How Reluctance to Debate Religion Has Resulted in a Total Quagmire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

118 Comments

Filed under Islam, Islamism, Pakistan

118 responses to “How Reluctance to Debate Religion Has Resulted in a Total Quagmire

  1. amaar

    Daring article.

    We surely need to reclaim our faith from these Mullahs who dont know or dont care for the fundamental spirit of Islam.

  2. shiv

    Does religion give the licence to kill? If it does, debate is impossible. It has to be war.

    It’s that simple.

  3. m ali

    Raza Habib Raja ji, this impotence to ‘Debate Religion’ is even apparent on this PTH intellectual, open and tolerant blog.
    We are scared to call spade a spade.
    We are scared to point out problems originated due to Qadiani beliefs, practices, and statements that hurts the feelings of Muslims.
    We are also scared to point out reaction to Qadianis by Muslims.
    Until we can openly say, even on this forum, where in our opinion Qadianis went wrong and where Mullahs went wrong in their reaction nothing will be solved.
    Comprehende!

  4. Raza

    Dear M Ali
    Now I am not an Ahmedi but some of my close relatives are.
    Frankly all my life, I have heard Muslims abuse Ahmedis and adopt a discriminatory attitude towards them.
    I really do not know what else is left ???
    Frankly you talk about hurt which Ahmedis have caused. My answer would be that Muslims have actually killed them and have gotten away also.

    Frankly we Muslims are an extremely intolerant group and yet extremely sensitive when it comes to their own religious feelings. If you talk about calling spade a spade then that would be my reply
    No wonder today entuire world loathes us and yet we are not able to comprehend it.
    Any how the article tries to persuade us to be thinking people and encourages moderation. Just my two cents to make a plea to my fellow Muslims to take the mantle away from the hardliners.

  5. sanjithmenon

    My dear you know why the clergy is so strongly opposed to debate and discussion, in Islam. Its simple raza, if people start independently and intelligently reading and interpreting the koran and sunnah, then they will become unbelievers.

  6. m ali

    Raja ji, if you poke your finger into the rear end of a dog and then expect from dog not to bite you. Should I blame dog for biting or you for fingering. You are supposed to be more sensible.
    Raja ji, have you ever been in love? Let me say some Qadiani calls his dog with the same words that you use affectionately to call your beloved father. Won’t you will feel hurt? Won’t you feel like teaching that Qadiani some lesson?
    Raja ji, I know how all this nonsense and mayhem will end in Pakistan. If you are interested I can tell you. By the way some one about hundred years ago told Qadianis what will be affect of their disease and how it will be cured. This disease is taking its natural course. It will end. I’m optimistic, but before it ends we will witness unfortunately more mayhem and loss of lives and properties.

  7. Rafay Alam

    Good article, Raza!

  8. Raza

    m ali with due apologies, this kind of thinking explains why Muslims are hated across the world.
    As i said earlier, all of us are extremely sensitive when it comes to our own religious feelings and yet violently brutal with others.
    Any how the article was not about the issue which you are raising but about some thing else.
    Any how i do not think a person with your level of hatred can be convinced.
    I personally think that freedom of expression comes with a responsibility.
    I do not have anything more to add.

  9. Raza

    Thanks rafay! where are you nowadays?

  10. Lubna

    There is a basic flaw in the premise of this article. The whole point of having religious belief is to show reverence for a higher being. Criticizing presence of reverence in religious group is oxymoronic.

  11. Farukh Sarwar

    A very excellent read; all the moderate Pakistanis must come forward to repeal the actions of Mullahs, our Quaid also disapproved theocracy and we all must oppose it.

  12. Rashid Saleem

    There is nothing wrong in having a rational debate over religion. Critical approach would enable us to find faults in the existing religious system. I believe only the Mullah clergy opposes this idea. Most of the liberals and secular Pakistani’s appreciate this idea.

  13. Tilsim

    “UNLESS AND UNTIL WE ARE READY TO DISCUSS RELIGION WITH A CRITICAL APPROACH, WE WILL ALWAYS BE IN A QUAGMIRE”

    I fully agree with you Raza. However, I am wondering how does one go about this? Should it be best done at an individual level, an organised community level, at universities or organised by the State? My intention is not to point to the difficulties but just to brainstorm through what some concrete measures might look like. In the end, I don’t anticipate that through these measures very religious people will necessarily change their views. However, debate in itself is healthy and should help reduce bigotry – which is a big part of the problem in Pakistan.

    Many of the friends who comment on this blog might argue that organising such societal debates is not the job of the State. Do people agree?

    Should the debating parties have some authority? The mullahs give themselves authority and society in general does not question. Does it have to be a mullah v mullah debate then? Should we be producing Mullahs with the right training? I think in Turkey, the State appoints the Mullahs and even sanctions the Friday sermons.

    Some would argue, that given the highly charged and undemocratic atmosphere in the country a non-violent discussion is not possible which defeats the purpose. A better solution might be to find ways to channel energies towards other less controversial ideals such as democracy, critical thinking and promoting tolerance. Pakistanis need to learn the art of hearing and respecting other views, compromise and how to achieve consensus.

  14. Anwar

    A very fine article.
    Expecting an overnight moderation of religious views in PK is a tall order. Current attitude has been hardened over decades and it will take decades to clear up the narrow interpretive mindset.
    In the US, the trajectory of ISNA for example is much better than it was in the past. In fact, last year, one of my Ahmedi friend was invited to setup a info-stall at ISNA convention and two years ago former Iranian president was the chief guest and speaker as a token of bridging Shias and Sunnis divide.. I have also heard some popular scholars openly calling for embracing non-mainstream Muslims into folds with very specific reference to Ahmedis. So the winds of change are blowing but it will take time. With patience and perseverance we may start to see the goodness in all.
    Good luck.

  15. Raza

    @ tilsim

    What is needed is a collective effort to at least start it. Media would be the first place and yes it has to be ultimately discussed in the legislative assembly also.
    The Mullah has to be kept out as they use threat to counter not rationale dialogue.
    Unless more and more people come out in collective support, we will always be in the current state. Clergy’s greatest strenght is their unity on critical issues. The reformists, the civil society have to show the same unity and coordination.
    Globally changes have come like that. Once a an initial critical mass is achieved and a momentum is there, change is possible.
    We have to start

  16. Mustafa Shaban

    Good article, the mullahs should not have any monopoly over religion. Islam needs to be revived in its true progressive form. Ofcourse some scholars are progressive and good and invite discussion but those who dont want to maintain the wrong version of Islam and do not want to let go of thier monopoly over it. We need to challenge them on all levels.

    Recent years have seen positive developements as many youth and young scholars reject the fundamentalist Islam and embrace more progressive forms of Islam.

  17. shiv

    @ m ali
    Let me say some Qadiani calls his dog with the same words that you use affectionately to call your beloved father.

    What if I love my dog more than I love your father? I am saying words of love to my dog, not words of hate at your father. Why should you feel that my words of love for my dog are like putting a finger up your backside?

    You are right. There will be mayhem. But I know who are eventually going to get their butts kicked in that mayhem. You are protected only so long as you rot in Pakistan.

  18. Farah

    You want debate on religion and you want to keep the clergy out of it. Ok,… and the people who you do want to include have neither the time nor the inclination to read up on religion and to come out in support of their ideas. This is a stalemate from the start.

    I agree with Tilism that “a better solution might be to find ways to channel energies towards other less controversial ideals such as democracy, critical thinking and promoting tolerance.”

  19. Raza

    @Farah

    Let me assure you that concepts like democracy and tolerance would require a debate on religion because it is a part of our laws.
    If religion was a total private matter in Pakistan, let me assure you that I would have never ever written this article.

  20. @Shiv

    I am bewildered, confused, uncertain by that post you replied.

    Does this mean that I can’t use the word prophet in ordinary daily speech or writing, without being violated by some hairy person who thinks I have introduced a digit into his private orifices?

  21. Hayyer

    m ali:

    “We are scared to call spade a spade.
    We are scared to point out problems originated due to Qadiani beliefs, practices, and statements that hurts the feelings of Muslim”

    Every religion hurts the feelings of those not part of it. Christians believed in the Messiah, Jews did not. Muslims say that their prophet is the Man, and Christians beliefs are a distortion. Ahmadis have their Messiah. Most Hindus believe in many Gods, not just one and Nanak said that there was after all but omitted to say that Muhammad was his prophet. The founder of the Arya Samaj Dayanand Saraswati called Nanak a mahamurakh (big fool) because he did not study the Vedas and the Buddhist believe in no God at all. We should always be fighting each other, no?

    TDV:

    As a nominalist you have reason to fear. There is no vatic universal behind which you can hide if some hirsute fellow should decide to investigate you digitally.

  22. Tilsim

    @ Farah

    “and the people who you do want to include have neither the time nor the inclination to read up on religion and to come out in support of their ideas.”

    Perhaps this is where the problem lies. This is where it needs to get fixed. The onus is on us to reengage with our faith rather than leaving it’s leadership to the Mullah. Is this possible in modern day Pakistan? Perhaps it is as there is a middle class which is emergant and that whilst very conservative in values, it has a passionate interest in religion. Currently it is enamoured by fundamentalism but with some thought leadership from within Pakistan and elsewhere, it could head in a different and more dynamic direction.

