Pervez Hoodbhoy on ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ Mindset

Posted on December 12, 2007
Filed Under >Maryam Chaudhry, >Pervez Hoodbhoy, Society
Total Views: 69302


Maryam Chaudhry

Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy, renowned nuclear physicist and disarmament activist, who teaches at Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad, recently visited the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and delivered a talk, the title of which was: Sacred Terror -Theirs and Ours. I was fortunate enough to find out about this and actually attend the lecture. I will attempt to summarize what Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy said, since I thought most of our Pakistaniat readers would like to know what he had to say on the extremely divisive subject of global terrorism, which has become extremely important after 9/11.
Dr. Hoodbhoy started the talk by giving the audience a definition of terrorism.

‘Terrorism is the deliberate targeting of non-combatants with the intention to kill or wound.’

If this, indeed, is the definition of terrorism, then it leads us to re-examine some of the events that took place some time ago, but which have all had an impact on history. While much has been written about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they have not really ever been referred to as acts of terrorism. In 1971, when the West Pakistani Army slaughtered close to 100,000 Bengalis, Dr. Hoodbhoy thinks that sort of brutality can also be seen as terrorism, but of course as we all know, history has not recognized it as such.

We all remember the Munich Olympics of 1972, when members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage by the Palestinian group ‘Black September’, a group which had ties to Yasser Arafat’s Fatah organization. By the end of the ordeal, the group had murdered 11 Israeli athletes and one German police officer. Of course, the Palestinians thought they were merely taking their revenge from people who were representatives of the country that had deprived them of their homeland. Dr. Hoodbhoy calls this an act of terrorism as well.

There are numerous other similar incidents in history. Dr. Hoodbhoy, very interestingly, talked about former President Ronald Reagan, who on one occasion was quoted as saying, ‘I am a Mujahideen’ while posing for pictures with Afghan Mujahideen including Gulbadin Hikmatyar Apparently, at that time, President Reagan had also said about the Mujahideen that ‘they were the moral equivalent of the founding fathers of America.’

So as you can see, terrorism is a very complex subject, and its definition depends, to some extent, on which side you belong to. Yesterday’s freedom fighters have become today’s terrorists. After 9/11, while the US was engulfed by insurmountable grief, one is ashamed to admit that there was jubilation and actual celebration in most of the Muslim world. Whereas one’s initial reaction is to feel appalled at such apathy at the death of innocent people, it is important to point out that the Muslims are not the only ‘bad guys’ in the world. Recently, Dr. Hoodbhoy saw CNN coverage of the bridge collapse in Minnesota where 13 people died and approximately 100 were injured, and while it was very tragic to hear the stories of the survivors and those of the families who had lost loved ones, Dr. Hoodbhoy says he was reminded of the beginning of the Iraq war, where the very same CNN was simply ecstatic at the collapse of a similar bridge. CNN was going on and on about the precision with which the United States attacks its targets, and there was no sorrow at the loss of innocent lives that accompanied this feat.

Terrorism is born and flourishes when the world gets divided into ‘us’ and ‘them’ and this is a mind-set that is rampant in today’s world.

The essence of terrorism rests on the psychological detachment from its victims and a contemptuous indifference to their suffering.

Left unchecked, the negative stereotyping of all Muslims as terrorists will have dire consequences. So what can be done to stop the growing confrontation between the U.S and the Muslims? Dr. Hoodbhoy used the very imaginative allegory of a modern day Moses to whom 10 new Commandments are revealed – 5 of the 10 Commandments are for the U.S and the other 5 are for the Muslims. I will summarize them here for the benefit of our readers.

1. The United States must stop behaving as if planet Earth belongs to them and that they are the world’s policemen. There is U.S. military presence all over the world and the U.S. dominates the land, sea, air and space. They spend a staggering half a trillion dollars on defense, which is more than the defense budgets of the next five countries.

2. Live by the law. When international agreements have been signed and agreed to by the U.S., they should be obeyed. U.S. does not live by the NPT (non-proliferation treaty). Currently, they have agreed to supply nuclear material to India (who as we all know, has not signed the NPT). So the U.S. is in clear violation of the NPT. Interestingly enough, Iran’s nuclear program (which is the reason behind the current threat of bombing Iran) was started by the U.S. itself at the time of the Shah of Iran in the 1970s.

3. Do not use rhetoric of democracy unless you mean it. The two main reasons for invading Iraq were, of course, the elusive WMDs and secondly to establish democracy over there. This is very transparent hypocrisy on the past of the U.S., especially since they have supported several dictatorships around the world. All four military dictators in Pakistan have had the full support of the U.S.

4. Ensure that a Palestinian State is created very soon. Despite involving a relatively small land area and number of casualties, especially compared to the genocide in Rwanda, Darfur and Bosnia, the Palestinian issue has become a very important one for the Muslim psyche. Muslims feel they are being victimized by the Christian West, and Palestine has become a symbol of the injustice done to Muslims in today’s world.

5. Exercise soft power. The wealth and resources of the U.S. MUST be shared with countries that need them. The U.S. helped very generously at the time of the tsunami in Indonesia in 2004 and also they played an important role in the relief efforts when the earthquake hit northern Pakistan two years ago. These kinds of actions promote goodwill and will go a long way in easing tensions between the Muslims and this country.

And now we come to the 5 Commandments addressed to the Muslims.

1. Muslims must STOP blaming the West (or the ‘infidels’) for everything that is wrong with them. Out of the 48 Muslim countries of the world, not one can be called a democracy in the pure sense of the word. Sadly, there has been NO significant scientific achievement in the last 700 years or so, whereas between the 9th and the 13th centuries, during the golden period of Islam, it was only the Muslims who kept the light of knowledge burning. The causes of Muslim decline have all been internal, and NOT the result of conspiracies. If Islam is to become a positive, constructive force in the 21st century, it must change from within, and worldwide opinion will follow.

2. Whenever and wherever there is an act of terrorism, condemn it LOUDLY and fully. The West has taken the majority of the Muslim communities lack of anger at 9/11 as tacit approval of militant Islam. Unfortunately Islam has become synonymous with violence and terror, and many moderate, peaceful Muslims have now become victims as well. The moderate Muslim community must fight against the hijacking of Islam.

3. Stop dreaming of theocracies and the reinstating of the Shariah law. Such ideas belong to the past, and are not compatible with the continuously evolving society and environment to which we belong. Insistence on such ideas can only drag the Muslims further into a medieval abyss.

4. Accept the fact that others do not see morality the way you do. Muslims have been brought up to believe that the only morality worth upholding is sexual morality. Other religions and cultures may not place so much emphasis on sexual morality, but that does not necessarily make them inferior human beings.

5. The last Commandment is for Muslims who have chosen to live in countries other than their homeland. Integrate. Do NOT try and stand out. Do NOT try and be different. And yes, it is possible to do all this AND maintain one’s individual identity, and without compromising principles and values we have grown up with. We must take more of an interest in our surroundings, in politics, and not just national politics but starting at the grassroots level.

To conclude, it is the need of the hour to understand that it was okay to be tribal in the early days, but certainly not so in today’s world. We human beings are similar in a lot of ways and we must strive to become global citizens, and try not to be locked into narrow nationalism. This is a challenge for all of us and we will all have to consciously work at it to survive.

