“Islamic Chains”

A classic example of liberal Muslims essentially spoiling the fun for everyone..

H/T Kabir Sahib; he sent me this link about how Atif Mian was removed from the Economic Advisory Council because he was Ahmadi.

In her facebook post; Vidhi used the term “Islamic chains”, which offended many of my liberal Islamic friends.

The point is that my friends weren’t necessarily upset by the governmental communique, which threatens to kill the Pakistani drama industry. They were a bit ambivalent about it; the way Pakistanis usually are when it comes to Aasia Bibi, Qandeel Baloch and all the other horrors in our society.

However if Islam or the Prophet (God forbid we don’t use Holy or PBUH) are somehow criticised then all hell breaks lose. A few observations about Muslim liberals:

  • Very few Muslims are genuinely liberal but rather their alliance with liberalism is the umbrella by which they can operate.
  • There are priorities of criticism and loss of life is not as important as loss of honour.
  • Constructive Criticism is mistaken for insults in most Muslim culture since the concept of izzat is so strong.
  • Muslim loyalty to the religion is a thing of wonder; it is a conditioning that somehow survives secularism. Even the atheist Persians will instinctively rally to Muslim causes and sometimes Kafir Baha’is will take to the blogosphere to defend Muslim High culture.
  • India is ready to lose her soul in order to be rich, Muslim cultures will hold onto their soul even at the cost of prosperity.
  • The Kafir complex is very embedded in the Pakistani Muslim psyche; the outrage over the Aasia Bibi case is fairly feeble.
  • Liberal Pakistanis are complicity in their explanations “But Pakistan is a Muslim Republic.” The justifications are just not good enough.
  • Even if India has acted as bossy big sister (Kashmir, unpaid monies at Independent, territorial adjustment, Bdesh); Pakistan simply has failed to manage the relationship.
  • If we had limited our demands to to restoring the primacy of Persian in the Muslim areas (especially Punjab, Delhi & the northwestern zone) and the hegemony of Urdu in the rest we would have ensured our High Cultural supremacy in South Asia, which is what matters. But Pakistanis & Muslims aren’t adroit negotiators so resorted to religious claptrap.

32 thoughts on ““Islamic Chains””

  1. “… we would have ensured our High Cultural supremacy in South Asia, which is what matters.”

    Why is high culture so important ?
    (Is it to you personally or are you talking on behalf of all subcontinental Muslims ?)

    1. Iran & Persians command so much respect globally (despite an awful modern history) because of oil wealth (which isn’t much) but an unassailable High Culture.

      I visited Tehran twice in quick succession two years ago. It’s extraordinary to see how well-maintained, artistic and aesthetic the city is..

      1. Sorry Zack, you arent making much sense here. The problem with religious extremism in Pakistan is that its severely restricting the freedom and prosperity of its people, not some loss of ‘high culture’.

        I think you are seeking social (and political ?) capital within an Indian context (specifically North Indian). The reason for the diminishing of this social capital is the democratization of India, not some religious politics.

        1. Read up on the Nizam of Hyderabad post Independence. The Indian government basically fleeced them.

          Lots of people query about why the Islamic world isn’t progressing but when the traditional elites have all been humiliated and destroyed (where are the Ottomans, Mughals or Qajars) it makes life a whole lot tougher..

          1. Muslim elites arent the only ones who suffered during colonization. How did Japan and now India manage to rise ?

            And why are the Muslim elite of India major movie stars, businessmen and scientists ?

          2. Vikramji

            We like our Muslims as our naachnegaaneywalas. America likes its elite blacks also to be in the LeBron James and JayZ category. In business and science we only have token singular examples. Also Bohra like Azim Premji are not really considered sachcha Musalman. Definitely not dark skinned minuscule figured Tamil Dr Kalam with sitting at feet of sadhus and reading shlokas from Geeta to get day started. Latter belongs to tamarind category not beef lol

          3. Zack,

            the traditional elites have all been humiliated and destroyed (where are the Ottomans, Mughals or Qajars)

            You know the reed vs oak proverb.

            Is the religion more important, or power.

            Almost all elites in Sri Lanka have jumped between between Hinduism/Buddhism, Catholic, Anglican and back to Hinduism/Buddhism.

            Dont let the names fool you.
            Tamil leadership: Sumathiran, SJV Chelvanayagam Methodists.
            Sinhalese: Bandaranayake, Wickremasinghe
            Lakshman Kadirgama.

            Isnt religion (I include democracy, human rights etc) just a political tool for the cynical power hungry. Its used to oppress the other, help those who join the system. In converse can be used as a rallying cry to oppose the ruling “religion”. e.g. Capitalism vs Marxism.
            Either one joins ruling religion and move up, or it is

          4. Ottomons , overthrown by their people as unfit for the 20th century or beyond. (Boris Johnson’s grandfather was the last Ottomon minister and he was lynched and torn literally by pro-Ataturk crowds)

            Mughals , same side goal by the feudal elite in Mughal heartland. Refusal to modernise, refusal for democratic politics.

      2. I do not get this Iran worship. Bahaiis worshipping Iran is akin to Jews worshipping Hitlerian Germany. This is particularly galling that there are a number of Bahaii asylum seekers from Iran in US stuck in detention centers in El Paso and elsewhere.

        “Iran commands so much respect globally —” is at the best, cliché. At this time, nobody cares (Kabir, do not ask me if India commands respect. Nobody cares in that case also).