    Still, I do believe that the State has a responsibility to promote the other neglected disciplines of science , culture and social sciences in Pakistan such that these enrich minds and chang narrow attitudes.

    The elites can help by pressing the State to maintain as open an environment to learning and exchange of ideas as possible.

    This all may sound far from ground realities but we need to keep pushing forward.

  23. shiv

    The best part about religion is that debate is allowed in religion as long as the religion wins the debate.

    If it looks like losing the debate, the religion might say “This guy is a problem. Eliminate him”. Now religions have been doing this for millennia so it has “historic precedence and backing”.I mean if a tribe has been eating human brains for 1000 years they can well say “This is the right thing to do. In our religion we have been eating human brains for 1000 years and we have been bashing in the brains of anyone who disagrees for 1000 years”

    This is called “debate” in religion.

    The only way to debate with religion is with a gun.

    There was a story that appeared in the media after the earthquake in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. It was Ramzan and the Lashkar e Toiba (or Jamaat ud Dawa) were taking part in the relief effort but because of the disaster food was being prepared in the daytime. A mullah is said to have arrived and protested that this is wrong. One LeT operative is said to have pulled out an AK 47 and asked the mullah if cooking food in the daytime was still illegal. Apparently God relented and it quickly became halal , and the mullah turned away fully satisfied that God’s work had been carried out.

    Those dealest fliends of the Pakistanis, tarrel than the tarrest mountains, deepel than the deepest oceans, the Chinese said “Power flows form the barrel of a gun” (or maybe it was powel frows flom the baller of a gun). But the Chinese are a 5000 year old civilization. The government control the guns. Pakistan, a 1300 year old civilization, has not learned that trick. The guns are out of control.

  24. Farah

    @Tilism

    I agree with you quite a lot. And I think we shoul start by enlightening our education, remove the rote learning which stifle debate of any kind, give more emphasis on classroom discussion, and providing more opportunities to student to go for creative pursuits. Open minds will broaden the horizon of debate all over.

  25. skyview

    Every religion hurts the feelings, sentiments and safety of another religion and its adherents. And islam is, in practise, the most hurting religion. In fact islam goes even beyond that and hurts also physically. This sad characteristic of islam is also internally valid. Muslims are maximally hurt by fellow muslims. The worst hurt by islam is directed at muslims themselves. But then the blame is put on the non-muslims. Muslims must examine this fact sincerely. Arrogance and conceit will not help – only sincerity and humility will.

    Since islam enforces upon the muslims that they must glorify and defend islam always everywhere, hence an honest debate with muslims is impossible. In fact any insistence on honesty can cause the muslims to become angry and “hurt” and hence threatening.

    “I want myself and my religion/ideology to be criticized and I will take note of this criticism with sincerity and peacefulness” – are the muslims capable of saying this sentence and abiding by it?

    Islamic self-glorifying declarations are a major reason for causing muslims to become arrogant and deaf and threatening to the non-muslims.

    So how do we proceed?

  26. Tilsim

    @ Shiv
    “The only way to debate with religion is with a gun. ”

    So it’s just about having the biggest gun then? A view that would find many supporters in Pakistan who believe it’s just a law and order problem.

  27. krash

    The article is well intentioned but naive. Any debate would be quickly drowned by cries of intolerance, and not just from the mullahs. Intolerance and willingness to use violence to suppress dissent is not limited to the mullahs. Unfortunately, this malaise is very widespread among Pakistani muslims.

    And then there is an entire other angle of how this extremism has been used and abused by the state establishment to perpetuate its own power. They would be eager to quash any genuine debate.

  28. shiv

    @Tilsim
    So it’s just about having the biggest gun then? A view that would find many supporters in Pakistan who believe it’s just a law and order problem.

    No I think you miss the point. For “law and order” the government must always have a monopoly on overwhelming coercive force.

    The history of mankind is replete with examples in which the person with the greatest coercive ability (arms) becomes the government, or is able to topple a government.

    In Pakistan the army technically has the greatest coercive force. But a whole lot of non governmental organizations in Pakistan – mostly religious (and not secular) organizations have been allowed to acquire arms in sufficient numbers to have private armies. If these private armies challenge the writ of the government, who is going to bring them into line? It won’t be a bunch of debatin’ liberals. It will have to be the army.

    So Pakistan is faced with two problems related to religion and law and order.

    1) Only the army can bring the religious armies under control.
    2) The Pakistani army is going to have to kill Pakistani groups who claim to be devout Muslims in order to do that.

    I have heard people claim that things are not the way I am saying them. Everyone has a right to his opinion. I am sitting safely outside and I will merely watch. I do not think I am wrong. If events prove me wrong, I will acknowledge that I was wrong. But that day has yet to come in this case.

  29. zinda tilismath

    This reminds me of a peculiar situation in the gulf, where I was working. One pakistani asked me incredusly, “Saab, in India ladies and gents can stay together (live in) without marriage?” “Ofcourse, what do you think, India is an islamic country?” Believe me quite a few pakis were offended. Why? I just stated a fact. Why such sentivity?

  30. Tilsim

    @ Shiv

    I don’t disagree with you that Pakistan Army is better placed to tackle terrorism in the name of Islam than ordinary citizens. However Raza’s post is more than just about controlling terrorists on a day to day basis. It’s about challenging widely held beliefs that are claimed to have a basis in religion. It’s about challenging the interpretation of Islam by the mullahs. It’s about reintroducing ethics and critical reasoning into society. It’s about reclaiming that centre ground that you have talked about in your previous J’accuse posts against Pakistan’s elites.

    Of course, one can still be against such a reformation of society and think it’s just a question of keeping a balance of power within Pakistan against terrorists. There are people who subscribe to such a view in this country.

  31. Tilsim

    @ M Ali

    Do you follow the Sunnah of the same Prophet (pbuh) as other Muslims? If you do, please do not use such foul language.

  32. Syed

    @m ali

    The Ahmadis are only keeping their faith to themselves. According to Hadith a Muslim is one
    from whose tongue and hand everyone is safe.

    Can this definition apply to the Mullah?
    No.

    Can this definition apply to the Ahmadi?
    Yes.

  33. m ali

    Hayyar ji, you said the right thing but not complete thin. When you say, “Every religion hurts the feelings of those not part of it.”

    The point you are making is every religion, but not in the same religion. I can bet you if Qadianis declare their ‘version of Islam’ as absolutely different religion with their own practices etc like Bahai-faith the violence against them will decrease. But problem is they continue to call their ‘version of Islam’ as ‘true islam’ and at the same time do not consider the Muslims as a fellow Muslims. This creates reaction and dogs keep biting the fingers of fingerers. Choice is up to Qadianis.

  34. m ali

    To all readers ji, A learned Islamic scholar said to Qadianis way back in 1914 that if you continue to hold belief and propagate that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani sahib was prophet after prophet Muhammad pbuh and continue to call yourself a Muslim then one of the two things will happen to you people. And you will be forced to pick one choice.
    1- To survive you will drift away from Islam and make absolutely a new faith like Bahai-faith in Iran.
    2- You will trigger such an opposition, resistance and violence including danger to your lives and properties from Muslims that you will be forced to reject your belief that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani sahib was prophet after prophet Muhammad pbuh.

    The scholar I’m referring to passed away in 1952. Since 1974 I’m observer of Qadianis beliefs and plight. In my opinion Qadianis will not take option one, as it will be too difficult for them to digest it. It is too late for them. On the other hand unfortunately, the violence against them will keep on increasing. There will be more mayhem. More killings and destructions of Qadianis lives and properties. More suicide attacks on Qadiani worshipers. It will get to a situation that Qadianis will avoid going to their mosques.

    All these killings of Qadianis will force them to reconsider their beliefs and question their Khalifa, who lives in peace, security and comfort provided by British police in UK. Pressure is building in Qadiani jamaat and revolt is in the process. When the Khalifa and Khalifa family loses hold on their followers, it won’t take long time for Qadianis to adopt the Islamic belief that prophet Muhammad pbuh was the last prophet. Period. Then and only then this violence against them will stop.

    Choice is up to Qadianis, when they correct their action, so that Mullahs can correct their reaction. Unfortunately, before this happens there will be more loss of lives and properties of Qadianis. Sad. Very sad, but true.

  35. Raza

    This kind of point of view which mr M Ali presents above which openly appreciates killing Ahmedis just because they have different beliefs fully explains why we need a debate on religion’s reverence and its role.
    I am astounded that educated in Pakistan are expressing these bigoted views.
    Sunnis and Shias also consider the other as Kafir but that does not mean that they should kill each other.
    Nor does it mean that we should legislate that either is kafir.
    Any how I wont argue with M ali because a person with such venom can never be convinced. It is this kind which is ready to kill when they lose rationale argument and openly flaunt it.
    Apart from freedom of expression, majority also comes with a responsibility. Since we Sunnis are in majority that does not mean we misuse it to punish those who differ from us in faith.

  36. Luq

    Aah ko chaahie ek umr asar hone tak

    Messengers ki fazool research karte karte message ko hi bhula diya

    Luq

  37. Hayyer

    m ali:

    “The point you are making is every religion, but not in the same religion. I can bet you if Qadianis declare their ‘version of Islam’ as absolutely different religion with their own practices etc like Bahai-faith the violence against them will decrease.”