About the Author: Maryam Chaudhry lives in Illinois. She teaches French at a private university.

117 Comments on “Pervez Hoodbhoy on ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ Mindset”

  1. Anwar says:
    December 12th, 2007 9:07 pm

    Well said – and said many times. I hope such lectures will have a positive impact on the public opinion in the US.

  2. Fatima says:
    December 12th, 2007 10:21 pm

    well that is very right….Muslims have not gathered at one place…no democracy for them in pure sense

    But here Pakistan is gearing up for yet another elections early next year, and for an indepth analysis, news and, discussion, and

    extensive debate, click on
    Pakistan Elections 2008

  3. zia m says:
    December 12th, 2007 10:35 pm

    This article should be published in major US newspapers as well as in all muslim countries.May be one day logic will prevail.

  4. Watan Aziz says:
    December 12th, 2007 10:50 pm

    Equity and Justice. No charity, no handout.

    It is the right thing to do.

    It is the only thing to do.

    It develops empathy and acceptance of those who are different from you.

  5. Zia says:
    December 12th, 2007 11:34 pm

    Nicely put.
    I have admired Dr. Hoodbhoy since my university years when he started a program on TV.
    Each one of us represents Humanity,Islam and Pakistan and we should act like we do belong to these groups.

  6. MQ says:
    December 12th, 2007 11:55 pm

    Maryam, thanks for reporting this.
    Daikhna taqreer ki lazzat keh jo us nay kaha
    MaiN ne yeh jaana keh goya ye bhi meray dil maiN hai
    [I enjoyed it, for it echoes my feelings as well]

  7. Adnan Ahmad says:
    December 13th, 2007 12:06 am

    Interesting article. He certainly covered a lot in this talk. I agree with Anwar; dialogues like this can increase public awareness about this prevalent mindset. It is scary to think that masses around the globe have a black and white view of world affairs with no gray in it.

  8. December 13th, 2007 1:28 am

    What a nice speech and not just criticism but with proposed solutions. Dr. Hoodbouy writings are alwasy insightful. Thanks for posting.

  9. Sada says:
    December 13th, 2007 1:42 am

    Wah Dr. sb!! You have given such a great commandments to the Muslims which, if adopted, would replace the whole Islamic spirit from them despite the fact that you live among Muslims and know that what is the part of faith and what is the mere practice so the later can be changed! I especially wonder with your advice for not insisting on shariah or Islamic law. Is it not the right of every one of us to wish to be regulated under the set of rules and norms which we consider the best for us? We can always disagree with the modalities and certain aspects but such a blanket call for withdrawal suggests that how de-linked you are in fact with Islamic societies. By the way, excellent list of easily doables for USA

  10. Kamran says:
    December 13th, 2007 2:37 am

    A question: Dr.Hoodbhoy’s definition of terrorism seems near perfect. I am curious about the definition of a NON-COMBATANT. For example, if I know that a top class scientist is supervising the manufacturing of massively destructive weapons or WMDs but he/she him/herself is not on the frontline, is he/she a non-combatant? I personally believe that it’s a gray area.


  11. December 13th, 2007 3:20 am

    Grand Unification Theory is a significant scientific achievement!

    I agree Shariah Law hasnt been a reasonable way to govern a country but thats because of its introduction by force and without a strong base. Curroption prevails in places claiming to be Shariah compliant. But thats the way to move forward, Shariah Law is a democratic law, if people agree to live by the law prescribed by Allah and interpreted by the Ulema, then y not….

  12. Viqar Minai says:
    December 13th, 2007 3:47 am

    Thanks for an excellent summary, Maryam. Personally, I don’t know what good, if any, such speeches do. They may find a polite, possibly lukewarm, reception in the Western audiences. They do not resonate at all with the Muslim street which needs to be pacified if the fires of confalgration have to die down.

    All definition of terrorism, that I have ssen so far, are subjective. They conveniently absolve the proponents of injustice on this or that flimsy pretext while saddling their antagonists with most of the blame. They also tend to inject multiple grey areas – non-combatant being one example – when trying to clarify one grey area.

    Major problem with people like Dr. Hoodbhoy is one of credibility. They are not perceived as honest brokers. How can one expect that the so called “terrorists” will ever listen to them?

  13. libertarian says:
    December 13th, 2007 3:49 am

    What pedantic patronizing “commandments” from Hoodbhoy. Too preachy, too vague, too broad and quite non-actionable. In short: useless. He might as well have added “Solve World Hunger” and “Solve Global Warming” and made it 12 “commandments”.

  14. Baraka says:
    December 13th, 2007 4:04 am

    American Muslim scholar Imam Zaid Shakir of Zaytuna Institute made comprehensive and somewhat similar statements way back in Aug 2005. (You can listen here:

    As for “Whenever and wherever there is an act of terrorism, condemn it LOUDLY and fully” – American Muslims have been doing that since *before* 9/11 and mainstream America still thinks we’re silent. it’s definitely time to re-frame the discourse from the word “terrorism” to the phrase “violence against civilians.”

    Otherwise, great points by the Prof – thanks!

  15. Devdas Sariputta Mishra says:
    December 13th, 2007 4:13 am

    Tremendous Article..

    People Should Believe That Peaceful Co-existence is Veru Much Possible..

    The Only Thing Required Is “Will Power”..

  16. Adnan says:
    December 13th, 2007 4:13 am

    Not surprising that Dr.Hoodbhoy is another victim of global campaign against Shariah and considers its obsolete. The following statement of Maryam Ch. is classic example of ignorance about Shariah which is considered equivalent to living in tents and not adapting new things.

    To conclude, it is the need of the hour to understand that it was okay to be tribal in the early days, but certainly not so in today

  17. Nayab Khan says:
    December 13th, 2007 4:53 am


  18. Zeeshan Aziz says:
    December 13th, 2007 5:43 am

    Thanks to Maryam for her hard work. We need people like Dr. Hoodbhoy who can create a goodwill and show us the way as well.

  19. Dr Irfan Kaukab says:
    December 13th, 2007 6:35 am

    Very well said and i think we appreciate it as well but the million dollar question is ” how can we implement it in our lives and broader in our society” …educating the masses might be one!!!

  20. yasirbutt says:
    December 13th, 2007 6:56 am

    We should not live dual life. Firstly we should be very clear whether we are muslim or not. If yes then we have to accept that our sharia laws are for ever and can be reinstated today successfully and if we r muslim just by name then this argument can be accepted.

  21. Doc-Hood for Prime Minister says:
    December 13th, 2007 7:04 am

    Why cant smart ppl like him be PM of Pakistan….

  22. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    December 13th, 2007 7:16 am

    Maryam Chaudry,

    It is indeed a severe blow to the minimum of
    Human dignity or even Rights, We are shocked
    to what extent and anti-Islam lobby and shameless
    propaganda for the promotion of colonialism by
    the progys of Goolag days.

  23. Punjab Police Hard at Work says:
    December 13th, 2007 7:20 am

    Apologize for off topic comment, But this is a must see!!!

  24. December 13th, 2007 7:26 am

    Maryam – thanks for this post. Professor Hoodbhoy is a leading voice of reason in Pakistan. We wish that there are more academics and activists like him.

