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Who gets to be a Muslim in Pakistan?

Published Aug 15, 2012 09:08am


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If Muhammad Ali Jinnah were alive today only half of Pakistan would consider him a Muslim. The ethnic, sectarian, and tribal fault lines have reached such depths that the nation once founded to be the homeland of Muslims is now bickering over who gets to be called a Muslim.

The latest poll by the US-based Pew Research Center has exposed the depth of sectarian fault lines where only one in every two Sunni Muslims in Pakistan accepts Shias as Muslims. While many believed that such extreme sectarian views were held only by the fanatics lying at the margin, the Pew Center’s findings reveal that such intolerant and extremist views are in fact mainstream in Pakistan. Even Jinnah, a Shia Muslim and the founder of Pakistan, today would not have escaped the sectarian extremism in Pakistan.

Based on a comprehensive survey comprising face-to-face interviews with 38,000 Muslims in 39 countries and territories, the Pew Research Center paints a picture of the diverse religious beliefs amongst Muslims. The sectarian strife varies a great deal from Azerbaijan where 90 per cent of Sunnis believe Shias are Muslims to Kosovo where only 20 per cent hold the same view. In Arab countries where Shias account for fewer than 5 per cent of the population (e.g., Jordon, Egypt, and Morocco) the majority believes that Shias are not Muslims. On the other hand Arab countries with significant Shia populations, i.e., Iraq and Lebanon, show signs of sectarian harmony where overwhelming majority of Sunnis accept Shias as Muslims.

The same survey could not be conducted in India, Iran, and Saudi Arabia because of security concerns for the enumerators.

Source: Pew Research Centre, 2012.

The seeds of sectarian and religious extremism sown by the late General Zia-ul-Haq’s regime are now bearing fruit in Pakistan making it an extremist anomaly even in the region. In the neighbouring Afghanistan, where successive wars have destroyed the physical infrastructure and the social fabric, sectarianism is much more contained than in Pakistan. Eight-three per cent of Sunnis in Afghanistan, contrary to only 50 per cent in Pakistan, accept Shias as Muslims. Even in Bangladesh, which split before General Zia’s regime took control, 77 per cent of Sunnis believe Shias are Muslims. Similarly, 40 per cent of Sunnis in Bangladesh and only 7 per cent in Pakistan accept Ahmadis as Muslims. The stark differences between Bangladesh and Pakistan are indicative of the sustained growth of religious intolerance in Pakistan.

Many in Pakistan would question the motives behind the Pew survey while others might question the robustness of results derived from a survey of few thousand respondents. Some would argue that such surveys by western organisations are intended to further exacerbate sectarian strife in Pakistan. Others would contend that results based on surveys are not credible.

It is rather odd to see such lame arguments being repeated every time new evidence is brought to bear on sectarian violence in Pakistan. It is more than convenient for those who benefit from the status quo to discredit reports by others while at the same time they do nothing else to verify these findings. It is extremely disappointing to realise that even after several thousand deaths in sectarian violence, independent studies of it, causes and motives do not originate within Pakistan.

Many in Pakistan mistakenly believe that survey-based research is not credible and maintain that unless the entire population is polled, the results would not be credible. For them findings derived from Gallup polls and Pew surveys are dubious at best. Again, this exposes the poor state of social science education in Pakistan. Across the globe most, if not all, economic and social policy is based on findings derived from data captured in surveys. Multi-billion dollar businesses rely on samples of 1,500 to 3,000 respondents to conduct market research and devise business strategies. Even census in most countries is not based on the entire population.

The confusion about basic research methodology exists even amongst university educated Pakistanis because they were not exposed to the fundamentals of research methods. However, this does not prevent them from using their ignorance to ignore the uncomfortable truth about the moral decay that now confronts Pakistan in its most violent manifestation.

