Posts Tagged ‘terrorism’

Hate-Speech-is-Not-Free-Speech-1

Yes, I’m offended and that’s okay. It’s okay to be offended.

If somebody publically ridicules my father, I’m expected and allowed to be offended. I feel about my Prophet and my religion the same way and it doesn’t matter if the offender doesn’t get it. His ignorance doesn’t minimize the hurt I experience at the hands of his crude behavior. I am not ashamed of owning my hurt but that’s not the issue.

The issue is how I channel my hurt and what channels are available to me to express my hurt.

Self-defense is not synonymous with slaughter. In other words, unless the offender is physically trampling you, you probably shouldn’t kill him. There are always other, more civilized, ways of retaliating. Nicolas Sarkozy was hurt too when Sine joked about him. We all know the amazing true story where Charlie Hebdo had to fire an employee on grounds of anti-Semitism. Thus, establishing that freedom of speech is not the same as hate speech. There’s a law defining that and Sarkozy was wise enough to use that law to his advantage.

My brothers in faith would be better off to follow suit.

Using the law, not taking the law into your own hands, getting laws made that protect the Muslim faith is one narrative that the Muslim community must work on and push for. As tax-paying equal citizens of the land, we have that power and it must be recognized by the State. There was a time when anti-Semitism laws didn’t exist and it was ok to use the N word. I still remember that one book by Agatha Christie – I read it with the old title still intact. Not anymore. The basic underlying principle of these legislations was that such behavior hurt sentiments and feelings of a community. Hence, we can’t cheer for freedom of speech when it crosses over to hate speech.

Then, there’s the role of the media. There were two Muslims gunned down too at the Charlie Hebdo incident. One of them was an employee of the newspaper and the other was a policeman out there defending the freedom of the publication that mocked his faith. Why are the gunmen who killed them the true face of Islam? Why can’t Mustapha Ourrad and Ahmed Merabet be the face of their faith?

Osama Bin Laden’s journey from freedom fighter to Islamic terrorist is no secret. You, the media, told me that he was the anti-Soviet warrior who put his army on the road for peace (ref: The Independent’s article by Robert Fisk published 1993). And when he went rogue, suddenly my beliefs were to blame? That’s like the mom who is the adult in-charge of her child but blames his bad behavior on daddy’s DNA.

Why am I expected to apologize for crimes that I neither committed nor condone?

I’m originally from Pakistan. I hope the world realizes that my home country has lost more than 60,000 civilians to the same terrorist mindset that killed those 12 people in France. Why does the media narrative let a minority decide for a majority? As rightly pointed out by select columnists – when was the last time Christians/Jews/non-Muslims/atheists had to put forth a group apology for the crimes committed in the name of their beliefs? To quote one such piece, “all terrorists are Muslims except the 94% that aren’t”.

I don’t stand for Charlie Hebdo’s style of expression. It is vulgar. Killing those cartoonists was vulgar, too, and spitting out more of the same will only end in more of the same. Attack on that publication ended in attacks on several mosques in France, which only goes to show that when offended, crazies act similarly.

The best attack on fear is through knowledge and integration.

Ramadan, Hajj and their associated Eids are huge events for Muslims. I’ve been in the USA for over a decade. My children are American. They have no other homeland. Every Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza, we hear the cheer being spread around; on TV, over the radio, newspapers, in the malls where you can easily buy the appropriate decorations. There was even a segment on Diwali or Holi (slips my mind as to which one so forgive me). We love it. It’s nice to wish all these various communities well on their big day. However, I have yet to hear a media person wish us, the Muslim Americans, a Happy Eid. Is it really that hard to accommodate that one line in your speech once or twice a year? Yes, we have two Eids. Pick the one you’d want to wish us on – I’d go with the one at the end of Ramadan, personally.