    Having said that, as pointed above, some of the ‘preaching’ here is a little vague and simplistic – Consider:

    Muslims must stop blaming the West – yes it is true that Muslims worldwide are given to conspiracy theories but then there are hard facts of history: who created the state the Israel and dispossessed the people of Palestine who are now living in ghettos like prisoners in their own land? Muslims?
    Who continues to support repressive, undemocratic and shameful regimes in the Middle East – only Muslims? I think it is not that simple – even if we want to agree in the interest of being looked at peaceful global citizens

    And the last one: “Integrate” – yes this is a valid and catchy message – but with racism and now Islamophobia and the bogey of fundamentalism – as a reality in many countries, is integration possible.

    The young [alleged] suicide bombers in the UK are British natives – they have studied in British schools, speak ENglish and yet are alienated – to say that this is the fault of their parents and communities is again a naive view.

    A little disappointing coming from a man such as Dr Hoodbhoy…

    This was not to undermine the overall good quality of this post – just a request that reality is far more nuanced and complex as we would like to believe…

  25. Nayab Khan says:
    December 13th, 2007 9:06 am

    @Punjab Police Hard at Work.
    They might not have permission from the local government. You should know that billboards and adverts do need local gov’s permission.
    If PML-Q needs to do it, I am sure they are smart enough not to use police. Police will be accountable for their actions where as a someone from public can get away with such silly things.

    Kindly keep such propagandas away from this blog!

  26. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    December 13th, 2007 9:37 am

    Dr. Hoodbhoy is a controversial figure as not every body subscribes to his thoughts. But it is good to have people like him around. They stimulate intellectual reasoning and generate debates. There is nothing wrong in questioning traditions and the status quo. As a society we must look inward and examine what is not working and then try to change it. We are thankful to Ms. Maryam Choudhary for this timely article and hope to hear more from her.

  27. mrizvi says:
    December 13th, 2007 9:42 am

    Thank you Ms. Choudhary. I haven

  28. Tina says:
    December 13th, 2007 9:42 am

    Many kudos to Pakistaniat for daring to tackle this issue. It sounds like Prof. Hoodbhoy’s lecture was a significant one.

    It’s like I tell Americans, always, the majority of the victims of Muslim terrorism are other Muslims living in Muslim countries…NOT Americans. Also, Americans have their own homegrown terrorism groups; there are more fundamentalist Christian groups on the FBI terror watch list than Muslim organizations.

    If people can get their perspective in order, a lot of their prejudices will go away.

    As for the rest of Dr. Hoodbhoy’s stance…couldn’t agree more, and hope this viewpoint becomes more popular in Pakistan and other places.

    I don’t know about others, but I have always called the firebombing of Germany and the atomic attacks on Japan as terrorism; it was the dawn of targeting civilians as a legitimate war tactic. Civilians have always suffered in wars, but this was really the first time their wholesale destruction was the aim of the aggression and not a side effect.

    A sad precedent.

  29. MQ says:
    December 13th, 2007 9:45 am

    Nayab Khan Saab:
    I don’t know if you live in Pakistan or elsewhere. The police in Pakistan is accountable to no one. This picture just shows the tip of the iceberg. There is a growing evidence that Pervaiz Elahi is to going to massively rig the elections in Punjab.

  30. Tehseen says:
    December 13th, 2007 9:46 am

    Can the blind supporters of Sharia law answer the following?

    1. Where is the practical blueprint for Sharia that can be implemented in a society? Come now, you had 1400 to work on that. Please don

  31. faraz W Siddiqui says:
    December 13th, 2007 9:47 am

    I admire that Prof Hoodbhoy, but his line of actions are to idealistic and I dont see it implemented by any side. World will still think in term of “US” and “THEM”.
    What concerns me that even there is not another attack on USA soil after 9/11, even no american resident mulism was involved in 9/11, there is a constant propaganda against muslims and constant violation of rights of american muslim community. We (American muslims) needs to do lot more to rectify our image. If we have not change this course, then future of american muslims will not be different from Europeans jews.

  32. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    December 13th, 2007 10:20 am

    @ there should’nt be anybody blind to follow any thing in
    1. Sharia is derived from Shara’a the ” way” to a direction,
    can be straight, long and short, with all possibilities, for
    and under all circumstnces and environments, and above
    all, intentionel and practical. When “Ijtihad” is in rigour,
    there is no blue print available, you are in constant
    evolution for the betterment. Sharia is composed of
    Quranic and Prophetic composition of an structural
    regulations, problemetics, concensus, and collective
    opinion brought into vigour called decision. The
    Sharia, always existed, it is still existing among 1.5 b
    muslim of the world, partly not in practice because of
    political deficits or ” dysfonctionment”. When tomorrow
    morning you see your parents, you say Assalam-o-alaikum,
    replied with Waalaikum-as-salaam, this is Sharia !! you
    and we are practicing, every day, similarly
    ( I have to run an errand ) be back very soon !

  33. jamalkhan says:
    December 13th, 2007 10:24 am
  34. Qandeel says:
    December 13th, 2007 10:49 am

    The problem is that Muslims are unlikely to follow their set of 5 commandments (the more radical, especially, would not be willing to mitigate their stance) unless their is some sign that the US will practice its… But who will make the US budge? It might just be upto the American citizens, living within the US, to strongly protest – as they did during the 70s to end the Vietnam War – and affect US policy.

  35. zia m says:
    December 13th, 2007 10:53 am

    Most americans are decent people,muslims in america have equal rights.I wish i could say that about muslim countries.
    Muslims have a long way to go.
    Besides deenyat we should teach theory of evolution in our schools and put more emphasis on sciences.
    Just a humble opinion.

  36. Tehseen says:
    December 13th, 2007 11:03 am

    “The problem is that Muslims are unlikely to follow their set of 5 commandments (the more radical, especially, would not be willing to mitigate their stance) unless their is some sign that the US will practice its

  37. Tina says:
    December 13th, 2007 11:14 am

    Tehseen is right.

    “The U.S. has to do something first” is exactly the kind of thing the Dr. was talking about.

    What’s to be done about it?

  38. faraz W Siddiqui says:
    December 13th, 2007 11:33 am

    why we think that USA should act moraly right. USA is world power and all world powers in history have done atrocities and USA is little bit better then past powers.

    The problem is the path some of our fanatics have taken is even strategically incorrect. We are just destroying our own civilization and making job of our enemy (zion)easy.

  39. Qandeel says:
    December 13th, 2007 12:20 pm

    Tehseen, I could turn the question around and ask what’s to say the US will follows its prescribed commandments if Muslims follow theirs?

    I think a flaw in the article is that it treats Muslims as a monolithic identity; nuances between Muslims, to a graet extent, determine the feelings they harbour or actions they take – which then bring into the question of the kind of commandments that are required.

    I just don’t think that for a specific group of Muslims, who perceive the US (its military presence in 100 different countries, spread of a neoliberal McWorld, etc) as threatening or imposing, it will be easy to follow these 5 commandments unless, say, the US starts to first “Live by the law.” For another group of Muslims, not too bothered or attuned to the effects of some of the US policies, it would be easier.

    So the “US has to do something first” is wrong in theory but in practice it depends on who you’re dealing with. Different Muslims live by different realities.

