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Aftermath of An Assassination | View from Pakistan


Aly Balagamwala is a businessman and a blogger based in Karachi, Pakistan. He sends us a brief picture of the scenarios that unfolded in his country in the aftermath of Governor Salmaan Taseer’s assassination by a member of his protective guard. Any views expressed in this article are entirely attributed to the author and may or may not reflect the views held by other writers writing for or affiliated with


Commentary by Shaykh Yasir Qadhi:

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The assassination of Salman Taseer brought to the forefront many different issues regarding the political and religious crises in Pakistan. As with any issue, there are many facets and perspectives to consider, and it is simply not possible for an outsider (as we all are here in the West, even if some of us originate from Pakistan) to fully understand the nuances of the situation. Hence, it is wiser to speak in generalities rather than specifics and to allow people who live in the country to express their points of view.

The following represents one viewpoint from someone residing in the country. Personally, I found the views and opinions expressed in it to be very balanced – the author clearly understands that a simplistic response of which side was right and which wrong is not possible. There are clear elements of truth on both sides and clear elements of exaggeration and extremism on both sides as well.

As Muslims, we stand for truth and justice, and not for political parties and groups. Almost always, the truth is higher than any one party or group.

As a person who is of Pakistani origin, and who truly does feel a connection with and a love for the people of that land, all that I can say is that this chaos and confusion and bloodshed makes me extremely sad at what is happening, and very worried for the future of Pakistan. There is little that I can do sitting here, thousands of miles away, other than to pray to Allah to make the situation of the people of Pakistan easy.

And indeed, it is only Allah from whom help is sought, and to Him we turn for peace and security.

Yasir Qadhi


As my first-born completed three years of life, the life of another was marked to end. As Salmaan Taseer, the governor of Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province, walked out of a restaurant after lunch, a member of the elite force assigned to protect him, Malik Mumtaz Hussain Quadri, shot him mercilessly. The post-mortem report later reported 40 wounds on his body and 26 bullets were recovered from his body.

Those shots, while pitilessly shredding Taseer’s body, created aftershocks that split Pakistan along severe ideological fault lines. Suddenly, we had two highly polarized positions coming forth: Taseer the Martyr, the champion of the Liberals, the voice of reason and Quadri, the “Ghazi”, the Protector of Islam. Suddenly, people found themselves being asked, “Whose side are you on? Ours or theirs?” Within hours of the murder, Facebook pages sprang up in support of Quadri, praising him for his actions. On a side note, Facebook raced to shut down these pages immediately on the request of the Government of Pakistan, while they had refused to shut down the pages of “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” and other such anti-Islamic sites on the basis of freedom of speech. Incidentally, a search on Google pulled up a page that still exists on Facebook for the event. Talk about double standards!

The Blasphemy Law itself is really not just one law, but the main law that is in question here is Section 295-C, which reads as follows:

“Use of derogatory remarks, etc. in respect of the Holy Prophet (PBUH): Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), shall be punished with the death sentence or imprisonment for life and shall be liable to fine.”

Historically, the law has been misused by many in an attempt to settle personal enmities, usurp land, etc. Indeed, the process to accuse one of blasphemy is easy and there are no safeguards to protect from false accusations being made. Neither is there any provision in the law to prosecute those making false accusations, once they are proved false. For, indeed, the one who makes these false accusations should be considered a blasphemer himself.

As Taseer was laid to rest the next day, supporters came out on the streets chanting slogans of martyrdom and the “liberals” came out in full force condemning the death of reason and the moral collapse of a nation.

However, as Taseer’s sons showered their father’s grave with rose petals, his assassin Quadri, too, was being showered with petals as he was led to court and declared an “Ashiq-e-Rasool, Ghazi-e-Mulk” (Lover of the Prophet, Commander of the Country). Several leaders from the Jamaat-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat Pakistan (JASP), which is the fountainhead for the Barelvi school in Pakistan, issued a statement saying, “No Muslim should attend the funeral or even try to pray for Salmaan Taseer or even express any kind of regret or sympathy over the incident.” The Deoband school, while not so harsh, also criticized Taseer for playing with the emotions and religious sentiments of Muslims by calling the blasphemy law a “black law”. As I write this, the confusion prevails. Us vs. Them. Liberals vs. fundamentalists. Islam vs. the West. The question that arises is what about those of us who think both sides are right and wrong?

On one hand Taseer, was treading a thin line when he declared the blasphemy law a “black law” (unfair, unjust). In his exuberance to oppose the law, he may have made certain statements against the punishment itself, which angered the religious right, and his championing the cry of clemency for Aasia Bibi, a person who was found guilty of blasphemy by a legal court, was implicitly conveying his denial of this punishment. On the other hand, he was correct in that the blasphemy law is being mostly misused and abused and that measures should be made to prevent false accusations and use of this law to persecute minorities should be stopped. But this step could have been taken in a subtle manner, working in tandem with religious scholars to understand what Islam says about false accusations and to put in safeguards to prevent and penalize false cases under this law.

On the other hand, Quadri, and all those who incited him towards the murder of Taseer, clearly violated Islamic principles as Islam does not condone vigilante action. What should have been done is that Quadri and his supporters should have filed a case against Taseer for blasphemy and proven it in court. By this, they would have not only managed to get to their intent (punishment of Taseer for blasphemy) but also managed to highlight the validity and vibrancy of the law they feel is right, and they would not have transgressed against the statement of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala):

“Whosoever kills one man (unjustly), it is as if he has killed all of humanity.” (Qur’an 5:32)

This issue has been politicized and leveraged by both sides, and increasingly the media and public forums are being used to highlight that this is an issue of black and white with no grey area. But where does it leave people like me?

Instead of making it a case of Martyrs and Ghazis, why can’t we just call Quadri the Assassin and Taseer the Assassinated? Instead of polarizing the topic, it is time to sit down and discuss the core issue. It is clear this is a highly emotionally charged subject, and there is great resistance to making any amendments in even the technical aspects of the law, much less questioning its validity. Representation from different schools of Islamic thought should be gathered and, together with legal experts, a solution should be sought whereby, at least, the misuse of this law for personal gain or revenge should be curtailed. A provision should be made whereby false accusers are punished for their false accusations. It is only then that we will be able to make progress on this issue.

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Aly is an entrepreneur who was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan where he currently resides. He has been associated with many diverse fields such as Textiles, Cement, Minerals & Ores, Feeds and Agri-Commodities. As a Life Coach, NLP Practitioner, and Hypnotist, he works with clients to reach the Next Level in their personal and professional lives, to breakthrough performance blocks, self-doubts, or habits that limit them from reaching their true potential. Send him a message to find out more. Known on Social Media as DiscoMaulvi, he serves in operational and advisory roles for LiveDeen and Azaan Institute. He is also a co-founder and trustee of Ihsaas Trust, a not-for-profit started in 2012 with a vision to improve social mobility for Karachi’s under-privileged. Our distinguishing factor is the efficient utilization of Sadaqah and Zakat for healthcare and rations and to provide micro-finance for Enterprise Facilitation. Aly joined the team of MM in 2011 as a blogger/writer and is currently the Team Lead for the Comments Team and a former member of the Executive Shurah. He is easily accessible via Twitter or through his Public Page on Facebook where you can learn more about him.



  1. Kashif Dilkusha

    February 9, 2011 at 12:17 AM


    Very true Ali, this matter is something which is very sensitive for every muslim and should be clearly difined and communicated to the masses with consultation of Scholars

  2. Pingback: Aftermath of An Assassination | View from #Pakistan | @DiscoMaulvi for @MuslimMatters | #SalmaanTaseer « From the Pulpit …

  3. Muslim Stranger

    February 9, 2011 at 3:21 AM

    I agree with the writer.

