Aasia bibi is a poor Christian woman from a village in Punjab who was arrested for blasphemy in 2009. She got into an argument with some other women from the village while working in the fields (purportedly over her drinking from a cup of water and hence “polluting” it) and in the course of the argument she allegedly said something “blasphemous” about the holy prophet of Islam. The details of the case are murky and no one seems to know for sure what blasphemous statement she actually made that day (the most commonly reported one is that she said something along the lines of “Jesus died for the sins of the world, what has your prophet done for humanity”; other versions exist; the investigating police officer claims that she said much more, but even quoting it wud be blasphemy, so look it up on wikipedia) but whatever the details, a case was registered under Pakistan’s uniquely harsh blasphemy law (a death sentence is mandatory in case guilt is proven) and she has been in prison ever since.
As usually happens in blasphemy cases, she was sentenced to death by the local court (local judges usually feel it safest to convict any and all accused blasphemers, expecting that the most egregiously wrong verdicts will be reversed by higher courts that have better security). Meanwhile her case had come to national attention and the governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, visited her in prison and spoke of her getting a presidential pardon. He was attacked in the media as a supporter of blasphemers and one of his own body guards shot him dead. The body guard was arrested and eventually hanged, but his grave has become a religious shrine and several ministers (including some in the current Imran Khan government as well as the opposition PMLN) have visited the grave to pay respects to this “hero”.
Somewhat unexpectedly, the Lahore High court upheld her death sentence in spite of multiple lacunae in the prosecution case (case was registered several days later, her accusers had a property dispute with her, witnesses gave contradictory testimony about what happened, etc etc), passing the buck to the supreme court. Meanwhile a section of Barelvi mullahs had latched on to her case as their special cause, making it risky for courts and governments to take her side, so the case languished for year. In the meantime, the army decided these mullahs could be useful in their campaign to take down Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and when these mullahs created a new Islamist party (Tehreek Labaik Ya Rasoolillah, TLYR, “movement (of) We are here o prophet of God”), they appear to have done so with “deep state” support. When a few thousand people from this party blockaded the national capital on a trumped up “issue” related to the finality of prophethood in 2017, the army refused to help Nawaz Sharif’s govt crack down on them and Imran Khan’s party supported them, forcing the interior minister to resign. The party took part in elections in 2018, winning thousands of votes across the country, tilting the balance against Nawaz Sharif in a few critical seats (likely their main purpose as far as the army was concerned) and winning a couple of provincial assembly seats in Sindh.
But while her supporters within Pakistan were powerless to help her, Aasia bibi’s case became famous internationally and the government of Pakistan faced increasing pressure from foreign donors, especially from EU countries. Perhaps because Pakistan is facing one of its periodic financial crises these days and is critically dependent on the goodwill of these donors, her case was finally taken up by the supreme court and a judgement in her favor was announced on October 31st. Non-cynics will no doubt feel that I am being too cynical in ascribing this judgement to anything outside the normal judicial process, so I should add that this is just my personal guesswork, not based on any inside information.
The state knew in advance that a judgement was about to be announced and that it may go in her favor. They also knew that Barelvi groups (led by the TLYR) had made her their pet cause and would undoubtedly protest if she were to be released. Surprisingly (more surprising to those who think Imran Khan’s government is minimally competent) the government appears to have made little or no preparations for this event other than issuing the usual warning letters to local police chiefs to stay vigilant. The Raj era modus operandi in such cases would be to arrest likely ringleaders, secretly buy off others, have a heavy police presence on hand and nip any free lance protests in the bud, while unleashing a propaganda war against them. Arrangements would be in hand for releasing her the moment the judgement is announced and flying her out of the country before the mullahs even realize what has happened. Once she is out of the country the mullahs can vent their rage on the roads, but there are no obvious manageable demands over which they can negotiate with the government. After a few days of protests, arrests, behind-the-scenes shenanigans and payoff and some property damage, the matter will die down. This is not rocket science, it is a tried and tested method of running a country where the ruling elite occasionally has to take unpopular steps. The administrative apparatus of the Raj has decayed considerably over time, but it is still the (rusty) steel frame of civilian rule in Pakistan and this particular job is one they are trained to do and are still capable of carrying off. Unfortunately, the current crop of goofs is new to power and is even less competent than the Zardari or PMLN governments and they appear to have flubbed it.
