Sunday, October 15, 2017

Another hate-monger against the Ahmadi religious minority in Pakistan

 Nasir Khan, October 15, 2017

Muhammad Safdar Awan is a politician and a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan. He has made an extremely venomous hate speech against the Ahmadis, who are an oppressed and victimized religious minority in the 'Islamic Republic' of Pakistan.

What this legislator said would be horrifying in the sight of every civilized person in this age and in these times. But ironically, such people have power and influence in Pakistan, a country where Islam has routinely been used as an easy weapon for inciting hatred against other religious minorities and thus provoke ordinary Sunni Muslims, who are a dominant majority in Pakistan, to commit all sorts of crimes against them.


I condemn the obnoxious and toxic nonsense of this hatemonger in the clearest possible words and ask my international friends and comrades to do the same. This person should be stripped of his immunity for using the National Assembly for his criminal utterances and be tried for his hate speech and criminal incitement.



 
Safdar gave references of appointment of and promotion of military officers who he said were members of the Ahmadi community and said that they
news18.com

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Forcible conversion of Hindu girls to Islam in Pakistan and then marrying them


Nasir Khan, October 5, 2017

One gruesome aspect of the Islamic fanaticism in Pakistan that started right after the partition of India in 1947 was the vulnerability of the religious minorities of Pakistan. We know what happened in the communal frenzy and violence when large scale migration of some 15 million people took place; Hindus and Sikhs migrated to India and Indian Muslims came to Pakistan.


The communal killings of Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs were over one million. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people became victim of the hatred caused by the partition of India, and countless women from all religious communities - Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs - were raped, sexually abused, humiliated and in some cases were also 'converted' to the religions of their new owners. When a female victim has no options left, the owners can do whatever they want to do with her, including forcing their own own religion on her. Such violence perpetrated upon women cannot be termed as conversion; it is criminal coercion and a cowardly act.

The Hindu minority of Pakistan has been a special soft target of Islamic preachers, missionaries and Islamic fanatics. This has been going on for the last 7 decades. The cases of Hindu girls being abducted from their homes and then made brides for some Muslim men after 'converting' them to Islam have been going on unhindered. The following video shows the utter bestiality committed by so-called Muslim men against a Hindu girl.

This writer in the clearest possible language condemns this barbarity and appeals to all Pakistani politically active democratic people, human rights activists and organizations to oppose these criminal actions of some misguided Muslims and do their best to speak out on behalf of the Pakistani Hindus and their girls. The Hindu girls of Pakistan are our daughters and sisters; we should not let them be the prey of such misguided predators who call themselves Muslims.

----
Conversion of Hindu Girls in Sindh, Pakistan - BBC URDU

https://www.facebook.com/bhawan.das.73/videos/1963457190577298/

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Islamic laws and modern legal systems

–Nasir Khan

Those who are well-acquainted with the Sharia laws and modern legal systems should be in a position to show what the Sharia laws of Islam are and how they are inadequate to protect and safeguard people and their rights in these times.

No doubt, during the early period of Islamic rule, the system of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqah) that developed had its basis in the Qur’anic legislation and they were progressive and innovative according to the standards of those times. Prominent Muslim jurists (fuqhah) used various devices, such as ijtihad, analogy, istihsan, ijma, istidlal, to extend the laws and their application.

But around the 13th century things changed and Islamic jurisprudence came to a standstill. It was no more able to move with the changing times. And that condition still prevails. In addition, the Sharia law has become more regressive and inequitable in places where it has been enforced, especially in matters of women’s rights, male domination, criminal offences, etc. etc.

Many ordinary people who have their traditional Islamic identity and customs don’t have the slightest clue about the Sharia laws. Their way of thinking is shaped not by any independent thinking or observations, but by what they hear in the sermons of their clergy and religious preachers. Their thinking in such matters is very simple: The Sharia laws are made by God; therefore they are always the best for all! Once they become the laws in our countries, justice and truth will prevail; injustice and violations of human rights will disappear. The true rule of God on earth will appear. The lion and the goat will drink water from the same pond!

In sum, this is all what they think and nothing more. But unfortunately all this is illusory and has no basis in reality. Now the big question is: How to remove such daydreaming and misunderstandings? The answer lies in giving the correct information. That involves a gradual and systematic educational process. This can be performed by those who know the inadequacy of the Sharia laws that don’t and can’t meet the needs of people in this age. To do so is not an easy task for many reasons. However, it is essential to impart such information in a polite and humane way without resorting to abusive or aggressive language or making any attacks on traditional religious beliefs and customs.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

The role of Mr Jinnah in a historical perspective

Nasir Khan, September 3, 2017

For many historians of the Indian subcontinent Mr Jinnah’s role both as a leader and a statesman in pre-partition India is controversial. Personally, I have never accepted even for a second his communalist perspective that led to the demand for Pakistan. Right from the start, the “Two Nation Theory” was hollow and untenable, which in practice became a dead albatross round the necks of the people of the Indian subcontinent and is still choking them.

During the Second World War, the British used the leaders of the Muslim League to weaken the demands of the Indian National Congress for independence when Gandhi launched the Quit India Movement and a major civil disobedience movement became a threat to the British in India. At that critical juncture in the national struggle for India’s independence, the British were able to resort to lure the leaders of the Muslim League to reject the struggle for independence and side with the British, which they did under Mr Jinnah. Thus the groundwork for the partition of India was becoming a reality under the patronage of the British. That’s exactly what they did in 1947 and divided India on Hindu-Muslim lines as two different nations, thus defying both common sense and practical issues involved in such a partition plan.

The religious card had served Mr. Jinnah well and he succeeded in his ambitious plans. But at what a cost! The Muslims spread throughout the length and breadth of India were left in an extremely vulnerable position and the subsequent history of the subcontinent has shown how the Indian Muslims become marginalized and left at the mercy of Hindutva forces and militant reactionary Hindus. In fact, these people were sacrificed for a cause which proved to be a disaster for all.

Now coming to Mr. Jinnah’s role as the Governor-General of the newly-established state of Pakistan, Mr Jinnah was aware that the reality of Pakistan as a state was different from the rhetorical propaganda that was used for the creation of such a state before the partition of 1947. This new country didn’t have only Muslims, but also had large religious minorities of Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, and followers of other faiths! He could no longer repeat the previous slogan of Pakistan only for the Muslims. Now, Pakistan had followers of different faiths.

