Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Original Sin


A policeman carries a wounded victim in Garhi Shahu Lahore (source: AFP)

I have to admit that all I really wanted to say or post today was vile swearing. At the pea-brained 'jihadis' with their pubic hair beards, at their bastard 'teachers' and Wahabbi funders, at the ass-wipe Pakistani establishment nee military that nurtured both of them, at the narrow-minded fat-assed bigoted mullahs who protect them and the moronic and blind politicians and bureaucrats that continue to mollycoddle them. There are really no civilized words to react to what has happened today in Lahore. 80+ innocent people, children included, gunned down while praying in their 'places of worship', places we are not even allowed to call mosques! And for what? Because 'they' don't fit in with 'our' puritannical idea of 'our' religion.

I keep coming back to the 'original sin' that did not begin this whole process of demonizing other sects and religions, but certainly sanctified it: the 1974 act of a democratic parliament, led by the secular and socialist Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, that declared Ahmadis as non-Muslims. Of course there had been anti-Ahmadi rabble rousing from much earlier - remember that the anti-Ahmadi Khatm-e-Nabuwat movement began in the early 1950s - but never before had the state officially sided with the mob. This act laid the basis, in my opinion, for the officially sanctified bigotry, persecution and oppression that followed under Mardood-e-Momin Ziaul Haq and continued under others, including the pointless declaration we must all append our names to, to get ID cards or passports. This original sin was not by the mullahs who had been braying for such a declaration for long and rioting in support of it, but by  Pakistan's democrats, secularists, intelligentsia, leftists, liberals and other minorities such as the Shia who acquiesced to it. Truly, if ever there was short-sightedness among Pakistan's establishment (and there are plenty of examples of it) this was it. Hereafter, a seed had been sown in the collective psyche, that not only was it okay to declare as heretics others who did not adhere to one's version of religion, but that violence and mob rule could be used to achieve your goals. The nurturing of extremist thought during Ziaul Haq's (mis)rule and its repercussions in the shape of today's barbaric attacks (and earlier targeting of Shias, Hindus and Christians) are a logical continuation of the original sin.

I know what the critical reaction to my statement is going to be. From the right, it will almost surely consist of theological arguments against the Ahmadis. From the left, some may argue about whether the original sin may, in fact, be the 1949 Objectives Resolution - which brought Islam into the constitution contrary to everything Jinnah stood for and would have thought proper - or even the concept of a state founded in the name of religion. I really have no desire to enter into a pointless theological debate with the right, other than to question whether they consider themselves bigger arbiters than Allah Himself. As far as I am concerned, heresy is between the Creator and the subject, who am I to make judgements about others' religious convictions? The argument on the left as far as the Objectives Resolution is concerned may have merit. (I don't subscribe to the negation of the idea of Pakistan as a whole simply because even states not founded on the basis of religion, such as India e.g. have seen horrific episodes of violence based on religion.) However, in my humble opinion, whereas the misguided Objectives Resolution did not actively profess prejudice and discrimination (in fact, believed it was standing against it), the anti-Ahmadi act of 1974 actively enshrined prejudice and discrimination.

Oh, but look at what some of our moronic opinion-makers say in response to today's carnage. There's Brigadier Imtiaz Billa on Business Plus suggesting an American conspiracy to force the Pakistan army to conduct an operation in North Waziristan and Southern Punjab and to malign Islam and Pakistan. Here's Lahore Commissioner Khusro Pervaiz immediately pointing to Indian involvement because "the operation was conducted on the anniversary of Pakistan's nuclear tests." There's some other maulvi on Geo's Pachas Minute claiming that Ahmadis have never been targeted "like this" before in Pakistan and that this shows that this is "not sectarian violence but just terrorism." And of course there is the usual chorus, of "these are not Muslims since Muslims could never do something so heinous." Will Pakistanis ever learn to look inward? Or understand cause and effect?

Thankfully, here's the moronic Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah (half-heartedly) admitting the linkage between the attackers and some madrassahs and even the Tableeghi Jamaat at Raiwind. And here's a shaken Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif finally realizing that these extremists are not potential voters that deserve covert support, but barbarians who need to be eliminated. Ah, but isn't he saying the same thing as his arch-nemesis Musharraf now? And does he have the balls to do what really needs to be done: a repeal of all discriminatory laws and practices that promote the mentality he finds so abhorrent now?

52 comments:

Ahsan said...

Good post XYZ. Nothing else to add.

Omer Hanif Janjua said...

... this blog post is just another e.g. of "liberal" extremism of the day !! and a delibrate attempt to paint evry1 with same brush !!

And if 1973 constitution is such a piece of shit that demarcates Qadianis as Non-muslim ,then same piece of shit guarantees them all rights.the issue is of the implementation !!

and btw i scrolled down whole of this cafepala's archive but coudn't find anything abt yaum-e-Takbeer!!

plus: using flithy language doesnt make ur point strong,rather shows ur emotional rush and lack in argument !!

