Stories about muslim

Hypocrisy thy name is Humsafar, Umme Kulsoom, Durr-e-shahwar

With the surging number of private television channels and the freedom given to the media, the Pakistani entertainment industry has progressed tremendously in providing entertainment to its viewers through dramas, talk shows and even trendy morning shows. However, after watching numerous Pakistani dramas for a final paper for my Gender Studies course at Mount Holyoke College, I was sickened by the cynical stereotypes about religion and gender roles being enforced in sugar-coated ways through most of these dramas to a society that’s still  seeped in conservative dogmas. Most of these dramas objectify women as weak and helpless. Not only are women continuously illustrated ...

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So, a Christian can’t ‘save’ Pakistan?

Recently, I have come across many status updates on my timeline that really hit me deep. It is very common for me to see the following opinions pop up on my news feed: Pakistan ko bachanay k liye humain acha Musalman ban’na pareyga. (To save Pakistan, we need to become good Muslims.) The only way to achieve a prosperous Pakistan is by being staunch Muslim These statuses have, many a times, left me pondering about the definition of a Pakistani. Thus, I decided to look up the definition of the word ‘citizen’ in the dictionary and see how far it applied to being a Pakistani ...

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Pakistan, when will you accept me?

Though I was born in Pakistan, I was still a baby when my dad had to move to The Gambia in West Africa. The Gambia is a small peaceful country. Here, I remember my mother teaching me the Urdu  Qaida and telling me interesting stories about Pakistan. I could see she missed Pakistan a great deal. She would sometimes break down in tears, relating stories of the persecution she had witnessed growing up in her hometown in Sindh. My father had his own tales to tell about how his parents were victimised in Punjab and how Ahmadi homes and businesses in his ...

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Muslim women are empowered and confident

 Do you have to wear a burqa when you are at home? It was a legitimate question, coming from peers, sometimes professors and occasionally even friends while I was in college in the United States. It wasn’t the innocence of the question itself, but rather the oppressive perception that followed which encouraged me to use my lens in order to express the complexity of being a woman in a country like Pakistan. I wanted to say no, that while some women were painted black head-to-toe, some draped a casual chaddar (shawl) on their heads, some roamed in jeans, while others went to underground ...

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Celebrating Mother’s Day as a rejected son

As a rejected son, how do you celebrate Mother’s Day? Who enjoys the breakfast tray? Who receives the flower bouquet? That’s my story. But it’s not my biological mother who rejected me. It’s my motherland – Pakistan. So on this Mother’s Day, let me have a heart to heart talk with you – my motherland. You don’t want to accept my love; that’s your choice. I have learned to deal with that. But please answer my questions, for I have lots of them. Why did you abandon me? Why did you institutionalise hatred against me in schools, workplaces and houses of God? ...

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How Pakistan got boxed into religion

The National Database and Registration Authority’s (NADRA) refusal to change MPA Rana Mahmood’s religion from “Islam” to “Christianity” has many boxed in. A plethora of questions have arisen. Is this a human rights violation? Will Mahmood be considered an apostate if his records were to reflect that he left Islam? How can you change someone’s faith with a stroke of a pen? But no one is talking about the real question: Why do we have a “religion box” on our legal documents anyway? Say that and you essentially open Pandora’s Box. After all, in a 97% Muslim majority country, what good can ...

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Why the silence for persecuted Hindus?

The debate over whether Mohammad Ali Jinnah wanted the country he founded to be a secular or an Islamic one has been going on ever since Pakistan’s inception. This debate is a highly contentious one and shows no signs of abating or even mellowing down despite the passage of time. Here, I will not ponder on the question regarding the vision that Jinnah really had for Pakistan. However, what no one can deny is that Jinnah was an individual who stood firmly for the generous and fair treatment of everyone, especially the minority communities. Over the past six decades, Pakistanis have ...

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Five reasons to stop questioning Obama’s faith

I thought the question was so absurd to begin with, that it would go away on its own. I was wrong. Four years later, that absurd question, “Do you think Barack Obama is a Muslim?” keeps nagging the American psyche in national and regional polls – despite ample data to the contrary. In 2009, a Pew Research Center poll showed that one in 10 Americans believed President Obama was a Muslim; the number jumped to one in five by 2010. So when last week, one in two Republican voters in the states of Mississippi and Alabama reaffirmed the same phobia, I had to say something. Enough! Data ...

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Waiting for evolution in Pakistan’s classrooms

When I was in class III, my school teacher showed us an unusual illustration in our science class. It was the classic drawing of the evolution of man, from monkey ancestor to homosapien, and I remember thinking back then: well, that makes a lot of sense, we look just like monkeys. There was no big debate in our science class. The teacher just taught us evolution (change via natural selection across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations), and we just absorbed the information and assumed it to be true. The narrative of how life came into existence ...

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We need domestic violence legislation…now

Pakistan is considered to be the third most dangerous place for women to live in, according to the Thomson Reuters Foundation poll 2011. Despite the fact that the majority population in Pakistan is female, it is still a strictly patriarchal society where women are sometimes killed for something as personal as choosing a husband. In the West, women liberation now means fighting for tax payer funded abortion; in Pakistan, we are still advocating the treatment of women as equal beings who deserve the basic rights to life, family, freedom from torture and inhuman treatment. While there is some progress on  the ...

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