To meet the needs of all religious communities, he made his famous speech in which advanced his views for a state where religion was not to affect the democratic state or to impose only one religion on the people of this country. That was a realistic assessment of the situation in the new country. But he was an ailing person; he didn’t live long enough to lay the foundations of any such policy as the guiding principles that could have led Pakistan in a direction than the one it followed after his death in 1948.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Some thoughts on killing and eating animals


-- Nasir Khan, September 1, 2017

"A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite." 

-- The great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)

In this saying, the greatest Russian writer of all time had a particular perspective on humanity, a perspective in which the members of this species are viewed as fully human and humane who can live perfectly well by using diverse products of nature that come from the Earth, but without killing other animals to use as food. 

For an uncultivated mind, such a perspective definitely is far too idealistic and remote from what the humans mostly do as they have done for hundreds of thousands of years. But that message is not for such people. This message is for people who can understand that we as human beings have also a responsibility to protect other animals and not to kill them as humans did in the early periods as hunters and gatherers.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

On the question of choosing or merely following religions

Nasir Khan

“When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons.”
― Anaïs Nin (1903-1977)

This is my short explanation of Anaïs Nin’s point about religion in the above quotation:
First, in the past ages there have been mass conversions from one religion to the other. But not any longer in this age.

In fact, most of us are born into a religious community; we inherit religions from our parents and our societies. As a result, the followers of a religion regard their religion true and the embodiment of all virtues that human beings need. They don’t say they are following their religion ‘blindly’. Never. 

They think they are rational human beings and what they believe in is true and the only right way.
Some may ‘tolerate’ the followers of other faiths; but that extends only to tolerating them, nothing more than that!

Secondly, in these times only a limited number of people change their religion for a new one. No mass conversions take place.

Thirdly, religious people do not accept any argument that goes against their religion and its dogmas. No rational exchange of views is possible with such people. They will justify what they believe in by appealing to some ‘Authority’ they can never question. Full stop.


Saturday, August 19, 2017

The ideologue of Hindutva fascism, S.M. Golwalkar

Nasir Khan, August 19, 2017

In many Facebook groups, including 'International Finance, Economic Affairs, International Relations' some ultra right wing Hindtva journalists and devotees always target Indian Muslims and Pakistan in the crudest possible manner. The rising tide of Hindtva power in India and their vast network of political and militant parties and organisations is a great danger to the Indian secular state and its democratic system. 

The fascist cadres of Hindutva also target those who oppose and expose this extremist ideology. The following article on the life of the chief ideologue of Hindutva fascism, M.S. Golwalkar, is written by an Indian Hindu, which will help our readers to understand some issues.
 ------------------

