The white acting mother of a white presenting daughter

My Daughter Passes for White: She belongs in a way I never could. I’m comforted — and worried:

I stand in the aisle of the school bus while the other seventh graders snicker and block me from sitting next to them, as they have for the entire school year. Taking my seat next to the bus driver, I look out to the road with resignation. My great-aunt, adorned in a colorful sari, waves goodbye to me while the entire school bus looks on. I want to disappear into the dingy brown vinyl bus seats. With the newfound cruelty of adolescence, I scoff and loudly tell my classmates, “That crazy lady is just my maid.”

I now find myself in a mixed marriage, mother to a 3-year-old mixed-race girl who easily passes for white. Her fair skin, auburn hair and light brown eyes do not even hint at her Pakistani background. When I tell people at gatherings that I speak Urdu at home, some are very concerned about whether my daughter will be confused. Yet some are the same families clamoring for their children to get accepted into French-immersion kindergartens. Strangers have asked me whether I am her real mother or have assumed that I’m her nanny. It’s not their belief about my profession that’s disturbing — it’s their certainty that my daughter and I can’t be related because of the colors of our skin.

The author is Seema Jilani. She is a pediatrician. The surname is a form of Gilani:

Gillani is the sub-caste of the Syed/Sayyid family who are descents of the Prophet Muhammad and trace their lineage back to Imam Ali, who was first cousin and close companion of Prophet Muhammad. The family lineage of the Gilanis refers to Sheykh Abdul Qadir Gilani, a famous 12th century Sufi Scholar from Gilan-e-Gharb, Iran, hence the surname…

I don’t know if the author’s father claims to be a Syed…but it seems likely that they did not come from the bottom half of Pakistani society. The author’s husband is a journalist at an elite publication (it is easy to find who she is married to). As a brown person with children who also “pass” as white, I have had some uncomfortable experiences. Since I am a male I am not usually confused for a nanny, but rather someone who kidnapped sweet little white children. But by and large, life goes on. It’s not that bad or oppressive. I assume white people also experience rudeness. They bleed. They are human. They have feelings.

Pieces such as the above fulfill a particular role in modern cultural ecology. Affluent white liberals who have experienced the “Great Awokening” on race present a demand for authentic experiences of racism from “people of color.” Many of these affluent white liberals don’t know “people of color” personally, so they “educate themselves” through the media which they consume. Unsurprisingly, the people who produce the sort of media which fulfills the demand are themselves socio-demographically exactly like affluent white liberals (to give credit to Ta-Nehisi Coates, he is the exception). Ask yourself, when was the last time you read an op-ed or think-piece from an Indian convenience store clerk or a Bangladeshi cab driver? Almost always the op-eds and think-pieces come from professionals who likely experience the least “macro” aggression and the most “micro” aggression, and, who can speak the language of affluent white liberals and know exactly how to say the correct things (very educated people in low-wage service sectors jobs who do ‘freelance’ writing are never immigrants, and almost always graduates of liberal arts colleges).

No working-class person says “white presenting.” No immigrant says “white presenting.” I have had friends in academia tell me that my children “present as white.” Their race is a “performance”, masking their essential non-whiteness which is passed down by blood from me. There’s a lot of “interrogate” here. But that’s not the point. Normal people, who don’t have a college degree, don’t talk or think like this.

The point of this post is to point to the reality that a particular type of assimilated upper-middle-class privileged brown American speaks for the brown experience, but their own experience is very curated, the most “comfortable” for affluent white liberals to process. The frankly racist (against black people) immigrant Bangladeshi cab driver who is spending all his disposable income on sending his children to test-prep academies to get them into Stuy is less relatable. Alien. You won’t hear his voice, and since many affluent white liberals don’t many nonwhites personally he’ll be invisible to them. “Erased” as they say.

These op-eds are basically white affluent white liberals in “brown face.”

117 thoughts on “The white acting mother of a white presenting daughter”

  1. “Her fair skin, auburn hair and light brown eyes do not even hint at her Pakistani background”

    Oh, Pakistani is a phenotype and not a nationality. Just like Islam apparently is. Thanks for clearing that up, NYT.
    I guess all those fair skinned, blue-eyed, sandy blonde Pashtuns, Kalash and Saraikis aren’t actually Pakistani. Heck, I’ve even seen a blue-eyed Hazara girl, but I guess she was a figment of my imagination.

    1. according to the internet, esp Pak Defense, those people are the majority of Pak, a white nation defined by its indo aryan majority steppeness

  2. I know “white people are not gods” is a regular theme of Razib’s.
    But it’s striking how, ironically, it’s these examples of the upper class, more priviliged (brown and often in general disproportationately Asian, but perhaps minorities in the west more broadly) who seem to vocalize the most insecurity about being non-white and still define themselves most strongly by the fact that there is a standard of “whiteness” that they will try but never reach (e.g. the idea they need to ask white Americans to “belong”, and that they will never get it).

    How many pieces are there about non-white Americans who wish they were white, versus non-white Americans who simply live their life not caring, or who feel secure in that they’re American but don’t need to live up to the white, liberal American standard?

    I don’t know if it’s truly heartfelt (maybe it is, I can’t judge) or merely performative, but I notice that pieces like the authors’ (and those of Ta-Nehisi Coates) often feel really defeatist about their identity.
    If someone as well-off as a non-white doctor or lawyer still feels the insecurities of not belonging, that really strokes the egos of the more patronizing white liberals because that gives a niche for them to act like the “nice” people who lend their hand to welcome them into their club.

    But the real liberation is realizing belonging is not theirs to give to begin with.

    “Go back to your country!” and “Welcome to our country. We nice liberal people welcome you” are two sides of the same coin. Both are revealing of who calls the shots.

    Responding with the mindset that you are who you are, you’ll live the way you live, in your country which is yours as much as theirs, and that their narrative doesn’t shape your life any more than yours shapes theirs in terms of what it means to belong, is a different kettle of fish altogether.

  3. Must also be super flattering to read pieces that *upper class* non-whites specifically aspire to be like them even more.
    When an educated person such as a doctor or lawyer, or liberal arts-educated intellectual waxes poetic about how, even if he or she is so educated and all that, but still doesn’t feel fully “American” because white Americans are still the standard, that reinforces their egos. It must be re-assuring that whites are still the gatekeepers of “upper-class”-ness.

    A rich brown American can talk a lot about fearing being mistaken for a nanny and twist and turn about how much it sucks to feel excluded, but perhaps it’s the real hardworking nanny who is working her ass off to pay her kids’ chances at the “American dream”, while not mouthing these platitudes (or even, for that matter sucking up to what they imagine liberal white Americans want to hear in general but doing her own thing) that might be winning in her own way.

  4. Razib
    As a brown person with children who also “pass” as white, I have had some uncomfortable experiences.

    White people with children of color also can have problems.

    Story of one (known to me), about 10 years ago.

    English parent with adopted child from India. Child looks very Sri Lankan.

    Father had gone to the beach with the child. A little while later the Police came and took him for questioning. He had to get his passport down to prove he was the father of the child.

    From around mid 70’s to mid/late 90’s SL was a top pedophilia destination. Specially homosexual pedophilia. The govt clamped down. White person with a brown child, someone will call the police.

    Anyway, the parents of the child were not unhappy. Thought that it was good that check like that were made. Started carrying a copy of the passport around.

    1. My dear friend is a 5’9″ very blonde woman of German descent; we shall call this woman, Emma; she lived in a wealthy coastal California town. Emma married a light skinned Mexican and had two children with him; one of her children was brown looking; we will call this child, Charlie. Whenever Emma went to pick-up Charlie in grade school, other mothers would ask her, “Are you babysitting Charlie?”

  5. I think this article is not so much about racism but Islamophobia. The author notes how during her medical school interviews she was asked if she would wear a burqa and her religion was associated with the stoning of women. These are not uncommon experiences for Muslim-Americans to have. Also, I think her father (though well-meaning) did her a disservice by insisting that she deny the Pakistani part of her identity and present herself as simply “American”. One can understand the impulse (especially post 9/11), but it seems like it is damaging to the psyche to repress one’s ethnic/national identity.

    Both my brother and I grew up in the US and were teenagers during 9/11. While I have no issues with calling myself “Pakistani-American”, my younger brother for a long time insisted that he was simply “American”. This is despite coming from a home where both parts of the identity were embraced. I don’t think one should underestimate the impact of the “war on terror” on Dr. Jilani’s psyche and those of others from her background.

    1. While I’m sure post 9/11, Islamophobia mattered a lot, you still can’t discount race and literal physical appearance of looking South Asian being a factor. Would the anecdotes about being ashamed about a brown-skinned relative wearing colorful traditional dress or wanting to eat “white American” food differ if she was a Christian, Hindu or for that matter, atheist?

      Would a European-looking Bosnian Muslim woman get a med school interview question about wearing a burqa? How about an African American woman who’s a convert? Or at least, would the odds of that happening be equal?