  40. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    December 13th, 2007 12:26 pm

    Comments anti-Human Rights and hypocratic

    @ 5 commadments for USA is a farce
    5 commandments for Muslims is also a farce but
    colonial, shame on your conscience. The modern

  41. Abid says:
    December 13th, 2007 12:31 pm

    Pervez Hoodbhoy knows how to articulate. There is not much disagreement on what he says on the socio-politico-economic issues. His speech on these points is prudent, the way he makes presentation by suggestion and inference can neutralize any audience.

    But than he cleverly insinuates deficiencies of Islam, his objectivity is questionable and as others have noted his

  42. Pakistan Zindabad says:
    December 13th, 2007 12:48 pm

    “Accept the fact that others do not see morality the way you do. Muslims have been brought up to believe that the only morality worth upholding is sexual morality. Other religions and cultures may not place so much emphasis on sexual morality, but that does not necessarily make them inferior human beings.”

    Very true indeed.

  43. Tiger says:
    December 13th, 2007 1:29 pm

    Why one person’s view on a certain aspect of Islam is considered as an attack on Islam and immediately his religiousness is challenged? Why most of the comments here only discuss about the Sharia Law? Is it a weak point of our society not to listen different views about Islam? Why do we feel victimized when one touches Islam? Have our society brainwashed us well? What was the last time we thought only the logical way and not the customary way about such issues? Every word we write indeed makes effect to somebody, no matter how minute that is.

  44. Adnan says:
    December 13th, 2007 1:31 pm

    Why is that we have to follow west to prove ourselves “globally acceptable”? why can’t we convince West to follow us? Why Muslims have to adapt what west do? Offcourse Rabis don’t come up with such lame statements against their hardline jews and force them to give up shariah of Moses and follow what Jesus(AS) said later in New Testament.

    Kindly don’t come up with lame statement that West is better than us.

    liberals like Hoodbhoy and ATP majority who is fed by west never miss a chance to mental slavery in the name of modernism and globalism.

    Merey Azaad Khyal aur taraqi pasand bhaion aur behno, ehsas Kamtari se bahar ao. Angrez go gaye huway zamana beet gaya, kab tak baap dada wali ghulamiat par chalo gey?

  45. Tina says:
    December 13th, 2007 1:35 pm

    Al-Ghazali was a liberal? says whom?

    Although a Sufi, he also preached against the preservation of humanistic Greek (Hellenistic) writings and thought among Muslims who had traditionally preservered them. In its place he urged an ignorant and superstitious belief that angels of different ranks were active in the world.

    I can see why people like Dr. Hoodbhoy might see something wrong with that.

  46. Tehseen says:
    December 13th, 2007 1:41 pm

    If anything, there are positive aspects to US’s

  47. December 13th, 2007 1:47 pm

    It goes without saying that the terrorism’s utimate victoms are human beings. As said that
    Jang mashriq mein ho ke magrib mein
    Laho insaan ka hi behta hai
    Creating binaries is not going to serve anyone. I fully endorse modern day 10 commandments and finish my comments with requesting muslims to recall:
    Ye pehla sabiq hai ketabey khuda ka
    Ke sari khudai hai kumba khuda ka

  48. zia m says:
    December 13th, 2007 2:16 pm

    You are right about Al Ghazali he was not a liberal.It is unfortunate muslims rejected Ibn Rushd in favour of Al =Ghazali.

  49. RE says:
    December 13th, 2007 2:19 pm

    Wow nice one. We need more articles like this.
    Anyone focusing on Ata issue? Poor people in Pakistan are suffering as they can not afford to buy Ata anymore. Price for Ata has doubled in Pakistan. Anyone behind Ata storage and trying to increase the price by storing ata should be given some jail time.

  50. December 13th, 2007 2:30 pm

    I might not agree to the few points put forward but as the whole this gives a sense of direction. the commanments are based on good will so ethics and good will are the need of hour.

  51. Abid says:
    December 13th, 2007 2:39 pm

    According to our esteemed and liberal scholar Prof Akbar S. Ahmed and Prof M.Shahid Alam, respectively:

  52. Tina says:
    December 13th, 2007 2:51 pm

    Abid–you are exactly right but I don’t share your viewpoint. I don’t think what Al-Ghazali did was “genius”. Nor do I think rejection of all Western thought is the right answer in the present day.

  53. Aisha Noreen Khan says:
    December 13th, 2007 3:53 pm

    The assumption that cultures are so different that we cannot understand one another is extremely pernicious. There is much in our hearts and minds that we all, as human beings, share.
    At same time we do need to be aware of cultural differences. We must, in other words, learn to embrace both our cultural differences and our common humanity.

  54. Adnan says:
    December 13th, 2007 4:04 pm

    It has become a habit to blame Islam(read Mullahs) to current decline of Islamic world in field of science and technology. By assuming this, we are going to believe that 80%+ educated lot of Muslim world only learns Quran in Madrassahs which is not true at all while reality is majority of science and commerce students never ever have seen any Islamic Madrassahs in their lives and they grew up by watching different Western shows on TV and movies on VCR and theaters. ATP provided me opportunity to get introduced with various *educated* Pakistani expats who got educated in different fields of science and technology. I ask why our liberals who use religion as a tissue paper did nothing remarkable in their respective fields? if Shariah is the main hinderance then why anti-Shariyah class did nothing good for betterment of Muslim world? Or you guys want to come up with excuse that some Mullah forced you NOT to do research in your respective fields and invent something new? if yes then are you admitting that a molvi was successful enough to defeat your so called mighty intellect and wisdom by preaching few words. Even what that MIT graduate Hoodbhoy has done for common Pakistani person other than throwing up frustration here and there to promote western teachings? Khisyani Billi Khamba Nochay , this is what I feel when I see a liberal like Hoodbhoy expressing his opinion by offending and twisting original teachings.

  55. faraz Siddiqui says:
    December 13th, 2007 4:12 pm

    Mr Adnan siddiqui,

    I have read “What went wrong” by Bernard Lewis and he has given references to “otomen documents” that how Grand Mufti censored “printing press” and “clock” . Muslims are behind Science and Technology mainly because of Mullas opposition to scientific ideas. Off course they dont oppose sicence now, but we have missed the right time to catch up.

  56. Hoodbhoy has done a lot more than most of us. says:
    December 13th, 2007 4:14 pm

    Stop bashing Hoodbhoy…You do not have credentials big enough to slam him, Yet.

  57. Adnan says:
    December 13th, 2007 4:19 pm

    He was not opposed to logic, mathematics or the sciences

    Shariyah in simple words means to “a route” and according to Islam it means follow route of Quran and Sunnah. Quran and Sunnah never opposed logic,math and Science.

    The problem is that West promoted word “Shariah” as a “forbidden fruit” while promoted their own filth as “Sacred cow” . Our so called educated lot who never miss a chance to buy any lame theory believed in word by word of what their elders in West taught them in schools.

    Shariah is not a bad word bhai. I follow Shariah of my IT field just like a doctor follow Shariah of Medicine. We should not consider our doctors and engineers backward and retarded just because they spent(or wasted) entire life in their respective fields just like madrassah students who spent most of their lives to get special education(Islamic studies). Infact there is no difference between a madrassah student and a doctor/engineer. If you want to say that Madrassah students are unable to get jobs then docs and engineers or other than are suffering more than madrassah students. So why do we just whine about madrassah students but not about saturation of doctors,engineers,CAs etc? Just because other lot didn’t get religious education in their lives thus acceptable for us no matter how harmful and worthless are they for our society?

