Pope Benedict’s Inappropriate Remarks On Pakistan

Posted by Ahmed Quraishi on Jan 13th, 2011

Pope Benedict’s Inappropriate Remarks On Pakistan

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Pope Benedict’s Inappropriate Remarks On Pakistan

The problem in Pakistan is not between Muslims and Christians. It is between two Muslim minorities: liberal extremists and religious extremists. Foreign interference exacerbates this tension and does not help.

AHMED QURAISHI | Thursday | 13 January 2011

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Egypt is a moderate Muslim country, even liberal, with zero tolerance for religious extremism. But this week Cairo recalled its ambassador to the Vatican after Pope Benedict XVI called on world leaders to protect Egyptian Coptic Christians after an unprecedented bombing at an Alexandria church on New Year’s Eve.

This was a clear call from the Pope for the world to interfere in Egypt.  For years Washington’s second largest recipient of annual US aid, you would think Cairo would be mellow to the call. No way.

Egypt rejected Pope’s call. In a released by the Egyptian foreign office, a spokesman said, “Egypt will not allow any non-Egyptian faction to interfere in its internal affairs under any pretext,” the statement said. “The Coptic question is specifically an internal Egyptian affair.”

Cairo’s real concern was that Pope’s statement, coming three weeks after the incident, would revive tensions in Egypt after they had calmed down.

Contrast the Egyptian response with Pakistan’s.

In the same speech, the Pope called on Pakistan to repeal its anti-blasphemy law.

At first look, there is no reason to doubt the good intention of Pope Benedict.

He said repealing the law would help avoid incidents such as the ‘tragic murder’ of Salman Taseer, and tried to generate goodwill by hinting Muslims and Christians worshipped the same God: “… the worship of God furthers fraternity and love, not hatred and division.” That is exactly what Muslims believe, that Jews, Christians and Muslims worship the same deity.

Great words. But the problem is that they come at the wrong time for Pakistan. Instead of calming down the controversy, this would fan it. Let me explain.

This law is not about Pakistani Christians. The anti-blasphemy law traps more Muslims in its net than Christians. In fact, a far larger number of Muslim Pakistanis have been convicted under the law, as the recent case of a conviction of a indicates. This does not mean the law should not be amended or repealed. It must be either amended or repealed because it is being abused.  For example, the 45-year-old mosque imam and his 20-year-old son were convicted for life this month because they dared remove a poster on their shop window advertising a religious event that contained Quranic verses. It is ridiculous. What mosque imam would commit blasphemy?

So the law itself does not victimize Christians only. And it is not a tool to target Christians.

The real problem over the law is between an extremist westernized minority of Pakistanis who ridicule religion and between another extremist religious minority that takes religion to extreme.

The extremist westernized minority wants no religion at all and keeps talking foolishly about European secularism, which is misplaced in Pakistan.  This provokes the religious extremist minority into paranoia and pushes them to extremes, as in the case of the 26-year-old bodyguard who assassinated Governor Taseer.  Caught between the two extremes are the majority of moderate, peaceful Pakistanis.

US and other western governments make matters worse by openly siding with the extremist westernized minority in Pakistan, provoking reaction.

The Pope thinks that by making his statement he is siding with the persecuted Christians. But the truth is, by making a statement that leaves no room for amendments to the law, the Pope is actually siding with the Pakistani extremist westernized minority.

And this is not helpful.

Unfortunately, the elected government of President Zardari lacks a single credible face with good understanding of the real problem that could convey this delicate balance to our foreign friends, including Pope Benedict, and ask them, like the Egyptians have done, to stay away from our internal matters.

In fact, the PPP is full of people like Senator Sherry Rehman who are using the controversial law to settle scores against religious political groups. And that is exactly what extremist religious groups are doing, using the law to get back at the extremist westernized minority.  

What Pakistan needs is to de-politicize the discussion over the anti-blasphemy law. Extremist westernized Pakistani minority and its religious extremist counterpart must not be allowed to lead the debate or use it for their own political gains.  The government can publicly recognize that the controversial law is not a Muslim-Christian issue but an issue between two self-centered extremes who are hijacking it for their own motives.  This way, the debate would be brought back to the moderate mainstream.