  4. AAJ

    February 9, 2011 at 4:24 AM

    Good job as always!
    Well, this news story has become stale with the Raymond Davis issue being the new media favorite news story.
    No one is interested in doing any thing regarding it and the opportunity to improve things by not victimizing the innocent has been lost.
    Moreover, the PM has shut the case saying the Law is not being changed (which should be the case) and Ms. Sherry Rehman has withdrawn her bill for amending the law.
    Unfortunately, all the laws of the Pakistan lack correct enforceability be it Blasphemy or Hudood ordinance or even plain criminal offence like breaking the signal or crashing a car into another. THE LAWS AREN’T BAD HERE THEIR ENFORCEABILITY IS EXTREMELY BAD. As Muslims and Pakistani we should ensure that whoever does a crime be it an elite or a pauper is rightly sentenced so that rule of law begins. Thats what is Sunnah of our Prophet saw also. I hope in our lives we see that age. In sha Allah.

    • Aly B - DiscoMaulvi

      February 9, 2011 at 6:01 AM


      Jazak’Allah Khairin. Indeed the implementation of laws give completely Islamic laws a bad name. It is necessary for the scholars to sit and work not only on ensuring laws are made which are in accordance with Shariah but also that the way they are implemented are such that injustice is not done.

      The blasphemy laws in Pakistan have been repeatedly abused for personal vendetta, land usurping, and pure hate. We need to ensure that Islam is not maligned by the abuse of these laws.

      As for Raymond Davis, there is more than what meets the eye in this case. Insha’Allah that is the matter for another article.


      The DiscoMaulvi Page :
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    • Mansoor Ansari

      February 9, 2011 at 9:07 AM

      AAJ u have the right point…

      It’s not the law itself but the court system that is flawed. Innocents in developing countries r punished for all sorts of crimes, from theft to murder… many times based on shady evidence.

      Are we now going to hit the streets calling for abolishment of punishments for theft, murder, rapes etc are the court system routinely punishes innocents & many r framed to avenge for personal vendettas?

  5. Ify Okoye

    February 9, 2011 at 5:38 AM

    There are a number of issues surrounding these sort of blasphemy laws and indeed also with the implementation of many “morality” laws whereby they are primarily used as instruments of injustice against the vulnerable.

    I’m struck by the difference in opinion I’ve gathered since the Taseer murder between my own liberal views and the distinctly illiberal views of those supporting the death penalty in this case or similar ones.

    • Aly B - DiscoMaulvi

      February 9, 2011 at 6:07 AM

      @Ify Okoye

      Indeed the implementation of laws give completely Islamic laws a bad name. It is necessary for the scholars to sit and work not only on ensuring laws are made which are in accordance with Shariah but also that the way they are implemented are such that injustice is not done.

      The blasphemy laws in Pakistan have been repeatedly abused for personal vendetta, land usurping, and pure hate. We need to ensure that Islam is not maligned by the abuse of these laws.

      I am not qualified to say whether the death penalty is in accordance with Shariah or not. That is best left to scholars to debate the evidence for/against it. However, most scholars I consulted in Pakistan from the Ahl-e-Hadith/Salafi and Hanafi schools of thought were more inclined towards death penalty. However, all agreed the implementation of these laws is flawed.


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      • Ify Okoye

        February 9, 2011 at 9:59 AM

        I firmly believe that the shariah is expansive and flexible enough to accommodate views, which range from one end of the spectrum to the other and can and do change based upon circumstances. Is not the case that many from the subcontinent also believe women should be prevented from attending mosques? And in a similar fashion, we have recently seen the discussion between those who believe any form of protest is illegitimate to those who fully support non-violent protests as a means to seek redress for injustice, the distinctions are rarely black-and-white and more often a reflection of the individual or societal norms and circumstances.

        • Aly B - DiscoMaulvi

          February 9, 2011 at 11:13 AM

          @Ify Okoye

          it is true that some from the subcontinent believe women should not go to masajid but this is a subset of the Hanafi scholars and the remainder of the Hanfi sholars and the Ahl-e-Hadith do not believe this.

          You are right that not all things are black-and-white and that is why the process of reform shold be carried out by scholars keeping their evidence in front of them to decide on both the death penalty and definitely on the misuse of this law.


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          • Mezba

            February 10, 2011 at 1:17 PM

            I don’t understand why we Muslims think we have the right to criticize another person’s beliefs and values and yet get offended when others do the same. Why even have a blasphemy law – it’s absurd. Freedom of speech should be first and foremost. In fact, the line for blasphemy is very big. In Sudan we have seen naming a teddy bear as “Muhammad” is considered offensive, in Bangladesh a cartoonist drew the ire after drawing a cat called “Muhammad Biral” (and he was satiring the hypocritical way Muslims name themselves Muhammad and yet carry out all un-Islamic acts).

  6. ahlam

    February 9, 2011 at 11:41 AM

    People shouldn’t be taking law into their hands or make takfeer on their own,otherwise chaos like this take place. The truth is unclear as supporters of both parties will make claims about the other..which is why courts exist in the first place…to sift through claims/statements and judge without interference from any sides…

    May Allah protect us.

  7. Siraaj

    February 9, 2011 at 12:22 PM

    Aly, excellent article, I find myself in the same boat as you these days, that group of people who can’t quite say I’m with this group or that group, but I see both truth and politicized exaggeration in each group (political, religious, etc).

    The situation appears to have the usual characteristics of the issues we’re facing in both the East and West – a perfect storm of culture, incompetence, and lack of a strong, ethical base.


    • Aly B - DiscoMaulvi

      February 9, 2011 at 12:49 PM

      Jazak’Allah Khair Siraaj.

      It is so frustrating to switch on the news channels and see such topics being debated without any proper knowledge of this subject or to see this subject being used to gain political leverage.

      You put it quite brilliantly “a perfect storm of culture, incompetence, and lack of a strong, ethical base”


      The DiscoMaulvi Page :
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  8. F

    February 9, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    This is a very emotional issue in Pakistan to the point that even those who are not practicing will become upset at the suggestion that the law needs to be looked at to make sure no abuses occur. Whether this feeling of outrage is genuine or just a show, only Allah(swt) knows.

    Personally, I feel that the violence has become a part of everyday life in Pakistan, regardless of your affiliation. Even political parties, secular or not, are commonly involved in acts of wanton violence as a means of achieving their goals. And this mentality has trickled down to the common man where he feels the need to take matters into his own hands. The biggest disappointment is the religious establishment which doesn’t offer much hope of any revival other than superficial changes which tend not to bring any meaningful results. It’s not surprising that support for Islamic parties tend to be limited to the poorest classes who do so not because of merit but rather out of a sense of obligation to support anything that claims to follow Islam.

    For a long time, I’ve said this. Pakistan has the opposite problem of the Arab world. There is simply too much freedom to say and do what you want. It boggled my mind to hear anti-American khutbahs in Pakistan when the common man is not praying 5 times a day or involved in corruption regularly.

    The brutal suppression practiced in the Middle East is not the solution but I wish the religious establishment would at least get their act together and restore the confidence of you average person.

  9. akhan

    February 9, 2011 at 5:26 PM

    I guess this is the best place to express something I have been feeling for a while now. Rather than this politicized event (Since when did disagreeing with a particular legal opinion turn you into a kafir?), what I wonder about is the vastly accepted view of the death penalty for blasphemers and apostates.

    I have known and known of several apostates. Some have come back to Islam, Alhamdulillah, and some have not. There is also at least one well known (and amazing, mashAllah) speaker that I know of who said that he was an athiest for some time before coming back to Islam. What I feel now is that apostasy is an illness of the heart, which can be cured by education. Some apostates who left Islam did so, because they were exposed bad examples of Muslims and never learned what Islam really is. By prescribing death for such a person would be to cut of his/her chance of returning to Allah. Of course, it is Allah who causes us to live and die, but we would be responsible for committing the act.

    I am not saying that the law of Allah is unfair, but that I feel that there is a legitimate difference of opinion on this issue. Isn’t it be better for us to support the opinion that is more lax (while still being legitimate), since we are dealing with a human life and if we are wrong, the consequences will be much greater?

    • Bungle Junny

      March 6, 2011 at 5:17 PM

      Absolutely! After experiencing an ”intellectual revolution” last October, I became less and less religious. I was watching videos of debates by the likes of atheists such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, I slowly became an agnostic, and hid it from my family. Life as an agnostic was not easy. I was thrown into a state of melancholy from the slurs directed at Muhammad (s) and Islam. Finally, I reverted to Islam and alhamdullilah, I have both a strong thirst for knowledge and a growing eiman.

