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  • The sad state of Hindus in Pakistan


    by Sunny
    20th January, 2006 at 1:38 am    

    The idea that religious minorities in Pakistan (anyone non-Sunni) get a fair treatment by the government and other institutions has always been a highly suspect claim. But whereas massacres of Shia and Ahmadiyya groups are regularly in the news, much less is known about the roughly 2.6 million Hindus that still live there.

    While claims of everyday low-level persecution are constantly bubbe underneath the surface, the more charged issue of Hindu women being abducted and forced to convert is increasingly coming to light in Pakistan and India.

    Indian politics magazine Outlook has a cover story this week on the issue, giving further impetus to voices that something must be done. First, some background.

    Pakistan’s English language Dawn newspaper first published a story in November on the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan expressing “deep concern” at recent reports of Hindu girls being abducted. The paper said:

    An HRCP release issued here on Wednesday stated that according to newspaper reports 19 girls mostly from Punjab Colony were missing from their homes. Relatives of these young girls had reasons to believe that they had been kidnapped and being forced to change their religion, the press release added.

    Although the commission urged the government to take action, nothing was heard futher on the issue.

    A week later Mumbai’s Mid-Day newspaper followed up with a more detailed story on the issue, which raised many more eyebrows and was also highlighted by Sakhi Juneja on her blog.

    A column by Dawn’s Irfan Husain followed in early December in which he cites his own investigations on the growing problem and urged the Pakistani government to take action.

    Meanwhile in London, a demonstration was organised for 18th December in front of the Pakistani Embassy to force the government to take action, though I don’t know how that went or the outcome.

    Outlook’s cover story may raise the political temperature, and in this case that may be the only way forward.

    Human rights activists in the country remain concerned at the governments continuing lack of regard not only for Hindus, who are leaving their country in growing numbers, but also other religious minorities.

    Women groups in the country say the abduction of Hindu women is part of Pakistan’s rampant gender discrimination:

    Aurat Foundation’s Nuzzhat Shirin too blames Islamic fanaticism for the ordeal of Hindus. “It’s Muslims winning by intimidation. It’s Muslims overcoming a culture by threatening it, by abducting young girls so that an entire community moves out or succumbs to the Muslim murderers,” she says. Shirin, however, says the crime against Hindu girls should also be seen from the perspective of gender discrimination rampant in Pakistan.

    The foundation’s figures show that on average 10 women are killed daily countrywide in honour crimes. “The ratio is higher in the northern tribal areas, with cultural affinity to Afghan tribal practices. Not only that, on average, two women are raped every hour in Pakistan. During 2005, close to 600 women committed suicide across Pakistan.

    President Musharraf? Nowhere to be seen on the issue. He probably thinks women get abducted to get a visa.

    This is sensitive but important issue that should not be about demonising an entire country and its people, but about dealing with the backward village mentality over religion that still exists in many parts. The Pakistani government needs to act to protect its citizens.


                  Post to del.icio.us


    Filed in: Culture,Pakistan,Religion,South Asia






    113 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs


    1. Bikhair — on 20th January, 2006 at 3:27 am  

      Tsk Tsk Tsk.

      This is Paki Islam for ya!

    2. NorahJones — on 20th January, 2006 at 4:09 am  

      Jekyll or Hyde?

    3. NorahJones — on 20th January, 2006 at 4:27 am  

      I can’t believe they can get away with it…

      What can they do about it? How..? Who..?

    4. Mirax — on 20th January, 2006 at 4:46 am  

      As the outlook report clearly shows they get away with it wholesale because the courts, police, state and religious apparatus all collude in it. Just let a hindu kidnap and do similar with a “consenting” muslim girl child and the country will be in an uproar and all hindus would have been slaughtered in their beds.

      Pakistan is a spectacularly failed state.Its treatment of minorities is atrocious ,Sunny, not ‘highly suspect’! Let’s not mince around.Non-sunni muslims get bombed in their mosques, christians are gotten at with the blasphemy laws and the hindus get their children kidnapped and raped. I wonder about the Sikhs- how are they worn down?

      One other thing that disgusted me was how the ‘converts’ were denied all contact with their infidel families - those girls were truly lost forever to their loved ones.

    5. Vikrant — on 20th January, 2006 at 5:20 am  

      “highly suspect”(?)…(laughs)

    6. Al_Mujahid_for_debauchery — on 20th January, 2006 at 5:51 am  

      It really sucks to be a minority in Pakistan.

    7. Harps — on 20th January, 2006 at 9:16 am  

      *awaits Jewish conspiracy theory*

      People get away with whatever they are allowed to get away with it. It is up to the state to demonstrate that this sort of behaviour is completely unacceptable.

      As much as I want to side step saying it , I have to agree with Mirax. If a Hindu were to do the same with a Muslim girl - all hell would break loose.

      As for Sikhs, as I understood it the community is strong and vibrant in pakistan and I do not know of any overt religous discrimination other than the usual shitty ethics of the subcontinent.

      all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing

    8. Jay Singh — on 20th January, 2006 at 10:05 am  

      Get ready for Raz to have a nervous breakdown.

      Sad, but if you read the article, it is Muslims who are protesting and trying to help the Hindus, so nobody can say this is typical of Islam if there are Muslims trying to stop it from happening.

      But evangelical Islam as advocated by the Sindhi Pir in this articlee in a feudal society will always, I fear, prey on minorities like this.

    9. Jay Singh — on 20th January, 2006 at 10:11 am  

      I wonder about the Sikhs- how are they worn down?

      Sikhs are concentrated around Nankana Sahib. In a 1991 census that I read there were around 6000 Sikhs in Pakistan. There was a recent case in Peshawar of a Sikh girl being kidnapped and converted ‘of her own accord’.

