Why There Is No God by Armin Navabi

This book is an excellent introductory for theists, agnostics, and atheists unsure of their atheism on the basic arguments that atheists have against the belief in a God or Gods. Armin Navabi, an ex-Muslim who grew up in Iran and became Canadian after leaving the faith, gives a thorough examination of the most common criticisms of religion that atheists give to theists. If you’re one of the aforementioned people that is genuinely curious about why atheists don’t believe in a God or Gods, then I highly recommend this book. It offers the most thorough explanations about the most common arguments that atheists have against the existence of a God.

Unfortunately, even in today’s time, many theists often pretend to know what atheists think and believe about faith in a God or Gods. There is this erroneous belief that atheists hate or fear a God because of something that happened in their personal life or because that’s what holy books like the Bible give as reasons for why someone would be an atheist instead of simply talking to atheists and asking them why. The belief that atheists fear or hate God or love to wallow in sin is the wrong assessment about most atheists. Many atheists point to scientific evidence and criticisms of theology for their reasons on why they don’t believe in any sort of higher power anymore. Armin thoroughly explains these lines of reasoning. He goes on to dismiss the most common theistic comebacks that have been debunked for decades now such as Pascal’s Wager, arguments from ignorance of how little humans know as a reason to believe in a God, and using smart or famous people as reasons to believe in a God or Gods.

If you’re looking for sincere reasons why atheists don’t believe in a God or why people of your faith are leaving your religion, this book is for you. If you want to sincerely understand the basic reasons, then this book will be incredibly useful in understanding the atheist mindset. If you’re a theist or an agnostic who thinks atheists want to live in sin, or are fearful, or hate God; then I honestly recommend this book so that your misconceptions will be cleared away and you can focus on the real reasons that people are leaving religion and think about them. If you’re so concerned about the increase in atheism and view it as a negative occurrence, why not take a leap of faith and read this book to understand the real motivations and reasons on why people leave? If you don’t understand the real reasons, how will you ever hope to change the mind of an atheist? The reasons why people leave religion and become atheist won’t be found in the Bible or the Quran. They’ll only be found by actually listening to atheists. Perhaps, start with this book?

Score: 8/10.

Why Criticize Islam?

Islam is an innately violent, hateful, racist, sexist, and bigoted religion. It is the most barbaric of the Major religions.

Islam is a hateful and dangerous death cult. The Sharia (Islamic Divine Law of the Abrahamic God) must be accepted as unquestioned fact that nobody can argue against to be a Muslim. The only people allowed to interpret the Hadiths are so-called “Islamic Scholars” which are composed of people who know Arabic and are an Islamic theologian (Imam or some other priestly equivalent) so a “scholar” is a theologian who accepts the Quran as unquestioned fact that can’t be challenged. Obviously, there is no room for critical thinking there.

The average Muslim will then seek the Islamic “scholar’s” advice on how to live and the Theologian’s duty is to categorically assess what parts of the outside world are allowed or not allowed for a Muslim to follow. Two more rules further solidify Muslims largely being incapable of critical thinking or even thinking in general. Fitna, i.e. you can’t distress a Muslim for believing in Islam or make them question it. And finally, Bidah which is referred to as “invention” i.e. you can’t change any aspect of Islam with a new teaching or idea because the Quran is suppose to be the perfect book on how to live life for all-time for Muslims.

In effect, this religion categorically goes to war with all outside logic and reasoning so that Muslims learn only to value other Muslims. It’s a cult in every sense of the word. The highest authority is considered the Quran and Muslims must seek Imams or equivalent “Islamic scholars” for their opinions. Oh, and Muhammad is regarded as the perfect human being to model after.

Therefore, Muslims can’t possibly be critical thinkers, they’re largely incapable of thinking itself, and they threaten to harass, insult, and kill any and all who leave the faith of Islam and who make Muslims question it.

