Is Article 227 indispensable?

 By Naeem Sadiq                The News, January 28, 2010
 
If the Taliban were to come to power in Pakistan (which is what their struggle is all about), what would they do to the Constitution? The answer is: they would retain Article 227 and discard the rest of the Constitution. This single article of the Constitution would be sufficient for them to run the country. Their interpretation of this Article would be: “All laws to be brought in conformity with the injunctions of Islam – as perceived by the Taliban.”

They could arguably use the article to make laws to kill a barber for a haircut, bomb a school if it was attended by females, gouge the eyes of those who watched television, lash people for wearing shorts and cut off hands for theft, and to slaughter those who differed with the Taliban’s brand of religion – all in the name of Islam. Thanks to Article 227, all this would be well within the ambit of law and the constitution. The Taliban could not have conceived a better, simpler and more accurate one-liner constitution.

From types of governance to the nature of personal laws, nations, groups and individuals differ widely on what they consider to be in conformity with the injunctions of Islam. The constitution of Saudi Arabia (for some a role model for an Islamic state) calls for a monarchical system of government. It further requires that the monarchy be passed on to the sons of the founding king, Abd al-Aziz bin Abd al-Rahman al-Faysal al Sa’ud, and to their children’s children. Many scholars do not consider this prescription to be a recommended Islamic practice. Others will not agree with the constitution of Iran, another great Islamic country, that declares (in Article 12) Islam in accordance with the Jafariya school to be the official faith.

On the other hand, Muslim Bangladesh on becoming an independent country in 1971 chose a secular constitution, and more recently has banned all religion-based parties from politicking on religious grounds.

In the case of Article 227, Pakistan’s experience with it has added to the strife and polarisation of its citizens and society, rather than providing any benefits. It has been used by both civilian and military rulers to maintain their hold on power through appeasement of religious groups. In a fit of religious fervour, ours became the only parliament in the world to acquire the divine right to declare which Pakistani citizens were Muslim or otherwise. We must now nervously look to our parliament (often a gathering of people renowned for their questionable integrity) in case it decides which one of us is next to be removed from the pale of Islam.

Gen Zia’s Zakat Ordinance deserves special mention here, as it is an object lesson in why not to engage in religious lawmaking. The 1980 ordinance was strongly resented by members of the Fiqh-e-Jafariya, who felt it was not in accordance with their own beliefs. Forced to concede, but also not wishing to lose face, the government responded in a grossly unethical manner. On the one hand, the Zakat Ordinance was amended to include a provision that enabled all recognised sects to seek exemption from compulsory deduction of Zakat. On the other, confidential administrative instructions were issued that declarations filed by Shia Muslims were to be accepted while similar declarations filed by Sunni Muslims were to be rejected. (Paragraph 11 of PLD 1991, Karachi 335, Sindh High Court.)

There was hardly an individual who did not wish to seek exemption from compulsory Zakat deduction. Between 1980 and 1999 (when the Supreme Court upheld the Sindh High Court decision), millions of Muslims kept on providing fake affidavits of belonging to Fiqh-e-Jafariya, or simply withdrawing their money a day before the announced date for deduction of Zakat.

Unfortunately, the cumbersome bureaucratic practices of the Zakat Ordinance continued to hassle and inconvenience ordinary citizens, who must fill the CZ50 Zakat affidavit and have it signed by a notary public and two witnesses. No one ever questions the science by which a witness verifies the sect of a person. Today, one must prove one’s faith by real or fake affidavits in order to prevent the government from making financial deductions in the name of religion.

Zakat, like prayers, is a personal obligation. Turning it into a public law makes it come into direct conflict with Article 20 of the Constitution that provides every citizen the right to practice his or her own religion. It also violates Article 8 of the Constitution that declares any law to be void if it is inconsistent with fundamental rights.

Why did Pakistan need to include Article 227 in its Constitution? Have the actions taken under the umbrella of Article 227 made Pakistani society better or worse? How well have we performed on matters of human rights, equality of citizens, security of individuals, violence against women or dignity of people? Are all these guarantees not already provided for by Articles 8 to 28 of the Constitution?

How is it that scores of nations with no 227-like articles in their constitutions have done far better than Pakistan on the counts of human rights, equality and justice? Pakistan, on the other hand, has fallen prey to deep societal divisions and become vulnerable to the forces of extremism. In its effort to compete on the ideology market, Pakistan has to constantly (and unnecessarily) keep pace with the unmatchable standards of the clerics of Lal Masjid, the Fazlullahs of Imam Dheri and the Baitullahs of Waziristan.

It is time for the state to formally and firmly give up provisions that empower it to legislate (almost always wrongly and in discriminatory manner) matters that are exclusive between an individual and the Lord. The ordinary people of Pakistan will continue to be just as good Muslims as they have always been. Do they really need to be further divided or exploited by Article 227 being invoked?

55 Comments

Filed under Democracy, Islamism, Justice, Law, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, liberal Pakistan, minorities, Pakistan, Parliament, Religion, Rights, secular Pakistan, secularism, state, Taliban

55 responses to “Is Article 227 indispensable?

  1. hoss

    I can’t figure out what the fuss is about some article that Taliban can use. Taliban are not going to take over the country in the near future but the Taliban in the army wardi might.

    There is a need to amend the constitution and I believe it is being looked at in the assembly.
    The new amendment must meet the following requirements to be of any value to the people.

    1. provincial rights and the distribution of resources that give priority to the provincial needs rather than the center needs.
    2. An assessment and realignment of powers between the Head of the State and the Head of the government. In fact this can be achieved by restoring the original clauses of the constitution, that were corrupted by the military dictators.
    3. Any clause that imposes restrictions on the human rights should go.
    4. In senate, if the majority of senators from any province oppose a law, that law will not be implemented in that province.

