‘Attack on Ahmedis conspiracy to repeal laws against them’

Discussion in 'China' started by satyam, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. satyam

    satyam New Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2010
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    14
    A gathering of the leaders of 13 religious and political parties in Lahore claimed that the attack on Ahmedis on May 28 was part of a conspiracy to repeal the laws against them, BBCUrdu reported.

    The meeting was held in an office of the Majlis Ahrar Islam in Lahore's Muslim Town. The parties concluded that a conspiracy was in place to debate the laws against Ahmedis, the report said.

    Maulana Zahidul Rashdi, who is a founding member of the Muttahida Tehrik-i-Khatm-i-Nabuwat and also the Secretary-General of the Pakistan Shariat Council, read the joint statement at the meeting’s conclusion: The attack on Ahmedis is being used as an excuse to generate suspicions regarding the concept of khatm-i-nabuwat.

    The gathering was attended by leaders of the Jamaat-i-Islami, Jamiat-i-ulema-i-Islam Fazlur Rahman group, Jamaatud Dawa and Markazi Jamaat-i-Ahl-i-Sunnat among others.

    During the meeting, Maulana Ilyas Chinioti, a member of the PML-N and the Punjab provincial assembly, condemned Nawaz Sharif's statement in which he had sympathised with the Ahmedis and called them his brothers.

    The meeting's participants demanded that Nawaz Sharif immediately withdraw his statement.


    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect...kistan/04-ahmedis-laws-religious-groups-qs-08
     
  2.  
  3. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    [​IMG]

    Ahmedi massacre: who is to blame?

    BY ANNIE ON 06 9TH, 2010 | COMMENT (1)

    The date was May 28, 2010. At least seven men, including three suicide bombers, attacked two Ahmedi worship places in Lahore’s Model Town and Garhi Shahu neighbourhoods. The attacks resulted in the deaths of over 80 worshippers. Later on, a Jamaat-i-Ahmediya Pakistan spokesman put the toll at 95. Countless others were injured. As for the attackers, cohering together the various accounts, two of them reportedly fled, two were captured, one attacker was killed during clashes while the three suicide bombers blew themselves up when police tried to enter the place of worship.

    The dead have now been buried while the injured struggle to hold on.

    Officials in the Lahore police instantaneously suggested a “possible Indian hand” in the attack, while media reports stated that the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan’s Punjab wing, also known as the Punjabi Taliban, had claimed responsibility for the slaughter. Later on, during interrogation, a suspect revealed that the militants were associated with the TTP. However, Interior Minister Rehman Malik stated that the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LJ) was involved.

    A claim of responsibility has been found; it is the typical chain of events, similar to the very many previous attacks that we have come to understand as the militants’ standard modus operandi. This time, however, the question of assigning responsibility is not as simple as it seems, but instead requires a detailed investigation rather than conclusions drawn on the basis of immediate circumstantial evidence. Following are the facts surrounding the incident, which although seemingly lie outside of it but are extremely pertinent.

    Fact 1: Punjab is currently under the administration of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, also President Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N). The PML-N has been widely critiqued in recent months for failing to take a strong stance against terrorist attacks and extremist ideology.

    Fact 2: The provincial administration and the police failed to foil the attacks against Ahmedi worship places. The federal interior ministry had sent two security alerts to the Punjab government (on May 13 and May 26) regarding the possibility of terrorist attacks on religious minorities. Separately, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and Ahmedi community leaders had repeatedly approached the Punjab government requesting enhanced security for the community as they were continually receiving threats of attacks. Regardless of these alerts, requests and warnings, the militants managed to stage an attack of immense magnitude. It was in this situation that Chief Minister Punjab sprang to the defence of the local police and failed to admit that there was indeed a serious security lapse that facilitated the attackers.

    Fact 3: Interestingly enough, the only prominent government representative to visit the Ahmedis at one of the attacked worship places was Interior Minister Rehman Malik. While the offices of the Prime Minister and the President issued typical condemnatory statements, there were no immediate, vehement denunciations. Within Punjab, neither of the Sharif brothers visited a hospital treating the wounded or the targeted worship places. Some suggest it was not so politically viable in this case — even for the provincial chief minister under whose watch the slaughter was carried out.

    Fact 4: This weak reaction has reminded the public of Shahbaz Sharif’s recent mercy appeal to the Taliban and his declaration of PML-N’s affinity with certain aspects of militant ideology.

    Fact 5: Even the PML-N’s fearless conversationalist of a provincial minister, Rana Sanaullah, failed to call the attack for what it was, and continues to deny that things have begun to rot in the province of Punjab. His stance is not without a backdrop of its own: the minister was on the forefront of forging an alliance between the PML-N and the Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), a fervently anti-Shia banned outfit, for the Jhang by-polls. Logically, he rejected the interior ministry’s suggestion for an operation against militants in southern Punjab. Even if one overlooks an alarmed interior ministry, minority sects and religious groups are bound to find the PML-N’s ties with SSP rather ominous and doubt the Punjab government’s commitment to fighting terrorism.

    Fact 6: To ensure that people knew how far the PML-N-led Punjab government could go to preserve and nurture the party’s vote bank, it allowed the display of, and in some cases, even sponsored, banners and billboards inciting hatred against “Ahmedis, Christians and Jews”. Even after all the violence that was meted out to the already marginalised Ahmedis on May 28, the banners were not removed. But the Punjab government did have a defence: speaking to a private television channel, advisor to the Punjab Chief Minister, Zaeem Qadri, argued how the banners could not be removed for fear of “adverse reaction against the government”.

    Fact 7: Coupled with this has been PML-N’s Senator Sajid Mir’s fresh call for removing all Ahmedis from key positions. The call was made soon after the massacre, during a Khatme Nabuwat conference in Sargodha. This was a clear violation of Article 27 of the 1973 Constitution, which functions as a “safeguard against discrimination in services”. Unfortunately, it went unheeded and unaddressed by the Punjab administration. The PML-N also failed to discipline the party member for his offensive speech at an all-too-sensitive time.

    Given such worrying circumstances, are the calls for immediate action against militants operating from south Punjab unwarranted? The CM seems to think so, and has labelled suggestions for anti-terror operations in the region as attempts at “fanning provincialism”. Reactions of this nature seem to be a perverse form of politicking, aimed at distracting the public from the crucial issue at hand – that of militant outfits based in Punjab. The poverty levels in south Punjab have turned the region into a fertile ground for breeding militants. But this is old news and alarm bells have been raised by political and defence analysts for over a year. Nevertheless, it seems that Shahbaz Sharif is out to guard his turf and will not be intimidated by some federal minister “speaking someone else’s mind”. On the other hand, Nawaz Sharif has finally managed to call the Ahmedis ‘brothers’ of Muslims. But with all said and done, what will it take for the Punjab government to take action against militant groups that have wreaked havoc in the province, with repeated attacks on civilians? Will the terrorists that have bled Punjab finally be punished? Will the PML-N make up its mind? And will politics allow it?
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2010
  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    A sad place, indeed

    BY GUEST ON 06 8TH, 2010 | COMMENT (1)

    I have to start with the drama fast unfolding in the honourable Supreme Court, and the reaction to it that one meets on the street and on the Internet.