Regards,
Omer Hanif Janjua.

Ahsan said...

Omer Hanif Janjua: Do you actually have any substantive points to make? A truly asinine comment if I ever saw one.

XYZ: I was discussing this on Twitter with a couple of journos, but want the Pyalas' views on things. The basic question under discussion was why the media, especially some of the English language "liberal" media, don't use the word "mosque" for Ahmedis' masjids. People pointed to the PPC and the fact that it carries a jail term. My response was that no one is actually going to put Hameed Haroon or anyone from Jang Group in jail for using the word mosque.

So then some people responded saying it's also about safety, and news organizations have a duty to protect their reporters from violent mobs. But my response to that is two words: "staff reporter".

My view is that Pakistani media organizations have taken self-censorship into an art form. Wouldn't it make a really big statement if they used the word "mosque"? Is this even on their (your) radar? What are the actual impediments to such a step? Because from the outside looking in, I can't figure it out.

Anonymous said...

Good post.

In addition to the original sin, another big 'fuck you' to the Ahmedis was the 1984 notification via ordinance by Zia which prohibited Ahmedis from engaging in "anti-Islam" activities. The definitions included in that ordinance effectively prohibited the Ahmedis from doing ANYTHING related to their religion. Funnily, no one's really brought up the fact that such restrictions actually contradict Article 20 of the Pakistani constitution which guarantees people the freedom of religion and the right to freely practice and propagate it. But then right-wing twats will say "oh but Islam is the basis for everything so fuck Article 20."

What a shameful day for those that have a conscience. To quote that gora from Uncle Sargam's show many, many years ago: what a country.

Anonymous said...

The day wasn't bad for everyone, though. Hamid Mir, Aamir Liaqat Hussain and the entire religious right experienced multiple orgasms.

Umair J said...

Good post. Just a small point about the response from the left surrounding the objectives resolution and/or the 1974 and 85 amendments. Law in pakistan runs skin deep. It hardly changes the discourse or practice thats prevalent at the ground level. If anything it might actually reflect already existing practices and opinions.

As an example, its sensible to think about the spate of sectarian violence that took place in this country over the last two decades. There is nothing in our constitution that actively promoted discord between Shias and Sunnis. There are a thousand other factors complicit in sectarian violence of which being a religious or at least moral society is one (probably the largest) and of course, modernization and identity mobilization for economic/political gains is another.

Basically what i'm trying to say is that regardless of whether the constitution gives impetus to sectarian strife or violence in the name of religion, these things were bound to rise up in a society that is both structurally changing, and has religion as a constituent unit of social identity. To argue for a secular constitution or a secular state, in my mind, is a flawed conception because that would assume the state lies as a distinct entity from society itself.

Its possible to hold the state accountable for what happened yesterday on two distinct grounds. a) for the functional aspect of not providing proper security. b) for the historical suppression of any form of an alternate liberal/progressive discourse in the country. And by liberal discourse i don't mean Pakistan Fashion Week, but the discourse of workers, peasants and the left.

Anonymous said...

Ironically even BBC Urdu's website is referring to the [Ahmedia] mosques as Ahmedia Marakiz, though beeb's English websites are reporting them as mosques. It's really shameful for BBC for having editorial double standards, or they are just compromising their editorial integirity to not to be appearing impartial while desprately wanting to get their FM bulletins restored

Anonymous said...

but u see...muslims CANT do anything so heinous.
The talibans arent really muslims. This is not a war based on sect or religion (anyone with a basic knowledge of our religion knows the translation of Qul Ya Aiyuhal Kafiroon) and this old-school-jew-worthy self contempt wont help us arrive at any answers any sooner.
I appreciate the sentiment though, i live in lahore and what happened yesterday made me want to lock myself up in a khud and never come out.

(p.s. since the jew comment will probably set up a lot of backs..it
wasnt meant to be racist,but ironic)

a. said...

i am ashamed to be a Pakistani today. fuck this law and fuck all the news editors who did not register their protest or take a stand over the censorship.

XYZ said...

@Ahsan: Re: "why the media, especially some of the English language "liberal" media, don't use the word "mosque" for Ahmedis' masjids", there are basically three reasons.

The first of course is the 'law of the land reason', meaning, that since it is illegal by the 1984 law introduced by Gen Zia - which has never been repealed - the media feels it cannot flout the law deliberately. As you point out in Twitter, however, this may be up for semantic questioning since the law actually specifies that Ahmedis themselves may not use Islamic terms, it says nothing about others using them. However, that may be a potential minefield: how would the media defend itself if e.g. the editor or one of the reporters was an Ahmedi? Would every reporter be required to identify their sect before using such terms?