    The closest analogy that I can think of is of the Sikhs. Their last Guru, Gobind said that there would be no more gurus after him. A sect of the Sikhs called the Namdharis however continue to have a living guru in direct contradiction of the basic Sikh tenet, yet they continue to call themselves, albeit Namdhari Sikhs. They also believe not only in the holy book of the sikhs but also in an apocryphal scripture called the Dasam Granth.
    They live their lives and have their own gurudwaras. Their is no violence or tension between mainstream Sikhs and the Namdhari Sikhs.

  38. Indophile

    Hayyer,

    “Their is no violence or tension between mainstream Sikhs and the Namdhari Sikhs.”
    This statement from somebody as sensible as you is very surprising ( Remember last year’s non stop drama). No wonder even smart people go great length to defend their belief .

    The main discussion, as usual, is going in the same old direction

  39. m ali

    Raza ji, you said absolutely right, “Since we Sunnis are in majority that does not mean we misuse it to punish those who differ from us in faith.”

    I wish Qadianis have listened to you when they were in majority in Qadian, India and later in Rabwah, Pakistan. It was before when Allah listened to pleas of Qadiani victims of Qadiani Khalifas 2 & 3 and made situation that forced government of Pakistan to declare ‘Rabwah an open city’, and no more a ‘concentration camp’.
    Raza ji, you won’t know until your family was one of the victim!

    [TROLL ALERT]

  40. bciv

    m ali is a TROLL based in the US. He was ‘a muslim’ a few days ago, and Rashid and at least a dozen other names too.

    m ali/rashid etc., anything from your ip address will be deleted in future. (moderator)

  41. Raza

    Dear M Ali

    Although I am a Sunni but my family has Shias, Sunnis and Ahmedis.
    Several of my Ahmedi relatives ahve been beaten up and also discriminated against in their jobs. One of them died also. You talk about one Rabwah, frankly for that community entire Pakistan is a concentration camp.
    So you want justice if your family paid the price?
    And your justice is that every Ahmedio should die and their property burnt? That is it???? Bravo!!!
    Frankly communal violence occurs every where..but here the problem is deeper…here hatred and discrimination is institutionalized and deeply incorporated in the law of the state.

    Rabwah is just a city….outside that city it is hell for them..and yes people like you are rejoicing

    Majority comes with a responsibility and we are majority every where outside one city of rabwah…

    Ahmedis do not have that freedom of expression…even your chief minister and prime minister is afraid to show consolence

    Any how forgive me,

    Go on with your hatred and keep on beating this personal life trauma for justifying bigotry.
    After seeing this, I am sure we really have a long way to go

    And yes i am low IQ and stupid and frankly no match for an intellectual giant like you. So therefore I humbly bow out of this “debate”

    have a nice day…..bye

  42. m ali

    Dear bciv ji, did i violate any blog policy under my name as m ali?
    please oblige me by pointing out.
    I thought we are encouraging ‘debate on religion’ on this forum ji!

    [TROLLS not welcome. bciv (mod)]

  43. Raza

    M Ali it appears that you were not telling the truth about your family. The moderator has clearly shown that actually you have multiple IDs and you just keep on changing them to spread hatred.
    Such intellectual bankrupcy and you are saying that your family paid a price!
    Using lies to score a point

    have a nice day…

  44. Tilsim

    @ M Ali

    Allah has produced hateful people like you so that the rest of us can recognise and engage with truth better. It also comes in handy for honing the debating skills because there are more like you out there.

  45. Hayyer

    Indophile:

    “This statement from somebody as sensible as you is very surprising ( Remember last year’s non stop drama). No wonder even smart people go great length to defend their belief .”

    Please remind me about the incident. I don’t connect.

  46. @M Ali

    First extract digit.

  47. Pingback: How Reluctance to Debate Religion Has Resulted in a Total Quagmire « Secular Pakistan

  48. shiv

    @Tilsim
    However Raza’s post is more than just about controlling terrorists on a day to day basis. It’s about challenging widely held beliefs that are claimed to have a basis in religion. It’s about challenging the interpretation of Islam by the mullahs. It’s about reintroducing ethics and critical reasoning into society.

    No doubt about that. But it was precisely this intent that made me point out that in any debate, both sides must agree not to kill each other. If one side (or both) acquire the licence or means to kill all debate ends. I am not joking.

    In India too we have debates in which for example, an Islamic leader/scholar will say things that are echoes of what Islamists say anywhere – but that Islamic leader and everyone else knows that the power to coerce using overwhelming force exists only with the government in India. For this reason anyone can say anything but implementation will have to come by democratic means. Oh yes thousands of people and groups in India (naxals being only one of them) try to implement their own agendas, but no groups (other than Sikhs during the Khalistan days and Kashmiris) could acquire the level of armament to be a serious threat to “the state”. It is no coincidence that Indian Punjab and Kashmir share a border with Pakistan, which has the spare weapons to supply anyone who might want to use them.

    And this actually brings me to a point about Pakistan. I believe there are two aspects to a religious debate within Pakistan:

    1) First the ability of any group taking part in the debate to intimidate or muzzle any other group must be removed. Nobody should be able to force his views on anyone else. (** I will expand briefly on this point below). Killing someone else for his views is inadmissible. (But how to remove guns from the debate?)

    2) Secondly, if free and fair debate about religion in Pakistan indicates that most people want sharia or that sunni Islam must rule, then democracy will mean that it has to be accepted and others who may want a more liberal society will have to back down and accept it.

    But now rule 1 kicks in again – i.e nobody, not even sunnis or Islamists should be able to coerce or intimidate non sunnis, kafirs, liberals, atheists or other “minorities”. The latter need protection under a fair law.

    ** comment:I have said “Nobody should be able to force his views on anyone else”. This is not an easy trick to achieve. For example in the US, you can curse any religion and diss any holy icon but try and say that you want to kill the president and you are toast. You will find internet Americans (from differing ethnic origins) being most liberal and singing about “freedom” until the time comes to threaten Dubya or Ombaba the current prez.

    The same lack of freedom exists for Pakistanis wanting to debate religion.

    In India at least one person was arrested for cursing Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackray on Orkut or Facebook. But it is easier to debate and criticise religion in India.

  49. m ali2

    Deleted – M Ali/A Muslim/Rashid, you have been banned quite a few times already on this forum. All future comments will be promptly deleted. Don’t worry about posting on PTH any more.

    (AZW – Moderator)

  50. Syed

    @m ali2

    I suppose then that May 28 must have taught the ‘Qadiyanis’ a lesson and more such lessons need to be repeated until they begin to ‘understand’.

    There is a problem though – the ‘informed’ Mullahs themselves know that Hazrat Mirza Sahib called himself a ‘nabi’ (albeit as Messiah and ummati nabi foretold by Prophet(sw) himself). After all, why would they then declare all of his followers as Kafir.

    After all this is the bone of contention between Ahmadi and Non-Ahmadis. Clearly, the understood ‘default’ position by both parties is that Mirza Sahib declared himself a nabi – why the hue and cry by Mullahs otherwise. (though there are many other issues but this is certainly a major obstacle for Mullahs).

  51. Syed

    @m ali2
    As for the violent persecution, this only goes to show the suffering which all true divinely initiated missions have to suffer. Ahmadis consider this a sign of their truth that they have to face this oppression.

  52. shiv

    @ m ali
    (Ahmedis will be)forced to pick one choice.
    1- To survive you will drift away from Islam and make absolutely a new faith like Bahai-faith in Iran.
    2- You will trigger such an opposition, resistance and violence including danger to your lives and properties from Muslims that you will be forced to reject your belief that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani sahib was prophet after prophet Muhammad pbuh.

    In my opinion Qadianis will not take option one, as it will be too difficult for them to digest it. It is too late for them. On the other hand unfortunately, the violence against them will keep on increasing

    m ali – you are a clever person. Only Pakistan and the safety net of a sunni variety of dar ul Islam protects you. By all means kill Ahmedis, but the kafirs of the world have exactly the same choices ready for you.

    Either accept kafir traits and let them diss your father or be be killed trying to fight that choice. If you welcome your martyrdom, congratulations. So do I. That is why I am happy to see people like you speak up openly. There are plenty of people waiting eagerly to eliminate you and your kind.

    Remember that even your identity is not safe. Your IP address will show where you are to the people who might want to know – but as long as you remain in Pakistan you will be safe. Unless the Pakistani national bird pays you a visit. But you will be made to feel like an Ahmedi wherever you go. Enjoy yourself. Yes there will be war. There will be mayhem. But you will be made to lick the fingers that you inserted in that dogs backside.

    Till then have fun. Karma will catch up with you. I look forward to hearing the name of that joker who made a threat to Ahmedis in 1914 and kicked the bucket in 1952. I know a lot of people who love dogs – so you have a right to love whoever you want. No?

  53. Raza

    M ali (Now M Ali 2 and acting as Lahori group member)

    I am not Ahmedi, I am a Sunni. However I think in Pakistan we need serious debate on religion and its role in our beliefs and more importantly law.

    By the second amendment declares both Lahore group and Ahmedis as Non Muslim. If you are from that group you would know that.

    Sects always have differences among each other but those perception should not be codified in law. Once a law is enacted then entire state’s power is behind it. Since generally state has a monopoly over use of force, discriminatory law will result is systematic oppression.