    In the proposed amendment, I would very much like to see and I know many in smaller provinces would agree with that if any time any civilian government is overthrown by the Army, any and all provinces would have the right to secede from the federation right away. Or any Army coup would mean immediate dissolution of the federation.

  2. Politics in Pakistan mesmerize me. Not only does one enjoy the daily dose of rhetoric that is spewed from the mouths of our beloved politicians, but the one track mind of those in and out of government baffles the mind. Politics in Pakistan, much like the political parties themselves seem to be more inclined towards a personality than an ideology. Nawaz Sharif, Altaf Hussain and Asif Zardari seem to be controlling the present and future of 170 million Pakistanis. What is ironic of these three distinguished gentlemen is the immense power they control. Nawaz Sharif, already a two-time Prime Minister – failed miserably on both occasions, Altaf Hussain – a self exiled leader living in London and Asif Zardari – the current President of Pakistan seems to be holding on to his seat with every bit of strength his party can muster. But why has it lead to a power struggle amongst these political leaders when thousands of Pakistani civilians and soldiers have died over the last few years? Why are we still playing the dirty political games of the past, when history has taught us to do better

    http://ahraza.wordpress.com

  3. Point well taken.Unfortunately for Pakistan, sane people are not heard and worse is that they do not take the masses with them;they are satisfied with expressing their views.Time that Religious fanaticism is laid to rest and the path of building the Nation is started.Media, students and intelligentsia must mobilize Public opinion and set Pakistan in order to prevent it becoming another Afghanistan or being swallowed by China.

  4. Pingback: Is Article 227 indispensable?-Pakistan. « Ramanan50's Blog

  5. Hamlet

    I think when Article 227 was being written into the Constitution by Zia ul Haq, his intentions were basically good as he was trying to implement as much of Sharia Law into Pakistani Law as possible.

    And I agree with hoss when he says fuss shouldn’t be made about this article in particular.

  6. updike

    To the muslims

    Islam contains contradictions. Muslims will never admit it, but it is a fact. The kuran uses many words or concepts without defining them accurately – as would actually be necessary in today’s world for managing human lives a huge society. When this arrogance and conceit of islam being supposedly the final perfect complete divine revelation is added to this then it leads to a sociopolitical disaster, especially because the human beings who manage this supposedly final divine revelation today lack the honesty and courage to say no to the absurdities, fallacies and irrelevancies contained in this supposed revelation.

    The idea of a final revelation is actually an insult to god and hence a blasphemy. It is also an insult to human beings living today in order to glorify dead human beings. God can be god only if he keeps giving revelations time and again and these revelations of today will be different, even incomparable, in their modus operandi than the one(s) earlier. The very concept of a revelation that tries to molest, ridicule or denigrate human intelligence is blasphemy against god and humans.

    The islamic ideology and theology has its unsolvable problems and need to be discarded so that we can take to a more honest and relevant way of life TODAY. Why waste time and energy of mankind on an old ideology that has had its chance and proved itself incapable of managing human lives towards becoming more honest, relaxed, non-violent and eco-friendly?

    That islam contains severe contrdictions is proved by the muslims themselves through their conflicts and suppressions and the lack of a genuine safe freedom of expression in muslim areas and societies. One does not have to read the kuran for that – it is sufficient to obsecrve the behavior of those who read the kuran and try to put it into practice. In fact that is the more correct way of judging a sociopolitical book. Islam does not convince the honest and the intelligent – it “convinces” only the simple-minded, the cowardly or the scheme-ing opportunists.

    Therefore, compatibility with islam only leads to more hypocrisy. What else will be the result of having to manage contradictions by hiding them or denying them?

  7. Gabban

    Updike saheb,

    ‘ When this arrogance and conceit of islam …’ (refering to the ‘kuran’ I think … )

    Whatever and however, the Quran is holy … It must be revered … at the time It was written, It was for the good of the people … you may disagree with it … by refering to It as “arrogance and conceit of Islam” you are disrespectful.

    This too is liking to blasphemy as the Quran is deemed to be a direct Message from God !

    And, I think the Quran or Kuran should always be with a capital letter as mark of respect.

  8. Tilsim

    @updike

    Interpreting any text, even a country’s constitution, depends also on a reader’s personal perspective. Two people can read the same things and get to very different conclusions. So I disagree with you that textual clarity to cover every situation would have been the answer here.

    Life is not so simple and if one believes in God, He certainly has not given all of it to us on a plate. We do have to exercise intellect and reflect on our faith. Religion is about striving to understand the principles that govern one’s existence. In that sense, Islam does make claims that the principles that it champions are for the benefit for mankind and that they reiterate previous revelations to ALL people. The principles in themselves do not change (i.e not to lie, sin, murder, commit adultery etc) and whether one accepts them or not is a matter of one’s moral outlook. The practical application of these principles is where the debate and division occur mostly. Many follow things literally others try to understand the principle at stake and think about appropriate practical application. Muslims look to the example of the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) to determine practical application. However, that practical application was by its nature particular to a specific time and specific situations. As a Muslim, I try to wonder how might the Prophet (pbuh) , as evidenced by his conduct 1400 years ago, might apply those principles in today’s age as the environment and the level of knowledge are different. By rigorously using a combination of the Quran, one’s intellect, a strong moral foundation, and the example of the Prophet’s conduct, we should be able to get to a contemporary application of Islamic principles. However, the cause of problems lie perhaps (and may God forgive me if I err or mislead) in Muslims unwillingness to exercise deep intellectual reasoning in their discussion of the principles of the Quran and the evidence of the Prophet’s conduct as applied to today’s challenges. This fault is partly due to the shutting out of rational thought by philosophers such as Ghazali a few hundred years after the birth of Islam. The sad results of this decision and the way that Islam is then taught and applied is there for all to see. I think you will have more success in asking Muslims to reflect more (as many are already doing) than asking them to abandon their religion altogether. Principles are difficult to abandon.

