Dancing With The Wolves


Good read!

Dr. Haider Mehdi

wolvesAt last the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman, Imran Khan, has taken a definite policy stance against the continuation of the US drone attacks on Pakistani territory and against its citizens. In a National Assembly speech on Monday, Khan categorically set the November 20th date for the PML-N government to resolve the drone strike issue: “(But) if drone strikes continued then we will block Nato supplies after November 20 and go to the UN Security Council,” warned the PTI Chairperson.

The vital questions in today’s Pakistan are: How long will we continue to dance with the wolves in the killing of our citizens and decimating peace, stability and political tranquility in this country?

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‘Waar’ film experience and its review


Although, the initial motivator was to kill time, which I was trying by window-shopping at Centaurus Mall in Islamabad. Watching movie turned out to be the better option, with respect to passing time, which I got due to delayed flight. I chose to watch ‘Waar‘, which was much hyped about recently. Its online movie trailer, first got my attention, and developed curiosity later on. But unfortunately, with my work-life schedule, I wasn’t able to watch any movies past several months in the cinema, may be a year. All movies, I could see, were during long flights 🙂 Anyhow, ‘Waar’ turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Specially, when I looked at it from the perspective of Lollywood standards, or may be it was my perception, as I hadn’t seen movies lately, let alone a Pakistani movie. The picturization, cinematography, sounds and effects, and acting were very close to what we see in Hollywood movies. It also has quite a bit of thrill and action, that which everyone likes today, as we’re a generation who grew up watching the likes of Arnold and Silver Stallone, except me. But I can live with such violence, looking at the true to life story, they wanted to present, involving bloodshed and terrorism. Probably the biggest reason of its popularity is its story, aligning itself with patriotism and chivalry, bravery and humanism, touching upon the sufferings of the population and the role of Armed Forces and the shrewd Intelligence Agencies and the involvement of foreign insurgents in the country, and their support to the outlaws. It highlighted heroism, faith and spirit of our defence forces (both Army and Police) and their valor, sacrifice and courage against the lethal-hidden enemy. There were many emotional scenes and at one time, I noticed people burst into clapping, right when Shaan (Mujtaba) killed the notorious villain, who was hiding behind a hostage child. The great thing about this movie is its content. Everyone loves watching Hollywood and Bollywood movies, but hate it, when they embed few tid-bits in the scenes, or in the story, which is effectively propaganda against Pakistan. Film ‘Waar’, would help to dispel some such disinformation about Pakistan and Islam or at least present the other side of the story to the world out there. The movie also lacked the usual entertainment part, like dancing over songs, which makes me qualify it to be more sensible, than entertaining. The movie was a mix of English and Urdu, which means, it’s geared towards the elite Pakistanis living in Pakistan and abroad and Indians alike, who’re also bilingual in English and Urdu listening. Overall, it was a pleasant surprise and I am happy to see Pakistani film industry has picked up well recently. I also read in the news, it’s doing good in terms of business and getting worldwide acclamation. Good acting by Shaan, Ayesha Khan, Ali Azmat, Meesha Shafi and others and Direction by Bilal Lashari. Specially Shan’s acting was superb. Congratulations to all!

 

       

You can watch it’s trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6QE_QVtC6U  

Feel free to share your views about this film, I would be curious.  Here are the main cinemas you can watch at: Nueplex Cinemas, Centaurus Cineplex, Cinepax (Ocean Tower)(City Auditorium)Atrium CinemasUniverse CineplexNishat CinemaCinepax – Jinnah Park, Rawalpindi

Why Muslims act cautiously abroad ?


I did mention once there are so many smart muslims in America, who’re much more adherent to Islamic values, than people in muslim countries. But there is a growing lot, different from them, specially after the advent of 9/11. Here I would like to tell you about them.

You must have noticed that many of the muslims, who had left their muslim countries for good (out of troubles they faced there) and chose non-muslim countries as their homeland (for their personal and family’s prosperity), live a very careful life (talking specifically about US & UK). When I say careful, I meant, they tend not to open up their identity (as muslim) or show off their islamic practices, instead act and appear as local as possible (from the wisdom of ‘do what the romans do’, to be successful in that society), stay clear of any involvement of islamic gatherings or activities, predominantly do not indulge in islamic propagation, hide their values indoor, tries to find Islam, that which conforms to their western lifestyle, and the worse of them, since Islamophobia is the latest fashion (of the majority), curse islamic values in the same tone (many a times even harsher, assuming they’re somehow more knowledgeable about Islam, being born as one) compared to the local unaware Americans, whose only source of information about anything is MSM (mainstream media – TV).