Beyond the obvious incompetence and disarray of the Imran Khan government lie two other systemic and serious problems with the current state setup in Pakistan; diarchy and the Islamist conundrum. Formally, Pakistan is a constitutional Republic with an elected government and the army is an arm of this government. In actual practice the army is a separate center of power that dominates the civilian regime and acts independently of it. When it feels that the civilians are not cooperating in some domain that they consider critical (or when they feel the civilians are trying to bring the army under civilian control), they are apt to undermine the civilian regime using multiple well developed levers. Intelligence agencies of the army have a presence down to township level and openly interfere in politics and governance. Media houses are pressurized in a thousand different ways to hew to the army’s line and are chock full of anchors and journalists who are mouthpieces for the army. The army runs its own media operation (larger than most “civilian” media groups) and social media is similarly policed and used. It is widely believed that the army helped Imran Khan win the last elections and that this (as opposed to Nawaz Sharif’s government) is a government that is completely subservient to the army. In this setting there is invariably administrative anarchy and lack of responsibility. The de jure government is one thing, the de facto bosses are another. Everyone is looking for signals and hints and reading tea leaves and there is no unity of command. Add to this the fact that the army’s vast PR apparatus has spent decades badmouthing politicians and civilian rulers and undermining their authority and it is a wonder that some sort of civilian administration is still standing. This would be manageable if the tottering remains of the Raj had been replaced by some more efficient (even if undemocratic and illiberal) military regime, but this is not the case. While the army’s ability to use force and manipulate the media and civilian politicians is legendary, its ability to actually administer the country is seriously lacking. Pakistan has had direct military rule for decades and every time they have been forced to restore some semblance of democracy because they simply could not do the job. Unfortunately, they do have the PR ability to obfuscate this fact, but not the actual ability to rule the country. It is the worst of both worlds.
The other problem (the “Islamist conundrum”) consists of the contradictions between trying to be a modern state in a Western (or now Western and Chinese) led world system and an Islamist ideal that recognizes no nation states and no subordinate role for Muslims. There is no space or time to write more about this today, but you can find some Pakistan specific background here. Suffice it so say that this conundrum adds another layer of difficulty to an already difficult problem.
So with this background in view, here is where we are: the supreme court has acquitted Aasia bibi of the charge of blasphemy and as far as the law is concerned, she is free to go. Given that many thousand (perhaps millions) of Pakistanis want to kill her if they can lay their hands on her, the best course for her is to escape to a Western country that will give her asylum. Several countries have already made that offer. But meanwhile, the mullahs (led by the TLYR, until recently a darling of the deep state) are on the streets protesting, blocking roads, burning buses and so on. On the first day after this started, Imran Khan made a (probably completely sincere) speech to the nation in which he insisted that the rule of law would be upheld and violent protests will not be tolerated. True to form, Pakistan’s small but prominent and relatively prosperous liberal elite swooned and went into one of their periodic outbreaks of “hope and change” excitement, imagining that the awesome might of the state would now fall upon the mullahs and Pakistan would change direction, yadda yadda yadda. But within 24 hours the mood has started to sour, as Allah has apparently decided to accelerate the Pakistani liberal’s “elation and depression cycle”; the protesters are out in force, the government seems to be in disarray, the country has been locked down and the Prime minister has flown off to Beijing to beg for money. As a result, some are swinging to the opposite extreme and now talking about an imminent civil war and the demise of all liberal hopes. As usual, I believe Bihari Baba was right and the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