      • Hello Kitty

        March 6, 2011 at 7:00 PM

        Regardless, your moniker is offensive. You would do well to discontinue using it in the future. It has no place here at all.

  10. Mantiki

    February 9, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    “Use of derogatory remarks, etc. in respect of the Holy Prophet (PBUH): Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), shall be punished with the death sentence or imprisonment for life and shall be liable to fine.”

    The Law itself is an insult to freedom of opinion and expression. How can one blaspheme against a prophet? I don’t know what the Qu’ran says but surely blasphemy only applies to God and not against either humans or inanimate objects. To apply blasphemy against those who insult prophets or holy books is to my mind a form of idolisation which the Prophet sought to overthrow. In his own lifetime, he suffered abuse and violence against himself without calling for his abusers’ deaths. Why do we do so after his death? Surely he would not approve!

    Imagine if every religion authorised the death penalty for insulting their gods, books and historical figures. No one would be safe. You would not even be able to sensibly compare religions for fear of one insecure mob or another.

    • Siraaj

      February 9, 2011 at 10:25 PM

      “I don’t know what the Qu’ran says but surely blasphemy only applies to God and not against either humans or inanimate objects.”

      So, for example, putting aside trespassing laws, in your view a person could urinate or defecate in another’s place of worship, and the latter should not consider the former’s actions blasphemous? Though the act takes place on an inanimate object?


      • Mantiki

        February 9, 2011 at 10:52 PM

        No – as you say, trespassing, public nuisnce and property laws could apply. A fine / short custodial sentence and community service duties could handle it quite adequately. Christians suffer your examples frequently through the actions of vandals and Satan worshippers. In many countries, Muslims have burned our Churches (this happened only days ago in Indonesia as well as against the Coptic Christians in Egypt).

        For Christians, Jesus said, ‘Assuredly, I [Jesus] say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation;’.

        Of course – the question then becomes, “what constitutes blasphemy against the ‘Holy Spirit'”. Some believe that this is rejecting Jesus because of the context in which he made the statement. Some would say that it is rejecting God when He manifests Himself to you. Others say that this statement may never have been made by Jesus but was inserted by later Christian sects. At any rate, Christians might be offended by “blasphemy” against their religion, but not since the middle ages has it been used to demand a death sentence.

        • Siraaj

          February 10, 2011 at 4:16 PM

          Excellent, so we’re clear that your view about what is and isn’t blasphemous is simply your own, others (likely the majority of practicing faithful) would consider and interpret such acts as blasphemous, irrespective of religion. You wouldn’t find it blasphemous if someone urinated in your church with the intention of desecrating religious symbols, others would.

          On to your next point, tell me, in your faith, is it true that God will cast into hellfire and damnation those who do not believe in him but lead otherwise virtuous lives? For example, Gandhi was not a Christian, but his actions led to the freeing of India from British rule, and it was done through peaceful, non-violent resistance. Do you believe in this doctrine, as many Christians do? And if not, what is your thought on the vast majority of Christendom holding such beliefs?


          • Mantiki

            February 10, 2011 at 7:30 PM

            Hi Siraj

            actually, I do believe the acts you mentioned are blasphemous. I just don’t believe they ought to be punishable by death.

            As for the existence of hell and damnation, I call myself a Christian because of a powerful spiritual experience I had when praying for redemption through Jesus. But my views on hell etc are formed by my extensive reading of hundreds of near death experience accounts. It seems likely that God is less concerned with punishment than we believe. We are judged and affected by our own sins in a “karmic” sense. “Hell” and demons etc seem to be a mental creation of our own imagination for us to inhabit after death rather than a place of horrors set up by a vindictive God.

            I am certain that Ghandhi and “good” atheists end up in a “better” place.

          • Siraaj

            February 11, 2011 at 1:22 AM

            So in your mind, whatever is in the Bible about Hellfire, damnation, and calamities God brought upon people (such as destroying Sodom) are not real? Or not right? I’m curious about what aspects of the Bible you accept and what you reject? I’m also curious about where you stand on proportionality of justice in the Bible as it’s understood by mainstream Christians vs yourself – would you say their belief is barbaric?


          • Mantiki

            February 11, 2011 at 5:37 AM


            I don’t vouch for the veracity of any individual Biblical texts. Certainly, God as portrayed in the Old Testament is a self described “jealous” and angry God who supposedly ordered Abraham to sacrifice his son as a test, and whose prophets sometimes offered their daughters to strangers (who turned out to be angels) out of fear. These traits are at odds with our spiritual experiences gained through prayer, meditation and modern revelation (such as when near death). I think much of the OT is simply an invention by the old Israeli priest class who sought to maintain power and prestige through fear. Yes -I doubt the story of Sodom except it serves as a myth demonstrating that God will save those who are submerged by evil circumstances.

            The subsequent Christian gospels are much closer to a sensible revelation being consistent with a God of Love and forgiveness. It would take hours of discussion to go into it all but I also recognise weaknesses and inconsistencies in the Gospels. We should be mindful that there were many other gospels which were abandoned at the Council of Nicae which hammered together a version of Christianity suitable for the extension of the Roman Empire.

            Would I say that Christian belief is disproportional in its view of justice? Certainly – how outrageous that God remains hidden to most people and yet He would condemn them to an eternity of suffering for their unbelief. It makes more sense that suffering and punishment are temporary and proportional to our acts. Yet I have to accept the value of Christ’s redemptive power because I experienced it personally.

            I must come across sometimes as a Christian “know-all” but in truth, I have to wage my own “jihad” in deciding the value of the details of my faith – what is sin – how serious is blasphemy etc. I take faith in the core of Christian teaching that the ONE important thing always is to love your neighbour. The second article is to love God – but that is the easy part. Loving your neighbour remains the real challenge.

          • Siraaj

            February 14, 2011 at 5:41 PM

            Hi Mantiki,

            It would be difficult to hold a conversation with you about what is “right” vs what is “wrong” because your value system is uniquely your own – it accepts and rejects what it wishes according to a set of criterion understood only by you.

            The basic, underlying premise of my own value system is that through revelation, right and wrong is determined. I believe there is a balance to be struck in realizing that we are to use our minds to understand what God wants from us, and that there are limits to what we can accomplish without God’s help in understanding what He wishes of us.

            To me, the idea that the majority of individuals are using a corrupted, unpreserved text for understanding God’s Will is problematic. My belief in my own text is that it is preserved and protected, and I can source it for my value system. It may be the case that scholars will differ on the specifics based on their knowledge and understanding, but at least the contours for holding the discussion are properly defined.

            Regarding the specific discussion, for the Muslim, the question is not whether the texts can be reconciled with 21st century humanism, but rather, what do the texts demand of us? We look to Muslim scholars and thought leaders to make their cases to us on this basis, aiming to please God by making a strong attempt to understand what the revelation demands of us.


          • Mantiki

            February 14, 2011 at 7:46 PM

            We would probably agree on many things Siraaj allowing mutual respect and peaceful – even friendly relations. But my value system is very simple though based on a small number of factors while you must continually refer to this saying or that scholar.

            As a rule of thumb, the Confucian philosophy of “treating others as you would like to be treated” means that I avoid actions that cause harm to others and tend to help others when I can. Spiritually, I follow Jesus rule which is to “love my neighbour”. This goes an important step beyond Confuscious since it comes from the “heart” rather than the intellect. I also believe this to be a divine gift that comes from seeking God though even as a young child, other children used to tell me that I was “kind”. Neurologically, I (and healthy people) are equiped to do this by the existence and performance of “mirror neurons” which allow us to model the feelings of others – in practice we know this as “empathy”.

            Though I believe that your Prophet may have also been Divinely inspired – and even had many Divine revelations, I do not accept that all that he dictated and performed, needs to be combed through, analysed and interpreted to apply to our own circumstances, either individually or globally. In my opinion, this reliance on the past, and on scholarly interpretations of history, anecdotes and sayings may be useful but can lead us to foolishness – as demonstrated by the scholarly inspired paralysis which instructed Muslims to accept domination by corrupt and despotic leaders.