  9. Tilsim

    @updike

    I hope that you find the following link to a blog useful. It offers further perspective on some of the issues that you have raised.

    http://www.khalidzaheer.com/

  10. updike

    To gabban and tilsim

    Thanks for your kind posts.

    Capital letters are only in latin/greek script. Arabic has no capital letters. Capital letters are used for names of persons, countries etc. – not for names of books. I do not write the word god with a capital letter either, because god is not a name.

    Respect has to be earned – and when I examine the results of the ideology left behind by Mohammad I do not see any special or extra reason to honor him or obey him or follow him, esp. in the 21st century. The good that Mohammad did or exemplified can be learnt from other less-problematic, less-contradictory, less-confusing sources also.

    If an ideology regards someone or something (e.g. a book) as uncriticizable then this ideology becomes a fascism centred around this someone or something. Islam is no exception to this. In fact islam illustrates this clearly. The word “respect” means what exactly? Not to criticize? If a muslim thinks he must have the freedom and the right to respect the kuran then he must admit that the non-muslim has an equal freedom and right to disrespect (=criticize, reject, oppose) the kuran.

    One major reason why islam has gone down the drain of violence, imperialism, fascism and arabic racism and ethno-fascism and taken so many millions along with is this lack of criticism in islam. Muslims have developed, over 1400 years, many methods to suppress every criticism of islam, Mohammad and kurn. Vilifying the critic, accusing him of lack of knowledge, equating criticism of islam with blasphemy or rebellion against god, sending killers to attack the critic etc. – I do not wish to list all these methods here. This is how fascism perpetuates and strengthens itself.

    The crucial question is: how did islam treat and how will islam treat those who leave islam or wish to leave islam? The answer to this question will tell us whether islam is a totalitarian ideology or not. In fact, the very god-concept of islam is totalitarian. Monotheism is by nature an inherently totalitarian idea. Islam (=sumission under an arabic-kuranic 7th century god-concept) is a west-asiatic-arabic, restrictive, narrow god-concept.

    Islam allows no freedom of expression except to glorify islam, Mohammad and kuran. This is exactly how fascism takes hold of the minds and functions and “succeeds”.

    (I will consult the link suggested by tilsim as soon as have the time.)

  11. Majumdar

    JNM’s gripe was not with the Gandhoo per se. He hated upper caste Hindoos. As leader of SCF he aligned his party closely with AIML govt in Bengal in 1937-46 and when Partition became inevitable he sided with AIML POV ‘cos in his opinion Bong Dalits were better off with Muslims as neighbour than caste Hindoos. We do not know for certain whether he recanted his belief after his shameful flight to Calcutta in 1951 (???).

    He may have disliked MKG but his alignment with AIML had nothing to do with that. Not only Assam, even Bengal’s accession to Pakistan may have been difficult without the SCF’s vote given the peculiar electoral arithmetic of the Bengal Assembly under the Communal Award scheme.

    Regards

  12. Majumdar

    Kindly note that the above post was meant for the No priests needed thread- for some strange reason that thread is eating up all my interacts.

    Regards

  13. Sadia Hussain

    The constitution needs to be amended and the discriminatory laws should be scrapped with consensus, religion has long been used as an excuse by clerics who have political ambitions, recently the harassment at work place was termed as Un Islamic by the religious parties. Politicization of religion is a threat as we already face religious extremism

  14. OMLK

    @updike

    I think it is a mistake to equate Muslims with Islam. Ys it is ironic, but in the sense that Allah has given man free will, there is no inherent guarantee that just by professing to be a Muslim(s) a peron or community begins to be representative of what Islam stands for.

    I have very carefully read the Quran and have come to the conclusion that it abhors fascism, prohibits agression, forbids compulsion, encourages tolerance, encourages the use of intellect, discourages blind faith or allegiance and aims for the spiritual evolution of man by nurture and growth of higher moral values. If you, after a careful reading of the Quran have come to the opposite conclusions then one of us is very wrong! I don’t want to debate who is wrong, but just want to make a point that there exists a point of view (based on study and reasoning) that is at odd with not only your reading of Islam, but also the reading and practice of Islam of many Muslims.

    Also the conecpt of the abosolute unity of God is not restrictive at all. In fact polytheism restricts God(s), as by defintion to acheive polytheism there needs to be distinction between God / Godheads/ God concepts, which cannot be achieved without some mutually exclusive attributes; which are then restrictive by default.

    Absolute Unity of the Absolute in fact eleminates all restrictions, and actually is highly liberating as it, at the most fundamental level, removes all barriers between the God and creation. I mention this as the core of Islam is the spiritual upliftment of man, and the core of this upliftment is the moral development of the soul, and the core of this development is the proximity of man to God as (according to Islam) God is the perfection of goodness, and the core of this proximity is the abosulte unity of the Absolute Reality.

  15. Tilsim

    @ updike

    I think you have absolutely a right to criticize. However I do think there is a distinction between criticism and abuse and violence. I am sure you don’t like threats of abuse or violence from certain Muslim zealots, I don’t like it either. I abhor it. Perhaps you can also reflect on whether all of the criticism of Islam or Muslims is reasoned or whether some of it’s more old fashioned mockery, prejudice and hatred.

    Coming back to the subject of the original post on article 227, I do think that the author has a point. If the end goal is a just, fair, prosperous, and peaceful society (Islamic principles too), then by that measure declaring a State an Islamic one makes no difference. In fact, as stated in this post, we see official and rigid religious dogma result in the disappearance of honesty and goodness from society, promotes fatalism and invites ridicule to religion both at home and abroad. Religion loses it’s power to uplift the soul and connect to the Divine. It becomes a vehicle for pursuing power and other worldly agendas. For many this sort of state religion is a turnoff.