The second and much more important reason is of course the clear fear of mob violence. 'Staff reporter' would not really work in the electronic media and in any case, the target of the attacks would prob be the entire media house, not just a reporter. Media houses have come under attack at the slightest provocation (and sometimes without provocation)- witness the protests recently outside Geo offices when Kamran Khan ran a segment critical of the Facebook ban. Reason or reasonableness (both of which Kamran Khan's segment was at pains to have) does not matter a whit in such cases. Of course, you are right that the media self-censors itself but that is perhaps expected in a society where rule of law does not hold much meaning and the state not only does not provide security, but sometimes actively encourages mob violence (remember the attacks on the Shanakht festival last year?).

The third reason, which is sometimes ignored, is that the large majority of people within the media also hold the same views as the mob with respect to religion. Do recall that some journalists organizations and many journalists themselves vociferously called for the internet bans even before the LHC decision. I suppose one can say that journalists and media people are hardly exceptions to the spread of obscurantist brainwashing that the rest of Pakistan has gone through. One need only touch upon this topic to see the reaction it engenders. The opposition and intrigue from within the media to any liberal stand being taken on this issue is often under-estimated. To expect businessmen such as the media house owners to put their whole business at stake for the sake of a principle, may be, I think, being a bit naiive.

Having said that, however, I completely agree with you that, no matter what the compulsions, it remains shameful and needs to be challenged at least by the people who think it is shameful.

...(cont.)...

a. said...

btw, shahbaz sharif pretending to be sorry about what happened.. is just fucking disgusting. for all he cares, ahmadis should stop existing altogether.

XYZ said...

@Umair J: I completely agree with you that 'law runs skin deep' and that changing laws in and of itself is not going to change mindsets.

However, there is a strong argument that can be made that the sanctity a regressive law confers on an action not only condones that action but creates a new collective psyche that promotes further regressive actions. The 1984 law that Gen Zia brought about could not have been introduced without the precedent that the 1974 act of parliament set in place. Similarly, the anti-Ahmedi hysteria of the Khatm-e-Nabuwat movement was limited to a small fringe of the population until it became ok to think of Ahmedis as outside the pale of Islam. Now ask anyone on the street what they think of Ahmedis and the common response will be whatever conspiracy theories they have heard through the mullah or the media.

Secondly, your example of sectarian strife over the last two decades ignores prob the most important factor in its spread: the state's support to openly sectarian organizations such as the Sipahe Sahaba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi et al whose members had fluid relationships with the Taliban, Jaish-e-Mohammad et al. Yes, the state may have been providing that support for other ends i.e. the 'jihad' in Afghanistan and Kashmir and not directly for sectarian warfare within the country, but there is ample evidence available to show that it turned a blind eye towards the sectarian terrorism of these organizations within Pakistan to preserve their 'other goals.' The state also looked the other way when the openly sectarian madrassahs sprang up in their thousands and spewed venom among moderate populations, because these very same madrassahs were being used to provide the human fodder for other wars. Yes of course there has been sectarian prejudice and even violence for a long time in Muslim history. But what Pakistan witnessed in the 1990s and 2000s was a exponential racheting up of the means that these sectarian outfits had to effect their designs.

The point I am making is that while I agree with you that simple un-nuanced calls to make the state 'secular' are often unrealistic in realpolitik terms, it is aslo impossible to divorce society's opinions from what the state - through its actions - has cultivated. The state does not simply reflect societal sentiments, it also shapes them.

Anonymous said...

Okay so lets get a few things straight.

It's naive to think that a piece of legislation such as the one that declared Ahmedis non-muslims could incite or in anyway condone such acts of terror. Haters exist all over the world. They not only discriminate but resort to violence. And that is exactly what we saw in Lahore. An act of parliament from 1974 can't do jack to provoke these barbarians. The truth is there are not just anti-Ahmedi groups but also anti-Shia groups that engage in countless target killings across the country (especially Balochistan). They may once be muslims but they no longer deserve to be associated with Islam. Hate criminals is what they really are.

Secondly - The reason why the Pakistani media doesn't call Ahmedi worship areas 'mosques' is simply because they are NOT mosques. It's just like Christains call their place of worship a Church and Aga Khani's refer to theirs as Jamat Khana and Shia's call theirs the Imam Bargah. Im not sure if Ahmedis have coined a name for their place of worship, so the media was only being objective.

Secondly Ahmedi is not a sect. It is a different religion altogether. Now I know some of you may argue that I am saying that because I am not one of them and its only because Ahmedis dont fit in with the 'puritannical' idea of Islam. I dont find any logic in that argument. We need to stop being so naive and learn to call an orange an orange. If the beliefs of a people fall outside the the most immediate boundaries of a religion and in fact contradict with the very foundation and the bindings of that religion, then I'm afraid the religion does not remain the same. Consider this example. If a body of Christains decide that they no longer believe in God, then they do not become a sect. By virtue of their beliefs they have automatically expelled themselves from Christianity. It is not only myopic to argue that Ahmedis are muslims but also naive.

Now as far as the rights of minorities are concerned I agree that Ahmedis and many other minorities have not been given their due rights and it is indeed shameful for a country that was formed for that very reason (at least in writing).