The Pakistani state is not dead and I don’t think they are about to die. Many of the protesters are true believers ready to kill or even die, but their leaders are very low level Barelvi clerics and low level Barelvi clerics are famous as the most easily purchasable commodity in Pakistan. Meanwhile the state still has awesome power at its command. I don’t think this rabble can bring down the government or start a civil war. The criminal incompetence of the regime has allowed this to snowball and the fact that they do not appear to have flown Aasia out yet creates the perfect cause for the protesters to target (i.e. there is a possibility of physically holding her in Pakistan, so that is their first demand; if she were already out, or even if she is taken out now, then the main target is already out of their reach. They can vent their frustration and burn some property, but then there is no obvious single concession that they can demand). But this does not mean civil war. As far as I can tell (and this is of course a distant observer’s guess, make of it what you will) the following scenarios are possible:
- Aasia is flown out. Protesters make a fuss. Some leaders are secretly bought out and others are harshly dealt with. The whole thing peters out in a few days. Those leaders who secretly cooperated are allowed to go back to bashing Ahmedis and whatever politicians needs to be kept in line. Nothing fundamental changes. This may not look likely, but it is very much possible. Even now. Not exactly a happy outcome, but life will go on.
- Government wilts under pressure. Army is not willing to risk (or has no desire for) confrontation with former and current “assets”, so a dishonorable deal is made. Using some completely illegal maneuver, Aasia is again taken into custody (perhaps “for her own safety”) or put on the exit control list. A review petition is filed. It has no standing, but a pliant chief justice can keep it pending. Donors are not happy, so eventually there may be another attempt to get her out. European donors may even be cajoled into applauding the government’s “sincere desire” and Anatol Lieven or Kugelman or some such can write an op-ed about how hard things are for the Pakistani government and how much they deserve to be paid more or else the mullahs will take over. Life goes on.
- Government completely helpless. Mullahs (more likely, their sympathizers in the security forces) allow someone to kill Aasia bibi. Sad news. Much hand wringing. Some of the protesters are seen hugging each other and weeping uncontrollably. Some genius writes an op-ed about the psychological pain of being involved in such protests. Life goes on, but the sky looks distinctly darker. (at least to liberals)
- This one is a doozy. It is not likely, but it is not out of the question. Aasia is allowed out. Free lance true believers kill one or more judges, generals or ministers (even Imran Khan is not safe). Martial law is declared. Some mullahs are arrested and there are rumors that some may even be shot. Liberals split on supporting army rule. Much hand wringing. Major economic crisis. People start to think of entirely new arrangements. Shit happens.
Which one will it be? I think #1 is still the most likely, but perhaps I am out of touch. What do YOU think?
For background on the blasphemy issue and why it will not go away, see here.
PS: There is a “liberal dream scenario” out there wherein this is a “turning point” and now the army and Imran Khan have realized what a mistake it was to support these mullahs and there will be a major and thorough crackdown on all bigoted mullahs and Pakistan will become Jinnah’s Pakistan (never mind that Jinnah himself went to Lahore to defend a famous blasphemy murderer who had killed a Hindu publisher to defend the honor of the prophet). This is not going to happen. The narrative of the deep state (and one they sincerely believe in at one level) is pan-Islamist and more to the point, their hard work of 50 years has gone into setting up and supporting the Islamist infrastructure in Pakistan. They cannot easily let it go. And even if they wanted to, the cause has wide public support. Westernized liberals and Marxists are a small minority. It is senseless to expect their will to prevail.
PPS: Yes, the investigating officer’s version of her “blasphemy” was in this article earlier, but someone pointed out that they could not share it in Pakistan because reproducing the remarks would be blasphemy, so I have removed it, the actual words are at this link)
None of this is in the media. Total blackout. pic.twitter.com/92fdI1OImo
— Gul Bukhari (@GulBukhari) November 2, 2018
The funeral of Salman Taseer’s murderer (and bodyguard) Mumtaz Qadri
25 thoughts on “Pakistan’s Hybrid Government and the Aasia Bibi Fiasco..”