      By the way, while I do agree that sometimes it’s worth toughening your skin against these microaggressions (especially when “macro” aggressions exist), I will say that those med school questions are quite stupid. How does one get to be in the position of med school interviewer and still ask such inane (or tone-deaf) questions? That’s a situation where I would expect better.

      1. Would a European-looking Bosnian Muslim woman get a med school interview question about wearing a burqa? How about an African American woman who’s a convert? Or at least, would the odds of that happening be equal?

        this stuff is confusing also. ppl can ask why you don’t wear a hijab cuz they are prejudiced against muslims…or they like/fetishize muslims and the hijabs has become synonymous with being muslim. i know many women of muslim background who have been asked by well meaning liberals who are pro-muslim when/why they stoppe wearing the hijab since these stupid people assume that that is totally normative in all muslim communities (in fact, it isn’t). it has happened to my sister, who has a muslim name and is brown (she is not religious).

        1. Yeah, regardless of the intent, I think its cringeworthy either way.

          I don’t know if there would be any similar analogies for a different religion (maybe asking a Jewish man why he doesn’t wear a kippah after realizing he’s Jewish, but I can’t imagine that’s a common occurrence).

          I don’t know what % of Muslim women in the US would wear a hijab, even if it is a majority, I can’t imagine that it’s like 99% or something.

          It’s weird that on the one hand in the US, religion has become super confessional and personal (no one bats an eye at the idea that someone’s mom could be evangelical and their son an atheist, or that someone could convert, such as many African Americans going from Christian to Muslim, or Jewish Buddhists) rather than communal. Yet many Americans’ ideas of what a “Muslim” is like are superbly opposite to that attitude when it comes to comments like that — very racializing and essentializing (“why your parents are Muslim and your name is Muslim, why aren’t you?”). It’s such a weird double-standard, unquestioned by the left and right often alike.

          Hey all you folks out there (well in mainstream US society at least)! If you are going to treat religion as confessional (and not ascribed or communal based on family background), make that standard apply for all confessional religions (e.g don’t say “atheist Muslim” if you won’t say Richard Dawkins is an “atheist Christian” kind of thing).

          1. Agreed that in the US Muslims are often treated as a racial group rather than a religious one.

            Islamophobia has some parallels to antisemitism in that antisemitism is prejudice against Jews as a people and not necessarily restricted to Judaism as a religion. Similarly, Islamophobia is prejudice against Muslims and not just the religion of Islam.

            “Atheist Muslim” bothers me as well since it is a clear contradiction in terms. Being Muslim means that you believe in Allah and in His Prophet. Atheists don’t believe in any god. But in practice “Atheist Muslim” means atheists of Muslim descent.

    2. I think this article is not so much about racism but Islamophobia.

      you people (dumb SJWs) bracket islamophobia as a subset of racism.

      1. Islamophobia and racism are related but they are not the same. The incidents Dr. Jilani describes can be sorted into two categories. There is the brown relative in a sari and the discomfort with ethnic food–which are common experiences of many South Asian Americans. Then there are the med school questions, which are clearly about her identity as a Muslim woman. In her case, racism was compounded by Islamophobia. One doesn’t have to agree with her, but those experiences of growing up Muslim post 9/11 probably explain her perspective.

        1. {{{sara rao}}} types could write exactly what jilani wrote. i think the islam angle matters more if she was a hijabi whose faith was more visible. plenty of hindus have to deal with anti-muslim racism (sikhs especially).

          i have a muslim name. the whole 9/11 watershed is overdone. in the 1980s it was iranian terrorism. in the early 1990s gulf war 1 resulted in some prejudice. 9/11 cranked it up, but it also cranked up tolerance/awareness.

          1. I also think that post 9/11 trope has been done to death by opportunists trying to indulge Americans. A couple of years ago some rednecks in a pickup yelled ‘go back to your own country’ at me while I was waiting on the sidewalk wearing a Kurta. A few of my friends have had some brushes with racism but almost NONE of us complained or minded about such offences. All this lived experience of being Muslim is cleverly worded, attention grabbing bullshit that clearly knows the tastes of its audience. If the same person (not necessarily Muslim) were in India they would not complain about rude behavior because maybe the targeted audience there is not gora/prestigious enough or perhaps these minor inconveniences are not that important to begin with. I have traveled in local trains, overflowing autos, bus-roofs and slept on train station floor for long enough to see that someone occasionally being not so nice is not that big a deal. It leaves NO psychological scars, not on me and not on countless others I have grown up with and know.This imagined victim-hood and well worded awkwardness and disturbance at being so and so bores me now.

        2. Islamophobia and racism are related but they are not the same.

          i said it was a subset. so no shit they’re not the same. a subset is not usually identical to a superset. i’m using language in a precise manner. anyway, the relationship btwn islamophobia and racism is disputed. but in jilani’s case it’s clearly racialized since she does not seem to be particular religious.

  6. Seema Jilani has a Sanskritic first name and a great-aunt who wore saris. Seems pretty atypical of Pakistan.
    Or maybe this wasn’t a big deal in pre-Zia era.

  7. Like many white Americans, genetic testing says I’m about 3 percent Amerindian. Among people whose ancestors have been in the US for a few generations, hardly anybody is pure anything.

  8. I didn’t understand why micro-aggression was in Londonstan but it was so acute in Cambridge (especially as Town is so white and the higher echelons of Gown).

    Personally there’s a fine line between adaptation and push-back.

    CAMbFiRE (a society MJ & I started last year) did a seminar on microaggression. The best way to respond to it is not to be emotional or to internalise it (both are the desired outcomes) but to coolly query the person who micro-aggressed.

    Example: “are you this child’s nanny?”

    Response: “no I’m her mother, why would you think I’m her nanny?”

    Micro-aggressor: “Erm.”

    I will give an anecdotal story now of where I used this.

    Vidhi & I were coming out of the lift into the first floor of our building and we encountered our neigbours (white people who we were very friendly with).

    There was alot of junk compacted in the corridor (like a homeless person’s baggage) and my neighbour smiled and asked me “is this yours?”

    I immediately replied “no, is it yours?”

    At which point he went absolutely apopleptic that I would make such an assumption and sputtered of course not.

    Micro-aggressions is also manifestation of centuries of internalised racial hierarchies coming to the fore.

    Personally I recommend PoCs to be nimble footed between “host” and “home”; make sure you are a bridge between two cultures rather than simply tying yourself only to one.

    1. well said xerxes.

      i have no experience of living in the UK, but i can narrate similar incidents about US.

      at my workplace in US, once a white american guy was making fun of last name of an indian. apparently this last name sounded very funny in english. so i replied to this american guy with a smile that “yes, names from one culture can sound funny in a different culture and different language”. he was a smart guy, so understood the point immediately and agreed saying “of course, of course”.

      another incident. a second gen gujju american guy was making fun of his visiting indian gujju relatives. he was sniggering how his indian relatives leave him confused with their bobbing head nod, and how he can never tell if they meant yes or no. i asked him if he gets mocked at in india with his vertically bobbing head nod (i actually called it anglo-saxon nod, for the lack of a better word). but i dont think he got the point 🙂

      basically, multiculturalism is still a work in progress in western societies. only very few regions in this world have truly internalized multiculturalism (california bay area is one such place, but large swathes of US remain deeply provincial.).

      1. Not a big fan of multiculturalism. From what I’ve seen, all it does is make people hypersensitive to slights and criticisms (and produce a society where free speech is severely curtailed, which is one of my bugaboos).

        The theory is that different cultural quirks must be tolerated, which is fine, but I feel it creates a discordant and distrustful society. Life is easier when you can instinctively get what others are saying and doing even though particular words or deeds may not be explicit. And life is harder if you have to analyze every little thing others are saying or doing and be infinitely flexible about making decisions.

        I also get what you are saying about the head bobbing thing, and it’s not cool to make fun of it. But to someone outside our culture, doing the exact same thing to indicate “yes” as well as “no” must seem confusing, don’t you think?

        1. @Numinous

          I understand your point that when people of different cultures work in a common workplace, it is imperative to have a common language – both body language as well as verbal language. so yes, having a common nodding gesture is part of this requirement.

          however, if people of non-western societies have to live with respect in professedly multicultural countries like US, they will have to be comfortable in their own skin first.

          how many times we have seen desi workers trying to put on a fake american accent in workplaces, when the need is simply to speak slowly, clearly and coherently. or trying to follow football games scores, just to fit in american workplaces. i have seen vegetarians desi guys turning meat eaters just to turn “american” quickly.

          twenty years ago it was even common among indian americans to adopt a second, american sounding first name. (some chinese americans still do that). all these antics betray a certain desperation and inferiority complex and are really counter productive. nobody is gonna respect a people if they don’t respect themselves.

  9. dollars to donuts we’ll get the daughters op-ed in 30 years and how it feels to be pressed as a half-brown. (as a half-brown, trust me, the oppression is real and painful. People don’t look like me!)

    Also I don’t think you can take agency away from the nice mother. She is really trying to say that’s she’s got enough steppe ancestry to turn her kid white. So different messages to the white audience and the the brown one.