M.S. Golwalkar: Conceptualizing Hindutva Fascism


By Ram Puniyani

10 March, 2006
Countercurrents.org

Beginning this twenty Fourth February, RSS combine has undertaken programs in different parts of the country to celebrate the centenary year of RSS second Sarsnghchalak (supreme dictator), Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, known in Sangh circles as Shri Guruji. What are going to be the implications of this celebration? To answer this, we will have to delve into the work of Golwlakar, who penned a small book, 'We or our Nationhood Defined' (We…), which gives an outline of his ideology and later his articles were published as a compilation, 'Bunch of Thoughts'. In both these books and also in various other outpourings of his, he denigrates democracy and pluralism on one hand and upholds fascist concept of nationhood and sectarian version of culture on the other. His writing is most intimidating to the minorities in particular. He was the chief of RSS for 33 long years and was instrumental in giving RSS a direction, which assumed menacing proportions in times to come, and strengthening the foundations of the 'hate minorities' ideology resulting in the consequent waves of violence, undermining the democratic norms in the society. He can also be 'credited' with giving the sharp formulations which laid the ideological foundation of different carnages in the country.
Golwalkar praises Lord Manu as the greatest law giver mankind ever had. It was the same law giver Manu's book, which was burnt by Dr. Ambedkar in his pursuit of getting justice for the dalits. In current times, Golwalkars' successor also demanded a throwing away of Indian constitution, to be replaced by the one which is based on Hindu holy books, implying Manusmriti, of course.
His formulations of Hindutva Fascism are so blatant that even his followers, the RSS combine, is running for cover and claiming that this book, having a naked hatred for minorities and eulogies for the likes of Hitler, We…, was not written by him. They avoid owning these ideas. But one knows that this book was penned by him. In an affidavit submitted to the charity commissioner, Rajendra Singh, a later Sarsanghchalak pleaded, "With a view to give a scientific base to propagate the idea-India being historically from time immemorial a Hindu nation-the late Shri M.S. Golwalkar had written a book entitled 'We or Our Nationhood defined', which was published in 1938." (Quoted in Islam, Undoing India: The RSS way) J.A. Curran in his classic study, RSS: Militant Hinduism in India Politics- A study of RSS: points out "The genuine ideology of Sangh is based upon principles formulated by its founder, Dr. Hedgewar. These principles have been consolidated and amplified by the present leader ( i.e. Golwalkar) in a small book called "We or our nationhood defined". It is a basic primer in the indoctrination of Sangh volunteers… (Curran 1979, p.39). Since its quotations have been brought to the notice of people, RSS publishing houses have stopped republishing this book. What does Golwalkar say in this book?
In this book he rejects the notions of Indian nationhood, India as a Nation in the making. He rejects the idea that all the citizens will be equal. He goes on to harp the notions of nationhood borrowed from Hitler's Nazi movement. He rejects that India is a secular nation and posits that it is a Hindu Rashtra. He rejects the territorial-political concept of nationhood and puts forward the concept of cultural nationalism, which was the foundation of Nazi ideology. His admiration of Hitler's ideology and politics is the running thread of the book and he takes inspiration from the massive holocaust which decimated millions of people in Germany. He uses this as a shield to propagate his political ideology. It is this ideology which formed the base of communal common sense amongst a section of the population. "German national pride has now become the topic of the day. To keep up purity of the nation and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races, the Jews. National pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into a united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by." (We…, 1938, p.37)
In the Sangh circles this book is regarded as their Gita. The implications for Indian minorities are presented here in a forthright manner. Today the swayamsevaks brought up on this Gita, do believe in all this but the language of expression is being made more polished so that the poison is coated with honey and administered with ease. Golwalkar goes on to assert, "From the standpoint sanctioned by the experience of shrewd nations, the non-Hindu people in Hindustan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and revere Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but the glorification of Hindu nation i.e. they must not only give up their attitude of intolerance and ingratitude towards this land and its age long traditions, but must also cultivate the positive attitude of love and devotion instead; in one word, they must cease to be foreigners or may stay in the country wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, for less any preferential treatment, not even the citizen's rights." (Ibid p.52).
When the Hindutva politics came up in the late 1980s, in the beginning an unsuspecting observer could not comprehend from where has the concept of Hindu nation come up suddenly, why such an intense hatred for minorities, a glance at We… and one becomes clear that those fed on this ideology cannot but be what they are, cannot do anything else than what they did and have been doing since 1990, the Babri demolition, the anti minority violence and an open violation of democratic ethos of the country. These ideas were translated into the stories of atrocities of Muslim kings, the myth of Hindus owning this land from times immemorial and a lot of such make believe concoction. Irrespective of the fact the freedom movement rejected this ideology and its formulations, it was kept alive through the ideological indoctrination work in the RSS shakhas going on ceaselessly.
Golwalkar was also faced with some of the naïve swaymasevaks wishing to participate in the national movement, more so after the massive Quit India movement was launched. That time Golwalkar was the RSS chief and he dissuaded the people from participating in the movement, and some of them who participated did it in their personal capacity, some of them now claim that they also participated. ( e.g. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was onlooker in the anti British movement, was arrested but wriggled out of the jail and later claimed to have participated in the movement.) As matter of fact Golwalkar was very contemptuous towards the anti British movement. There is no mention of presence of RSS in the anti British movement even in most of the sympathetic accounts written about it. Even Nanaji Deshmukh, the foremost leaders of RSS puts this question, why did RSS not take part in the liberation struggle as an organization? (Deshmukh, Victim of Slander, Vision Books, 1979, p.70) Since Golwalkar propounded religion based nationalism, there was no place for anti British stance. "The theories of territorial nationalism and of common danger, which formed the basis of our concept of nation, had deprived us of the positive and inspiring content of our real Hindu Nationhood and made many of the 'freedom movements' virtually anti-British movements. Anti Britishism was equated with patriotism and nationalism. This reactionary view has had disastrous effects upon the entire course of freedom movement…" (Bunch of thoughts, 1996, p.138). In a frank defense of British colonialist he reminds the people of RSS pledge, "We should remember that in our pledge we have talked of freedom of the country through defending religion and culture. There is no mention of departure of British in that." (Shri Guruji Samgra Darshan, Vol 4, p. 2) With allies like this British could merrily pursue their policy of divide and rule!
No wonder British never repressed RSS. Also the collusion between Religion based nationalism and colonialism can be understood from such statements. Later the World saw that in tune with this pro imperialist ideology, Golwalkar was to support the US aggression on Vietnam and his successor Sudarshan defended the US aggression against Iraq.
The murder of Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi by a Hindutva follower Nathuram Godse not only shocked the whole nation; it led RSS followers to celebrate this event by distributing sweets. While RSS followers were celebrating, and the links of Godse with RSS became apparent, RSS was banned and Golwalkar was arrested. They denied that RSS had any links with Godse. At that time it was easy to claim so as RSS had no written constitution and membership lists, enrollment register etc. Godse was RSS Pracharak and later he joined Hindu Mahasabha and was editing a newspaper, Agrani (leader), the subtitle of the paper was Hindu Rashtra. In the court he denied any links with RSS. Later his brother Gopal Godse, who was also an accomplice in the murder, in an interview given to Times of India (25 Jan 98) stated that his brother Nathuram spoke a deliberate lie in the court, "The appeasement policy followed by him (Gandhi) and imposed on all Congress governments' encouraged the Muslim separatist tendencies that eventually created Pakistan…Technically and theoretically he (Nathuram) was a member (of RSS), but he stopped workings for it later. His statement in the court that he had left the RSS was to protect the RSS workers who would be imprisoned following the murder. On the understanding that they (RSS workers) would benefit from his dissociating himself from the RSS, he gladly did it."
In the wake of the murder of Gandhi, RSS was banned and Golwalkar was jailed, from where he wrote a letter to the Government of India offering to cooperate with the government in 'dealing with the menace of Communism' in return for being released from the jail. Incidentally it was also the period when US was on the witch hunt of communists world over. Today, the global US agenda of demonization of Islam, and Muslims world over matches with the RSS agenda, coincidence again? Is this running parallel in the matching agenda US and RSS policies a mere coincidence?
For him the notion of Hindu Rashtra remained supreme and he could never reconcile to the secular values of Indian constitution. Time and over again he kept on harping on how UnBharat the constitution is and how Manu's rules are more desirable and profound one's. The partition of India and the consequent tragedy was registered through the Hindutva eyes, "Even to this day there are many who say, 'now there is no Muslim problem at all. All those riotous elements who supported Pakistan have gone away once for all. The remaining Muslims are devoted to our country. After all they have no other place to go and they are all bound to remain loyal…It would be suicidal to delude ourselves into believing that they have turned patriot overnight after the creation of Pakistan. On the contrary, Muslim menace has increased a hundredfold by the creation of Pakistan, which has become a springboard for all their future aggressive designs on our country." (Bunch of Thoughts, Bangalore, 1996, p. 177-78)
The way to look at Indian communities as Hindus and Muslims as uniform monoliths continues to be exhibited all through. Further he also goes on to label Muslims, Christians and Communists as internal threats to Hindu nation. And this is the 'ideological fodder ' of RSS shakhas and its practical unfoldment is visible in the regular occurrence of attacks against Muslims and Christians. With collapse of Soviet Union, the venom against communists has been given a different turn. And in the third category secularist have also been added up as a threat to Hindu nation.
It was Golwalkar again under whose stewardship the RSS gave birth to other organizations to play the divisive role in different arenas of social and political life. He was instrumental in helping bring up Bharatiya Jansangh, Akhil Bhartiya Vidayarthi Parishad, Bharatiya Majdoor Sangh, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram and Vishwa Hindu Parishad, amongst others. The infiltration of RSS cadres in different wings of state apparatus; army, police, bureaucracy, judiciary, education and media was another move initiated by Golwalkar, the effects of which are visible prominently from last two decades.
While secular democratic elements, activists have a long road ahead, we need to take care that in the already vitiated atmosphere, the communal divide is not accentuated further by this move of RSS and we put forward the values of humane plural and democratic society and dispel the ideologies which have been playing a very divisive role in the society.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

American rulers, their wars and the god


Nasir Khan, August 9, 2017

We were told by the US president George W. Bush that god had assented to his invading Iraq in in 2003, a war in which the American invaders killed hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and destroyed Iraq, plundered its wealth and its historical heritage. 