As Pakistanis at home and abroad celebrate the Independence Day, they must ask themselves if they would like to live in Jinnah’s Pakistan or the Taliban’s Pakistan. In Jinnah’s Pakistan there is no room for sectarian bigotry or violence. In Taliban’s Pakistan violence will be the norm. In Jinnah’s Pakistan, “… you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship…  You may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”*

* Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali  Jinnah’s address to the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947.


Murtaza Haider, Ph.D. is the Associate Dean of research and graduate programs at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University in Toronto. He can be reached by email at


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


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Murtaza Haider is a Toronto-based academic and the director of

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The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (123) Closed

Abdullah Hussain Aug 15, 2012 10:13am
I don't find any reason why I must not agree with you. It is un-fortunate that there lies a dividing line between both the sects, who is to be blamed for it? In my opinion Ulemas belonging to both the schools of thought should rise to the situation & play their role in a way that helps to lower the temperature. Can we altogether rule out the possibilities of someone taking advantage of this division to meet their goal? Shias & Sunnis are living in Pakistan since ages, sudden rise in sectarian intolerance & hostile attitude needs proper investigations.
Nisheeth Aug 17, 2012 11:00am
Lucknow is perhaps the only city in india where Shia-Sunni clashes are not unusual.
@MuslimPoly Aug 15, 2012 02:47pm
For me a Muslim would be first of all the one who says that he is a Muslim. It is then up to Allah to accept him or not.
@SyedZainHasan Aug 15, 2012 10:35am
*thinking hard how can this article be criticized* Excellent job author! You just nailed it from all angles. How the survey's results can actually be applied to our we have reached these crossroads...the ramifications of Zia's rule, as proven by Bangladesh results...what choices we are we now left with, Jinaah's Pakistan or Taliban's Pakistan...and yeah our loser mindset which looks for an excuse to criticize the effectiveness of polls.
Dr. Boodhun Aug 15, 2012 03:05pm
Every man ought to be the one who decides as to "who he/she is". It does not matter what somebody thinks of your identity. What matters is what you think of your own identity. If we live it to the pious President of Pakistan to decide about the religion of its citizens, then we will no longer need God in our life. The President may even give each and everyone a ticket to either Hell or heaven. A Mullah may believe a cat to be an elephant, but that Mullah cannot force that cat to behave like the elephant. This can and will never happen however hard the Mullah tries. Dr. Boodhun/canada
Siddique Aug 15, 2012 03:06pm
It would definitely be interesting. but without that you may get some clue in Iran's active help of palestine (do you have any other example?), you may also want to visit and see for yourself. Having said that we as a society should take care of our affairs and do what is good for our security and harmony. Point to ponder is from where these killing machines are getting their funding?
Mahesh Patil Aug 15, 2012 01:36pm
That is the problem with Pakistan-Such people do exist and multiply.
FRA Aug 15, 2012 02:35pm
With all due respect, the survey is contradictory to what the writer is suggesting. If it was for extremism and intolerance, Afghanistan would have ranked lower on the acceptance scale. I believe more research is required.
sal Aug 15, 2012 02:52pm
thats really sad, we are al Muslims. please stop spreading hatred
Israr Aug 15, 2012 10:03am