            Similarly, the uncritical acceptance of texts as holy, has lead to obvious suffering such as when the said text “demands” that people are killed for “blasphemous”, or “immoral” actions which cause either no discernable harm or minor harm. On a lesser scale, your own texts sometimes directly cause harm such as when the instruction for female modesty is over-exaggerated to the effect that some Muslim women must be blanketted in black from head to toe on a hot day while their men and children frolic semi-naked at public swimming pools. Such interpretations leave no room for empathy or common-sense.

          • Siraaj

            February 14, 2011 at 10:51 PM

            Hey Mantiki,

            In the same way I rely on doctors for medical advice, I really on Muslim thought leaders and religious scholars for textual interpretation. And just as there are established practices and principles in the former, so too is it in the latter. Likewise, as there is room in the former for growth and correction, so too is again in the latter.

            I don’t prescribe myself medication anymore than you prescribe values to yourself – you’ve chosen some of Confucious’ sayings where it fits your worldview or doesn’t clash with previously established values, and you’ve done the same with the Bible and Christianity.

            For myself, I believe that God wishes guidance and mercy for all of us, but I also believe this is tempered with justice. A part of that is providing a clear message to be followed. A part of that message within the scriptures explicitly shows us what is clear and indisputable, and what can be open to interpretation as understood by the human because there is a fundamental recognition within the scripture that humans will come with different levels of understanding, intellect, and ignorance.

            When I read an interpretation I disagree with, be it a burkha-covering, or the view from the scholars who held the protests were not legitimate or wrongheaded, I am of the view that while men and women can choose wrongly, unless I can read in the hearts, it’s not for me to play God and determine why they came to the conclusions they did. I can disagree with their conclusion, and can assume that they intended well.

            I also don’t doubt there are hypocrisies in Muslim societies which treat women far too strictly and men far too liberally – the cases mentioned are far too many to count. But this is the fault of the people and their culture, and an ignorance of the text, for many of these practices have no interpretation to support them.

            In the end, we believe that all of creation exists to worship God alone with no partners, and that is our purpose as well, but that our ability to accept or reject this purpose is what differentiates us from the rest of creation, which raise us above all, or lower us. It is from His Mercy that we have guidance from Him, guidance which I believe clearly delineates right and wrong, and gives us a reference point to return to when men, with their variant understandings of the world, is in need of correction and guidance.


          • Mantiki

            February 14, 2011 at 11:49 PM

            After reading your latest post Siraaj, I think we are even closer to agreement than we first realised. Your willingness to use your critical faculties when reading scholarly interpretations is where we are similar. My willingness to consider secular and alternative sources of knowledge as well as what I consider to be Divine revelation to myself is where we differ.

            best wishes

        • Brother

          February 11, 2011 at 10:33 PM

          If God is just, why would he punish Jesus for sins that you committed?

          • Mantiki

            February 11, 2011 at 10:42 PM

            Yes brother – I agree that is a point of contention that also disturbs me. If it is so, I can only surmise it is a burden Jesus bears voluntarily out of love for us.

            I only report my beliefs because they are backed by my own spiritual experience. I think that these disturb the MM censors because they often delay or censor such posts which I think may also count as blasphemy by MM because they deny my true account of God.

          • Ify Okoye

            February 12, 2011 at 3:05 AM

            Mantiki, actually, due to some of your previous comments, you’ve lost the privilege to post directly without moderation thus all of your comments are automatically saved in the pending queue and must be manually approved at the discretion and convenience of the admins.

  11. J R

    February 10, 2011 at 4:33 AM

    Asalaam Alaikum Aly B,

    Jazak’Allah Khairun for an insightful post with points to ponder over.

    Disunity began from Kane and Able and will continue till the time of Qiyamah.

    Without meaning to go off on a tangent, I would like you to know that in the UK a respected student of knowledge has presented proof that there is an opinion amongst Islamic scholars that supports the theory of evolution.

    Khair, my intention is not to create fitnah, just state a fact, which highlights the existence of difference of opinion.

    In his book ‘Evolution of Fiqh’, Bilal Philips has stated that the Hadeeth that mentions differing opinions to be a blessing is in fact a weak hadeeth.

    Now, I’m not a scholar, but it strikes me, how can difference of opinion be a blessing?

    Especially, when there are fundamental differences that affect the social fabric of society.

    I’m not talking about, where one should tie his hands during salah and the likes.

    These have very little impact on society.

    However laws like the one you have discussed in your post do have major impact on society.

    Please I suggest that the readers on this blog read Bilal Phillips Book ‘Evolution of Fiqh’

    In his book, Bilal Philip suggests the unification towards a single Fiqh.

    This to me makes sense.

    But I’m sure there are many arguments that could prove the solution void.

    Khair, the million dollar question today: Why is there Fitnah amongst the Ummah?

    Below are Ayats and Hadeeth that shed light on the disunity that exists.

    Allah — the Most High — said, “Say: Allah has power to send punishment upon you from above you, or from under your feet; or to cover you in confusion with party strife; and make you taste the inter-fighting and violence of one another.

    See how We variously explain the Aayaat (proofs and signs), so that they may understand.” (translation of the Quran surah Al-An’am: 65)

    The Prophet of Allah said, “Indeed Allah gathered up the earth for me so that I saw its eastern and western parts, and indeed the dominion of my Ummah will reach what was gathered up for me from it. And I have been granted the two treasures of gold and silver. And indeed I asked my Lord for my Ummah that it should not be totally destroyed by a prevailing famine, nor to allow on enemy to totally conquer it, except from amongst themselves. So my Lord said: O Muhammad! When I decree a matter, then it is not reversed. I grant to you for your Ummah that it would not be totally destroyed by a prevailing famine, nor will it be totally conquered by on external enemy, even if all the notions were to rally against it However, a group from your Ummah will destroy one another and imprison one another.” (related by Muslim, from Tsauban, may Allah be pleased with him)

    The Prophet also said, “I asked my Lord for three things, I was granted two; but prevented from one: I asked my Lord that He should not destroy my Ummah with drought and famine, so He granted it to me. I asked my Lord that He should not destroy my Ummah with drowning, so he granted it to me. And I asked Him not to cause my Ummah to fight amongst themselves, but he refused that to me.” (related by Muslim, from Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas)

    And this inter-fighting that has befallen the Muslims has been further emphasised in his saying, “And when your leaders do not judge by the Book of Allah, not seeking the good and welfare with Allah has revealed, then Allah would cause them to fight one another.” (related by Ibn Majah, from Ibn ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him)

    The Prophet said, in an addition to the second narration: “Indeed, what I fear for my Ummah are misguided leaders, and that when the sword is drown out against them, it will not be lifted from them until the Day of Judgment. And the Hour will not come, until sections of my Ummah will follow the mushrikeen (those who worship others along with Allah), and until many sections of my Ummah will worship idols.

    And there will not cease to be a group from my Ummah being helped upon the truth, not being harmed by those who oppose them; until the commend of Allah comes.” (related by Abu Daud, from Tsauban, may Allah be pleased with him)

    The ayats and hadiths show the great power of Allah — the Most High — in sending punishment to the previous nations, from above them, and from beneath their feet, causing them to be annihilated and destroyed.

    May Allah Have Mercy on All of Mankind. Ameen.

    Aslaam Alaikum

    • Aly B - DiscoMaulvi

      February 11, 2011 at 7:31 AM

      Walaikum-Assalam JR:

      I have read Evolution of Fiqh (in fact it was one of the first books I read that led to my turning towards religion Alhamdulillah).

      Regarding the support of Theory of Evolution by the said person in UK, I am not qualified to give my opinion but what I have read from all major scholars suggest this is not a valid opinion. but I will let the scholars debate this.

      Jazak’Allah Khairin for the ayats and ahadith.


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  12. Jawad

    February 10, 2011 at 10:30 AM

    It reminds me of the situation that Wilfred Laurier , the 2nd prime minister of Canada was stuck in, too harsh by standards of the French, and too lenient by the English.