Most Muslims follow the dietary restrictions defined by Islam. We eat only Zabiha when it comes to meat and Halal is a huge ingredient in our foodstuffs. (Please, google the two or ask your neighborly Muslim for an explanation.) The grocery stores across the country sell kosher products. It wouldn’t hurt them to incorporate halal products on their shelves to facilitate their Muslim shoppers. Wouldn’t it be nice if the schools offered a halal menu for the kids who happen to be both American and Muslim? Their parents are paying taxes too, you know.

Coming from a third world, very turbulent country, if I’ve learned anything it is that when minorities, no matter how small, are crushed, forcibly made irrelevant and ignored – countries crumble. For a country to exist in peace, it is important that ALL of her people feel safe, at home, integrated and know that if they are wronged, they will be heard.

Peace be with us and within us!

This post was part of CNN’s I Am A Muslim assignment.

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JUST BEFORE ISIS CAME

Posted: December 20, 2014 in It angers me...
Tags: ,

It was the massacre of those 132 children that got the city in an uproar…well, some of it. It was indeed sad and a national tragedy and all TV anchors were ripping apart the invited officials to their shows as much as possible.

Except Ghulam didn’t watch much cable. He heard the news on his local channel and read some in the papers. He thought he’d cry too but the Imam of his mosque told him to have courage. It was sad indeed but it was only a reaction. Those soldiers had killed babies of those fathers who’d burst in the school building. Remember the raid on the Lal Mosque years ago? So much bloodshed! And the drones and the airstrikes and the army operations in Waziristan? Innocent people are dying there, by the thousands, and nobody is helping them! So why should Ghulam waste his tears for a hundred children. They’ve only paid the price of their parents’ sins plus most of those ‘children’ were adults; had crossed puberty and were westernized beyond repair. They wore pants!

Ghulam understood. Those children weren’t as innocent as the media said – well the media that was fueled by western agenda anyway. His local channel was also one of them now, it seemed. He decided he will not pay attention and go about his work. Imam knows best. Imam was knowledgeable. It were the blessings of his knowledge, the ‘faiz’ because of which the neighborhood’s small, modest mosque had turned into a wonder of shiny marble and high rising towers. It had more space too for more people. The Imam and his mosque were funded by international groups – because he was so knowledgeable.

This was just before ISIS came.

There was a protest that night as well. A group claiming to be a civil society was chanting slogans outside the Lal Mosque, demanding the esteemed Maulvi to apologize for his words against the army, for not condemning the attack at Peshawar. Why should he? Did the army apologize for what they’d done in Waziristan? If the army wasn’t condemned then why should the attackers of the school be reprimanded? Everyone has a right to fight injustice against them. Besides, that Malik – he who was now leading the protest – wasn’t he the one who was leading a protest in favor of the Maulvi when Lal Mosque was attacked by that dictator? Looks like he got new western money. Everyone wants to go abroad these days. Like that Malala. It’s all her fault really that people misunderstood Taliban. She wasn’t shot. Look at her face. No bullet marks there!

Ghulam decided he wouldn’t pay attention to the protest and go about his work. If the Maulvi was really that bad then why didn’t the government catch him? Why was he so esteemed and constantly on TV? Why wasn’t there an anti-Maulvi day? Because he wasn’t such a bad guy; just misunderstood by a few who will shut up soon.

This was before ISIS came.

The government seemed to have caved in some to the western pressure it seemed. They hung six Taliban fighters. May they rest in peace. They were only fighting for a cause and if only we could talk to them and stop the aggression against them, they would’ve come back to us, happy and laughing and smiling. We were all Pakistanis; brothers. We shared the same religion and values and everything. It was sad that the Prime Minister would sway in favor of the western powers because he wants their money. Such shame!

Ghulam decided he would never be part of the western conspiracy. He was a self-sufficient man who had a job and he was a practicing Muslim who wanted his children to walk the right path. He would do what the Imam said – pray harder for all lost souls and for himself and for his country. It will be okay soon.

This was just before ISIS came.