I used to offer my Juma prayers with my friends in a big mosque in our town when I was a child. We used to stay behind after the prayers and the Imam sahib would lecture us on virtues of Islam. One Friday he was not well and someone else led the prayers and we requested him to talk to us afterwards as the regular Imam would. He spoke about the correct manners of Namaz. At the end, he told us how Shias offered Namaz and made fun of them. I remember his exact words to this day when he said, "Whenever I see someone offering prayers like that, you know what I feel? I feel like getting a big knife and stab them in the back". To be honest, I did feel a cold wave of hatred at that time but with time and having been able to speak with right-minded people I was able to get rid of that thinking. For me, now, everyone who says he is Muslim is Muslim. But I can see millions of youth in our country who are misled in the same way as I once was. Everyone of us has a duty to preserve the pure thinking of a child born as a Muslim but ultimately, I feel, it is the responsibility of parents to keep an eye on what their children are learning.
pramod Aug 16, 2012 03:02pm
it would have been muh better if you could call yourself a human,
rehan1975 Aug 16, 2012 09:36am
From the graph , it would seem Afghanistan has a high degree of religious tolerance ....why not have a similar style Government in Pakistan , then ??? In that case Taliban's Pakistan would be a much better deal than a Secular Pakistan which would not have room for religion at all !!!
Yasir Aug 15, 2012 01:47pm
Why is it that Pakistanis are always defending their shortcomings by choosing other nations for comparison. Why should we compare our intolerance with Iran's intolerance. Are we not an independent free nation? Is it not our duty to make OUR homeland tolerant? We do not live in Iran Hassaan, we live in Pakistan. Besides if you do want to compare yourselves with Iran, just look at their infrastructure, public transportation system and crime rates. They are far advanced than us.
AReluctantPakistani Aug 15, 2012 01:14pm
Baber, Didn't you read the article? There's another 90 million like him out there!
AReluctantPakistani Aug 15, 2012 01:11pm
The purpose behind commissioning such reports is to get information and understand the world, which I would suggest would be also be the reason you are logging into a news site. So they are no different to you except they wish to share this information with everyone whether it fits their preconceived notions or not!
Hassaan Aug 15, 2012 12:00pm
Dr. Murtaza , dont you think it would be an interesting survey to find what Iranian Shias think about Sunni muslims?
Gerry D'Cunha Aug 15, 2012 11:56am
Looking at the present scenario of Pakistan,I am sure the poor Quaid must be rolling in his grave and saying why did he do this mistake of opting for Pakistan and as the writer rightly said "If Muhammad Ali Jinnah were alive today only half of Pakistan would consider him a Muslim. What a shame!!!!
Israr Aug 15, 2012 10:40am
and who exactly told you sunnis shouldn't respect shias?
Shafi Aug 15, 2012 11:54am
I have a personal story to tell as well. Like you I as a 14 year old used to pray in a local Sunni mosque on Fridays. One Friday I went there for 'Friday prayer', the mosque was closed and surrounded by police. I then went to another mosque where I joined the 'Friday prayer'. Imam of that mosque gave his speech which was full of hateful remarks about Sunnis. I then realized that this was a Shia mosque. Imam of Sunni mosque was arrested for pedophilia. My respect for any mullah was shattered for good. I am a Muslim and do not belong to any sect. This sectarianism is completely against the teaching of the Quran and of the Prophet (PBUH).
Akram Aug 15, 2012 11:45am
there will always be extremist views, but its shocking that now 50% of our Sunnis believe this nonsense. Maybe it was the way the question was asked in the survey?
Usman Khalid Aug 15, 2012 01:33pm
I normally don't comment on religious issue, but my memories of childhood are that i (my sister and cousins) used to go to after school tuition to my neighboring shia aunty. In my memory of almost 10 years, i never had any bad feelings or memory from them. We have almost 50% of shia neighborhood and we have been living in harmony and peace for past 25 years of my life and i have never heard anything bad from parents. We mingle with each other on Eid shabrat shadi bea'h wagaira wagaira. And i hope that we will live like that inshaAllah. About ahmedi's. The muslim is one who accepts islamic monotheism and Muhammed (SAW) as last prophets with no IF or/and that etc. But that doesn't mean that ahmedis or any non muslim should be persecuted.
MA Lateef Aug 15, 2012 01:37pm