Check this out, some facts, from the land of the free and the most enlightened:

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According to the FBI, anti-Islamic incidents were the second least reported hate crimes prior to 9/11, but following 9/11, they became the second highest reported among religion-bias incidents. From pre-9/11 to post-9/11, a growth of 1600% took place.

  • American Muslims often get the kind of treatment once reserved for blacks and Jews, dehumanized groups that also were the victims of racial and ethnic prejudice and violence, according to University of Georgia religion professor Alan Godlas.
  • Do you know why the Sikhs are targeted in US for hate-crimes. Because of the wide ignorance, Sikhs are ‘perceived to be Muslims’. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has a category of ‘hate crimes against perceived Muslims’ and such incidents jumped up by 50 per cent in 2010 because of anti-Muslim propagandising, according to FBI’s 2011 hate crime statistics.
  • In 2012, seven mosques in the United States were attacked in two week during the holy month of Ramazan. After the incidents, the Huffington Post reported that the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington D.C. issued a safety advisory on August 6, 2012, advising Muslims to install surveillance equipment, request police patrols, and report suspicious vehicles driving near mosques ahead of Eid ul Fitr.
  • Ahmad Bashir, 57, repeatedly stabbed by man shouting anti-Muslim statements outside mosque in Flushing, Queens. Mr Bashir’s nose was also bitten in gruesome assault. Unknown attacker was able to get away, and remains on the loose as police investigate.
  • Portraying Card causing controversy among Muslim community
  • Hate crime specifically targeting Middle Eastern storekeepers in Brooklyn, the last of whom, a 78-year old Iranian immigrant named Rahmatollah Vahidipour, was shot to death while closing his boutique and whose lifeless body was then dragged to a backroom and covered over with merchandise from his store.

    Within the same week as Vahidipour’s murder another Muslim man was viciously beaten by two men who preceded their attack by asking him whether he was “a Hindu or a Muslim”, while another man was stabbed several times outside of a mosque in a random attack by an assailant who screamed “I’m going to kill you Muslim“, while repeatedly plunging a knife into his victims’ body.

  • ‘Hate crime’ on cards for Iraqi woman killed in California, US  – 2min Video
  • Ali, a 64-year-old native of Ghana, is an imam, or Islamic spiritual leader, in suburban Detroit. He said he was last detained in December while returning to the U.S. from Toronto. “I was shocked. Why do they handcuff me? I am not a criminal,” Ali said.

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  • You can clearly see that hate-crime hasn’t subsided, since the time it was fueled during 9/11 incident. It has certainly changed the world.
  • According to the CAIR report:
    • As Washington Post columnist Colbert I. King noted in his July 2, 2005 article entitled “Let’s Proudly Hail the Rights of All,” anti-Muslim sentiments are as prevalent as ever, even comparable to sentiments held by many of Japanese Americans during World War II. In June 2005 alone, King notes, a man was sentenced for firebombing an El Paso mosque, a Qur’an was desecrated with human waste in Nashville, a mosque was burned in California, a bag of burned Qur’ans was left outside an Islamic center in Virginia, and an Islamic school in Miami was vandalized for the third time. Political freedom, he muses, is perhaps not extended to Muslim Americans.
    • Increase of Police Discrimination:  One of the most salient increases from 2003 to 2004 is that of discrimination by police such as unwarranted arrests and searches. One example of unreasonable arrest occurred on June 10th, 2004 in Colorado where a Muslim family’s house was raided by the IRS and armed FBI agents who drew their guns. The family was told that an IRS investigation was being conducted and the agents proceeded to ask them questions such as “Are you Shiite or Sunni?” and questions about “Hamas, Hezbollah, and suicide bombings.” They were also asked “If the US went to war with Iran, which side would you be on?” Another example of law-enforcement abuse occurred on October 11, 2004 in Minneapolis where a female hijab-wearing Muslim student of Somali background was pulled over by police. The policemen searched her car and threw her belongings onto the street, including her Islamic books and the Qur’an. They then left her to pick them up by herself.
    • Hate Crimes on Campuses:  Anti-Muslim hate crimes have been especially visible on the campuses of universities and colleges nationwide since 9/11. In the Spring of 2003, anti-Muslim rants were shouted towards student Christine Lo’s dorm room at Yale. Lo had hung an upside-down American flag outside of her window to protest the war in Iraq. The ranting students also attempted to pry open her door with a plank of wood. After they left, Lo found a note prompting Americans to kill Muslims and ”launch so many missiles their mothers don’t produce healthy offspring.” Yale administrator Raphael Soifer also became the target of discrimination when a Yale student spit at him in a dining hall and exclaimed ”I hope you and your families die! Why don’t you go live in Iraq.” Similar threats have been found at institutions such as San Jose State University (California) in 2003, where graffiti in the bathroom claimed, ”Muslims will be shot on SJSU campus on March 10!” At the University of California Los Angeles Medical Center, moreover, Muslim prayer rugs were discovered soaked in pig’s blood.

