Tag Archives: Ramadan

“Intolerance is accepted-even rewarded in Pakistan’s mainstream media”

By Lauren Frayer

As Pakistan’s media has expanded in recent years, there’s been a rise in Islamic preachers with popular TV call-in talk shows. And they’ve had their share of scandal. One famous TV host fled the country after embezzlement allegations. Others are accused of spewing hate speech.

That’s the case for Pakistan’s most popular televangelist, Aamir Liaquat, who’s just been rehired by the country’s top TV channel despite accusations that he provoked deadly attacks in 2008.

Liaquat, 41, is once again the face of Pakistan’s biggest and richest private TV station, Geo TV. He also appears in commercials for everything from cooking oil to an Islamic bank. During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, he’s been broadcasting live 11 hours a day — while fasting — and drawing record ratings.

“I say peace be with you, from the deepest core of my heart, with all sincerity and respect,” he says warmly to viewers.

But the beaming TV personality has not always sounded so benign.

Four years ago, Liaquat did an hourlong special on a religious sect known as the Ahmadis. They consider themselves Muslim. But under a constitutional amendment in Pakistan, they are banned from calling themselves Muslim.

They believe in the Prophet Muhammad. But they also believe in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, a 19th-century figure they believe was the messiah. Many Muslims call that blasphemy. On live TV in 2008, Liaquat condemned the Ahmadis’ messiah. “He was like a dead body in terms of morality and character,” Liaquat said. “He never spoke the truth and never kept his promises. He was a coward. His speech and writings make me vomit.” Then he sat nodding in approval while a guest mullah said people like the Ahmadis’ messiah should be killed. “Anyone who claims to be a prophet is an infidel, and deserves to be murdered,” Maulana Muhammad Ameen said.

A Surge In Targeted Killings

Since that broadcast, violence has left hundreds of Ahmadis dead. Ahmadi Najm’s husband — a pediatrician with his own clinic — was one of them. “It was the 17th of August, 2010,” Najm recalls. “He was closing his clinic, and had just started his car, and they came — some unknown people. They fired. At the spot, he was dead. He got about 30 bullets in his chest.” The 33-year-old widow speaks from a safe house in Karachi, where Ahmadis hide during bouts of violence against them. Behind a padlocked door, Najm and her three children huddle together. Her baby girl was just 2 1/2 months old when her father was killed.

Continue reading “Intolerance is accepted-even rewarded in Pakistan’s mainstream media”

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

11 Christian nurses are poisoned in Pakistan for daring to drink tea during the month of Ramzan

Christian Nurses poisoned to Punish drinking tea during Muslims Ramadan in Pakistan

Karachi: July 30, 2012. (PCP) Christian staff nurses of Civil Hospital Karachi were poisoned as punishment to drink tea in their Hostel rooms during Holy Month of Ramadan being observed these days by Muslim majority community of Pakistan.

Among Eleven (11) poisoned Christian nurses (3) were rushed to Intensive Care Unit ICU of Civil Hospital Karachi were remaining (8) are being treated in emergency ward.

Civil Hospital Karachi is under ministry of health of Sindh government where Christian medico staff was in majority till 1985.

Staff Nurses Rita, Anila and Rafia were in serious condition in ICU ward of CHK while staff nurse Rita was later transferred on life saving equipment.

There are reports that FIR have been registered against unknown person on poisoning Christian nurses in Aram Bagh Police Station of Karachi and non was arrested so far.

According to Ramadan Ordinance of Provincial Sindh Government, to eat in Public places is prohibited and restaurants and vendors will remain closed during timing of Ramadan.

The Ramadan Ordinance is not imposed on Five Star Hotels in Sindh Province and allows minority community individuals to take meals in indoor facilities.

After independence of Pakistan in 1947, all restaurants have to put curtain on their doors where Muslim and other religious communities were free to dine and smoke during Holy Month of Ramadan but laws of total ban or closure were made after Islamization of Pakistan during Zia-ul-Haq rule.

The poisoning incident of 11 Christian nurses have spread wave of fear among religious minorities of Pakistan and rising extremism in society.