    10. raz — on 20th January, 2006 at 10:23 am  

      “Get ready for Raz to have a nervous breakdown”

      Jay Singh now supercedes Vikrant has raz stalker no.1 :)

    11. Jay Singh — on 20th January, 2006 at 10:25 am  

      I read a story about a Sikh girl in Peshawar suffering this fate just a few weeks ago - but this is the only article I can find at the moment about a case from 2003 - it was originally published in the Pakistani newspaper The Dawn:

      ++++++

      6 year old Sikh girl kidnapped, converted by Pak islamists
      ——————————————————————————-
      PESHAWAR: Parents seek girl’s recovery

      PESHAWAR, Feb 19: The parents of a Sikh girl who has been held by a tribesman for the last 40 days in the remote Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency and is said to have embraced Islam have given up all hopes for the recovery of their daughter.

      “I have left the matter to divine justice,” Kirpar Singh, the uncle of Harvinder Kaur, whose Islamic name is Amina, told Dawn on Wednesday, adding that he had done everything in his power to retrieve the girl “but the world belongs to the powerful”.

      The kidnappers, Mr Singh alleged, had refused to produce the girl either before a Jirga or the political administration of the agency.

      Harvinder Kaur’s family claims she is only six years’ old, while her present custodians, a Malikdinkhel family headed by Nasir Khan, say she is 12 years.

      The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has constituted a fact-finding committee to visit Tirah Valley and ascertain the position about the alleged abduction of Harvinder Kaur.

      The coordinator of the HRCP, NWFP chapter Mohammad Tariq said that the commission cannot comment on the issue, unless it received a final report of the committee.

      Dr Sahib Singh, member of the Peshawar City District Council, said that they had suggested to the government that the girl should be produced before media and the agency administration.

      “We believe that she (Kaur) is six years’ old and how can a minor decide about religion,”Dr Singh said.

      He alleged that when Kaur’s family refused to pay ransom to the captors’ family, they declared that the girl had converted to Islam.

      The elders of Sikh community said that governor NWFP Syed Iftikhar Hussain Shah had assured them that thepolitical authorities would recover the girl, otherwise the government would take action against the tribesmen.

      http://india.indymedia.org/en/2003/02/3395.shtml

    12. raz — on 20th January, 2006 at 10:27 am  

      Actually, I did type out a long response to this thread (one of my best efforts IMHO) but it would have provoked the mother of all flamewars :) I’m feeling charitable at the moment, particularly after young Vikrant’s heartwarming affection towards me, so you guys get a free pass today :) Make the most of it!

    13. Jay Singh — on 20th January, 2006 at 10:28 am  

      Raz - teasing and laughing at you is not stalking - it’s pisstaking ;-)

    14. raz — on 20th January, 2006 at 10:34 am  

      “Raz - teasing and laughing at you is not stalking”

      Looks like I may need a restraing order :)

    15. Siddharth — on 20th January, 2006 at 10:43 am  

      And an internecine one at that. yawn

    16. Mirax — on 20th January, 2006 at 11:23 am  

      “it is Muslims who are protesting and trying to help the Hindus, so nobody can say this is typical of Islam if there are Muslims trying to stop it from happening.”

      Yes, the HRCP, women activists and some principled journalists. The same few who battle the Pakistani establishment all the time on behalf of the dispossessed. Kudos to them. They are the only redeemimg feature to the sorry mess that is Pakistan.

    17. NorahJones — on 20th January, 2006 at 11:29 am  

      Mirax, whilst I’m horrified by the article and have no doubt
      crap like this happens, your attitude offends me.

      Paint everyone with the same brush why don’t you?

    18. Siddharth — on 20th January, 2006 at 11:37 am  

      They are the only redeemimg feature to the sorry mess that is Pakistan.

      I think Mirax doth protest too much.

      Please get off that high horse unless you can conclusively prove that Pakistan is the only country that suffers from abuse of its minorities.

      Looks awfully like you’re using Pakistan to obfuscate your own prejudices.

    19. Mirax — on 20th January, 2006 at 11:38 am  

      NJ,

      I couldn’t care less about your easily offended sensibilities. I wrote about Pakistan, not muslims everywhere. Get a grip.

    20. Siddharth — on 20th January, 2006 at 11:42 am  

      And India, Vikrant?
      A heavenly garden for Dalits, Muslims? Not to mention the erstwhile thuggery on Sikhs not that many years ago.

      Who do you’re kidding?

      love
      Swamp thang

    21. Jay Singh — on 20th January, 2006 at 11:42 am  

      I agree with Norah Jones. Mirax, you go in dangerous territory when you paint all Pakistanis with the brush of what happens here.

      On a more positive note, a bus service between Amritsar and Lahore and also one linking the Holy City of Amritsar with Guru Nanak’s birthplace in Pakistan has been started:

      +++++++

      Pakistan and India will run the Lahore-Amritsar bus once a week. The Pakistani bus will leave Lahore every Friday and return on Saturday while the Indian bus will reach Lahore every Tuesday and return on Wednesday

      India and Pakistan have also decided to start a bus service between Amritsar and Nankana Sahib, Guru Nanak’s birthplace, by February 27 and revive a key rail link between Munabao and Khokhrapar, shut down 40 years ago when the two countries went to war.

      http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-1379745,curpg-3.cms

      +++++++

      I have said it before and will say it again - Pakistan can make a hell of a lot of money from Indian Punjabi tourism - not just religious sites but people from East Punjab wanting to see Lahore and do shopping and other stuff.

    22. Jay Singh — on 20th January, 2006 at 11:45 am  

      This is going to turn into a three way boxing match - India versus Pakistan versus Bangladesh. Expect to see every atrocity perpetrated by the bastards in each country to be raked up starting from 1971 onwards :-)

      Modertaors should step in before the ugliness begins.

    23. Vikrant — on 20th January, 2006 at 11:47 am  

      http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGASA130062001?open&of=ENG-BGD

      Amnesty report on persecution of Hindus in Bangladesh

      Heres nother link http://www.hcrmb.org (com?)

      also

      http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200405/cmhansrd/cm050208/text/50208w27.htm

      Bangladesh was 40% Hindu in 1950′s, now only 9% Bangladeshis are Hindus. 18% of population of West Pakistan was Hindu during partition. Today it stands at 1-2%. Contrast this with India which is home to third largest Muslim population in the world. Yes we’ve had our communal troubles but nothing to the extent of India’s neighbours.

