Posts Tagged ‘media muftis’

The Nation promoting jihadi ideology?

Monday, April 18th, 2011

The Nation on Friday included a column that reads as if it were dusted off from the 1980s under Gen Zia. The author, Mr Tarik Jan, affixes to secular journalists the label of ‘communist’ and attempts to persuade readers of a Zia-era form of Islamism under the disguise of twisted logic. Worse still, his conclusion reaches to points that are beyond the pale and may approach the promotion of terrorism against innocent citizens.

Tarik JanThe author of the column, ‘Legitimising the illegitimate’, is Mr Tarik Jan who The Nation identifies in his by line as ‘a freelance columnist’. But a quick internet search reveals that there is more to Mr Jan’s CV than merely writing an occasional freelance column.

Mr Tarik is a member of the previously exposed ‘virtual think tank’ O.M. (Opinion Maker) Center for Policy Studies that has been tied to intelligence agencies and retired military officers from the Zia era. According to the Opinion Maker website, Mr Tarik Jan’s primary focus is fighting secularism and promoting an Islamic state. The ‘virtual think tank’ lists book titles by Mr Jan as the following:

  • The Life and Times of Muhammad Rasul Allah – Universalizing the Abrahamic Tradition;
  • The Secular Threat to Pakistan’s Security;
  • Pakistan Between Secularism and Islam – Ideology, Issues, and Conflict;
  • Islam and the Secular Mind
  • Engaging Secularism;
  • Muhammad Rasul Allah – Toward the Universal Islamic State;
  • Pakistani ma’sharay kay liyay la-din fikr kay mazamaraat

While Mr Tarik Jan appears to be a well funded writer of Islamist literature, we have been unable to find a public record of any religious training. Rather, the only connections we have been able to establish for Mr Jan are ties to military and intelligence related organisations.

Despite a lack of known religious training, Mr Jan uses his column to dismiss the idea of ‘secularism’ as “a worldview that robs the universe and the planetary existence of its moral and spiritual essence and tries to understand it as mechanical materialism”. This is Mr Jan’s interpretation based on the writings of George Jacob Holyoake who is credited with inventing the term. But Mr Holyoake invented the term in 1956 and died in 1906.

Mr Jan admits that the definition has changed over the past 100 years, so it must be asked why he prefers to use a definition from 1856. Could it be that he ignores modern definitions and practices of political secularism because he realises that modern definitions undermine his case?

Mr Jan goes on to say that secularism has no place in Pakistan because it is “a foreign originated concept…turned into an ideology and stretched to embrace politics, economics, morality, and other aspects of life and uses state machinery to impose it…” But cannot the same be said of Islam which was not revealed in Pakistan but brought here and transformed from a religion into an ideology by Gen Ziaul Haq?

One particular example of the danger of secularism that Mr Tarik Jan points to is Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy’s “saying that rains did not fall because of people’s prayers; rather there are laws of nature that are instrumental in the cloud formation and rains”. The author complains that the scientist did not tell the people “Who created the laws of nature”.

To Tarik Jan, such expressions are not merely an annoyance. Rather he writes that “the Quran declares such attitudes as amounting to kufr”. The author then goes on to declare that ” Muslims always considered the caliphate as a model system of governance”. And what of those who do not agree with Mr Tarik Jan about the wisdom of a caliphate government?

In the last leg of the Umayyad when the zanadiqah (atheists and secular) mounted their assault on the moral core of the Muslim society by spreading licentious living, free sex, liquor, gambling and above all atheism, the Abbasid caliphs Al-Mahdi and Al-Mansour decided to crush them. They not only killed them, but also engaged eminent scholars to write books for the eradication of the then secular threat. Likewise, Al-Mahdi’s parting words to his son Al-Hadi are a reflection of his Islamic concerns: “If Allah ever gave you the chance to rule, do not spare any effort to crush the Mäni’s followers.”

This is a disturbing statement on its own. Does Tarik Jan believe that secularists should be killed? Does he believe that he is like the Abbasid caliphs “scholars” who “write books for the eradication of the then secular threat? We must especially examine such a statement with an eye to other evidence of Mr Tarik Jan’s intended meaning. For that, we will look to his past.

In 2008, following 26/11 attack, a reporter from TIME Magazine spoke to Mr Tarik Jan and wrote that he,

pines for the golden era of the Mughal period in the 1700s and has a fervent desire to see India, Pakistan and Bangladesh reunited under Islamic rule.

Reading the closing paragraph of his column with Mr Tarik Jan’s previous statements fresh in the memory, it is hard not to come to the conclusion that his column is in fact advocating the murder of anyone who does not support a new caliphate. If this is correct, The Nation is not engaging in innocent debate, it is projecting terrorism.

The role of religion in society and government is a legitimate topic of debate. Articles by learned religious scholars are a welcome addition to the discussion so that the people can evaluate different points of view. But there is a chasm of difference between learned religious scholars and paid propagandists who believe that they are promoting jihadi ideology to undermine the state and bring about a new caliphate.