While we work this out, our foreign friends can help the most by taking a hike.

A word to Pope Benedict:  While recognizing your good intention, I cannot but suspect an element of politics to your statement.  Nothing has happened to Pakistani Christians that resembles what happened in India to Indian Christians in 2008 and 2009, when hundreds of churches and Christian houses were gutted by Hindu extremist mobs. In some cases, nuns were sexually harassed and violated. These cases are fresh and well documented. Not to mention the horrific case of an Australian priest and his two underage boys who were burned alive by Hindu extremists.  We never heard the Pope speak about those incidents. Your diplomats did say something about them but at a much lower level and quite shyly compared to how you spoke on Egypt and Pakistan.  This distinction does not help your message, to say the least.

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25 Responses for “Pope Benedict’s Inappropriate Remarks On Pakistan”

  1. moonkoon says:

    First of all let me remind readers that the Egyptian people showed wonderful solidarity with the victims of the recent outrageous attack on their fellow countrymen, as did the Egyptian government.

    Egypt’s Muslims attend Coptic Christmas mass, serving as “human shields”
    Muslims turned up in droves for the Coptic Christmas mass Thursday night, offering their bodies, and lives, as “shields” to Egypt’s threatened Christian community
    Yasmine El-Rashidi , Friday 7 Jan 2011
    Egypt’s majority Muslim population stuck to its word Thursday night. What had been a promise of solidarity to the weary Coptic community, was honoured, when thousands of Muslims showed up at Coptic Christmas eve mass services in churches around the country and at candle light vigils held outside. …,-servi.aspx

    Now if I may, a word (via Michael L. Fitzgerald, Apostolic Nuncio – Ambassador of the Vatican) in defence of Pope Benedict’s heartfelt call for non-violence. Here is part of what Benedict said about the heartless attack.

    … “Yesterday morning I received with sorrow the news of the serious attack against the Coptic Christian community in Alexandria, Egypt. This despicable act of death, similar to that of placing bombs near the houses of Christians in Iraq in order to force them to leave, offends God and the whole of humanity.” He continued: “In the face of this strategy of violence aimed at Christians, but with consequences for the whole of the population, I pray for the victims and their families, and encourage church communities to persevere in faith and the witness to non-violence that has its source in the Gospel.” …

    The previous day he made the following plea.

    … we wish to help every person and all peoples, and in particular those who are responsible for government, to walk ever more decisively along the road to peace.” He called upon people not to give way to discouragement or resignation in the face of the negative forces of egoism and violence, going on to point out: “Words are not enough; there needs to be concrete and constant action on the part of those responsible for Nations”, while adding that every person needs to be imbued with the spirit of peace. …

    As Michael puts it,

    … From these statements of the Pope it is surely clear that he is not encouraging interference in the internal matters of any particular State, but that he is appealing to all, both individuals and governments, to respect the religious beliefs and practices of different communities and thus promote harmonious and peaceful societies.

    I hope this helps to clarify the situation. :-)

  2. michelle says:

    It seems like everyone is connecting salman taseers murder to a religious reason. One thing the pakistanis need to understand is that he wasn’t killed because of what Qadri said it was there are many other reasons behind it and only time will unveil those reasons. but the misconception created because of the politician’s murder on the westernised minds of pakistanis who follow everything western is that to kill a blasphemer is a man-made law, and even the west is putting a lot of emphasis on it. As it can be seen from the POPE Benedict’s statement. my question to all of the WEST who are misguiding the poor pakistanis about freedom of speech and all is that how would they explain the origins of such law in the bible if it was man-made:

    Leviticus 24:16 ”And he that blasphemeth the Name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the Congregation shall certainely stone him: Aswell the stranger, as he that is borne in the land, when he blasphemeth the Name of the Lord, shall be put to death.”

    American Standard Version (1901): And he that blasphemeth the name of Jehovah, he shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the sojourner, as the home-born, when he blasphemeth the name `of Jehovah’, shall be put to death.