Courtesy: Pakistan Christian Post

http://www.pakistanchristianpost.com/headlinenewsd.php?hnewsid=3656

Via – Twitter

In Islamabad you don’t need the Taliban to beat you up for sipping a soft drink during Ramadan. The cops will do it.

Eating at public place in Ramazan Police beat up 2 persons

By: Ikram Junaidi

ISLAMABAD, July 28: The capital police beat up two persons at Daman-i-Koh for having ‘soft drinks’ during the time of fasting. The incident was reported to Inspector General of Police (IGP) who has assured to take action against the officials, Dawn has learnt.

The victim Anwar Abbas, while talking to Dawn said that on Friday at around 2pm he went to Daman-i-Koh along with his friend Malik Saeed and was having soft drink in his car.

Mr Abbas said: “I was not fasting and knowing that it would be ethically incorrect to have drink in front of people so I chose a place where no one was present.

“In the meantime, a police constable came and said taking drinks during fasting is a violation of Ramazan Act and a serious crime,” he said adding he told him (constable) that he was not fasting and taking drinks at an isolated place where no one was present. “I also told him that it was not their job to stop anyone from eating during the time of fasting but constable insisted that he has to implement the teachings of Islam,” he said.

“The constable called two other police officials and they took us to the nearby police post,” he said adding “at the check post heated arguments ensued and they removed their belts and started beating us.”

Continue reading In Islamabad you don’t need the Taliban to beat you up for sipping a soft drink during Ramadan. The cops will do it.

How China kept lid on Ramadan

In the aftermath of violent protests by Uighurs, a Muslim minority in China’s far northwest, authorities deepened their campaign against religious practices.

By Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Beijing — At a teachers college in far northwestern China, students were irritated to find that their professors were escorting them to lunch last month — an odd occurrence since they were more than capable of finding the cafeteria themselves.

There was an ulterior motive, students told travelers who recently visited the city of Kashgar: The college wanted to make sure that the students, most of them Muslims, were eating rather than fasting in daylight hours during the holy month of Ramadan.

Courtesy: → Los Angeles Times

Bastards: theirs vs. ours!?

By: Shazia Nawaz

This is a response to ….sahib’s (— e-list) mails on bastards in USA and is a reply to his argument that all American should get paternity test done.

First of all, there is nothing wrong with having a child out of wedlock. There is nothing immoral about it. If you people do not understand it, it does not make it wrong. It’s a woman’s choice.

My co-worker just gave birth to her third love child. She likes children and does not want marriage. I asked another co worker who is 32 now and had a child at age of 16, that if she regrets having a child at age of 16, she said abruptly, ” no Dr. Nawaz, I do not regret MY CHILD.

Why so much stress on USA immorality?

Many Pakistani men openly confess that majority of them cheat on their wives. Some say 80 percent of Pakistani men cheat on their wives. (only God knows truth about Pakistani society), so whenever there is sex, there is a baby.

If you accept that 80 percent Pakistani men cheat on their wives (I hope not) then 80 percent Pakistani women give birth to illegitimate children? no ???

These men are cheating with someone but then of course I only know what I know. And I know two young Pakistani women, both say all their prayers regularly and fast in holy Ramadan, both are my age, both got pregnant with children of other men. Both told me because they thought I could help them abort the babies by prescribing a pill.

One girl’s husband has had vasectomy. So, she could not explain the pregnancy and wanted abortion. Other one could pass this child as her husbands if the guy she had an affair with was not black. I could not help either of them. Liability is a huge issue in USA. I would not prescribe meds like that. Both had to go to abortion centers to get abortion. Both are not my patients and do not live in my town (so not doing confidentiality violation) now, in Pakistan its very easy to pass a child as your husbands. I do not know how many, but I m sure countless women do that.

There was a woman on Geo Tv the other day, that video is on YouTube, she told camera how her father in law raped her for years and of course she complained now when he ran away with her money and jewelry. Only God knows how many children of this woman’s are his father in law’s. Watch the video here till the end.

My friend who works at Jinnah hospital tells me that countless women get pregnant by their brother in laws and are not married and come for abortion.