A few facts for you:

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Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke

This book was a really good read and I highly recommend it. Annie Duke goes into the principles of Truthseeking; suggesting to view your confidence in your beliefs as separate from your identity and viewing them instead as percentages that you place your confidence in. For example, my belief in a certain show I was watching being a good show was at 50 percent. After watching the latest season, it has dropped down to 35 percent and I will no longer watch the show. Using percentages removes the idea of all-or-nothing thinking where the belief is either 100 percent or zero percent with no in-between, potentially causing you to stick to a bad belief when it could be harmful to you.

She encourages readers to Think in Bets for the sake of Truthseeking in order to more efficiently reach our goals in life. She generally uses poker metaphors, but the lessons are indeed useful and fascinating. Think of your decision-making on future possibilities as bets for your future with the different choices that you make as alternative bets for alternative futures. The key to making the best bets is to be as objective, impartial, and honest with ourselves regardless of how painful it’ll be for us. Moreover, it’s best to avoid outcome-focus / Hindsight bias. A psychological bias in all humans where we perceive an event as inevitable after it has happened. It’s a way of making a personal narrative in our minds of our own story and it is a powerful psychological bias that can often cause us to make costly mistakes or confuse our luck with our skill.

One of the most interesting and surprising bits of information was learning that study after study shows that motivated reasoning and confirmation bias effect intelligent people more than average people. In fact, the more intelligent you are, the more likely you are to be afflicted with a biased outlook because you can process information and reasons for your conclusions from a greater array of fallacious reasoning. This might sound puzzling, but essentially, when a person is emotional and wants to believe something to be true, they’ll find better excuses for it. Intelligent people’s excuses happen to be better so this is particularly impactful the smarter an individual is. They could find more reasons that sound plausible, but they wouldn’t necessarily be objective and impartial. If the focus isn’t on objectivity, then it can become self-damaging.

Mrs. Duke recommends forming a team among your friends who are also interested in Truthseeking. The key is not to complain or to speak about bad luck, but rather to focus on what you can do to learn from your decision-making. Which bets on your future are good? Which are bad? Be honest about your shortcomings and your strengths; do not bias your story to make yourself look better when analyzing your decision-making with friends. When they point out your shortcomings, don’t get angry. The point is learning from our mistakes in order to improve. Friends who are brutally honest will have less rose-tinted glasses than we ourselves do about our own decision-making and vice-versa.

Believe it or not, this is all just the tip of the iceberg. I highly recommend this book. It’s very good; I couldn’t give it a perfect score because the latter-half tends to drag on with different anecdotes. However, some of the most interesting concepts are also developed and expanded in the latter-half too.

Score: 8/10

Definitely check this book out, if you’re even slightly interested.

What did Black People Invent?

I looked at an amusing song from Family Guy, only to find people consistently crediting White people only for breakthroughs and inventions in the comments sections. So, I did a quick google search and compiled a short list of Black Inventors and activists who pioneered scientific and social changes through hard work. This is mostly a list of Black Americans who helped make scientific innovations.

Seriously people, are we still not beyond saying hip-hop and rap music are the only things that Black people and particularly Black Americans have contributed to apart from civil rights? This is the information age, you live in a democratic society, and you have google at your fingertips. Just google it and you’ll see how wrong such assumptions are.

I really try to point out the nonsense of such claims by saying people who claim that “white people invented x” are really trying to take credit for what other people did based on their own accident of birth of being born the same skin tone. But if you’re going to play that game, and since culture continues to in the US, then I suppose I’ll have to point out why this narrative is utterly stupid.

Below is the list of just a few Black inventors in history:

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Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel

I began reading this book out of curiosity on what insights Dr. Esther Perel, a psychotherapist whose work and counseling focuses on sexual relationships, could offer in the subject matter of married sex lives. I had found her speaking events to be quite educational and useful for understanding people’s sexual inhibitions and preferences. Seeing her tackle issues of social norms of marriage and how the US may be going about it the wrong way in the age of openness was refreshing.

I think this book is most definitely worth reading for anyone. Regardless of if your interests are marriage or the single life, there’s definitely useful information to be gleaned in this book.

