Stories about liberals

Do we want our children singing and dancing to ‘Baby doll mien sone di’?

At ease, liberals, as this won’t be a furious grandparent’s rant on the corrupting influence of today’s music. This is a critical analysis of the influence of modern “item songs” on young people, without invoking a moralistic argument. Veteran actor, Shabana Azmi, recently rebuked item songs in the following words: “I am saying let it be an informed decision. I am not going to dictate what you should do. But be aware that when you do a song like that it is leading to the sexualisation of children and there are four-year-old girls dancing at all kinds of weddings to really bad songs.” Stating ...

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PEGIDA anti-Muslim riots: Is Germany flirting with its dark past?

There is no such thing as racism in Germany. Or at least in theory, there isn’t. After the Second World War, Berlin was reduced to rubble by the Allied Forces, revealing the horrors of the Holocaust that Nazism left behind. At the time, the question, “how did we let this happen?” was never fully answered. The Allies and the Soviet were too busy contemplating the future of Germany. The issue of intolerance and racism was never really dealt with but was rather suppressed deep within the sub-conscience of the Nazi apologists. And overnight, anti-Semitism became unfashionable. But looking back after 70 ...

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I disagree with Sam Harris and Bill Maher

I read a fellow blogger’s post on why she agrees with Sam Harris and Bill Maher. I am sure the writer has her heart in the right place and I completely agree with her principal argument – that the Muslim world needs serious introspection and reform. Except this is not the argument Maher and Harris put forth. They believe that the Islamic faith, not just extremist Muslims, needs reform. Academically speaking, Islam is defined by the Quran and the Sunnah, the practice of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). It is not defined by what the ISIS or some ‘Muslim government’ endorses. Nor is it defined by what 64% of Egyptian Muslims ...

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A Muslim’s open letter to Bill Maher

Dear Bill (I hope you don’t mind if I call you Bill because it’s the nicest word I can use to describe you at this point), We get it. You are an aggressive atheist, you abhor religions. For you, it is fashionable to be controversial. Being edgy is part of your job description. Congratulations, you are now so edgy that Bill O’Reilly of Fox News agrees with your views. ‘Bill the Liberal’ and ‘Bill the Conservative’ have now found common ground – Islamophobic bigotry. Let me ask you, Bill, are you back-paddling out of the muddy creek you created on your HBO show, Real Time with Bill Maher, last weekend with ...

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What would Iqbal think?

On the southern bank of the River Neckar in Heidelberg, Germany, is the Iqbal-Ufer. This street, running parallel to the river, was named in honour of Allama Iqbal, the poet-philosopher from India. It was here that the poet was granted his PhD in philosophy. As I glance at the images of this breathtaking city, I can understand Iqbal’s appreciation for beauty. What amazes me, however, is the depth his poetry plunges into when describing the despairing state of Muslims in India. An eye that is accustomed to beauty, a voice that thrills with eloquence, would shun despair and disillusionment. Yet these ...

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Why have the Pakistani liberals forsaken Gaza?

Now’s the moment for a liberal to decide if he truly stands for the principles of liberalism, wherever applicable, or if he’s simply saying the opposite of what his conservative uncle shouts at the dinner table. Operation Protective Edge, involving a military superpower descending upon a small strip of land that Palestinians have magnanimously been allowed to squash together into, has gathered supporters from the unlikeliest quarters. There has been an intense debate over the asymmetrical nature of the ‘conflict’, parodied to perfection by the consistently liberal political comedian, Jon Stewart. Others, like Bill Maher and Joan Rivers, jumped ship. They gladly adopted the ...

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Can Pakistan ban alcohol for non-Muslims? Not ethically!

As the nation slides down the slippery slope of prohibition, progressives entrench their nails into its icy surface, resisting the imposition of Islamic dicta on the state’s non-Muslim subjects. The National Assembly Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights stated its opposition to the proposal to impose a complete nationwide ban on alcoholic beverages, revoking the exemption provided to non-Muslims in Pakistan. It is a restriction Pakistan’s ultra-right political parties have long pushed for. JUI-F MNA, Maulana Shirani, has been particularly vocal in this regard. The proposition implies a constitutional amendment, which has faced a welcome amount of resistance from the ...

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Why the French burqa ban upsets me as a secular feminist

The European Court of Human Rights has weighed in on the face veil ban in France and, in a flagrant exhibition of institutionalised bigotry, has upheld the government’s decision. As goes France, so goes Europe. The verdict breathes fresh air into an old debate, in which the opposing sides had begun to take comfort in the thought of this restriction being a French anomaly, not representative of the general European psyche. But we’ve faced disappointments before. We’ve been led to believe that we may choose either one of the two positions: – Burqa is benign, and must be allowed – Burqa is a harmful, patriarchal icon, ...

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Where did Jinnah’s Pakistan go?

On August 11, 1947, certain words echoed in the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan with much emphasis. “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”  These words were proudly stated by none other than the founding father of our nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. After 66 years of struggle, sacrifices and long-fought battles to procure democracy in Jinnah’s Pakistan, ...

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To all the leftist liberals and the beghairat brigade, my blood is still green!

Nostalgia is a funny thing. It’s like looking through the window of a bullet train passing by downtown of a metropolis at night. You only see the well-lit boulevards and tall skyscrapers while the darkened slums are blurred out of view. Today, when I look back at my 29 years in Pakistan, I can’t remember the pitch dark slums of the late 80s or early 90s. The memories that have remained or those which my brain has chosen to record are the ones where only the metaphorical boulevards and skyscrapers remain. Before a myriad of Pakistani television channels sprung up, before a number ...

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