  16. PMA

    My dear ‘updike’, you are a troubled and a disturbed man. May gods (all of them) have mercy on you.

  17. tenzinrinpoche

    Indeed PMA, how kind of them to let him have access to computers in his “institution”

    Ten

  18. Tilsim

    @Updike
    You language and arguments suggest that you have clearly decided that you hate Islam. It is not possible to have a problem solving type discussion with you in this state of mind as much as it is with a Taliban/Al Qaeda supporter. I wish you peace.

  19. Dear PMA Sahib:

    I am sure your feelings towards this gentleman are shared by many here (although others may not be feeling as charitable as you are).
    Even the Gods are helpless when confronted by individuals who choose to go through life wearing blinkers of ignorance and self-rightousness. 😉

    On the behalf of all Indians here, I truely apologize to all of you on the PTH whose leniency and generosity has been so blatantly abused .

    Regards.

  20. Luq

    @Updike
    All of what Tilsim told you is just swept aside as being irrelevant.

    Now that you have maneuvered yourself back to your hatred of Islam and muslims without any differentiation between Islam, Islamists and muslims, would you go on to your next step and parrot the next line in the RSS’s propaganda about muslims increasing their population?

    Luq

  21. Gabban

    Updike saheb,

    ” Since you cannot deny these facts in your own minds (in those small residues of honesty still present in the mind) hence you resort to downgrading me… ”

    Nay ! … nothing personal, I would suggest …

    Actually, Moslems are more ardent … they happen to be more serious and passionate practioners of their religion …

    Perhaps the elders and philosophers of Islam should relax the forbiding fervent, simplify the beliefs and make it contemporary to save the followers from denoucements … meanwhile, condemnations and abuse of the faith by others will not do good …

    Rants can be followed by a line of goodness … after all, there are tremendous people in Islam !!

  22. kashifiat

    Shame on PTH,

    You have no space for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui

    American Slaves ! See what the shameful act did by LiberalMusharraf.

    She is right “Down fall of US has started”

  23. Tilsim

    @updike

    There are certain useful rules to make dialogue (a two way conversation) conducive. I don’t want to plagiarise so here is the link:

    http://norwayportal.mfa.no/en/Norway_Mission_to_the_UN/Statements/2007/Plenary-Meetings/071005_JuulInterregdialogue/

    I hope this different method proves useful to your future conversations.

  24. B. Civilian

    @kashifiat

    ever heard the term sub judice?

  25. PMA

    Gorki (February 4, 2010 at 1:38 am):

    It appears to me that ‘updike’ is mad at Islam because according to him the second Millenium Muslim invaders of India converted some of his fellow Hindus to Islam by force. Well, even if his assertions are true, short of converting back to Hinduism, there is nothing much else that Muslim converts of the Sub-continent can do to please him. But instead of being mad at Islam (which incidentally covers more than ‘his’ Sub-continent) may be he should speak directly to his ex-Hindu brothers and sisters and convince them to come back to the religion of their forefathers. It could be that simple.

    His second gripe is that creation of Pakistan has denied him access to the River Indus, holy to him. Well, in order to get it back, he has to do it the old fashion way. In the meantime he is welcome to come over and take a dip in what ever water is left in the ‘holy river’. Thousands of Sikhs Yatries come to Pakistan every year. He too could do the same. But you do not have to apologise for anything. We too have our share of nuts who want to hoist Green Flag on Red Fort.

  26. Gorki

    PMA Sahib:

    “may be he should speak directly to his ex-Hindu brothers and sisters and convince them to come back to the religion of their forefathers”

    I believe that is exactly what he is trying to do. Unfortunately his skills of persuasion leave much to be desired.😉

    Regards.

  27. Majumdar

    Vishwasbhai,

    I do not wish to have to take permission from an agent or quisling of arab/turkish imperialism in order to take a bath in the Sindhu river.

    Well, you will need visa from the GoP. On second thoughts of course you cud take a dip in the Sindhu River in Ladakh without taking permission from Yasser Pai or PMA sb.

    I did not create this world and hence take no responsibility if it ends in islamic fascism and arabic nazism.

    That seems to be a fair point. OK, we will not blame you if “Islamic fascism” or “Arabic Nazi-sim” takes over the whole point.

    Regards

  28. Majumdar

    Errata “whole world”

    Regards

  29. PMA

    Majumdar (February 5, 2010 at 12:09 pm):

    Mr. Vishvas/Updike fails to understand that all Muslims (including Arabs), Christians, Buddhist etc. are ‘converts’ in a sense. If not themselves then someone in their ancestry converted to their present religion. He also fails to understand that before they became Muslims they were Pagans, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Zoroastrians and not just Hindus. Today in the West many Christians are converting into Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam. In Eastern Europe Muslims are converting to Christianity. In India untouchables are becoming Christians. And on top of that some people are abandoning religion and God altogether. He equates Islam with ‘Arabism’ not knowing that most Muslims are not Arabs and most non-Arab Muslims despise Arabs. I think man is crazed and possessed. He is a ‘majnoon’.

    And one side note. In Pakistan, the River Indus has many names such as Aba Seen, Attack, Sindh etc. But I have noticed that religious Hindu Indians like to refer it as ‘Sindhu’. It must be a term of endearment. I think in Pakistan we should tap into these sentiments and start a ‘Sindhu Holy Tourism Industry’. Let us make some money off these folks!

  30. Gorki

    G. Vishvas you wrote:
    1. “Many of my posts are deleted, especially when they contain good powerful arguments.”

    Don’t flatter yourself. I think they get deleted because they are repetitious and get boring after a while.