We must always remember that, whichever is wrong in nature and substance is wrong, the one who tries to use something which contradicts reality in my opinion is himself not adequately educated and trained. Another interesting observation is some of our commentators in their zeal and infatuation demonstrate extra broad-mindedness, liberalism and criticize the customs and rituals of the group which they on other occasion claim to belong. this just an example of free thinkers. I belong to Sunni sect of Islam; never came across any same, serious and sober Sunni scholar who in his right frame of mind was unnecessarily preaching hatred against any sect. Found expressing their disappointment for the 'scholars' of other faiths who were using vulgar and abusive language against their religious and spiritual leaders. Sunni Muslims have magnanimously accepted Shia, Agha Khani, Bohra and Mehdavi sholars to be their leaders. I don't see any valid reason to blame the Sunnis and accuse them as intolerant lot.
sali Aug 15, 2012 11:12am
Pathetic. As muslims keep dividing and weakning their Uma, west doesn't need to worry about divide and conur. Read history and learn before its too late. You will spend fighting 50 years trying to win back the freedom you have. We must focus on common elements, not what seperates us.
FireCracker Aug 17, 2012 10:55am
I agree the hatred is there on both sides, but you are making this look like a Sunni-Shia thing, when it is not! It is Takfiri Deobandi Jihadi gun-totting Terrorists backed by eerie silence and complacency of Sunni masses on one side and innocent Shia people on the other. It's not a one-to-one relation.
Mohammed M Aug 16, 2012 12:51pm
The statistics seems to suggest that most of the Muslim world not just people in Pakistan (in terms of population)regard Shia's as non Muslims. It is interesting to note that In Indonesia the most populous Muslim nation and Malaysia, countries which are less often associated with religious 'extremism', more people view Shia's as non Muslim than Pakistan. Many Shia's also regard Sunni's as non Muslims, and Sunni's in Iran have also faced persecution over the years.
Talat Aug 17, 2012 04:49pm
who would investigate?Please go thru' the history, you would understand.
Nabarun Dey Aug 17, 2012 02:04pm
Pakistan will prosper if she can keep religion at bay.
BALOCH Aug 17, 2012 02:05pm
Muslim at Heart Aug 17, 2012 12:38pm
Firstly coming from where it is. It has to be a lie. Secondly, it is the minority of fanatic, uneducated, bigoted Mullahs who spread hatred among Muslims. It is also the same mullahs who declare others liable to murder against all the teachings of the Holy Quran and The Holy Prophet. I am sure there are sects in Islam who believe in non-violence.
Aziz Larik Aug 20, 2012 03:08pm
Better to select Humanity from these.Should not be divided into sects?
Shah N. Khan Aug 26, 2012 06:36am
Politically motivated surveys often are intended to create misunderstanding and widen differences to draw conclusions that suits their political objectives. Sectarian divide is exaggerated and only a handful of fanatics incited by vested interests indulge in sectarian attacks. Over 90% Pakistani believe in Pakistan ideology as enunciated by the founding fathers of Pakistan. Ask any Aalim of any sect of Muslim and he will tell you who is trying to incite ethnic and sectarian hatred.
Malik Aug 24, 2012 10:17am
who has forced u to be living in pakistan you are more than welcome to leave it.
Baber Mirza Aug 15, 2012 10:25am
wow, people like you DO exist.
Israr Aug 15, 2012 10:03am
I knew Shias had a very low acceptance rate among Sunnis in Pakistan but it is really alarming to come to know that every other Sunni now considers them non-Muslim. For me the most striking aspect of this growing trend is that even the educated class harbours the same antipathy towards them. No wonder the indiscriminate killings of Shias don't get a strong enough condemnation from the society as a whole.
john Aug 15, 2012 10:06am
its matter of time when pakistan will remove muslim from the grave stone of Ginnah,& declare him non muslim mark my words, your karma is catching up
Waqas Aug 15, 2012 12:31pm
I am glad to see alteast OP/ED articles describing the Shia discrimination in Pakistan are making their way to mainstream media. Good work Murtaza Haider
Ahmed UK Aug 15, 2012 01:09pm