Why did The Nation not reveal the true identity of Mr Tarik Jan? Were they not aware of his past statements and beliefs? Were they not aware of his association with ‘virtual think tanks’? Rather than answering questions about religion and secularism, Mr Tarik Jan’s column in The Nation only raises new and troubling questions about what is being offered in the media to unknowing and unsuspecting readers.

Mullah Ansar Abbasi Imitates American, Indian Religious Extremists

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

In his latest bizarre religious sermon, Qadi Ansar Abbasi has explained the CWC 2011 semi-final loss to arch rival India as due to Allah’s anger at a lack of anti-American protests.

Ansar AbbasiAnd yet despite our weaknesses and faults, and our rigidity not to get ourselves reformed, we pray to Allah to give us success in a cricket match as if we would conquer the world. By the way why should Allah listen to us when we as a nation have shown no concern, as against our interest for the cricket, over the shameful events of desecration of Holy Quran by an American priest and on the shameful release of Raymond Davis. Not one percent of the people came out in the streets on these issues as compared to those who gathered on streets and roads of Pakistan just to watch the cricket match between Pakistan and Indian on mega screens.

Actually, Mullah Ansar is working from a popular tradition among media preachers of all religions. Using tragedies to incite hatred against political opponents.

In 2001, American televangelists Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell said 9/11 attacks were God’s wrath on pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays, lesbians, American Civil Liberties Union, People for the American Way, and “people who want to secularize America”.

In 2004, Rajeez Srinivasan wrote an article suggesting that deaths from the deadly earthquake and tsunami could be attributed to “adharma gaining ground” in India.

Earlier this year, the FOX News commentator Glenn Beck said that the devastating tsunami and tragedy in Japan is the result of God’s wrath also.

“Whether you call it Gaia, or whether you call it Jesus, there’s a message being sent and that is, ‘Hey, you know that stuff we’re doing? Not really working out real well.’ Maybe we should stop doing some of it.”

Blaming tragedies on God’s anger with minorities or political opponents is a cheap trick used by forces of intolerance. By imitating American and Indian religious extremism, Ansar Abbasi further erodes his already severely damaged credibility.

Mullah Ansar Abbasi’s pseudo-religious ranting stands in stark contrast to the positive and well-reasoned reaction to our team’s performance by the editorial team at The News which wrote on the same day:

Our boys could not make it in the end but they fought like brave men and lost to a better side, which had the added advantage of playing at home before their cheering crowds. There could be many reasons and many scapegoats for our loss but it must be said that the Pakistani boys did a much better job in the World Cup than was being expected before the matches began. They defeated many stronger teams and reached the final four to lose to a better team. It was only a game of cricket but there are many bright sides to the entire mega event. The passion which the World Cup generated within the country and the way the entire nation united and rooted for their team, proved that Pakistanis could get together for a cause which inspires and motivates them. The politicians should better get a cue and start working to rally the people around a cause which the people can support with similar enthusiasm and unity of purpose.

Qadi Ansar Abbasi

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

Ansar AbbasiAnsar Abbasi is donning the robes of justice again, just as he did last year when he took suo moto notice of NAB and, despite a total lack of evidence, accused the government of launching a full frontal attack against the Chief Justice. As usual, it has been several months since that prediction and yet still Ansar Abbasi’s smears and accusations came to naught. Now, though, Abbasi has upgraded from his usual gavel and wig for a Quran and kaffiyeh and pronounced himself Qadi in the case of Raymond Davis.

Some people might ask what are Ansar Abbasi’s qualifications for issuing such edicts. First, let us rest assured that he has received a Masters Degree from University of London with a research thesis on child labor. Surely it was this research that led to his rulings on public flogging of young girls.

It is well established that, having graduated from Maulana Syed Abul A’Ala Maududi School of Journalism, Ansar Abbasi is also well qualified to issue edicts against Fashion weeks and also explain how WikiLeaks is a conspiracy against Muslims. This past week, Qadi Ansar Abbasi has extended his religious judgments to the case of Raymond Davis also.

Beginning on Capital Talk programme, Ansar Abbasi declared as invalid the ruling of the court to acquit and release Raymond Davis through the application of Qisas and Diyat because through his extensive learning in Islamic law he has found the case to be one of ‘Fasad-fil-Arz’ therefore making diyat inapplicable. Qadi Ansar Abbasi expounds on his ruling in the Raymond Davis case on the front page of The News the following day declaring that, ‘We have sold ourselves, once again’.

Actually, Ansar Abbasi does not limit his role to Islamic jurist only but retains his previous wig and gavel also. He takes the place of the court of law by insisting that the question of ‘Fasad-fil-Arz’ must be examined “In the context of Punjab police investigation proving Davis to have killed two young men in a cold blooded manner”. However this never actually happened in the court. While it is true that CCPO Lahore Aslam Tarin held a press conference to declare that Raymond Davis’s act was “clear murder”, this was never examined and ruled by the Lahore High Court. But clearly this is an unnecessary step as the CCPO held a press conference where our Lord Ansar Abbasi was presiding as judge and jury in the case as well as Qadi. Now his ruling has been issued.