There was another attack after that. At the girls college this time. Some 140 students died. Women – they should stay home! Besides, that college never taught anything valuable. It was all love stories and ungodly science. Studying all that, those women would’ve become infidels in no time anyway. It was sad they had to die this way but – they should’ve listened. They should’ve stayed home.

Ghulam wasn’t sure if Imam was right about that thought, though. Islam didn’t want women to not learn or not educate themselves. But then, maybe the kind of education in that college was wrong…? But his neighbor’s daughter went there too. Luckily she survived because she hadn’t gone to school that day but her friends weren’t so lucky. That house was in mourning nonetheless. And his other neighbor, Habib, was very angry with the Imam too for his preaching. But then Habib had always been the one to disagree with the Imam’s interpretations, saying that the Quran didn’t say this and the Hadith didn’t say that. Saying the Imam was twisting words. Ghulam recalled the time when the Imam had confided in him and a few others that Habib was not a good Muslim. In fact, he wasn’t a Muslim at all. He worshipped the shrines. He was a mushrik! He sympathized with non-Muslims. He was a munafiq! That scared Ghulam. He wasn’t as knowledgeable as the Imam. He didn’t have the time to read all those heavy books by himself and he didn’t have to either when he had an Imam. He came to the mosque to learn from the Imam. Imam knew everything.

But today Habib had really lost it. He cursed the Imam! Saying it was hate-mongers like him who had defiled his religion, made the world hate his religion; people like him who would be the death of his country. The Prophet wasn’t like you! The Sufis weren’t like you! Pakistan wasn’t like this! Habib was shouting. Poor Habib. He was so consumed by the tragedy. He wasn’t thinking straight, Ghulam was sure. Besides, isn’t that what the Imam had been trying to tell us? This is what we had done to Taliban – killed their children. Of course they were angry just like Habib. Poor Habib. If only he could see!

Ghulam decided he would teach his children to be compassionate and see the other person’s point of view. Everyone is good except those who aren’t. The west isn’t good. He would never want his children to turn to that part of the world. It was nice to know that the majority of his neighborhood still felt the same way.

This was just before ISIS came.

The city had turned into a slaughterhouse. Hordes of people were killed, bazaars blasted, gunfire in the air. Mobs were burning down everything in their path while law enforcement agencies were trying to control them. Ghulam saw the Imam leading a mob that was looting, breaking private and public property, killing the cops too. Ghulam couldn’t believe it. He always thought the imam was a peaceful man who believed in talks. Yes, he did say violent actions were justified in some cases but to hit an officer in uniform? That’s against the law! Imam was breaking the law?

Scraps of conversation came to his mind – we don’t believe in the constitution of Pakistan…we pledge allegiance to the Islamic State…

ISIS were wrong and ruthless, that much Ghulam knew. They were just bloodthirsty and killed everyone and abducted women and took away sons. He looked at his daughter and told her to go to her room. He was glad his son was home, too. Then, he secretly chided himself for being afraid. They would never come here! Pakistan had an army and everything. It was funny he was even thinking this. He shook his head and shut and locked the door of his house real tight. He wouldn’t go out today and neither would any of his family members. It will be okay. The government will handle this. It will be over soon.

This was the day ISIS came.

So…grand scale drama at Pakistan airports of late encompassing all adventure elements from terrorizing shoot-outs to angry passengers not getting off the plane to airlines refusing to fly to particular terminals for safety concerns.

I am beyond thrilled. This is too much.

What got my attention the most was the fact that my newsfeed exploded about Tahir-ul-Qadri’s arrival and subsequent ‘bad’ behavior at Lahore Airport. Well, yes, I agree. So not cool. And he got what he deserved – Emirates banned him for life from flying them. So, there. His haters had a field day with that, too – lots of jokes and bad puns and all that jazz, and among that, detailed discussions were held regarding what more will Emirates do to avenge this insult? Discontinue flights operations, perhaps?