    2. “This is done so that I can be ridiculed more easily.”

    See above. You do a pretty good job yourself, so no help is needed.

    3. “My arguments have nothing to do with religion.”

    Good. Now stick with it.
    Once you agree with the above statement then all your ten thousand word arguments can be simply answered by the following two words:

    Free will!!

    4. Then you wrote: “It is not my job or desire to be persuasive.”

    So far so good.

    But then you are also saying that your self appointed job description is:
    “It is about telling the victims of islam that there is something better than islam and its grand claims and manipulations”

    Which one is? Make up your mind.

    Finally you state:

    “I state what I feel is true and leave it to the others to decide. I am not a diplomat or lawyer or salesman.”

    OK, you made you point; several hundred times so far.
    Point taken.
    Now can you please leave all the ignoramus on the PTH alone and promise never to return?😉

    Regards.

  31. Gorki

    G. Vishvas:
    I believe you are changing your original stance (slightly for the better I may add😉 )
    If so, then it is a welcome change. Can you kindly clarify a few points?

    1. “I had written clearly (why don’t you read carefully?) that the “how and why” of any (past) conversion to any religion does not concern me in the least. Past is past. I am talking about the freedom to convert TODAY.”
    Is this your only problem with Islam now?

    2. “You want to do good to hindus (who may or may not be a majority in India – depending upon how you define the word “hindu”) then keep questioning their ideology, religion, history-writing and faith.”
    Does this mean you have similar problems with Hinduism too but on another forum?

    3. “Remember the turkish (but non-islamic) saying: “Friend speaks bitter”. In deed, the flatterer is never the true friend.”
    Has it crossed your mind that some non Muslims may have views on Islam different than yours out of conviction rather than out of a need to flatter?

    Regards.

  32. Gorki

    G. Vishvas:

    “You want to do good to hindus (who may or may not be a majority in India – depending upon how you define the word “hindu”) then keep questioning their ideology, religion, history-writing and faith.”

    But obviously you (and most Hindus?) don’t want to ‘do good to Hindus’ because you wrote:

    “I am not participating in any hindu forum. I look into some occasionally to find out if there is anything dangerous going on. Generally they are quite harmless or silly. Most hindus ignore them.”

    Poor Hinduism!!

    Majumdar Da:

    You always crack me up with your one liners from time to time but this time you outdid even yourself. The following exchange had me laughing helplessly for a long time😉

    I did not create this world and hence take no responsibility if it ends in islamic fascism and arabic nazism.
    That seems to be a fair point. OK, we will not blame you if “Islamic fascism” or “Arabic Nazi-sim” takes over the whole point (world)

    Regards.

  33. B. Civilian

    Doc, if you are done with humouring the patient, shall we let him go back to wherever he came from and only return if and when he has mended the solitary chink in his armour – the concession duly acknowledged by the fair-minded majumdar? does his existence, as defined by himself, even deserve acknowledgement while the gaping hole remains?

  34. vajra

    The refutations are there, but you insist on not reading or acknowledging them, and going on with your lonely harangue.

    You were asked – again and again , by more than one person – which argument or which flight of fancy of yours was remaining unanswered. You did not have the temerity to reply. How can you claim now that you went unrefuted?

  35. Gorki

    Dear Vajra:

    Arguments are futile against a faith of a true believer; which I think our rare friend here is.
    His belief system is as impervious to any arguments or appeals to reason as that of any zealot on the hilltop of Masada.

    This belief is now fortified with a halo of martydom (“I know very well what you dislike on me’) as well as delusions of grandiosity (I did not create this world and hence take no responsibility if it ends..)
    and the march to prophethood is nearly complete.

    Expect more pronouncements on the themes touched upon above:
    ‘I undertake this difficult endeavour after being beseeched by moderate Muslims too afraid to speak up themselves’ and besides ‘Hinduism is reforming itself on its own and does not need the Messiah’s touch, which is needed elsewhere.

    I think in future I am going to listen to BC.

    Regards.

  36. vajra

    @Gorki

    Please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please listen to BC. There are one or two other petitioners besides, but BC will do fine.

  37. Luq

    @Vishwas
    So finally you admit you are Updike. Does that reveal anything about your honesty?

    >My question: How does islam intend to treat
    >atheists, non-believers and ex-muslims? How far
    >can muslimsgaranteethat atheists, non-believers
    >and ex-muslims can lead safe lives with full
    >human rights and dignity?

    A one verse rebuttal from the Qur’an will prove Islam proclamation of universal rights of one’s religion: “There is no compulsion in Islam” (Qur’an, 2:256).

    The teachings of the Prophet on how you and I should treat our Non-Muslim friends and neighbours on a day to day basis as well as how the government should treat a Non-Muslim citizen of a Muslim state.

    “He who believes in God and the Last Day should honour his guest, should not harm his neighbour, should speak good or keep quiet.”

    “Whoever hurts a Non-Muslim citizen of a Muslim state hurts me, and he who hurts me annoys God.”

    “He who hurts a Non-Muslim citizen of a Muslim state, I am his adversary, and I shall be his adversary on the Day of a Judgement.”

    “Beware on the Day of Judgement; I shall myself be complainant against him who wrongs a Non-Muslim citizen of a Muslim state or lays on him a responsibility greater than he can bear or deprives him of anything that belongs to him.”

    “Anyone who kills a Non-Muslim who had become our ally will not smell the fragrance of Paradise.”

    Then again Vishwas, I live in a building adjoining a mosque. I have told them all that I am an atheist and that I am no longer a muslim. They simply ignore my religious status but do invite me to every feast like everyone else. According to your theory I should be dead, right?

    Luq

  38. Luq

    There is no compulsion for a person to accept islam. But it is certainly a shame upon the human intellect when a person is not even interested in finding out as to what it really means.