  10. ““Atheist Muslim” bothers me as well since it is a clear contradiction in terms. Being Muslim means that you believe in Allah and in His Prophet. Atheists don’t believe in any god.”

    Couldn’t disagree more. Atheists believe in transcending all theisms (Fanāʾ Fī ʾilāh). What can be more Islamic or “Allah” than that? Why does a muslim have to have “faith” or “believe” in anything?

    Can’t a muslim surrender to the inner experience they feel every moment? Isn’t someone who searches for the truth–whatever it happens to be–a muslim?

    1. You are free to have whatever opinion you choose but both “atheist” and “Muslim” have commonly accepted dictionary definitions that most of us use.

      One cannot believe that there is no such thing as God and at the same time accept that there is no God but Allah. It is a contradiction in terms.

      1. “believe”
        What do the above words mean? How are they connected?
        What do “belief” and “acceptance” have to do with “Fanāʾ Fī ʾilāh”, “God”, or “Allah”? What do “belief” and “acceptance” have to do with the truth?

        “Allah” is the unknown. Fanāʾ Fī ʾilāh transcends the concept of “God” as you understand it. Suspect you are interpreting “God” as the interaction between our brain/nervous system and the truth. Can the ordinary brain/nervous system process the “ENTIRE” truth in space time?

        Transcending “God” is where religion begins.

        How are Fanāʾ Fī ʾilāh, Allah and religion different from atheism? The goal of atheism is to transcend all the patterns and distortions in the brain/nervous system and subconcious to discover the truth–whatever it is.

        Have you participated in a one month mental silence retreat?

        When we observe our brain and nervous system our glands release high dosages of powerful psychodelics putting us into a psychodelic rapture that becomes our 24 hour default. Our breathing sharply slows down and the Oxygen percentage in our blood drops. This allows us to conciously observe parts of the “unconcious brain” and sensory inputs beyond the big five (several neuroscience journal articles have speculated that we may have 33 sensory inputs–most of which are typically unconcious.) This also increases our general intelligence and what neuroscientist Dr. Haier calls cognitive abilities beyond the scope of general intelligence.

        Without increasing cognitive abilities beyond the scope of general intelligence how can we understand “art” or “science” let alone “religion” or “atheism” or “God”? How can we explore “Islam”, “Allah” or “Fanāʾ Fī ʾilāh”?

        These short snippets about Islam from the second largest muslim order in the world (the biggest being the twelvers) are consistent with atheistic Islam:

        What is Mysticism?
        Ans.: Mysticism is the knowledge of the Inner World, which reveals the vision of God.
        Q2: Who all come into the folds of Mysticism?
        Ans.: The mystics of all religions.
        Q4: What is the difference between Mysticism & Sufism?
        Ans.: Mysticism is like a cup & Sufism is its wine. The wine of mysticism from any religion can fill the cup.
        Q6: Is Sufism only for Muslims?
        Ans.: No, Sufism is like a tavern with free entry to anyone who wishes to get the free wine of Tauheed (Unity of God).
        Q8: Is Sufism a part of Islam?
        Ans.: Yes. Just as everything has two sides to it, in the same way even religions have two sides – the outer & the inner. Sufism is the inner knowledge of Islam.
        Q36: . . . .
        Ans.: . . . . When a seeker (talib) follows his spiritual guide (Pir-o-Murshid) with devotion, the love of the spiritual guide transforms him and the various stations of Reality are revealed to him. He passes through many stations of Fana (annihilation of the Self). The first is Fana-fil Murshid where the seeker’s own will merges with the Will of his spiritual guide. Another station is Fana-fil-Ali where the will of the seeker merges with the Will of Hazrat Ali. At this station, nothing of the seeker remains and all that remains is the Will of Hazrat Ali. From here, he may proceed through the station of Fana-fil-Rasool (merging of the seeker’s own will with the Will of the Holy Prophet) till he may reach the station of Fana-fil-Allah, where the seeker has nothing of his own will and all that remains is the Will of the Almighty. While there is the station of Fana (annihilation of the Self), there is also the important station of Baqa (subsistence in the Truth). Upon reaching the station of Baqa, you reach the Original Existence (That which has existed forever, even before any creation).
        Q40: What is Fana and what is Baqa?
        Ans.: “The passing away of the attributes of self is Fana and abiding in Allah is Baqa”.
        Actually, Fana is like walking in the dark night and the morning is Baqa.
        Q42: What is wafa?
        Ans.: According to Hazrat Shaikh Abul Hasan Khirqani (d.1076 AD):
        “When you see yourself with the Friend, it is wafa.
        When you see the Friend with yourself, it is Fana and,
        When you do not see yourself but see only The Friend, it is Baqa”.
        Q43: How can I reach the stations of Fana and Baqa?
        Ans.: By recognizing yourself. The Holy Prophet has said:
        “He who knows his own self, knows God”
        Q51: Do I have to become a Muslim to be initiated?
        Ans.: In initiation there is no interference of religion. Initiation means to be taken under the shelter of the blue umbrella – Sky, not under the umbrella which covers only one’s self. Initiation also takes a seeker (salik) to the roots of Original Existence by removing the curtain of cast, creed, colour and religion. Huwal Awwal, Huwal Akhir.
        Q59: Which main quality does the seeker need to have before entering the Sufi path?
        Ans.: Sincere Intention (Khulus Niyat). The Holy Prophet has said:
        “Verily, all deeds are dependent upon intention.”
        Q67: I am a non-Muslim by birth, but very interested in the Sufi path. I have heard that your order welcomes such people as mureeds. What are the conditions?
        Ans.: Sufism is the path of God and God is for everyone. If you want to come for God you are welcome.
        Q74: What is the opinion of sufis about Hinduism?
        Ans.: “Az yak chiragh kaba-o-butkhana roshan ast.”
        The same lamp illumines both the Ka aba and the Temple.
        Q78: What are the teachings of Hazrat Mansur al Hallaj?
        Ans.: . . . by correctly training the self (ego), man can unite to become one with the Being of the Almighty (zaat-e-Ilahi), that is to say that man has the potential to merge and dissolve in the Being of the Almighty (zaat-e-Ilahi).
        The principles of Ittihad (unity) and Ittifaq (agreement) are clearly evident in the teachings of Hazrat Mansur. He stated that all religions are religions of God and that it in the acceptance of any particular religion by man, is hidden the will of God.
        Q79: What is wahdat al wujood?
        Ans.: Wahdat means ‘unity’. Wujood means ‘existence’ or ‘being’. Sufis who believe in wahdat al wujood (unity of being), view unity in diversity and diversity in unity. In other words, they see all in One and One in all. There is but one being (wujood). The being of Man and the being of God are one and the same being. To understand the secret of wahdat al wujood, one must remove the veils of dualiy. . . . This path goes all the way to the stations of Fana-Baqa (annihilation-subsistence), thus implying that there is no difference between the Creator (Khaliq) and His creation (makhlooq). . . .
        Q81: What is your opinion about the holy books from the Hindu Religion?
        Ans.: A renowned dervish of Delhi, Hazrat Mirza Mazhar Jaan e Jana ,Shaheed (Mayrty) used to say, “the Vedas are Divine (Ilhami) books.” The saints of the Gudri Shahi order have studied the Bhagvad Gita in great depth and have benefited from it.
        Q86: What is the benefit of erasing ones own existence?
        Ans.: Original Existence (asal hasti) becomes apparent.”

        The following allows an atheist muslim to use multiple different modalities of atheist science:
        Is it possible for saints of one order to be blessed by the grace of another spiritual order? Is it possible for them to be included in the genealogy of that order?
        Ans.: There are many orders in this world, which have been linked by Owesia Nisbat (Spiritual alliance of the nature that Hazrat Owes Qarni had with the Holy Prophet). These are the ways of love in which, when a soul connection is established, anything becomes possible. It is similar to a stream, which flows from one river into another. It is also reflective of the mutual friendship between the two as well as of the will and the secrets of Nature.”

        1. Words have definitions. You cannot just make up your own meanings.

          Atheism is usually defined as the belief that God doesn’t exist. Faith in Islam requires one to accept that there is no God but Allah and that Mohammad (pbuh) is the final prophet. There is no way to square the circle between denying the existence of God and believing that Allah is the only true God.

          In practice “atheist Muslim” means an atheist of Muslim descent just as atheist Jews or Christians are atheists of Jewish or Christian descent.

          1. i agree with you on this. but i think part of the problem with the term (atheist muslim) is that ppl of jewish and hindu background see no problem with being an ‘atheist jew’ or ‘atheist hindu’. in the jewish case judaism is a religion and jews are a people. so one can be irreligious and remain a jew. for hindus, even religious hinduism is not conditional on belief in god, so atheist hindu is not a contradiction. and hinduism is implicitly ethnicized, so they generalize to non-hindus.

            so despite my vocal atheism and the fact that i have never been a practicing muslim nor participated in/been part of the muslim community, indians will routinely call me a ‘muslim’ (though far less often indian americans).

          2. Razib,

            If Muslims are considered as a race, then “atheist Muslim” makes sense as a description for atheists who happen to come from Muslim backgrounds.