It's not a matter of Ahmedis or Muslims or Christians being attacked. The state is responsible equally for every citizen and it has failed to perform its duty. Especially when the National Crisis Management Cell had specifically warned of a possible attack on the Ahmedia community.

On a sidenote, I have a feeling the large number of attacks in Lahore has something to do with the city's laid back culture. It's just a thought. I mean whenever I think of the Lahore police I think of a fat police wala sipping on a large glass of Lassi casually saying Oh Khair aey jee..koi gal nai!

Jahil said...

Killing is becoming a joyfull pass time of our mullas .
Gov is not blind at all ,we public too know that is some masajid the preaching of killing done on weekly basis.
Visit a masjid located in momina abad near bijli nagar orangi town number 4.
On every Sunday evening the imported molvi give bhashan to kill all those who do not fallow there sect.
you can find such molvies in kachi abadies near you.
This game of killing will not end till public them self start a movement and gov give public a trust that there name and information will not reach back to killers and there preachers.
May Allah safe us and our country .

Rabia said...

just to add to what XYZ replied to Umair, it's also true that the Khatm-e-Nabuwat movement directly inspired the anti-Shia movement. After the "success" of the khatm-e-nabuwat movement many fine graduates of it like Haq Nawaz Jhangvi transferred their demagoguery to the Shia Sunni issue. So basically 1974 was a turning point in that everyone realized for the first time that with enough agitation, certain objectives could be achieved.

Also, Rabwah is in Jhang so I don't think it's a coincidence that Jhang has been the centre of anti-shia violence since the 80s.

XYZ said...

I will reply to Anon447 but before that let me quickly correct another thing.

@Rabia: Rabia, Rabwah is not in Jhang, it is in Chiniot district. And I'm not quite certain but I think you may have mixed up sects. The anti-Shia violence of the '80s was certainly centred in Jhang but had prob more to do with many of its feudals being Shia, making it easier to conflate sectarianism with a class conflict.

Umair J said...

Chiniot became a district just a year or two ago. Before that it was a tehsil in district jhang.

XYZ said...

@Umair J: Fair enough. My apologies to Rabia.

Rabia said...

rabwah was part of jhang district until 2009 when chiniot was given seperate district status.

not sure what you mean by mixing up sects... the anti-Shia violence had many causes, the shia sunni class conflict as you point out being one of them, but I was referring to the fact that many of the prominent deobandi sunni orators in Jhang like Haq Nawaz Jhangvi started their careers in the anti-ahmadi movement.

XYZ said...

@Rabia: I'm sorry, I misunderstood your point. You are absolutely right.

XYZ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
XYZ said...

@Anon447:

You write: "It's naive to think that a piece of legislation such as the one that declared Ahmedis non-muslims could incite or in anyway condone such acts of terror."

I never talked about the legislation "inciting" this act of terror. What I did say was that the mindset that promulgated such legislation led to the development of a intolerant culture that produces such terrorists.

You write: "The reason why the Pakistani media doesn't call Ahmedi worship areas 'mosques' is simply because they are NOT mosques...Im not sure if Ahmedis have coined a name for their place of worship..."

Why don't you ask an Ahmedi rather than parading ignorance. They call them mosques. And they were considered and called mosques by all of Pakistan until 1984 when Zia made it a crime to call them that. They are also publicly called mosques everywhere in the world except Pakistan.

You also say: "Shia's call theirs the Imam Bargah." My friend, Imam Bargahs are also mosques. Advice: look up the definition of a mosque / masjid. All it means is a Muslim place of worship. Here's Wikipedia: "The mosque also serves as a place where Muslims can come together for salat (prayer) (Arabic: صلاة‎, ṣalāt) as well as a center for information, education, and dispute settlement." Jamaat khanas and imam bargahs serve the same purpose.

You then write: "Ahmedi is not a sect. It is a different religion altogether...It is not only myopic to argue that Ahmedis are muslims but also naive." Well, as I said before, I'm not going to enter into theological arguments here. Just keep in mind that Ahmedis consider themselves a reform movement within Islam no matter what anyone else says. And no state, aside from Pakistan (and perhaps Saudi Arabia) considers them non- Muslims. I guess you do consider yourself the arbiter of who is a Muslim i.e. the equivalent of God, and one cannot really argue with God.

Zakintosh said...

Brilliant post. Bar a few nuts who'll always crop up (or is that crap up?) with arguments against your post, the majority on the net will probably agree with it. But the real world is so effing different. Today there were 11 people in Islamabad and 19 in Karachi (apart from the organizers who were at least that many, too) who came out to protest. Hopefully we'll get more on Monday, 31st, when the so-called large rally comes out.

Arif Zaki said...

Great write-up. Its heartening to see that at least most people here are calling a spade a spade. Ahmadis do call their mosques, mosques and nobody has the right to suggest otherwise.