    Islam teaches that God has given man the faculty of reason and therefore expects man to reason things out objectively and systematically for himself. To reflect and to question and to reflect.

    Nobody should press you to make a hasty decision to accept any of the teachings of Islam, for Islam teaches that man should be given the freedom to choose.

    Even when a person is convinced about the faith, there is no compulsion upon him/her to embrace it. But before you begin to form an opinion about Islam, ask yourself whether your existing knowledge of Islam is thorough enough.

    Luq

  39. Hayyer

    You guys are wasting your time. Stop giving him openings.

  40. Sameet

    The headline mentions Article 227, and most of the discussion is about Islam & Quran, wonderful….
    Ok, let me add my two annas to it…..Who Dat? The Indianapolis Colts, Dats Who……

    Here, have it, I made as much sense as G.Vishvas/updike/whatever…..

  41. Milind Kher

    @Luq,

    There are enough and more votaries of Islam that are growing day by day. People choosing not to recognize the merits of Islam will not make a difference.

    In fact, in the Holy Quran, Allah (SWT) even warns the Muslims telling them that if they did not adhere to the tenets of the faith, “We will replace you with a people better than you”.

    The best policy is to live and let live. What is important is not the faith that anybody professes. It is his worth as a human being.

  42. Feisal Naqvi

    It would be useful if you read all of Art 227 instead of clause 1 only. What the rest of Art 227 does is to make sure that the process of Islamisation is limited and controlled. all in all, I think its a fairly sensible compromise, but you seem to have completely ignored that aspect of it.

  43. rex minor

    Let us remind us of the article and its premise that if the Talaban were to take over………

    There need to be certain pre-requisites in the country’s constitution, which claims to be a muslim country:
    . The human dignity of the individual citizen should be inviolable.(regardless of gender, ethnic and religion)
    . The constitution must not violate the laws of Islam.
    . Any form of slavery and colonisation of individuals or a State should be declared as a human right violation and a crime against the muslim state.
    Those of you who are always in the forefront of preaching for secularism as practiced in the West, should not ignore the fact that most of their constitutions have more or less incorporated and are compatable with the old Testament. For example even today in Ireland the abortion is regarded as a murder and punishable with life sentence.
    There is no need to speculate about the so called talabans, once they have cleared their home territory from the infidels, they would be in a position to look further towards south.
    Have a nice day and do not get upset from absurd commentry from the non-believers.

  44. Milind Kher

    The Taliban operate in a manner that completely opposes the tenets of Islam, whether it is oppression of women or killing innocents.

    They also arrogate to themselves the authority to interpret the Quran, which is haraam. Only the Holy Prophet (SAWA) and the aimma have the right to do that.

    An Islamic state is a pipe dream when those administering it are themselves incompetent. The genuine Islamic state will happen only with the advent of Imame Zamana (a.t.f.s)

    Needless to say, the Taliban will be thoroughly routed, and Allah’s might will prevail.

  45. rex minor

    The so called talibans are Pashtoons, resisting the invaders simply to save their families from the neo-crusaders. Be it the Pakistani Army or Western armies. It is a perverted view of the Western propaganda to imagine that the Pashtoons oppress women, who happen to be their mothers and sisters.
    Neither India nor Pakistan has learnt anything from their centuries of colonised life and even today are kow towing the Western biased view of the world. Todate they have not even termed the colonisation of people as the biggest human right violation in the history of mankind!! OR HAVE THEY?
    Milland Kher, you may not agree with my views, but am really surprised to see that somehow this forum is fast becoming a platform for the muslim religion, particularly for many Indian nationals to spell out their venom in a direct or covert manner and others(including Indians, I guess) who continue to defend it. No muslim requires any lessons about Islam from others, be it a muslim or a non-muslim, least of all from non-believers. I do not attribute any of these words towards you personally, but please are you really not aware of the American neo-conservatives, who with the blessing of their clergy, have developed a strategic plan to spread the hegemony of the US in the middle eastern and far eastern countries to spread the values of their constitution?
    I find it very cynical when Western leaders praise Islam as a peaceful religion, and then in the same breadth blame the followers of the faith as radicals, insurgents, terrorists etc. etc. @ Milland Kher, you have forecasted the routing of the talibans, could you also kindly predict the awakening of the Indian and Pakistan as soverign nations and would stop shooting in their feets and equally get rid of their incompetent leaders as well as the atomic weaponry? Regards,

  46. Milind Kher

    @Rex Minor,

    No human can stand in judgment over who is a believer and who is not. That is the prerogative of Allah (SWT)

    And everybody has the right to defend their view of Islam. Talk of oppression by the Taliban, when schools for women are blown up, when they are confined to their homes, and covered from head to foot, that is surely oppression and not emancipation.

    India is going through a major awakening process, with young and dynamic leaders and for sure, Pakistan will too.

  47. rex minor

    @milland kher
    .Perhaps you should listen to the UK foreign minister, whose parents and grand parents are of the jewish origin, but he claims to be a non- believer. The aetheist do not require God’s authority for their decision.
    . Perhaps you should advise the French President how to treat 200 odd French women who are wearing a Burqa, covering themselves from head to foot!! There are no talibans in France!!