Well, that did happen. But amazingly, not because Mr. Qadri had held the carrier hostage. Emirates (and Etihad) declared to discontinue flight operations to Peshawar after a PIA carrier was fired upon there, claiming a passenger casualty. To quote a friend here, “soon there will come a time when even PIA will refuse to fly to and within Pakistan!”

Surprisingly, he was the only one who posted anything about this terrible incident. There was not much in the way of a squeak from anyone else in my newsfeed over this. All the concerned citizens who were uproarious about Qadri’s behavior a few hours ago were – well – quiet. And why not? I mean obviously Mr. Qadri is the real threat to Pakistan’s stability and economy; not the trigger-happy-airport-attacking terrorists.

So now I’m thinking – it is okay to raise hell when there’s potential for character assassination (because we love to mock and belittle people, of course) but absolutely no need to waste time worrying when something truly sordid happens because well…Pakistan mein to yeh sab chalta hi rehta hai. It doesn’t matter if the government continuously fails to protect its people against anything at all. It is okay if the state run police kills unarmed civilians in the name of law enforcement – I mean they were like only eight of them, not like eight million or something! And it is perfectly fine for the government to force passenger aircrafts to land not to the nearest airport but to the one that suits their fancies simply because they are incapable of handling the situation on ground/immature/seemingly democratic with tyrannical mood swings. For PML-N, that’s the second time.

But of course, this is all fine. This is Pakistan. This happens.

Well, there’s one other thing that’s perfectly fine. Tahir-ul-Qadri as part of the country’s political fabric.

I don’t care if TuQ is a mullah (a favorite term with many), and has a beard or is too loud and emotional for my exquisite taste or hails from UK, Canada or Mars – if he is against Taliban and wants to be in Pakistan, he needs to be in Pakistan. And so I welcome him. He can refuse to get off as many planes as he likes because that’s not what will compel airlines to stop flying to Pakistan. No, that’ll be the doing of Taliban and ilk who think it their privilege to wreak havoc in Pakistani air and land space, and the utter incompetence of the government to secure the country against that.

As for the tsunami, the inqilab, the revolution, the blah – get rid of Taliban and their ideology, that’ll be revolution enough for now.

72018239AJ003_Musharraf

In the newsroom:

Everyone everywhere is wondering why Pervez Musharraf, the ex-dictator of Pakistan is being tried and not the other 19,689 terrorists who have killed and are killing Pakistanis on a daily basis (while also giving interviews on TV), not the judges who endorsed his coup and not Nawaz Sharif and ilk, and Bhuttos and ilk who well, did everything in their power to ruin the country.

Honestly, are those people dumb? Seriously? Why ask a question with such an obvious answer!

Mushy, I mean Musharraf DRINKS!! Astaghfaar!! That alone is enough to make him an outstanding kaafir and that, ladies and gentlemen, makes him a traitor and he should be punished and – oh wait, *voice speaks in ear piece* update coming in – Imran Khan drinks too.

*Nervous laughter*

Ahem *clears throat* So what? I mean PUHLEEZ! He drinks in the memory of Osama Bin Laden, it’s different. That is allowed. And besides, I cannot bring in personal stuff about IK.

*cellphone with Bollywood ring tone ‘Character Dheela Hai” starts ringing. *Frantically turns it off*

This… his personal life is totally irrelevant, OKAY! Also, his followers (PTI cyber wing) won’t like it and will hack into my account and post pics of feces on my wall and call it a victory. Nothing pretty about that.

Ok then! Next: Bad Mushy…I mean MUSHARRAF wrote about his affairs in his book! Haww! The shame and…what’s that? IK had how many affairs? Nobody knows? Not even IK? Well, he did marry and settle down eventually, didn’t he?
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*stares, mortified*

So! Moving on – Mushy…dammit, I mean Musharraf operated on Lal Masjid!!! He cut it open and out flew burqa clad mullahs. Wait, what’s that? *voice speaks again in ear piece* There was only one? Really? Just one?