How I met Zia ul Haq.
I was a freshman when Zia ul Haq visited Belgrade. It was very cold, windy, winter day in Belgrade. It was so freezing, there were no people on the streets. The protocol was when some foreign leader first time visits the country, the Belgrade’s mayor gives him a sightseeing tour of the city. I was in front of my high school waiting for a friend to come down. The presidential car stopped, Zia stepped out with the mayor, said something to me and offered his hand for handshaking. I was a bit surprised with all security around, accepted his hand and also responded something like ‘me too’.
After so many years I’ve been trying to reconstruct what he said to me. Somehow, I am more and more convinced that he said something as: ‘Hi, I am glad to visit your nice country and friendly people whose ancestors long time ago also visited my country and where many their descendants still live.’
I don’t know what is his legacy and memories on him today in Pakistan but I remember him today, 30 years since he was assassinated in airplane crash.
Pakistan has no hope of building itself as a modern state. Each year it will dig itself deeper and deeper into the religious hole, chosen by it’s founder.
Quaid-e-Azam did not choose the “religious hole”. He wanted a Muslim-majority state not an “Islamic” one. It can be argued that for him the Muslims of British India were more of an ethnic group than a religious one. This can obviously be debated and found false but it probably reflects his reasoning.
Today’s Pakistan is much more the country of General Zia than of Jinnah. It was General Zia who strengthened the Blasphemy laws, introducing the death penalty. I agree with you that Pakistan cannot progress unless the religious right is brought under control. Unfortunately, since various parties are more interested in using the religious right against each other, this doesn’t seem likely to happen.
The best case scenario for Pakistan is that it becomes a state in which Islam remains the major cultural and religious force but which also protects the rights of all non-Muslim minorities. This would be in line with the founder’s vision.
On the one hand, it is very good news that Aasia Bibi has been acquitted. To have sentenced her to death on such flimsy evidence would have been a travesty of justice, not to mention the damage it would have done to Pakistan’s (already bad) reputation.
The reaction on the street seems like it should have been predicted (and as you point out) prepared for. Blasphemy is such a sensitive issue that many people are not willing to accept the court’s decision that she is innocent. The religious right is obviously going to use this issue to their own advantage.
Imran Khan said the right things (don’t confront the State etc). The problem is that when these parties were being used to bring down the PML-N government, PTI was in their favor. They have now gotten used to a situation where they can take any issue and shut down the country. Maybe it will be different this time since they have called for people to mutiny against the Army, which is obviously not acceptable to the powers that be. It is ridiculous that the government can only deal with a group of protesters by snapping mobile phone signals and closing national highways and schools.
I believe a review petition has already been filed, which asks for Aasia Bibi’s name to be placed on the ECL. However, the government has distanced itself from this action.
Where does this put folks like Hafiz Saeed ? I read that he has called for protests, but is otherwise subdued. How much of this is competition between various ultra-religious groups and their leaders ?
I believe that the main force behind these protests is Maulana Khadim Rizvi of the TLYR. Hafiz Saeed doesn’t seem to be prominent in the news coverage. However, blasphemy is an issue where the entire religious right is on one side. Maulana Fazlur Rehman of the JUI-F thinks that this verdict means that Pakistan is becoming a secular state and working on a “foreign agenda”.
“Meanwhile her case had come to national attention and the governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, visited her in prison and spoke of her getting a presidential pardon. He was attacked in the media as a supporter of blasphemers and one of his own body guards shot him dead.”
The sins of the father will be visited over the the sons. The son of MD Tasser paid for his father’s sin
There are two interesting things which i noted in the verdict
A. The judges unequivocally state in the starting that they believe in no other god than Allah and they are pure muslims. Deep down even they know the damocles sword hanging over them, considering the fate of past judges adjudicating the case.
