does terror have a religion?

Does the bomb have a religion? Does the blast discriminate among victims? In the recent serial blasts in Mumbai, a Muslim family lost a son who was in his early twenties and had gotten married just a couple of months ago. Is the pain of this family any less acute than that of many others who lost their loved ones but, belonging to a different religion or community? Terror has victims not a religion. The merchants of terror know no religion. When someone dies in a terror attack in India, it’s an Indian who loses his or her life, not a Hindu or ...

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Kill, in the name of religion

According to a recent news report, an organisation called All-Pakistan Students Khatam-e-Nabuwwat is disseminating pamphlets declaring Ahmadis as wajibul qatl (liable to be murdered) for their religious beliefs. The local police authorities, in their usual style, have swept the issue under the carpet. Pakistan is a boiling pot of sectarian strife. A history of hate Sectarian discord escalated in the 1980s and Pakistan became a proxy battle ground for the Sunni and Shia organisations, heavily funded by Saudi Arabia and Iran respectively. However, the history of sectarian violence in Pakistan goes back to the days of its inception. 1953: When Pakistan was still trying to ...

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Music = vulgarity?

Conservative elements have always spoken against music. I remember the introduction of music classes at Punjab University stirred up a storm among the Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT). The IJT also threatened to “physically resist” music classes on campus. It was heart wrenching to see them marching hand in hand to condemn art. What would life be without music? It is a reminder of how things once were, an indication of how things are, and a view of where society is headed. Music is being successfully taught at some colleges including Kinnaird College, where I am one of the students studying Indian Classical Music. ...

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Pakistan’s very own apartheid

I perceive myself to be liberal because I believe that I am a pluralist. I am not an extremist in my political or religious views. I am proud that I am different — separate — and quite clearly a minority in my country. However, despite my so-called pluralism, I do not want to associate with those I call the ‘jaahils’ and the ‘fundos’ and in that sense I end up being disconnected from the mainstream. Some readers may not like this but I will give the example of the burqa-clad mother of four who believes that she is pious and righteous, ...

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