    I wonder how conversant My Lords are with cyberspace, especially when one sees the utter abandon with which the Lahore High Court first ordered Facebook banned and a few days later restored.

    In the interim Pakistan was made to look like a foolish country with foolish people who did not have any idea about what was good for them and what was not.

    But surely, some of them will know what is going about on the Internet, particularly from bloggers from Sindh and Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa about the ethnic makeup of the Supreme Court.

    I say what I am saying with extreme humility, and as a good friend and supporter, nay as a loyal servant of an independent judiciary. I merely point out what I do to caution My Lords that parallels are being drawn between the present court and the hanging bench that despatched another Sindhi, that time the brilliant Zulfikar Ali Bhutto via the hangman’s noose: the four Punjabis on the bench convicting and the three non-Punjabis acquitting.

    A noose that should never have been used according to Nasim Hassan Shah, one of the hanging judges, in several interviews he has given over the last five or so years.

    What is the parallel you might well ask? ZAB, an elected leader of great note within the country, and of world renown abroad on the one hand, and the much-maligned Asif Zardari on the other? But this is the whole point, is it not? When the smaller provinces feel badly done by — Bhutto’s judicial murder; Nawab Akbar Bugti’s cold-blooded and targeted killing; the disappearance of many Baloch and Sindhi activists — the seeming relentlessness of Asif Zardari’s pursuit does not enter the equation.

    This is what people in positions of authority in this poor and fraying federation must understand, and the sooner the better. Incidentally, the whole argument about ethnicity is just that: ethnicity and not the province in which someone or other resides or is domiciled.

    One more time might I suggest too, that in order to demonstrate that they are not only interested in the laying low of the federal government in particular, and politicians and parliament in general, that My Lords step back to give and take some respite, and call other weighty matters before them in suo motu actions as well? At the top of which very long list is the matter of the disappeared which is really attaining alarming proportions.

    Critically, it seems an absolute exercise in futility to have a retired judge heading a tribunal of inquiry on the disappeared when a bench of the Supreme Court itself cannot (will not?) summon an army officer above the rank of colonel before it.

    To revert to the terrible atrocity perpetrated on our Ahmedi brothers and sisters, first off, my deep gratitude to the Pakistan Army for burying with full military honours the well-considered Maj-Gen (retd) Nasir Ahmed Chaudhry, a 90-year old gentleman who was gunned down in cold blood with the worshippers. Well done, my army, and may this spirit of loyalty and fairness and rectitude guide the high command in other matters too. Today I am a proud former soldier.

    My piece of last week was more a personal journey in time: remembering old friends and recalling a time when there was no distinction between Sunnis and Shias and Ahmedis and Bohris and Aga Khanis and what have you, each worshipping his God in his own way, but all equal citizens of the state. This week we must look at the reaction of the state to the killings of Ahmedis as compared to that which is put on display when others are similarly butchered by people who cannot abide those who do not subscribe to their own, narrow beliefs.

    For, it is a sad fact that others, whether they be Shias or Sunnis of this or that sect and creed and belief, all have been targets of the obscurantist killers of humanity. Indeed, our Christian and Hindu and Sikh brothers and sisters have likewise been targeted by cruel murderers. But every time that some outrage has taken place, political leaders have bestirred themselves and visited the homes of those killed. Why not this time?

    The Ahmedis might be considered non-Muslim by the state; surely they are still Pakistani? Surely, then, all of the protections and succour that a state should provide its citizens are to be extended to them too?

    Far more than this, please note that the compensation which is announced immediately for those killed or injured as a result of such wanton acts in the case of others, was announced five days after the event in the case of the Ahmedis (Rs500,000 and 100,000 respectively for those killed and injured). Indeed, look at the language used while announcing compensation: “Jo maraygaey” for those who were killed. Surely there are kinder terms that could have been used, such as “Jo jaan bahak huay”; “Jo halaak huay”; even “Jo faut huay”!

    Why are we so cruel towards the poor Ahmedis, can some one please tell me?

    Let me add in passing that my Ahmedi friends tell me that the reply of their community to the offer of compensation is that the community is well placed to look after its own, thank you very much, and that the compensation which is to be paid should be transferred to the people of Hunza-Gojal for the relief work which is ongoing and which will surely increase as the disaster widens.

    Pakistan is a sad, sad place my friends; a twisted and pitiless and heartless caricature of what our founding fathers had in mind. I am heartbroken. Kudos, however, to Nawaz Sharif for openly saying that the Ahmedis are our brothers. Of course, it is another matter that the obscurantist elements have jumped down his throat! More strength to him I say.

    Kamran Safi is a columnist for Dawn newspaper and can be reached at [email protected]
     
  5. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    Blackened

    BY NADEEM F. PARACHA ON 06 4TH, 2010 | COMMENTS (123)

    Kudos to television journalist, Talat Hussain, for surviving the audacious Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla, and returning home to tell the tale.

    Now, if only our brave media personalities could exhibit exactly the same kind of commitment and guts in condemning all the gore and tragedies that take place in the name of faith in our own country …

    That would be asking for a bit too much, wouldn’t it? After all, they know that if they were to do so, not only would they suffer labels of being ‘liberal extremists,’ or ‘western/Indian/Zionist agents,’ but no prominent government functionary would dare or bother receive them as heroes either.

    The way certain frontline members of the present government received Talat (as if he had just returned after liberating Palestine from the clutches of the aggressive Zionist state), the question arose (at least in some cynical minds), where exactly were the same ministers and elected politicians (from both the PPP and PML-N), when the Ahmadi community was picking up the bodies and limbs of their dead ones slaughtered by extremists on the May 28?

    Not a single leading member of the ruling cabinet and the opposition (except Interior Minister Rehman Malik) bothered to visit some of the injured Ahmadi men, women and children at a hospital in Lahore.

    But interestingly, prominent ruling functionaries and their counterparts in the opposition were ready with rose garlands and flying accolades for the returning three Pakistanis (yes, that many) from the tribulations on the Turkish ship.

    Late Benazir Bhutto in her book ‘Islam and Reconciliation’ insists that democracy and democrats are the nation’s best defence against extremist thought and organizations. This makes sense – but in theory only.