B.In the same verdict it talks about a(mildly appreciates) the killing of the rangila rasool editor. The point they were making is its justified to kill people if they have blasphemed. But since Asiya hasnt blasphemed she cannot be punished. It would be interesting when a genuine blasphemy case comes up.
Assassin of Rangila rasool was defended by Jinnah and praised by Iqbal. With such pedigree, the present happenings shouldn’t surprise anyone.
The judges were in a very difficult position. It is no wonder that they felt the need to quote the Quran and shore up their own Islamic credentials. I believe they also drew on arguments relating to how the Prophet (pbuh) treated minorities.
In today’s Pakistan, it is probably impossible to argue for removing the Blasphemy law entirely. The best that can be hoped for is that the law is not abused, which the court believed it was in this case. Salman Taseer was killed just for suggesting that the law needed to be reformed–not removed. Not surprisingly, the judges needed to tread carefully.
“Ghabrana Nahin Hain”
we can hope for the best, humans do have the capacity to learn.I think there is more exposure now than before. Even if not in pakistan for now, then for muslims in western countries looking into this issue . This could only happen because this was a christian women, i dont think much would have happened if it was others. Muslims in other countries (including indonesia and malaysia) countries have an opportunity they never had. A way to help change the narrative of Islam in more tune with sympathy and kindness. It is from there that changes might ultimately come within. That is the hopeful side. On other hand, I dont think anyone else has planned for what if it doesnt happen even like that. What then? Or when / how to quantify progress on this score.And is this irreversible? . There seems to be a total lack on all this. This more than anything else makes people suspicious.
A somewhat tangential thought, but I was wondering if there is any Islamic society which has progressed from being a conservative society to becoming more liberal and open? I can’t think of any even over the course entire Islamic history. Think of it – Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Malaysia, in fact almost everywhere the trend is towards more and more fundamentalism.
Islamic fundamentalism is really a slippery slope. There is only one way to go – downwards. Personally I am pessimistic towards the future of entire Muslim world.
Snake Charmer Malaysian and Indonesian muslims are liberal and open, Hindu muslims if you will. But this is not the counter example you are looking for because they have been this way for half a millenia.
Indian muslims don’t count because they are a minority of the country–albeit there are over 200 million Indian muslims.
Albanian and Kosovo muslims, Azerbaijani muslims, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Russian, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kirghistan have also long been liberal and open muslims. And have not become that.
I guess you would put Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco into that category too?
We have seen the beginnings of what you are asking in Iraq since 2006, although there is a long way to go.
We have not yet seen it in Libya.
Turkey did make a lot of progress since 1920 but has lost some of those gains since 2003.
Bangladesh is moving in the wrong direction.
Snakecharmer, would you like me to ask some muslim friends this question? It is a good question.
Snake Charmer, what do you think of my thesis that all we need is freedom of art and thought? And then use this freedom of art and thought to engage in dialogue. Which will melt hearts through the sweetness of love.
The problem is that people who engage in dialogue with Islamists and Jihadists tend to get killed. There isn’t enough freedom of art and thought around the world.
I don’t deny that Malaysia and Indonesia are relatively liberal – compared to say Saudi Arabia, but the trend is definitely towards more conservatism. This is the point I am making. Gradient of Islamic fundamentalism is always positive; it always increases. Turkey’s transformation under Kamal Ataturk doesn’t count. It was a transition from a medieval society to a modern society, not from a conservative Islamic society to a liberal one.
Somewhat paradoxically, education seems to fan the fires of radicalism. Fifty years ago Islamic theological literature was available only in madrasas and other niche Islamic institutes. Now with the advent of Internet age it is literally available at everyone’s fingertips.
I remember reading Kushwant Singh’s observation this phenomenon. He was a frequent visitor to Pakistan. He also expressed surprised that while the Pakistanis of his generation were quite liberal in outlook and only superficial aware of Islamic tenets, the younger generations were very well versed in Sunnah and Hadiths.