Perel details that one of the reasons married couples have less sex, outside of the context of raising a young child before their kindergarten years, is because they stress togetherness too much and holding nothing back from each other. Instead of seeing their spouses in terms of husband and wife, with a secure and quick reference, we should strive to maintain their otherness and acknowledge their separateness as individuals who exist for themselves so as not to generalize who they are in connection to you.

Perel notes how certain married couples lost the erotic drive because they think of their spouse in terms of mother and father of their children and feel it’s somehow unnatural or even out of the bounds of what’s socially acceptable to eroticize their spouse. This revelation genuinely perplexed me. Evidently, spouses who cheat have this issue and speaking with a married co-worker when I explained this revelation from Perel’s research into the thoughts and feelings of those who cheat also came as a surprise to them. After all, why should society dictate one’s relationship to one’s spouse? That seems altogether ridiculous, but evidently many married couples humble themselves to the norms of a society that largely doesn’t care what they do in the bedroom.

Long story short, the best way is to work towards making a romantic setting (even romance requires effort and doesn’t come easy) and to remember to emphasize separateness / Otherness. The reason you should focus on Otherness is to emphasize your spouse or sexual partner as their own individual apart from you. The passion and eroticism is unlikely to return unless that is emphasized. You don’t need to share everything and it ruins the passion in a romance when people take that path due to the lack of mystery and surprise. In effect, Otherness in marriage and recognizing your partner as their own entity separate from you can go a long way in bringing the passion back into the relationship.

There is more subject matter to be gleaned as this summary is just an overview. For instance, BDSM culture isn’t unhealthy when you have two consenting partners and Dr. Perel lists an anecdote where a breast cancer survivor used such for foreplay and eroticism to get her husband back into feeling passionate for her in the bedroom.

If you’re interested in clearer explanations of all this material, I recommend reading the entire book as this is simply a summary of what Dr. Perel details in her book.

Why Islam Is Currently The Dumbest Religion Ever

Note: The Cartoon above was by Nahed Hattar, a Christian political activist who was murdered in Jordan for blaspheming by making that cartoon above. 

Satan laughs when you yawn: https://quranx.com/Hadith/Bukhari/USC-MSA/Volume-8/Book-73/Hadith-242/

Bad dreams from Satan: https://muflihun.com/bukhari/87/124

Bell is Satan’s instrument: https://sunnah.com/muslim/37/159

Satan touches babies: https://muflihun.com/bukhari/55/641

Donkeys bray because they see Satan: https://quranx.com/Hadith/Bukhari/USC-MSA/Volume-4/Book-54/Hadith-522/

Satan eats food from ground: https://quranx.com/Hadith/Muslim/USC-MSA/Book-23/Hadith-5046/

Satan eats with left hand: https://quranx.com/Hadith/Malik/USC-MSA/Book-49/Hadith-6/

Satan steals food: https://muflihun.com/bukhari/38/505

Satan ties knots when you sleep: https://quranx.com/Hadith/Bukhari/USC-MSA/Volume-4/Book-54/Hadith-491/

Satan pees in your ears: https://quranx.com/Hadith/Bukhari/USC-MSA/Volume-2/Book-21/Hadith-245/

Satan rests in your nose: https://quranx.com/Hadith/Muslim/USC-MSA/Book-2/Hadith-462/

Black dog is a devil: https://quranx.com/Hadith/Muslim/USC-MSA/Book-4/Hadith-1032/

Satan watches you have intercourse: https://quranx.com/Hadith/Bukhari/USC-MSA/Volume-4/Book-54/Hadith-493/

Satan gives you ideas: https://sunnah.com/muslim/1/253

Women come in shape of devil: https://quranx.com/Hadith/Muslim/USC-MSA/Book-8/Hadith-3240/