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As per Department of Justice report (only few excerpt copied here):

The incidents have consisted of telephone, internet, mail, and face-to-face threats; minor assaults as well as assaults with dangerous weapons and assaults resulting in serious injury and death; and vandalism, shootings, arson and bombings directed at homes, businesses, and places of worship. Some of our prosecutions include:

  • Arlington, Texas: Henry Clay Glaspell pleaded guilty to violating the Church Arson Prevention Act by setting fire to a playground outside a mosque in July 2010.
  • Columbia, Tennessee: Three Tennessee men, Jonathan Edward Stone, Michael Corey Golden, and Eric Ian Baker, pleaded guilty to spraypainting swastikas and “white power” on a mosque in Columbia, Tennessee, and then starting a fire that completely destroyed the mosque.
  • Burbank, Illinois: Eric Kenneth Nix pleaded guilty on March 6, 2006 to blowing up the van of a Palestinian-American family that was parked in front of the family’s home.
  • Salt Lake City, Utah: James Herrick pled guilty to pouring gasoline on the wall of a Pakistani-American restaurant on September 13, 2001, and lighting it in an attempt to destroy the building.

, Director of the Department of Multifaith Studies and Initiatives, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, writes in Huffington Post:  “First, the Brookings study, “What It Means to be an American: Attitudes in an Increasingly Diverse America Ten Years after 9/11,” reveals that most Americans have very little direct experience of Muslims. The majority have no opportunity to speak to a Muslim, even occasionally.” So, thanks to the mainstream propaganda, around 50% of Americans are uncomfortable with muslims as elementary school teacher, or muslims saying prayers at the airport or mosque or muslim women wearing ‘burqa’. Take a look at another survey, by Gallup.

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She further explains: “What’s good about that? In fact, it helps explain findings such as the Gallup Poll that placed Muslims as the most disliked religious group in America. We tend to dislike what we do not know.  What they know, unfortunately, was provided by a small cadre of well funded scholars, bloggers and media personalities, in particular, those on Fox News. ”

So, with the bombardment of propaganda and disinformation against Islam during the past decade, through the powerful mainstream media, you can see its aftermath today (as evident through the incidents above). Now, I understand the reason for muslims living in America to be cautious. Just like any other human being, they developed a psychological tendency to adapt with the prevalent norm, as at the back of their mind, they fear not doing anything, which could result in returning back to their country of birth. So, I don’t blame them, they should be careful, specially after 9/11 incident, the rise of hate-crimes, looking at the history of verbal harassments, sabotage, disappearances, abductions, torture and eliminations (extrajudicial, based on your religion), giving exemplary punishment to those who try to use ‘freedom of expression’ to raise islamic point of view, gives shivers to any sensible man. In fact they’re too weak against the powerful hate-mongering MSM (mainstream media). When the american society in general, fall prey to it, how could they understand any better. Thanks to the era of Cold War, it’s now a mind game, than a physical one. We are going through the era of the clash of ideologies.  Having said that, I don’t mean to generalize that all muslims moving to US, think like that, similarly, neither I am suggesting that all Americans are hate-mongers. It is just to highlight the fact, what muslim americans goes through today.

 

Sources & Further Readings:

Why you shouldn’t tell American border guards you’re in Islamic Studies

http://www.justice.gov/crt/legalinfo/discrimupdate.php

Anti-Muslim violence spiralling out of control in America

http://www.pluralism.org/reports/view/104

Debate on Islam is a peaceful religion ? 

What It Means to Be an American: Attitudes in an Increasingly Diverse America Ten Years after 9/11

In U.S., Religious Prejudice Stronger Against Muslims