    Jewish Publication Society Bible: ”And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him; as well the stranger, as the home-born, when he blasphemeth the Name, shall be put to death.

    its seems like pakistanis are adopting only the liberal ways of america only!! i am sorry for the sarcasm but adopt your own religion and culture instead of copying the type of west they show you on tv, your own religion it is much more liberal where at least a chance is given to every sinner.

    • Naushad says:

      All praises be to the Almighty Allah!

      Dear Sister Michelle, thank you for your most refreshing comment. You may or may not be a nun, but I called you ’sister’ to express my deepest admiration for your truth. I hope you are not offended.

      I also admire my Pakistani Muslim brother Ahmed Qureshi for his unwavering patriotism and devotion to Islam and Muslims. Unfortunately, he appears a bit less educated on the religion than politics, national security, etc. Hence, his criticism on the law of blasphemy.

  3. Tariq says:

    This article is way off the mark. The issue is similar to how the Quran burning US pastor was manipulated and exposed so much to anti-islamic agenda.
    It is false and a lame claim to say this is all about muslims themselves.
    It is glaringly about western values interfering and manipulating muslims and our Islamic values. Pakistan is a muslim land, and such it should be ruled with Islam.
    If not blasphemy law it will be something else next time, its never gonna stop, its a perpetual war .

    The issue is a political one engineered and manipulated by the western backed secular crusaders, and their sympathetic stooges.
    The law was possibly mis-applied on the mosque imam, or the christian village lady, those ruling elite are highlighting it, promoting it, and twisting it to suit themselves, when they could have kept it in proportion.
    The “ignorant mullahs” term as used in the derogatory manner by supposed “educated ” leaders also serves this purpose. It conveniently ignores the “ignorant mullahs” legitimate feeling and views as if they did not belong, and their views did not count.
    They have been used and exploited by the elites agenda like the Quran burning pastor of the USA also was . It is the manipulators, secular ruling elite, and would be rulers who are the problem here, not islamic law.

    This does however highlight how mixing some islamic laws with kufr laws does not work .
    You cannot run a mac system and a win7 system at the same time, they are incompatable, you have to decide which one you believe in.

  4. Abulkhair Sarhandi says:

    The fact is that all laws ( civil and criminal ) in Pakistanare introduced to allow police to earn their living by charging bribes while their lawful and just wages are pocketed by their political masters. We all know that like many so called Muslims some Christians in Pakistan are active aginst Islam and the state. The question is should we protect our values or submit to Western values.

    We have seen what the Western values are by not forgetting that Islam and The Prophet is under most faul attacks in West by media,politicians and relegious personalities including this very Pope. No the call by the pope has more sinister aspect to it. What the Pope is asking World Leaders ( infact Western Warmongers ) is to do an other Iraq and Afghanistan in Egypt…..yes he is asking for the invasion of Eghypt and by including Pakistan in the statement he is coating his poison pill with typical Christian ” fork tongue ” . One must never forget the fact that English during their occupation of Egypt tried to devide Muslims and Copts and in the process pass the power to Christian Copts ( bit like Plestine ) but it is to the credits of Egyptian Christians who refused to be part of any of it. We must never forget that all the Crusades were instigated by the popes of Western Christians and their aim still is to remove Muslims from all of the Meditarnean coast. Egypt and Turkey are the greatest source of pain West suffers permanently. Yesterday it was Palestine,today its Egypt tomorrow it will be Turkey.

  5. Naushad says:

    Dear Mr. Qureshi, I was expecting a bit more research and impartiality than apparent in your article. Perhaps you have also read the article by Mr. Ansar Abbasi (at on how and why the 295-c legislated and promulgated. If not, then please read and correct your stand on removal or amendment to this law.

    It is not the law at fault here. It is a failure on part of the Government (incumbent and previous ones), law enforcement, and judiciary to allow its misuse. That is where the correction needs to be. Otherwise, we might as well remove all the laws as victims of murder, rape, kidnapping, burglary, embezzlement, bribery, etc seldom (if ever) get justice.