Come to think of it, isn't it ridiculous people are being mass-murdered to protect the sanctity of something which no longer exists, but in our minds alone... something which belongs to thousands of years in past. Insane, just insane. Religion makes a fool out of us, and it will continue to do so.

Anonymous said...

We ve caught two terrorists ALIVE....
Will we be able to get to the depth of this now, and massacre all remaining threats!
Else we shall NUKE this country once for all, the only way forward is t get rid of us all!!!

know it all said...

Excellent post XYZ, and also very good response to the crazy Anon above--just one thing to add---Saudi Arabia has no law declaring Ahmedis non-Muslims. Pakistan is alone in this. To my knowledge however all the Ahmedis I have met whether in Canada, Saudi Arabia or wherever else are of Pakistani origin.

mehreenkasana said...

Well-put, XYZ. Well-fucking-put to call a spade a spade and to ass-bash those who think you're a Kaafir for supporting Ahmadis.

Anonymous said...

tell the press does not show spine and call the Ahmed a Muslims and their place of worships mosques there is no hope.

Anonymous said...

". Im not sure if Ahmedis have coined a name for their place of worship,..."

They have: mosque or masjid

Anonymous said...

@XYZ

From: Anon447

You said: 'What I did say was that the mindset that promulgated such legislation led to the development of a intolerant culture that produces such terrorists'

What you say may be true and I agree with you on that the promulgation may be ONE of the many catalysts that lit the hate flame. Nevertheless it's difficult to prove that that alone was the cause, because there's no empirical evidence available.

You said: 'Why don't you ask an Ahmedi rather than parading ignorance. They call them mosques'

It doesn't matter what I call them or what Ahmedi's call them. My point was related to what the media was calling them. The media was only being impartial (at least this time) and calling a spade a spade. There are similar examples to illustrate my point. E.g. Dawn uses the term Indian administered Kashmir rather than PTV's 'Indian held Kashmir', simply because Dawn is not the state's mouthpiece.

If Ahmedis call themselves Christains they don't become Christians. That is ofcourse unless you decide to judge them on their behalf and insist on calling them Christians or if youre watching Ahmedi News Network.

I understand this is a sensitive issue and time, but we need to stop looking through the lens of religion and be impartial. Journalists need to make certain editorial calls that may not please everyone but that's their job and it has to be left to their discretion.

You said: 'I'm not going to enter into theological arguments here...one cannot really argue with God'

I don't wish to get into a theological argument either. But if you think Im arbitrating then may I point out that your argument is prone to same fallacy. Are YOU then the arbiter of who a Muslim is? Your argument is overly simplistic and almost childlike.

We need to come out of the 'everything is connected' mentality and stop creating analogies and connections when there's no need to. There's always a line, a benchmark or a standard that needs to be used when deciding what religion one belongs to. There has to be something or some way to decide right? (Do you have any practical suggestions?). How else then would you differentiate between a Hindu, a Muslim, a Christian or Jew, an Athiest or an Agnostic? Why not call them all Muslims or all Christains. If you think God will decide if a people is Muslim or not, will Science then decide whether one is a scientologist??

I think we need not be afraid of differentiating, and there's no harm in doing so. You argue that Ahmedis consider themselves a movement within Islam. I hate to use this example but even the Taliban's Mullah Omar claimed the title of "Amir-ul-Momineen" (Leader of Muslims). Just because he say so doesn't make him that. There's nothing wrong with called Ahmedi's just that.

Infact when you call them a Muslim sect you are relegating them to the status of a group of deviants. Instead when you grant them a separate religion you set them up for greater chances of getting recognised as a sizable entity and subsequently equal rights, which they deserve.

Janjua said...

Well said Anon447

anas said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hats off anoan 447
to my knowledge Ahmedis do not recognise the very concept of Imamat and they are against the great sacrifice of Imam Hussain (AS).

Ahsan said...

Wow. Wow. I'm speechless.

baegan nihari said...

'pubic hair beards' haha..is akin to Talibans declaring Ahmadis as semen mouth-washers. That is not to suggest that your post is a maudlin piece that appeals to the heart at the expense of the head.
But why overly shocked and enraged? Who expects our so called 'democrats' to toughen up and fight for their parties' beliefs with the same intensity as Talibans anyway? Hence, the willingness to sacrifice unpopular minorities for the 'presumed' security of the majority. It's not some new phenomenon either.

Concerned said...

@ Anonymous 4:47...
You said, "
It's naive to think that a piece of legislation such as the one that declared Ahmedis non-muslims could incite or in anyway condone such acts of terror. Haters exist all over the world. They not only discriminate but resort to violence. And that is exactly what we saw in Lahore. An act of parliament from 1974 can't do jack to provoke these barbarians. They may once be muslims but they no longer deserve to be associated with Islam. Hate criminals is what they really are."
I understand what you are trying to say, but you are mistaken. You think Ahmadis are treated just like any other minority, but I think you are forgetting that column you sign when you get your passport. What other minority gets demeaned everytime their spiritual head is declared as an "impostor nabi" on the passport form? What separates discrimination against Ahmadis from discrimination against other minorities is that discrimination against Ahmadis is legalized. The gov't allows it by letting them be tried on "blasphemy" charges if they say Salam or Amen, or by letting hateful Khatm-e-Nabuwat Conferences take place where Ahmadis are declared "wajib-e-qatal". I certainly sympathize with other minorities as well: Christians, Shias, Sikhs, etc get treated in a similar rough manner, but to put that discrimination in the same boat as discrimination against Ahmadis is wrong.