            Despite Anan’s attempts however, there is no way that atheism as it is commonly defined (lack of belief in a deity) can be made to conform to the basic statement of Islamic faith (that Allah is the only God). Belief in the existence of Allah and in the Quran as revealed scripture is something that all Muslims agree upon (by definition), whether they are Shia, Sunni, Sufi etc.

          3. “If Muslims are considered as a race, then “atheist Muslim” makes sense as a description for atheists who happen to come from Muslim backgrounds.”

            And how do you go about defining a “Muslim background” then?

            Does an African American Muslim (let’s say one whose parents converted a generation or two ago, perhaps an Ahmadiyya in Chicago, after having ancestors being generations of Christians in the US, but hundreds of years ago had ancestors who were Senegalese Muslims prior to arriving in America) having a son who’s an atheist make that kid “from a Muslim background” or a “Christian” background?

            How about a (white) Bosnian Muslim’s kid who is an atheist, versus a white Anglo-American Muslim convert’s kid who then becomes atheist?

            Does “Muslim background” merely mean parents are Muslim or raised him/her Muslim or something else?

          4. Diasporan,
            To be clear, I don’t think Muslims are a race. We are a religious group. South Asian Muslims for example are not racially different from South Asian Hindus.
            I would define “Muslim background” simply as someone who is born in a Muslim family. As Razib noted, many people identify such an individual as “Muslim”, whatever his/her own religious beliefs (or lack of them). This comes from viewing Muslims as an ethnicity and not as a religious community. People cannot change their ethnicity but they can certainly abandon the faith of their parents.

        2. I have been curious about these fashionable takes on faux-Sufism and although off-topic can you please enlighten me on the following? I have read from multiple reliable sources that Moinuddin Chisti would routinely slaughter cows in Anasagar in Ajmer to humiliate Native Hindus. Amir Khasrau has himself written of his glee at Hindu massacres, “..the heads of brahmans and idolaters danced from their necks and fell to the ground at their feet, and blood flowed in torrents … The whole country, by means of the sword of our holy warriors, has become like a forest denuded of its thorns by fire? Islam is triumphant, idolatry is subdued. Had not the Law granted exemption from death by the payment of poll-tax, the very name of Hind, root and branch, would have been extinguished.”
          It is rather easy to read up on hundreds if not thousands of recorded(by Islamic sources) instances including those of the most celebrated figures like Moinuddin Chisti, Shamsud-Din Muhammad Iraqi, Shah Jalal etc especially from Sufi conduct in Kashmir and Bengal, that clearly shows their deranged ideology and thoroughly bigoted orthodox Islamic worldview which is glossed over by motivated writers. To me, Sufism spread Islam peacefully sounds like saying American colonialists were actually nice pilgrims or that Hinduism is/was not fundamentally caste-oppression based. Cherry-picked niceties that Muslim apologists agree upon and try to look at in ways that in the light of historical evidence are just not true.

          1. Sufism in the subcontinent is a combination of Muslim and Hindu practices. For example, Qawwali is said to be inspired by the Hindu practice of bhajan singing. The practice of worshiping saints at dargahs is also inspired by Hinduism. It is precisely for this reason that more orthodox Muslims are against shrine worship, viewing it as “unIslamic”. It is also commonly argued that Sufis attracted people to Islam by explaining that conversion would allow them to escape the Hindu caste system, since (at least theoretically)all Muslims are equal in the eyes of Allah.

            “Hinduism is fundamentally caste oppression based”–Those are fighting words on this blog. Watch out before the Hindutvadis come out and accuse you of “Hinduphobia” and/or offer convoluted defenses of the caste system.

          2. Sufism in its imperfect experiment tried to come closer to the native beliefs while trying to offer an alternative to caste system
            ‘ It is precisely for this reason that more orthodox Muslims are against shrine worship, viewing it as “unIslamic”.’
            The mainstream Islam is clearly not ready for any compromises and the freedom from caste system claim never really took off. So it is just that, a theoretical concept.

            ‘…which is glossed over by motivated writers’
            You can see some of those motivated writers here as well. Instead of dealing with the actual violent past of Islam in subcontinent they did rather cherry pick the part that suits their narrative to make a point against others rather than reflect truthfully about the actual matter at hand.

          3. iamVY,

            1) Shrine worship is unique to South Asian Islam. It is not practiced in the “core” Islamic world–certainly not to the extent that it is in South Asia. Orthodox Muslims argue that praying to saints or asking for their intercession is “un-Islamic” since the only entity that one should pray to is Allah. This is the justification that terrorist groups have used for attacking popular Sufi shrines in Pakistan such as Sehwan Sharif.

            2) Agreed that South Asian Muslims practice a type of caste system. However, there are many who would make the argument that this is because we were unable to fully abandon this Hindu practice after converting to the new faith. I believe Dr. Ambedkar pointed out that Christians in the subcontinent also practice caste, though there is certainly no scriptural basis for such a system in Christianity.

            3) I have no issues with reflecting on the “violent past of Islam in the subcontinent”. This is after all a matter of History. However, too often this rhetoric about the “violent past” becomes an excuse for prejudice and for violence against India’s Muslim citizens, who are certainly not responsible for things that happened hundreds of years ago. Referring to Muslim citizens as “Babur’s children” (aulaad) is one example.

          4. 1) ‘This is the justification that terrorist groups have used for attacking popular Sufi shrines in Pakistan such as Sehwan Sharif’

            I dont think anyone cares what terrorist think. More important is what the vast bulk of Muslims think about this and how governments in south Asia are handling this. Unfortunately there is a increasing shift in Muslim societies towards fundamentalist type of Islam funded by Saudis and other rather than the synthetic type that developed here. To counter that, RSS/Modi themselves are being accused of promoting Sufism through World Sufi congress held in delhi. I think it is good idea to promote the same.

            2) I agree with that. But often too many commentators try to sell Islam /Christianity even now for those reasons.

            3) Just because some RW bigots try to use the past to justify their hatred of Islam is no reason to not discuss the same objectively. Also this reason cannot be used to white wash the history as has been done by people on left
            (Of course it goes without saying that these RW bigots need to be opposed too)

          5. There was a recent period in Pakistan’s history when shrines were increasingly coming under terrorist attack. However, shrine worship is a major part of Pakistani Islam and nothing stops devotees from going to places like Data Darbar and Bulleh Shah’s mazaar.

            There is nothing wrong with the promotion of Sufism, whether by Modi or anyone else. However, cynical attempts to play Sufis against more orthodox Sunnis (as have been done by some on this blog) are more problematic.

          6. @Kabir and iamVY
            Sorry, I keep meandering off but here is what I have to say:
            1) It is impossible for anyone who has lived in tier-3 city/town and below in India to deny caste-based discrimination. I have personally seen (and protested) separate utensils, (milder than shown in movies) untouchability, caste pejoratives and so on. But the overwhelming sense I get is that it is not going to last, I don’t have numbers to back this up but I think a large percentage of weddings I have seen over past 5-10 years have been intercaste. Caste will not last.
            2) I am curious if there is really a thing like Pakistani/Bangladeshi Islam? In what way is Pakistani Islam(umbrella term) different from Islam of Muslims of Rohilkhand/Aligarh/Delhi/Ajmer/Mewat/Kutch? Or Bangladeshi Islam from Muslims of Kolkata/Malda? I have read in a few places people trying to use Indo-Pak subcontinent (Barresagir Pak-o-Hind), to me these sound made-up. Shouldn’t it all be called Indian (or at best South Asian) Islam? The only argument in favour I can think of is a bunch of academics(probably Pakistanis) starting to call it that (like Asia Pacific becoming Indo Pacific), but is there something deeper to this division?
            3) Don’t read too much into sloganeering in India like “Babur ki Aulaadon”,” Desh ke gaddaron ko, ….” and such. Before Mayawati did dalit+brahman alliance Dalit led BSP slogan used to be ” tilak taraju aur talwar maaro inko jute chaar ” (beat brahmin/thakur/baniyas with shoes). Leaders at the state level are very vindictive after winning the election (Mayavati vs Rajabhayya, Jagmohan Reddy vs Naidu etc). When the opposition will get into power the police batons and court cases will fly the other way.
            4) In general, terrorism is a state-sponsored/organized crime kind of a thing. One of my best friend’s (Muslim) brother went awol for a year from an elite cram school in Kota to a seminary in Delhi, became quite hardcore/orthodox Muslim. The vocally – Aurangzeb is a wali, and idolatry is a sin for which you shall rot in hell types, engaging in Dawa and what not. But by no means is he violent, he is just a loon. I think Orthodox Islam is not all that different from Sufism as moderate Muslims make it to be. I mean when all is said and done this syncretism is a one way street with Hindus going to Sufi shrines never the other way round.
            5) Finally, while making up my mind on Sufism I read that quite a few Sufi pirs/ ‘saints’ destroyed temples and made that place their seat. Do you think it is possible that many Sufi shrines were holy to begin with and were merely taken over by conquering Muslims? I ask this because last year I had an opportunity to pay respects at a famous Dargah in Lucknow. The place had a giant pipal tree and people tied threads around it. It was very much like vat-puja my mother does.

