Stories about Western

The road not taken: Going to Cambridge or getting married

In Pakistan, and in my native language Urdu, woman translates into aurat, which comes from the Persian awrah, meaning “parts to be protected”. Literally, too, in my present Muslim, closed-knit, patriarchal society, women like me are guided — by their fathers, husbands, brothers, sons — to be protected from threats against their body and family honour. While these men encourage “western” trends to an extent — like education at reputable schools, recreational sports, or even temporary employment — cultural traditions halt these prospects after marriage. You are born, our men tell us, to marry fast, and vouchsafe both yourselves and your future daughters ...

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Will Russia survive under Vladimir Putin?

In an interview with the Russian and foreign media on January 19, 2014, Vladimir Putin remarked: “Sometimes it is necessary to be lonely in order to prove that you are right”. But has Putin’s self-righteousness actually been efficacious for Russia? The alteration of the foreign policy decision-making structure by Putin allowed him to emerge as the central decision-maker ever since he stepped into power. Policy matters were assigned to secondary actors composed of an informal circle of loyal associates to Putin. The inner circle of Putin loyalists are power hungry and in such a system, the effectiveness of policy is lost. Corruption is enhanced ...

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How can Muslims fare with the #ChapelHillShooting and #CharlieHebdo?

January 7, 2015 – Paris, France Two deranged men walk into an unsuspecting newsroom and turn the workspace into a warzone. “Allahu Akbar!” The men chant during their attack, scapegoating Islam and Allah in the process. The numbers start piling up: 50 shots fired, 11 injured, 11 dead and one religion to blame. Cherif and Said Kouachi’s act of insanity will now be added to the steadily growing list of horrific deeds committed by a select few individuals that have come to define a community of over 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide. January 7, 2015 – London, United Kingdom I’m sitting at home, reading about the Charlie Hebdo shooting online. My thoughts ...

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Osama bin Laden for the West: From ‘warrior’ to ‘militant’

Have you ever wondered if the international media works for an agenda? I’m sure you have. We all do. We have come across many instances where biases in western media houses have been pronounced loud and clear, so such inferences are only natural. Media’s shifting portrayal of Osama bin Laden over the years is just one testimony of that. Being a media studies major, I have studied about the agenda-setting theory, which discusses how the media sets up particular agendas and then feeds news pertaining to that angle to its viewers. It’s all about understanding the underlying story behind a ...

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Ben Affleck, Islamophobia and the Western media

I am a Christian Bale aficionado, especially for his portrayal as Batman. So when it was announced that Ben Affleck is going to be featured as the new Batman in an upcoming movie, I was heartbroken. But putting that aside, in the recent episode between Bill Maher and Affleck that has been stirring quite the hype, I am going to try to pledge my allegiance with Affleck and let my conscience agree to him being Batman. If you have been following the recent clash between Maher and Affleck, then let’s give a high five to Affleck for standing up against Islamophobia. Generalising an entire population is, in ...

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Why Obama’s America needs Modi’s India

India’s image has altered considerably over the past few years in the eyes of the Western world due to the increasing influence with regards to global economic growth, steady consolidation with the international market economy, orientation of nuclear weapons, delivery capability of national defence strategies and effective introduction of new technologies of communication. In order to pursue its interest of maintaining its status as a super power, America needs to sustain long lasting and strong relationships with India. By calling India a ‘very important strategic partner’, the US hopes the new Indian government will help in the sustenance of their ‘enduring partnership’. The support and cooperation of India’s new Prime ...

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The West may have to intervene to #BringBackOurGirls

The social media campaign to bring back over 200 school girls, kidnapped by Nigeria’s Boko Haram, has helped draw a lot of global attention to the activities of this vicious organisation. The campaign has help put some pressure on world leaders to act and assist Nigeria in the fight against this militant group. The United States, the United Kingdom and France have offered to help. However, the prospect of western intervention on this matter is generating a lot of debate. There are concerns that such an intervention could turn Nigeria into another Afghanistan. The issue here is this: what is the alternative to ...

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#BringBackOurGirls: Misplaced Muslim priorities and Nigeria’s Boko Haram

300 girls are being sold to slavery in the name of Allah (swt) as you read this; 300 girls, whose only crime was to go to a school and be educated in a system considered far too ‘Western’ by Nigeria’s al Qaeda offshoot, Boko Haram. Just yesterday, by killing another 300 civilians in the country’s Muslim-dominated north, Boko Haram proved to the rest of the country that it wasn’t going to sympathise with the ‘Western-influenced’ marches taking place in Nigeria. By the way, this Muslim-dominated north also follows the Sharia law. Looks like Nigeria’s extremists did not stop their “honourable uprising” even after northern Nigeria’s ...

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Is Islam better practised in the West?

Most people are very quick to point out the flaws and imperfections of Western lifestyle, citing promiscuity, free flowing alcohol, homosexuality, gay marriage and a free mixing of sexes as the main ingredients in its destruction and thus its aberration from Islam.  However, I personally think Islam is implemented in a much more effective manner in the West than it is in Pakistan. Why? Well for several reasons – the social welfare system, the cleanliness of streets, the unacceptability of discrimination, the freedom to practice your religion and a system which protects women and recognises their rights as commensurate with men. Social welfare By social welfare, ...

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Shooting Malala – again

Though Malala survived the Taliban’s bullets last year, she is now again under attack in Pakistan by the very same ideology. They attacked her physically then, and now they are out to get her soul. Right-wing anchors and self-proclaimed intellectuals have taken to disrepute her book by claiming that it reeks of a ‘Western agenda’. If a young Pakistani girl in dupatta, standing up for education and speaking against radicalisation, demanding an end to the drone war, advocating peaceful resolution to the terrorist menace which Pakistan is plagued with and speaking of hope in a progressive Pakistan, is what constitutes ...

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