Brother Tariq, Leave the survey, don't you see the dead bodies everyday on the streets of Karachi, quetta, Gilgit bltistan etc. I dont belong to any party in Pakistan but I can say that only party in Pakistan that does not play in the hands of terrorist is PPP. Yes I believe PPP is very corrupt. There is no need to speak about the political system of Pakistan, look what we are ? I pray to Allah to keep our beloved homeland safe and prosperous..........Ameen.
Ahmed Aug 15, 2012 01:03pm
I feel, there is no need to organize survey about sunis, we consider them brothers. we dont want to create more problems for Shias who everyday are killed in Pakistan
Umer S Aug 15, 2012 01:00pm
There are many places in the world, as is also evident from the PEW Chart in the article, where Shias and Sunnis live in peace with each other. For example in the Middle East. The sectarianism is concentrated mainly in the Sub-Continent. I would have liked to see India also listed in the chart since it has a sizable Muslim population. Pakistan needs to control religion like it is controlled in the Middle East. Every one will be happier and safer.
Ahmed Aug 15, 2012 01:00pm
I salute the people who have done such a wonderful job and showed real face of Muslims. I pray to Allah to save Pakistan from such Taliban/ & educational extremist. All political parties except 1 are deep routed by extremism in Pakistan. Chief justice of Pakistan takes suo moto action on a slap/samosas/columns/discussion but never bothers about the 1000s of innocent lives. I pray to Allah to bring this un-rest to those who have destroyed the peace of world. The number 1 Hippocratic electronic/print media of Pakistan, they have time for everything but never portray the real face of killers.
Salim Langda Aug 15, 2012 12:59pm
Are you kidding me: "The same survey could not be conducted in India, Iran, and Saudi Arabia because of security concerns for the enumerators." I do not believe that there was a security concern to take this survey in India... Muslims are a minority in India and relatively less fragmented that in Pakistan. There is no way any person would have a security concern taking a survey in India.
Agha Ata Aug 15, 2012 01:23pm
I would live in Pakistan happily, if Jinnah would live in Pakistan happily. Not because I follow Jinnah blindly, but because that would mean that this maybae the REAL ISLAM.
Hafeez Aug 23, 2012 02:27pm
Yeah and he drank and loved Western attire. Which by the definition of the fundamentalists already throws him in the "burn in hell" category no matter what he called himself. The point is, who gives a shit about what he was. Whats important is that he gave you a homeland and a place to worship freely and not get persecuted. Not a place where you persecute others.
Hafeez Aug 23, 2012 02:23pm
Yes that is correct. But whats your point? We are not just protesting the killings of Shia but of all innocent.
Hafeez Aug 23, 2012 02:21pm
Yes there is no doubt that the problem has been there from the very outset. Nothing was done then and nothing is being done now. However there is more awareness and people are speaking out from all corners. This is something we didn't have before.
Hafeez Aug 23, 2012 02:20pm
The questions is not who is worthy of heaven, the question is, who gave any group the right to slaughter someone for their belief, whether those beliefs are wrong or right in some other groups perception.
Ahmed UK Aug 15, 2012 01:17pm
Brother Sali, West has nothing to do with you and me, it is we who are killing, there is no need to invest into the problems of Pakistan. Who comes to Pakistan and kills Shias? Is it west. It is illogical to say such things, the reality is people are killed everyday but we blame west etc. We love each one in our society, but why we don't correct each other rather than blaming west, I feel we must blame ourselves. Why we are unable to bear reality ? Allah will help Shias, ,,,, Ameen.
sawk Aug 15, 2012 01:15pm
whats wrong in Pakistan will also be wrong in Iran. Dont point fingers and focus on your own mistakes brother.... this is the attitude that brought us to this point.
iqbal poemwala Aug 15, 2012 09:27am
jinnah himself was a shia no self respecting sunni should show respect to shias
Khalid Aug 15, 2012 09:30am
Murtaza Sb. I am not someone who would discriminate on the basis of religion but you must realize that the problem is two sided. Most Shias would not consider the religion Sunnis follow as Islam. And I speak this after having lived among both sects and having close friends in both. The sectarian divide has not been created by one side. It goes both ways. Free intermingling and equality of both sects is something that I would very much like but the fact remains both professionally and in interpersonal relationships, both Sunnis and Shias discriminate against each other.
