The Manipulaters of Pakistan – Dr. Manzur Ejaz

Who determines and manipulate Pakistan’s foreign policy narrative? The answer is quite simple: the religious right led by Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), and in some aspects by Jamait-e-Ulama-Islam (JUI). There are numerous religious formations, following politically-oriented Salafi Islam, and the media is overwhelmed by religious crusaders that popularizes foreign policy parameters determined by JI and JUI Ultimately, the right wing is validated by the military and its fearsome intelligence agencies. Most of the times the state is forced to go along with religious right’s Pan-Islamist foreign policy narrative, even though it is forced to oppose it when the nation’s vital interests are threatened.

The process of evolving such a policy narrative unfolded in the case of alleged massacre of Burmese Muslims. While scores of Shia Muslims were being butchered on regular basis in Pakistan, JI head, Syed Munawwar Hussain, started highlighting the case of Burmese Muslims, demanding that state of Pakistan should try to stop the killings. Although there is nothing wrong with raising awareness for the violations of human rights for oppressed communities, but such advocacy from the likes of JI felt strange to say the least. It seemed awkward because the JI leader was demanding something from a state that cannot save scores of Muslims being slaughtered everyday by Taliban, sectarian extremists or Karachi-like gangs. Since JI leaders are not supposed to be so naïve his statements has to be looked from another angle.

Continue reading The Manipulaters of Pakistan – Dr. Manzur Ejaz

Please Stop Slaughtering Muslims in Burma – By Rachid Acim

Beni Mellal, Morocco, July 14, 2012 – Over the past few weeks, there has been a photo circulating on Facebook and other social networking platforms. It does not epitomize any natural disaster like earthquakes or flooding, but it is a Tsunami that has befallen on the Muslim community in Burma. This photo went viral.

Some might argue that this image was not taken in Burma. However, given the media blackout over what is happening in this country, it might at least help us have an idea of the extent of the massacre that befell the Muslim minority there. …

Read more » Moroco World News

China restricts Ramadan fasting for Uighurs in Xinjiang

By: AFP

Authorities in China’s restive northwestern region of Xinjiang have banned Muslim officials and students from fasting during Ramadan, prompting an exiled rights group to warn of new violence.

Guidance posted on numerous government websites called on Communist Party leaders to restrict Muslim religious activities during the holy month, including fasting and visiting mosques.

Xinjiang is home to around nine million Uighurs, a Turkic speaking, largely Muslim ethnic minority, many of whom accuse China’s leaders of religious and political persecution.

The region has been rocked by repeated outbreaks of ethnic violence, but China denies claims of repression and relies on tens of thousands of Uighur officials to help it govern Xinjiang.

Continue reading China restricts Ramadan fasting for Uighurs in Xinjiang

TV shows: It’s not just sex that sells, religion does too

A main feature of Ramazan in Pakistan is the surge of sehr and iftar talk shows and television programmes. Audiences, hungry for food, and thirsty for Da’wah (preaching of Islam), willingly welcome the gimmicky stratagems of the media-walays (media-people) looking to hook and reel us in. …

Read more » The Express Tribune

Women in Gaza: how life has changed

Behind the blockade, conservatism is rising, but so too is unemployment, poverty, depression and domestic violence

By: Angela Robson

Eman, 23, is dressed in a black, veiled jilbab and lives in a collapsing shack on the outskirts of Gaza City. She left school at 10 and seven years later she was married, with a baby daughter. An open sewer flows past her front door. When it rains, rubbish streams into the kitchen.

“Before the blockade, my husband used to make good money working in Israel,” she says. “With the blockade, that all stopped. When he can’t find any work and we have nothing to eat, he blames me. He is a like a crazy animal. I stay quiet when he hits me. Afterwards, he cries and says, if he had a job, he wouldn’t beat me.”

It is five years since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip and Israel tightened its siege of the territory. Many men became jobless overnight and it is women who have ended up bearing the brunt of their husbands’ frustration. Besides sticking to their traditional role of raising children, the blockade has compelled large numbers of women to become the breadwinners, while standing by their husbands, many of whom have depression.

Violence against women has reached alarming levels. A December 2011 study by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, PCBS, revealed that 51% of all married women in Gaza had experienced violence from their husbands in the previous 12 months.

Two thirds (65%) of women surveyed by the PCBS said they preferred to keep silent about violence in the home. Less than 1% said they would seek help. Mona, my 22-year-old interpreter, is astonished when I later ask what support there is for women such as Eman. “If her husband, or in fact anyone in the family, knew she had talked about this, she’d be beaten or killed. As for places for a woman to run to safety, I don’t know of any.”

Continue reading Women in Gaza: how life has changed

Marvi Sirmed on Judicialization of Politics in Pakistan

Round table on Judicialization of politics organized by School of Political and Strategic communication (SPSC) Islamabad.

Courtesy: SPSC » YouTube