Satan makes menstruation bleeding worse: https://sunnah.com/bulugh/1/169

Satan roams among Muslims who pray: https://sunnah.com/riyadussaliheen/9/102

Satan likes poetry: https://sunnah.com/urn/1281560

Satan makes you forget: https://sunnah.com/bukhari/60/73

Satan “passes wind” during call for prayer: https://muflihun.com/bukhari/11/582

Links to Hadiths and Quranic Verses were courtesy of Youtuber Apostate Prophet

Please Donate or Help Out Ex-Muslims struggling to save fellow Ex-Muslim Christians and Atheists who are being abandoned by the West; Christian organizations tend to help Ex-Muslim Christians, but generally abandon Ex-Muslim Atheists:

Political Goals: https://atheist-refugees.com/en/political-demands/

If you’d like to Participate your time: https://atheist-refugees.com/en/participate/

Please Donate Here: https://www.gofundme.com/call-for-donations

Click Here for the Podcast With Armin Navabi’s Atheist Republic To Learn More About Who They Are.

 

On Twitter, Criticizing Nancy Pelosi for her political actions gets your account suspended indefinitely

I posted this article:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/kathy-castor-climate_us_5c1c0843e4b08aaf7a869cfd?ec_carp=8030654605380700268

within this hashtag: “#DumbassPelosi is lying. #NewGreenDeal @NancyPelosi is too #incompetent. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/kathy-castor-climate_us_5c1c0843e4b08aaf7a869cfd?ec_carp=8030654605380700268”

I repeatedly posted it in various forms but was suspended. Evidently, criticizing politicians like Pelosi for incompetent actions gets auto-suspensions whilst criticizing Trump for being an idiot led to no suspension or any detrimental action whatsoever. Climate Change is a serious issue, so I posted this towards her Constituents who believed her new Climate Change commission had any real pull in the political process when that was sadly not the case. It led to an immediate suspension. Evidently, Twitter likes protecting the feelings of Nancy Pelosi and deceiving her supporters over the future lives of US children.

Let that sink in.

What did Friedrich Nietzsche mean by Slave Morality?

Quora is seriously beginning to suck, given that they’re deleting factual responses to questions now. It’s a fact that Nietzsche used the example I wrote down in his books; evidently, basing answers off facts that hurt Christian moral sensibilities is no longer allowed.

Update just now: It’s now collapsed, albeit restored. They asked for attribution even after I edited it with listed citations. This was my answer to the question: “According to Friedrich Nietzsche, what is an example of a slave moralist?

My answer was as follows, and I’ve added the attributions at the bottom. I’ve decided to place it here if anybody is curious about what Nietzsche actually meant by slave morality, the example he used, and why:

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Islam isn’t worth respecting

We protest and ridicule this hateful religion for the human rights of minorities in Islamic Majority countries such as Ex-Muslims, Muslims of minority branching faiths, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Yazidis, and others because they cannot! Stand with those who live in fear and danger of being killed for offending this so-called religion of peace! Fuck Islam! It is a religion of violence, hatred, and death! #HumanRightsForAll! #FreeSpeechForAll! #IslamWillFall!

Quran 4:24

Sahih International: And [also prohibited to you are all] married women except those your right hands possess. [This is] the decree of Allah upon you. And lawful to you are [all others] beyond these, [provided] that you seek them [in marriage] with [gifts from] your property, desiring chastity, not unlawful sexual intercourse. So for whatever you enjoy [of marriage] from them, give them their due compensation as an obligation. And there is no blame upon you for what you mutually agree to beyond the obligation. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.

Pickthall: And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess. It is a decree of Allah for you. Lawful unto you are all beyond those mentioned, so that ye seek them with your wealth in honest wedlock, not debauchery. And those of whom ye seek content (by marrying them), give unto them their portions as a duty. And there is no sin for you in what ye do by mutual agreement after the duty (hath been done). Lo! Allah is ever Knower, Wise.