    If the government had acted timely to reproach Salman Taseer and take lawful action against him when he defiled the Shari’ah and provoked the Muslims across the world, (right or wrong) Mumtaz Qadri would neither have a reason nor an opportunity to kill him. For one thing, the victim had used derogatory remarks against (1) Shariah – that is Quran and Sunnah – which is to be held Supreme and protected by the Constitution of Pakistan; and (2) he did so after “solemnly swearing” during his oath ceremony to protect and uphold the Constitution and laws of Pakistan; 295-C included.

    Whatever one’s opinion may be on the issue surrounding the Blasphemy Law, Salman Taseer, Mumtaz Qadri, and Aasia Bibi’s admitted blasphemy, misuse of her God-given ability to speak;
    - has gotten Salman Taseer killed for (among other things) calling this part of Shari’ah a draconian law;
    - may get Mumtaz Qadri killed in lieu of killing Salman Taseer
    - Aasia Bibi herself may not be able to escape her death penalty, either
    Proving a couple of the infinite Quranic wisdom
    - “and when they (the hypocrites) are told not to spread mischief on earth, they claim we only propagate peace. Verily they are mischievous but they realize not”
    - A mischief (fitna) caused by tongue is greater than the mischief caused by an arm. The former mischief (blasphemy) has claimed one life, and may eventually claim two more. Whereas, killing of just ONE hypocrite has prevented further instances of blasphemy and killings …….. at least for a while in the near future.


    • Dear Naushad,

      Death punishment for blasphemy is non-negotiable, whether this blasphemy law exists or not. That punishment is in the Quran.

      The law itself, discussed and written inside the parliament by legislators, lawyers and police officers, is not sacred and is debatable.

      I do not agree that the law is fine and the problem is with implementation. This law is ridiculous. This week, a mosque imam and his 20-year-old son have been sentenced for life under this law. Imagine this. A mosque imam sentenced for life with his young son for blasphemy. Why? Because he dared to remove an advertizing poster by a religious political group carrying verses from Holy Quran. Changing or repealing this law makes no difference to our great religion, which existed and continues to thrive in the Islamic world without a ‘Tauheen e Risalat’ law. Only we in Pakistan have this kind of a law. All other Muslim countries don’t have a law of this nature. They only have capital punishment for blasphemy if proven. It is ridiculous that religious groups and westernized Pakistanis are making this law a matter of life and death. Also, Aasia bibi didn’t go out intentionally to say whatever she said. It was a fight among a group of uneducated Muslim women with her, women who worked and competed for cleaning houses, as you know. Abu Bakr al Siddiq [RA] and Omar bin Khattab [RA] suspended the Islamic punishment for theft [cutting of hands] when hunger swept Arabia and people started stealing food to eat. You have to circumstances. Aasia bibi is our sister. If a group of uneducated Muslim women told her they won’t drink water from her hands because she is Christian and that our Prophet said so, then these uneducated Muslim women should also be tried for starting this Fitna.

      Don’t become blood-thirsty on matters that are insignificant to both Islam and to us. We are making a joke out of ourselves and killing oursevles and are not even ready to discuss and talk. I disagree totally with Sherry Rehman’s amendments and approach. Totally. And she will not succeed because by law you can’t end capital pubishment for blasphmey. Period. So there was never a need for extreme reactions like this murder of Salman Taseer which has brought a bigger Fasaad to our society.

      • Naushad says:

        Dear Ahmed,

        From what I have read the law, as it is available on the internet, it is according to the Shari’ah. The conviction of Imam and his son may very well be miscarriage of justice as commonly observed in this country, and I suspect that because a ‘religious political party’ is involved in the litigation.

        Secondly, other Muslim nations and states are not our standard in legislating laws in this country. It should be only Quran and Sunnah. According to Shari’ah law, it matters not what Aasia Bibi meant. Still, one could present a very strong argument that she DID blaspheme “intentionally” to hurt the feelings of Muslim women – as a slight to the latter. Had she used a dagger to cut them instead, would you a look at her intention differently?

