Stories about Facebook

“Daddy, I’ll eat pork tomorrow. I don’t want to be a Muslim.”

Some time ago, I came across an interview with Tahar Ben Jelloun – a Moroccan writer living in Paris. He talked a lot about things that any artist would talk about in an interview: his works and his inspirations, but what struck me most about his story was a short anecdote from his family life. Soon after the 9/11 attacks, his seven-year-old daughter had come to him and said, “Daddy, I’ll eat pork tomorrow. I don’t want to be a Muslim.” The little girl was overwhelmed by the voices around her, that equated Islam with violence and hatred, so much that ...

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Facebook’s Ramazan greeting spreads dangerous myths about Islam

Facebook produced their own Ramazan greeting which popped up on news feeds as users logged onto the website. Though this may appear to be a simple, generic seasonal greeting, there are several underlying issues with its visual message. The first thing that struck me was that the female figures in the greeting are wearing hijab. Let me make it clear that I have no objections to the hijab, niqab, or any other type of covering that people may choose to don, as long as it is done with knowledge, awareness, and understanding. With regards to the hijab, this pertains to the ...

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Will the Muslim women in India find protection in the courts?

One may accuse Trupti Desai’s symbolic entry to the Haji Ali Dargah, Mumbai, and her earlier attempt to enter the Shani Shingnapur temple, as a well thought out publicity stunt highlighting her political intentions. However, one has to grant her and her organisation, Bhumata Ranrangini Brigade, due credit for their gumption to take on religious clerics and other religious organisations. Her determination resulted in the decadent old custom that prevented women from entering places of worship, into the public domain. It is indeed a sad commentary that even after 69 years of India’s independence; Indian women have to fight for their rights. Women have to constantly fight ...

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Azealia Banks and our obsession with her attention-seeking “hairy curry scented Punjab” tweets

My niece is a huge ‘One Directioner’ (is that what they are called?) and was heartbroken when the boy band lost one of its key members, Zayn Malik. We insist on a special connection with this young musical icon on account of sharing a nationality and probably having a Zain for a classmate or a Malik for a neighbour. This gives us the inalienable right to judge him of course; from his tattoos to the racy lyrics of his new singles. “Haw Haey! Larka haath sey nikal gaya!” (The boy is getting out of hand!) He should thank his lucky stars he isn’t a ...

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Changing maps will not mean Kashmir is a part of you, India

The Indian government wants to pass the Geospatial Information Regulation Bill (GIRB). This bill will essentially make any map in India (ONE that does not toe the official line on geospatial information provided by the Indian government) illegal and liable to seven years in jail and a fine of up to a whopping billion Indian rupees. Predictably Pakistan reacted by shooting off a letter to the United Nations (UN) protesting that the official Indian maps show the disputed territories of Kashmir as wholly part of India, including Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). While one respects the sovereignty a foreign nation state, the provisions of this law ...

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So we can watch LGBT porn, but not support the community?

The editor of an LGBT magazine in Bangladesh was hacked to death two days ago. This is not the first time that something of this nature has happened, and neither will it be the last. Tracing back as far as ancient Greece, up until Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire, same-sex unions have existed in some form or the other. The Church was obligated to be critical of non-procreative unions and this began to be seen as deviant behaviour. Soon after, same sex unions became socially and legally unacceptable. However, times have changed as well as our mentality. Scandinavian ...

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What not to do on Facebook

Facebook is the epicentre of almost everyone’s lives today. At any given time 1.038 billion of us are using Facebook. Let’s face it, majority of us won’t consider our day complete without having logged onto Facebook and examined our newsfeed with a magnifying glass. There’s no denying that Facebook has a plethora of advantages for its users. It’s a way to connect with loved ones, to share fun memories, get interesting information, have a laugh, learn something new, get your daily news, catch up on gossip, stalk your ex, stalk a friend/enemy you secretly admire but outwardly hate and the list goes on… But with ...

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It is better to arrive late than dead

It was over a year ago when a terrible tragedy befell a good family. While driving home at night, close to their house in DHA Phase 4 on main Khayaban-e-Badar in Karachi, a middle aged couple was blind sighted by a speeding vehicle. The fierce impact of metal gnashing on metal lasted several seconds, dragging their car sideways for what felt like an eternity. Both occupants were left hurt. The husband, a tall and kind-hearted man, usually armed with a ready smile that I automatically recall when I think of him today, suffered a head injury. Here, he performed one last ...

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A Syrian refugee’s message to the European Union

When we first got here we had money to buy a little food. Now it’s gone. We stand in line for hours for a sandwich. My husband told a journalist recently, “People are fed up. Maybe tomorrow they will break down the gate and flood across the border.” The journalist said, “How many weapons do you have?” If we knew how to carry weapons or wanted to carry weapons we would not have fled Syria. We want peace. We are sick of killing. We fled a war, and now the European Union is making war against us, a psychological war. When we hear rumours that we’ll be let ...

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We don’t know the Qaumi Tarana any better than Shafqat Amanat Ali!

Cricket matches unite the country and bring out the maximum national fervour Pakistanis can ever muster, especially if it’s an India-Pakistan game. But this time what gave more fodder for the newsfeed than the defeat itself, was Shafqat Amanat Ali’s performance of the qaumi tarana. After Qandeel Baloch’s offers to the cricket team – we finally found something unique, fun and deeply rooted in our patriotism to go gaga over. All of which makes a great combination for some national criticism. Pakistanis were excited that someone as talented as him was chosen to accompany the stalwart Mr Bachchan in performing their respective country’s national anthem. However, as with ...

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