  58. Adnan says:
    December 13th, 2007 4:35 pm


    that how Grand Mufti censored

  59. Conflict Among Ourselves (Almost on every issue) says:
    December 13th, 2007 4:35 pm

    Reminds me of “So long as the Arabs (Muslims) fight tribe against tribe, so long will they be a little people, a silly people – greedy, barbarous, and cruel…(as you are)”

    And while this statement had plenty of imperialism behind it, it’s hard not to see insight in it given the current situation of muslim world.

  60. faraz Siddiqui says:
    December 13th, 2007 5:05 pm

    Adnan, It is true that Catholic church was acting in same way in 17th century and they still have same mindset, but their society has been evolved and they have clear sepration of church and state. Fanatics like Bush want to ban evolution theory but their society will not accept it.

    Infact I think ppl like HoodBhoy are like Galileo who are chalenging the fabric of system of belief. We need more outspoken ppl like that. Only then we will evolve in free society where we can teach “big bang” and “evolution” to our childrens without any fear.

  61. faraz Siddiqui says:
    December 13th, 2007 5:08 pm

    In summary we have to fights for “free idea society”. We will not get it in plate.

  62. Talawat Bokhari says:
    December 13th, 2007 5:24 pm

    What does Hoodbhoy mean by ‘sexual morality’ being believed in by Muslims? Does he believe that morality can be compartmentalized into ‘Muslim morality’, ‘Christian morality’, ‘sexual morality’, etc.. No Sir I beg to differ. Firstly, morality (ethics) or value system is not essentially the function of religion, but of culture and secondly, the religion, especially a dogmatic one is, in fact, by its very nature antithesis to morality.

  63. shayer says:
    December 13th, 2007 8:30 pm

    I find it strange how intellectuals and highachievers belonging to one field consider themeselves an authorit yon almost every issue of life. A scientist need not be a humane person and a mullah doens’t have to be a hard-liner. Hoodhoy is great what he does and should stick to that instead of talking about issues that are beyond his domain of knowledge.

  64. Tehseen says:
    December 13th, 2007 8:37 pm

    shayer, do you or the Mullahs have a better answer to the problems that Hoodhoy has mentioned? Feel free to share.

  65. Al Khan says:
    December 13th, 2007 11:34 pm

    This is another of the truths Doctor Hoodbhoy mentions that is right on target. Yes, we Muslims have to change and to look at others as equal and to learn from the good things in them. Lack of democracy and education is the root cause of the problems we as Muslims face. Blaming others looks good momentarily for that is the work of the extremists who heart us all. The vast majority of Muslims must not remain silent and speak up before it is too late.

  66. Mudassar says:
    December 14th, 2007 12:05 am

    Dear Adnan.

    Rabis dont blame hardline jews, because they have the knowledge which was there before Islam, do you have knowledge which was there before Islam, my dear friend Islam doesn’t refrain you from search, search of a free spirit, set your self free broaden your horizon, and you will find what Hood bhoy has said is all true. Do you know about the aboriginal people who came to Australia some 60,000 years ago…….they are oblivious to any idea of any book, they dont know any Budhism, Hinduism..but they are humans….., they dont want anyone to follow them, they dont want to follow any one, they want to live as a society and so do we, a repectable society with equal opportunities, what you call west was just Europe in 1500 , but it was search for betterment which is causing problems to all of us now, that is what Hoodbhoy is telling you search for betterment, and people like them are fed by west because they have gone to study at MIT, where the search for the best…..
    if you want west to follow you,
    invent a light bulb..
    invent laws of gravity defying you send space missions
    invent Computers through which i am conveying my message to you….
    come up with theory of relativity,, and E=mc^2
    man come live in the real world……,

  67. Adnan says:
    December 14th, 2007 1:16 am

    Islam doesn

  68. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    December 14th, 2007 4:54 am

    @Namak Halali / ‘fed’s funds’

    Some of the comments, ipsofacto of their origins are
    sufficiently ” fed ” by the over-fed west,
    the feds don’t want to know where did the west
    get the knowledge ? ?

    Paltoo rehkay sabet unsay kro tum Namak Halali
    Ibn Sina-o-Rushd-o-Khayyam say Namak Harami

    Wo qaumein jo hojati hein Ahsaan Faramosh
    Kardeti hay Ghulami yun tumko Khud Farosh

    Jis mitti nay dia tum ko wo aik tashakhus
    hogaiy tum apnay din kay zamir Farosh

    Raj mein thi kia munasib, Wohi Ghaddari
    Susta Baicho, phirbhi, kehlaogay Mehang Farosh

  69. baber says:
    December 14th, 2007 1:55 pm

    “Ask him to spend sometime in studying Quran(with Translation) then he would realize that what he usually preaches in his so called intellectual lectures is childish and fictitious.”

    Adnan bhai Quran says the earth is Flat. You want to jusity that? , atleast Hoodboy doesn’t say that. I’m not cut pasting because i believe you have read quran with translation and know that and I am fine if you believe so.

  70. Adnan says:
    December 14th, 2007 2:30 pm

    Adnan bhai Quran says the earth is Flat.

    and baber which verse did give you this impression? or you just visited type website to come up with this belief? its not about cutting and paste, it’s common practice to refer the stuff which is being quoted. You are not communicating me privately that you and me have to test each other’s memory. You should know you are replying me on a public forum.

    anyways back to Shariah thingie, this is something was quoted in today’s Jang:

    when something similar repeated in UK when Blair was called upon by an ordinary police officer, our so called educated lot started singing praises about it but such educated would not have bothered to read a bit of Islamic history how our own Islamic celebrities had performed something similar 1400 years back which West copy now.

    Maghrib k Chamcha geeri se fursat miltey tu apni history parhi jaye na.

    This is called Islamc Shariah which so called educated ignorant like Hoodbhoy can’t comprehend at all since such elements are allergic from religion or anything associated with it.

  71. Adnan says:
    December 14th, 2007 2:35 pm

    Who reads quran more than those who are killing people in the name of religon

    Jews and Christians so that they can make their plans against Islam by fooling liberals and making them involved in lame activities in the name of modern sufiism and liberalism. BTW, this is not a joke, a jew might have read Quran more thoroughly than our educated class, this is why they fool our educated class easily and cleverly by giving wrong interpetition of Quran or Islam so that Liberals don’t get serious about their bible which consist of verses like what said in “Revelation 7:1 ” about structure of earth.

  72. Adnan says:
    December 14th, 2007 2:51 pm

    This is no answer Adnan. The 72 sects of Islam all follow the same Quran and Hadith but they interpret it differently.

    If that’s the case, we should not struggle for democracy either because one’s definition of democracy would not different than mine, this is why the dictator came on TV and told West that Pakistani nation can’t digest the western version of democracy hence west should not whine about it. But no body start campaign against it, why? because his statement had no “Islam” factor hence acceptable.