  13. sureyya

    February 10, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    Assalamua alaikum.

    The article is outstanding and brings to the forefront one of the most serious problems in Pakistan and most developing countries–the inability to depend on the justice system either due to corruption or due to the lack of insight into the value of a solid justice system and reliance on it. No such system can be flawless,but in order to have a civilized society we must be able to rely on its decision as just most of the time, and accept the smaller number of errors as that which we leave for the justice of Allah in the hereafter. Otherwise we will live in anarchy–which Pakistan is bordering upon. Unfortunately, most Pakistanis–I am of such heritage–do not see the serious necessity for a better education in Islam and that this education includes knowledge of Arabic and acceptance of different opinions in fiqh. The high illiteracy rates add to desperate poverty and lack of necessary tools to better the country and themselves, not to mention lack of ability to comprehend the concept of Islam as indeed the most civilized, not the most uncivilized.

    • Aly B - DiscoMaulvi

      February 11, 2011 at 8:21 AM


      Jazak’Allah Khairin. While efforts are being done both to raise the literacy by such organizations (among otehrs) such as TCF, READ, CARE etc and to raise the Islamic awareness by organizations (among otehrs) such as Al-Huda, Quran Academy, etc there is much work left to do.

      We need to work alongwith such organizations to improve society. It is a long and hard task but if no one does it, it will be worse than where we are.


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  14. Billu Barber

    February 10, 2011 at 8:11 PM

    What else did people expect from Pakistan…it was pretty obvious to me what happened was expected.

    Pakistanis are over-passionate about the wrong things and they really need to get their priorities right.

    When time comes to protest against something ridiculous like this or something that that the WEST said or did, thousands of Pakistanis come out on the streets and go nuts.

    But, it’s very surprising that no one is getting up and protesting against their criminal leader, especially at this time following the arab countries.

    • Aly B - DiscoMaulvi

      February 11, 2011 at 8:24 AM


      Problem is that protests are well and good….. but once we remove the incumbent who do we replace with? Isn’t it better to groom new leaders and then protest? Why create a vacum and invite chaos?


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      • Mantiki

        February 11, 2011 at 5:39 PM

        Trouble is Aly B, that despots only allow their own choices to be groomed for future leadership. Popular leaders with opposing policies are removed, banned, incarcerated or murdered. It is important for people to have courage and not lose hope.

        The vacuum is created by dictators not protestors.

        • M

          February 12, 2011 at 4:04 PM

          While I imagine the corruption and military means there’s plenty of machinations in the background, and a kind of political class, is anyone suggesting Pakistan’s restored democracy is like strangled like in Russia? This shady husband could well owe the prime ministership to outrage at Bhutto’s assassination.
          Especially given the flood recovery and military operations, why not use the electoral cycle to prepare? I’ll suggest what’s needed now is an to capture documentation of corruption. Then run on a platform of OpenGov 2.0 to show where the money flows.

        • Aly B - DiscoMaulvi

          February 13, 2011 at 12:38 PM

          Yes but in the “free” environment of Pakistan where we don’t have despots we still lack alternate leadership….


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          • Mantiki

            February 16, 2011 at 4:48 AM

            “in the “free” environment of Pakistan where we don’t have despots we still lack alternate leadership…”

            That’s because they get assassinated, framed, or else are equally corrupt from having risen through a corrupt system.

    • Brother

      February 11, 2011 at 10:29 PM

      Pakistan protests on everything already, so more protests would just dilute that strategy even more. Something fundamental needs to change in Pakistan, starting with the attitude’s of people. Being of Pakistani descent, I am totally clueless on why anyone is proud of that country. I’ve met plenty of Pakistani nationalists, and their pride confounds me.

      • Uncle Tom

        February 12, 2011 at 10:28 AM

        I agree that something fundamental needs to change.

        Majority of pakistanis I know have a lot of passion for their country but at the same time are turning a blind eye towards what actually goes on there.

      • F

        February 12, 2011 at 11:54 AM

        It’s natural to be proud of the land you are from. There is much good in Pakistan though it is hard to see sometimes through the web of seemingly endless bad news.

        No country is all good or all bad. We can’t change where we are from but we can change our perceptions to appreciate the successes while trying to change the failures.

        • Aly B - DiscoMaulvi

          February 13, 2011 at 12:47 PM

          I agree with F on this. the land and its people have potential. We ust need to highlight this potential and develop it more.

          In addition we need to work to improve things and start with small things that are in our circle of influence.

          I remember I wrote on this on Pakistan’s independence day in 2009 how we need to “mend some broken windows“. We might not be able to stop corruption at top but we can certainly stop littering, stop bribing the cops when we break laws etc.

          If we want to be proud of our nation, we have to start one step at a time in making it worth of being proud of.


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  15. Abu Ahmad

    February 11, 2011 at 3:21 PM

    “Whosoever kills one man (unjustly), it is as if he has killed all of humanity.” (Qur’an 5:32)

    Who’s unjust? Would Quadri be considered as treated unjustly that out of desperation he acted unjustly?

    May Allah forgive Quadri … and Taseer. May Allah grant them reward on their intention.

    Forgive me if I upset anyone with my comment.

    • M

      February 12, 2011 at 5:03 PM

      Sorry, but what “desperation”? I see no urgency that mitigates becoming a self-appointed judge & executioner. Hot-headed righteousness is as big a problem in Pakistan as anything else.
      (Moreover, Quadri accepted this bodyguard job – one of the professionals to prevent the perpetuation of all this insecurity through violence that’s killing ‘humanity’. Yet he admits even at that moment he was thinking about murder.)

  16. Brother

    February 11, 2011 at 10:22 PM

    The problem with Pakistan is that everything is too politicized, and no one seems to want to tackle the big problems. Corruption is one big issue, but also grave worshipping and fortune telling and a series of other types of shirk. Priorities are totally messed up and everything is upside down.

    • Ameera Khan

      February 13, 2011 at 7:42 AM

      I agree! Priorities are messed up, big time!

    • Aly B - DiscoMaulvi

      February 13, 2011 at 12:50 PM

      Totally messed up…

      we need to work to improve things and start with small things that are in our circle of influence.

      I remember I wrote on this on Pakistan’s independence day in 2009 how we need to “mend some broken windows“. We might not be able to stop corruption at top but we can certainly stop littering, stop bribing the cops when we break laws etc.

      If we want to be proud of our nation, we have to start one step at a time in making it worth of being proud of.


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  17. SirMagpieDeCrow

    February 12, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    I can’t believe why anyone here could say that both sides are wrong or are equally to blame for the killing. That is pure madness. A man was murdered for criticizing a law, a man made law. He never, never, endorsed blasphemy. Taseer comments and opposition was based on the unjust actions and sentence against Aasia Bibi. She is a woman from a discriminated underclass who was condemned to die for supposedly making blasphemous comments. But the laws in regard to such infractions does not require the witnesses to the “crime” to testify or repeat what was said (otherwise they would be committing blasphemy). Do any of the practicing muslims on this site think it is just for a country to sentence men, women, mothers to death based on rumors? I can’t examine this whole sad state of affairs and say that “only Allah knows” who is right or that as a Westerner I am unqualified to render an opinion on this matter… that’s cowardice at best and condoning an act of evil at worst. I know the killer of Taseer was wrong, I know that Taseer was right to condemn the injustice of these religious laws in Pakistan, he was right to be vocal about it and those who say Taseer went too far are only bringing further ill repute to the Islamic faith. If people in Pakistan (and those who are part of the Pakistani diaspora) can’t see the inherent wrongness of Taseer killing and the injustice of the anti-blasphemy laws then there is truly no hope for Pakistan’s future.

    • Aly B - DiscoMaulvi

      February 13, 2011 at 12:56 PM

      both sides are not equally to be blamed for the killing. The blame of the killing lies on Quadri and taking the law in his own hands. In addition, those that encouraged (and continue to encaourage) this type of action continue to propogate fitnah.

      While the case of Aasia Bibi may have been wrong, it was up to a court of law to decide and Taseer should have let justice go through the system (eventhough it is flawed).