 Now the preachers of the same god (a Christian and Judaic god!) are saying that their god has nothing against it if president Trump uses nuclear weapons to destroy North Korea! 

This miraculous intercession would justify a nuclear war on North Korea and at the same time save the presidency of Trump for any political problems he has faced since taking office this year. 

It may surprise even some Christian and Jewish 'believers' that this 'god' works hand in hand with American warmongers and their imperialist rulers.


This also shows how the clerics and preachers willingly misuse their authority and exploit religions and 'god' for the sake of furthering the antihuman policies of the ruling elite and their powerful military-industrial complex. It is all for power, domination and profit-making, nothing else!



"God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong Un."
huffingtonpost.com

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Making America great again


Nasir Khan, July 16, 2017

A lot of stories about Donald Trump's lascivious ventures, adventures and fantasies are still being tossed around. It seems he had little control over his sexual thoughts and inclinations!

In my respectful opinion of the man and his great potential as a political game changer, he should even at this late stage in his life be handed over to a voodoo expert to castrate him with some magic spell without causing him any physical or mental harm. The world may recover from any physical disorientation of the big hope, but the incurring of any mental damage to the man is unthinkable for all of us. I would like to emphasise that this is a serious suggestion from a friend, not something damaging from any sordid enemy of the president. In fact, that may save him from any further lurid stories in the media and the embarrassment they cause him and his near ones. 

Oh, for God's sake, don't blame him for everything! That's how the good Lord made him, and that should end the story if you are believers in the meticulous work of the Lord!
In any case, if he opts to go through this ritual and lets the voodoo expert expunge him of his unsavoury peccadilloes, then he will have the time and plenty of resources at hand to make America great again, as his avowed objective. Yes, America first, and making America great again! 

After having accomplished his historic tasks, who knows, he may, God willing, turn his attention to Mexico, and say: Now is the time to make Mexico great again! When he does that, and if I am still around, I will muster the support of as many Mexicans and gringoes I can to show my solidarity with him and his noble mission.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

How fanatics distort the essence of religion


Nasir Khan, July 13, 2017

Religion is one thing, the followers of a religion is another thing. The difference between the two is important, and they should not be equated as one and the same in this age when much harm is still being done in the name and under the cover of religions.

What some (not all) followers of a religion do or may do in the name of their religion can be much different from the teachings of that religion. They are the people who transform their religions. Sensible people make something good and noble out of the basic teachings of their religions, but brainwashed and indoctrinated fanatics concentrate only on the negative and destructive sides they create in disfiguring their religions. For their nefarious activities, both religions and their good followers also get a bad name.

However, I am not discussing how religions arise or what roles they play in class societies. What I say has more to do with some practical aspects of religions that we face in different parts of the world. Whether religions have/had an independent base in society or not is a theoretical and academic issue, which is not the theme of this short article.

There are billions of people who believe in and practise organised religions, such as Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, Shintoism, Zoroastrianism, Sikhism, etc. etc. without harming each other or causing harm to others. They follow the rites and rituals of their respective religions and follow the age-old traditions attached to their religions. 

In a multi-religious and multi-ethnic world we live in, we have to accept other people's right to their faith, religion and world outlook, including the views of the non-religious people. We cannot force others to believe what we believe as being the only Truth. In reality, to persist in doing so as some do is a crime against human beings, a violation of the rule of law and all norms of civilised behaviour. We have to stand against all barbarian fanatics and reject what they do or stand for. 

At the same time we should bear in mind that only a small number of people from some religions, and I emphasise their small numbers, who resort to violence in the name of religions and thus misuse their religions. For instance, in a country like Pakistan that has a population of about 190 million people, of whom 97% are Muslims, how many Muslims resort to religious violence and kill people in the name of Islam? Their numbers are small but they are able to terrorise the whole country and its peaceful people. 

So is the case with some militant Burmese Buddhists who have targeted Muslims, especially the Rohingya, and also in Sri Lanka where some Buddhists have used violence against Muslims. As a humanist and a student of the history of religions, I find the malpractices of religious violence also as a grave infringement of basic religious consciousness, which largely seeks the welfare and improvement of human beings, not their destruction.


Saturday, June 10, 2017

The electoral success of the Labour Party in the United Kingdom


Nasir Khan, June 10, 2017

All credit for the recent electoral gains in the United Kingdom goes to the election campaigners, party activists, left-wing writers and bloggers, ordinary members, including the students and old-age pensioners, and the leaders of the Labour Party for their hard work to achieve such surprising results.

The role Jeremy Corby played in the election and his focus on issues that matter most to the electorate as the leader of the Labour Party is a lesson in modern politics how a dedicated leader can inspire confidence and point to a better future for all. Despite being maligned from the Tories and also from many labour leaders, he refused to be sidetracked and continued to highlight the political and social issues in a magnanimous way. The traditional right-wingers in the party, Blair and Blairites, attacked him for not being ‘charismatic’ and ‘strong’. 

But what such people ignored was the simple fact that politics is not merely an arena where only the people with rhetorical methods can mesmerise people and then leave them at the mercy of the anti-working class elite, but rather to speak the language of the people and then stand for their interests in a dedicated way. In many ways, Jeremy Corbyn has surprised his foes and detractors. He showed that in politics, adherence to the principles of honesty and truth are not demerits, but noble avenues that can lead to desired results in a meaningful way. However, this does go against the normal understanding of politics as a game of false promises and stage-managed show for playing with a gullible majority of the ordinary people and then forgetting them when the phoney leaders have achieved their political leverage.

On this occasion, I extend my congratulations to Jeremy Corbyn and his colleagues for their political work and the results they have produced. The foundation of the Labour Party was to protect the interests of the working class people in a society where political power and influence were reserved only for the elitists, not the ordinary people. Therein lie the roots of the Labour Party, not a party to tow the line of ruling-class establishment, but rather a party of the working class people. The present successes have revived the faith of many socialists and working class people that a just and fair political course is possible in the United Kingdom.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Modern democratic states have no business with religion



Nasir Khan

“If I were a dictator, religion and state would be separate. I swear by my religion. I will die for it. But it is my personal affair. The state has nothing to do with it. The state would look after your secular welfare, health, communications, foreign relations, currency and so on, but not your or my religion. That is everybody's personal concern!”

― Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

These are the words of a wise leader of Indian freedom movement, who was an inspiration to millions of people in the world for his message of non-violence and love for truth.
It is important for us to remember that Gandhi was not an atheist or agnostic. He was a devoted Hindu and a believer in God like Muslim, Christian, Zoroastrian, Baha’i, Sikh and Jewish believers. However, for him the religion of an individual was a personal matter. No one should impose a religion or a belief on others. It was not for the State to tell people which religion to follow or which god to believe in (there are different views about god in many religions and his attributes, etc.). In the middle ages, State and Church in European countries were united. But that changed. The secularisation process became the norm and new ways of looking at the roles of state and religions became widely accepted.

Secularism is rooted in the political idea that state and religion have two different spheres and roles. They should remain separate and we should not allow anyone to mix them. People should follow whatever religions they want to follow without the interference of the state. As a result, there is no more religious coercion from the state or public bodies/institutions of the people. People have freedom of religion, freedom to practise any religion, freedom to convert to any other religion if any choose to do so, freedom to leave or reject religion and accept agnosticism, atheism, humanism or any other viewpoint. In democratic countries and their civil societies, these freedoms are essential ingredients of a civilised existence.

Unluckily, such views have had much opposition in traditional, conservative societies. For example, in my country of origin, Pakistan ('Land of the Pure'!), Muslim clerics and political manipulators have distorted the meaning of secularism. According to their version, which most Pakistanis accept, it means rejection of Islam and Allah! It is anti-Islam and a threat to Islam and Pakistan!

Briefly, to attribute such things to secularism is totally wrong and pernicious. But the vested interests that played with the religious susceptibilities of the people for so long, and so successfully, will continue their exploitation. As I see it, our hope is that only progressive and democratic people can combat the reactionary forces and their toxic indoctrination. No doubt, the task is difficult. But our friends and comrades are doing what they can, both within and outside Pakistan.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Glad tidings to all believers

Nasir Khan, June 7, 2017

“Sacrificing the earth for paradise is giving up the substance for the shadow.”


— French writer Victor Hugo (1802-1885)

Many people are more concerned with the afterlife than this life. Who can blame them? In any case, when we see how the vast majority of human beings exists and suffers an existence on the earth, we can understand why they desire to have the comfort and grand living in the paradise or the kingdom of heaven, as some call it. Not only for some dismal few years or decades as we have in our worldly existence, but also visualising the rosy prospects of an eternal life somewhere up there where we will have everything we can think of in abundance and without any price-tags!


Those interested in carnal and sensual pleasures will be given to their hearts' content, possibly much more then they need. There is no shortage of anything up there. All one will have to do is to say: I desire this delightful object or that pure creature! Soon the desired object or the lovely creature will appear in the blink of an eye.

It is all ready and waiting for us. The only thing we have to do is to wait a bit longer, be patient, and all will be ours. But we should also keep in mind that to get there we may have to do some hard work first that would appease the heavenly powers. This may include obligatory self-mortification and rigorous rituals to cleans our physical body wih a view to purify our souls, thus making us worthy of the upward journey and the heavenly rewards.

Thanks to our great visionary sages, teachers and preachers for having provided us detailed information about all this. I envy their wisdom and their concern for human beings.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Terrorist attack on London Bridge on June 3, 2017



– Nasir Khan, June 4, 2017

Whatever reasons and political grievances any followers of Islamist ideology may have, their latest attack on innocent people on London Bridge was an act of indiscriminate killing of innocent people. If the facts are as reported in the media, and no false flags are involved, then I condemn this barbarous act of terrorism as a private citizen living in Norway, a peaceful, democratic and secular country. 

The role played by western imperialists, especially the US, Britain, and their allies, in starting destructive wars of aggression in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, etc. etc. in which millions of people, mostly Muslims, were killed and maimed, their cities and homes destroyed, were enormous crimes against humanity in recent history, for which there was no justification under international law.

Meanwhile, it is important to keep in mind that such crimes of genocide were committed by the governments of these countries, and not by ordinary citizens of any of these countries. There lies an essential difference between what the governments do and what private individuals do. 

For instance, what George W. Bush and Tony Blair did that led to the genocidal wars and large-scale destructions of the targeted countries had nothing to do with the ordinary citizens of the United States or Britain. Ordinary pedestrians walking on London Bridge were not and are not responsible for the actions of people like former prime minister Tony Blair, or former president G.W. Bush.

In the hands of religious zealots and fanatics a religion and its teachings can easily be transformed into an instrument of terror and oppression. This happened in the last two thousand years, but historical evidence points to much earlier times also. Let’s take only the Middle East region. Here some major world religions arose and some of them are still with us. The histories of all monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam are replete with examples of heinous crimes against innocent people under the guise of religion. 

That happened during the wars of religions and inter-religious conflicts; such things are still happening in many parts of the world. It is true that such conflicts may also have deep socioeconomic and political causes. But the killing of ordinary people under one pretext or another does not mitigate the gravity of terrorist crimes and madness.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Instability and chaos in the Middle East are the axis of US-Israeli power politics


Nasir Khan, May 23, 2017

All those who are interested in understanding the quagmire of war, violence, the victimisation of Palestinians by Israel, rampant abuse of human rights, etc., in which the whole region of the Middle East is enmeshed will readily appreciate the soundness of the views of President Rouhani. What he says is reasonable and factual.

However, political observers know fully well that the main catalysts of instability, war, violence and terror in the region have been the U.S. imperialists and the Zionist rulers of Israel. If there was stability in the region, then the foundation stones of their militaristic domination and their power politics in the region will come under threat. In such a scenario, Arab reactionary regimes, such as the House of Saud, will no longer be able to serve the US-Israeli power games. That also means the two allies are duty-bound to negate or neutralise any attempts or prospects for any positive change in the region because that will be detrimental to their long-term strategies and political manipulation.

As a consequence, they will keep the status quo at any cost, and not let any developments they perceive as challenging their imperial interests in any way. To accuse Iran of ambitions to dominate the Middle East politically is merely a ruse to keep their imperial diktat.

The question of stability will remain a distant dream. The overt and covert fanning of the Sunni-Shia conflict between Arab countries and Iran by the two powerful powers, the US and Israel, to further their hegemonic goals seems to have gained the upper hand. Where will that lead to is not difficult to foresee.