    I used this nick because I am afraid of you

    me or my arguments or knowledge? *grin*

    Allah se daro bhai. Jo Allah se nahi darta wo sab se darta rahta hay. Didn’t we all read this in childhood?

    . Who knows when you decide to get phsycial rather than just being abusive on this forum?

    hahaa. Now this is funny! If I don’t worship your hoodbhoy or any left’s celebrity than I am abusive. Interesting my friend. I must salute your *school* of thought.

    So far there is no such technology that one can *get physical* via Internet. Why not some anti-Shariyah genius come up with such technology?

    Thanks for your comments my *Anonymous Coward* (this is not my invention. This term is used for those who hide their identity on public forums and make comments/rants ) friend.

    p.s: you are not *anonymous* to me. *grin*

  73. Imran Ahmad Khan says:
    December 14th, 2007 3:09 pm

    “Stop dreaming of theocracies and the reinstating of the Shariah law. Such ideas belong to the past, and are not compatible with the continuously evolving society and environment to which we belong. Insistence on such ideas can only drag the Muslims further into a medieval abyss. ”
    I do not agree with this point because if you are a nuclear sceintist you must be well aware of physics. you may not be aware of zoology, Botany , Islam etc so you cannot say any religion which is perfect code of life for the whole humanity should be ignored.
    What Germans did aginst jews was a terriorism an what pakistan army did in Bangladesh was also big sin. But does islam say to perform such things. the sad incident of 9/11 was also terrorism and what is going on in Iraq is now also aform of terrorism and same is in Afghanistan. has America stopped terrorism in Iraq???????? same was the case for Vaitnam. if a person come into you hose and grab all your resources would you sit idol and ask him please take this sir??? you must hate him and try to take your revenge even if you are weak.
    So here in this world the principal of might is right. About 700 years Muslims have ruled over spain and wt was done with them “leave islam or leave spain” was the order of the day.
    and when america was discovered “The red indians were killed brutly and they were fried like chicken . ” At that time who spoke aginst them????
    So Dr Sahib kindly do not be so pessimistic about Islam

  74. zia m says:
    December 14th, 2007 4:50 pm

    I was raised in an orthodox muslim (ahl-hadith) family,used to pray at neighbourhood mosque and got beat up for not wearing topi(cap) while praying,started praying at home after that.
    Used to be a staunch supporter of JI Maulana Maududi and syed Qutb were my heros during my student days.Later on i started reading Old amd New testaments and came to conclusion that all religions were based on mythology.I still believe in a Creator and am always looking for answers.
    I am greatly influenced by Thomas Paine AGE OF REASON.I believe it is available on internet.

  75. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    December 14th, 2007 5:47 pm


    @ just read in the monthly ” Mustaqbal” august 2006 page 56 to 63
    Orientalism at its peak.

  76. Abid says:
    December 14th, 2007 10:48 pm

    Even liberal scholars recognize that the threat to Pakistan is NOT from the religious orthodoxy

  77. Aqil Sajjad says:
    December 15th, 2007 12:24 am

    The lecture by Hoodbhoy raises some points that are indeed worth discussing whether one agrees with him or not.

    However, one quote:

  78. Aqil Sajjad says:
    December 15th, 2007 1:07 am

    Adnan Siddiqui:

    “Even what that MIT graduate Hoodbhoy has done for common Pakistani person other than throwing up frustration here and there to promote western teachings? Khisyani Billi Khamba Nochay , this is what I feel when I see a liberal like Hoodbhoy expressing his opinion by offending”

    Adnan, while you are entitled to disagree with Hoodbhoy (and I also disagree with a lot of what he says on religion), but I think you are going overboard in this above statement. Hoodbhoy has fairly respectable credentials as a physicist and he has been playing his positive part in this regard at QAU. Yes, he has extreme views on religion, and those who disagree with him should provide their counter-arguments, but without attacking his credentials as a physicist.

    I do personally hope that some relatively more religious minded scientists with compareable credentials to Hoodbhoy’s also become more vocal on the issue, so that there is a more vibrant discussion on why Muslims are behind in science rather than his somewhat simplistic analysis on the topic.

    On your argument about Madrassa people or religious scholars being criticised, I would again say that there is need for a more nuanced approach. Being a religious scholar should be a very respectable profession and this mindset of calling them useless needs to change.

    However, in order to be a religious scholar, one should go through a proper schooling process. For example, in order to be a physicist, you have to go through school, where you take all subjects including Islamiat classes (if you’re in Pakistan). Then you specialize into physics at the undergrad level. In the American university system, which is also being followed by some Pakistani schools, even at the bachelers level, you are required to take courses in subjects other than your major. Then you go on for a phd and thats when you become a researcher.

    I think our system of religious education needs to follow a similar model. A religious scholar should go through the same basic schooling system where he studies all the subjects. Specialization should come at the undergraduate level where one should be able to take Islamic studies as one’s main field of study. Even there, one should be required to take some courses in social sciences, just like a physics undergrad student should be required to do. The next stage should be a phd in Islamic studies. A professor in Islamic studies should be subject to similar tenure track requirements as professors in other fields. And yes, he should enjoy a respectable status in society as a scholar actively involved in the teaching and study of knowledge, in his case, the subject being Islam.

    I personally do not like the madrassa system because in my opinion, it is not a good and transparent model for education. When madrassas allow themselves to be subjected to the same conditions and regulatory requirements as other mainstream universities, they and their graduates will have some legitimacy in demanding the same level of respect as others.

  79. Abid says:
    December 15th, 2007 2:22 am

    Good points, Aqil. As I said in my first post that one may NOT find much disagreement on Hoodbhoy

  80. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    December 15th, 2007 2:42 pm

    Aqil Sajjad: I always look forward to reading your comments here at ATP. You bring out good points with a balanced approach. You may already know that mainstream universities in Pakistan like The University of Punjab do offer B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. programs in Islamic Studies. But the graduating students from these programs do not become ‘moulvies’ and ‘Imams’ in a mosque. They go on to teach in the regular schools, colleges and universities or take up other employments including, government, Civil or Military Services, or private companies and businesses.

    On the other hand ‘mosque employment’ pretty much remains a domain of the madrassah graduates of varying levels. Unfortunately this lot is ill equipped to deal with the modern day situations. When confronted with modern day demands this group retreats into a defencive mode and rejects all other options that should be available to its flock. It also demands that the country should be governed by the Islamic religious laws otherwise known as Shariah. Such legal system automatically gives seminaries a built in role to play. It is like law school graduates demanding that the country should be run by the civil laws. Madrassahs in Pakistan, like many other things, are a business—a big business—that is not regulated by any ‘security and exchange commission’. Our traditionally weak governments are historically too afraid to put their hands on this industry. Just look at the case of Lal Masjad and its affiliated madrassahs.

  81. Adnan says:
    December 16th, 2007 12:02 am

    I think our system of religious education needs to follow a similar model. A religious scholar should go through the same basic schooling system where he studies all the subjects. Specialization should come at the undergraduate level where one should be able to take Islamic studies as one

  82. Adnan says:
    December 16th, 2007 12:10 am

    hardly gone thru madrassah students. should be read as
    hardly gone thru madrassah syllabus

  83. Adnan says:
    December 16th, 2007 12:21 am

    and while we are talking about madrassahs. This is daily observation by those who visits masjids that most of madrassah students are those who belong to remote poor areas of Pakistan where there is no such thing called “Life”. Those poor students stay in a CITY’s mosque/madrassah and take education. Now tell me how many our so called PRIVATE SCHOOLS would have given admission to poor of remote areas in their lavish institutes? they even don’t give admission to middle class students just because he can’t afford school fee. Madrassahs on other hand provide opportunity to such poor to stay in big cities and lead a better life than back to home.