          7. 1)The usage of terms like “Indo-Pak Subcontinent” is political and reflects the fact that the term “India” is ambiguous and can refer to both the pre-1947 larger entity and the current nation-state. This confusion would not have arisen if the post-1947 nation had chosen another name for itself (such as “Bharat”) and then “India” could have been used simply in a historical sense to refer to pre-Partition.

            Something similar explains why many Pakistanis are very uncomfortable with the term “Hindustani classical music” and refer to Pakistani classical music (which makes no sense to me since we are talking about a heritage which goes back hundreds of years) or “eastern classical music” (which is way too vague). Hindustani classical music is a term of art and means something very specific.

            2) The issue with the sloganeering is that it can lead directly to violence. The call for “Desh ke gadaroon ko” led a Hindu terrorist to go and shoot a Muslim boy outside Jamia on the anniversary of Gandhi ji’s martyrdom. One could argue that this call also had a role in the violence of last week’s Delhi pogroms.

            3) Orthodox Islam is quite different from Sufism. Orthodox Muslims don’t believe in shrine worship at all or in praying to saints as they see these as un-Islamic innovations. At its most extreme, this line of thinking is what has led to attacks on shrines in Pakistan. Of course most Orthodox Muslims are not violent. They may not like shrine worship but they aren’t willing to kill because of it.

          8. @Kabir,@iamVY
            Thanks a bunch for your time and efforts in educating me. I am learning a lot. Really appreciate it. Closing comment:
            Riots don’t happen by trivial things like sloganeering, it needs more sinister powers. People even in villages are not that stupid so as to take lives casually, and even if they were, the threat of certain retribution looms. I have an interesting 100% legit story on Indian rioting. In Mau/Azamgarh/Ghazipur in Eastern UP (perhaps the riot capital of India, also famous as the native place of famous dons like Dawood Ibrahim, Haji Mastan, Chhota Shakeel and Abu Salem and a bunch of bomb blast accused terrorists) riots are so well organized that before burning houses rival communities ask people inside to vacate the home (so as not to escalate it beyond point of no return). My understanding is that riots are planned/organized and not just instigated (Godhra being the only exception in my lifetime).

  11. There is a branch of humanity called Caucasian. It includes all Europeans, most North Africans, Arabs and Jews, some Indians, most or all Pakistanis, Afghans, Iranians, most Turks. A subdivision is Indo-European. This leaves out the Basques, Finns, Sardinians, North Africans, Arabs, and Jews. But, the Afghans, Iranians, Pakis, and some Indians are still in. Some of them are brown. Another cut is Germanic. Now we are rid of nearly everyone except Germans, Anglos, and Scandinavians. The French, Italians, Celts, Greeks, Slavs and many others are excluded.

    So, who are the Whites. It seems many people mean Germanics.

  12. And North Indians ask me all the time if I have fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner since I am a Bong!

  13. Orthodox Islam is quite different from Sufism. Orthodox Muslims don’t believe in shrine worship at all or in praying to saints as they see these as un-Islamic innovations. At its most extreme, this line of thinking is what has led to attacks on shrines in Pakistan. Of course most Orthodox Muslims are not violent. They may not like shrine worship but they aren’t willing to kill because of it.

    this is literally retarded. sufi islam IS usually orthodox islam moron. do you know who the naqshbandi are? some sufis go ghulat, but this is very much the minority. to a great extent sufi orders WERE the sinews of islam qua islam for 1,000 years.

    the attack on ‘un-islamic innovations’ is itself a ‘reformist’ and ‘innovative’ movement. they’re not orthodox, they just claim they are, reconstructing the period in the 7th-century before traditional islamic schools of thought arose and factionalized.

    1. i’m literally scratching my head why you would think sufi islam is not orthodox. then i remembered, you grew up in the states didn’t you? and you’re stupid enough to take the media at face value…

      1. razib,
        sometimes I feel you are too harsh on Kabir even though you are right about his superficial understanding of just about everything. He at least makes the right noises about everything..

        and you give too much benefit of the doubt to PakThings when he is clearly a troll at best and a PakIslamoNationalist/Supremacist at worst 🙂

        1. this seems the consenus. i’m probably biased against the stupid and in favor of the smart, even if the stupid are on the side of angels and the smart engage in deviltry 😉

          1. Fair enough. But there is a cost to feeding the trolls – it takes away from genuinely interesting discussions (although the dick measuring contests usually initiated by PakThings are fun too for a while). I wish there was a more robust Paki presence on this blog with a spectrum of opinions and not just one highly trollish poster. We do have Omar the mahaBrownPundit but he rarley comments on threads, and is quite left – perhaps too far out of the Paki mainstream. Where are the centrist Pakis? The Numinous equivalents of Pakistan? May be they don’t really exist in any substantial numbers

          2. @justanotherlurker:

            The Numinous equivalents of Pakistan?

            There are few equivalents of me (a sort-of libertarian) even in India. 🙂

          3. justanotherlurker,

            I’m Pakistani as well (though I grew up abroad).

            If you want there to be more of a Pakistani readership/commentariat on this blog, then the level of casual Islamophobia will have to come down substantially. Why would you expect a Pakistani audience to flock to a place that at times feels like a safe space for Hindu nationalism?

          4. @kabir

            I first visited BP to hear to Razib, Omer and Zach, definitely not names HIndu nationalist would be searching for to find comfort.

            Do you really mean they are running a foster home to Hindu RW? I doubt that ! However you can hear view points divergent from traditional left leaning media that maybe your are used to.

            I have read comments which are exception to this rule from right but then Pakthings alone spews enough non sense to drown them. And sincerely speaking such comments made me write here abandoning earlier role of silent reader.

            In my interaction with Pakistani people I find them as argumentative as Indians so I dont know why they wont join in not so welcoming atmosphere. If for nothing else then to defend the dar ul islam from infidels :p !
            Personally I do hope that they join.

          5. iamVY,

            There was a point where the Prophet (peace be upon him) was regularly being called the vilest of names up to and including “pedophile”.

            Pakistanis are extremely sensitive about insults to Islam. Other people don’t have to believe in our religion but certainly a minimum level of respect should be expected.

            I do feel that there is a bit of a double standard here where people get away with saying nasty things about Islam and/or Muslims but if the same sorts of things are said about Hinduism people become outraged.

          6. Numinous: I almost didn’t write your name there (and had second thoughts immediately after). I agree you are not a standard centrist form India but I think you and many others (GT for example) exemplify the diversity of Indian opinions on this blog.
            This is a forum which by design is meant for open, uncensored exchanges. You have been complaining about Islamophobia from the beginning, and the Muslim background owners of this forum have routinely countered you on this. There is plenty of criticism of India and Hindus on this blog (often by Hindu Indians but also others) but we haven’t had anyone cry HinduPhobia (yet).
            Your problem is a) you can only spout and tolerate standard left liberal talking points without adding any new insights b) Are touchy about anyone questioning Pakistan and especially Islam c) Routinely question the historicity of Hindu gods, stories and places (which is fine) but fail to take a critical look at Islam or Mohammad d) Hold non-Muslim countries to a different standard than what you expect your country to aspire to…
            The list is long…

          7. I don’t believe that asking for a minimum amount of respect is too much. Calling the Prophet of God a “pedophile” is completely uncalled for (and yes this frequently used to happen). I have no issues with academic criticism of Islam, but there is a difference between that and bigotry.

            I hold constitutionally secular states to a certain standard yes. If you guys decide to full on abandon secularism and declare yourselves a Hindu Rashtra, then I promise I will never complain again about how you treat Muslims. But then your country will just be another third world majoritarian hellhole.

            Anyway, you wanted to know where the centrist Pakistanis were. Most Pakistanis have even less tolerance for insults to Islam than I do. I grew up abroad and am not personally all that religious. A blog which doesn’t afford a minimum amount of respect to Islam is not going to attract a Pakistani audience.

      2. Don’t be pedantic. I was using “Orthodox” to refer to groups such as the Deobandis and the Ahl-i-Hadith who believe that “proper” Islam is that which is outlined in the Quran and Sunnah. These are the groups which see shrine worship (and Sufi Islam more generally) as practices influenced by Hinduism.

        It was clear from the context what I was referring to.

        1. razib, kabir is right here. in common parlance “orthodox” islam has come to mean the puritanical islam propagated by groups like deobandis, salafis and wahabis. media really doesn’t have brains to understand that these are really modern movements. these movements rose after the decline of islamic empires and ascent of the west, largely as a reaction of introspection by muslim societies.

          funny part is that the puritanical islamic utopia that these movement think early islamic polity was is largely a fantasy. there is no evidence that people were more moral, peaceful and loving in muhammad or in the four “righteously guided caliphs” times.

  14. I don’t know why Jilani is acting that she isn’t white. Who’s she kidding? Jilanis are Iranians from Gilan on the Caspian Sea, whites who colonised the Indian subcontinent until the natives kicked them out.