    24. Mirax — on 20th January, 2006 at 11:48 am  

      “Please get off that high horse unless you can conclusively prove that Pakistan is the only country that suffers from abuse of its minorities.”

      Don’t get silly now Sid. Pakistan has a terrible record with so many of its minorities, so many horror stories. It even has an unacknowledged genocide in its history (bangladesh).
      I find it laughable that you actually think that one can ONLY criticise pakistan if it was THE only country condones and colludes in abuse of its own minority citizens.

      How’s that horse you’re riding?

    25. Siddharth — on 20th January, 2006 at 11:49 am  

      But not before saying that the last recorded genocide committed in South Asia, and g-d knows the region can boast a few of those, was in Gujarat, 2002.

      Cue the snot-flinging by the snot-nosed kid.

    26. raz — on 20th January, 2006 at 11:50 am  

      Looks like I called it right :)

    27. Vikrant — on 20th January, 2006 at 11:54 am  

      A heavenly garden for Dalits, Muslims? Not to mention the erstwhile thuggery on Sikhs not that many years ago.

      Ada boy now theres the “moderate” Muslim speaking. If you were kind enough to look into the caste situation, you’d find that Dalits are accorded job reservations, educational rservations, scholarships by Indian govt. 25% seats are also reserved in the parliament for them. As for thuggery on Skhs…. Gee isnt India’s PM a Sikh. Sikhs have now reintegrated into Indian mainstream. As for Muslims the population statistics speak for themselves. Thats all i gotta say.

      Bongophobic Bhickrant

    28. Mirax — on 20th January, 2006 at 11:55 am  

      For the record,
      I have never been and will never be interested in any subcontinental pissing match. I do not have that kind of stupid sentimental attachment towards any of the 4 countries. I am an equal-opportunities basher. India/Indians get it from me too.

    29. Vikrant — on 20th January, 2006 at 11:57 am  

      But not before saying that the last recorded genocide committed in South Asia, and g-d knows the region can boast a few of those, was in Gujarat, 2002.

      Geez it took 33 posts to bring up the G word.

      Fer gawds sakes IT WAS A FREAKIN RIOT NOT A GENOCIDE. Whatabout Kashmiri Pandits. 12000 of whom have been butchered in the name of “Kashmiri Nizam-e-Mustafa”. Doesnt that count a genocide for “moderate” Sid.

    30. Siddharth — on 20th January, 2006 at 11:58 am  

      temper temper

    31. NorahJones — on 20th January, 2006 at 11:58 am  

      “I couldn’t care less about your easily offended sensibilities. I wrote about Pakistan, not muslims everywhere. Get a grip. ”

      Hmm.. don’t remember mentioning anything about muslims myself.. hm.

    32. SURAJ — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:02 pm  

      SO THIS IS WAT IS HAPPENING IN PAKISTAN AND HE IS TRYING TO BLAME INDIA THAT WE ARE OCCUPYING THE MUSLIM OCCUPIED AREA.ATLEAST WE DO GIVE RIGHTS TO THE MINORITY.WE HAVE GOT MINORITY REPRESENTING OUR COUNTRY AND IF THEY R TRYING TO SAY THAT WE R DOING SO SINCE INDIA IS A SECULAR COUNTRY THEN I JUST WANT TO SAY FIRST RECTIFY YOURSELVES AND THEN RECTIFY OTHERS.WE TAKE CARE OF THE MINORITIES 100 TIMES BETTER THAN U EVEN IF OUR GOVT. IS REPRESENTED BY BJP OR CONGRESS OR ANY OTHER PARTY

    33. NorahJones — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:03 pm  

      Why can’t we all just bloody well get along?!

      SULK.

    34. raz — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:04 pm  

      Cheer up Norah

      *hugs*

    35. Siddharth — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:05 pm  

      back to my place for an orgiastic flame war for real?

    36. Jay Singh — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:07 pm  

      Vikrant you are actually kind of cute in the way that you are so easy to play.

      Now even your alter ego and bum-chum Raz has learnt how to hold back from ejaculating over the keyboard too easily and making a fool out of himself - it is something you should try to emulate.

      And never forget, in England, WE ARE ALL A BUNCH OF PAKIS ;-)

    37. Vikrant — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:09 pm  

      And never forget, in England, WE ARE ALL A BUNCH OF PAKIS. Yea sure.. one BNP sypathiser put this up on my wiki page a few days ago:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:AMbroodEY&oldid=35387326

    38. NorahJones — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:09 pm  

      Ha! Jay Singh, are you the same JS that wanted to know about the dodgy dealings up the top of me road? (AiM)

    39. Vikrant — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:10 pm  

      Mindyou the block notice on that page was faked.

    40. Vikrant — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:11 pm  

      BTW How many of the you guys have had dog poop through yer mailbox?

    41. Jay Singh — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:11 pm  

      NorahJones

      Yes I am the one and same Jay Singh :-)

    42. raz — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:12 pm  

      Jay and Vikrant are fighting over me now *blushes*

    43. Jay Singh — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:13 pm  

      Vikram - you are only 16 years old????

      Oh My God - that is so funny. Dude, you’re just a kid!

    44. NorahJones — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:14 pm  

      Vikrant, that sucks. Want me to hunt him down and beat him up ?

      Jay Singh :-) It was a drug raid! These silly people grew grass in the back garden and the forensics van took it all way. Made me chuckle.

    45. NorahJones — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:14 pm  

      You’re not really 16…?

      WOW.

    46. Jay Singh — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:15 pm  

      This is what someone wrote on Vikram’s page:

      This is an official warning from me to you, please voluntarily go down to dover and get deported. U are the stupidest piece of pakki shit that i have ever come acroos and i hope that you die sometime soon. none of this shit about come and say it to your face as if i ever met you i would lynch you from the nearest tree.

      It is good to be reminded of these things from time to time!

    47. Vikrant — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:16 pm  

      The names Vikrant actually. Amey (a marathi word) is my other name. Since my mom is Maratha ‘n my dad is Rajput they couldnt agree in which language to name me, so they decided on a compromise!

    48. Jay Singh — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:19 pm  

      Norah Jones

      That’s a dissapointment. Only a drugs raid. I was hoping it would be more exciting than that.