Yusuf Ali: Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess: Thus hath Allah ordained (Prohibitions) against you: Except for these, all others are lawful, provided ye seek (them in marriage) with gifts from your property,- desiring chastity, not lust, seeing that ye derive benefit from them, give them their dowers (at least) as prescribed; but if, after a dower is prescribed, agree Mutually (to vary it), there is no blame on you, and Allah is All-knowing, All-wise.

Shakir: And all married women except those whom your right hands possess (this is) Allah’s ordinance to you, and lawful for you are (all women) besides those, provided that you seek (them) with your property, taking (them) in marriage not committing fornication. Then as to those whom you profit by, give them their dowries as appointed; and there is no blame on you about what you mutually agree after what is appointed; surely Allah is Knowing, Wise.

Muhammad Sarwar: You are forbidden to marry married women except your slave-girls. This is the decree of God. Besides these, it is lawful for you to marry other women if you pay their dower, maintain chastity and do not commit indecency. If you marry them for the appointed time you must pay their dowries. There is no harm if you reach an understanding among yourselves about the dowry, God is All-knowing and All-wise.

Mohsin Khan: Also (forbidden are) women already married, except those (captives and slaves) whom your right hands possess. Thus has Allah ordained for you. All others are lawful, provided you seek (them in marriage) with Mahr (bridal money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) from your property, desiring chastity, not committing illegal sexual intercourse, so with those of whom you have enjoyed sexual relations, give them their Mahr as prescribed; but if after a Mahr is prescribed, you agree mutually (to give more), there is no sin on you. Surely, Allah is Ever All­Knowing, All­Wise.

Arberry: and wedded women, save what your right hands own. So God prescribes for you. Lawful for you, beyond all that, is that you may seek, using your wealth, in wedlock and not in licence. Such wives as you enjoy thereby, give them their wages apportionate; it is no fault in you in your agreeing together, after the due apportionate. God is All-knowing, All-wise.

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Arundhati Roy: A Fearless Human Rights Activist Or A Bad Joke?

I have no idea to what extent this view will be controversial or seem misinformed, but after looking into the political situation of India and its surrounding borders, I’ve come to the conclusion that this woman is either willfully ignorant, a charlatan, deeply hateful of her country and her fellow people, or some combination of each of those contentions.

First, I’d like to dissuade any readers that might jeer at me for being some BJP street thug as I’m often accused of online when making any opinion on Indian politics – particularly on websites like Quora. I’m a US-born and raised Indian and I’m only looking at this from a political science lens. I had initially been swept up by the anti-BJP rhetoric that seems to be permeating throughout the mainstream US media as of now, but after looking into matters further, I’ve concluded that the US government and media are too dumb to adequately understand the dangers of this anti-BJP narrative and the Christian missionaries who are pushing for forced conversions are only going to cause an utter bloodbath between Muslims and Christians thanks to the age-old Abrahamic cultural hate that’s existed since Islam emerged in world history.

I’ve since changed my mind after researching the political climate of India and its neighbors. But I’d like to add that the BJP and so-called Right-wing of India’s political culture is overly sensitive to criticism and incredibly stupid in its responses. Thankfully, Modi and his administration are quite competent in deftly handling situations otherwise the corruption and anti-nationalist politics would continue dominating India. Instead of defending rapists, his government has pushed for reforms to punish child rapists, he’s pushed for job growth through environmental initiatives, he’s pushed for policies for child safety measures from abusive households, he’s pushed for women’s rights and celebrated International Women’s Day , and pushed for anti-corruption. The problem seems to be this overly paternalistic and frankly idiotic narrative towards college kids who want to protest for the rights of a convicted terrorist, a terrorist who clearly wants to kill the civilian public, and the college kids protest for that guy’s rights… for whatever reason. Nevertheless, admonishing them for drinking habits and sex is completely stupid. In a democracy, they should have the freedom to do as they please with their life choices. The BJP should have put more effort into the convicted terrorist’s criminal activity instead of personally insulting college youth.