    1. a clean shaven khamenei will easily pass as white in the streets of london. (he is azeri though).

      1. Pakistan was enwhitened by Iranians when it became a colony of the Persian Empire under Darius and Cyrus (white Aryans obvs). Persian = White.

  15. “Why would you expect a Pakistani audience to flock to a place that at times feels like a safe space for Hindu nationalism?”

    the origin of this blog is indeed a mystery. i still find it hard to believe that 3 people of muslim cultural heritage ( omar, zach and razib), that too from antagonistic countries (pak and b’desh), will start a blog which at times feels like a typical hindu nationalist watering hole. evidently the world is weirder than i thought.

    1. The 3 guys are intellectually open, non-bigoted guys . They are not easily swayed by PC terminology and in fact hate PC and word cops. You must give them that much. You can also be weird when you want it

    2. Evidently, Hindu nationalists are less Indo-Islamic than Paknationalists or SJWs.

      1. Fraxinicus
        “Evidently, Hindu nationalists are less Indo-Islamic than Paknationalists or SJWs.”
        ——What are “Hindu nationalists”?
        ——What are “Indo-Islamic”?
        ——What does this comment mean?

  16. “Calling the Prophet of God a “pedophile” is completely uncalled for (and yes this frequently used to happen)”

    kabir, i have never called muhammad a pedophile, but yes, i know others frequently do that. in all likelihood ayesha was pubescent when muhammad started sleeping with her, and i will leave it at that. in fact most hadiths on sex come from ayesha, so evidently she liked muhammad’s companionship. 😉

    my pique with muhammad is different. he was a very thin skinned, small-hearted, vindictive, egoistical, and above all a ruthless person. he never forgot an insult, and paid back even after decades. cries of mercy from fallen enemies fell on deaf ears in front of him. basically, not a likable chap.

    i suggest you read some hadiths to get a true measure of the man.

    1. I think you are selling Mohammed short. From his normal origins to being the master of Arabia in a lifetime is considerable achievement. While creating a religion in the process as well. In a way what Shivaji is to Marathas.

      Yes the empire actually expanded only after its death, but that’s true of most medieval heroes. Their actual achievements is foreshadowed by the greatness of their successors.

      Also, all the things u said about Muhammad is partly true of all conquerors, so nothing substantial difference in his conduct and others.

      1. This is a very strained analogy (visa vis Muhammad and Shivaji).

        Muhammad was actually awesome. He got tired of people visiting him all the time, so he pretended to get a revelation where God tells people to stop visiting the Prophet unless they are invited. Such a boss.

      2. “Also, all the things u said about Muhammad is partly true of all conquerors”

        true, but then other conquerors didn’t claim to have the personal phone number of god. nor did the followers of other conquerors raised them to the status of insaan-i-kamil (the perfect man), whose every action, his sartorial style, his facial hair style and even his defecation habits needs to be emulated.

        1. You just said what I thought on reading the above silly comparison of Muhammad with Shivaji.

          Shivaji would be a lesser man if he conducted as many massacres or did things like take his defeated enemies’ grieving widows as his war booty.

          But his admirers do not consider him a God insulting whom is worthy of being murdered.

          1. Oof.

            Shivaji conduced more massacres than Muhammad and killed more civilians (probably by an order of magnitude). The entire battle strategy of the Marathas was devastating raids on farming villages and mercantile outposts, resulting in them being hated pretty much everywhere outside Maharashtra. By contrast, most of Muhammad’s campaigns were against rival armies. He did occasionally raid Caravans, though mostly to recover stolen Muslim property.

            There have been a number of violent riots in Maharashtra when someone was perceived to have insulted Shivaji. A huge one occurred a number of years ago when a Western author published a book questioning the childish narrative that exists in India, complete with book burnings and threats to murder the author.

            You are right on the wife account, though this may have been due to a difference in virility more than anything else.

          2. Dude, you are not helping. Can we please not do the whole Hindu vs. Muslim virility thing again?

          3. Cheeky replies to me will get even cheekier retorts.

            ??? I just checked the comments, you know who right on time.

          4. LOL. Virility in raping helpless women ? figures.

            On the battlefield we saw how virile you are. In Dhaka. At Kargil.


          5. Pakthings : ‘There have been a number of violent riots in Maharashtra when someone was perceived to have insulted Shivaji. A huge one occurred a number of years ago when a Western author published a book questioning the childish narrative that exists in India, complete with book burnings and threats to murder the author’

            Oh yes you must have seen the amount of childishness they showed when there was ‘draw a Shivaji competition’. Much greater than peaceful Mohammed followers who threw bouquets of roses inside Charlie Hebdo’s office.

  17. “Calling the Prophet of God a “pedophile” is completely uncalled for (and yes this frequently used to happen)”

    this tick explains kabir’s problem, aside from not being very capable analytically, he simply can’t engage in distancing from his own views. so he says “the prophet of god” instead of “the person muslims think.” most ppl here don’t think muhammad was the prophet of god (he even objected to people not doing peace be upon him, even after making fun of hindu’s elephant god).

    he’s the same with his SJW views. he simply can’t acknowledge that there are other views in the world.

    but might be overthinking it. he could just be really dumb. and i have a poor model of how dumb people “think”

  18. @Kabir

    IndThings has a deep and troubled relationship with sex. He even defends pedophilia of Pak Sunni Muslim men in the UK. I think it is likely he was molested at some point. I feel really bad for him. He has a very unhealthy view of sexuality. He feels that because one man did not commit rape as much as another (Muhammed vs. Shivaji) that it had to necessarily do with sexual appetite. He clearly views sex as merely a tool to project power and satiate an appetite rather than act of enjoyment and/or procreation between two consenting parties.

    I think this unhealthy relationship stems likely from his youth days, when likely a man (most perpetrators are men) engaged in inappropriate relations with him, as an expression of a total abuse of power. I cannot think of another reason for this. The stuff he says clearly shows a deep seated issue with sexuality. I really hope he gets some counseling. Rape survivors need all the support they can get. This is the 21st century. He ought need feel ashamed any longer and definitely not resort to glorifying war time rape and pedophilia, regardless of his past traumas.

    1. Jain bandhu warlock,
      The troll has taken panga with the wrong guy.
      I’m getting my popcorn ready 🙂

    2. “Indthings has a deep and troubled relationship with sex”–You sound like you do too.

  19. Well Mohamed is certainly a bigger alpha male than Shivaji for sure. No question. But he had a 1000y head start and flew to the moon as well I’m told. Who knows how Shivaji will pan out.

    I have a proposal for chuddies: Lobby ISRO to name its next lunar mission Shivajiyaan and send it to Lunar orbit to increase Shivaji cred. Certainly will make him an interplanetary phenomenon for later generations, seeing that even the sharpest tools in the Islamic toolbox can’t manage to lift anything beyond the troposphere without winged horses…

    PS: Don’t you dare insult shri Ganesha now, he’s the one true God!

    1. LOL, my comparison was more on the lines of what Muhammad is to muslims, Shivaji is to Marathas. Not comparing Shivaji and Muhammad.

      “Who knows how Shivaji will pan out.”
      I actually think Shivaji’s image has reached its zenith. A decade back if u had a movie where Shivaji is mostly bit part character and not a hero, i would say the movie would have struggled to release. But not now.

      Most of Shivaji’s image revanichism in the 1800s and 1900s is due to Marathi intellectuals fight back against British and Bengali writers. With him achieving the numero uno Hindu King (greater than Pratap) nation wide, i think there is hardly any scope left for myth making.

  20. you guys are so juvenile…

    muhammad needs to be analyzed dispassionately.

    muhammad was one of the greatest man ever lived. and he was *the* greatest arab in history.

    but had i lived in his times, i wouldn’t invite him home for dinner. nor would i let him come anywhere near little girls.

    as simple as that.

    1. Once again, you all are obsessing about the relationship between the Prophet of God and Hazrat Ayesha. Modern standards of morality regarding the age of consent cannot be applied to 7th century Arabia.

      In many pre-modern cultures it was common for girls to be married off at puberty. Childhood is a relatively modern concept.

      And in your own mythology, there is a lady who is married to five brothers. Incest is pretty gross as well. So if you want to throw stones at Muslims, we can find plenty of things to throw at you as well.

      1. The thing is that most Hindus would probably just agree with your incest comment. Admit it was bad and move on. But Muslims, even moderates, vehemently defend Momo banging a 9 year old and also say the Koran is perfect because its the exact word of God and can never be amended and that Muhammed led essentially an ideal life. He was basically a schizophrenic warmonger who remade the core abrahamic monotheism of the area in his image but with sufficient plausible deniability with using “Allah” as a proxy, that too in the context of a master slave relationship between followers and God rather than a more benign father son relationship as in Christianity.

        1. No one really cares about your bigoted views on the Prophet of God. Once again, you people don’t have to believe in Islam, but a minimum amount of respect is the decent thing to do.

          This game of finding faults in other people’s religions is tedious. So I’m going to leave it here.

      2. You are stupid, aren’t you? How is Draupadi marrying 5 brothers incest?

        Also noone is supposed to worship the Pandavas and Draupadi. They were people who had many faults as the Mahabharata itself says.