You said, "Im not sure if Ahmedis have coined a name for their place of worship, so the media was only being objective." As an Ahmadi, I assure you we call our places of worship mosques. However, the laws in Pakistan do not permit us to call them mosque: if we do so, there is a jail term as a punishment. However, Ahmadi mosques outside of Pakistan are very much referred to as mosques.

Thirdly... "Ahmedi is not a sect. It is a different religion altogether". NOPE. That is a gross misunderstanding. Ahmadis follow the exact same teachings as other Muslims, except they believe the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is the last law-bearing prophet, and that the Promised Messiah Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani is the Imam Mehdi and Prophet of the Age. However, he did not bring a Shariah, hence he has a much lower standard than the Holy Prophet (PBUH). He and his followers follow the exact same teachings the Holy Prophet (PBUH) followed and taught. In fact, the coming of the Promised Messiah is prophesized in the Holy Quran and Ahadith. Agreeing or disagreeing with this is up to you, but kindly do not make ignorant assumptions. The official website of the Ahmaddiya Muslim Jamaat describes them as a "revival movement within Islam" (http://alislam.org/introduction/index.html) Based on this, Ahmadis are very much Muslims. In fact, one thing that separates them from other Muslims today is their interpretation of Jihad. They believe in Jihad of the pen (i.e. spreading the word of God through arguments and informed opinion), and do not believe in violence. You can surely see this in the way Ahmadis have reacted to the attack. No violent protests, no American flags burnt, no civil disobedience. Instead, their Khalifa (spiritual head) has guided them not to react, and to pray to God.
So all in all, Ahmadis are Muslims, regardless of what Zia-ul-Haq thought. Their version of Islam may be slightly different than orthodox Sunni Islam, but aren't there differences between Sunni and Shia Islam? Aren't there differences between Ahle-Hadith and Wahabis? Surely, no one is trying to make any of these sects non-Muslim.

However, I do appreciate your concern at the situation, and I do hope the government understands and learns from its mistakes.

@ Anon 1047: Ahmadis do believe in the sacrifice of Imam Hussain (AS), and respect him as a grandson of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Just because you think they don't believe in it doesn't mean anything.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 4:47

What term does Dawn use for "Azad Kashmir"? Does it call it "Pakistani administered Kashmir"? To be politically correct, Kashmir is after all a disputed territory and impartiality warrants 'call a spade a spade'.

You're waeving your arguments mainly on half-truths

Hesperado said...

XYZ,

You mentioned the Objectives Resolution of 1949 and implied that the "original sin" does not go back that far (for perhaps that would begin to open the way to pushing the "original sin" back to Islam itself).

I have two questions:

The third objective of that Resolution states:

3. The principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice, as enunciated by Islam, shall be fully observed.

a) for starters, could you articulate for me what exactly "equality" would mean for a nation like Pakistan "as enunciated by Islam"?

b) closely related to (a), could you substantiate your articulation with actual sources in the Koran, Sunnah and any one or more of the relevant schools of Islamic law?

Thanks.

XYZ said...

It's taken me a whille to respond mainly because I was busy in other work. Meanwhile, I appreciate that this is a very emotive subject but would request all to refrain from simply absusing other commenters or posting bigotry for the sake of mere provocation. All such comments will be deleted.


@Anon500:

You write: "Nevertheless it's difficult to prove that that alone was the cause, because there's no empirical evidence available."

First of all, I did not set out to 'prove' anything, I was merely sharing my considered opinion. Secondly, can anyone posit 'empirical evidence' about amorphous things such as hate or bigotry or racism? I mean, you can of course talk in empirical terms about actual numbers of people killed and attacks etc, but obviously nobody can provide empirical evidence about changes in mindsets. That would necessarily be a subjective analysis, which mine obviously is.


You say: "It doesn't matter what I call them or what Ahmedi's call them. My point was related to what the media was calling them."

No, my friend, re-read your earlier comment: you were passing judgement about what Ahmedi mosques should not be called and whether Ahmedis are Muslims or not.


You say: "If Ahmedis call themselves Christains they don't become Christians."