I don’t know if it is a general rule but the situations in Bosnia and Kosovo is as Snake Charmer describes. Serbs and whole Yugoslavia did so many things and invested heavily to civilize lagging Muslims in Bosnia. They established University for them, made compulsory primary education for all children, they established Academy of Sciences and Arts for them, appointed Muslims as directors in big corporations, supported them to become film directors, symphony orchestra conductors and state representatives in various sports, gave them a prime minister and ministries’ position in federal and local governments, gave them diplomatic positions, there were several Generals positions in the army and police. They were given by the Constitution to be a separate nationality (Muslims) not only a religion. Serbs intellectuals were pressing for release from jail a dissident Alija Izetbegovic in 1967, who wrote Islamic Declaration where he mentioned that Muslims should be obedient, follow democratic rules and wait until become 51% of population and then to impose Islamic state and Sharia law for Christians in Bosnia.
In 1991 he became a Muslim representative in Bosnia’s presidency (with one Serb and one Croat). He directly started a war by attacking Serbian wedding ceremony in the church and killing people. Later he rejected a peace plan made by UN, influenced by Americans who promised him the whole Bosnia without Serbs and Croats. Now, Bosnia is 100 years back in time not only economically then culturally and mentally. About Kosovo, it is no need to say many words. Serbia spent billions of dollars to civilize Albanians who were illiterate 98% after liberation from Turks, made some successes but they remain the lowest civilised and the most primitive group in Europe who always follow the strongest (now US), who are mostly muslims (some are Catholics, in Albania even Orthodox) but, it seems that Vatican is preparing a plan to convert them collectively to become Catholics.
In Pakistan, the generational differences date from the time of General Zia who heavily “Islamized” the curriculum. This was also the time when the US and Saudi were heavily engaged in using conservative Islam and “jihad” against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Once you let that genie out of the bottle, it is very difficult (if not impossible) to put it back in.
I think Turkey’s transformation under Ataturk did count. But note that Turkey’s Islam was already moderate in 1920. In fact this was the largest cause of illegitimacy for Turkey’s empire. In Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Arabia and several other places the Turkish empire collaborated with the Jewish minority to help manage the Arab majorities. [This is part of the dynamic for the Israeli Arab conflict till this day.]
When Johannes Gutenberg founded the printing press in 1439, the Turkish Ottoman empire banned it for a century and a half. Their reason was fear that their subjects will read the holy Koran, six hadiths, Sura and other Islamic scripture on their own and get radicalized. The Turks wanted empire approved moderate Imams and Islamic scholars to teach Islam to the masses to avoid radicalization.
The Turks brutally suppressed Jihadis and Islamists. In the long run this did not work. I don’t think it will work today either.
Rather the only thing that I think will work is freedom of art and thought. And using said freedom of art and thought to engage in dialogue. Which will melt hearts through the sweetness of love. The reason this hasn’t happened is that with few exceptions the world’s muslims have not had freedom of art and speech for 14 centuries. [Unlike what prevailed in the east for thousands of years before Islam and unlike European enlightenment classical liberalism–which was inspired by Eastern philosophy. ]
Kamal Ataturk tried to theologically deconstruct and discredit all interpretations of Islam other than liberal ones. And this was successful from 1920-2003. But ultimately the lack of freedom of art and speech doomed it.
“Somewhat paradoxically, education seems to fan the fires of radicalism. Fifty years ago Islamic theological literature was available only in madrasas and other niche Islamic institutes. Now with the advent of Internet age it is literally available at everyone’s fingertips.
I remember reading Kushwant Singh’s observation this phenomenon. He was a frequent visitor to Pakistan. He also expressed surprised that while the Pakistanis of his generation were quite liberal in outlook and only superficial aware of Islamic tenets, the younger generations were very well versed in Sunnah and Hadiths.”