        The fact that Draupadi married 5 brothers is considered so strange even in the Mahabharata that the text tries to laboriously explain it through Vyasa and Krishna’s arguments; two of the biggest, unimpeachable authority figures. The Mahabharata does not try to hide the strangeness & the curiosities of the world. It also does not say that marrying 5 people is worth emulating.

        Thats what makes it a much greater text than the ramblings of goat herder and caravan robber from Arabia.

        1. Sleeping with five brothers definitely qualifies as incest to most normal people.

          It’s a made up story so who really cares. But if you people will insist on insulting the Prophet of God and Hazrat Ayesha, Muslims will find enough disgusting stuff in your own religion to shame you with.

          1. Common Kabir….they all are made up stories. Don’t exclude one because you like it so much that you are losing mind over it.
            I think all people who come up with good stories that captivate people hundreds if not thousands of years later would have been intelligent and shrewd enough to understand what makes the human mind tick.

            On other hand the people who believe them as they are and can’t identify another person thought process and personal biases in them must be not so intelligent.

            I mean if I told you I went up a mountain where I met god while no one was around (Moses) or travelled to moon and back where I also split the moon (Mohammed) or as a kid I wanted to swallow the sun but thankfully the sun was saved ( Hanuman) would you even believe me for a second?

          2. People are free to believe whatever they want. Of course to a non-Muslim the Holy Quran is not the word of God and a made up story.

            My point was simply in response to those insulting the Prophet of God. Otherwise the doings of the fictional characters in a Hindu epic are no concern of mine. If one side is not prepared to offer a minimum of respect to the faith of more than a billion people, don’t expect the other side to play nice either.

          3. According to your standards you keep calling on nothing else but prophet of God and others as fictional characters. Same for comments on elephant god.

            Well for Hindu believers you saying that is not appreciated and gives them casus belli for attacking Islam and prophet in whichever way they see fit. Also the same occurs when there are cow worship/ cow piss comments mostly on social media. I have seen most pedophile comment in that context.

            Once you regard religious feelings as supreme I am not sure there is any point left in discussing / questioning say Ayodhya temple issue other than beliefs of millions of people.

          4. India is a constitutionally secular state. In such a state, there is never any excuse for destroying a minority place of worship, regardless of the reason. Hindus are entitled to their religious beliefs about the birthplace of Lord Ram (who of course as far as non-Hindus are concerned probably never existed and is certainly not God). However, those beliefs cannot justify the destruction of an actually existing historical mosque.

            If India were a Hindu Rashtra, the state could of course destroy all the mosques it likes and none of us would have any right to complain. But so long as the state remains constitutionally secular, it will be held to the standards of secular states.

          5. @Kabir

            You didn’t contest the first point which I take as you conceding that your calling hindu religious characters as fictional gives Hindus reason to return the favor how they see fit

            I was not trying to suggest this to be very good reason in Ayodhya debate but highlighting the fallacy of being taking any religious scripture too seriously.

          6. Your first point is obvious. People who don’t belong to a particular religion have no reason to believe that its scripture comes from God.

            However, there is clearly a difference between the Prophet Muhammad, who actually existed historically (though non-Muslims don’t think he was a prophet) and the characters in the “Mahabharata”,who are clearly mythological and not historical.

          7. You are changing goal post here.
            The question is not whether certain person called Mohammed lived or not , or whether he is prophet as he claims
            but that he being considered holy/revered by section of people makes him immune to criticism for his actions.
            And loose characterization of him based on contemporary social norms should be avoided on account of the reverence he holds among some people. ( Because a billion of them hold him as ideal) That was your point.

            And exactly for same reason another billion could ask you not to question some characters being real or fictional since they are considered holy by them.

          8. You can consider any figures holy you like. It doesn’t make them real. There is no proof that they ever existed and non-Hindus consider them to be literary creations.

            In contrast, the Prophet Muhammad and Jesus Christ are actual historical figures. These are simply facts, whether people like them or not.

            Holy figures (whether real or fictional) should not be insulted. That’s the bottom line.

          9. /You can consider any figures holy you like. It doesn’t make them real. /

            Similarly you can consider any historical figure holy that doesn’t make them immune from criticism. More so if they were definitely a historical figure unlike some who may get benefit of doubt of being literally (trying to use your own argument against you)

            What prevents one from not insulting a holy figure (for those who care of course) are the beliefs held by people. And you not respecting some people beliefs as they would like is equivalent to them not respecting yours

            Whether the belief pertains to some figures being real rather than literally or to some figures not to be judged for their actions is irrelevant.

          10. I’ve been commenting on this blog for a long time. The Hindu Nationalists here were insulting the Prophet of God long before I said one unkind word about Hinduism. It’s very interesting how those who have no issues with calling the Prophet of God a “pedophile” get so upset when Draupadi is labeled as someone who committed incest. It’s no fun when the shoe is on the other foot, is it guys?

            I have no interest in endless Hindu-Muslim back and forth. As long as people have the decency to refrain from insults to the Prophet of God, I am happy not to get involved in your faith one way or the other.

          11. I can only speak for myself. But I pointed out the double standards from my perspective.

            I am definitely not reading BP for more than a year

  21. Mohammad was a paedophile and a nasty warmongering psychopath. I look down upon anyone who thinks his life is worth emulating.

    Such people also come up in modern times. I feel Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale if born in medieval times might have had a similar career trajectory as Mohammad. Instead of being blown up by Indian Army tanks, he could have successfully created a politico-religious empire.

    Whatever greatness Arab civilization achieved in middle ages seems to be because of more enlightened & tolerant people who came later.

    Also the reason why I think we don’t have many Pakistanis on this forum is because English proficiency is low in Pakistan as compared to India and also Bangladesh. Most famous news channels in pakistan are in Urdu. Infact, I don’t know of any Pakistani English news channel. Compare this to India where there is a great and increasing number of English news channels and other multimedia portals.

  22. “Kabir
    MARCH 6, 2020 AT 6:43 PM
    Sleeping with five brothers definitely qualifies as incest to most normal people.

    It’s a made up story so who really cares. But if you people will insist on insulting the Prophet of God and Hazrat Ayesha, Muslims will find enough disgusting stuff in your own religion to shame you with.


    Hate speech and Defamation and Islamaphobia (and de facto blasphemy) are illegal under UK law.

    Kabir can under UK law be prosecuted for his anti muslim hate speech, defemation and Islamaphobia by attacking the second largest muslim order (Silsila) in the world, the Chistie. [The world’s largest muslim order are the twelvers.]

    The Chistie honor the Bhagavad Gita and Mahabharata and Vedas. I was directly told this by the head of the Chistie order (minus the Mahabharata, which was not mentioned) who refered to the Vedas as a holy book (presumably on par with the scrolls of Abraham, book of Moses (Tora), Zabur of David, book of Jesus (Injil), holy Koran). The head of the Chistie also deeply revered the Bhagavad Gita albeit did not call it a book (not saying that he does not consider it to be so, but rather he did not tell me that he did.)

    For more public source details on this please read the Chistie link in this comment about eastern philosophy and Sanaathana Dharma (Hindu) shastras:

    It is not just the Chistie but many other muslim orders that honor the Vedas, Bhagavad Gita and Mahabharata. Including Indonesian muslims, who consider Krishna and Draupadi to be ideal muslims.

    Quoting some text towards the end of the long hadith in Musnad Imam Ahmad narrated by Abu Umamah al-Bahili about a conversation that Abu Dharr (ra) had with the Prophet (saws):

    قُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ كَمْ وَفَّى عِدَّةُ الْأَنْبِيَاءِ قَالَ مِائَةُ أَلْفٍ وَأَرْبَعَةٌ وَعِشْرُونَ أَلْفًا الرُّسُلُ مِنْ ذَلِكَ ثَلَاثُ مِائَةٍ وَخَمْسَةَ عَشَرَ جَمًّا غَفِيرًا‏.‏

    I said “O Messenger of Allah, how many Prophets were there?” He replied “One hundred twenty four thousand, from which three hundred fifteen were jamma ghafeera.”

    Many muslim orders consider these 124,000 pre 500 AD prophets to be muslims. Many Indonesian and Indian muslims interpret this hadith as evidence that many primary characters in the Mahabharata including Hazrat Imam Krishna, peace be upon him, and Hazrat Imam Draupadi, peace be upon her, are muslim prophets.

    Ergo, Kabir is engaged in islamaphobia, blasphemy, and defamation against the great muslim prophet Hazrat Imam Draupadi, peace be upon her, the holy book Bhagavad Gita, the Hadith Mahabharata, and the great muslim Ulul’Azm (Archprophet) Hazrat Imam Krishna, peace be upon him.

    For this violation of UK law I propose a severe prison term. Which shall be commuted to a mandatory 1 month silent retreat from a muslim Silsila of his choice (Yoga Chara Mahayana, Madhyamaka Mahayana, Jaina, Sikhi, Teravada, Nund Rishi, Chistie, Qadiri, Parsi, Kabir, Shirdi Sai Nath, Janardhan Swami, Baba Fareed, Wahhabi, Rumi, Al-Hallaj . . . whatever he prefers).