      Look at poor Vikram. He makes a page saying how happy and proud he is to be British and then he gets threatened with lynching for being a Paki!

      Vikram, I thought you were a man in your twenties. But now that I know you are only 16, I am going to take you under my wing and treat you like a younger brother and tell you off whenever you start being an idiot. Do you understand? You need to be schooled in not being an over emotional sap.

    49. NorahJones — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:20 pm  

      I am never leaving this country. I will staple my toes to the
      ground. So I will.

    50. Jay Singh — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:21 pm  

      Ooops sorry Vikrant and I did it again with mistaking your name.

      Dude, you should learn that whatever differences separate us on the sub-continent, in England we have to stay united. There are Muslims Hindus and Sikhs who want to divide us in England but the purpose of this blog, as I understand it, it is to try and bring back some secular Asian unity in the face of all the religious bigots and sectarians who think Asians should be divided - and in the face of racists who think we should all be lynched like your wonderful correspondent!

    51. NorahJones — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:22 pm  

      Yeah, Jay, I’m actually kinda glad it wasn’t a murder…

    52. NorahJones — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:23 pm  

      Jay, I remember your stuff from the Birmingham riots.
      You bloody well rock!

      Jay for PM.

    53. Jay Singh — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:23 pm  

      I am never leaving this country. I will staple my toes to the ground. So I will.

      What if they cut off your toes?

      If it comes to that, it’s better to dig holes and tunnels so we can live underground where they can’t find us.

    54. NorahJones — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:25 pm  

      See, I’ll be holding a chainsaw.

    55. Jay Singh — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:26 pm  

      NorahJones

      I dont want to be PM - I dont want to be responsible to parliament or democracy I want to be a soft tyrant.

    56. NorahJones — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:27 pm  

      Ok! Can I be in your gang?

    57. Jay Singh — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:30 pm  

      Then they can make a movie called the Alum Rock Chainsaw Massacre

      stariing Norah Jones as the psycho killer :-)

    58. NorahJones — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:31 pm  

      Hehehehe… this place gives me the creeps.

    59. Jay Singh — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:32 pm  

      Norah Jones

      Sure you can be in my gang but you have to do the washing up and hoovering once a week.

    60. NorahJones — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:33 pm  

      So anyway, I went to Pakistan. And it’s crap. The blokes
      look at your feet if you’re covered up. Light skin? Fair game.

      And I hated it.

      But I went to another part of Pakistan and it was laaavely.

    61. Jay Singh — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:34 pm  

      Norah Jones get over to AIM chat I’ll start a thread there

    62. NorahJones — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:35 pm  

      Jay Singh.. tut tut. What makes you think I’m into housework?

      It’s cos I’m a woman isn’t it?

      You’re gonna do the asian thing and surpress me, aren’t you?

      And I thought YOU were different. Wrong,

      ALL asian men are the SAME…

    63. NorahJones — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:35 pm  

      Cool ;-)

    64. Vikrant — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:38 pm  

      Weee PP romance!

    65. Jay Singh — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:49 pm  

      Vikrant

      You and Raz are the first lovers to be brought together on Pickled Politics but do warn Raz that you are only sixteen and so underage for the time being :-) ;-) :-)

    66. Jay Singh — on 20th January, 2006 at 12:59 pm  

      That last comment was stupid I know. Sorry. What a crap thread. You may as well delete it all Sunny.

    67. Sunny — on 20th January, 2006 at 2:12 pm  

      Well well well. These days it doesn’t even take a crystal ball to predict how certain threads are going to turn out.

      Here I am trying to write about a serious issue, and here is everyone trying to be macho men. Nice.

    68. NorahJones — on 20th January, 2006 at 2:19 pm  

      Sorry Sunny.

    69. Siddharth — on 20th January, 2006 at 2:20 pm  

      Please delete the lot with impunity.

    70. Jai — on 20th January, 2006 at 2:35 pm  

      Jay Singh of Pickled Politics, of “Birmingham riots” fame.

      Not to be confused with Jai Singh of Sepia Mutiny, of medieval-India nanofiction / “55Friday” fame ;)

    71. Vladimir — on 20th January, 2006 at 2:37 pm  

      I wanted to point out that oppression of minorities does not just occur in Pakistan, but in India too, http://www.ensaaf.org/CM-letter.htm.

      Though I could not be bothered to read the entire number of posts regarding this issue, its rather stoopid, for people to be having a religious or a nationalistic perspective on it, since quite clearly its one about human rights and in particular minorities from whatever country they may be.

    72. Sunny — on 20th January, 2006 at 2:40 pm  

      Oh Vikrant - any post by you that refers to Bangladesh as a “swamp” will be deleted. I don’t care if its the longest and best essay written by you. Mention the S word and its kaput :)

    73. Col. Mustafa — on 20th January, 2006 at 2:50 pm  

      looooool, great thread.

    74. Siddharth — on 20th January, 2006 at 2:56 pm  

      Vlad, thanks man. Thats the point I was trying to make back in (18). Before our youngest NeoCon had another another one of his bouts of nationalistic epilepsia and the thread went to Pol Pot.

    75. Col. Mustafa — on 20th January, 2006 at 3:16 pm  

      This issue is being talked about here but what about in Pakistan.
      Im assuming many do talk about it, try and protect the minorities, etc.

      But obviously not enough people or enough of the right people are helping these minorities out.
      That has to change, and the government of whatever country Pakistan, India, Bangladesh should be doing more to sort out this problem, whether it be through more education, more reporting on it, funding the organisations that want to help.

      “”While claims of everyday low-level persecution are constantly bubbe underneath the surface, the more charged issue of Hindu women being abducted and forced to convert is increasingly coming to light in Pakistan and India.”"

      Thats another problem in Islam altogether; the urge in alot of muslim men and women that they must convert everyone to be muslim.
      Ive met muslims at former work places in high positions but their main focus was always to get non muslims to convert to islam.
      I would be standing outside having a ciggy with a few colleagues, out pops muslim man to stand and have a chat about guess what; the mosque.
      And how being a muslim is so good, and how you feel better about yourself; then it would move onto him telling these white dudes to come to the mosque just once to check it out.
      He gave up with me a long time ago, so he just tried it on with people that just said yeh yeh, to shrug him off.