All of this is true. Sam Harris, Bill Mahar and many others have long talked about this. In polling going back over a generation the more educated and affluent a muslim is the more radicalized they tend to be. The correlation is strong but lower than 0.5.
Sadly global academia completely misunderstands why this is happening . . . partly because global liberal arts academia have moved away from critical thought. Their post modernist mind set and assumptions (that they are not consciously aware of) makes it harder to see things as they are. Global liberal arts academia (obviously excepting neuroscience and some conciousness studies fields) has no understanding of mystical experience, meditation, conciousness. [Neuroscience is fascinated by studying how mystical experience affects the brain and nervous system.]
Very educated and successful muslims learn the emptiness of what they have been taught. They learn first hand that all the potential joys of this temporal world are of limited value. And then Islamist Jihadis expose them to mystical experience through sound brain therapy (chanting the Koran, chanting Allah’s name and other muslim practices have this effect).
Exercise, stretching, breathing, meditation, sound brain therapy, electric stimulation brain therapy cause the brain and nervous system to signal glands to secrete endorphins and chemicals (including the very powerful psychodelic DMT) and changes the autonomic nervous system (and the parasympathetic nervous system which is a subset within the superset of the autonomic nervous system, and the vagus nerve which is a subset within the superset of the parasympathetic nervous system) that temporarily increase measured IQ, broadly defined intelligence and memory. In some people these biological processes are correlated with goose bumps up and down the spine and brain and a thrill that making the hair stand across the skin. This also sometimes happens during the punchline of any good book, movie, song or artistic presentation. The rate of breathing and the heart beat also substantially slows ceteris paribus. [I wish to write a series of articles regarding the latest neuroscience literature in this area.]
Affluent and successful muslims (including the more intelligent) experience these things and realize that there is something indescribably more blissful than this temporal world. In fact we actually have a “high” on psychedelics produced by our own body. Marx was not wrong when he said that religion is the opiate of the masses. This “high” facilitates, I believe, processing of typically involuntary sensory inputs. Humans have conscious use of five sensory imputs and what neuroscientists generally believe is unconcious use of between 17 and 28 other sensory inputs. [A series of neuroscience papers have proposed the hypothesis that the brain has 33 sensory inputs. But another paper argued 22 sensory inputs. Eastern philosophy might be compatible with 33 sensory inputs.]
The holy Koran is partly a mapping of these psychedelic experiences and had to be composed by an author who experienced them.
This causes highly educated, successful, affluent and intelligent muslims to believe in the rest of the Islamic scripture and act accordingly. The reason they want to conquer and rule to world is to do good and share transcendental bliss with all humans.
Freedom of art and thought, however breaks this cycle. Because then highly educated, successful, affluent and intelligent muslims can learn that many ancient cultures specialized in psychodelic experiences and there are many ways to access them. It is possible that the universe [or Allah] does not want the exact execution of Islamist Jihadi ideology.
Being slightly uncertain of the universe’s will is enough to stop the large majority of Islamist related violence.
“Snake Charmer, what do you think of my thesis that all we need is freedom of art and thought? And then use this freedom of art and thought to engage in dialogue. Which will melt hearts through the sweetness of love.”
Melt hearts thought the sweetness of love? Honestly, I am laughing my butt off. To quote someone whose name I don’t remember now, I am a former liberal mugged by reality. I am beyond such cheesy and corny dreams.
If Muslim societies ever want to get free of the thought prison of Islam, first and foremost they will have to categorically, and unabashedly acknowledge that Quran is a creation of a human being, and possibly multiple human beings. It an amalgamation of uttering of a mind under psychedelic episodes, jottings for the draft of a legal system, some transparently convenient lines thrown in for self serving goals, and random guidelines on daily chores. Quran essentially reflects Muhammad’s tastes and distastes. For e.g. Muhammad hated alcohol, and Quran imposes complete ban on it; Muhammad liked sex, and Quran has loads of it.