    This comment is aimed at everone other than Kabir.

    Almost all of you have neither studied nor understood the holy Koran, Hadiths, Sira, or any major muslim theological school such as the Muraqabah. (Excluding a small number such as Kwaaja Auliya Pir Faqir Sheikh Razib Khan.) Can we please speak about Islam with a little more intellectual humility and a little less certainty?

    By far the two largest, most important, most influential, richest, most powerful, most respected and most authentic muslim countries are Indonesia and India. They are the leaders of the global Ummah (muslim community.)

    Indian and Indonesian Islam are far more liberal and Muraqabah than Islam in the rest of the world. Pleae stop promoting non Indian and non Indonesian interpretations of Islam (which are exclusivist and describe Mohammed pbuh differently). Indians and Indonesian muslims de emphasize many Hadiths and Sira passages that describe a less liberal Mohammed pbuh. They also interpret the holy Koran and Hadiths in a more liberal way.

    The eternal perfect five spirits (Hazrat Fatimah, her two sons, her husband and her dad) experienced Fanāʾ Fī ʾilāh and facilitated others experiencing Fanāʾ Fī ʾilāh. Islam is about having Fanāʾ Fī ʾilāh every infinitismilly small moment of time and in the infinity between each moment and the next.

    This is true Islam. This is the meaning of being muslim.

    Thank you!

    1. Why is UK law relevant to someone not in the UK? Don’t threaten me.

      Your extremely bizarre understanding of Islam aside, mainstream Muslims don’t consider Hindu mythology to have anything to do with Islam. The made up characters from the Mahabharata are certainly not Islamic Prophets.

      In any case, my point was a response to those who insist on bringing up the Prophet of God’s “pedophilia”. If you all insist on insulting revered figures in Islam, then be prepared for us to throw dirt on revered figures from your own fictional mythology.

      1. “Why is UK law relevant to someone not in the UK? Don’t threaten me.”
        Was a JOKE!

        “mainstream Muslims don’t consider Hindu mythology to have anything to do with Islam.”

        You mean mainstream Gulfie and Pakistani Islam. This part is correct.

        But mainstream Indian and Indonesian Islam (the global center and headquarters of Islam) “DO” consider Hindu mythology to have . . . “A LOT” to do with Islam.”

        “The made up characters from the Mahabharata are certainly not Islamic Prophets.”

        You may believe this. But mainstream Indonesian and Indian muslims “DO” believe they are “Islamic Prophets.” One of India’s Shiite leaders (and Yogi Adityanath’s good friend) publicly claims that Hanuman is an ideal muslim.

        There is nothing wrong with acknoledging that you are not curious about and know little about mainstream Islam in India and Indonesia, including the Chisties, Nund Rishi, UP Shiites.

        You almost never respond to sequential logical arguments point by point.

        “In any case, my point was a response to those who insist on bringing up the Prophet of God’s “pedophilia”.”

        How would Mohammed pbuh respond to these charges? I think it wouldn’t bother him at all. His 24 hour state of Fanāʾ Fī ʾilāh would be unaffected. Why is your 24 hour state of Fanāʾ Fī ʾilāh affected?

        “If you all insist on insulting revered figures in Islam, then be prepared for us to throw dirt on revered figures from your own fictional mythology.”

        In the process you are “insulting” people and books that mainstream Indonesian and Indian muslims consider to be ideal muslims and in many cases muslim prophets.

        1. Saying someone should be sent to prison is not a joke. It’s actually quite offensive.

          You are free to have your own idiosyncratic understanding of Islam, but mainstream Islam is that which is defined by the Holy Quran and Sunnah. Your opinion as someone who is neither a Muslim nor a qualified academic scholar of Islam is actually quite irrelevant.

          Muslims accept the Biblical prophets. Fictional Hindu characters are not part of our tradition.

          Your attempting to tell Muslims what Islam is is actually very offensive. I wouldn’t dare to tell you what “true” Hinduism is.

          The bottom line is that people should have the basic decency to not insult the revered figures of any religion. If you all don’t insult the Prophet of God, I have no interest in bringing up the fact that Draupadi slept with 5 brothers– which any normal human being would define as incest. Unless you are saying that Hindus believe that sleeping with one’s sister-in-law is perfectly acceptable? Your mythology is neither here nor there as far as I’m concerned.

          1. bringing up the fact that Draupadi slept with 5 brothers– which any normal human being would define as incest. Unless you are saying that Hindus believe that sleeping with one’s sister-in-law is perfectly acceptable?

            The word is polyandry, i.e. many men and one woman. No different from Polygamy sanctioned by Islam.

            Polyandry was the norm even until the 1950’s in some parts of Sri Lanka and Nepal.
            That was the social norm and consenting adults.

            No different from upper class Pakistani’s bonking the help (sorry the servants in Pakistan). Quite the social norm among Muslims as are forced child marriages.

            You really need to look up the word incest. Cousin marriage is considered incest.

          2. I know what polyandry is. Draupadi’s husbands were all brothers though. Sleeping with your sister-in-law is not sanctioned by Islam– and neither by modern Hindu societies. In Islamic polygamous marriages, a man cannot marry two sisters at the same time.

            The point is simply that if the Hindu nationalists on this site want to charge the Prophet of God with “pedophilia” based on modern notions of the age of consent, their mythological figures can also be charged with immorality based on modern standards of behavior. I am neither defending incest nor child marriage in the modern age. Pakistan’s provinces have recently raised the marriage age for girls up to 18 (though of course there are problems with implementation).

  23. Fraternal polyandry( brothers marrying a common wife) is practiced in resource scarce environments and also in cases where the society wants to prevent the division of the family estate. It was practiced in Tibet, Nepal, parts of India, China etc.
    Incest characterization is differently in different societies but biologically speaking incest is when there is a potential for the child to have diseases associated with recessive traits which is not the case in fraternal polyandry.Having said that, I do not favor fraternal polyandry .
    Polygamy among men is an extremely harmful practice because it deprives some men of wives, leads to hierarchy, lower social trust and in many cases a more violent society . Some economic historians have characterized it as having the effect equivalent to skewed sex ratio on steroids. The status of women in these societies is also poor. While any kind of polygamy is bad for women, sororal polygamy , i.e. sisters marrying a man is relatively better for women in comparison to non-sororal polygamy because it creates a more cohesive unit and women have higher bargaining power in the marriage.

    1. I don’t really care about Draupadi one way or the other. As I said earlier, she is a fictional character (as far as I am concerned).

      The bottom line is that if Hindu nationalists want to insult the Prophet of God, they should be prepared for insults to their own tradition as well. The decent behavior would be for everyone to cease and desist insulting revered figures in other people’s religions.

      I am done with this issue because this is just getting repetitive at this point.

      1. Firstly in a secular country there should be no concept of religious blasphemy. Secondly, Hinduism also does not have the concept of blasphemy. Sometimes characters, figures , avatars are deliberately portrayed in shades of grey and have their flaws. They are put in situations of ethical conflict and may not make the right choices. For many choices you will find different avatars taking different paths. Debate and seeking is encouraged. Thirdly, social practices are not encoded as rigidly into religious diktats in Hinduism. Smritis are contextual and time specific. Religions in general become more rigid and societies become static when medieval social practices are encoded into religious diktats. I would not consult any religion for social practices ( including Hinduism), but look at anthropological data and perform cross cultural comparisons to determine beneficial social practices.

        If it is of any comfort to you, I have never said anything about your Prophet. However, I fully support the freedom of expression and the right of anyone to make any comment about Hindu figures/Gods as well as Muslim figures/Gods.

        1. The bottom line is that insulting people’s religious figures is extremely crass behavior. But if you are prepared to dish it out, you should be prepared to take it as well. Not that I think this gets either Hindus or Muslims anywhere.

  24. Hindu nationalists insult the prophet of god. So Kabir insults the ungods of the pagans.

    My question is: Shouldn’t Kabir – the self-anointed Secular ™ hero – hold himself to a higher standard ? I could have sworn he advocated something of the sort.

    1. With your history of Islamophobic comments on this site, you hardly have any room to criticize anyone else. Hypocrite.

  25. The problem with these movements is they take the sort of very shit science that white supremacists/misogynists/etc. use and reinterpret them to their favor, rather than finding out correct information or having different views to base their views on.

    American racial science is a very good example. White supremacists say such and such “race” are unevolved, so such and such people will say white people are mutants. Both believe one is directly derived from the other in that order, which is not true.

    When these groups try to apply their notions of things to the rest of the world, it doesn’t work as the rest of the world doesn’t have them (like Americans who find out people don’t tip outside the USA). People in African don’t consider biracial people to be black, people in Asia tend to identify themselves by their ethnicity.

    Some feminist movements wish to install women in certain positions, which makes sense except these positions are very male in origin and very stupid. They don’t seem interested in creating something new to replace these dysfunctional areas, but want to inhabit them alongside men.

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