    This article tried to tackle religion’s role from that angle. Whenever you try to challenge hadood or second amendment, extreme reverence of religion stops you from raising an effective challenge. Moreover these laws are based on literal intrepretation (Hadood and property laws) and are time trapped in early days of Islam.
    My ARGUMENT is that you need to assess them and you wont be able to unless you are ready to view religion from a slightly critical angel.

  54. Bin Ismail

    A delegation of learned Christian Preists from Najran, came to Madina to have a religious debate with Muhammad the Messenger of God. The primary agenda was “the status of Jesus – prophet or son of God”. After hours of debate, it was time for worship for the Christians. They sought leave for this purpose. Muhammad offered them his own mosque – the mosque today known as Masjid-un Nabi or Masjid-e Nabawi, in Madina. The Christian delegation offered their service in the Prophet’s mosque.

    I have always been at a loss in comprehending why religious debate cannot be conducted with civility. What is so difficult in maintaining candour and courtesy both, while discussing diverse religious views?

  55. Akash

    Shiv,
    “One LeT operative is said to have pulled out an AK 47 and asked the mullah if cooking food in the daytime was still illegal. Apparently God relented and it quickly became halal ”

    I don’t know about the rest of his comrades, but I like this Let guy. He has a sense of humor. 🙂

  56. sanjithmenon

    i have spent sometime reading comments here , and the feeling i get is, to, puke at organised religion. it is becoming all about, whose is bigger?, kind of boy games. is killing someone a joke? you lose your soul man……

  57. Akash

    M Ali,
    Listening to your rants, I don’t blame Shiv for saying that he loves his dog more than he loves your father. I wonder why he needed to put the qualifier ‘if’.

  58. Akash

    M Ali,
    In that case, he is doing very well what dogs are supposed to do when they see a dumb pillar like you(ref. Feroze Gandhi’s memorable statement in the Indian Parliament.)🙂

  59. ROTFLSoHardThatIFrightenedTheCat

    @Akash

    STOP IT! It’s beginning to hurt my sides.

  60. Bin Ismail

    @ All incarnations of “m. ali” formerly “a muslim”:

    Dear Wisdom Incarnate,

    May I very humbly quote myself:

    “…..What is so difficult in maintaining candour and courtesy both, while discussing diverse religious views?…..”

    By the way. is it really that difficult to proceed with “candour and courtesy” – instead of your usual “slander and discourtesy”?

  61. Tilsim

    @ Shiv

    Yes, discussion of religious issues is a risky proposition when there is an atmosphere of intimidation and murders are taking place. There is also the backdrop of infiltration by militant sympathisers into the establishment and their attempt to influence events from within. However, the facts on the ground are that Pakistan is by no means a lost cause despite this huge challenge from the taliban and their allies. Concerted pressure from sane elements within the establishment and outside does have an impact. I took heart from the fact that Nawaz Sharif eventually came out saying that Ahmedis are our brothers. A very small gesture but a signal to the fundamentalist lobby not to cross red lines.

    The traditional approach of a lot of Pakistanis (including the establishment) has been to avoid engaging in discussion even when they suspect a fellow Pakistani (not necessarily a fundamentalist) who is talking nonsense about Islam. Who likes to debate with a confused person on matters of religion? Better to pack your bags and move on. However this passive (or I would say grossly negligent) approach has left the field clear to extremists. In an Islamic state in particular that is a big big problem because the population gets confused when the extremists happen to be co-religionists. Pakistanis are still in denial to some extent about the causes of the problem but many more are not.

    The State will have to fight the extremists, because as you rightly say, they are not open to debate. They are challenging the constitution and the writ of the State. However, there are many more Pakistanis that need to hear a counter narrative in order not to fall under the extremists influence. As I said in an earlier post, it does n’t have to be a full on debate on religious doctrine if the environment is not safe and there is lack of faith in the State’s ability to protect. There is dialogue around ethics, democracy, critical reasoning, economic progress and culture that can be promoted too to blunt the nihilist vision of extremists.

  62. Raza

    @Tilsim

    “I took heart from the fact that Nawaz Sharif eventually came out saying that Ahmedis are our brothers. A very small gesture but a signal to the fundamentalist lobby not to cross red lines.”

    Excellent point. Politcal leaders have to come forward and show some spine. PML and PPP have a much larger vote bank which wont go to Mullah even if they show more courage.

    Nawaz Sharif has at least given an inertia, it is now on the people and intellectuals to give it a momentum.

    Changes take place slowly and at times frustatingly slowly…but that is how complex social phenomenon change

  63. kashifiat

    “I have often been much more amazed not at the religious fanaticism of the few, but at passivity of the moderate majority”

    I think there is mistake here

    “I have often been much more amazed not at the
    Liberal” fanaticism of the few, but at passivity of the religious majority”

    Unfortunately, we don’t adhere Voting with religious teachings that’s why corrupt moderate /liberals elected

  64. D_a_n

    @kashifiat..

    ‘Unfortunately, we don’t adhere Voting with religious teachings that’s why corrupt moderate /liberals elected’

    sucks to be you then doesn’t it?🙂🙂🙂

  65. Tilsim

    @Kashfiat

    The problem of people like you is that you don’t observe or reflect. With so many elections, is it not obvious to you that ‘your religious majority’ does not exist. Look at what happened to the MMA government in KP. People don’t want to live under harsh, brutal and unethical rulers who raise the banner of Islam but are only interested in their own power. It’s obvious to poor and rich alike but you deny it.

    You people are much more organised and driven than the ‘liberal extremists’ (who also happen to be Muslim) so you made big inroads into the establishment and thereby exercised excessive influence over the history of this country so far. I give that to you.

  66. skyview

    Truely religious people want to be left alone with their faith and their connection to their god. They also know (too well) that their god is useless in mastering the daily chores and challenges of life. So they come up with thoughts like the ones expressed by the sufis. God demands only love or renunciation from the world etc. A god who demands obedience or promises welfare on earth or in afterlife soon becomes a nuisance to mankind. God himself (I hope) knows that.

    It all boils down to help each other and yourself and this god-thing will take care of itself. But those who wish to occupy and misuse positions of power also know that they can use the word “god” for setting up their fascism.

    One has to differentiate between faith and belief. faith is very personal and deep and introverted, beliefs are more for manipulations and mischief-making. Science rightly rejects beliefs either by subjecting them to scientific investigations or showing up their misuses. Faith and science however can be reconciled as they do not tread on each others territory.

  67. Bin Ismail

    @skyview (June 11, 2010 at 4:20 pm)

    I believe the world renowned physicist Professor Abdus Salam was in comparison to your worthy self, both a better scientist and a better believer. Not only were his faith and deep understanding of science mutually reconciled, the two lent support to each other.

    Your personal agnosticism, of whatever degree it may be, is evidently founded on rather casual reflection.

  68. skyview

    to bin ismail

    I differentiated between faith and belief. You use these words in conncection with Abdus Salam without any diffrentiation.

    I am not of the view that his faith and science were reconciled. He pretended that they were. A muslim dares not say his science and rationality cannot accept the islamic beliefs if he wants to live a safe life (safe from the lynchers).

    If you say he was a more successful scientist (than me) then I will agree – but any comparison about our beliefs makes no sense. He was more successful as a scientist – but that does not mean he was better. In science a failed experiment may teach more than a successful one.

    You also wrote (elsewhere) that god sends prophets to make honest, peaceful, concerned citizens etc. – but what is his rate of success in this method? Prophethood-based ideologies are actually producing more crazy guys, arrogants, obscurantists and killers. So they cannot be from god.

  69. Bin Ismail

    @skyview (June 11, 2010 at 5:48 pm)

    1. “…..I differentiated between faith and belief…..”

    You did indeed – but regrettably, in a rather judgmental fashion. You are, in your own words of the view that “beliefs are more for manipulations and mischief-making”. Here you appear to be placing “belief” before “manipulation and mischief-making”, as a cause or a precursor. If this is the only kind of belief you’ve witnessed in your life, then your misconception is due to lack of exposure. If someone is bent upon mischief, he will find an excuse to make it, with or without a professed belief. Stalin went on his killing spree without the support of any professed belief.

    2. “…..I am not of the view that his faith and science were reconciled. He pretended that they were…..”

    Judgmental again, and this time, you seem to have scanned the heart of Salam, with the stealth of a mullah.

    3. “…..If you say he was a more successful scientist (than me) then I will agree – but any comparison about our beliefs makes no sense…..”

    This comparison of beliefs, is not by virtue of any mullaistic scanning skills similar to yours, but based on your own professed agnosticism. Salam was an open believer in God and all His prophets.

    4. “…..Prophethood-based ideologies are actually producing more crazy guys, arrogants, obscurantists and killers…..”

    All the crazy guys, arrogants, obscurantists and killers you see, belong to the human race. Is that an argument for denouncing the human race or seeking a reversal of its existence? Doesn’t sound very logical, when you put it that way, does it?

  70. shiv

    @ Tilsim
    there are many more Pakistanis that need to hear a counter narrative in order not to fall under the extremists influence.

    Let me tell a story from my childhood. My family was nowhere near the richest people in India, but we were, unlike most Indian middle class families wealthy enough to own a car and a refrigerator and other domestic goodies from as far back as I can remember in my childhood in the early 1960s. We almost never travelled by train – we always flew (sometimes in a Dakota) from city to city. When I opened an American comic book and looked at the lives of comic book characters (of the 60s) like “Tubby”, or “Nancy and Sluggo” – my life was no different and the lives of most of my peers in the city were not much different. This was in the 1960s when India was not much better than a pool of warm holy cow-piss for most Indians.