    Perhaps you should visit the taliban land and see for yourself the truth about the perverse and shabby stories coming from the West and the Afghan residents living in Kabul and in the North, OR, better still why do’nt you visit UK, France, Turkey and several East European countries and witness the christian and muslim women wearing a head dress(hajab). I find it degrading to pick on women and ridicule their dress culture, instead of showing tolerance and understanding of people’s traditions, no matter how primitive they might be.
    For your info the only reason the Pashtoon or Taliban women cover themselves when they visit cities, since they are told to avoid indecent commentry from the city dwellers. The same women do not cover themselves in their own villages.
    I was once reminded that you guys have the clue about India and Pakistan more than the non- resident like me. I am not going to mention the states of India where non-muslim women cover themselves completely and one wonders how they manage to see their way to walk about! I do not see anything wrong with it as I do not see anything out of the norm with European women clothing culture. While you are very sensitive about the women’s clothing, perhaps you should also talk about the Indian and Pakistani’s men dress culture. I personally find it primitive distasteful and sometimes ridiculous. Please do not pick on Talibans, the entire dress culture of men and women in your part of the world require serious improvements!!
    Finally I wish I could share your positive forecast about India and Pakistan. But anway, Good luck.
    Regards,

  48. Milind Kher

    @Rex Minor,

    Understand that France is banning the burqa because it is a symbol of asserting that the people wearing it are different. If you go to somebody else’s country and actively seek to promote differences, then they are not going to take it kindly.

    Also, do let me know about how the dress culture of men in Pakistan and India is bad.

    If the women in NWFP and Afghanistan had happily and of their own accord adopted the dress code that they did, it would have been a different matter altogether. You still have not addressed the issue of womens’ schools being blown up.

  49. rex minor

    Milland Kher,
    .The bonapart president, who himself is an immigrant Jew from Hungary, is not more than a thug. We have observed his performance as an Interior minister. The women who are wearing Burqa in France are not the immigrants but french citizens.
    What you observe in France under Zarkosi is nothing but simple xenophobia. To put it in prospective the young Gandhi is simply immitating the French President to obtain votes from the right.

    .The dress culture of men in India and Pakistan is very primitive, to say the least, some men wandering around almost naked and some wearing several metres of cloth which is a safety hazard in a modern industry. The men should pay attention to their dress culture, reform it where required, instead of concentrating on women clothing. I am sure the women would do likewise once the men modernise their dress culture. The men’s current garment might be to their taste and cosy but I find it disgusting to see shopkeepers almost naked serving snacks to men and women customers. When a comment is made about their dress, they look bewildered and reply that their dress is Islamic. Now please tell me what is the role of religion in men’s clothing? Do you find it proper when Mr Gillani is dressed up in the reverse way of a Burqah. How does it differ from from a Burqah, with the exception that he shows his face. I would rather see a women’s face then that of the Pakistan leaders.
    It may not be a bad idea to show on this forum the men dressed up in Indian and Pakistan clothing for commentry?
    .I have seen very few women in the world who are so dominating, persistent and tenacious as Pashtoon women. Why do’nt you go to Afghanistan and tell the women to get rid of the shuttlecock dress. King Amanullah tried it and had to abondon his throne and King Zahir Shah brought his entire family on the podium signalling women to get rid of their Burqahs. This bold act did encourage the tajik, hazara and uzbek women but not the Pashtoons. My own views are that the men have to modify their dress culture in the land before the women do?
    .With regard to blowing up of the girl’s schools, I am not sure if the Geneva convention on War prohibits this act. Let us not pretend to be innocent of the indoctrination techniques used in modern times, if not in children schools and madrassas, then where else? No one can deny that the destruction of a building is primitive act but so is the act of American drones on people’s property and areal bombardment of homes in the Pashtoon land by criminal elements of Pakistan and US military, and to stretch it in your part of the world the burning of mosques and temples is equally disgusting. All of these acts are regrettable but simply demonstrate that those who destroy it find them foreign in their midst.
    Have a nice day. Regards,

  50. vajra

    @Milind Kher

    You have been making some sensible points in this discussion, but I am afraid that you are opposed by an implacably regressive adversary. Please consider the references below:

    .The bonapart president, who himself is an immigrant Jew from Hungary, is not more than a thug. We have observed his performance as an Interior minister. The women who are wearing Burqa in France are not the immigrants but french citizens.

    Surely it makes little difference whether the wearers of the burqa who are being criticised are immigrants or French citizens. The criticism was of behaviour antagonistic to French culture and ethos, and could apply to either immigrants or to citizens.

    Furthermore, dragging in the French President’s father’s immigration and religious descent is questionable. Surely we can have a discussion without attributing the lowest motives to the people whose actions we oppose. Avoiding ad hominem remarks would keep the discussion rational and focussed on logic.

    What you observe in France under Zarkosi is nothing but simple xenophobia. To put it in prospective the young Gandhi is simply immitating the French President to obtain votes from the right.

    Perhaps it is xenophobic, perhaps it is due to a deeper concern of the extinction of the existing French culture by an inimical importation. We can discuss this,certainly; it has been discussed frequently before, of course, but there is no harm in discussing it again. Certainly it is far too early to conclude that the argument is settled, one way or the other, and certainly it seems highly premature to ascribe similar motives to young Gandhis.

    .The dress culture of men in India and Pakistan is very primitive, to say the least, some men wandering around almost naked and some wearing several metres of cloth which is a safety hazard in a modern industry.

    Is this remark less xenophobic than what the French positions are alleged to be? An entire culture is assigned a position with one sweeping statement. Is this balanced or sensible in any sense?

    Second, what is this mysterious apparel consisting of several metres of cloth? As an Indian, I am curious to know, since nothing in my personal knowledge matches this observation.

    Less than 20% of Indian men, to take an instance, are engaged in industry. How their clothing of several metres is a safety hazard in a modern industry is bewildering.

    The men should pay attention to their dress culture, reform it where required, instead of concentrating on women clothing.

    True, but the connections to the arguments earlier are tenuous, although your friend does not seem to agree.

    I am sure the women would do likewise once the men modernise their dress culture.

    What is the connection? What do these have to do with each other? It would be nice if all busybodies kept to themselves and refrained from interfering in personal matters, except to the extent that individual liberties are being compromised already on gender lines, or any other lines.