If someone calls themselves a Christian, who are you or I to say they are not? E.g. Protestants do not accept the Pope as their spiritual leader, does that mean you would say they are not Christians? Similarly there are other fringe Christian groups such as the Mormons, Jesuits and even the odd Waco-style cult etc, all of whom are considered Christian. Now, one sect may consider itself as more righteous than the others (that's what all religion is about isn't it?) but surely how a person or community identifies itself is what is of prime importance. By the logic of granting others the power to decide the religion of someone, tomorrow it would be entirely justified for mullahs to declare that those who don't come to the mosque for the five prayers or for the Sunni majority to declare Shias as outside the pale of Islam - which is exactly what the Taliban and their ilk feel by the way. It may also interest you to know that Black Muslims - who are a source of great boasting among the Pakistani right-wing about the spread of Islam in America - were primarily converted by Ahmedis. I don't see anyone disowning them.


You ask: "Are YOU then the arbiter of who a Muslim is?"

No. All I am saying is it is not my place to make such judgements. And certainly not the state's.

...(cont.)...

XYZ said...

...(cont. from above)...


You continue: "There's always a line, a benchmark or a standard that needs to be used when deciding what religion one belongs to. There has to be something or some way to decide right? (Do you have any practical suggestions?).

Set by whom? Why? No.


You question: How else then would you differentiate between a Hindu, a Muslim, a Christian or Jew, an Athiest or an Agnostic?

How about taking their word for it?


And: "Why not call them all Muslims or all Christains."

You miss the point entirely. Why should WE decide to call Hindus or Jews or Buddhists or Atheists, 'Muslims or Christians'?


And: "If you think God will decide if a people is Muslim or not, will Science then decide whether one is a scientologist??"

Now you're just being silly. But to answer your rhetorical question, yes, if scientology claims to hold science as Divinity, I suppose science could decide. I don't think scientologists would like the answer though.


You say: "...even the Taliban's Mullah Omar claimed the title of "Amir-ul-Momineen" (Leader of Muslims). Just because he say so doesn't make him that."

Precisely because he is imposing his view on others and does not represent the opinion of all (or even the majority) of Muslims. He is however the leader of the Afghan Taliban and no one else (other than the Taliban) has the right to decide he is not their leader.


Finally you write: "Infact when you call them a Muslim sect you are relegating them to the status of a group of deviants. Instead when you grant them a separate religion you set them up for greater chances of getting recognised as a sizable entity and subsequently equal rights, which they deserve."

If being a sect means 'a group of deviants', then Sunnis must be the biggest group of deviants in Islam, right? I really don't know what to say when you talk about 'granting them a separate religion', against their wish, mind you, and with the pompous presumption that 'you' are some sort of thekedar of Islam... Also by your logic, Shias and every other minority sect cannot hope to have equal rights within Islam and would be better off being declared non-Muslims. No, I think I was right about the God complex the first time.

XYZ said...

@Hesperado: You write: "You mentioned the Objectives Resolution of 1949 and implied that the "original sin" does not go back that far (for perhaps that would begin to open the way to pushing the "original sin" back to Islam itself)..."

Your understanding of my point is fallacious to begin with. With regards to your questions:

a)It means exactly the same as anywhere else.

and therefore:

b)is irrelevant.

Hesperado said...

XYZ,

In answer to my question as to what is meant by "equality" "as enunciated by Islam" for a nation like Pakistan, you answered that it would mean the same thing as it would mean anywhere else.

Okay. The question becomes: What does it mean anywhere else?

Meanwhile, I don't see how the universality of (a) makes (b) irrelevant. The function of (b) in my question is simply to make sure you back up your description of (a) with actual sources.

Anonymous said...

" I really don't know what to say when you talk about 'granting them a separate religion', against their wish, mind you, and with the pompous presumption that 'you' are some sort of thekedar of Islam... "

That is precisely the position of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, which said that the Ahmadis could be prohibited from using the word mosque, or engaging in any Islamic rite, since the real Muslims had the right to do so much as the Coca-Cola company has a trademark on the word Coke.

So, the National Assembly decides who is a Muslim(tm) and what is Islam(tm).

GNU stands for GNU is Not Unix, so perhaps the Ahmadis could be permitted NIslam instead of Islam(tm), Nassalam alaikom instead of assalam alaikom(tm), and they could just go hungry in Ranmadan(tm) instead of fasting(tm).

Anonymous 447 said...

@Anonymous 216
@XYZ


You say: If someone calls themselves a Christian, who are you or I to say they are not? ....

Again you argue unnecessarily like a four year old. In the real world things and people are boxed, categorised, segmented, differentiated based on their beliefs, ideologies, race etc. Thats why people have nationalities and religions and sexual orientations. It may not be a GOOD thing or even the right thing. But thats how the world works (and Im not saying thats how it should). Maybe you will learn to accept that once you grow up.

As far as Protestants and Catholics are concerned, Im not familiar with Christianity so I cannot say. But anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of Islam will agree with me.


You say: How about taking their word for it?