I’m of the opinion that Arundhati Roy genuinely doesn’t give a shit about her fellow Indians based on her actions. The level of loathing and vindictiveness that this woman seems to have for India as a whole leaves me speechless at times. I don’t think any other democracy would have made her look like some activist fighting for human rights or presuming she has credentials where she really doesn’t since all she has offer is having written a best-selling novel once. I only speak harshly because it seems increasingly obvious to me that this woman, through her actions, deliberately tries to increase tensions and spur loathing and contempt among India’s civilian population. Under veneers of reconciliation and human rights, all she really offers is writing content that exploits scheduled castes, Muslim minorities, and so forth into hating their government and the majority population. I would actually contrast her with Amartya Sen, who I find gets just as much backlash from the BJP supporters but for far less justifiable reasons. Amartya Sen is ridiculed and lumped with Marxists like Pankaj Mishra, but having read his book The Argumentative Indian, I have not found this to be true. He’s further been criticized for wanting to “break India” by many BJP bloggers and Twitter handlers, but this is again untrue. Amartya Sen took extensive pains to celebrate the unity of India by pointing out the Heterodox tradition that foreign travelers independently detailed during ancient times. India is a heterodox culture which he feels proud to be a part of; from what I recall, he explicitly says this and suggests reading about great intellectual icons of India. I had assumed the BJP supporters had similar misapprehensions about Roy, but after looking at the evidence, I can only conclude that their criticisms about her are justified.

The reason being is that only someone willfully ignorant would ignore the devastating realities happening in each Muslim majority country around India’s borders and the selective narrative of the Rohingya refugee crisis that genuinely horrified me when I read more into it. I’d first like to begin with Afghanistan and detail what happened there when Islamic fascists consisting of the Mujahideen took over:

From journalist and Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at UCLA, Nushin Arbabzadah, in what was an attempt by a lecturer from a Liberal College to warn the US public about the dangers of Islam in an article about the Mujahideen and Islam:

28 April marks the 19th anniversary of the mujahideen’s victory over the Red Army forces in Afghanistan. The original mujahideen of the 1980s and today’s Taliban may use the same language of holy war, but their understanding of jihad is worlds apart. The key difference between the original mujahideen and the Taliban is that the former waged a traditional type of jihad. In a traditional jihad, if waged locally, a contest over control of resources takes place between rival strongmen who each run their own private armies. In this scenario, the ultimate legitimacy to rule draws upon military strength, but the contest itself is called jihad simply because Islam is the sole language of political legitimacy.

Crucially, in a traditional jihad, the victorious party has an unspoken right to pillage, rape and loot the conquered population. This is because militia fighters are not paid soldiers in a regular army and hence looting is the material reward they receive for fighting. The original mujahideen followed this traditional pattern of jihad upon coming to power in 1992. Since competition over resources rather than ideology is key to traditional jihad, the mujahideen’s war focused on Kabul where the nation’s wealth and the foreign embassies, another potential source of funding, were to be found.

Judging by a historical account from the 1920s, back then the women and girls of the conquered populations also belonged to the pillage package offered to militia jihadis. Hence, in the diaries of court chronicler Katib Hazara on the siege of Kabul in 1929, we read that the victorious mujahideen of the time had demanded to see the list of girls registered at a Kabul school so as to allocate female students to militia fighters.

Katib’s account might be exaggerated, but the story still reveals that there was an unspoken rule that women and girls were part of the conquest package. As such, the mujahideen’s struggle over Kabul was a continuation of traditional jihad complete with internal rivalries, pillage and looting. The mujahideen were part of the realm of traditional politics in which a conquered region is a turf that can be exploited by strongmen, who call themselves mujahideen so as to appear respectable.