    Because never mind the obnoxious reactionary claptrap that is gleefully spouted by the lunatic fringe present in shape of religious parties, certain TV personalities and ‘security analysts,’ have our (more sober) elected representatives sounded any better?

    Subdued lip service and worn out statements of condemnation were all that the country’s prime minister and the chief minister of Punjab had to offer to the loved ones of those mutilated by the extremists. But what else could they have said?

    They are all products of a constitution penned by elected parliamentarians (in 1973); a constitution a part of which actually gives vent to the views and demands of Sunni Islamic parties known for their unabashed hatred for ‘heretics’ and minorities.

    So what can one expect even from elected parliamentarians whenever the country is faced by a situation in which groups of self-righteous majority Muslim sects pounce upon every opportunity to practice their hateful fantasies of religious cleansing and the genocide of ‘heretics.’ Does not certain section of the glorious 1973 constitution give them this divine right?

    No wonder the prime minister seemed more concerned about a single TV journalist, and as usual the leaders of the main opposition party, the PML-N, are still struggling to condemn the terrorists by name.

    Punjab CM, Shahbaz Sharif, called them ‘criminals.’ In Sindh and Karachi, dear sir, we call gangsters in the slums of Lyari and dacoits in the forests of Dadu and Moro, criminals. But those who explode themselves in market places and worship grounds and hurl grenades at unarmed civilians in the name of Allah and Islam; we call them Islamic extremists – or more clearly, the Taliban and their sectarian foot soldiers in the shape of the supposedly defunct Sipah Sahaba, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, etc.

    Shahbaz remained numb and mum even when the Punjab’s chapter of the Thereek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – also called the ‘Punjabi Taliban’ – proudly owned the gruesome attack on the Ahmadi’s places of worship.

    What’s more, when Rehman Malik suggested that there should be an armed operation against the ‘Punjabi Taliban,’ the Punjab CM erupted with anger, accusing Malik of ‘creating division between provinces and ethnicities.’

    Ah, if only Mian Shahbaz Sharif is willing to show similar anger and concern about armed religious extremists running wild. Easy to bad mouth the Ppresident and his interior minister, but not so much the monsters that spill innocent blood?

    Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s vision and wish of a tolerant, modern and democratic Muslim Pakistan today is not only being held hostage by the extremists and the legacy of a long reactionary dictatorship of General Ziaul Haq, many democrats too are being held captive by their own religious biases and a clearly flawed and lopsided constitution.

    Recently, only a handful of PPP, ANP and MQM’s women legislators in the national assembly were willing to openly condemn the killing of the Ahmadis. It was after the initiative taken by these brave women that some of their male colleagues decided to join in.

    But Pakistan’s military dictators, religious parties and parliamentarians aren’t an exception. More than ever they are becoming a stark reflection and echo of many Pakistani Muslims, most of whom too were left scratching their heads when confronted by the tragic sight of scores of Ahmadi men, women and children being slaughtered by the extremists.

    Of course the ‘liberal extremists’ were first to register their outrage (on the net), but the majority of Pakistani Muslims remained awkwardly quiet. And why not! Their understanding of Islam and Pakistan is riddled with glaring theological misconceptions and historical half-truths. Though they may never sound as obviously rabid as, say, the Nazis of Germany did (in their hatred against anything non-Aryan’), but by their silence and denials in the context of the rising incidents of intolerance, sectarian chauvinism and audacious acts of holy terror, haven’t we become silent but willing agents of the fascist Islamist agenda?

    Many Pakistani Muslims, even of the ‘moderate’ stock, do not realize that they too would become instant victims of the extremists if these monsters succeed in imposing their wicked fantasy of a supposed ‘Islamic state.’

    This ‘Islamic state’ that the reactionaries – ranging from conventional religious parties such as Jamat-i-Islami and Jamat Ahle Hadith, to terror and extremist outfits like the Taliban and its many sectarian lashkars are advocating – has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with any of the Quran’s central themes like justice, equality and mercy.

    Keeping in mind the hatred spouted by some religious parties and the violence imposed by the terror groups is enough to understand that the vision of this so-called holy state that each one of these men and groups want to enforce is about violently eliminating not only non-Muslms and those belonging to non-Sunni Muslim sects in Pakistan, but also those Sunni Muslims considered as ‘moderate.’

    Now imagine a state such as this that is also blessed with nuclear weapons.

    History teaches that the charisma, appeal and dynamism of any version of fascism are squarely depended on a continuous need for violence, aggression and war. The fascists would first eliminate their obvious opponents, and then turn their guns against perceived enemies of the state and their ideology. These may be minority communities who do not fit into the puritanical worldview of the fascists. Fascists would use them as scapegoats to whip up ‘unity’ among the majority and to explain the state’s economic and political failings. Finally, the guns and bombs would be aimed at the world at large, because according to the fascists, the outside world could not tolerate the ‘progress,’ ‘might’ and ‘piety’ of the fascist republic.

    Simply put, any kind of fascism is a recipe for a bloody disaster. Once a fascist ‘Islamic state’ has gotten rid of all non-Muslims, ‘heretics’ and people from minority Islamic sects, it is then bound to lead its people to a kind of war that might mean their complete and final obliteration.

    That’s why when extremists and their supporters in Islamic parties and among the many half-literate middle-class sections talk about the ‘supremacy of Islam’ and the need to implement the shariah law, they are actually talking about reaching and implementing a parasitical state of nihilism.

    In conclusion I would like to share a queer observation: The Shias constitute the largest ‘minority Muslim sect’ in Pakistan (about 20 to 25 per cent of the population). This community has for many years been at the receiving end of violence and hatred unleashed by a number of militant Sunni sectarian organizations. Hardly has one seen certain frontline Shia organizations such as the Imamia Students Organization (ISO) vehemently protest against such violence. But ironically, ISO is always out in force whenever Arab Muslim organizations such as the Hezbollah and Hamas come under stack from Israeli state aggressors.

    Same is the case with a majority of Sunni religious parties and a number of urban middle-class Pakistanis. They are likely to protest and make a loud noise if Muslims come under sigh in Guatemala or Sisley, but would remain tight-lipped and inauspicious when Muslims, non-Muslims and so-called heretics are attacked and murdered by those who claim to be the only true and good Muslims.
     
  6. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    A muted response to minority killings

    BY SANA SALEEM ON 06 1ST, 2010 | COMMENTS (408)

    Incomprehensible. That is the only word I can use to express my feelings about the indifference of people, the authorities, and the media towards the attacks against the Ahmadi community in Lahore on Friday. Attacks that were carried out in broad daylight, killing over 90 people and injuring many others. Attacks that turned into a hostage situation with over 1500 people at risk of being killed or fatally injured.