As long as Muslims continue to believe that Quran is a literal word of God, there is no hope for them. Humanity will remain inflicted with this cancer. Semitic religions in general and Islam in particular has been an unmitigated calamity for humanity. Personally I believe that all religions are lunacy. But the critical difference is that while other religions are harmless lunacy, Islam is murderous lunacy. It is this murderous lunacy which is on display in the streets of Pakistan where thousands strong crowds of gray bearded well fed mullahs are baying for the blood of a poor illiterate mother of young children.
Snake Charmer, if I am not mistaken, you have been exposed to eastern philosophy and spiritual people.
“Melt hearts thought the sweetness of love? Honestly, I am laughing my butt off. To quote someone whose name I don’t remember now, I am a former liberal mugged by reality. I am beyond such cheesy and corny dreams.”
This is a very real measurable phenomenon in the brain and nervous system. You can read Stanford’s Dr. James Dotty’s research in this area. Large sums of money are being spent by venture capitalists (many of which have tried to hire Dr. Dotty), the private sector and hard sciences on this very thing. This loving feeling sharply boosts measured IQ. Some neuroscientists are studying how it affects intelligence when intelligence is defined more broadly than “G” or General Intelligence.
Many neurocientists are working on electric stimulation brain therapy and sound brain therapy to try to reproduce this loving feeling and sharply boost mental health and intelligence. Geneticists are working on changing DNA to achieve similar effects. Bio-engineering is another way to augment the brain and nervous system. As is rapid computer/brain interface which allows for fusion human/AI intelligence.
Many religions specialize in brain therapy to improve physical health, mental health and intelligence.
Now you can say this works better with nonmuslims on average, and this is true. But the reason it works better with nonmuslims is because nonmuslims on average have greater freedom of art and thought. Nonmuslims have the freedom to attempt these things in a way muslims do not have on average. With big exceptions of course.
“If Muslim societies ever want to get free of the thought prison of Islam, first and foremost they will have to categorically, and unabashedly acknowledge that Quran is a creation of a human being, and possibly multiple human beings.” What people say they believe does not matter. What they actually subconsciously believe as evidenced by their actions matters some. But even this only partly matters. All that is needed is freedom of art and thought and dialogue. The rest happens automatically.
The holy Quran can be interpreted many ways much the way Bach, peace be upon him, and Beethoven, peace be upon him, can be interpreted many ways. For some ideas on how this works please read:
I edited the article to remove these perspectives from the main text of the article. I got scared.
” It a amalgamation of uttering of a mind under psychedelic episodes, jottings for the draft of a legal system, some transparently convenient lines thrown in for self serving goals, and random guidelines on daily chores. Quran essentially reflects Muhammad’s tastes and distastes. For e.g. Muhammad hated alcohol, and Quran imposes complete ban on it; Muhammad liked sex, and Quran has loads of it.”
If people achieve mystical experiences of their own they can understand the holy Quron far better.
If we love muslims, shouldn’t we help them?
As you sow, so shall you reap General Bajwa. You planted this Mullah. Now you in words of Shakespere’s Macbeth, ” you shall sleep no more. ” Beware of the bodyguards, especially the ones with beards or those who in their worship talk to the Devil within them.
As an American and a non-Muslim who has never had any relationship with Islam other than fear and disgust, I am appalled and disgusted by this spectacle. I think the US ought out to pull all of its personnel out of Afghanistan and Pakistan, cut diplomatic relationships with Pakistan, and agree to sell advanced nuclear technology to India. We should demand return of all weapons given to Pakistan over the last 50 years, and if they are not returned forthwith, we should destroy them in situ.
“As an American and a non-Muslim who has never had any relationship with Islam other than fear and disgust, I am appalled and disgusted by this spectacle.”
While i agree with this, i think that the solutions you are recommending are alarmist. The Subcontinent and the middle east have their own issues. I think the best case for America and American lives is to let these people figure out on their own the “cost” of their majoritarianism. Adding more money/weapons will only aggravate issues
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