Let’s not flash morality that does not exist. If our men brag about their affairs, they also have to remember that an affair always produces a child.

To me, love child of a single woman is not a bad thing and does not reflect ” bad character”. Bad character is lying, deceiving, and harming others.

A love child of a married man or woman indicate deception to someone, and this is why falls under the category of immorality that way.

About the writer – Shazia Nawaz MBBS, MD. (Allama Iqbal medical college , Lahore, Session 1998). Practicing medicine in USA now. A blogger, a vlogger, a columnist, a You Tube talk show host, married to a wonderful man, mother of a beautiful 11 year old daughter. Wants justice and equality for all.

Courtesy: Pakistani e-lists/ e-groups, August 15, 2011.

We are living in a Taliban state – by Nayyer Khan

The ‘forced fasting’ of Zia’s time, like many other such laws, was never reversed by the PPP despite its third time in power. The reason could be that during Zia’s years, the fundamentalists became so powerful that they were now the masters of the country’s fate

Recently, a police SHO barged into Nairang Gallery located on Jail Road, Lahore, which is an art gallery-cum-rendezvous spot for the city’s social and cultural elite, intelligentsia and artistic and bohemian classes, and harassed the staff as well as visitors and customers present for violating the ‘holiness’ of Ramzan. According to him, food and beverages were being served there during fasting hours. He also objected to the attire of the female staff and customers there, calling it revealing and thus un-Islamic, and against the sacredness of Ramzan. He did not like both genders mixing freely either. He misbehaved with and even manhandled the female curator of the gallery. This incident has stirred a wave of condemnation and protest from civil society and the cultured classes.

This kind of forced ‘sanctification’ of Ramzan is a routine matter in small cities and towns in Pakistan. Such highhandedness by the authorities in small places is seldom reported in the media. For instance, the following incident, which, somehow, did get reported in a leading daily may give a faint idea as to what kind of thrusting of one’s values on others is prevalent in our society.

On September 16, 2009, during the month of Ramzan, about two dozen people were made to parade semi-naked in a market place in Mianwali, with their hands tied by the clothes stripped off their bodies, on the orders of a deputy district officer before they were put into the lockup. The guilt of those subjected to this humiliation was that they were caught sipping tea at some tea stalls at the railway station and bus stands during fasting timings.

This act of disgracing human beings reminds one of the black days of General Zia when ‘Ramzan violators’ were given similar treatment by the authorities, by painting their faces black or shaving their heads in public. But the irony of the matter is that this practice continues even during the government of a supposedly secular and moderate political party. However, with events like the one that took place in Mianwali, one fails to find the difference between the present regime and that of Zia.

According to the present laws, the administration grants special permission to some eateries to serve food and tea to patients, travellers, etc, during the fast. The above action against alleged Ramzan violators by the local administration of Mianwali raises two questions. First, how did the police establish that the alleged Ramzan violators were not patients or travellers? Second, how would a patient or a traveller know that the eatery serving food and beverages during fasting timings does not have such permission from the administration? Obviously, a customer would presume that such an eatery has permission. He would not demand to see the license first before ordering any eatables. The customer could be an uneducated person who may not even be able to read such a paper issued by the administration to the eatery. Then why were those citizens of Pakistan punished by the authorities?

Before the black year of 1977 — when Zia took over Pakistan — all restaurants here served food and beverages during fasting hours in Ramzan. The only difference was that during Ramzan, the doors and windows of the eateries were covered with thick curtains so that those who were fasting and passing by the restaurant were not tempted by the eating and drinking activities going on inside the eatery.

Since the inception of Pakistan till the government of the PPP before Zia’s coup, the above-mentioned norm remained in practice. After the PPP’s regaining of power in 1988, many draconian laws and practices from Zia’s regime were undone. Unfortunately, however, the ‘forced fasting’ of Zia’s time, like many other such laws, was never reversed by the PPP despite its third time in power. The reason could be that during Zia’s years, the fundamentalists became so powerful that they were now the masters of the country’s fate.