    In that era, if I ever travelled by train, I would see, at night, cooking fires in the countryside which I assumed were “campers” and “picnickers”. Almost a decade later in college, I studied the real India and I am grateful for my textbooks for being honest. 80% of Indians were poor and rural, and 80% of goods in India were being transported (for at least part of their journey) by bullock cart.

    But in my childhood – there was no difference between my lifestyle and that of an average American child. The only downside for me was that I would look at the goodies advertised on the back of comic books and want them. I wanted a Schwinn bike and not an Indian “Hero” bike. I wanted an 8 mm movie camera even though 600 million Indians had not even seen a still camera like the one we had.

    The point I want to make in this story is that I was suffering from what is called as a “cognitive trap”. In a cognitive trap, just because I see the world in a particular way and just because I have particular experiences, I believe that everyone else also feels exactly the same and has the same experiences.

    When you live in a huge country (like Pakistan, not just India) it is easy to lead a cloistered existence – study in an elite school and college, travel by air or on motorways and imagine that you are a world citizen on par with the most developed in the world. The reality that your country might actually be a shit pit becomes evident only when you study (and believe) hard statistics like population, population growth rate, birth rate, infant mortality, child mortality, poverty, literacy etc.

    India’s problems have been so huge that Indians have spent decades only trying to surmount them. It appears to me that the educated elite of Pakistan have been living out a dream inside a cognitive trap in which they look at their own charmed lifestyles and say “Pakistan is like this. Wealthy, beautiful, developed. Look at our motorways. Our malls. Our houses are so much smarter. Much more class in Pakistan. But look at India, so much dirt and poverty.”

    In the need to be grateful for Pakistan and the separateness from India, the educated leadership of Pakistan have never taken statistics about Pakistan seriously enough to grow out of the cognitive trap. Goodness is Pakistani. India is the problem. Even to this day you find Pakistani spokespersons fudging and hiding behind the problems of “South Asia” when they really should be talking of Pakistan’s problems. The same spokespersons will never hesitate to highlight something positive as “Pakistani”. Positive things are never “South Asian”.

    What has all this got to do with the need to debate religion? Pakistan’s poor and deprived have always been there. But Pakistan’s leaders have never acknowledged them as either poor or deprived. The fact that everything is “better than India” has been the overarching excuse. But Islamic seminaries on the ground in Pakistan have done far better than the cognitively trapped Pakistani elite. They have understood the hunger and deprivation of the Pakistani on the ground and have offered him solace via charities and religion. Religion does more for the “average, poor Pakistani” than the rich suited booted elite who have lived in their own wealthy delusional world even as 3 generations of Pakistanis have lived and died in want. Pakistanis, on average are not much better off than the “average Indian”. But that is not acknowledged by the ruling elite of Pakistan. Not the army. Not the politicians. And they do little for them. It is Muslims on the ground in small communities in Pakistan who have done more to bring comfort to the average Pakistani than the elite. How the hell can the rich elite, who have not given a rats ass about the poor for 63 years now demand a “debate” about religion? What do the wealthy in Pakistan know about religion? They have been too busy appearing moderate and building up their army to fight wars and building motorways for their cars and malls and for their pleasure where their young men and women can pretend to be world citizens and frolic together and earn brownies from the west.

  71. Raza

    @shiv

    It was a very good articulation of the “cognitive” trap. The reality is that that urban middle to upper middle classes ahve been obsessed with their place in comparison with India. However in later years the comparison is being avoided, because the reality reinforced by electricity shortages and emergence of India as an economic power house, is becoming too obvious.
    However poverty partly explains the success of these militant Islamic organizations. It provides a conducive atmosphere but these organizations and their appratus evolved due to state’s insistence on Islam as the guiding philosophy. Morever various classess have reacted in slightly different but broadly similar manner. Islamic drive has seen middle classes become coservative and in continous state of denial. Some portion of lower midde and poor class has wwitnessed actually recruitment of terrorists.
    The central issue was that religion was able to claim such a central role because it had state’ s complete patronage. Entire curriculm was revised in such a way that people increasingly revered religion even when they were not practicing. Islamic organizations sprang up every where.
    Once religion was at the centre stage, it was able to offer itself as a “remedy” to all the society’s ills. To the poor the religios organozations were able to offer food , basic education and an apparent “objective” in life.
    If we had conducted real efforts to tackle issues WITHOUT this extraordinary patronage of Islam, the situation would perhaps been different.

  72. shiv

    @ Raza
    Some portion of lower midde and poor class has witnessed actually recruitment of terrorists.

    Before one asks any such recruitment has occurred and what connection this has with Islam I think it is worth asking why wealthy Pakistanis are not blowing themselves up?

    When you are wealthy and can afford food and healthcare, death is a preventable phenomenon in many instances. You can then choose not to die. The poor in the world live exactly today as all people lived say 500 years ago. Women have 6 or 8 children. Some women die from anemia and exhaustion. The man marries again. Children die from malnutrition and diarrheas. Every family sees death close by. Death is seen as an inevitable and close probability, not as a preventable event.

    Religion does not prevent death, it teaches people to accept death and not fear it. Religion can even offer death as an attractive solution. Naturally, the poorest who see death close up can make a different choice. Is it better to die fighting an “enemy” who is said to be responsible for your misery, or just die of hunger and joblessness? Or see 4 of your 8 children die?

    The army and politicians of Pakistan are guilty of cynically using this tendency among the poor to encourage them to die for Islam – fighting India or the Soviets, while it was someone else who pocketed the cash. “Islam” as used by the wealthy in Pakistan is not the same as the Islam that the poor of Pakistan have seen. The poor see a compassionate Islam that helps them and is close to them. The army and the elite of Pakistan see an Islam that is either a political tool, or a talking point that makes them world leaders in piety an moderation. What utter rubbish.

    What should have been done for the poor of Pakistan was not to use their religion to make them think that death is inevitable, but show them that while God is the ultimate artbiter, man can do things (inshallah) to stop the child and mother from dying or going hungry. I am certain even the most miserably poor Pakistani has been told that he is lucky (even if he is cold and miserable) because he is better off than in India where he would have been tortured and killed by a Hindu (and his wife raped), so his duty is to do jihad for the fellow Muslims of India.

    Who is delusional? The poor Pakistani or the person who is telling him tales? How has Islam served each of these groups? In one case Islam has been used as a self serving tool that encourages people to take lives, and in the other it is something that gives hope. Who needs to change in Pakistan?

  73. Raza

    @ Shiv

    I have already pointed that Islam’s influence has not been exactly similar on various classes however broadly in the similar direction. It is the fusion of poverty and projection of militant Islamic ideology which has resulted in this situation. Poverty was there in 1960s also but there were no Jihadi organizations. Current militancy is a relatively recent phenomenon.
    Mind you while Islam may be able to recruit terrorists and suicide bombers from the masses, it has not translated into huge radicalization of the masses. In Pakistan the religous fervour is only in pockets. masses over whelmingly still vote for mainstream parties and moreover actively participate in elections also.
    Living in Pakistan, I have often realized that conservative Islam is more of an issue with middleclass which may not be providing suicide bombers but thinks Islam as an important part of their identity. It is this class who is also represented heavily in all the establishment institutions and media. This class though not radical but provides critical soft support to Islamic clergy who can then carry on their work of recruiting terrorists.
    Any how I would request you to please read this article of mine. Its about middleclass
    http://www.chowk.com/articles/15771

  74. Tilsim

    @ Shiv

    I take on board that cognitive trap is something that we can all suffer from unless we make a concious effort to understand. In that vain, I think you are not quite correct in your assessment about how Pakistanis perceive their status versus the Indians. I do fully accept that as late as perhaps even the mid 90s some Pakistanis would say that we are better off than India economically. However since then India’s success across a broad front such as education, industrialisation, healthcare and the rise of the middle class is too obvious. The Pakistani elite and the middle classes are aware of it and it makes our own sense of failure as a nation more painful (given the anti-India narrative). They also know the gap is widening at a fast rate. Now as a sort of consolation you hear that Indian muslims are not part of this Shining India and the Pakistanis are better off in lots of ways than they are. That said, most Pakistanis are not concerned with the situation of Indian muslims other than when there is violence against them so this balm is not as powerful as the earlier narrative.

    Frankly I view India’s success as an opportunity for Pakistanis (we like opportunism as you will probably concur). Just see Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Adnan Sami and a host of others trying to make it in Bollywood. If real peace is the objective, we should have this sort of interaction across a broad front and the cognitive trap on both sides will disappear.

  75. lal

    excellent write up shiv…very fresh point of view…but dont we now see a change from our typical description of poor,uneducated ,misguided terrorist….except for kasab,all the other high profile terrorist activities,atleast outside pakistan came from upper middle class …even the indian mujahideen was a well educated group of young professionals

  76. Durrenayaab

    To administer a medicine, a physician needs to understand the basic ingredient, composition, effects and side-effects as well as interactions. To ‘debate’ on a topic such as religion, do u consider the typical ‘enlightened’ muslim adept at it? Isnt there a stigma or at least a reluctance on our part to acquire islamic knowledge other than what we have been taught in our schools.
    To debate, we need to know much more than that. Easier said than done.