Tariq Aug 15, 2012 09:51am
The society in Pakistan has clearly been lead on the wrong path since the advent of PPP-ZAB and Zia's regime which drove home the final nail in the coffin for the juncture at which Pakistan stands today. One does not have to be highly educated the read between the lines that the Pew poll has some merit but also the purpose behind commissioning such reports!
Capt C M Khan Aug 15, 2012 03:27pm
Every religion has so many sects. They all accept and respect each others. Christians have catholics and Protestants, hindus have so many. It is only we MUSLIMS want to kill our felloew Muslims. This is what the west wants and this is what we are doing. I donot agree with survey report sorry.
Peace Aug 15, 2012 03:34pm
My friend; its the politics of Divide and Rule!
Peace Aug 15, 2012 03:37pm
Very Good; My friend you preaching the wrong choir. All these people are inept to understand that silver lining!
Peace Aug 15, 2012 03:38pm
Respect is earned not demanded; All sects should become worthy of respect from each other.
idi amin Aug 15, 2012 03:38pm
they should do it now.he should never have created Pakistan
athar Aug 15, 2012 03:50pm
[6:159] Those who have divided their system and become sects, you have nothing to do with them. Their matter will be with God, then, He will inform them of what they had done. Based on the above, if we hyphenate your Muslim identity with anything ... Sunni, Shia, Ismaili, Ahmadi, Agha Khani or whatever ... I wonder, can we still call ourselves muslim? It is true that practically all muslims these days are born into a sect, but whether we choose to retain this identity is entirely up to us. In Jinnah's Pakistan and in the Quran's Islam we would quit calling those around us Kafirs and instead focus on ourselves and strive towards being good Muslims in God's eyes.
zulfe Aug 15, 2012 03:53pm
They are not the Ulema who know only their version of Islam, they are moulvies with limited knowledge and wisdom. A muslim scholar will explain to you different school of thought when they try to explain a religous matter. Unfortunately, in Pakistan the approach of moulvies is politically driven and/or they have their own agendas in their mind. They use religion as a tool to punish someone they oppose. Religion has a straightforward source - what ever good you want to do, it is for the sake of Allah. And the actions depend on the intention.
Zafar Malik Aug 15, 2012 04:07pm
Unlike many muslim countries of middle east, Mullahs in Pakistan have a complete control over the mosque, from where they are allowed to preach what ever comes to their minds. Millions upon millions of muslims in Pakistan are being brainwashed day and night and turned into zombies. Unless their monoply over mosques is broken, they will keep on poisioning the innocent minds. In fact, Censorship is more important for Mosques, than the Movies. But who can do it??
kanwal Aug 15, 2012 04:09pm
your argument may be true but to a very small extent. and that too in Pakistan. I have heard from the generation of my parents and their parents that it was very difficult to find someone spreading negativity through the Majalis which are a norm of shia culture. After Zia's era, this changed gradually. I am sure just one side between these two sects was not poisoned. There were surely religious scholors on shia side as well who were paid to spread hatred instead of trying to apease the rising hatred from the other side. Since shias in general have more street power, they are considered more dangerous in the eyes of regimes like Zia's. Otherwise, both sides were inflitrated i think. In the last few years, this trend is changing rapidly among shia scholors, again, mostly because being in minority in Pakistan, they are more under pressure in Pakistan and have to stick together and come up with educated solutions. . I hope the sunni brothers in Pakistan realise soon too what has gone wrong.
AHA Aug 15, 2012 04:50pm
Excellent comment Shafi and Israr. The belief in Allah and his last prophet should define us, and not the way we keep our fingers during prayers.
malik Aug 15, 2012 04:50pm