In any civilised society, it is considered an individual’s prerogative to follow a certain religious practice or not. Many people in the cities of Pakistan live forced bachelor lives away from their native towns. Even living in their home towns, many people have their work places situated far away from their homes. The only source of food and beverage for such people is the eateries. Many from amongst them suffer various medical conditions that force them to eat and drink regularly. For instance, a diabetic person has to eat at regular intervals to maintain his blood sugar level. A kidney patient has to take a lot of liquids to flush his kidneys. A person suffering from low blood pressure can faint without sufficient salt intake. There are so many other instances where the old, sick and weak have to indulge in a normal food and beverage intake to live. Where would such people go if they are not even allowed to drink water outside their homes? Thirst and hunger can be felt at any time whether one is in the concealment of a house or moving out in the open.

If fasting is a religious duty then so is offering prayers. In the ‘model’ police state of Saudi Arabia, clergymen called mutawas go about the streets and market places with sticks in their hands during prayer times and harass and even beat up people to join prayer offerings in the nearby mosque. Why is Pakistan this one step behind Saudi Arabia? If laws here force people to follow one religious duty, why do they not make them follow the other one too?

What is a Taliban mindset? It is to impose one’s religious values on others. The laws of Pakistan overlap with Taliban laws. Let us admit that we are living in a semi-Taliban state, which may become a full Taliban state one day.

Courtesy: → Daily Times

Liberals are losing ground in Pakistan

“They’re armed, we’re not. They’ve nothing to lose. They fight for their faith with bullets. We’re not ready to die.”Rehana Hakim, Editor, Newsline

“The liberal-minded people are thinking of leaving the country. The liberal space will shrink even further.”Ayesha Siddiqa

“Should I remain silent or stand up to be counted? I’m struggling to take a decision.”Moneeza Hashmi, Broadcaster

The Flickering Flame

. Pakistan’s liberals are fleeing the country in fear or being forced into silence.

Mariana Baabar

When Omer announced he had completed his master’s degree from a university in London and wished to return home to Karachi, his father Rahim Khan, a senior government official, should have marvelled at his luck. After all, only a minuscule percentage of boys from the subcontinent ever return to their country from studies abroad. Contrary to expectations, Rahim was dismayed, promptly advising his only son to enrol for another course or grab a job, to do anything he could to extend his visa there. Rahim explained his decision to Outlook, “He will have no future in a city where you can’t be sure of returning home alive in the evening.”

It isn’t just those from the rich, western-educated class who have made it their habit to take a flight out of Pakistan, often for good. Months ago, Allama Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, a leading religious scholar, decided to make Dubai his home, so weary was he of the repeated threats from the obscurantists livid at his moderate interpretation of Islam. Marred by continuing ethnic strife, the once-liberal city of Karachi has also undergone rampant Talibanisation, goading the rich to make a beeline for safer climes abroad. This exodus prompted columnist Kamran Shafi to recently write about the “darkened homes in Karachi where the inmates have flown to alternative ‘nests’ in Canada, England and Malaysia”.

For long, Pakistan has seen its people migrate for reasons as varied as better economic prospects to hopes of escaping political discrimination and the state’s inability to provide protection from murderous gangs scouring the land with impunity. Whoever from the minority groups of Hindus and Christians can leave the country, does so at the first opportunity. Joining them in droves in recent times have been those from the Ahmedia sect, which is deemed non-Muslim under law. A significant percentage of the exodus comprises businessmen, often the target of kidnapping and extortion. Pakistanis have always asked themselves: should we leave the country or stay behind?

This question has again become a subject of fervent debate from the time Punjab governor Salman Taseer was gunned down and the shocking feting of his assassin, Malik Mumtaz Qadri, who was outraged by his victim’s support for amending the blasphemy law. For someone to be killed for an opinion, an idea, has jolted Pakistanis into reflecting over their journey backward—from liberating progressivism to stifling conservatism. Recalls journalist Adnan Rehmat, “In the ’60s and ’70s, you could even eat at restaurants during Ramadan and see women in saris and bell-bottoms in the bazaars. Burqas and beards were a rare sight.” …

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