How so not dramatic. *pout*

Alright then, but the list of Musharraf’s crimes is never ending. He went and bombed Bugti for no good reason. Yes, being an anti-Pakistan warlord, landlord is no good reason. And it doesn’t stop there. He bombed the Sardar while he was in his lavish, cool, water-filled swimming pool in the heart of Baluchistan!! *makes sad face* What’s that? He was in a cave? They have pools in caves? Oh, he was in a cave, not a pool…because he was on the run and hiding there while Pak Army was searching for him!

Oh well, let’s get serious and talk about that fateful PIA flight on THAT night of October!!! Remember that one? Now, that is treason! That is violation of our air traffic laws and India’s airspace and Musharraf had no right telling the pilot where to land! Er…what’s that? That was Nawaz Sharif? It wasn’t Mushy who told the pilot to land in India? Are you sure? Dammit!

Okay then…ON OTHER NEWS! Yeh sher ka bacha hai!! Baday hokar PMN- L join keraga! Iskay paas peacocks bhi theen, lekin usko baagar billi khaa gayi. 21 policemen have been sent notices for letting this horrific, horrific crime happen.

So as you can see, CLEARLY, Musharraf IS a traitor! How can we forget (and we won’t let you either) NOV 2007 when he blatantly and oh-so-savagely removed the Chief Justice from his post!!! How dare he! The lawyers were up in arms and…What’s that? Peaceful protest? No arms? Oh okay…arms but like not armeD! As I was saying, HOW could he do that?!! What’s that again? He got references from the Supreme Court AGAINST the Chief Justice ?

*googles that for more detail*

But… but…but CJ was a NICE guy!!! He said Musharraf’s coup was justified and EXACTLY according to the constitution!!! Oh wait, I can’t say that. Because that’s something that cannot be named/said/ever in a zillion years because it takes all blame away from Musharraf and puts it on every other idiot.

I think I’ll go write about those peacocks now. And you people should just accept it! Musharraf is a TRAITOR, OK! Because I said so! Bas!

Note: I wrote this piece with Shamila Ghyas and needless to say, it was a riot!

Shameless in the Veil

In Taliban’s Pakistan, women will not be allowed to wear jeans but men will be entitled to wearing burqas as and when they please.

According to very terrified sources, men will be encouraged to keep a burqa handy by say, thrown over their shoulder/head/woman so that it’s always within reach in case of an emergency. In fact, every man under Taliban regime will be provided with a zambeel to store his Emergency Exit Burqa. The EEB’s can range from glossy to cotton and from body-hugging to billowing.

When inquired about possible emergencies that may require EEB’s, shunning law-enforcement authorities was number one on the list. When asked, won’t the Taliban themselves be the law-enforcers in their own regime…we were stoned.

Reporting from the grave here. Live at Night.

JAB WE MET

And so Taliban Khan prances towards the entrance to the coveted Cave of Terror. Baad-az-Saat Salaam to the Asst. to the Asst. of Terror Master guarding the gates, and sufficient laanat malaamat on Yahod-o-Nasaar (with the exception of goldsmiths of Britain), he enters.

Meanwhile, Mullah Lal Masjid was spotted harassing his tailor (bazooka blaster on-call) with sticks and stones that would break his bones if he failed to deliver the Mullah’s latest order of a silk Shuttlecock in peacock colors and pure non-Ajami gold threadwork.

Ameer-e-Islami, after caging yet another rape victim along with her three witnesses, was seen spritzing his starched self adequately with khushbo and running out singing Aii Milan Ki Bela!!!

We here are standing by to see what more this circus of Talibans talking to Talibans Only has in store while an army general is due to be hanged in about – now. We request you to please be a true Pakistani and do nothing. Just watch. Do nothing. Be nobody.

(post by My Protest, cartoon by Sabir Nazir)