      But it happens all over the joint, and its stupid.
      Aren’t there enough muslims already; what is it with trying to convert everyone; it kind of gives out the wrong message.
      These same idiots that are here are in Pakistan and Bangladesh too, and they seem to think there doing the right thing by forcing people into islam.
      Its a problem that needs to be discussed in Islam, because its the cause of many a problem; its like you have to be muslim because all other ways of life are wrong.

      Which is why the forcing of hindus into islam thing is happening; why can’t they just be left alone to live thier life the way they want to?

    76. Jay Singh — on 20th January, 2006 at 3:20 pm  

      Col.Mustafa

      Just have fun with those converting types - I laugh at them, they are so easy to wind up and look foolish. Buy a packet of smoky bacon flavour crisps and offer them one ;-)

    77. Col. Mustafa — on 20th January, 2006 at 3:25 pm  

      I offered the fool some of sausage roll; he hated my guts after that.
      Infact i left that job because of that arsemuppet, i was ruining everything he said, but he was one of the partners of the firm.
      looool.

      But theres plenty of them around, and its a mentality thats been passed down from generation after gen.
      Its the reason for alot of the problems in islam i would say, many say that its merely trying to guide everyone in the right path, but thats just BS.

    78. Jay Singh — on 20th January, 2006 at 3:34 pm  

      I dunno if I would go so far as that col mustafa but I do agree that these evangelical types you see in town centres and on university campuses are really stupid!

      My Muslim friend (wine and beer drinker, lover of infidel women and breakdancing) once told a possee of the Islamic Salvation Army:

      “Clean the mess and broken things in your own house first before inviting people to come and stay in it”

      And I think that says it perfectly.

    79. Col. Mustafa — on 20th January, 2006 at 4:02 pm  

      Im not talking about Unicamp or ilford town centre nutters.

      Let me give you an e.g; We live in england but no Christian person has ever tried to convert me here, well the odd door to door jehovahs witness but even that has something to do with islam.

      But if you go live in a muslim country, it’s a different story altogether.

      I wouldn’t say muslims in this country are all like that, especially from my generation.
      But there are still many that are of the mindset that people outside our religion should have to convert.
      Marriage is a typical example, muslims are renowned for converting the person they marry if they are not already muslim.

      My friend recently got married after a pretty long engagement to a christian girl.
      Hes not religious in the slightest but his parents are, the girl wouldn’t change her religion, but after alot of convincing(i dont know why, but hes abit of an idiot) that its just on paper so my parents accept it blah blah she converted.
      But why is it needed? because it says so in islam.

      Muslims are taught that were supposed to preach the right way of life to non believers and that its good if we have succeeded.
      Sort of like an incentive thing with many muslims out there, a dangerous mindset in my opinion.

    80. Mirax — on 20th January, 2006 at 4:44 pm  

      One thing of note: What is the legal status of non-muslims re family and custodial law in Pakistan? This was only briefly alluded to in the reports when someone quoted that Hindu children could not get married without parental consent as long as they were below 20 under HINDU law. I presume that Pakistan runs multiple civil law systems like India- sharia for muslims, hindu/sikh/christian common law for the others. What were the rights of the parents? How come it got superceded so easily by sharia/muslim-based precedents ?

      I ask because this is a growing concern for other minorities caught up in conversion disputes in other places, namely Malaysia. Legal precedents in the secular courts that affirmed the constitutional right of freedom of religion to non-muslims and the custodial rights of parents over minors have been in recent years superceded by a kind of timid buckling under to sharia precedents. Very disturbing. This in a moderate country that is 40 % non-muslim. Some muslims appear unseemly desperate for converts.

      http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2006/1/16/lifefocus/12795586&sec=lifefocus

    81. Mirax — on 20th January, 2006 at 4:47 pm  

      conversion to Islam also appears a one-way door. Catholics In Malaysia worry that :

      To better understand the situation and contradictions inherent in Malaysian legislation, AsiaNews caught up with Leonard Teoh, a member of the Association of Catholic Lawyers and an expert in problems linked to freedom of worship.

      Dr Teoh, the most urgent theme of the bishops’ documents is that of apostasy in Islam. They fear that if neo-converts want to return to Christianity, they will face fines, flogging and imprisonment. What is your view on these Islamic laws which consider the return to one’s own faith as a “criminal offence”?

      In many areas of Malaysia, if a person decides he no longer wishes to be a Muslim, his declaration must be approved by the Sharia court. It is the court which will decree whether you are a Muslim or not. Once you are Muslim and your father and mother were Muslim, you will always be a Muslim, you will live and die as one. For example, in the stateof Sabah, if a Muslim declares he is no longer such, the Sharia court can detain him for months to re-educate him, after which time he may be sentenced to a year in prison if he has not repented as yet. In the state of Malakka, a six-month imprisonment term has been fixed for the same crime. Other states like Kelantan, Terengganu have promulgated similar laws which punish apostasy cases in the Islamic faith.

      Are these provisions against ratifications made by the Federal Constitution regarding freedom of worship? Are any dangers faced by those who freely decide not to profess Islam any longer?

      Article 11 of the Constitution states that each has the right to profess, practice and spread his own faith. So when a person declares that he is no longer a Muslim, he is no longer such, and this is a free choice. It is on this basis that we lawyers go to the Sharia court to affirm that a person is no longer Muslim and that the Islamic court no longer has any jurisdiction over him. Further, the law of the state says that Sharia must be applied only to those who profess the religion of Islam. In any case, even if punishments are not officially meted out to non-Muslims, serious problems are created in relations with Muslims. There is confusion in the law: if a Muslim decides not to profess Islam any longer, he does not know where to turn to register his decision to change religion or to leave Islam.

      The federal Court, citing art.121/1A will say it does not have the competence to rule on religious matters so it will send the person to the Sharia court. This court will tell people that, according to the state law, it has no power to pass judgement on those who are not Muslims, but only partly so.

