The paucity of historians within Pakistan

The keynote speech at the Lahore Literary Festival this year was given by the distinguished historian Professor Romila Thapar. In her excellent address, Professor Thapar took us on a journey of discovering ancient India — of which she is a specialist — pointing out at the outset that “history is a dialogue between the present . . . → Read More: The paucity of historians within Pakistan

When inclusivity goes haywire

Jeep raised eyebrows during the US Super Bowl on Sunday when it aired a commercial that showed a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf.

The ad, set to the American folk song “This Land is Your Land”, starts with landscapes across the US, then moves to different scenes around the world.

. . . → Read More: When inclusivity goes haywire

Why Haruki is capturing the literary landscape across the globe

For my birthday, my children bought me the book Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. This was exactly the present I wanted! I am a passionate Murakami fan and I was eager to read the new novel, which would afterwards find a place of honor on my bookshelf . . . → Read More: Why Haruki is capturing the literary landscape across the globe

NGO and Imperialist Feminism collide!

‘Hello my Aman-o-Nisa sisters!’, Hilary Clinton greeted a delegation of elite Pakistani NGO ‘Women Moderating Extremism’ in Washington, DC in 2012.

Aman-o-Nisa members looking pretty star-struck upon meeting Sister Hillary

. . . → Read More: NGO and Imperialist Feminism collide!

Muslim sensitivity towards cartoons on the Prophet draws from religious nationalism

By Mustafa Akyol

WILL “moderate Muslims” finally “speak up” against their militant coreligionists? People around the world have asked (but, as in the past, have not all seriously examined) this question since last week’s horrific attacks on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and . . . → Read More: Muslim sensitivity towards cartoons on the Prophet draws from religious nationalism

The need for a socio-political dialogue within the west and the Muslim world

By Ayesha Siddiqa

Let’s not hide behind our silence and discuss the Paris attacks. Indeed, there is a lot of discussion on social media but the silence of the print and electronic media is amazing. It is almost as if the tragedy of 17 people getting killed did not happen. While the Saudi . . . → Read More: The need for a socio-political dialogue within the west and the Muslim world

The glaring double standards within the free speech debate

Dear liberal pundit,

You and I didn’t like George W Bush. Remember his puerile declaration after 9/11 that “either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists”? Yet now, in the wake of another horrific terrorist attack, you appear to have updated Dubya’s slogan: either you are with free speech… or you are . . . → Read More: The glaring double standards within the free speech debate

Singling out Muslims

Media coverage of the Paris shootings is typical of previous incidents involving Islam and free speech in the West. Much of it has veered between the misleading, sensationalist and absurd – such as a “terrorism expert” on Fox News branding Birmingham a “Muslim-only city”.

Journalists have jumped on the “Je Suis Charlie” bandwagon. Many would . . . → Read More: Singling out Muslims

Where does the future lie?

So, it happened yet again. The recent commemoration of the martyred ex-governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, was attacked by militant youth belonging to a local religious group. This happened not in Waziristan or in Balochistan, but in the heart of urban metropolitan Lahore, where peaceful protestors gathered around in the remembrance of one of the . . . → Read More: Where does the future lie?

The rage behind Islamism

FACED with a horror like the slaughter of 148 schoolchildren and school staff members by the Taliban in Pakistan, it is tempting to describe the act as “inhuman” or “medieval.” What made the massacre particularly chilling, though, is that it was neither. The killings were all too human and of . . . → Read More: The rage behind Islamism