  84. Farooqui says:
    December 16th, 2007 12:29 am

    So Hoodbhoy is not “qualified” to comment on Islam because he is a physicist, but everyone else on this board is qualified to do so?

  85. Abid says:
    December 16th, 2007 1:31 am

    Pervaiz Alvi says:

  86. Adnan says:
    December 16th, 2007 2:07 am

    So Hoodbhoy is not

  87. Faraz says:
    December 16th, 2007 3:17 am

    Adnan, clearly the typical madrassahs attached to local mosques far outnumber the one or two universities that you mentioned. So your argument doesn’t hold much weight. Also, lack of resources available to madrassahs and failure of peela schools aside, madrassah system can use a lot of improvement. Nobody is “attacking” madrassahs, we are merely stating a problem that is a fact.

    If Hoodbhoy’s remarks were made by a religious authority certainly they would have more weight. But his remarks do resonate with a lot of people, and they got us to think and to talk. And may be that’s the key. We should take a note of the facts, but there’s no need to call it the end of the story just because he doesn’t have the “credentials” on this subject. In my opinion, he’s probably filling a vacuum left by Islamic scholars who should be coming forward to openly speak about problems being faced by the Muslim world and propose some practical solutions.

  88. Adnan says:
    December 16th, 2007 6:06 am

    Adnan, clearly the typical madrassahs attached to local mosques far outnumber the one or two universities that you mentioned

    That shows Ignorance. ALL madrassahs are affiliated with “Wifaq-ul-madrais Arabiya”. If a madrassah is *physically* attached with a masjid then it doesn’t mean it’s AFFILIATED with that mosque.

    If i follow your logic then Dawood Engineering College was not affiliated with NED because both were on difference locations. :-)

  89. zia m says:
    December 16th, 2007 9:08 am

    Why do we want to force our religious topi on others ?
    Why can’t we tolerate diversity?
    Islam is a great religion,it evolved out of judaism and christianity and was best suited for the time.We want to go back 1400 years.Slavery was allowed at that time it was ok to deny women right or even to beat(lightly) them.
    We have to wake up and see what is happening around us.
    Prof Hoodbhoy speaks the truth and it hurts.

  90. Karim says:
    December 16th, 2007 3:11 pm


    You are hopelessly trying to defend ur view point on madresahs.. It is very much evident that scope and domain of education in madressahs is too restricted… Ask yourself a simple question – Why did’nt ur parents send u to a Madressah instead of a normal school… And what would have been your chances to become computer engineer if u had gone through the madressah route….

  91. Adnan says:
    December 16th, 2007 5:13 pm

    You are hopelessly trying to defend ur view point on madresahs..

    If telling “facts” about madrassah system in Pakistan is called defending in your dictionary then every argument which you dislike by others would appear as defensive and weaker to you. Come out of world of CNN,BBC and visit places yourself so that you could put some weight in your statement otherwise it’s as fictitious and funny as Bush’s claim about WMD in Iraq.

    Why did

  92. Adnan says:
    December 17th, 2007 4:36 am

    An Interesting BBC article:

  93. zia m says:
    December 17th, 2007 11:11 am

    Fundamentalists will never admit they are wrong because that will mean word of God is wrong.

  94. Adnan says:
    December 17th, 2007 11:18 am

    Bhai “Adnan”, thora boht tu apna alias agay pechay karlaytay takay kuch farq rah jata? :-)

  95. Adnan Rauf says:
    December 18th, 2007 9:49 am

    Pervaiz Hoodbhoy is a False prophet with False ten commandments … service of the archenemy of Mankind…………………….O “educated” people open your eyes ……….see and understand the world with your own eyes……………………

    Wash out all indoctrination in the name of education…………………….

  96. Moiz says:
    December 18th, 2007 1:45 pm

    Why and why it seems to me that Hoodbhoy is trying to make us feel so apologetic about what we are. His last two comandments are contradict each other. Do not make sense. By way of 4 does he mean to say that we go through 5.
    I have nothing agaisnt him but he has made sense to me on fewer occasions.

  97. Tehseen says:
    December 18th, 2007 2:17 pm

    Everyone criticising Hoodbhouy would make some sense if they provided some alternatives. As usual all complains no contribution.

  98. Adnan Rauf says:
    December 18th, 2007 4:17 pm

    True ten commandments from the Lord of Heavens are always there…….What more do you want……………as alternative……….

  99. Akif Nizam says:
    December 18th, 2007 4:47 pm

    Hoodbhoy brings forth a viewpoint that takes a lot of courage to uphold in Pakistan where people are routinely killed for lesser things. We don’t have to uphold him as a prophet but he is an accomplished Pakistani and his ideas deserve at least as much contemplation as is awarded to professional maulvis who have never spent a day outside their fantasies.

  100. zia m says:
    December 18th, 2007 5:10 pm

    Same Lord of Heavens also sent Book of Joshua.
    Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others.

  101. Adnan Rauf says:
    December 19th, 2007 5:34 am

    All divine books (Torah Bible Quran) contain the simple message……..from the one true Lord of Heavens………….open your eyes……………Arrogance……indeed make people blind………………..and ……remember arrogance is a subtle thing……………….”Succes” is the biggest cover on your eyes…..

    One example of “Honour and Succes” is the Noble Prize

  102. Derek says:
    December 20th, 2007 9:08 pm

    Hello Everyone,

    I just found this site. I have to say it is very interesting. For a while, I have been wanting to learn more about Pakistan, especially thoughts from actual Pakistanis. I am an American. I hope you don’t mind if I give my thoughts on this article. Thank you.

    I found one very surprising line in this article. I read all the comments, and I didn’t see that anyone disagreed.

    “After 9/11, while the US was engulfed by insurmountable grief, one is ashamed to admit that there was jubilation and actual celebration in most of the Muslim world.”

    Most ? I’m a little surprised by that. Sadly, I’m also not surprised. Anyway, any comments or opinions about that would be appreciated very much by myself.

    Thank You,


  103. Derek says:
    December 22nd, 2007 7:13 pm

    I appreciate Dr. Hoodbhoy’s attempt at reconciliation. I just disagree with some of his conclusions. I am an American. I am well aware that many people dislike and, or, fear my country. I also believe this mindset prevents clear and logical thought. For example, in Dr. Hoodbhoy’s first “commandment” to the U.S.

    ” 1. The United States must stop behaving as if planet Earth belongs to them and that they are the world

  104. Dewana Aik says:
    December 23rd, 2007 1:02 am

    Derek, your comments are appreciated but for a society that still thinks apostasy equals death, Hoodbouy is a giant step forward.

  105. December 23rd, 2007 3:05 am

    With all due respect, I find the thread very depressing and the post very disappointing.