  2. Zack

    Perhaps it is better to make the jump towards thinking of Muslim subcontinental politics as that of a jaati than that of a mazhab/sampradaya. The call to religion in this case is just a tool for said jaati to increase its power vis a vis others. If you think in terms of jaati, the tribalism triumphing over so called political stances like liberalism etc will make sense. Folks from Kabir to Jinnah can be liberals but the tribal sentiment for the growth security and prosperity of the Musalmaan jaat supersedes whatever liberal stance they imbibe socially.

  3. I found the language of “Islamic chains” kind of gratuitous and offensive. I don’t disagree with Vidhi’s basic point. However, there are two things:
    1) most Pakistanis tend to be sensitive to criticism of Islam and Pakistan, especially when it comes from a non-muslim and an Indian, two groups which have traditionally been opposed to us. There was a hint of schadenfreude in her choice of language.
    2) PEMRA exists to regulate the media industry. We can argue that they are not doing a good job, but not that they don’t have the right to do it.Personally I’m not in favor of censorship. But PEMRA’s job is to identify what is appropriate in the Pakistani context.

    Not wanting Islam insulted doesn’t make one less liberal. It is a major part of our identity.

    The Atif Mian thing is a much more serious issue, though I’m not surprised given that PTI is basically a right-wing party. Its particularly upsetting that they first appointed him and then succumbed to pressure so quickly.

      1. Without a sceptic attitude towards religion, forget about ‘liberalism’ , no rational attitude or debate about any social or political issue can come up or policy can be made.

      2. No one is not “allowing” Islam to be insulted. I’m simply pointing out that I don’t particularly care for the language used. That’s all I can do.

        Remember when you took offense at “monkey god” on behalf of your in-laws? Most people are not happy when people say nasty things about their country or religion.

        If a Pakistani Muslim had said similar things, it would have been one thing. When Indians take delight in how great their (also third-world) country is in comparison to Pakistan, our hackles get a bit raised.

        1. Vidhi’s husband is part-Pakistani. I think I’m sufficiently patriotic and she is allowed to use her connection with me to comment on her husband’s Fatherland?

          India is verging on the Second World not Third World.

          Monkey god was offensive; she didn’t abuse the religion, she merely highlighted that there are chains on freedom of thought..

          1. Oh for Christ’s sake! Wikipedia calls Lord Hanuman a “monkey god”. Are you offended by Wikipedia?

            I don’t like it when non-Muslims use words like “Islamic chains” or snipe about the lack of intellectuals in Pakistan. Perhaps the same respect can be accorded to Islam and Pakistan that you accord to Hinduism and India? Such language as was used is likely to alienate many Pakistani Muslims, not just me (most Pakistanis are way more Muslim than I am).

            India is very much a third-world place, just slightly better than Pakistan.

      3. Zack says
        Liberalism is allowing any ideology to be insulted

        In practice
        Liberalism is allowing any ideology to be insulted other than one holds dear, or ideologies that are supposed to be “minorities” within your social group.

        1. You too sbarrkum?

          What is now practiced under liberalism in US and Europe is because most of the ideals of liberalism are close to be attained. In such societies, there is freedom of speech and action, equality of women and races (the second, to a limited extent), pluralism and toleration are welcomed, and in the economic sense, medicare, social security and unemployment + benefits provides a certain sense of liberalism.

          In India (not qualified to talk about SL or P), most of the tenets of liberalism are considered orally, but deficient in practice; but there is no equality of people or sexes; the economic structure provides no social security or medicare, at least for those who are not formally employed.

          We should not be taking what is happening in advanced societies and applying the ideas here. We are about 50 years away from having a liberal (socially, “equality, tolerance and pluralism”, economically “Smith’s legacy, Say’s law, Malthus theories of population and Ricardo’s iron law of wages, and Keynes’s extensions via the general theory —-“) society.

          So, before we shout down the liberalism, let us see we get anywhere near the practice.

    1. The funniest part was my pti supporting Pakistani freinds here in USA actually thought that pti will stand their ground. But then they have other illusions like ppp , mqm and anp are secular parties ( that’s why they hate them )

      1. Lots of people are delusional. There was never any indication that PTI was anything other than center-right.

  4. “Even if India has acted as bossy big sister (Kashmir, unpaid monies at Independent, territorial adjustment, Bdesh); Pakistan simply has failed to manage the relationship.”

    During Partition, it just so happened that all the currency printing press were in what was supposed to be present day India (Probably there were 3 or 4 in total). Mountbatten asked Patel to remove one of them and send it to Pakistan. Patel said “Why? Nobody asked them to secede”


    1. It takes two to tango and India’s attitude towards the Islamic Republic of Pakistan hasn’t been all that great either.

      1. Patel was the right man at the right time – i.e. take hard nosed decisions when they were needed. However , I despise making a cult out of that man – or any man – by building the biggest statue in the world for him. No man deserves anything more than a head bust of 12 inches. Any woman similar bust.

    2. Yeah we haven’t been fair to Pakistan. But i feel that the whole Junagarh and Hyderabad thing set it in motion. Patel was willing to talk on Kashmir, and probably would have accepted Jammu and Ladakh for seceding Kashmir to Pakistan . But once Junagarh happened he became adamant that he will now not play ball on Kashmir. It was just silly tit for tat.

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