  77. Nusrat Pasha

    @Durrenayaab (June 12, 2010 at 2:24 pm)

    True, while knowledge and awareness are indeed a prerequisite to useful religious debate, but not the sole prerequisite. The right attitude is even more lacking, in the case of our people. Patience and decency are needed, even prior to awareness.

  78. @skyview

    You seem to be sinking deeper and deeper into self-pity with every post. Soon we will not see you as you sink into a pool of your own tears. Do take care.

    Since you talk so freely about science, one assumes a connection. But your equal freedom from logic or reasoning leads to other conclusions. Taking these two together, might one venture a guess that the branch of science you are associated with is Scientism?

  79. Raza

    @Durrenayab

    Kindly re read the article, this point has already been covered in it.
    I am reproducing a para

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

  80. shiv

    @ Durrenayaab

    To debate, we need to know much more than that. Easier said than done.

    I would be grateful if you could set right some possible misinformation that this kafir has.

    Nobody can debate Islam until he has read the Quran. But the Quran is written in Arabic. Not even modern Arabic – it is ancient Arabic. So you cannot read the original Quran without learning ancient Arabic (possibly a 3 to 5 year course). Do you believe this is true?

  81. Syed

    @skyview

    The greatest acts of mass murder have been committed by *areligious* groups- the Nazis, the Bolsheviks, the Imperial Japanese and certain Western nations. Apartheid and Holocaust are again products of racism and not religion.

    The point is simply that religion can be abused by the powers that be. They will use any ideology for their interests. Unfortunately, in case of Pakistan it was Islam which fell victim to enemies of humanity.

  82. durrenayaab

    @shiv
    First of all Quran is available in all major languages of the world. It may be a prerequisite to become a scholar, but i beleive the sole purpose behind that is people understand it. But even that basic knowledge is not being acquired.
    The idea is not to know it by heart, but to understand it enough so as to know the basics.
    I beleive the language that Geeta is written in, i.e. ancient Sanskrit is not comprehensible to the Hindus. Is that true?

  83. Raza

    Reintrepration obviously needs knowledge of what is required to be reintreperted. To that I agree. However considering that most of the religous curriculm is conservative and time trapped, we need to use our own head rather than relying on ultraconservative intrepertations.
    When you are trying to go for a contextual meanings than frankly what you need is basic intelligence and logic.

  84. durrenayaab

    my point is that the enlightened moderate hardly needs religion to be incorporated as a part of everyday life. they would still treat it as something to be reverred or to practice occasionally rather than adhere to it steadfaztly. so y bother. no?

  85. Moosa

    Firstly, Raza, I’d like to congratulate you on writing this article which makes several intelligent points. I wish that I could have further discussion with you on these matters one-to-one. However, in the meantime, let me write some ideas here as an initial response.

    I’m not sure if you know that Mirza Tahir Ahmad, who later became the fourth khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat, once had very close interaction with Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. In fact, he convinced Ahmadis to support Bhutto initially, but eventually Bhutto decided that it would be more expedient to ally himself with the religious extremists. You made the point that Bhutto was not a religious radical; this much is true. However, he was a political opportunist, and this explains why he decided to turn against the Ahmadis. Otherwise, his opposition to the Ahmadiyya Jamaat is inexplicable.

    Regarding the passivity of the Pakistani masses, this seems to me to be almost incarnate in the Pakistani spirit or mentality. Pakistanis by nature are generally not independent-minded, they have a tendency to blindly follow authority, and also to hanker for leadership, they seem prone to sycophancy. This is a natural trait, although of course there are exceptions. An example is the completely undeserved adulation accorded to the Bhutto family by Pakistani, which has continued despite shameless corruption and exploitation of Pakistan’s heritage by that family. The problem is not the religious clergy alone, because, as you correctly identified, their support is not dominant over moderate political parties. The problem is that the political leadership has made a “devil’s pact” with the clergy, that they will give some political power to the clergy (eg stone women to death who are raped, murder ahmadis freely in ‘temples’, etc etc), in return for the clergy saying that Allah (swt) supports the political leaders who are drinking alcohol, dancing, and doing all kinds of things.

  86. Moosa

    But Raza, perhaps the most important sentence in your excellent article is as follows:

    “Every tragedy also opens up an opportunity to take a fresh look at the situation”.

    This is a very serious warning from myself to every person in Pakistan. I’m not in Pakistan myself, and therefore your decisions will not touch me directly, but I do have a concern for your welfare. 36 years ago, one person warned your National Assembly that if you declared Ahmadis as non-Muslims, then the final result would be the destruction of Pakistan, but nobody took him seriously because most people lack vision. Now you have no excuse. You can see the destruction before your very eyes and under your very nose. Your countrymen are slaughtering innocent men, young and old, in full daylight in front of television cameras, and your elected representatives are entirely deprived of courage and leadership qualities, and no decisive action has been taken. Even a man who is blind can understand that this path leads to destruction of your nation, then are you deaf, dumb and blind, that you do not understand?

    You have now reached that stage where it can be said: “Alter your path or else die a miserable and cowardly death”.

    I pray for your own sakes, not for my sake, that you alter your path.

  87. Raza

    Dear Moosa, thanks for liking the article..
    I know that Bhutto’s decision actually was his grave mistake and was taken to appease clergy. Eventually this decision proved to be his downfall and also the country’s.
    That decsion led to a culture where political class would always be subservient to clergy and adopt a policy of appeasement instead of much needed definace..
    Since that fateful day, it is all downhill..
    Once a thing is declared unislamic, repealing it becomes so so difficult..

    But we are standing at a critical juncture and some important decisions may have to be taken..decision that demand blood and sacrifice…Unless and until, we shed that blood, we will never get out of this quagmire…
    Apart from 2nd amendment, we need to take steps to repeal Hadood and Blasphemy laws also..
    We have to…

  88. Moosa

    Apologies for changing the topic, but I googled ‘pak tea house’ and accidentally came across kashifiat’s blog, which has the following paragraph:

    “But the fact is that this website has been hijackedby narrow minded, extremist, schizophrenic Ahmadies. The Raza’sconcept of developing culture of healthy debates, tolerance & pluralism is facing serious health problem on PTH & has been admitted in “Intensive Care Unit” since he granted the administrative rights to Mr. Yasser Latif Hamdani (YLH), an Ahmadi advocate.”

    is YLH an ahmadi?? not to injure anybody’s feelings, but i find that quite surprising…

  89. shiv

    @ Durrenayaab
    I beleive the language that Geeta is written in, i.e. ancient Sanskrit is not comprehensible to the Hindus. Is that true?

    I have never heard this one before. The Gita (or Geeta) was never written for a long long time. Anything “Hindu” (whatever that word is supposed to mean and I have views on this) was transmitted in an oral tradition. I do not know when it was written down. I know that more than one version of the epic “Ramayana” exist. I know that the Gita has been freely translated into any language, but I don’t know if more than one version exists. It is possible though.

    I mention the Ramayana in different versions deliberately. There is one version of the Ramayana in which the villain – the wife-kidnapping ten-headed king is the revered hero. There is another “female viewpoint” of the Ramayana – an animated cartoon version of the Ramayana made in the last 3 years or so called “Sita Sings the Blues” an enchanting and freely downloadable film. You can Google (or Bing) that and download it and love it or hate it.

    The existence of more than one version of the Gita would no surprise me. It’s not the language or the versions or the different and sometimes contradicting stories but the democratization of these epics that creates more unity of thought and purpose than attempts at monopolization. A person is allowed to freely debate the Geeta without necessarily having read it all in any version (he can merely have heard the story) and face no threat.

    I believe (from all that I have read) that the Quran too was specifically written for democratization – to be read by all and its central message/s absorbed by all.

    But you sir, are guilty of encouraging the very monopolization of the Quran and Islam that is coming to bite Pakistan in its backside where some people claim that others know less about Islam and are unworthy to debate.

    Here is what you said:
    To ‘debate’ on a topic such as religion, do u consider the typical ‘enlightened’ muslim adept at it? Isnt there a stigma or at least a reluctance on our part to acquire islamic knowledge other than what we have been taught in our schools.
    To debate, we need to know much more than that. Easier said than done.

    In your statement you are (in effect) setting the boundaries of who can or cannot speak of the lessons he has drawn from the Quran. The most ridiculous extreme boundary of who is allowed to talk of Islam that I have heard is the requirement of reading the Quran in its original Arabic.

    If you are right in saying that some people need to “know much more” before talking religion, how is the rabid mullah wrong in claiming that only he knows the real truth because he has memorized the Quran in its original Arabic?

    Islam has been monopolised rather than democratised. Everyone claims that he has more rights over Islam than anyone else. In such a situation, the one with the gun always “wins”. That is Pakistan for you in a nutshell – a nation that started off on the premise that Islam was so weak and effete that it could not survive in the midst of the very kafirs who ruled the world until the Prophet was born. If Islam was so weak, how come the world moved from zero Islam to a state where it is among the great religions of the world? Pakistan is such a stupid premise. Get used to it.

    It is going to be decades before Pakistanis figure out the massive self goal they have scored. Enjoy.

  90. @Durrenayaab

    Have you heard of the ‘Tu Quoque’ argument?

    A makes criticism P.
    A is also guilty of P.
    Therefore, P is dismissed.

