By Wajid Ali Syed
You can’t deny the importance of humor in life. One of the first steps to ensuring a nation’s death is to regulate and ban its humor. Humor implies tolerance. Without it a people wither on the vine.
Humor is not necessarily portable. People the world over can relate to Three Stooges-like pratfalls and jokes about meddlesome mothers-in-law or nagging wives or hapless husbands. Many American jokes could probably be enjoyed in Pakistan, like this one: What’s the difference between Jesus and a picture of Jesus? You only need one nail to hang up a picture of Jesus.
Good afternoon. I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over a thousand years, al-Azhar has, had stood as a beacon of Islamic learning. And for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt’s advancement. Together, you represent the harmony between tradition and progress.
I’m grateful for your hospitality and the hospitality of the people of Egypt. And I’m also proud to carry with me the good will of the American people and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: Assalamu Alaikum. Continue reading
By CHRIS BRUMMITT –
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Worshippers still flock to the grave of Rahman Baba, a Muslim mystic revered by millions in Pakistan and Afghanistan. But they now pray at a mound of rubble and twisted steel — all that remains of his tomb since militants bombed it.
The blast in March was the most high-profile in a recent spate of attacks against Pakistan’s homespun, tolerant brand of Islam by hard-liners trying to replace it with the more austere version espoused by the Taliban, al-Qaida and other Sunni extremist groups.
“This hurts deep in my heart,” said Ihasan ul-Haq, as he looked through a rainstorm onto the ruins of the once ornate, whitewashed tomb on the outskirts of Peshawar, a main northwestern town coming under the influence of the extremists. “And to think they do this in the name of Islam.” Continue reading
From The News
By Shandana Minhas
During his visit to Beijing President Asif Zardari said terrorism ‘needs to be tackled on an urgent basis’ and that he would ‘utilize every forum to brief the world about prevailing situation.’ Here’s an idea. Why doesn’t he do the same for Pakistan? For all the millions still doing the ala ostrich routine? He could be on all the channels simultaneously. His PR people could make him a slick presentation with charts and everything (no giving him a laser light though, that might be asking for trouble). Points he might like to cover include: Continue reading
IN FIRST PERSON
Noted filmmaker MAHESH BHATT makes an impassioned plea to save Urdu from extinction here
Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash
Man is memory, and memory is sound. The first sound that resonates in my heart is the Urdu word “Shireen”, meaning sweet; the name of my mother, who was by birth a Shia Muslim and remained one till the end of her days.
Shadowing that sweet memory is a bitter one. My mother couldn’t marry my Hindu father because my father couldn’t go against the wishes of his staunch Brahmin family in post-Partition India. She concealed her Muslim identity in the predominantly Hindu area of Mumbai’s Shivaji Park where we lived because, in spite of the Nehruvian vision of India as a plural and diverse nation, the rising Hindu fundamentalist movement looked upon the minority Muslim community as the enemy within. So, to arm herself from a possible Hindu backlash, she tried her best to fit in by submerging her true identity. “Do not call me by my Muslim name,” she would caution us in private. “I do not want the world to know about my Muslim identity.” Continue reading