Mehdi Hasan on Pakistan, Islam and the West is a fascinating piece of writing in the New Statesman. I’ve long been a fan of Mehdi and feel that he is one of the great young political commentators in the UK. He’s particularly been a beacon of hope and rationality on Islam and Islamofascism. Particularly pointing out that those two sets are equivalent.
This quote by Mehdi is a particularly powerful example.
My advice to the Muslim Council of Britain, for example, would be to get a “not-in-my-name”-style press release out to domestic and foreign journalists as soon as possible. Silence is not an option. As I argued in a blog post in August 2009, we Muslims expose ourselves to the charge of double standards when we bleat about killings of innocent Muslims at the hands of non-Muslim armies in Palestine or Afghanistan or Chechnya, but then keep schtum when Muslim crazies start shooting and beheading non-Muslims, as well as other Muslims like Salman Taseer, and do so in the name of God and His prophet. And, above all else, where is our humanity? As I wrote back then, “Islam is a humanitarian, not a sectarian, religion and so selective outrage will not do.
Islam is a humanitarian religion and so selective outrage will not do. Despite being an Atheist, I stand by that comment – I’m generally appalled by how some otherwise rational people proclaim quite erroneous things about the nature of Islam. Those of us who wish to be socially responsible need to be more understanding about the true nature of Islam. It certainly isn’t the beheading of non-Muslims nor the subjugation of women. However I appreciate that sometimes the most powerful voices on these issues are Muslims themselves
The second link is by a Physicist and Social Activist Professor Pervez Hoodbhoy;
Why do they pick on us Pakistanis
The parts about ‘Muslims claiming persecuted in the US, and UK’ is one I think needs to be thought about. Its politically and socially irresponsible to throw away the beliefs of nearly a Billion people. The key words in all of these discussions are ‘freedoms’.
I support all peoples rights to practice their faiths, however this extends to all countries – Saudi Arabia for instance has very few churches. A Hindu or a Christian has very little freedom in Pakistan, and the violent extremism of Pakistan (a country of nearly 140 Million people) is something that one can’t ignore.
Why? Well its a fact to point out that extremism is an attack of human beings freedoms.
Apathy on issues like this can’t be ignored. Despite being an Athiest I make an effort (and am largely supported by the my intelligent Muslim friends) to understand some of what words like ‘jihad’ means.
I’m a great admirer of academics who also are brave enough to partake in Social Activism. Despite some of my work (if I ever make it as Mathematician) being highly abstract, we should all do our bit to be involved in such practical concerns. We don’t live in a perfect world, or a just world – and ignoring problems (despite the fact that one can’t always solve major problems immediately) doesn’t make them go away.
A final quote by Pervez
Cruelty to the weak is not an American monopoly; wars and brutal conquests are as old as history. The US cannot be forgiven for the Vietnam and Iraq wars, among others. But should India be forgiven for killing Kashmiris, West Pakistan for the East Pakistan massacres, Turkey for the Armenian genocide, or Japan for the Rape of Nanking? Countless states have blood on their hands. But retribution would surely make the world an inferno.
We forget just how messy War is. Some of the acts in Pakistan are crimes against humanity, the same way some of Israels actions in the West Bank are Crimes against Humanity. The sad fact for those of us who want a simple picture of the world is that there isn’t one, all of these issues are so morally ambigious that its very difficult to truly understand them. I’m appalled when I see equivalences made between Pakistanis and Irish Catholics say – I doubt one can simplify complicated political matters to ‘there like us’