        Even if Aasia Bibi was my blood sister, I would have to disown her after blasphemy. Therefore, she is not! I have known Christians in Pakistan since my childhood and never treated them differently. Hence, I could not disrespect them by considering Asia Bibi my sister. I’m sorry.

        Last but not least, only Salman Taseer and the his party that is ruling the country is responsible for his murder. As I said before, if he and/or the government had acted responsibly, Mumtaz would not have given up hope on the system and taken matters into his own hand.

        The relevance of AbuBakr and Omar (RAA) viz the thief is irrelevant here. Please think about it.

      • Kamran says:

        Dear Mr Quraishi,

        When you say, “I do not agree that the law is fine and the problem is with implementation. This law is ridiculous”, you are taking a very hard stand not open to discussion. In my opinion, what is ridiculous are the the rules of evidence as applied to such laws. When the punishment is as extreme as death, the rules of evidence should aslo be as extreme. The saying of one person should never be accepted by the court as the truth. There should be at least three or four independant witnesses and never from the same family.

        Let me know your views. Thanks.


    • tariq says:

      Naushad responses are clearly very useful and the truth.

  6. irfan hussein says:

    Several points:

    What is a “liberal extremist”. Who in Pakistan is a “liberal extremist” and what are they saying about religion that make them being called “liberal extremist”

    The Pope is doing what a Christian is doing, protecting fellow Christians. This is a religious position, not a political position. The pope wasn’t grandstanding. Muslims will speak-up when fellow Muslims are harmed.

    Reminder that in Pakistan, non-Muslims are second-class citizens, and are treated as such.

    • Naushad says:

      Salman Taseer was a liberal extremist, which is why he labeled the Blasphemy law as ‘draconian’ out of an utter disregard for the Muslims and the conditions of faith as laid out in the Quran and Sunnah. Not to mention the fact, his liberal extremism caused his dementia to violate and degrade the very laws he “swore to uphold” as Governor.

      Others include Sherry Rahman, who proposed amended and/or removal of the law. She was one of the leading characters in degrading the Hudood Ordinance under the guise of protecting the women of Pakistan. Please refer to the statistic of violent crimes before and after the bill, and be honest with yourself.

      Many more name could be listed. However, under which law, norm, more can you, or anyone, justify the Pope’s moral violations of any country’s sovereignty by interfering in her internal matters and demanding the removal of a law that people of that country have agreed to be in place to ensure peace and harmony between the communities. You can read a succinct history of why and how this law (on blasphemy) came in being at

      “Reminder that in Pakistan, non-Muslims are second-class citizens, and are treated as such.”

      That is a blatant insult to the 95 – 98% of the “Pakistanis”, irrespective of the religion, that are struggling to survive as 3rd class citizens in an environment controlled and manipulated with impunity by the remain 2-5% of people with their assets and stakes outside this country; and/or on the payroll of anti-Muslim / anti-Pakistani governments, spy agencies, and “NGOs”.

      A word of advice: keep kicking dirt and soon one finds himself in a hole he has dug in the process.

      • Naushad,

        Keeping my conscience in sight, and my deep religiousness and faith, I disagreed with Mr. Taseer’s politics but I do not see his criticism of a law written and made in parliament as blasphemy. A Saudi newspaper consulted Saudi and Egyptian Ulema and they also agreed that criticizing this man-made law that contained procedural issues did not constitute blasphemy in any way.

        Taseer would have committed blasphemy had he uttered something against any one of our Prophets [peace be upon all of them] or spoken against Allah or Holy Quran, Bible or Torah. That’s blasphemy. In fact, Mr. Taseer’s entire political record shows he never actually indulged in political point-scoring with religious political groups.

        It is your right to have strong political views. But it is wrong to utter words of Boh’tan against another Muslim, and Mr. Taseer was a Muslim.

        • Naushad says:

          My brother Ahmed,

          I’m not leveling an allegation against late Salman Taseer. He is on record calling the blasphemy law as ‘kala qanoon’, which happens to be according to exact interpretation of Shari’ah. Since Shari’ah was given to us Allah through Prophet (PBUH), denouncing it is in fact denunciation of the Prophet (PBUH) and Allah. That was the reason that even the Khateeb of his official residence refused to offer his funeral prayer.