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http://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-rouhani-idUSKBN18I1M9

Rouhani says regional stability impossible without Iran




Iranian president Hassan Rouhani gestures during a news conference in Tehran, Iran, May 22, 2017. TIMA via REUTERS


By Parisa Hafezi and Bozorgmehr Sharafedin | DUBAI/LONDON
 
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday stability could not be achieved in the Middle East without Tehran's help, responding to criticism of the Islamic Republic from U.S. President Donald Trump who is visiting the region.
Trump called for a U.S. alliance with Muslim countries on Sunday aimed at fighting terrorism, singling out Iran as a major source of funding and support for militants in the Arab world.


Rouhani, a pragmatist who won last week's presidential election, hit back hard by dismissing the summit as a "ceremonial (event) that had no political value and will bear no results".

"Who can say regional stability can be restored without Iran? Who can say the region will experience total stability without Iran?" he said at a news conference.

At a weekend summit in Riyadh, Trump accused Iran of funding and arming "terrorists, militias and other extremist groups" in Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and backing President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's civil war.

Rouhani, who fronted Tehran's deal with six major powers in 2015 to curb Iran's nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions, said the U.S. administration lacked knowledge about the Middle East.

"Americans resorted to many different methods against Iran but failed in all ... We are waiting for the new U.S. administration to find stability and continuity in its policies,” Rouhani said.

"The problem is that the Americans do not know our region and those who advise U.S. officials are misleading them."

Rouhani said Iran was the vital force behind the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and repeated Iran's official stance that the United States and Saudi Arabia are funding "terrorism" in the Middle East.

"Who fought against the terrorists? It was Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Russia. But who funded the terrorists? Those who fund terrorists cannot claim they are fighting against them,” he said.

Tehran and Riyadh are involved in proxy wars across the region, backing opposite sides in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon.

FRAGILE DIPLOMACY

Already fragile diplomatic and trade ties between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite-dominated Iran were severed last year, after Saudi Arabia executed a Shi'ite cleric and as a result protesters ransacked the Saudi embassy in Iran.


"Buying arms or building weapons won't make a country powerful. Military power is only a part of strength and we are fully aware of that. But the foundation of power is national strength and this only happens through elections," Rouhani said.

"Maybe it will help if Saudi leaders let their people to decide over their country's fate by casting their vote ... It will make them (rulers) stronger."

He said Iran welcomed better relations with its regional neighbors and pledged to fulfill his campaign promises of opening Iran to the world and delivering freedoms to the Iranian people.

"The Iranian people voted for moderation as they know a prosperous economy and jobs can only happen through investment, and investment through freedom and interaction with the world," he said.
Rouhani's efforts to open up Iran to less hostile relations with the West still have to be couched in the rhetoric of anti-Americanism that has been a pillar of Iranian rule since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Iran's most powerful authority - Ayatollah Ali Khamenei - has ruled out normalization of ties with the United States.

Iran's economy has slowly recovered since the lifting of sanctions last year but deals with Western investors are few and far between as foreign investors are cautious about trading with or investing in Iran, fearing penalties from remaining unilateral U.S. sanctions.

Washington last week imposed new sanctions on Iran, over its ballistic missile program.
"The Iranian nation has decided to be powerful. Our missiles are for peace and for defense ... American officials should know that whenever we need to technically test a missile, we will do so and will not wait for their permission," Rouhani said, repeating Iran's commonly expressed stance on the program.

"America's dream on ending Iran's missile program will never come true."
(Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Louise Ireland)

Terrorist bloodbath in Manchester


Nasir Khan, May 23, 2017

Last night a terrorist struck innocent people who were enjoying a concert in Manchester. The number of people this bomber killed and injured by his explosive device is yet another big tragedy written in blood and destruction that we see from time to time. The victims are always innocent people.

I am not able to find words to express my abhorrence at this callous and senseless act of barbarity. But one thing is clear. Such people are not in short supply. Their mentors can always exploit them to commit such crimes. Unfortunately, such vicious acts of killings and mass terror are motivated by hatred, false convictions and ghoulish indoctrination.

First, indoctrinated people can commit any crime without questioning their actions. Secondly, when a cult of violence and ignorance is raised up as sacrosanct then its manipulated followers have no difficulty in pointing to a 'higher cause' for their antihuman actions.

Our sympathies go to the victims of this carnage, their relatives and the traumatised people of Manchester.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

How gods came in human history

Nasir Khan

Humans created god by attributing many of their own qualities unto an imaginary 'being'. But they also gave him a bit more than what they themselves were: they made him all-powerful and all-knowing! So are the fictional places that human beings created in their grand fantasies called Paradise, Hell and the Kingdom of God! But they did not create one god; they created hundreds and thousands of gods and goddesses in many old cultures and societies.

But in the early history of humankind, the forces of nature, like thunder, storms, rain, etc., overawed humans. They were not able to explain these powerful and frightening forces of nature that affected them. As a result, they started to do whatever they could to placate them by making occasional sacrifices to them and entreating them for mercy and kindness.


The idea of deities came much later when they developed anthropomorphic ideas relating to deities they came to believe in that were distinct from the earlier worship of the forces of nature.


Since then, the story of gods in various forms and shapes had become a dominant factor in their lives. The movement from the plurality of deities to smaller numbers was gradual. In some cultures, there was further reduction in such numbers, coming down to three, two or only one. They are all part of the history of the evolution of the notions of powerful supernatural or divine beings.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Modernity in European history


  Nasir Khan, May 5, 2017

“The point of modernity is to live a life without illusions while not becoming disillusioned.”

― Italian Marxist thinker and politician Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937)

Modernity means many things to different people. But in learned discourse, it refers to the collective body of particular socio-cultural norms and attitudes that emerged when the medieval period in European history gave way to new thinking. Prior to modernity, scholasticism of the middle ages covered all aspects of socio-political life. Religion was the pivotal force that controlled the social and political thinking of the people as well as moulded political structures and power relations.

The Church hierarchy interpreted and enforced socio-cultural norms. Even monarchs, barons and landed aristocrats had to accept the directives of the Church in matters that seemed to have little or nothing to do with religion. In simple words, the Church was at the apex of the societal pyramid.

Then the scene started to change. At grave risks, some thinkers and public-spirited people started to question matters relating to the principles of absolutism, divine rights of kings, the power of the Church, even the old sacrosanct doctrines and dogmas that were once only under the domain of the clerics. Now people began to question the rationale of age-old norms and customs. This was something that was strictly forbidden in the middle ages.