      The bishops’ document warns: “Your conversion to Islam will be registered in your identity card. Consequently, even if you do not practice Islam, you could be fined, whipped, held in custody or imprisoned for violating Sharia laws, for example, praying in church, eating in public during the month of fasting, khalwat and so on.”

    82. Rohin — on 20th January, 2006 at 4:50 pm  

      You know Sunny, it’s nowhere NEAR as ugly as I thought it would become. It’s all rather friendly really, which I’m glad to see.

      PS - Vikrant, you’re romance-detector is mis-firing. But I shall say no more! Interesting wiki page you got there btw.

    83. Col. Mustafa — on 20th January, 2006 at 4:54 pm  

      Thats messed up. Thats what im talking about its their way or no way.
      Theres no choice with so many humanitarian issues, this has to change.

    84. Mirax — on 20th January, 2006 at 5:08 pm  

      http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/international/asia/news/20051228p2g00m0in009000c.html

      Another recent case of a disputed ‘conversion’ to islam and a sharia court/religious department forcibly taking over the funeral of a man from his widow. There was no real proof of conversion btw.

    85. raz — on 20th January, 2006 at 5:22 pm  

      Rohin,

      “You know Sunny, it’s nowhere NEAR as ugly as I thought it would become. It’s all rather friendly really, which I’m glad to see”

      Oh, but it could have been SO different :) I think I deserve brownie points for my restraint today.

    86. Mirax — on 20th January, 2006 at 5:23 pm  

      Col, I take your point though in my personal life, christians are far more guilty of religious hardsell than muslims and thus infinitely more irritating.

      Malaysia is markedly different (from pakistan in case cretins miss the point) in that non-muslims DO have the courts as a final recourse and federal secular laws are supposed to stump sharia court nonsenses. That is when the the judges have the balls to actually read and apply the law. Not much of that happening nowadays.

    87. Jay Singh — on 20th January, 2006 at 5:35 pm  

      I Jay Singh give raz 100 Brownie Points for his restraint and failure to ejaculate today

      *pats Raz on the head for being a good boy*

    88. Jay Singh — on 20th January, 2006 at 5:36 pm  

      Now that we all know Vikrant is a sixteen year old boy it explains alot.

    89. Col. Mustafa — on 20th January, 2006 at 5:40 pm  

      Hey man im 12.

    90. Col. Mustafa — on 20th January, 2006 at 5:41 pm  

      Probably explains alot too.
      hehe

    91. El Cid — on 20th January, 2006 at 7:02 pm  

      Hey Mirax
      That sounds familiar. I’m reading a book by Anthony Burgess (yes, the Clockwork Orange man) called The Malayan Trilogy.
      It’s based on the period just before independence and at one point one of the English characters converts to Islam in order to marry a wealthy local widow. He becomes so miserable because his position in the eyes of the law changes and he can no longer drink, etc.
      There are also a lot of racial/religious tensions between Sikhs, Chinese, Bengals, Tamils, Malayans, as well as Brits, which sort of reminds me of PP! OK, so there are no Punjabis, Rajputs, etc, but you know what I mean.

    92. El Cid — on 20th January, 2006 at 7:03 pm  

      Colonel, you’re not trying to groom Vik, now are you? :)

    93. Mirax — on 20th January, 2006 at 7:13 pm  

      “There are also a lot of racial/religious tensions between Sikhs, Chinese, Bengals, Tamils, Malayans, as well as Brits, which sort of reminds me of PP! ”

      There are always racial/religious tensions in malaysia/singapore. Riots of the 50′s, 60′s still mean alot and racial/religious topics are considered the most divisive and hence, beyond the remit of most socio-political discussion.

      ps malayans are called malays nowadays.

    94. El Cid — on 20th January, 2006 at 7:32 pm  

      ps malayans are called malays nowadays.

      yes, that’s mentioned in the book too.
      out of curiosity, what’s your ethnicity Mirax?

    95. Mirax — on 20th January, 2006 at 7:45 pm  

      just your garden variety second generation singapore tamil.

    96. Mirax — on 20th January, 2006 at 7:49 pm  

      the case just last month in Malaysia, that of a national everest-climbing hero, was pretty depressing. Made all the minorities highly nervous.

      Here’s a 16-year old msian Indian blogger, in the vein of PP’s very own Vickrant - his take on the issue is worth the read: http://rajanr.com/2005/12/29/non-muslims-have-no-remedy/#comments

    97. El Cid — on 20th January, 2006 at 7:53 pm  

      cool, though I’m not sure I understand “garden variety”
      Am I right in thinking that you guys can be victims of prejudice back in Asia not just on religious grounds but also because your skins tend to be among the darkest in Asia?
      I assume you’re based in Britain. For it’s worth, I’m second gen spanish

    98. El Cid — on 20th January, 2006 at 7:54 pm  

      damn, should be “For what it’s worth”

    99. Don — on 20th January, 2006 at 8:29 pm  

      I realise that, due to global warming, Spring is arriving earlier and earlier, but is that enough to explain the sudden outbreak of flirtatiousness around here?

    100. Mirax — on 20th January, 2006 at 8:50 pm  

      “Am I right in thinking that you guys can be victims of prejudice back in Asia not just on religious grounds but also because your skins tend to be among the darkest in Asia?”

      1. Tamils can be hindu, christian, muslim or atheist. I don’t really know about serious religious discrimination against Tamils, not even in Srilanka.

      2. yes, Tamils are generally dark skinned as most South Indians are. But there’s variation from what the african-americans would term high yellow to the richest, deepest black. And yes, there’s discrimination based on skin hue - not least amongst tamils themselves! Subcontinentals are unnaturally hung up on skin colour on the whole. I think that for many tamils, being out of India itself, can be a big relief. SE Asia is not a particularly oppressive place for tamils at all, if that is what you are getting at.

      FWIW, I never think of myself as being one of ‘you guys’ and so answering your question feels somewhat weird. I hate being tied down to my ethnic, religious,caste identity markers as that is truly the subcontinental curse.