    The men’s current garment might be to their taste and cosy but I find it disgusting to see shopkeepers almost naked serving snacks to men and women customers. When a comment is made about their dress, they look bewildered and reply that their dress is Islamic. Now please tell me what is the role of religion in men’s clothing? Do you find it proper when Mr Gillani is dressed up in the reverse way of a Burqah. How does it differ from from a Burqah, with the exception that he shows his face. I would rather see a women’s face then that of the Pakistan leaders.
    It may not be a bad idea to show on this forum the men dressed up in Indian and Pakistan clothing for commentry?

    This is totally bewildering. What does this rigmarole mean?

    .I have seen very few women in the world who are so dominating, persistent and tenacious as Pashtoon women. Why do’nt you go to Afghanistan and tell the women to get rid of the shuttlecock dress. King Amanullah tried it and had to abondon his throne and King Zahir Shah brought his entire family on the podium signalling women to get rid of their Burqahs. This bold act did encourage the tajik, hazara and uzbek women but not the Pashtoons. My own views are that the men have to modify their dress culture in the land before the women do?

    After considering this passage with the same degree of perplexity as the rest, it appears that the intention is to say the following:

    1. Pashtoon women have minds which are hard to change.
    2. Their dress habits are determined by themselves and are not imposed on them, and hence any external attempts at bringing change fail, since the individuals whose behaviour is sought to be changed are not willing to accept these changes.
    3. Since Pashtoon women are strong-minded and don’t do things merely because others influence them, they will not change their dress habits until Pashtoon men change their own dress habits. The moment Pashtoon men change, Pashtoon women will, in an independent and liberated spirit and without considering parallels and similarities, also change.

    Doesn’t seem logical, but then the entire response in question is quite exemplary of irrational argument.

    .With regard to blowing up of the girl’s schools, I am not sure if the Geneva convention on War prohibits this act.

    And therefore it is justified?

    Let us not pretend to be innocent of the indoctrination techniques used in modern times, if not in children schools and madrassas, then where else?

    Are we to understand that all children’s education, all primary education is indoctrinating in nature? We have seen indoctrination in the form of restriction of information; it seems that the argument has been perverted and freedom of information is now considered to be the mirror image of restriction, and therefore equally indoctrinating in intent.

    This is truly breathtaking.

    No one can deny that the destruction of a building is primitive act but so is the act of American drones on people’s property and areal bombardment of homes in the Pashtoon land by criminal elements of Pakistan and US military,

    This so-called fact has also been discussed ad nauseam. There is as much evidence to the effect that drone strikes have in fact killed fanatic terrorist leaders and their associates in the main. There appear to have been stray incidents of the killing of innocent civilians, but it does not seem to have been done by deliberate intent, not as a policy, not in the way that the terrorists have destroyed schools and educational institutions.

    Surely there is a distinction to be drawn between intentional and systematic acts, and occasional accidents. This is in no way intended to belittle the effects of these accidents.

    and to stretch it in your part of the world the burning of mosques and temples is equally disgusting. All of these acts are regrettable but simply demonstrate that those who destroy it find them foreign in their midst.

    True, very true, but precisely because these are disgusting and regrettable, they are opposed, and the people committing these disgusting and regrettable acts are sought to be prosecuted under the law.

    Two wrongs do not make a right. Just because a temple and a mosque are destroyed it does not follow that this amounts to some kind of precedent, and forms some justification for similar behaviour.

    Drawing a parallel between the two is pathetic.

  51. rex minor

    @Vajra
    Perhaps on reflection you might find your commentry despite the application of logic are not intended to accept the facts. I do not consider myself as an adversary and on top of that a regressive one. I would have thought that Voltaire saying would be picked up by your intellect at this time, ” I may not agree with your views but would be prepared to give my life to defend the freedom of expression”. Let me give you a bit deeper quotation from Immanuel Kant, the mataphysic German philosopher.
    “If the mind actively generates perception, this raises the question whether the result has anything to do with the world, or if so , how much? To the extent that the knowledge depends on the structure of the mind and not on the world, knowledge would have no connection to the world and is not even the true representation just a solipsistic or intersubjective fantasy”.
    I get the impression that like a high school teacher you have a set mind about the events which are occuring in the world and are reluctant to look at the other side of the wall.
    Sir, I wish you have a nice day.
    Please let me know when your views about Zarkosi and the young Gandhi change? Regards,

  52. Majumdar

    Dada,

    but I am afraid that you are opposed by an implacably regressive adversary.

    More to the point, this gentleman provides genuine entertainment, one of the few on PTH who does that consistently. In that sense he reminds me of some folks back on chowk.

    Regards

  53. rex minor

    @Mujamdar,
    It is strange that I find your limited, crisp and to the point comments with some time slang indian english also very amusing. You have a great sense of humour Sir and definitely a longer life expectancy than many, and I wish your fellow country men would follow your example and not alwas take things so seriously. Mr Gandhi is not going to cut people’s hands and Mr Zarcosy is not going to hurt the north african muslims living in France longer than the current President. I can assure your friends that none of what is being said on this forum has the slightest impact on the real events!
    We have a carneval season now and despite the heavy snow fall every one is dressed up in special costumes, some even in talibans garb, out in the streets , coffee houses and town halls enjoying the music and speeches from the entertainers.
    There are no talibans here nor any ammies and therefore no systemetic or unintentional bombings and even the bonapart has postponed the discussion on the Burqah episode. Have a nice day.

  54. Majumdar

    Rex,

    I am glad that we bring enjoyment to each other.

    Regards

  55. B. Civilian

    I am glad that we bring enjoyment to each other.

    no reason why the rest of us cannot join in…. be entertaining and progressive at the same time. boiler suits, everyone?