          • Dear Naushad,

            It is incorrect to say that blasphemy law ‘happens to be according to exact interpretation of Sharia’. This is like saying I can’t call the constitution black book because it contains an Ayah from Holy Quran.

            The law is not EXACTLY as the Sharia. That’s a big lie. The law has nothing to do with sharia. It was drafted by policemen, legislators and lawyers. It contains matters such as the number of witnesses, number of days in detention, and other procedural issues. None of it is taken from Sharia. It’s all from the penal code and standard operating procedures of the police. This what, unfortunately, leaders of political religious groups are not telling the people depsite knowing it. They are expliting you and me and others for politics. The law can be called black a zillion times. What is according to Sharia is only one thing: that death is the punishment for proven blasphemy. The law includes this line but it’s only one small part. The rest of it is just penal code. A mosque imam and his young son have jailed this week for life under this law. Islamic sharia has no detention pubishment for blasphemy but this law does. How can this man-made law then be ‘in strict interpretation of Sharia’ as you claim?

            Please, this is a Muslim country and people here don’t indulge in blasphemy for sports. We are not more Muslim than Saudi Arabia and they don’t have a ‘Tauheen e Risalat’ law. They just have death penalty for proven blasphemy. If Salmaan Taseer said it’s a ‘Kala Qanoon’, he and anyone else can say that. He is criticizing Pakistan penal code and a parliamentary law, not the Holy Quran or Sharia. The man died with a chain around his neck with the full Ayat al Kursi. You don’t kill Muslims like this, even if they are not exactly religious. This country is full of thieves and looters. One Maulana is called Diesel, and another Pil Faqir Maulana is stealing money from the Hujjaj and all you people are after is a man like Salman Taseer who, despite all his other failings, at least served this country tremendously and never earned illegal money. All because he showed compassion to a poor Pakistani Christian woman with small children who never intended to be an intentional blasphemer but was prodded to do so by Muslim female sweepers. These Muslim women sweepers should also be tried for committing blasphemy because they claimed our Prophet, PBUH, asked Muslims not to drink water offered by a Christian, which is a lie.

            I never liked Taseer’s politics, and I defend the Muslim character of Pakistan and I would never tolerate insults against Islam and our Prophets, peace be upon all of them. But Taseer was not a blasphemer for saying law is black. What happened to parliament and democracy being a western invention? That law is a product of that western invention.

            This is not about defending Salman Taseer. This is about the wrong direction we are going. You don’t start spreading Fasaad in your society like this. If we are having a debate, we don’t start treating each other as enemies as start killing each other. If this is what we are going to do, then what have we left for our enemies?!

      • Apart from the point above, I completel AGREE with the rest of your comment. Sherry Rehman’s amendments will never pass.

      • tariq says:

        I appreciate your responses which are clearly very useful and the truth.

      • Irfan Hussein says:


        All I can say to you is that you are talking nonsense. You haven’t responded to my question what a “liberal extremist” is. You sort have defined what a liberal in Pakistan, but the extremist part is a head-scratcher. I don’t remember a “liberal extremist” pumping 27 bullets into an unarmed mullah or imam.

        The Hudood Ordinace were amended because it was a license to rape women, Musilm and non-Muslim. The requirement of producing four witnesses to a rape was so onerous that most women never bothered reporting it, hence the statistical difference.

        • Naushad says:


          Maybe not so against a Mullah, but how do feel about Dr. Affia Siddiqi, or innocent teen and preteen girls at Lal Masjid?

          As for the Hudood Ordinance, I think you need to look at the previous and new versions, as well as the processes involved. You will be surprised to see how misplaced your current understanding is.

          • Irfan Hussein says:


            Please, I would like to see an example of an act of violence being committed by a “liberal extremist”? the answer is simple: there are none.