Well, how about taking the governments and the supreme courts word when it says Ahmadi's are non muslims? or better yet how about taking MY word for it? I repeat, people can claim to be a million things..that doesnt make it true. Ajmal Kasab claims he's innocent, Iran claims it doesnt have a nuclear weapons program, Zardari may claim he's not corrupt, and the SSP may say they had nothing to do with the Gojra riots. How about we all take their word for it? How about immigration takes your word for it when you tell them you are a US citizen.? As a person it is upto you to discern and decide but not without proper investigation, unless ofcourse you want to take their word for it ;)

You said: 'If being a sect means 'a group of deviants', then Sunnis must be the biggest group of deviants in Islam, right?....No, I think I was right about the God complex the first time'


You just don't get it..Open your eyes and smell the coffee...The Ahamdi 'version' of Islam doesn't conform with even the most broad text book definition of Islam. If youre going to say you believe in three Gods and still call yourself a Muslim, then Im sorry you should stop kidding yourself. Belief in God and the finality of Prophethood are pre-requisites not options.

Finally if you can't prove something stop writing speculative pieces with such conviction. The title of your post (The Original Sin) suggests youre dead sure it was the legislation that did whatever you say it did. Surely someone conducting comprehensive qualitative and quantitaive research could provide greater 'analysis' unlike your 'op-rambling'.

@ Concerned

I completely sympathize with you and I agree that the state officialy discriminates against the Ahamdi community. It is totally unacceptable.

However I will agree to disagree with you when it comes to the Ahmadi being Muslim part. As far as I understand Islam does not differentiate between law-bearing or non law-bearing prophets. The finality of prohethood means just that. There are no ifs and buts. This is strictly my opinion, but this whole issue of sects (including Sunni, Shia, Deobandi etc) would have never started if Muslims stuck strictly to the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah. It is absurd that now there's an 'Orthodox Islam' and 'Orthodox Muslim'....there are so many sects and sub sects that the original Islam (fundamental teachings) has virtually become a sect in itself. Its like numerous versions of the Pakistan Muslim League. The original is nowehere to be seen.

Sarah said...

Anonymous 447: Man, you are a moron. If XYZ has yet to grow up, you are not even a fertilized egg yet. You bring in analogies about immigration and crime and whatnot to make a point about a person's professed religion???

"Im not familiar with Christianity so I cannot say." Yeah, you seem to not be familiar with most of what you're on about. You should drink some coffee, might open your eyes and that blockage in your head.

mash said...

agree with sarah..........

Anonymous 447 said...

@Sarah

Oops looks like I pissed off XYZ's girlfriend and her best friend. Tsk Tsk.

Love,
Anonymous 447

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 447: Well, how about taking the governments and the supreme courts word when it says Ahmadi's are non muslims?

What does the government or the Supreme Court know about religion? Why is this a matter of law at all?

Did Germany benefit when Hitler created a Jewish problem?

Why not take the word of the Holy Prophet who treated anyone who recited the kalima as a Muslim?

Will Ahmadis suddenly become Muslims when these laws are changed? And they will be changed if this country wants to check the cancer that is killing it.

No? So why not eliminate these idiotic laws and let government worry about picking up the garbage and keeping fecal matter out of our drinking water?

This is what Karen Parker, JD, has to say about the Supreme Court's level of logic and reasoning:

Further comment on this decision is pointless -- the majority approach is so irreparably flawed that it contradicts the whole notion of religious freedom. As established under international human rights law Ahmadi Muslims have the right to believe and practice as they do regardless of whether another sect of Islam or any other religion agrees with Ahmadi theology. Furthermore, the Pakistan Constitution can clearly be construed to conform with this international mandate. (40) There is simply no excuse for this legal atrocity.

Hesperado said...

XYZ compounds his initial arrogant reply to me that tries to defend a non-answer with a sophistical quibble, by ignoring my follow-up question, which I posted over 48 hours ago as of this point.

And "moderates" (or "reformists" or "anti-Wahhabites" or whatever the hell they call themselves to distinguish themselves from the metastasizing disease of Islam around the globe) like XYZ wonder why people are slowly getting tired of trying to have dialogue with Muslims they heretofore thought might show a glimmer of hope for a way out of the deadly problem of Islam.

XYZ said...

@Herperado: You know, I was still pondering how best to reply to you without sidetracking the blog but am glad you have made it much easier with your last comment referring to "the metastasizing disease of Islam around the globe".

You see I took the liberty of checking out your mostly racist and xenophobic blog (hesperado.blogspot.com) when you first posted your silly and loaded questions. My reaction to them was partly because, given the obvious preconceived notions you have about Islam and Muslims, I saw no point in a lengthy debate about non-issues with you. You want to do research about best to stick it to Muslims? Go to a library. This blog is not about Islam. Plus 'engagement' is with people who have an open mind, your intent is obviously not to understand but to feed your rhetoric and ego. Good luck with that.

Anonymous said...

Just a ?
In Islam is there any reference to word call human?
Or
Just to kill another human on name of god from time it created world ISLAM.
I don't understand how every muslim call it religion of peace,when its practice is completely opposite to peace. Muslim can't live peacfully with each other if they can not find anyone else. Proof read history.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.