Now, a Hard-Leftist may credibly argue that US foreign policy helped shape that situation. However, it doesn’t explain the utter catastrophe that is Pakistan, which a Pakistani government official has bravely spoken up about and extensively detailed in a book under threat to her own life. Pakistani Farahnaz Ispahani’s book, Purifying the Land of the Pure, goes into the extensive history and effects of the Islamic Republic upon Pakistani minorities who have been ruthlessly slaughtered by the Muslim majority country. The situation of Asia Bibi is only the tip of the iceberg for how destructive, violent, and outright murderous Pakistan is for Sikhs, Christians, and Hindus living as minority groups under Muslim rule. The vast majority of these groups have all fled due to a variety of reasons. From having hands chopped off for blasphemy offenses, to women in these religious minority groups being raped and then being forced to marry their Muslim rapists, to being murdered over a cup of water, being randomly attacked, and now that they’re a fringe minority, the majority Sunni Muslims have turned their sights on Shia Muslims and began murdering them en masse to continue these historic genocidal abuses.

The interview with Farahnaz Ispahani:

From 23% in 1947, Pakistan’s minorities today constitute a mere 3-4% of the population, says Farahnaz Ispahani, media advisor to the president of Pakistan from 2008 to 2012 in her book Purifying the Land of the Pure: Pakistan’s Religious Minorities.

She blames the successive Pakistan presidents and prime ministers for launching a slow genocide against minorities in the country to shore up their political base. She specifically blames Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, the Pak army general who was the country’s 6th president, for creating a militant group to target Shias, Ahmadis, Hindus and Christians. Edited excerpts from an interview:

Could you tell us something about the title of your book Purifying the Land of the Pure: Pakistan’s Religious Minorities?

Pakistan itself means pure land. The reason I chose it is because I have traced in my book, using historical archives, how Pakistan which set out to be a secular albeit Muslims majority state, ended up becoming what it is today. When Pakistan was being formed in 1947, Pakistan’s population of non-Muslims was 23%, today we are somewhere between 3%-4%. So there has been a purification of minorities.

So my big question was where have they gone? What I have uncovered is quite devastating because it has not been one government or one man who has been culpable. It’s not only (former president) General Zia ul Haq. It has been from the time of Mr (Mohammed Ali) Jinnah, the Qaid-e-Azam of Pakistan, as he lay dying, already the political and bureaucratic wheels were moving towards a more Muslim state.

I am saying that for all religious minorities—Muslim and non-Muslim—there has been a purification. This is what I call drip drip genocide. Normally when people talk about genocide, they talk about Nazi Germany or they talk about Yugoslavia. In the case of Pakistan, this is slow genocide, this drip, drip, drip over 76 years.

You refer to the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) founder and ideologue Maulana Abul Ala Maududi in your book. Was this purification the handiwork of politicians only or did religious leaders and scholars also have a role?

Maulana Maududi did not support the formation of Pakistan; he did not think it would be Muslim enough. Mr. Jinnah, as he was dying, talked at length about Pakistan’s minorities and said no matter what someone’s faith was would not matter in Pakistan. But after he died what happened was, most of the people who were in leadership positions in Pakistan, in the Muslim League like our first prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan, were not from Pakistan. So they did not have natural constituencies as politicians.

You have a man like Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan who himself was very secular in most ways. He becomes the man who brings about the resolution which went into every single constitution we ever had, which was very clear in that it said that Pakistan was a Muslim state. And that the Quran and Shariat and Sunnah (verbally transmitted teachings of the Prophet) are to be part and parcel of the state. It was the ugliest form of realpolitik.

What people like Liaquat and Chaudhury Mohammed Ali (fourth prime minister of Pakistan), etc., did was that they revived “Islam is in danger” as the glue to keep them in their positions. Mr. Maududi and his fellow clergymen therefore became of great value to the political leadership of Pakistan to justify their decisions, to keep them in power.

And as you go on, when you have the first proper martial law in Pakistan when General Ayub (Khan) takes over, you see the nexus of the military with the mullahs and politicians who were acceptable to the military.

You have talked of the links between politics, religion and the military. How did militancy come to be linked with this?

The first well-known and well-organised terrorist militia that we know about that dealt with religious minorities was created by Zia-ul-Haq. It was called the Sipah-e-Sahaba and its sole job was to harass Shias. So, that is the first group that we see that is armed and trained and reasonably openly by the (Pakistani) government of that time.