    I am disappointed that there is no one to protest and lament the killings, especially since the Ahmadi community seems to have been silenced by years of discrimination and persecution. I was six years old and attending a Quran class when the maulvi sahib blatantly refused to teach two of my friends, Maham and Rija. I remember his words, his eyes flaming with hate as he refused to let them sit in his class, or even touch ‘their’ Quran. I did not understand why no one protested, why they had chosen to leave the room silently, as if the hate and discrimination was expected. I found myself in the same dilemma on Friday, when after one of the largest attacks against them in the history of Pakistan, this was the only official statement issued on behalf of the Ahmadi community:

    Despite what has happened no Ahmadi has taken to the streets in protest; no Ahmadi has displayed anything but patience. Instead we have turned towards God and prayed for the victims, for their bereaved relatives and for the long term peace and prosperity of Pakistan. We will continue with this example no matter what is thrown at us in the full certainty that God is with us and always will be.

    The only reality check regarding this horrifying episode has come from a woman who was attending to one of the people wounded in Friday’s attacks. She refused to accept a bouquet from Interior Minister Rehman Malik, and went on to lambast him for inadequate security provisions at the sites of worship. It was indeed ironic to see dozens of security guards accompany the interior minister to his trip to the hospital to visit the survivors of Friday’s attacks. If only half of those were present to guard the two sites that came under attack, this incident could have been prevented, or, if nothing else, casualties could have been minimised. There is thus absolutely no justification for this act of negligence.

    Meanwhile, the social networks have also been abuzz with outrage. Twitter, in particular, was flooded with messages of condemnation, shock, and horror. Many were disgusted by the way in which media outlets were describing the sites that were attacked as ‘worship places’ instead of ‘mosques.’ Others accused the media of downplaying the casualties. Someone remarked how a popular news channel’s comments suggesting ‘worship places should have their own security’ were derogatory and inhumane. There were debates on whether the media channels will count those killed as ‘martyrs,’ and if not, then why not?

    Here’s the thing: I do not care whether those killed on Friday will be labeled martyrs or not. It does not make a difference to me whether the authorities have traced the terrorist outfit responsible for this attack. I remain enraged that most of us refuse to recognise the attacks as a human rights issue, and, most importantly, as a violation of minority rights. And by ‘most of us,’ I am referring to those of us who are neither politicians, scholars, clerics, or media personnel. I have lived in Pakistan long enough not to expect the authorities to be sensitive towards the real issues of the people. But the public framing of Friday’s attacks is about the underlying hate, discrimination, and religious bigotry that has been suffocating us for years. This is about those of us who choose to use religion to justify inhumanity despite the gory images showing attacks on innocent civilians.

    There is no justification for killing unarmed civilians – no religion or legal system allows a bunch of people to take the law in their hands and carry out barbaric acts of terror.

    Today, I must confess that I am scared of the uncertainties the future holds. I fear that this attack might be one of many to come. And most of all, I fear that another attempt will be similarly downplayed and labeled an act of terrorism, rather than a violation of minority rights. The stabbing of an Ahmadi man at Narowal on Monday further strengthens my fears, especially as the threats of the assailant to “not leave any Ahmadi alive” serve as uncanny reminders of state-sanctioned discrimination against the Ahmadi community.

    I feel that in our attempts to prove ourselves so-called pious Muslims and patriotic Pakistanis we have left humanity far behind. Our sympathies have become political, and our humanity has been compromised. Somewhere in our tussle to become pioneers of Islam and the darling of the West, we have stopped being human. For every atrocity that unfolds around us, we have a home-made conspiracy theory, a religious justification, or a history lesson with which to identify the culprits. But amid this information overload, the atrocities go ignored, priorities remain distorted, and the massacre continues.

    For every one who witnessed the horrendous killings of Ahmadis this past week, I have one question: how many Garhi Shahos and Gojras will it take for us to stop abusing religious beliefs to justify killing innocent people?
     
  7. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    Inciting Intolerance

    BY GUEST ON 05 31ST, 2010 | COMMENTS (143)

    “I’ll tell you this — if you do build a mosque, I hope somebody blows it up. I hope the mosque isn’t built, and if it is, I hope it’s blown up.”

    Those comments aired live on the radio, less than 36-hours before half-a-dozen terrorists armed with automatic weapons, grenades and suicide jackets stormed into two Ahmadi places of worship in Lahore, killing at least 95 people and injuring over a hundred worshipers.

    But that message of hate wasn’t aired in Lahore or even in Pakistan. It was aired live across Houston, Texas.

    The man behind the comments was Michael Berry, a former Houston City Council member and an award-winning radio talk show host with KPRC-950 AM.

    In fact, the Michael Berry Show, which the comments were made on, was recently named the #1 talk show at 5 pm in the state of Texas. The show also won first place in the Houston Press Club Awards for best radio talk show in 2008.

    Berry’s audacious comments were made to a live caller named Tony, who wanted to respond to the host’s opening comments in the show about how plans to build a mosque near Ground zero in NYC would be ‘disaster.’

    Michael Berry: Tony on the West side I see you’re a big fan!
    Tony: Hey Michael, I’m wondering if you are a bigot or..
    Michael Berry: What’s a bigot?
    Tony: Let me just get my point and then you can talk all you want because that’s what you do
    Michael Berry: Okay…
    Tony: Now you so eloquently put it that they were terrorists in 9/11, that’s fine everyone agrees with it, then you beautifully go on to say they are building a mosque. Who is this they? Who is this ‘they,’ you are talking about? I’m an American Muslim, so I’m not an American? I can’t build a mosque where I want to? How are you attaching criminals who flew planes, terrorist, murders who flew planes in 9/11 and linking them to building a mosque in New York?
    Michael Berry: Is Tony your real name?
    Tony: It is my real name. It’s my real name because people have called me Tony since I was born. That’s why. But what difference does it make what my name is?
    Michael Berry: You just don’t sound like a Tony. Alright, well here’s the deal
    Tony: Uh huh
    Michael Berry: No! No Tony, you can’t build a mosque!
    Tony: Why not?
    Michael Berry: At the site of 9/11
    Tony: Why not?
    Michael Berry: No you can’t…and I’ll tell you this if you do build a mosque, I hope somebody blows it up!

    The complete live call can be heard here.

    The caller Tony responded to Berry’s comments by saying, “Good for you! That puts you right in the category of the people who flew the planes.”