    Another form, well known on this forum on being imported from the exotic East, goes:

    “Your shirt is torn.”
    “So what? Your fly is open!”

    Try not to make us all ridiculous by starting these games.

  91. shiv

    Let me ask some rhetorical questions.

    Can Islam ever be under threat? You have a faith that is perfect, given to man by God via his Prophet. Islam was there before man and will be there after man if God chooses to remove mankind, so how come Islam can be under threat? I would argue that Islam per se cannot be shaken or threatened. It stands on its own, without needing anyone to support it.

    If Islam is strong and safe, can Muslims be under threat? Can the followers of Islam be threatened? Yes of course Muslims can be threatened, and when threatened they need to do what they can to protect themselves.

    Pakistan was (I am told) set up as an “idea” for Muslims of the subcontinent to live their lives as they deemed fit. Fine. Fine. What a capital idea.

    But if Pakistan was an idea for Muslims, who the heck is a Muslim? Who judges whether a person is a Muslim or not? The Pakistani parliament? Maulana Masood Azhar? Mullah Azam Tariq? Zia ul Haq?

    This is what is chewing up Pakistan today. GIGO. Garbage In Garbage Out. In computerese, if you inout garbage into a computer as data, your output will also be garbage.

    If you say Pakistan was made to protect Islam, then it means Islam needs protection and cannot stand on its own without Pakistanis. Garbage

    If you say Pakistan was made for Muslims of the subcontinent – then who the hell are the 140 million who currently reside in India? Garbage again.

    If Pakistan was an “idea” for Muslims, who are these special “Pakistan caste” Muslims for whom this idea was created and whom does the idea exclude? More garbage.

    It was the democratization of Islam that led to the initial split between Sunnis and Shias. Various sects of Islam, and myriad practices all stayed within Islam. There was even more democratization of Islam in India with the development of the Deobandi and Barelvi schools, and the emergence of a splinter group the Ahmedis. Sufi practices again are an example of democratization. Until recently there was a tribe in Arabia that rabid Wahhabi fellow-slave of the USA (along with Pakistan) where tradition would demand that a guest would get one of the hosts wives for the night.

    What did Pakistan (“the idea”) do? Nothing other than try and narrow down Islam to the self interests of a few people, after which 63 years have been spent trying to justify a lame excuse rather than joining the rest of the underdeveloped world in doing something for the vast population. Shame on all educated Pakistanis for being unable to figure that out. Shame on your elders and teachers too if they were less than candid about the truth.


  92. If you say Pakistan was made for Muslims of the subcontinent – then who the hell are the 140 million who currently reside in India? Garbage again.

    If Pakistan was an “idea” for Muslims, who are these special “Pakistan caste” Muslims for whom this idea was created and whom does the idea exclude? More garbage.

    Congratulations on a truly appalling post, Shiv. You outdo yourself.

  93. D_a_n

    ‘It was the democratization of Islam that led to the initial split between Sunnis and Shias.’

    ….reading paper…words drift in…
    que raised eyebrow…a ruffle of the parchment and the lowering of the paper to reveal a single eye…expressing mild surprise and an intention to investigate.

    cigaretter drops ever so slightly from it’s usual optimum dangle….the body begins to coil ever so slightly to a WTF position…

    but then I realize it’s Shiv…..

    body relaxes….eyebrow is lowered and I knowingly exhale……retreat behind the parchment…All is well…’tis only Shiv🙂

  94. Bin Ismail

    @Moosa (June 13, 2010 at 3:10 am)

    “…..is YLH an ahmadi?? not to injure anybody’s feelings, but i find that quite surprising…..”

    Respectfully, I find that quite irrelevant. What is relevant, in my opinion, is the fact that YLH has the courage to speak the truth.

  95. Bin Ismail

    @shiv (June 13, 2010 at 9:21 am)

    “…..If you say Pakistan was made for Muslims of the subcontinent…..”

    Pakistan was made for “all” the inhabitants of the Muslim-majority states of undivided India – and in pursuance of the politico-economic prosperity of these states.

  96. Moosa

    @ Bin Ismail

    Respectfully, I asked the question because it interested me. Certain things interest me and are relevant for me, which don’t interest you and are irrelevant for you, and I’m sure certain things interest you which don’t hold much relevance for me. That’s because we’re two different people with different priorities.

    Regarding “courage to speak the truth”, firstly it’s very difficult to know objectively what is the truth, and philosophers such as Montesquieu and Diderot have tried to analyse that as early as the 17th and 18th centuries CE. But putting aside philosophy, courage itself is of different and varying strata. There is the courage that enables a person to speak the truth to a dear friend, there is another level of courage that enables a person to publish the truth in a hostile environment, and there is another rank of courage that a man is threatened from all sides with violence and torture of himself and his family, and yet he stands up firm and upright and the entire world turns against him and not a single person supports him but he turns the world and the world doesn’t turn him.

    Last but not least, truth can be a deceitful friend to the spiritual soul. For instance (as a crude example), I could see an overweight unattractive policeman and tell him, “You’re fat and ugly”. This would be truthful, and it could also be courageous; but would it be a meritorious action? Truth has an elevated ethical value, but it does not justify that a person should lose his temper or speak/write foul words, for instance. Such behaviour has no connection to truth, rather it is a result of the ego becoming rife within a man. Of course, ego and absolute truth cannot co-exist, and this is perhaps the toughest criterion for being acknowledged as “truthful”.

    I’ll ask again (even if certain people aren’t interested): is Y L H an ahmadi?

  97. Syed

    @Moosa
    I appreciate your concern. However, I dont think that the faith of an individual (e.g. YLH) has a bearing on the discussion in the forum.

    Ideas and beliefs can stand alone without the need to determine who holds them.

  98. Moosa

    @ Syed

    Thank you for educating me regarding the fact that ideas and beliefs can stand alone. I was never aware of this profound fact. I’m actually 2 years old and live in a village without electricity and I always thought that ethics was something you eat with eggs.

    Now let me repeat: for me, the faith of an individual does have a bearing on the discussion in this forum. However, due to my low level of education, I can’t explain to you how Plato propounded that an individual’s heart reflects the universe and everything in it (or at least the society he/she lives in), in his seminal work ‘The Philebus’, which idea was later developed in modern times by such philosophers as Robert Fludd, and later Blavatsky. If I possessed any intelligence (which clearly I do not), then I might opine that Pakistan (and the world)’s problems are not due to unknown random forces of nature, they’re the result of concrete actions by specific individuals, and the failure of specific individuals to stand up against tyranny. Furthermore, I’d like to offer my village fool’s opinion that if this forum is simply for random unknown people to write poetically about injustice and not make any transformation within one man/woman’s heart and not address the power and responsibility and relevance of each individual, then I respectfully submit that the forum members are going to be highly ineffective (the recent banner over Maal Road in Lahore bears out my position, I think).

    In any case, perhaps I’m being rather obtuse and there’s a reason why everybody is so unwilling to answer a simple question. In that case, I’ll content myself to saying that “if” any person is an ahmadi, then I’d like to draw attention his/her to the following quotation:

    “You who are members of my Jamaat, should always keep it in mind that you have to be sympathetic towards every body without any distinction, to whatever religion they may belong; you should do good to every body. This is what the Holy Quran teaches.” [Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Malfoozat, vol.7, p.285]

    Love you guys,
    Moosa (aka The Ignoramus)😀

  99. Bin Ismail

    @Moosa (June 14, 2010 at 1:57 am)

    “…..“You who are members of my Jamaat, should always keep it in mind that you have to be sympathetic towards every body without any distinction, to whatever religion they may belong; you should do good to every body. This is what the Holy Quran teaches.” [Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Malfoozat, vol.7, p.285]…..”

    Beautiful quote and perennially pertinent. Respectfully – evermore respectfully, this quote alone would have sufficed. Knowledge of someone’s religious affiliation, would in my evermore humble opinion, still not be of much benefit or relevance to the present discussion.

    Best wishes.

  100. OMLK

    @Moosa

    If I am not mistaken, ylh has more than once stated on this forum that he is not an Ahmadi.

  101. Moosa

    I apologise for asking personal questions, and I appreciate the courtesy shown to me by everybody here. I have to admit that you’re correct to say that this is not the correct forum for asking personal questions, it’s only that this question interested me, and I had no other way of finding an answer since I don’t have any direct personal contact with Y L H, therefore I aired my query publicly.

  102. Bin Ismail

    Coming back to the agenda “How reluctance to debate religion has resulted in a total quagmire”, I wish to say that a major problem that we confront in this this regard is that we have made the discussion of religion a major taboo. Discussing religion should be as convenient an exercise as discussing the weather. Discussing religion is all about sharing and comparing our views and perceptions – and this certainly does not entail throwing fits.

  103. skyview

    to bin ismail

    Weather does not contain an element of fascism in it. Nor of absolutism nor finalism. Hence we can discuss weather in a relaxed mood. In fact weather is often discussed in order to relax the mood.

    Religions are hotbeds of absolutism (=arrogance), finalism (=intimidation), fascism (=I know what is good for you), totalitarianism (=we have final answers to everything).

    This is especially true of the prophethood-based religions, especially this arabic one. Throwing fits in favour of this arab religion is a necessity for reserving a seat in the arab god’s heaven.