    How is it possible that the words “Islam” and “Muslims” show up in almost every single comment? Why do commentators feel it is necessary to continuously assert “we Muslims” and “Islam” when there are so many other pressing elements to speak about? Here we are to speak about “terrorism” (which, I completely agree is a political and ideological maneuver which is subjectively applied to some actors and individuals in order to discredit them, and at the same time justify violence [ie "terrorism"] by another actor), democracy, politics, etc. And yet the thread is laden with references to “we Muslims” and “Islam” and talking about the Sharia. One can only deduce that this obsession with Islam is the result of some sort of identity conflict which results in defensiveness and the need to constantly re-affirm a component that is very much central to Pakistan already. It also seems that people resort to religion for lack of any other points to make or other issues to think about. And more often than not, this pre-occupation with Islam needing to be central to Pakistan tends to be a middle class/upper middle class fixation. I was stunned when I was once told by a upper middle class Pakistani that the “for the masses, in order for change to occur in Pakistan, Islam would have to sanction it.” How would he know this? Anybody go on foot and ask the “masses”? Would the masses choose an Islamicized state over a state that can provide basic needs an amenities? I just read an excellent article on the Daily Dawn about how completely disconnected the elites and middle class are from the majority of Pakistani citizens.

    It is very sad to see that religion can suffocate thinking, reason, and intellectual liberty to come up with effective solutions and make thoughtful assessments.

    Re: Hoodbhoy: I have always respected Hoodbhoy’s writings, but I find his characterizations so problematic. First of all, his appeals to “Muslims”, as if they are one global monolithic entity that can transcend local and national dynamics, and that these local dynamics are irrelevant. This is simply naiive. The concerns of a Berber Muslim in Morocco are NOT the same as an Indonesian Sufi, or a Pakistani Shia.

    Also, the things he asks “Muslims” to do should not be urged to Muslims only, but to everyone else, regardless of religion.

    Calling for justice for Palestinians is not, and should not, be seen as a Muslim problem. The Angry Arab said that he gets very upset when he hears people speak about the Palestinian situation as a “Muslim” cause, and I completely agree with him. There are many others, who are also not Muslim, who strongly believe in Palestinian justice and are staunchly anti-colonial, and to not recognize that non Muslims demonstrate solidarity to Palestinians on the basis of anti-colonial ideals, equality and justice does a disservice to Palestinians. And surprisingly, I have spoken to “Muslims” who are not Arab and Palestinian who passionately invoke the Palestinian situation, but are alarmingly and remarkably uninformed and/or ignorant of the actual substance of what is going on in Palestine, and Palestinian actors (who are not singularly Muslim, btw, like Edward Said). The fact that Palestine has become a “hot cause” because it has been stamped with the word “Muslim” is troubling. This is sad for Palestinians. (In case you are interested, I personally know Palestinians who bristle at the idea that Palestine is a “Muslim” cause and problem.)

    “the Palestinian issue has become a very important one for the Muslim psyche. Muslims feel they are being victimized by the Christian West, and Palestine has become a symbol of the injustice done to Muslims in today

  106. December 23rd, 2007 3:07 am

    Oh no, my comment is very, very long. It certainly didn’t seem that way when I was writing it.


  107. Derek says:
    December 23rd, 2007 11:17 pm

    Dewana Aik,

    Is that good or bad ? I get the idea from ,Dr. Hoodbhoy that the penalty for apostasy is an internal matter for Pakistan and the U.S. should not have an opinion, or get involved.


  108. Mus says:
    December 26th, 2007 1:25 am

    As if we have not read and heard enough about terrorism,we now have Dr.Hoodbhoy coming to a US university and refreshing students all about it,lest they do not ever forget.
    Nothing new or interesting from the physicist most of whose lectures deal with all issues except science.

  109. Mus says:
    December 26th, 2007 1:28 am

    Hoodhboy has never concealed his agenda which is to malign Shariah in whatever way he can.
    While US visas are closed to all those who have anything to do with Islam,they are available to all who can do their bit in maligning Islam or criticize Shariah.

  110. Dewana Aik says:
    December 26th, 2007 6:28 pm

    Will all those pissants who are condemning hoodbouy come up with a single idea better than his?

  111. Derek says:
    December 27th, 2007 1:46 am

    What is wrong with criticizing shariah ? It is human nature to examine and critique that which affects our freedoms.

  112. April 28th, 2008 9:39 am

    I do not comprehend where in the post Dr. Hoodbhoy is enlightening us and where Ms. Maryam’s commentary starts. Anyway, I respect Dr. Hoodbhoy’s views as he has every right to have his own point of view though many consider him controversial as far as Islam is concerned.

    I also agree with Mus that most of the subjects he picks up for lectures are other than what he has done his doctrorate in i.e Nuclear Physics.

    He is perhaps doing a balancing act by dividing 10 commandments equally to each. My using this space unnecessarily will be a wastage as Desi Italiana has elaborately commented already, and one cannot agree more with him.

  113. December 21st, 2008 9:41 pm

    Well HoodBhai , over-rates himself as a scholar. He is hardly an ordinary let alone intelligent person. He suggested so many different things but he should have mentioned how these are affecting us / world / muslims.

    May be his version of Islam is not practical but I do see the version followed by 99% of Muslims as practical and we can live in the world with it.

  114. ali says:
    January 6th, 2009 12:03 am

    Mus Says I quote “Hoodhboy has never concealed his agenda which is to malign Shariah in whatever way he can.
    While US visas are closed to all those who have anything to do with Islam,they are available to all who can do their bit in maligning Islam or criticize Shariah.” Few years back I was a committed devoted Hardliner, one day I had an argument with my friends over Sharia, without knowing completely, I stood for it, later I went to my Imam sahab and asked for Sharia, things he told me were different from my Alim (who made me mememorise Quran) I got confuse, more I went to ask different Ullema more I got confused. each one gave entirely different story of what is Sharia. Lastly I realised that Sharia is nothing but just a old timed version of maintaining state of Medina and Makkah and living standards of people of Makkah and Medina. I used to Cheer myself by repeating “Islam Mukamal Zabata-e-Hayat hay” now I know What is “Zabta(discipline)” and Hayat(life).

  115. SMJ says:
    January 14th, 2009 5:46 am

    Interesting that some comments suggest that Hoodbhoy must not dabble with social and political evils and suggest ways out merely because he’s professionally a physics man. Firstly, all human beings are political animals so no matter what we do in our professional lives, a part of us is also political and we do care and feel about our surroundings. Secondly, as a counter argument, Noam Chomsky, the most widely read and acknowledged political thinker and commentator, is by profession a linguist. I have heard anyone picking on his views and writings for the reason that he’s a linguist, not a political scientist or an economist. If a brain is able to think and question and suggest ways of resolving the issues, he or she should have all the liberty to do that, regardless of his or her background, be it even someone serving time in a jail. Reasoning must be encouraged at all levels in everyone of us at all times.

  116. ashutosh mishra says:
    May 28th, 2009 5:55 am

    Looks like some of you guys must be seeing his having a view on these socio-cultural and religious matters, and expressing them qualifies him for some penalty…. you know what they are doing in Swat etc. Some of you are incorrigible.Thanks

  117. A.H Amin says:
    July 9th, 2009 10:19 pm

    good article

Have Your Say (Bol, magar piyar say)