    And then the following conversation took place:
    Michael Berry: really?
    Tony: Yes, you people are exactly the same as those terrorists who flew those planes.
    Michael Berry: Who is you people?
    Tony: What?
    Michael Berry: Who is you people? Whatever your name is.
    Tony: You people, you right-wing nut jobs. That’s who you are.
    Michael Berry: Let me tell you something Tony. It’s the right wing nut jobs that are going to keep this country safe from people like you.
    Tony: Hold on, saving from who? Who are you saving us from ? Saving from me?
    Michael Berry: No. Listen. You are in a building box. Its right wing radicals like me that are going to keep this country safe for you and everyone else from the people that are flying the planes from the countries that you fled from. Okay? If you want to identify with those people, go live with them. If you want to live in countries where they are practicing radical Islam: if you want to live there and be a part of that, Then by all means, whatever your real name is go do it. If you feel offended that we don’t want a mosque on top of 9/11. Then you have no shame or you are full of audacity.

    Comments like that coming from a popular radio host in the city I live in aren’t just hurtful, they are scary. He clearly had no problem equating the 9/11 terrorists with ALL Muslims. And he had no problem making a call for “bombing a mosque” live on the airwaves in a city with 17 mosques and close to 200, 000 Muslims.

    People like Michael Berry are killing the spirit of liberty and civil rights that define the United States of America.

    Berry actually had the guts to say to the caller, “Is Tony your real name? You just don’t sound like a Tony.”

    The irony is his own wife of 17 years, Nandita Berry, goes by “Nandy”. According to his about Michael Berry page she “was born and raised in Hyderabad, India. They are the proud parents of 3-year-old “Michael T”, who was born in Ethiopia.”

    So while this white right-wing public rep cum radio host boosts of his diversity ‘by being married to an Indian immigrant and having adopted baby from Africa’ he also calls for a mosque to be blown up.

    What kind of hypocrisy is that?

    As the caller named Tony put it “you are exactly the same as those terrorists who flew those planes.”

    ‘They’ say they are fighting in the name of Islam and then they storm into places of worship and kill 95 God-fearing Ahmadis.

    Congratulations, Michael Berry your message of hate resonated all the way back to Lahore.

    PS: Michael Berry graciously issued a half-baked apology on the KPRC-950’s website:

    “While I stand by my disagreement of the building of the mosque on the site, I SHOULD NOT have said ‘I hope someone blows it up.’ That was dumb, and beneath me. I was trying to show “Tony” how much I opposed his opinion, but I went too far. For that, I apologize to my listeners.”

    But the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is not satisfied. As the largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization in the US, they are demanding action from the FCC (the American version of PTA). In a press release the National Executive Director Nihad Awad has said:

    “Calls for acts of violence against houses of worship must never be tolerated or excused. We ask the FCC to demonstrate that incitement to violence is never acceptable on our nation’s airwaves.”

    Sahar Habib Ghazi is a Houston-based journalist, who also blogs at www.outsideislamabad.com
     
  8. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    Frayed ends of sanity

    BY NADEEM F. PARACHA ON 05 29TH, 2010 | COMMENTS (367)

    Over and over again I have been using Dawn and Dawn.com to hit home the point about the vicious, soul destroying mindset the bulk of Pakistan’s urban middle-classes (especially in the Punjab) have fallen in to.

    I have tried to give numerous examples to highlight this devastating observation and here again is another one: On May 28 when terrorists associated with what is called the ‘Punjabi Taliban’ attacked various places of worship of the Ahmadiyya community in Lahore, the TV channels were out in force covering the gruesome event. However, that did not stop them from running happy-go-lucky commercials of their corporate sponsors during breaks, giving the whole event a rather surreal feel.

    But this can be expected from this unfortunate republic’s many TV channels. There is now not an iota of doubt left about the level of sheer cynicism, sensationalism and demagoguery that they operate on. Most of them have become a reckless reflection of some of the most obnoxious, conspiratorial and chauvinistic sections found within the country’s convulsing middle-classes.

    That said, one however does expect some semblance of decency and reason in the polished corridors of the companies that advertise their brands on these channels. Couldn’t any of these companies that always claim to be ‘good social citizens’ have the presence of mind and heart to ask TV channels to stop running their ads during the coverage of blood-splattered events?

    Can’t they see how strange their ads look and sound when squeezed between images of blood, gore and tragedy? Don’t these ads with an unending series of plastic smiles and jingly material-worshipping actually end up mocking the tragedy that is unfolding live on the TV screens?

    I don’t think such a thought even crosses their minds. And how can it when a number of the same companies so nonchalantly end up sponsoring TV shows run by utter hate-mongers. It’s quite a sight, really, watching macho, loud demagogues and so-called TV anchors spiting venom against the West and then asking for a break that are riddled with commercials of Western multinationals.

    A religious TV show on a popular TV channel that in 2009 instigated violence against the Ahmadiyyas continues to be sponsored by various colas, facial creams, telecom brands and shampoos, and so is the show whose host is under scrutiny for allegedly having sympathies and links with terrorist organisations.

    In my eyes the companies who claim to represent the decent, ‘family-oriented’ and peaceful ‘modern’ sections of the educated urbanites carry an equal amount of blame as do the channels that let hate-mongers run amok in the studios just to jack up their ratings.

    It’s like shouting populist slogans mingled with idiotic juice, milk and telecom jingles over the dead bodies of all those unfortunate souls that these very channels so enthusiastically report and show.

    Is there no one among us so-called educated urban classes with the sight, mind and conscience to at least question the kind of convoluted and surreal corporate-jihadi anarchy so clearly visible on TV channels?

    Can’t we see that much of what is being preached and ‘debated’ on our channels in the name of religion, justice, reform and politics (and cynically being sponsored by multinationals), is one of the major reasons behind the confused and ravaged state our middle-classes (especially its youth) have come to suffer?

    This is not an overstatement. Certain TV anchors and their shows have proven to have enough power to actually instigate violence. Examples are in abundance of idiots listening to idiots on TV, gathering hateful ideas about certain Muslim sects, ‘minorities,’ and personalities, with some actually going to the extent of committing murder in the name of religion.

    And yet we can still see such TV anchors and their favourite side-kicks holding fort on prime-time television, and multinationals willingly sponsoring all the hatred and venom that is spewed on these shows.

    So what is that narrative upon which a bulk of Pakistan’s ‘political’ and ‘religious’ TV programming is based on?