      In addition, he was right to speak out on the flaws of the system, but calling the law “a black law” was wrong on his part as a majority of people do believe the death penalty to be an Islamic mandated punishment. He should have worked to improve the procedures under which this law worked.


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      • Mantiki

        February 15, 2011 at 3:53 AM

        I agree with most of what you say Aly but are you certain that calling the law a “black law” was wrong because it was against majority opinion? Opinions change constantly. Once we thought evolution was heresy. Once we thought the Earth was the centre of the Universe. Once we thought the Iranian revolution would bring in an example of a perfect Islamic society.

        Should we avoid strong criticism when we are in the minority for fear of being murdered?

        • Aly B - DiscoMaulvi

          February 15, 2011 at 7:43 AM

          As i said the majority consider punishment under this law to be a punishment mandated by religion and so speaking out blatantly does mean speaking out against their religion.

          As for Once we thought evolution was heresy, hate to tell you this but Muslims still consider evolution heresy.


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          • Ify Okoye

            February 15, 2011 at 8:39 AM

            Aly, I would preface your comments as you speak from your knowledge of the Muslim community in Pakistan. Speaking from my experience here in America, I neither think that parts of the theory of evolution are a heresy nor blasphemy laws as we see implemented today for a plethora of reasons should be considered a part of religion. Indeed from my context, it seems these blasphemy laws should be considered haram by right-thinking moral individuals. I know that’s a hard and serious statement and perhaps some will think I should be killed for saying it, right? Or only after a trial? The world changes and with it sometimes rulings once believed valid for a certain context are no longer applicable. Such is the dance we see with many people of knowledge in trying to explain and apply some ayat or ahadith in the modern context – Nisa 4/34 comes to mind.

          • F

            February 18, 2011 at 9:01 PM

            Sr. Ify, very often we fall into the trap of trying to align Islamic rulings to what we think is right in the modern context instead of asking the question, “what are the legitimate opinions on a given matter that are acceptable by sound scholarship?”

            I’m not saying the blasphemy rulings only have one answer. The issue is much greater. It is about whether we are trying to change ourselves to fit Islam or the other way around?

            Yes, you are right that in many matters, there is a wide range of opinions and one who follows the sound opinions, there is nothing wrong with it. The problem is when the individual actively seeks out the opinions that align with their thoughts.

            My advice would to be talk to a knowledgeable person that you trust about how to reconcile the wide range of opinions on a given matter and how should one approach a ruling that doesn’t make sense to us.

            My comment is mean in the best of spirits.

            Allah knows best.

          • Ify Okoye

            February 19, 2011 at 12:04 AM

            Salam F, indeed that is a common trap. However, our religion has certain principles, which are well-known and easily understood and can be applied by lay people in their daily lives. Thus, if the principles and context of a situation are well understood one need not always refer to a scholarly opinion to guide one’s action. This of course is shocking to some who have grown accustomed to looking for a fatwa on every bit of minutiae. For example, if one understands the rulings of food, he or she can ascertain whether or not a peanut is permissible to eat without need to seek a specific fatwa on it. And if one comes across a fatwa forbidding peanuts, using those principles, you can accept or reject that opinion or interpretation for yourself and were you to seek fatwa on it, there would be sound evidence to support that line of reasoning. Such is the case here and in many issues. Allah gave us an intellect, which we should utilize. Of course, it can be used for good or for bad, but we should not abdicate our responsibility to think responsibly parroting off and copy/pasting fatawa, which may be or have been perfectly valid in one time and place but that have little or no relevance to the situation today. I have great respect for the tradition of scholarship in our religion but I also recognize that human beings and our opinions even mine are ever open to being fallible. Speaking about the religion and what it entails is an enormity, one which I do take lightly, and so before I do so I make sure there is sound evidence to support my views. All the best to you and indeed Allah does know best.

          • Aly B - DiscoMaulvi

            February 19, 2011 at 3:46 AM

            Sister Ify

            The objectionable part to theory of evolution is the man from ape part. Yes things do evolve in a natural progression and in adaptation to environment but if you consider Adam’s parents to be an ape then it would be a problematic thing (from the viewpoint of the general muslim population).

            Blasphemy is not comparable with evolution as it does not deal with a very fundamental base of Islam but only a punishment for a crime.

            As for scholars and their validity, even the Quran does encourage asking those who know. Yes, use your intellect to understand the evidences of the scholars. Do not take things blindly without reason.

            Interpretations of text in light of modern day knowledge should be done, but only by scholars who are educated enough to know the complete picture. Of course that is a matter of individual practice so if you do not do so for your own daily life it is your wish. But for a law of a country it cant be based on individual thought and must be derived from scholarly opinion.


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        • Mantiki

          February 15, 2011 at 4:01 PM

          Nicely said Ify!

          I was considering a reply that would pass moderation but found it difficult.

  18. Hazara

    February 14, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    What’s ironic is that many people here fail to see just how intolerant and bigoted Pakistani society really is.

    If this happened in America, a lot of Americans would often come out in support of Muslims. But in Pakistan, where hatred of anyone that isn’t Sunni Muslim is widespread, no one ever comes out to defend Christians, and anyone who does is often murdered.

    Unfortunately, that is something the “pious” Muslims that post on this site do not comprehend. They are still laying blame on this poor Christian woman and not the Muslims who exploit such ill-mannered laws to settle scores.

    It’s pretty hypocritical for many on here to complain about Islamophobia, yet say nothing when Muslims have no problem being intolerant when it suits them.

    And you guys act all surprised when Pakistani Christians don’t have positive views of Muslims to begin with?

    • Hello Kitty

      February 14, 2011 at 11:09 PM

      I agree Hazara, that it’s very frustrating to read some of the superficial simpering that goes on sometimes, when the reality that goes down in so many places around the planet is just so bleak, and awful. I was poring through the list of highlighted cases on wikipedia, in which the blasphemy laws in Pakistan have been horrifically abused and manipulated, and it was truly one of the ugliest, heartbreaking things I’ve ever read. I would not say though that no one ever comes out to defend the most downtrodden and defenseless. There are remarkable, brave men and women who do care, and put their lives on the line for what they know is truth, and just, and Islamic. The last thing that should ever be done is to discount them, and the sacrifices they’ve made. Evil and injustice prevail when good people lose all hope, or lose sight of even the tiniest of bright spots in the darkness. Don’t abandon ship just yet! But I do agree that sugarcoating or downplaying the awful wrongness that is happening will not serve anyone.

    • Aly B - DiscoMaulvi

      February 15, 2011 at 7:37 AM

      » But in Pakistan, where hatred of anyone that isn’t Sunni Muslim is widespread,

      Funny…. I went to a Catholic school, still have friends who are Shia, Christian, Hindu, and I don’t know anyone who hated them.

      Moreover, I am considered a “Maulvi” and yet I have not murdered any of them (or called for their being killed!)


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      • Hazara

        February 15, 2011 at 9:27 AM

        One experience doesn’t change the current intolerant realities of Pakistan. There was a lack of outrage when Christians were burned alive in Gojra, including by Pakistanis living in the West. There was also support for the massacre of Ahmadis by the Pakistani Taliban among British Pakistanis, so let’s not deny these things okay?

        This article showcases how many British Pakistanis tend to endorse the murder of Taseer as one that is justified. Funny how they are so adamant about this, yet they would rather defend terrorists like Faisal Shahzad who tried to bomb Times Square (with little outrage calling for his execution), which I recall is still seen as innocent among a large number of Pakistanis!

        • F

          February 15, 2011 at 11:02 AM

          While no one denies that discrimination exists in Pakistan (or even in the West), to somehow paint the entire society in one color speaks more about your hatred and bigotry towards Pakistan than the other way around.

          If you are discrediting Aly’s opinion as a solitary experience, at least he has an experience to draw conclusion. You seem to cite secondary sources indicating your opinions are a product of someone else’s views.

          So perhaps you need to ask yourself what bias do you have against Pakistan that is clouding your judgment to such an extreme.