            As for Aafia Siddiqui, I don’t see what she has anything to this discussion, but since you brought it up. I find the whole affair bizarre from beginning to end. The government, as its habit, doesn’t tell us anything. Why was she handed over? How did she end up in Afghanistan? Was she trying to kill a governor? Did she attack American troops? Where is her missing child? The list is endless. It is Pakistan’s duty to protect its citizens, wherever they may be, for whatever crime, or whether they guilty or innocent.

    • Naushad says:

      “Please refer to the statistic of violent crimes before and after the bill,..” as statistics of violent crimes “against women” before and after the bill.

    • Mr. Irfan,

      Non-Muslims are NOT second-class citizens. I have dear friends, Pakistanis from other religions, who hold high positions in the military, corporate, economy, and media. So please spare us the ’self-hatred’ that some of you, westernized minority Pakistanis, feel about yourselves.

      • Irfan Hussein says:

        There is a difference between self-hatred and self-delusion. You are clearly suffering from the latter. The mere idea of having an Islamic state gives primacy to Muslims over non-Muslims.

        The Quaid never wanted an Islamic republic. If he did, he would’ve declared one. He wanted Pakistan to be like Turkey or Algeria. Muslim-majority states, but not Islamic states.

        • Irfan Sb, I studied Quad-e-Azm and I watched his transformation in big things and small, like how he gradually moved from wearing the English suit to the dress code of Muslim aristocracy in the region. Islam has never had a goverment ruled by mullahs. Never happened in the three Khilafat statesL the Umayyads, the Abbasids, and the Ottomans. So this western concept of a religious state has never existed or materialized under Muslim rule anywhere, not in Arabia, not in Andalus, and not under the Ottomans, Abbasid and Umayyads.

          So there is no such a country ruled by mullahs. And there is no way the Quaid-e-Azam or anyone was thinking about that. But, on the other hand, the Quaid recognized this is a Muslim country where Muslims will live according to their ethos, and their ethos come from their religion. So it is not going to be a government by the mullah, but it will be a modern Muslim country. Islam is open and modern, and has been so throughout the past 1,500 centuries. Science and arts and culture thrived under the Muslims because they were open to all cultures but intensely proud of their own.

          So we don’t need to borrow any western secular thought to be progressive. Islam is progressive and modern and accommodating. Your problem is that you read too much western stuff on your own country and people and forge that Islam and Islamic state has really nothing to do with the mullahs. Clear this thought in your mind and everything will fall in place. Pakistan can be a very modern country and open to the world while being Islamic. Just to give you an example: Shops selling alcohol existed in all the capitals of the Islamic Caliphate, in Damascus, Baghdad and Istanbul. To serve the non-Muslims. No Khalifa banned them or shut them down, including the very religious ones. Muslims were not allowed to enter and puirchase alcohol. So I am giving you one very silly example of how Islamic states have been. You know nothing about the Islamic state because you read western material, mostly twisted and biased and itself often based on ignorant conclusions. Mullahism exists only in Pakistan. No Arab country, for example, has a religious class called mullahs. So the deformities are somewhere else, not in the concept of an Islamic state.

          • Irfan Hussein says:

            Quaid-e-Azam was just as westernized as you accuse me. He attended Western universities, practiced Indian law, and wrote and spoke the Queen’s English. He carried himself like a proper English gentleman. That he donned “the dress code of Muslim aristocracy” is meaningless. If dress is an indicator of being a Muslim, then the pictures and videos I’ve seen of you would say that you, too, are a Westernized elite because you wear a suit and tie. What QeZ wore does not detract from his principles or his accomplishments.

            For one thing, I admire your passion, but answer one thing: are we living up to the Quaid’s ideals for a modern Islamic state? A welfare state? Where everybody, regardless of creed, religion, or ethnicity, can live together in peace and harmony? What would Quaid say of Pakistan in 2011? He would be terribly disappointed, for one thing.

            And I never brought up the issue of mullahs and mullahism, you did. I strongly disagree that Pakistan is run by mullahs. They may have a disapportionate say in matters, but they are not ruling Pakistan. Not yet, anyway. I’m thinking more along the lines of Saudi Arabia or Iran.


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