    For years this narrative has gleefully been disseminated by the state, the clergy, schools and now the electronic media. It’s quite simple: Pakistan was made in the name of Islam (read, a theocratic state). Thus, only Muslims (mainly orthodox Sunnis) have the right to rule, run and benefit from this country. ‘Minority’ religions and ‘heretical Islamic sects’ living as Pakistani citizens are not to be trusted. They need to be constitutionally, socially and culturally isolated. Parliamentary democracy too can’t be trusted. It unleashes ethnic forces, ‘corruption’ and undermines the role of the military and that of Islam in the state’s make-up. It threatens the ‘unity’ of the country; a unity based on a homogeneous understanding of Islam (mainly concocted by the state and its right-wing allies). Most of our political, economic and social ills are due to the diabolical conspiracies hatched by our many enemies (especially India, Israel and the West in general). They want to break up Pakistan because Pakistan is the ‘bastion of Islam’ in a volatile region dominated by Indian, American and Shia Iranian hegemony. The many terrorist organisations operating in Pakistan are foreign funded …

    This narrative can go on in its bizarre depiction of what we as a country are or should become. Not for a moment are we ready to stand back a bit and look at what we have made of ourselves and of what we call our home. We call ourselves ‘moderate Muslims,’ and yet applaud or quietly tolerate the hate-spewing claptrap that pours out from our mosques and TV screens. We cheer about the fact that Pakistan is one of the very few democratic Muslim countries with a constitution, and yet we will not speak a word about those clauses and sections in the same constitution that have triggered violence and repression against women and have sanctioned a religiously apartheid state that only allows the orthodox Muslim majority democratic rights to rule the country, or run in an election.

    Isn’t it obvious that not only do these sections in the much celebrated constitution go against the modern-Muslim vision of men like Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Iqbal and Syed Ahmed Khan, but are also against the basic spirit of tolerance, mercy and justice so vividly present in the Quran?

    We have clearly lost sight of what Pakistan was supposed to be: A democratic, modern Muslim country where religion had nothing to do with the matters of the state and where the so-called ‘minorities’ were free to practice their respective faiths.

    These are not my words. And neither are they the words that Pakistani children are taught at school, in spite of the fact that these words and thoughts were spoken by the founder of the country, Jinnah, when he succeeded in carving out a country for the Muslims of the subcontinent, thinking that they would struggle under what he believed would become a ‘Hindu theocracy.’

    So what happened to that Pakistan? The obvious culprits in this regard are the many years of repressive military regimes and their growing nexus with obscurantist forces that we have had to burden and face. But were the democrats any better?

    The 1973 constitution that legitimised religious apartheid was inaugurated under a brilliant and popularly elected Prime Minister and approved by equally elected members of the parliament. And even though the same constitution was further riddled with myopic laws against religious minorities and women by a fanatical and hypocritical ‘Islamic’ dictatorship, how many democrats that came after the demise of this dictatorship ever bothered to at least debate or review these laws?

    So much has become taboo in this country — so much so that the question now arises, can we ever become a truly free, enlightened and intellectually robust nation? Or will we keep hiding behind our fragile masks of religiosity and ‘patriotism,’ a mask that goes up in front of our faces every time we are confronted by a situation in which our views and actions (especially in the name of faith) are questioned.

    We do not debate. We react and then huddle up behind our flimsy and lopsided historical and national narratives for reassurance, cursing the world for our ills, looking out for ‘infidels’ and ‘heretics’ among us, or for scapegoats in the shape of media-constructed punching bags.

    The nightmare we are living today has a lot to do with all this. We remain in a slumber, carving out an isolated ideological comfort zone for ourselves, while obnoxious, sectarian and so-called puritanical keepers of the faith attack and kill in the name of God whenever and however they please. We claim to be treading a middle-path between liberalism and fanaticism, when the truth is, it is exactly the middle-path that has gone entirely missing in how we think, behave, act and react.
     
  9. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    How Reluctance to Debate Religion Has Resulted in a Total Quagmire

    Jump to Comments
    Raza Habib Raja has authored this exclusive post for PTH. We welcome his original thoughts and courage to express them. Raza Rumi

    I have often been much more amazed not at the religious fanaticism of the few, but at passivity of the moderate majority. And although skeptics will cast their doubt but the fact is that Pakistan on the whole has a moderate population, particularly when compared to countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia etc, where large sections of population are thoroughly radicalized. In Pakistan comparable fervour is dominant only in pockets. Yes this is a country which has Taliban but it is also a country where people have largely voted for PPP and PML (N) (which is a moderate conservative political party). This is a country which despite being conservative has never voted clergy into power. It has a relatively independent media and entertainment avenues are more eclectic compared to aforementioned Islamic countries.

    And yet this is the also the same country which through legislation declared Ahmadis Non Muslims and that too during the tenor of ZAB, arguably the most intelligent and liberal Prime Minister. And mind you PPP did not originally have any such agenda item in its manifesto. Moreover, Hadood and blasphemy laws are solidly entrenched despite the fact that these were not enacted through a proper legislative procedure. Today parties are reluctant to even debate these controversial legislation despite the obvious fact that these are in contravention of the modern day ideals of human rights. Due to these black laws, the religious extremism and discrimination have been institutionalized and Pakistan has become extremely controversial in the international arena. Despite the enormous negative publicity and being in the watch list of various human rights organizations, there is hardly any concrete debate in Pakistan on the mainstream media and legislative forums to repeal these laws. No political party wants to be the political casualty even if it can muster the two third majority. And this is happening in a country where clergy are regularly outvoted by huge margins.

    In my opinion the issue is not that population is radicalized but rather actually too timid due to the extreme veneration of religion and its fanatic patronage by the clergy. This is an important factor which needs to be understood before we can have any realistic chance of repealing of controversial laws and even tackle general extremism. Plus it is this reverence which creates this state of denial wherein Muslims find it impossible to believe that any Muslim can indulge in heinous crimes like terrorism.

    From the childhood, religion is revered and its reverence is reinforced through promoting a culture of unquestionable acceptance. Once we grow up despite the fact that majority is not completely adherent to the rituals the unquestionable reverence remains embedded in our mindset. I know many people whose personal lives show complete abhorrance from even the basic Islamic teachings and yet they would never PUBLICLY question anything in the name of religion. It is this critical group which is educated, moderate and yet timid to question things at PUBLIC FORUM which has resulted in this stalemate where laws like Hadood Ordinance and Second Amendment despite being visibly contrary to very basic human rights, find no vociferous voices of objection.

    THE CENTRAL ISSUE IS THAT ONCE A THING IS WIDELY PROJECTED AS UN ISLAMIC BY THE MAINSTREAM RELIGIOUS ‘SCHOLARS”, NO ONE RAISES ANY EFFECTIVE VOICE TO CHALLENGE IT AND THE PRIME REASONS ARE EXTRAORDINARY UNQUESTIONABLE REVERENCE AND INABILITY TO CHALLENGE CLERGY IN INTERPRETATION. In our personal lives we will even violate several unquestionable Islamic GOOD rituals but in public too afraid and indifferent to raise a voice against something which clearly is against the basic spirit of our religion itself.

