Stories about muslims

We are fighting to protect India’s soul from a majoritarian regime

There were many question marks surrounding Narendra Modi when he was making a bid to become prime minister of India back in 2014. Would he be able to devote his attention towards the development of the country? Would his slogan ‘sabka saath sabka vikas’ (together with all and development for all) translate into a reality? At the time, many went against their instincts and voted for him, confident that his past would not hinder the construction of a new beginning in Delhi. But few could have foreseen the dark turn the Modi regime would take in the years to come. Sometimes our worst fears really become a reality, and India today ...

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The Citizenship Amendment Bill has tarnished India’s secular ideals

When a government considers itself to be the sole arbiter of a nation’s destiny then it has become a prisoner of its own hubris. At the time of his reelection in May, there was hope that the renewed mandate of Narendra Modi and his regime could perhaps usher in some positive change in India and South Asia. But that was not to be. The bloated ego of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has strengthened the belief in the party that its agenda is far more important than the aspirations of the people. The abrogation of Article 370  was part of the ...

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Why did students protest against a Muslim teaching Sanskrit in India?

India has quite a few institutes which teach Sanskrit, and often times interested people from different parts of the world attend classes to learn the ancient language. In the 19th century, German Max Mueller learnt Sanskrit and translated the ancient Vedic texts into English and other languages. He was a great scholar of Sanskrit at a time when the world was not exposed to India the way it is now. His translation of the Indian ancient texts helped ensure that the world had access to India’s philosophical and cultural treasures. This cultural exchange has been part of the civilisational history of South Asia, and the Indian ...

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The plight of the Uighurs

Whether you’re a Pakistani citizen living in Pakistan or in the diaspora, you must be familiar with the ongoing tussle between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. Just a few weeks ago, India decided to revoke Article 370, taking away the special status of the disputed land and of the people living in Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK). After India’s actions in IoK, the Pakistan government and people decided to reach out to the international community for support, using various United Nations platforms to voice their concerns and holding local protests in order to bring attention to this issue. While, as a Pakistani, I empathise ...

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Why can’t a non-Muslim dream of becoming the prime minister or president of Pakistan?

When Sajid Javid announced that he would join the race for 10 Downing Street earlier this year, the news was met with a joyous reception in Pakistan. Just the thought that a man who was raised in a Muslim household was even in contention to become the next prime minister of Britain was seen as a matter of great pride; after all, we feel it is imperative that all other nations ensure an equal access to opportunities for all religious minorities and do not discriminate on the basis of religion. However, how many in Pakistan would be celebrating if ...

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Who exactly will the Islam-centred TV channel be for?

Prime Minister Imran Khan recently announced that the governments of Pakistan, Turkey and Malaysia will collaborate to launch a “BBC type” English television (TV) channel to challenge Islamophobic views in the West. The channel is expected to highlight various issues specific to Muslims in the West and “contextualise” cases of blasphemy. So why aren’t we feeling as hopeful as we should? Our meeting in which we decided to set up a BBC type English language TV Channel that, apart from highlighting Muslim issues, will also fight Islamophobia. pic.twitter.com/GA6o15oJFH — Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) September 30, 2019 Misperceptions which bring people together against Muslims would ...

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Kashmir proves why the Two Nation Theory was necessary

“Us Pakistani liberals have long defended India, so much so that it has almost become a reflex, but honestly an India that has sunk into such depths just cannot be defended: dishonest journalism, joke of a secularism, knee-jerk Hindutva reactionism.” Us Pakistani liberals have long defended India, so much so that it has almost become a reflex, but honestly an India that has sunk into such depths just cannot be defended: dishonest journalism, joke of a secularism, knee-jerk Hindutva reactionism. https://t.co/6pyrZW6yMP — Sabahat Zakariya (@sabizak) September 4, 2019 These words are so reflective of the way monumental and rapid changes in India ...

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How the NRC further widens the religious fault lines in India

What happens when a myth comes face to face with a harsh reality? A nation which has been fed a myth feels betrayed when that lie is finally exposed. The National Register of Citizens (NRC), an exercise intended to compile data about the citizens of the Indian state of Assam, has been chasing a myth.  The original aim of the NRC was to determine which individuals who settled down in Assam after 1971 are illegal immigrants, regardless of their religion. But with time, the NRC became an exercise aimed at weeding out illegal Muslim immigrants who had come in from ...

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Because extremists don’t criticise extremists

Human emotions are really weird sometimes; well most of the time, to be honest. We hate everything we don’t like, fear everything we don’t understand, and blindly love everything we identify with. We let our feelings cloud our understanding of the world, and we unfortunately could not continue thinking rationally even if we wanted to. Before anyone decides to deride my tongue-in-cheek critique of human emotions, I do wish to categorically state that our emotions are a part of us and are essential to our existence. They are what make us human after all. However, our use of our emotional ...

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Muslims in India today are revisiting the same fears as they did in 1947

The strength of a democracy is measured by the way it protects its weak, marginalised and minorities. After Partition in 1947, one big challenge before India was how to assuage the fears of the Muslim minority about their well-being in India. Bridging religious faultlines was part of the nation-building process. The government, civil society, film industry, media, and even on an individual level, a large section of the society created an ecosystem where secularism and liberalism were promoted unabashedly. This ecosystem and way of life have been largely sustaining India for the last seven decades. Three generations later, Muslims in India are ...

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