          • Hello Kitty

            February 15, 2011 at 1:02 PM

            Hazara said it’s widespread. And while Aly’s experience is heartening, and hopeful, the truth about discrimination being widespread in Pakistan, murderously so, is still true. There are plenty of bright spots out there though, plenty of reason to be hopeful that this can change. Aly’s experience highlights that, and I’m really glad he shared it. I don’t see it rendering the statement that ‘discrimination in Pakistan is widespread’ obsolete, but it is very important to highlight the experiences of everyday Pakistanis who live and work and go to school with each other with no issue at all, regardless of their religious beliefs.

          • Hazara

            February 15, 2011 at 5:10 PM

            F, more people here are outraged over religious discrimination in the West yet gleefully endorse it in Muslim countries. Western Muslims (especially Pakistanis) are some of the biggest hypocrites who are quick to protest the treatment of Palestinians yet stay silent when a mini-Gaza is going on in Parachinar by the Taliban.

            Pakistanis are a lot more focused on outer appearances of being Muslim, including the impression that somehow being more Arab means being a better Muslim. I wouldn’t be surprised when Wahabis take over Pakistan and replace Urdu with Arabic and drive off everyone else who do not agree with their puritanical thinking.

            P.S. If you want to understand why I have such a bias against Pakistan, my username would help give it away.

          • F

            February 15, 2011 at 5:50 PM

            Hello Kitty,

            If your opinion is based on media reports instead of facts or experiences, then I would take that with a grain of salt. Discrimination is a big problem in Pakistan as it is many parts of the world I don’t see this as a Pakistan specific problem. All I see are blanket statements with very little facts to back it up. You’ll provide links of burnt churches and as horrible as that is, lets look at in context.

            My father grew up with his best friend as Christian. My cousins graduated from convent schools in Karachi with nuns as their teachers. This doesn’t mean the minorities don’t face challenges, even physical violence, in Pakistan. But that violence is not limited to minorities. It engulfs and effects all Pakistanis.

            What I do see as a Pakistan specific problem is the use of aggression to settle scores or taking law into your own hands. And that is where the assassination comes in.

          • F

            February 16, 2011 at 7:19 AM


            You freely admit the prejudice against Pakistan hence anything you say about the country is coming from a biased source. Your intention is not to bring about any change or have a meaningful discussion about issues but to rather spew as much hatred and negativity about Pakistan and her people.

            You clearly have an agenda and thus any of your comments related to Pakistan mean very little.

          • Mezba

            February 16, 2011 at 11:31 AM

            “Pakistanis are a lot more focused on outer appearances of being Muslim, including the impression that somehow being more Arab means being a better Muslim.”

            While this is a blanket generalization, this is a disease that’s true amongst many Muslims, and particularly Urdu-speaking Muslims (even in India) that I have noticed in my travels.

            Any thing not in their custom (such as brides wearing white dresses, or ladies wearing bindi, or keeping non-Arabic names), they certify as non-Muslim. Especially being a Bengali and encountering lots of Pakistanis at school, they would say, “why do you do this – that’s not Islamic!” when it’s not their custom, but ours, and religion has nothing to do with it.

          • Hello Kitty

            February 16, 2011 at 12:58 PM

            Salam F,
            So basically you are saying that only Pakistanis can make credible statements about Pakistan, because media reports can be biased, but that same bias could never, ever happen with firsthand recollections and anecdotes? Uh, ok. Believe it or not, credible media reports DO exist. And plenty of nonsensical, biased, blatant lies are disseminated by people with firsthand experience on the ground there. There’s good and bad to be found with both sources, and both sources need to be scrutinized accordingly. Blanket statements about either source are not helpful, or very intelligent.

            I don’t think anyone is saying that they think this is a Pakistan specific problem, or that horrific violence doesn’t affect all Pakistanis. It does. Innocent people from all walks of life experience it there. The topic of this piece is a specific example though, related to a specific case, and as such, it deserves consideration for its uniqueness. There are specific root causes for the violence that occurred in this particular case, and they need to be specifically addressed as such, not lumped in with violent acts that occur for very different reasons. If one were discussing the specific issue of domestic violence against women, and discussing the root causes of it specifically, it’s not pertinent to the discussion to thrown in comments about how gang violence is a real problem in society too. Yeah, gang violence is a problem, no one would deny that, but does it belong in the discussion specifically about violence committed against women for completely different reasons? No. Well some people thought this was a discussion specifically about violence and discrimination against religious minorities. And that’s why they’re focused on it. Not because they hold biases, but because it’s the subject at hand. Not generalized violence, but a specific type, committed against specific people for specific reasons.

            As well, it’s completely uncalled for to further victimize a victim by telling them their experiences, and their thoughts and feelings don’t matter. They wouldn’t feel that way if they hadn’t been victimized in the first place. The object should be to recognize their feelings, point out why their biases don’t hold up under scrutiny because there are people out there who do want to change the situation, and not everyone is guilty, only the people who committed the bad acts are, and those who helped them get away with it. Outright dismissal of the person altogether is completely wrong. Why not politely, gently show them why there’s a reason to be hopeful, and that not everyone is bad? Victims often times have key components of their rationality stolen from them by those who hurt them. It’s not their fault that their ability to rationally look at the situation isn’t there anymore. There’s a right way to help them gain it back, and a wrong way to ensure they never gain it back.

          • F

            February 16, 2011 at 2:02 PM


            The superficiality is a problem amongst the Muslims and I would agree that it is found more so in the subcontinental Muslims than others.

            As for culture, you’re right that it is very misunderstood by all sides. Having lived side by side with non-Muslims, it is natural that practices would begin to change hands and many times the issues are not black and white.

            Many times what we think is acceptable, it is not and vice versa. I believe it takes a sophisticated and knowledgeable mind to really discern the difference. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Muslims (even including us) are not able to make that distinction all the time. So we need to be humble and need to go to someone knowledgeable whom we also trust to help us make the decision.

          • Aly B - DiscoMaulvi

            February 19, 2011 at 3:53 AM


            It is often a mistake of the common man to confuse culture and religion. Islam allows adaptation to culture as long as it is not against Islamic fundamentals. So if the culture is being derived from religion (for example hindu practices which are part of the hindu religion) then it would be not acceptable. If it is culture (white wedding dresses) then there is no problems. Islam itself adopted the culture of the arabs, outlawed parts of it, and modified some practices slightly.


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  19. maybe

    February 21, 2011 at 10:02 AM

    what is interesting in all this is that lawyers /scholars and even Qadris own colleagues stood by him when he murdered a person in defense of a Draconian law created by Zia Ul Haq. Two points here….iam not going to go into the character of the victim and second while I agree with the essence of the law according to Sharia I do have issues with the way it was created and implemented by a ruthless dictator.
    If these people have such issues with the Prophets (PBUH) reputation then why do they kiss the feet of the Najd who actually were about to destroy his grave and only held back due to Ottoman pressure…..modern day two faced approach !

  20. JR

    February 22, 2011 at 5:55 AM

    The respected Scholar Qardawi, has given a fatwa that its halal to assassinate Gadafi.

    How is this any different to the fatwa to assassinate Taseer?

    • Aly B - DiscoMaulvi

      February 22, 2011 at 6:02 AM


      Good question. I think we should leave that upto one of the Shuyookhs to answer.


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      • JR

        February 22, 2011 at 6:35 AM

        I agree Aly.

        These complex questions, in fact all questions that have a bearing on divine revelation need to be discussed by scholars.

        The global discussion is moving towards the simple question.

        Is Islam a religion only, and the state a secular entity?


        Is Islam a deen, and the state a religious entity?

        There is support for both views.

        Scholars from both ends of the spectrum need to address this, else groups with their own agenda will continue to proactively shape opinion.

    • Amad

      February 22, 2011 at 6:06 AM

      I am not completely comfortable with the fatwa of Sh. Qaradawi, who I greatly respect. Not because it is inappropriate to call for the killing of a butcher and a murderer, but exactly because the islamophobes and right-wingers can exploit it to derail the main headline of a popular revolution into a discussion about “islamism”, which has had no role in this revolt.