    A classic case is the issue of Ahmadis. Since mainstream clergy has declared them as Non Muslims and their status does not directly affect us, therefore all of us have simply accepted that they are. None of us is ready to challenge clergy and to conduct efforts to repeal second amendment. No political party can muster the courage to confront a handful of zealots. Even Altaf Hussain had to retract his statements supporting Ahmadis.

    Of course passivity and timidity originating from this reverence is also reinforced by manic irrational “defence” from the clergy who is ready to pounce on any one talking about reformation in religion. In several instances people have been forced to retract their “bold” statements when the clergy fanatically retaliates by categorizing them as blasphemy. The media either endorses the fanaticism or merely adopts appeasement as the approach to “pacify” things. The latest causality of this fanaticism is Ms Fauzia Wahab who was accused of committing blasphemy and was literally hounded by the clergy. Our “independent” media could not muster any courage to speak in her support. In fact leading newspapers like Jang were openly critical of Ms Wahab.

    Another rationale for passivity comes from believers of “religion is a personal matter doctrine”. There are several of us who show reluctance to debate religion by citing the above reason. In principle I fully agree that it SHOULD BE A PERSONAL MATTER as religion relates to our innate and spiritual beliefs. Since different groups practice it in their own way, therefore when it is incorporated in laws it can be overly imposing on others. And the problem is that here it is incorporated in our laws and therefore it is no longer that personal!! And if you want it to be relegated to personal affairs you need to debate those laws and therefore you will end up debating the source of the laws, the religion.

    A common tactic used by conservatives to discourage any critical debate is to give belittling reference to inadequate qualifications of those who are trying to adopt a reformist approach. What really amazes me that this reference is never made when you are supporting ultraconservative view of Islam. Surely our qualifications are inadequate for that also. Moreover, all of us are ready to knit sophisticated conspiracy theories about foreign affairs without any so called qualifications and yet for religion which majority of us have studied right from class one to intermediate, we are required to have extraordinary qualifications.

    UNLESS AND UNTIL WE ARE READY TO DISCUSS RELIGION WITH A CRITICAL APPROACH, WE WILL ALWAYS BE IN A QUAGMIRE. UNLESS WE TRY TO CHALLENGE CLERGY AND TAKE THE MANTLE OF INTERPRETATION AWAY FROM THEM WE WILL ALWAYS BE IMPOTENT AND VIRTUALLY ON THE DEFENSIVE WHEN INTERNATIONALLY CRITICS BRAND ISLAM AS AN INTOLERANT RELIGION.

    Every tragedy also opens up an opportunity to take a fresh look at the situation. The horrific attacks on the Ahmadis have also forced many to rethink the status given to Ahmadis. Even leaders of conservative parties like PML (N) have shown some courage. Right now we should capitalize this opportunity and open up the debate on repealing second amendment.

    So my brothers and sisters come forward and let’s break this apathy! Islam is our religion and we do not need these clergy to interpret it for us. Let’s all unite and break their hegemony. LET’S SHOW COLLECTIVE COURAGE AND NO MULLAH WILL DARE TO OPPOSE US. WHAT WE NEED IS NOT SPORADIC UNCOORDINATED EFFORTS BUT A UNITED, FOCUSED AND COORDINATED APPROACH. With our education and focus we will be able to break their hegemony and also this quagmire.
     
  10. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    Pakistan's New Networks of Terror

    It's not just about Waziristan anymore. How the country's various militias are joining forces -- and what it could mean for attacks within the United States.

    BY IMTIAZ GUL | JUNE 10, 2010

    On May 28, several mercenaries invaded two mosques in Lahore, Pakistan's second-largest city, and ended up mowing down nearly 100 Ahmadis, members of a breakaway sect that was officially declared to be non-Muslim in the mid-1970s. The killing was one of the boldest and most deadly in a year of bold and deadly attacks in Pakistan. And it pointed to a frightening development in Pakistani terrorism. The militants had a typical profile for jihadists in Pakistan, having trained in North Waziristan in camps connected to the Pakistani Taliban (TTP). But it also seems likely that they were connected to local Punjabi terrorist groups. In a sign of Pakistan's increasing chaos, the groups that were formerly barricaded in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the Afghanistan border are now joining forces with groups around the country -- and the result is a networked terrorism outfit with an ever-growing capacity to produce pain and mayhem.

    At the center of the current frenzy are Sunni outfits such as the Punjab-based Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, and the Kashmir-focused Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba (which also keeps a headquarters in Lahore). These groups were born out of the vicious proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran that began in the immediate aftermath of the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Concerned that Iran's revolutionary message would inspire Shiites and weaken Sunni dominance, the Saudis, whose Wahhabi brand of Islam is virulently anti-Shiite, funded and equipped Sunni militias in Punjab tasked with intimidating and eliminating prominent Pakistani Shiites.


    The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 extended the theater of Saudi-Iranian interests to Afghanistan and provided Pakistan's military ruler, Gen. Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, with a golden opportunity to secure international legitimacy after his 1977 coup that deposed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. With active support from the CIA, Zia not only turned Pakistan into the launching pad for the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan, but also tasked his security establishment with finding ways to turn the tide of jihad on India for the liberation of Kashmir.

    The Pakistani terrorist groups that emerged were supposed to bleed India and thus weaken its hold over Kashmir, two-thirds of which is under New Delhi's control. But while these radical organizations acted as Pakistan's unofficial pawns, often trained and funded by Pakistani intelligence, they became a source of religious radicalization, particularly in rural Pakistan, where they went to recruit young men to join the struggle.

    Even after Gen. Pervez Musharraf banned most of these organizations in January 2002 in an attempt to appease both Washington and India, the damage only accelerated. The rank and file of these rabidly anti-Shiite organizations found a welcoming home in FATA, where al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban had settled following their retreat from Afghanistan. Dozens of Pakistani tribesmen with a history of fighting in Afghanistan joined the Taliban in solidarity and eventually formed their own movement, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Pakistani Taliban, founded in December 2007 by Baitullah Mehsud and currently led by Hakimullah Mehsud. The unintended consequence of Musharraf's ban was to turn FATA into a lawless melting pot of violent Islamists.The turning point for the Pakistani Army came in 2004, when after a showdown with militias in South Waziristan, extremists operating in FATA began attacking the military and its information network. First came target killings, a technique that had proved effective in Iraq. Then attacks on army convoys. Pakistan's security establishment (called the ISI) was slow to come around, but gradually Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who was then head of the ISI and is now Pakistan's chief of army staff, overhauled the organization, putting some officers out to pasture and transferring others.