    101. El Cid — on 20th January, 2006 at 9:08 pm  

      Mirax, no, I wasn’t getting at anything, honestly.
      I am just interested in this world I live in! I imagine 1940s/1950s Malayan Union/Federation of Malaya is not the same as 21st century Malaysia.
      I also take your point about the use of the words “you guys”. It was meant in a friendly way. This is after all, a blog mainly about Asian matters. But as I said, I take your point.

    102. Mirax — on 20th January, 2006 at 10:29 pm  

      But as I said, I take your point.

      thanks.

    103. Suhail Kazi — on 20th January, 2006 at 10:29 pm  

      Whichever way you look at it, this news is sad. These idiots don’t know shit about religion or Islam and out they are, ‘evangelising’ their faith. It’s terrible to even imaine what it’d feel like to be a dual-minoritiy - a Hindu woman - there.

    104. sonia — on 20th January, 2006 at 11:25 pm  

      its crap. but then the muslim girls are often forcibly married too aren’t they. crap crap place to be a human it seems, especially female. why don’t they all leave or sth>

    105. Vikrant — on 21st January, 2006 at 12:29 am  

      okie.. well i’d been away this evening. As for “persecution” of minorities in India. Sunny deleted most of my posts. IT WAS A FREAKIN RIOT! Just recently 10 people were sentenced to life in reltaion to the case. Population of Hindus in BDesh was 40% in 1950′s today it is just 8%. Hindu Population of Pakistan was 18%, today it is down to 1-2%. All while India is home to third largest Muslim population who have their own personal laws and relative social and legal anutonomy. Oh yes India has had its bout of communal riots, but dont forget that 700000 Kashmiri Hindus have been driven out of Kashmir by Muslims who are technically Indian citizens. 10000 Kashmiri Hindus have been killed, isnt that a genocide in its own right?

      Yes there are bastards everywhere in subcontinent. But you cant compare India (a country with its Sikh PM and Muslim prez) to Pakistan (where a non-Muslim cant hold and public office). Its exactly this kind of ill-informed comparision and the tendency of MSM to gloss over historical contexts and continued persecution of minorities in Pakistan and BDesh whlist harping on the doldrums of Gujarat.

    106. Vikrant — on 21st January, 2006 at 12:34 am  

      SE Asia is not a particularly oppressive place for tamils at all, if that is what you are getting at.

      Really Mirax? I thought Muslims had cheek to declare Malaysia a Muslim country even with just 51% majority. The actual “bumiputras” are Christian aint they? I’m also interested in your take on the whole Morrthy-conversion-case in Malaysia.

      And Sunny do read Rohin’s views on Mishra on the ither thread… Its not as if only “communalists” dislike Mishra.

    107. Mirax — on 21st January, 2006 at 2:21 am  

      “Really Mirax? ”

      Yes.

      ‘I thought Muslims had cheek to declare Malaysia a Muslim country even with just 51% majority. ‘

      Er that was a strategic move by Mahathir to undercut the PAS (Islamists). Mere naming as supposed to changing any facts on the ground such as the secular civil code or introducing real sharia law nationwide. Ayway the primacy of muslims and islam had been assured from the word go, thanks to the colonial British appeasement of the muslim sultans’ sensibilities preindependence.

      “The actual “bumiputras” are Christian aint they?”

      If you mean the only the tribal people some are, others are animists. But since the term is generally taken to mean any indigenous malay person, the majority are muslim.

      “I’m also interested in your take on the whole Morrthy-conversion-case in Malaysia”

      It has sent the minorities- all of them, chinese, indian, sikh, hindu, christian- into nervous shock. Check out the English language blogs for the collective sense of outrage. This article and others on the Malaysian Consultative Council for Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism (MCCBCHS) website gives a fair idea of the outrage and unease. http://mccbchs.bobjots.org/?p=18

      The mccbhs’s nightly candlelight vigils outside the courthouse in KL attracted good crowds until the government stepped in and advised them to stop, fearing an escalation of tension. Quite few hindu groups have coalesced into a hindu front to protest.

      All 9 non-muslim members of the cabinet delivered a joint memorandum to the PM on religious conversion. This is totally unprecedented in malaysian politics and seen as as an act of disloyalty and worse, blackmail(such is the hysteria of msian politics) muslim ministers. The Malaysian Bar website has good articles and a forum discussion on this: http://www.malaysianbar.org.my/index.php?option=com_simpleboard&func=view&catid=36&id=571#571

      All in all, the resistance by the minorities has been stiff and unexpected.

      Malaysia’s minorities are a tame lot, used to buckling down to the status quo or leaving but this incident has brought the unpleasant reality of Islamic supremacism to the fore.

      There have been other recent issues related to the encroachment of regressive sharia/islamist into public life. The Islamic family law was recently amended to make polygamy and divorce easier for muslim men (also made it easier for men to encroach upon their wives’ property rights). Muslim and other women’s groups are up in arms about that. check out the Women’s Aid Org website http://www.wao.org.my/news/20060101mfl.htm

      Minorities and many liberal muslims fear even the shadow of the sharia.

    108. Mirax — on 21st January, 2006 at 2:29 am  

      I really liked this statement by a group of Msian muslim men on the WAO website:

      Joint Press Statement
      Muslim men object to the passing of the Islamic Family Law Bill 2005
      3 January 2006

      We are a group of Muslim men deeply concerned at the recent passing of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) (Amendment) Bill 2005 by the Senate. We are gravely concerned about the fact that the Bill was passed even though there were at least 12 women senators who had strongly objected to five clauses in the Bill (The Star, Friday, 23 December 2005). Civilian opposition to the Bill by several women, whether individuals or from non-governmental organizations, has also been covered consistently by the mainstream media.

      As Muslim men - some of us married and some of us not - we believe that marriage in Islam is based on principles of justice, respect, equality and kindness. Thus, when there are clauses in the Bill that make it easier for men to, among other things, practice polygamy and institute divorce, we feel that it is completely justified that there are several objections to it and that several individuals are extremely hurt. After all, as many Muslim men and women can attest to, there are several women who are now already suffering greatly due to highly selective application of Islamic family laws that are already stacked against women.