      The Muslim brotherhood, that renounced violence a long time ago, still remained out of the picture in the Egyptian revolution, masterfully if I might add. Not giving a chance to those with anti-Muslim agenda to use their presence in raising a theocracy bogeyman. And be part of the democratic process later on.

      In this day and age of rapid media, Libyan people need popular worldwide support and not allow distractions.

    • Basil W.

      February 22, 2011 at 6:15 AM

      Umm, let’s see… For one, Taseer didn’t really over an entire country in a brutal manner for 41 years; that in and of itself is a “slight” difference. For two, Taseer was assassinated because he didn’t agree with a medieval “blasphemy law,” and he voiced his disagreements and advocacy for the woman in question in a peaceful manner.

      Not that I agree with Qaradhawi’s fatwa-to-go that it’s halal to assassinate Ghaddafi; I would much rather he be tried, but I wouldn’t lose any sleep if was that were to happen to him.

    • Mohammad Rashid

      February 23, 2011 at 2:28 AM

      Sheikh Qaradawi should not have hurriedly issued such assassination fatwas.
      These types of actions need to be thought through carefully before being promulgated on international TV.

      I wonder how many other “scholars” are waiting in the sidelines who have now the green light to issues fatwas of assassination against their detractors.

      Sheikh Qaradawi needs to think before he opens his mouth next time.

  21. Mohammad Rashid

    February 23, 2011 at 2:23 AM

    Section-295C should be annulled and expunged from the laws in Pakistan.

    It is nothing but a Jahili/medieval law that is being used to denigrate the universal religion of Islam.
    Pakistani Muslims should be ashamed for having such an unjust and barbaric law on their books.

    Muslims throughout history have ruled vast empires and practiced tolerance towards their enemies which symbolized and emphasized in practice (1) freedom of religion, (2) freedom of expression and (3) freedom of thought.

    This law has no practical effect in the international scene except to bear witness to the immaturity, inhumanity and fear of the Pakistani Muslims (and hence, all Muslims) who don’t have the basic intellect to defend their Prophet (PBUH) with dialog and reason but must silence the other by spilling their blood.

    The law has no practical effect in the national scene except to be used as a tool of repression and abuse for the weak and downtrodden.

    If the Prophet (PBUH) had been alive today, he would be the first one to fight against this law that is being used as a weapon in his name against the people that he loved – the weak, the widows, the unrepresented.

    Have some shame as a nation; repeal the law and live in peace with your countrymen whichever religion they might be. Follow the way of the Prophet and learn from his kind treatment of the Jewish woman who continually abused him by words and deeds. The prophet’s action was to be patient with her. When the old woman one day stopped abusing the Prophet, he went to find out what happened to her and found her ill. He helped her to regain her health. It is by examples of such a great man that we must treat those who would denigrate our Prophet not through the ways of Jahiliyah.

    May Allah bring peace upon you all.

  22. SirMagpieDeCrow

    March 2, 2011 at 7:49 PM

    In the span of just two months since the assassination of Taseer, today there are confirmed reports that the only Christian member of Pakistan’s government (Shabaz Bhatti) was assassinated in Islamabad. Shabaz was the Minister for Minorities Affairs (no doubt a troubled and underfunded agency that is now left leaderless). There should be no surprise he was like Taseer in that he opposed the unjust blasphemy laws that have been used against Pakistani minority groups (example: Christians) for years.

    Apparently his police protection was beyond pathetic, given the threats he had received for his rational opposition to the blasphemy laws. This is a man who put his life on the line for citizens under threat and abuse and his own country didn’t even honor his request for a bullet proof car.

    After Shabaz was killed, gunmen scattered pamphlets at the site of the murder that expressed such delightful messages as “With the blessing of Allah, the mujahideen will send each of you to hell”.

    It was signed “Taliban al-Qaida Punjab”.

    Now I know a lot of posters on this site make it a point of pride to point out the “civil-rights” deficiencies of nations like Israel, India or the United States… but can anyone deny at this point that Pakistan, the so called “Land of the Pure”, has become one of the most discriminatory countries on the planet? Pakistan’s endless parade of murders, suicide bombings, assassinations, tribal council mandated gang-rapes and unjust court rulings involving minorities just about rivals any atrocities that occurred during South Africa’s infamous apartheid system.

    Am I the only one here who thinks that Pakistan is at genuine risk of becoming a true failed state?

    • Amad

      March 3, 2011 at 10:15 AM

      If you noticed, more Muslims have been killed than non-Muslims… so it isn’t about discrimination… Terrorists don’t seem to really care, you are either with them or against them.

      The problem starts at the top… failed governance. When you have corrupt leadership, no one gets justice, majority or minority.

      Our hearts and prayers go to Shabaz Bhatti’s family. May Allah bring the killers to full justice, in this world and hereafter.

    • F

      March 3, 2011 at 1:45 PM

      “Am I the only one here who thinks that Pakistan is at genuine risk of becoming a true failed state?”


  23. Pingback: Stop the Hate, Evolution, & Why We Care about Issues « Ify Okoye

  24. SirMagpieDeCrow

    March 3, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    Amad claims that discrimination is not a significant component of the terrorist violence in Pakistan, which I think is a laughable claim. Yes many muslims have died as a result of the actions of terrorists, but clearly some groups are specifically targeted. Why? Because for a terrorist or extremist group it is easier to target certain groups if you know that hardly anyone will seriously oppose you. Why fear governmental retribution if most of your fellow citizens think these targeted groups have it coming anyway?

    Some time ago two Christian brothers were killed outside of courthouse surrounded by police, law enforcement agents and members of the public in broad daylight. They were accused of committing an act blasphemy… naturally. Guess how many of the killers were identified? Guess how many were caught? Or try to guess how many were prosecuted… successfully? Or try to guess how many law enforcement members were relieved of duty for their failure to maintain the security of the accused? No one.

    That is simply not a” failure of governance” or “corrupt leadership”. The corruption extends to the onlookers, the ordinary members of the public. Those who were unwilling to defend these innocent individuals from an extra-judicial killing or testify against the killers or even identify them to the police or the media. The agents of these public killings includes more than disinterested plain clothes policemen.

    The nature of the acts being committed in Pakistan right now, like the Shabaz Bhatti murder, is the product of a society that is more or less on the same page when it comes to enemies of the faith. The violence just rolls on and on because this is a conspiracy of thousands, perhaps millions. This is a cast of characters that includes everyone from the public defender, the pauper, the policeman and the politician.

    There have been incidents of mass killings of Shia, Ahmadis and Christians in Pakistan where nobody has seen anything or anyone who was responsible for the acts of violence. Those people don’t exist as human beings for many Pakistanis so I guess their should be no surprise that their murderers have acquired the strange ability to remain invisible.

    That’s the truth of Pakistan, the society there has willfully created a system of discrimination and debasement of ethnic/religious minorities. Terrorists are only the most extreme expression of that system.

    • Hello Kitty

      March 3, 2011 at 11:56 PM

      I think you make a lot of important points here SirMagpie. The issue is bigger than just the acts being committed, and people, Christian or Muslim, being hurt or killed. There’s a marked difference in the follow through, and the pursuit of justice that cannot and should not be ignored. The pursuit of justice when it comes to minorities being killed or threatened is different. In far too many cases, when a minority is the victim, the investigation is non-existent. A similar phenomena is seen all the time in the US-when there are missing persons cases involving women of color, the cases more often than not are completely ignored by the media, and law enforcement is pretty lackadaisical. But Allah forbid a nice, white female go missing-in that case the police and the media are alllll over it, giving press conferences and giving loads of tv and newspaper coverage. It’s wrong and demented that there is such a huge disparity in those situations. Certainly no one will deny that white women go missing too, just as minorities do. But the coverage and investigations are conducted so differently, even though both scenarios are equally horrific. The fact remains that minority victims have less of a chance to have justice sought for them, and less chance for violence committed against them to be roundly condemned. And so it is here. It’s not just that both groups have suffered from the violence. The lack of caring, the lack of justice being equally pursued and condemned-it’s like pouring salt on the wound. Both peoples have been wounded, but not everyone’s been subjected to the salt.

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