We should keep in mind that the process of change was gradual but it had pointed to a new direction in social and political thinking and practice. The powers of omnipotent deity were questioned and some thinkers rejected all notions of any supernatural beings. Such ideas have made meaningful inroads in Europe. More people are rejecting old traditional modes of thought and dogmas.

The roles of many philosophers from the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries onwards have been instrumental in exploring new ideas to meet the needs of the times.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

What public praise for a philosopher’s ideas can lead to

Nasir Khan, May 3, 2017

“I never desired to please the rabble. What pleased them, I did not learn; and what I knew was far removed from their understanding.”

— Greek philosopher Epicurus (341 BC – 271 BC)

Epicurus was a renowned philosopher and he certainly was aware of the worth of his ideas. In a simple and subtle way, he has also touched our profound longings to be appreciated by others for our mental and intellectual prowess and skills. Some may call it a human trait, some sceptics may call it a human weakness. Let us see what the public approval of one’s ideas, especially those of a philosopher, in reality amount to: That ideas are framed and presented in such a way that they will appeal to the feelings of the maximum number of ordinary people, who, in return, will heap praise on some ‘clever’ guy!

Can a philosopher or thinking person really expect to validate his ideas with the help of popular applause and praise? Epicurus reply was in the negative. So is mine, after having seen how things work in our times!

In fact, the shoddy tricks played on the unwary and simple people (simple people never think they are simple!) are a form of manipulation. In extreme cases that has led to personality cults, from the olden times to the present times, with disastrous consequences. We are still reaping the toxic fruits of our gullibility as common people because those personality cults are still shaping our history. The dead of the ancient and past history still rule us from their graves. We never question them or their motives. We simply idolise them and sing their praises!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Direct and indirect responsibility for violence in the name of religion

 Nasir Khan, April 26, 2017

Some much-needed words of wisdom, especially for Pakistani Muslims: 

Not all Muslims become involved in acts of violence. Yet all might be held culpable. This is because that section of Muslim--in fact, the majority--who are not personally involved, neither disown those members of their community who are engaged in violence, nor even condemn them. In such a case, according to the Islamic Shariah itself, if the involved Muslims are directly responsible, the uninvolved Muslims are also indirectly responsible. (p. 91)
― Famous Indian Islamic scholar and peace activist Maulana Wahiduddin Khan (b: 1925), The True Jihad: The Concept of Peace, Tolerance and Non Violence in Islam
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Even thought Maulana Wahiduddin Khan addresses only Muslims, but what he says can also be applied to Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Christians, etc. Just like Muslims, when some people from other religious community or denomination commit violent crimes for their religion, their religious dogmas and victimise the followers of any other faith under some flimsy pretext, the vast majority of the people of that religious community remains neutral and indifferent as if nothing had happened. This state of affairs dehumanises all. 

As a result, a phoney nationalist or religious fanatic may feel proud for his violent crime or even a violent murder for the sake of his community or co-religionists! The lack of response to condemn and stand against such crimes and criminals by the vast majority only encourages such people.

Let's keep in mind that, in 2003, former US president George W Bush attacked Iraq without any just cause or excuse. But he tried to justify his genocidal war of aggression by claiming to have sought God's guidance. He received the message from God; God told him to go ahead and invade Iraq! 

G W Bush was and is a Christian. His criminal war of aggression led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and the destruction of Iraq. But he did all that to comply with the commands of God! And many people believe him. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Unity of Pakistani State and Islamism

Religious minorities under constant threat in Pakistan


  Nasir Khan, April 24, 2017

The Pakistani state, its educational and judicial institutions that are deeply influenced by a flimsy religiosity and phoney piety present some ghoulish contradictions for any modern democratic state. How can we combine theocracy with democracy and call it the Islamic Republic of Pakistan? This spectacle continues to defy any clear understanding of the underlying assumptions for a modern democratic state.

The way the new ruling elites of Pakistan brought in Islam arbitrarily as a sectarian force in a multi-religious country has bedevilled the social fabric of Pakistan. It all happened after the death of its strong secularist leader Mr. Jinnah in 1948 in the newly-established state of Pakistan that had come into existence as a result of the partition of India in 1947. When he was no longer there to guide the policies or the future direction the country was to take, some rigid orthodox Muslim leaders and manipulators of Islam came to the fore for political power and became major political actors. Had Mr. Jinnah lived a few years more, then he would have laid the foundations of a modern democratic state, where every religious community was free to practise its faith without the intervention of state or any coercive policies to advance the interests of any one section of Muslims.

After Mr. Jinnah’s death, the gradual process of exploitation of Islam became a standard practice. Political and religious leaders played with the sensitivities of a gullible and largely illiterate population in the name of Islam. The big drive to misuse Islam was helped by indoctrination in religious schools, called madrassas, and mosques as well as in ordinary schools and institutions of education where the teaching of Islamic dogmas has been part of official policy. The syllabuses for the younger generation starting from the elementary schools to the universities are made with a view to bringing in religion in every possible way. We see that happening even in books on physics, biology and botany, etc. that start with some quotation from the Qur’an or a saying of the Prophet.

As a result, such formal instilling of dogmas became quite common and the country became a centre of religious intolerance, sectarianism and vicious victimisation of religious minorities and sects. For the militant Islamists and fanatic fundamentalists the field was open to resort to violence, coercion and intimidation on socially and politically marginalsed religious minorities.

The lynching of Mashal Khan, a 23-year-old journalism student in Pakistan on 13 April 2017 shows the problem ordinary people of Pakistan face at the hands of Islamists, who are willing do anything to stop any voice they consider goes against their ideologies and sectarian theologies. In Pakistan, Muslim extremists have killed innocent people, both Muslims and non-Muslims, over the years. The murders of innocent people on concocted charges of blasphemy and sectarian violence continue to cause much insecurity and fear among all sections of the population.

The misguided killers of innocent people also think that what they do is to safeguard the sanctity of God and the honour of the Prophet. However, it is a total prevarication because in Pakistan where there are 97% people Muslims, God and the Prophet have never been under any threat. They are safe, secure and beyond any threat to their power or status. Any false accusations against innocent people and then killing them or targeting them cannot be justified merely because some ignorant and muddle-headed people thought what they were doing was some good work on behalf of God or the Prophet. In fact, such people are not operating in a vacuum. 

