Stories about non-muslims

In India, Eid celebrations are not restricted to Muslims alone

Festivals are a wonderful time of year. They give people an opportunity to bond, share joy, make memories, and most importantly they fill the atmosphere with positivity and good cheer. Festivals also provide a break from the normal rhythm of life and the holidays from work, school, or college don’t hurt either. Living in a vibrant, multicultural society like India gives one the benefit of being able to celebrate multiple festivals with ample enthusiasm. While Diwali and Holi are by far the most celebrated festivals in India, one can also experience the magic of Christmas and the exuberance of Eid in equal ...

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Terrorism doesn’t care if you are non-Muslim or Muslim, Brussels and Turkey are proof of that

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack in Brussels. This could be a revenge attack in response to the Paris terror suspect Salah Abdeslam’s arrest in the city, last Friday. This could also be a symbolic attack against the European Union. Or it could just be another venue for a terror attack after Turkey, as the world watches in horror. It would be an oversimplification to suggest that ISIS is a group of overzealous Muslims working towards the ‘holy’ cause of establishing an Islamic Caliphate; they kill innocent civilians, both Muslims and non-Muslims. They work carefully to draw a wedge between ethnicities within a country to ...

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#IStandWithAhmadis, and so should you

Here in Pakistan, we often feel affronted by the mistreatment of the minorities overseas, we identify with racially, religiously, or culturally. Any occurrence of a mosque defiled, or a Muslim man or woman being abused in the West, is quickly shared across social media captioned with angry messages. This, of course, is fair enough. As someone who considers himself to be a member of this planet rather than defined by race or religion, I feel humanity should know no boundaries. That being said, it is difficult to fathom how the volume of our outrage is directly proportional to the distance of the ...

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The price I pay for respecting Islam

Never in my wildest imagination did I ever think I would become a scholar focusing on Islam and Christian-Muslim relations. Growing up, my passion was playing basketball and following the Boston Celtics. I never had any Muslim friends. In fact, I did not even know a single follower of Islam until my college years. If you had asked me “What is a Muslim?” when I was 16-years-old, I would not be able to answer you. But everything changed when 9/11 happened.  Muslims were seen as “extremists” and Islam was an “evil” force that had to be crushed by “freedom loving people”. When it came time to ...

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7 ways of spotting extremism before it becomes ‘terrorism’

Following recent events, Sabeen Mahmud murder and the Ismaili bus attack cases, a lot of aspects regarding the perceived idea of ‘terrorism’ have come under question. The ‘psychology’ of terrorism has now become open for debate. Earlier myths surrounding terrorism – such as certain madrassas being ‘terrorist’ nurseries and poverty being a fuel for terrorism – now appear to be hilariously absurd over simplification of facts. Extremism that leads to ‘terrorism’ is a solemn and common phenomenon – more than many of us can imagine. Such confusion emerges due to the elusiveness of terrorism. Terrorism is hard to define and so is a ‘terrorist’. One ...

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A new step for American Muslims

New York mayor, Bill de Blasio, announced on March 4 that two Muslim holidays, Eidul Azha, also known as the Feast of the Sacrifice, and Eidul Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramazan, will become a school holiday starting in 2016. It was joyful news and many American Muslims were cheerfully sharing it and trying to find out if they could request the same thing in their state. However, when I checked social news websites, I was very disappointed with the bigotry expressed in the comments sections. Actually, it is everywhere. Nothing felt right after the Paris ...

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When polygamy is allowed in Islam

Of the various core tenets of Islam which, since the birth of the said Abrahamic religion, have continued to attract heated criticism from a large variety of non-believers in the faith, as well as some adherents who claim an ancestral kinship to it by way of inheritance alone – whilst harbouring no affinity to it by virtue of any rigorous practice, whatsoever, on their part – the institution of polygamy certainly emerges as a focus for much targeted scrutiny and vitriolic debate. The notion that a Muslim male, by virtue of his sex and position, in a world which has only ever been ...

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Perhaps Pakistan can learn from Austria’s madrassas

A year before a mosque in Kanpur (pre-partition India) was razed by our British overlords to pave way for a road, and while a Jinnah-less Muslim League was yet to overhaul its objectives – which until then asserted that ‘the party shall work towards manifesting a sense of loyalty to Britain’ – to work towards creation of a Muslim majority state (Pakistan was still a very distant idea), Austria passed a remarkably inclusive law, setting an example for the rest of the European countries. In 1912, Habsburg Emperor Franz Joseph passed an act guaranteeing its small minority of Muslims royal patronage by making Islam ...

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An open letter to Islamabad Commissioner

Dear Sir, I am writing this to bring your urgent attention to an illegal public gathering of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), which was declared as a banned outfit on February 15, 2013, by the Government of Pakistan. The gathering is being held on February 21, 2015, after Maghrib Prayers, at Karachi Company Market, G-9 Sector, Islamabad, which falls within your jurisdiction. In fact it is just seven minutes away from the Islamabad Capital Territory Administration Office. Photo: Jibran Nasir The gathering is being held to mark the death anniversary of the founder of Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP), Haq Nawaz ...

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Six (of many other) ‘wrong numbers’ that Pakistan keeps dialling

Many in Pakistan have taken Aamir Khan’s PK as a lampoon only for Hindus and brushed it aside as just that blissfully ignoring the very blatant message the movie tried to give to followers of all religions. In my opinion, this movie was most relatable to our side of the border than any other place. The only real difference between what the film portrayed and what happens here is that when we bring up such questions we are killed. Simple. But if you give the message in the movie a little more thought, you will realise that most of what happens in ...

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