  104. Bin Ismail

    @skyview/globetrotter/silkrouter (June 16, 2010 at 12:50 pm)

    Since for you, religion is a hotbed of all evils and discussing it gives you the feeling of discussing evil, it may be wise for you to confine all your discussions strictly to “weather”.

    Happy weather debates.

  105. skyview

    to bin ismail

    Weather is uncontrollable and hence discussing it can be done only for a minute or two. Weather is not man-made (climate catastrophe is another matter – but it may be too late for that).

    Religion is man-made and affects my life and intrudes everywhere. So I have to discus it – with the hope that like-minded people will be able to help me protect myself from it.

    How do you manage to get it so superficial or sneery everytime?

  106. Bin Ismail

    @ skyview (June 16, 2010 at 7:28 pm)

    There was no sneer, none whatsoever. I assure you. I was merely trying to show you the inadequacies of your own reasoning.

  107. @skyview

    I am the one that sneers. How are the bricks this morning?

  108. skyview

    To vajra

    Do toss the bricks – I can use them for building a court-room in which to try you for sneering at me! Your punishment will be to become the (first “hindu”) Governor General of Pakistan.
    (I have put the word hindu in lip-marks since the meaning of this word too is a matter of debate)

    to bin ismail

    Thanks for showing the faults/inadequacies in my reasoning – but in doing that you should not be commiting more of the same from your side. That is my humble request.

  109. @skyview

    even your jokes have no connection with current reality. a curious observation.

    o a trial for sneering? about par for a bigot and an authoritarian who projects his personal failings on others.

    o governor-general? Britain’s taking Pakistan back as a dominion? The Queen has agreed to be head of state? So much for that idiot Chris Patten; idiot, to play his cards so wrong.

    o “lip-marks”? In German, not in English.

    Yes, yes, I understand that the first two are “Jokes!”, and show that you belong to the human race after all. Remind me to send you a photograph of the ShutzStaffel officer affectionately patting the head of a Jewish child as the Jews marched into a cattle truck.

  110. OMLK

    @skyview and bin Ismail

    The Ahmadi’s have a certain view of faith and science based on the writings of the founder. I would dare to propose that Dr. Abdussalam may have been influenced by the same when he reconciled his faith and science. The topic is long, but the basic premise is some thing like this:

    1 – Natural laws reflect the actions of God.
    2 – Revealed religion reflects the words of God.
    3 – There should be harmony among the two. In other words the natural world “testifies” for the spiritual world, or is in one one way a manifestation of the same.
    4 – Another way of understanding this “manifestation” is to understand that what we “percieve” through our senses is not necessarily an objective reality, but is a reflection of it; and the truth of the objective reality is revealed by the words of God. However, it is only the information that is given by words. The revelation has to be experienced.
    5 – The expereince requires submission. Submission requires faith.
    6- To begin with, faith requires reliance on reasoning and logic (for it to be true faith, or a faith that appeals); in other words the words of God (religion) laws must make sense with the actions of God (the natural laws). The natural laws, however, only allude to the existence of a divine being, and are not a 100% proof of the same.
    6- This summary is not a substiute or necessarily an accurate refelection of the actual writings of HMGA, but only my attempt to distill into words what I have understood. My point is that given that science is far from explaining the fundamental reality of our existence, the dividing line between faith and science is not so black and white, and the Ahmadis have a general view that appears to reconcile the two.

  111. Bin Ismail

    @ OMLK (June 18, 2010 at 11:15 am)

    Agreed. The “work” of God cannot possibly be in conflict with the “word” of God. Both emanate from the same source – God.

  112. skyview

    to vajra

    what is current reality? any idea?
    a trial for sneering is a farce to be understood – has nothing to do with bigotry. how come you jumped on to bigotry? don’t want to be GG of the pure? How can you reject this honor?

    I tried finding the word lip-marks in German – does not exist in German. When I learnt English in school (in India) our teacher did use the word lip marks as equivalent to exclamation marks. He knew no German. Where did he get that from?

    to OMLK

    Revelation does not reveal any god. Rather obfuscates him. Revelations are rather primitive pseudo-intellectual products of primitive human beings for primitive human beings. They are now a nuisance all over the world. Islam (and its derivatives) is an especially pathetic and dangerous case. This explains why all those who go by revelation-based religions are always so angry or guilty and are frustrated and killing and dying and death-yearning. And when there “glorious” revelations prove to be vapid then they go berserk.

    God gives intelligence to humans (not equally to all) and lets the humans do whatever they wish to do. He does not bother or care for them after that. I find that ok. It is like a female fish that squirts her eggs and the male fish squirts his spermata on them and the two vanish into thin waters leaving “their” children to the waves and sand and predators. This reflects god’s way far more than this wishful “caring-loving” theology of thinking.

  113. OMLK

    @skyview

    “Revelation does not reveal any god. Rather obfuscates him.” I was refeering to revelation that is experienced, which most definitely reveals some truth beyond what we learn from our sensous experiences. This is however a subjective matter, but the principle is universal. As for your assertion that it is primitive to the power of three, well that is your opinion and let’s leave it at that.

    You speak about God as if you know him personally. My knowledge of God is from what he has revealed to mankind, or more accurately from what many people beleive he has revealed to mankind. From what I understand, God certainly leaves the moral choices up to man by giving him free will, but is not un-caring. He cares by giving them guidance to make the right choices. At the basic level this manifests itself from the desire to do good to feeling guilty after committting a crime, and is a universal expereince of humanity. More apt than the mating ritual of fish it is the nurturing of offsprings done by man that would be a better metaphor for God; especially as God has revealed that man was made in his image. Don’t think he says the same about fish.

  114. skyview

    to omlk

    On the one hand I must thank you for you patient voice and yet differ.

    There is somethng fundamentally wrong with the religions as we have them today. Islam presents an especially pathetic, arrogant, conceited and even dangerous a case. Are we to wait till the “caring-loving” god intervenes, or do something ourselves to protect ourselves from such religions – and since we (our much adored ancestors) failed to do it during the past centuries (esp. in case of islam) we are now facing entrenched irrationality, madness and mass hysteria (when e.g. muslims say that they are suffering because they have not been good enough muslims etc. – how easy it is to manipulate simple-minded human beings with such idiocies).

    Why should god care more about humans and less about fish and frogs? I would not like to divinitize someone who treats his own creatures so callously or unequally.

    You talk of experienced revelation – that is interesting. Have you exprienced it or are you just being pious-humble and waiting and hoping for one to happen to you?

  115. OMLK

    @skyview

    “There is somethng fundamentally wrong with the religions as we have them today. Islam presents an especially pathetic, arrogant, conceited and even dangerous a case.”

    Many Muslims would fit this desciption, not necessarily Islam though. I am sure you would disagree and that is fine. I have studied Islam closely and have come to the opposite conclusions! We can leave it at that I think.

    “Are we to wait till the “caring-loving” god intervenes, or do something ourselves to protect ourselves from such religions”

    No, waiting is not the answer. God cares by providing guidance, but man has to make the right choices himself/herself. This starts at an individual level.

    “Why should god care more about humans and less about fish and frogs? I would not like to divinitize someone who treats his own creatures so callously or unequally.”

    I did not say that. I only said that in the context of making a metaphor, the attributes of God are reflected more aptly in man than in fish. If I am not mistaken you are indirectly building a case for the non-exsitence of God, by first saying God is un-caring and then saying such an entity should not be “divinitized.”….or you are simply, in-advertantly contradicting yourself.

    “You talk of experienced revelation – that is interesting. Have you exprienced it or are you just being pious-humble and waiting and hoping for one to happen to you?”

    The answer to both questions is no.

  116. OMLK

    @Skyview

    1) I would disagree. Muslims have to take responsibility for Islam. Islam is a guidance, not an automatic transforming machine which you enter and then all is nice and rosy. Muslims of today have abandoned Islam and the Quran.

    2) Well this is tricky question to answer, sort of like a two way catch-22 situation. By definition I agree that if God is perfect then his guidance should be perfect. And again by defnition perfect guidance should guide perfectly, that is leave no room for error by man. BUT, in the case of a perfect guidance then, effectively speaking man would have no free will, there being no possibility of making a wrong choice. So in the context of man having freedom of choice, the guidance is perfect to the extent of leading man to his objective IF he follows the guidance. And to follow the guidace man will have to strive (Jihad in Islam).

  117. Bin Ismail

    @ skyview

    The kind of dogmatism and lopsided logic you exhibit, suggests that you truly have a future as a mulla/priest/pundit/rabbi.

  118. dove

    I think its all India’s fault !!!!

    Seriously, I like Shiv’s point that the govt has to have monopoly on coercive force for the citizens to hold a debate without violence. BUT, Pakistani govt/army finds it useful to have arms in private hands as part of its india strategy – plausible deniability & all that. Once you do that, there is no putting the genie back in the bottle.

    Indira Gandhi tried this with Bhindranwale, She and India paid a heavy price for it.

    Pakistani govt & army has created hundreds of Bhindranwales in Pakistan to manage the military disparity with India.

    The core reason for the long slide of pakistan since independence towards what it is now owes a lot to the short sighted anti-india strategy of its govt and army. Its the classic example of a deal with the devil.

    I do not think its is possible for anything to change for the better in Pakistan until its govt and army uses full force to take control back from all other armed groups, whatever the cost.

    Until then, the man with the gun wins the debate.