The blasphemy laws of Pakistan are a fertile ground for such killers and other violent criminals to use as tools to advance their reign of terror. Consequently, both the State and Islamists are upholders of the blasphemy stick for destructive purposes. Religious minorities have to bear the brunt of the violence and terror because of such unjust and primitive laws that are fully exploited by the Islamists and other sections of the Muslim population whimsically, very often to settle some private conflicts or petty quarrels.

There are numerous cases when ordinary people from the Muslim community have falsely accused the members of a religious minority for blasphemy. A few years ago, two Christian labourers, a married couple, were thrown in a burning brick kiln after they were falsely accused to have insulted the Holy Qur’an. A local mullah and his congregation appeared on the scene and helped the kiln workers to break the bones of the man before throwing him and his wife in the kiln, where they died in the most frightening way. Similarly, there is he case of Asia Bibi, a married Christian woman who was falsely accused of blasphemy and sentenced to death. She is still languishing in jail. When the governor of Punjab Salman Taseer spoke against the unjust imprisonment of Asia Bibi and opposed the blasphemy laws, he was gunned down in 2011 by his bodyguard, an fanatic Islamist. Another person, who spoke on behalf of Asia Bibi was Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian, who was minorities minister in the central government. He was killed in 2010.

Religious minorities in Pakistan are at the mercy of the majority and extremely vulnerable because of the Muslim extremists. In an atmosphere of rampant religious discrimination and bigotry, it is quite common for ordinary Muslims to view non-Muslims as infidels (kafirs). The mullahs, preachers and Islamists have instilled such beliefs in the people. The next step in this innate assertion of the superiority of Islam as the only true religion is to bring non-Muslims to Islam. As a result every ignorant Muslim feels qualified to assert the uniqueness of Islam and its fundamentals. What sort of Islam the people indoctrinated in religious schools (madrassas) and other educational insitution can preach is not difficult to imagine for an impartial, educated person.

In Pakistan it is so easy for anyone to accuse another person of having insulted God, the Prophet or Islam and thus entangle any innocent person in the blasphemy laws where the punishments is death. These situations of framing the innocent people in cases that lead to the most cruel penalties brings to mind the tortures inflicted on the witches in the Middle Ages in Europe. For the outside world, the so-called blasphemy laws of Pakistan may appear ridiculous, absurd and insane for the present age, but those who are at the receiving end of such barbaric laws are not some imaginary creatures but ordinary human beings who become victims of institutionalised injustice in the name of Islam. No wonder, Pakistan has jailed more people on spurious allegations for blasphemy than any other country in this century.

We should pay attention to the fact that most brainwashed and indoctrinated people genuinely believe that the true voice of Islam comes from the mullahs and that the blasphemy laws of Pakistan are to protect Islam. During the countrywide demonstrations that followed the assassination of governor Salman Taseer, most people supported the blasphemy laws. Among these people were thousands of lawyers and university teachers!

In reality, Pakistani rulers had used the Islam card for their political objectives and in doing so had given a free-hand to the clerics to unleash their toxic sectarian and anti-democratic propaganda against all democratic forces and rational ideas. What this leads to is before our eyes. Any Muslim can take the law into his hands and accuse anyone of insulting God or the Prophet and feel free to kill any such falsely accused person. This is what happened in the recent case of Mashal Khan at the hands of a large crowd of Pakistani university students and others. Such misguided Pakistanis feel they are doing something worthy and noble when they kill anyone in the name of Islam. Thus Islam was transformed into a caricature by the mullahs, fanatic Islamic parties and organizations, and by the Pakistani rulers. Now, ordinary people are falling victims to the barbarity in the name of a religion.

Pakistani law is not able to defend the legal and civil rights of its citizens because it vitiates the basic norms of the freedom of conscience where people are allowed to follow and practise any religion or cult as long as any such religion or sect does not violate the laws of the land or violate the rights of other citizens. Moreover, there is no restraint upon anyone in a democratic country to convert to some other religion voluntarily or reject all religions and follow some alternative world outlooks such as atheism, agnosticism, scepticism or humanism, etc. These things happen in all democratic and civilised countries where the respect for people’s freedom of conscience is a norm.

Modern states do not force people to follow any religion or reject any religion. That’s a matter left to the individual’s choice, in which the state or public authorities do not interfere. Such ideas may seem strange to the vast majority of Pakistani Muslims, because they have experienced only discriminatory laws against some sects like the Ahmadis, who were classified as non-Muslim community in 1974. Since then, the Ahmadis have been subject to all sorts of atrocities and oppression. From the state authorities to the common man in the street, and from the from the Muslim theologians to the village mullahs, the Ahmadis are kafirs (non-believers) and they can be reviled, abused and molested with impunity by any Muslim! It was in such a milieu of intolerance, hostility and vile oppression that some right-wing Islamist students spread the false rumours about Mashal Khan to be an Ahmadi and then gathered a large crowd to lynch him in the most barbaric way.

If a solution is to be found to the uncontrolled disease that is afflicting Pakistan, then the solution lies in diagnosing the cause of the disease. It is no secret that the people of Pakistan have widespread institutions throughout the country where young people are drilled into religious fanaticism that has a big social impact on all sections of the population. Even the so-called ‘educated’ people who have gone or go to universities or professional institutions are not immune to the pervasive indoctrination and religious fanaticism. What the students of Mardan University did with a fellow student Mashal Khan is the latest instance of the bitter fruit that an unrestrained exploitation of Islam is producing.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Islamist terror in Europe

Nasir Khan
 
Islamist terror in Europe

It takes only one fanatic Islamist terrorist to commit brutal murders, this time in Stockholm and by doing so make all ordinary peaceful people of Islamic origin, refugees and others, suspect in the eyes of very many people. 

Luckily, the right-wing anti-Muslim organisations have not mobilised white people to attack Muslims wherever they find them. One stumbling block that has stood in their way is the stable political system and humane social values in Europe. Western democracies are based on democratic values and respect for human rights where the rule of law prevails.

But what Islamist terrorists are doing in Europe and other places is very dangerous and harmful for all. They are paving the ground for the European right-wing militant forces to see not only the Islamists, but all Muslim communities in Europe as a threat to European identity and culture. What that can lead is not too difficult to envisage. In fact, Islamist terrorists in Europe are making that possibility a reality. 

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http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39539689?SThisFB