Due to the fact that Ansar Abbasi has long since stopped reporting news rather having begun trying to shape the news, his employers have taken to affixing the label ‘Commentary’ to his pieces. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to affix the label of ‘Edicts’.

Recently there was a report that Council of Islamic Ideology is feeling underused. The truth is, CII is not needed as it once was now that we can enjoy the wisdom of Qadi Ansar Abbasi issuing religious rulings for Masjid al-Jang Group.

Our New Media Muftis

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Nevermind that militants have begun using young girls as suicide bombers to kill innocent Muslims, or the fact that lawyers – the very people who are supposed to uphold the laws of the country – are making the most curious arguments to protect a man who admits to cold-blooded murder. No, the biggest problem with straying from true Islam is…corruption. At least, that’s according to Alam Rind in The News on Thursday.

It should be noted that Alam’s article was published on page 5 in the National section of the newspaper and not on page 6 or 7 with the other opinion columns. It should also be noted that the article was labeled ‘Comment’. But I think ‘comment’ sells short what we have here, which is clearly more than that – what we have here is a Fatwa from a Media Mufti.

Here is how Alam describes the problem:

A dispassionate scrutiny of the whole situation reveals that the menace isn’t confined to governmental departments alone, rather the whole society has been infected. In fact, it has become our way of life. Our political and bureaucratic offices are infested with abuses like nepotism, embezzlement, bribery, extortion, influence peddling, and fraud.

These foul practices are posing developmental challenge, undermining democracy and hampering accountability. Corruption in judicial system has eroded the rule of law, weakened the institutions and undermined social and cultural values. It has impeded economic development, enhanced inefficiency and cost of doing business. In the presence of all these vices, there is no wonder that we listen of corruption scandals every now and then. Certainly, it has eaten up the country like termite.

Also let’s not ignore the sector which our anti-corruption crusaders in the media seem to always forget to mention: journalism. Salman Siddiqui broke the silence on this very topic last week in a post for Express Tribune’s blog, and let me tell you I heard more than one voice expressing dissatisfaction with Salman’s letting the cat out of the bag.

And clearly it is corruption that is responsible for the crumbling economy and not the refusal of anyone to pay taxes or the fact that investors avoid any country where they may at any moment be blown to bits by a jihadi on his way to meet his houris. It must be corruption because that’s what he hear from the media each and every day.

It must also be corruption is why India, Asia’s fourth largest exporter of illicit capital to the tune of $104 billion between 2000 and 2008, has a failing economy.

But, wait a minute. For 2011, India expects GDP growth of 8.5 percent and declining inflation. How can that be if corruption is responsible for all of societies ills?

But this is to ignore Alam’s point.

Honesty, contentment and social justice have given way to corruption, cruelty and lust. We are no more practicing one of the most emphasized injunctions of Islam that is to call people to righteous deeds and stop them from evil doing. We need to revisit our socio-religious structure because there is a definite increase in the number of mosques and those who regularly visit these for prayers but Islamic teaching like honesty, truthfulness, trustworthiness, balance in life, contentedness etc. aren’t visible in our society.

Obviously, there is a need to revitalise our beliefs that can only be done through enlightening education. A balanced education that makes us understand the Islamic principles rather than enslaving us of western philosophies holds key to our mental and material development. But let me remind you that there is no quick fix for such a grave problem. It is going to be a long drawn war, which can only be won through collective efforts of the people and government.

Pakistan was ranked number 143 on the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index for 2010. As Alam says, this must be because we have strayed from the true path of Islam. Yes, India did rank better than Pakistan on the corruption index, but that must be because of a Hindu-Zionist conspiracy. I’ll have to check with Mullah Zaid Hamid for some hadiths on that issue. In the meantime, let’s set India aside and look at the top 10 countries with the least corruption:

  • Denmark
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • Finland
  • Sweden
  • Canada
  • Netherlands
  • Australia
  • Switzerland
  • Norway

MashAllah. If there are is any nation more Islamic than these I cannot think of them. Clearly it is as Alam says:

A balanced education that makes us understand the Islamic principles rather than enslaving us of western philosophies holds key to our mental and material development.

Alam laments that “there is no quick fix for such a grave problem”. But I would say it is clear that the solution has already begun by the founding of Mawlana Syed Abul A’ala Maududi School of Journalism and its star pupils Alam Rind, Ansar Abbasi, Talat Hussain and Meher Bokhari.

These Media Muftis continue to remind us of those grave sins that are causing our country to decline such as fashion shows, foreign movie stars providing humanitarian relief, and political leaders requesting justice for minorities. Now, thanks to the Mawlana Syed Abul A’ala Maududi School of Journalism’s latest graduate Alam Rind, we also know how to get rid of corruption – rejecting the slavery of the West and embracing such pinnacles of morality and virtue like Baitullah Mehsud and Mumtaz Qadri.