The survey should ask the same questions to Shias. Maybe they think the same of Sunnis. I dont blame any religion but it is the way we are brought up and brainwashed by our media and state and family and of course mullas.
truth Aug 15, 2012 05:15pm
I would second you!!!
Mukesh Aug 15, 2012 05:34pm
The key to harmony lies in agreeing to disagree. You practice your faith as per your beliefs and let others do as per their.
A Khan Aug 15, 2012 06:12pm
The silver lining is that we still have lots of room to fall down further. Since not even a single party has in its manifesto anything to declare Pakistan a secular state so the free fall will continue till we hit the rock bottom. As for people they follow blindly what they were taught since they were born.
sam Aug 15, 2012 06:53pm
What we see in our country is a spill over effect of whats happening around the world. Its a political game, at this time in history Shias are being discriminated and undermined by all including western powers. Its a tough time and will potentially be a dangerous time to live as a shia not only in this country but in any part of the world in years to come. This is all part of the changing world we are living now, we can only pray and hope that the wave of politically motivated hatred is over soon for all of us to live in sanity.
Nish Aug 15, 2012 06:57pm
India has 15% Muslims which means 15% of 1.2 billion and translates to 180000000 or 18 crore people. It is little less than the population of entire Pakistan (i.e. 180,391,000 or 18 crore and 391 thousand people).
Cyrus Howell Aug 15, 2012 07:11pm
Western civilization is the only civilization that liberated man from his illusions and shackles; it recognized his individuality and provided him with capabilities and opportunities to cultivate himself and realize his aspirations. [Western civilization] humanized political authority and established mechanisms to guarantee relative equality and relative justice and to prevent injustice and to alleviate aggression. This does not mean that this is a flawless civilization; indeed, it is full of deficiencies. Ibrahim Al-Buleihi
aaa Aug 15, 2012 08:02pm
I dont agree that every second sunni considers shias as non muslims. Dont go on these statistics they always show different results everytime they are taken. Go with what you feel from people around you.
DARR Aug 15, 2012 09:33pm
DARR Aug 15, 2012 09:37pm
Hazrat Mullah
Jagh Nathan Aug 15, 2012 10:11pm
I agree with you Saleem. I find that Indian Muslims are a lot more accepting of each other and people of other faiths. I have many good Muslim friends. I have always found them cordial and accepting and not looking at the rest of through coloured lenses. Maybe the hatred indoctrinated through the Pakistani school system of all things non-sunni and non-muslim is now catching up with their society. Its the chickens coming home to roost story.
Xumar Aug 15, 2012 10:12pm
The plight of shia Muslims in Pakistan reflect the credibility of this research!!
Muneer - Aug 15, 2012 11:46pm
Pakistan the Land of the Pure...let us work towards making it that... its never to late or is it???
Danali Aug 16, 2012 12:02am
ALLAH (SWT) in The Holy Qu'ran forbids Muslims to divide into sects; Refer to 6:159 and 30:31-32 verses! Hon'ble Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah (Rahmatullah Allhai) was neither Shia not Sunni, he rejected to be divided into sects, as ALLAH (SWT) forbids Muslims to divide into sects! In Islam/Muslims, there is NO room for sects, as ALLAH (SWT) forbids Muslims to divide into sects; And so does Prophet Muhammad (SAW)!
osman Aug 16, 2012 12:31am
may be they have conducted the survey in India and the acceptance rating is less than 50% !!!! and now they are making excuses...
Danali Aug 16, 2012 11:35am
Jazak Allah bro, and even Hon'ble Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah (Rahmatullah Allhai) denounced his association to any sect! Also refer to the verses 30:31-32 of The Holu Qu'ran, and pay strict attention to the Arabic word used for sects!
Ahmad Aug 16, 2012 01:13am
FRA, you are missing the point. The point is that we look at ourselves and figure out what's wrong and fix it. Don't get bogged down by comparing to Afghanistan, Iran, etc.
Adnan Aug 16, 2012 02:08am
Well said bro....
Son of Sardar Aug 16, 2012 02:08am
I am a Muslim, not Sunni or Shia etc. But I am a Sikh, Hindu and Buddhist too. In fact my trust and faith in God has reached a point where I do not need to belief in a religion to belief and love God. what in life is real yaar? Kuch Bhi Nahi. Zindagi ek supna hai.