    The Pakistani Army's advance into South Waziristan in October of last year provoked an explosive al Qaeda-led reaction. In 2009, militants staged 87 suicide bombings across Pakistan, killing more than 3,000 people, to avenge the deaths and capture of fellow fighters. (To put this in perspective, until 2002 Pakistan had only suffered one single suicide attack, on the Egyptian Embassy in 1995.) Most of the violence had a direct or indirect connection to Waziristan, which borders Afghanistan's volatile eastern provinces. One of the most wanted Afghan insurgents, Jalaluddin Haqqani, and his son Siraj operate in and around Waziristan.


    May's failed attack on Times Square has finally brought this disastrous state of affairs to the attention of Americans. But despite the new focus on Waziristan, it's actually the nexus between jihadists based in FATA -- inspired by al Qaeda and guided by Haqqani and the Pakistani Taliban -- and militants from outside the region that is today one of the most troubling developments in Pakistan.

    Increasingly, members of the Punjab-based Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, as well as breakaways from Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, are joining forces for attacks inside the country. Although the TTP is fighting to hold onto its headquarters in South Waziristan, it is still able to accommodate Punjabi comrades, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in particular. This combination of terrorist groups has already subjected Pakistan to at least 28 suicide bombings so far this year, more and more occurring outside the TTP's traditional reach in the border regions. Tuesday's brazen attack near Islamabad on a convoy of trucks bound for NATO troops in Afghanistan has security officials afraid the groups might be evolving their tactics as they work together and widen their area of influence into Punjab.

    The establishment ostensibly doesn't consider Lashkar-e-Taiba or Jaish-e-Mohammed the real public enemy and thus does not plan any crackdown on them in the near future. But this strategy could be a tragic mistake: Although the militants operating in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border regions may number a few thousand, their creeping ideological appeal represents the biggest threat not only to Pakistan, but to all countries targeted by jihad -- perhaps most of all to America.
     
  11. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    Why Pakistan's Ahmadi community is officially detested​



    When a Pakistani Muslim applies for a passport or national ID card, they are asked to sign an oath that no Muslim anywhere in the world is asked to sign.
    The oath goes like this: "I consider Mirza Ghulam Ahmad an impostor prophet. And also consider his followers, whether belonging to the Lahori or Qadiani group, to be non-Muslims."
    Like millions of other Pakistanis, I have signed this oath several times without giving much thought to exactly what Mr Ahmad stands for, or what the technical difference between Lahoris or Qadianis is. I want my passport, and if I have to sign up to a fatwa to get it, so be it.
    But like millions of people from my generation I also remember that when I was growing up, the minority Ahmadi sect were considered just another Muslim sect.
    Non-Muslims
    Like scores of others I had friends who were Ahmadis. We played cricket together, and sometimes, when our parents ordered us off to the mosque, we even prayed side by side.
    Last month, when more than 90 Ahmadis were massacred in two mosques in Lahore, I remembered the precise moment in 1974 when it all began to change.
    There were street protests by religious parties against Ahmadis demanding that they should be declared non-Muslims.
    One day I saw some bearded activists standing outside a clothes merchant's shop in our town, chanting anti-Ahmadi slogans and turning customers away, telling them that buying clothes from Ahmadis was haram - forbidden.
    At the time I was learning to memorise the Koran from a very kind, mild-mannered teacher.
    I asked him what exactly was wrong with the Ahmadis.
    He explained to me that they didn't believe that the Prophet Muhammad was the last and the final messenger.
    I said OK, maybe that makes them kafirs, infidels, but who says that kafirs can't sell cloth?
    My teacher's response was a full-handed slap, so sudden, so unexpected that it rang in my ears for days to come.
    That same year Pakistan's first elected parliament declared Ahmadis non-Muslims.
    Then in 1984 Pakistan's military dictator and self-appointed guardian of the faith General Zia-ul-Haq inserted that oath in the constitution that we are all required to sign.
    Because of the new laws, Ahmadis have been sent to prison simply for using the Muslim greeting Assalamu alaikum, or putting a Koranic verse in a greeting card.
    Heretic
    Over the last three decades the hatred against Ahmadis has become so widespread that Pakistan is now embarrassed by the only Nobel laureate it has ever produced.

    Attacks on Ahmadis are beconing increasingly commonplace
    Dr Abdus Salam Khan won the Nobel Prize for physics and, as a proud Pakistani, accepted his award in national dress.
    But he was an Ahmadi so there is no monument to celebrate him, no universities named after him.
    The word "Muslim" on his gravestone has been erased. Even the town he is buried in has been renamed in an attempt to erase our collective memory.
    This hatred was evident in the reactions to the massacre.
    TV channels were more obsessed with making sure that in their broadcasts Ahmadi mosques were called "places of worship".
    When you refuse to call a place of worship by its proper name, you are implying that it's not a mosque, it's not a church, it's not a synagogue, it's a place where godless people do godless things.
    And all the various Islamic political parties, whose leaders often refuse to pray together, are united on this.
    When Pakistan's main opposition leader Nawaz Sharif used the phrase "our brothers" for the murdered Ahmadis, leaders from 11 political parties came together to condemn him and threatened to issue a fatwa declaring him a heretic.
    Over the last three decades the siege has been so palpable that those Ahmadis who couldn't afford to emigrate have taken to hiding their identity.
    If you want to destroy someone in public life it's enough to drop a hint that they are Ahmadi.
    In the 1980s, the former chief minister of Punjab and current federal minister didn't attend his own mother's funeral because there were rumours that she was an Ahmadi.
    When the funerals of the massacred Ahmadis took place there were no officials, no politicians present.
    Pakistan's liberal bloggers and some English-language columnists did write along the lines that Ahmadi blood is on our hands.
    Others were adamant that it was yet another Friday, yet another massacre by the Pakistani Taliban, and we should just fight this sort of terrorism and leave the sectarian debates alone.
    Two incidents in the past week made me realise how pathological our response was. At a vigil to mark the massacre, where a handful of people had turned up, a passer-by asked me "Are you an Ahmadi?" My own loud and aggressive denial surprised me.
    Then an Ahmadi friend whose father survived the Lahore massacre wrote to me saying: "You know we have been living like this for decades. [Did] something like this have to happen for you to speak up?"
    How to listen to: From our own Correspondent
    Radio 4: Saturdays, 1130. Second weekly edition on Thursdays, 1100 (some weeks only)
    World Service: See programme schedules
    Download the podcast
    Listen on iPlayer
    Story by story at the programme website
     
  12. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Messages:
    5,711
    Likes Received:
    723
    Location:
    Bihar, BanGalore , India
    What else we can expect from a country whose foundations are based on hatred against other religions and country.
     
    Oracle likes this.

Share This Page