      Our belief in Islam is premised on the fact that Islam promises and enshrines gender equality and respect for universal human dignity and rights, as mentioned explicitly in the Holy Qur’an, Surah Al Ahzab, Verse 35:

      For Muslim men and women, - for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast (and deny themselves), for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in God’s praise,- for them has God prepared forgiveness and great reward.

      Hence, in light of the issues that have been brought up with this Bill, we believe that these sensitive Islamic principles have been severely compromised. We thus call on:

      The Government not to gazette this Bill in the Federal Territory,
      The States to put a moratorium on the application of this Bill in the state Shariah laws,
      The Government to draft a new Muslim Family Law based on the principles of justice and equality,
      The media to create a space that allows the public to air their concerns on this issue in a fair and balanced manner, and
      Our fellow citizens of all faiths and all walks of life to speak up and come up with a more just solution to this issue.

      We stress that as Muslim men, we do not want to reap the apparent benefits of a system that perpetuates itself by perpetrating injustice towards women. Such a system means that, as men, we then derive such privileges merely on the basis of our gender. We object to this because it is blatantly unjust. In a just society, men and women will enjoy relations that are based on mutual respect, equality and justice.

      Sincerely,
      Muslim Men for Gender Equality

      Consisting of:
      Aaren Azhar, student
      Abd. Azharyl bin Abd Rahman, production/audio lighting designer, 23 years old
      Adi Irwan bin Aziz, cameraman, 29 years old
      Afif Izmier Ahmad, student, Perak, 19 years old
      Amar Ihsan Ahmad, student, Perak. 18 years old
      Aminullah Ali, trader, Terengganu, 35 years old
      Amni Amry, born Muslim, 35 years old, loving husband of 2 years, “‘NO!’ to a Bill that doesn’t capture Islam’s spirit of fairness!”
      Awangku Irawan b. Awang Mohd Umar Ali, 24 years old, jobless
      Danial bin Abdul Rahman, law student, Muslimin khalifah of the future, concerned with the present
      Danial Ma, researcher
      Dzulkifly Aminuddin, husband and father of two
      Farid Howladar, global Muslim
      Hamdan bin Harun, assistant director, 37 years old
      Hazri bin Haili, concerned IPTA student, son, nephew and grandson
      Hirwan Zubir, Business Development Manager
      Husri Hj Husain, director, 35 years old, “We can’t live without women!”
      Johan Imran, Manager
      Khairul Abiddin bin Rehan, 32 years old, looking for a job and for love
      Mirzan Mahathir, businessman
      Mohammed Reza bin Sallehuddin, son
      Mohd Azmyl bin Md Yusof, lecturer
      Mohd Faisal Shah, Student, Selangor, 18 years old
      Mohd Fariz Kamaruddin, engineer & future husband
      Mustafa Abdullah Sharp, husband
      Nik Badli Shah Nik Abdullah, retired government officer
      Nik M. Fahmee, father of two (indeed)
      Rozali bin Ahmad, medical professional, husband, father
      Shanon Shah bin Mohd. Sidik, writer/musician
      Surain Azhar, self employed
      Yusof bin A. Aziz, retiree

      I think one of them,Mirzan Mahathir, is the former PM’s son.

    109. El Cid — on 21st January, 2006 at 11:02 pm  

      Wow. Thanks for the links on the Morthy conversion case. That stinks. Just goes to show that religion and jurisprudence shouldn’t mix.

    110. Mirax — on 22nd January, 2006 at 12:53 am  

      Sorry that my link to the msian Bar website did not show the correct page. This is it.

      http://www.malaysianbar.org.my/index.html

      Update: 7 out of the 9 non-muslim ministers who submitted a joint memo on religious conversion have withdrawn it after a barrage of sharp criticism from muslim ministers. Politics as usual.

    111. Shahzaman — on 22nd January, 2006 at 10:38 am  

      http://www.secularislam.org/humanrights/compatible.htm

      Is Islam Compatible With Democracy and Human Rights?
      ” Islam has never favoured democratic tendencies…”
      Hurgronje [277]
      ” The Democratic system that is predominant in the world is not a suitable system for the peoples of our region… The system of free elections is not suitable to our country”
      King Fahd of Saudi Arabia
      At least King Fahd has had the honesty to admit the incompatibility of Islam and Democracy. Meanwhile Western Islamic apologists and modernising Muslims continue to look for democratic principles in Islam and Islamic history.

    112. Mustapha — on 21st March, 2006 at 1:48 pm  

      smokey bacon plz mustapha!!

    113. Sanjeev — on 21st March, 2006 at 3:02 pm  

      Well,

      here is another case of Human rights abuse that gets ignored; Pakistan and currently even worse Bangladesh’s treatment of minorities.

      Yes in press free India we get to hear about all sorts of opression and human strife, that goes on there, yes there is no migration to its neighbours. Is it just the western expectation that muslim states will abuse people to the point that they will leave thier homeland?

      Pakistans (and Bangladesh’s) minorities have been in constant decline since thier inception.

      Today Pakistans Hindus are overwhelmingly concentrated in Sind where they are some 8% of the population. Mostly they are clubbed under Tharis, the various ethnic groups living in the marginal and arid Thar region. Most Sindhis left after partition, these people of Sindh are more closely related to Rajasthan and Gujarat. Infact until the 1965 war the areas that was formerly Sangrur (now split into 5 districts) was a Hindu majority. These people have been forced out of their own country (Pakistan) in the last few decades, but where is the big news???

      We hear about Pakistan claiming muslim majority Kashmir in which article 370(relating to migrationand settlement) is protected, but ethically cleansed Sangrur???

      Yes hello Musharaff, its a desert, but are you going to wake up to this? Oh wait a minute these poor tribals dont have any ‘freedom fighters’ ehem. Maybe if they blew up a few people then it might grab someones attention.

      These people or any non-muslim minority has little representation, they cannot ever hope to govern their district, proviince state or nation.Not while the presrnt sytem exists. In Pakistan minorities can only represent minorities, not be a part of the nation, No Abdul Kallams or Manmohan Singh equivalents.

      Sharia and Hudud are an abuse of non-muslims.

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