Some of these groups—not all—in some seasons cross borders and in some seasons there are at home purifying the land of the pure, whether it is blowing up Ahmadi places of worship or Christian worshippers at mass or Shia imambargahs.

So the state’s policy that goes back to the very beginning of mixing religion with politics and then religion, politics and the military together has resulted in a terrible situation not just from the point of view of Pakistan’s neighbours but for us Pakistanis as well. Over 60,000 Pakistanis have died due to attacks internally by terrorists.

Of all the politicians who have done their bit for the decimation of minorities, would you say that it was president Zia-ul-Haq who did the most damage?

Yes. Two things, he legalised Islamisation—whether it was bringing in the Hudood (ordinance in 1979 under which Sharia laws applied in cases of extramarital sex, theft and prohibition). From very little things like introducing prayer times in government buildings to very, very, very harsh laws of blasphemy. The other thing would be the birth of these jihadi groups in a very, very big way.

He attempted to alter our culture—Pakistani diplomats’s wives could no longer wear saris—they were considered Hindu and un-Islamic. You could no longer say Khuda Hafiz; you had to say Allah Hafiz.

These small things have now percolated down and they have shaped an entire culture. So that’s what he did, the small things changing the way people thought, the laws which were then impossible to get around and then the Jihadi groups.

How can this state of affairs be changed?

It has to be through political leadership, even though we saw in (Punjab governor) Salman (Taseer)’s case that in spite of everything when (his security guard) Mumtaz Qadri pumped his body full (in 2011) of bullets the other people stood there and watched. Later Qadri was garlanded and the judge who found him (Qadri) guilty, we had to send the judge and his entire family out of Pakistan. I was in government then. He’s never come back.

This book is like a death sentence for me. Civil society at that time had no leadership. And the reaction was don’t even talk about it. Don’t even mention Asiya Bibi (Pakistani Christian found guilty of blasphemy and sentenced to death. Taseer opposed her punishment). Look at Salman, he was so foolish. There was no one willing to bury him. I had to find somebody, beg someone to read his last rites. And then, I had to get that person and their family out of Lahore.

So is this the worst for Pakistan and therefore can one say that change can only make things better?

I could never say something like that because its impossible to be so categorical. Pakistan is a functional state still and there is a lot of room for change. I hope things turn around. But I think a big part of it is that jihadi groups have to be dealt with. They can no longer be good jihadi groups and bad jihadi groups. There should be no jihadi groups. Countries can have militaries and countries can have diplomacy. Unless we move past this kind of a situation, the world is losing patience.

Any point when this could be changed?

From the very start. Mr. Jinnah was still alive and they have the temerity to block his speech from the radio. That entire speech was about how important Pakistan’s religious minorities were and how absolutely vital it was for pluralism and to have a successful state for all citizens to have a place. Once you end up introducing a religious law it is almost impossible to amend it or to change it because they are seen as protecting Islam and feelings of Muslims.

In the book, I break this down into four stages – and I call stage one Muslimisation. This comes about between 1945 and 1951. There is a massive decline in Hindu and Sikh populations and therefore Pakistan became more Muslim demographically.

Stage two is Islamic identity. This is where you see from 1958 onwards state-sponsored text books reject pluralism, paint religious minorities very negative, highlight and glorify Islamic history with no South Asian basis. So an attempt was made to forge a Pakistani identity purely on the basis of Islam.

The third stage is Islamisation. This is where legislation in an attempt to make the country’s laws more Islamic resulted in creating a legal framework against the minorities. It started in 1974 and continues up to 1988. This was all done in General Zia’s time.

Stage four is militant hostility towards the minorities, which is the stage at which we are and we have terrorism and organised violence.

First Published: Tue, Jan 19 2016. 12 35 PM IST

Farahnaz Ispahani is a real human rights activist, and a real academic since she has the credentials and fact-finding methods to back up her research. Link here for her book.

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