Adnan Aug 16, 2012 02:10am
very true...
illawarrior Aug 16, 2012 02:16am
Perhaps everyone should become atheists - religion generates too much hatred.
Mustafa Aug 16, 2012 02:18am
Assalamo-Alaikum After reading an article by a brilliant Pakistani writer/journalist, I am a changed person. He wrote: The Mullah himself is mainly responsible for dividing the Muslims into Sunni, Shia, Ahle-Hadith, Ahle-Fiqah, Ahle-Quran, Hanfi, Shafi, Malki, Hanbli, Deobandi, Barailwi and propagating mindless hate between these sects. He, therefore, never tells his followers God’s injunctions on sectarianism where He says; "As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects, thou has no part in them in the least...." (6:159) My parents and relatives called themselves Sunni but I call myself "Muslim" and pray to Allah to unite all Muslims of the world as one Muslim Ummah the way they were during the life time of the Holy Prophet who was neither Sunni nor Shia nor belonged to any Firqa or Madhab. I pray to Allah to forgive my sins as reward for reminding the readers of this artice what you said in the Holy Quran about division and breakup of Muslim Ummah. !
Lakshmidhar Malaviya Aug 16, 2012 02:48am
I am a Hindu, not because my parents are born Hindus, but because I consider myself to be a Hindu. Three members of my family have converted to Islam, and by their own reckoning, they are Muslims. One does not resent the other. Nor one has ever enquired, WHY you are a Hindu OR a Muslim! It is your FAITH. WE believe in the following : "mazhab pe bahas maine kii hii nahiin / faaltu aqla mujhamen thii hii nahiiM" Akbar Ilahabadi. Lakshmidhar Malaviya Kyoto, Japan
R.imran Dhrugi Rajgn Aug 16, 2012 03:10am
I appreciate this article.All of us are required to revisit the history of Pakistan in detail. Qua id e azam the founder of Pakistan oft repeated stressed in his addresses that there is no sunnis ,no shias no ahamedis all are Muslims by heart and pakistan is the country of all. Qua-id e azam was a great and enlightened Muslim.His Pakistan was above than all sectarianism. Qua id Pakistan consisted on hindus, seikhs and other minorities including muslims population.All of us are Muslims irrespective of Sunnis and shias.we are brothers of each other.we have no right to issue a statement against of is the need of hour to remain united to combat against evil forces rather than to involve in sectarian differences .All of us are pakistani in true spirit.QUAID E AZAM is our leader and we need quid,s pakistan only..
Vikram Aug 16, 2012 03:13am
Someone wrote that Jinnah would be "rolling in his grave" ... one wonders then what the Prophet (PBUH) must be thinking about all this Up there???
Ajaya K Dutt Aug 16, 2012 03:20am
Evil grows more by reaction than by actions.
Javed Aug 16, 2012 05:05am
Declaring each other non-Muslims is not only the issue between Shias and Sunnis. The problem is widely prevalent amongst Suni sect as well as many of them declare each other kafirs and claim that they are on the right path and others are on the wrong path. Unless people understand and truly believe that only Allah knows who is on the right path and who is on the wrong path, sectarianism will continue and people keep declaring each other kafirs. Faith and religious practices are between the individual and Allah and no one should interfere in others religious matters. People should be allowed to practice their religion freely and if someone claims that s/he is the best Muslim good for him but s/he should not be allowed to declare others bad Muslims/kafirs. Those who declare others kafirs should be punished and there should be a legislation in this regard.
Psuedo Rebel Aug 16, 2012 05:31am
I feel ashamed of my association with sectarian extremists and I think all of us must be ashamed of us.
Asim Aug 16, 2012 05:31am
Religion and the accompanying hatred has gotten us no where thus far.....nor will it ever!
Aldo Aug 16, 2012 05:36am
As Mahatma Gandhi wisely said: "Be the change that you want to see." Don't complain on this Blog or elsewhere, Denounce the injustice that you see and shame the haters into silence! By the way, Happy Eid to everyone and may you all lead your nation onto a peaceful path!
East is best Aug 16, 2012 01:13pm
Shias and Sunnis live in peace in India too. No need to look to the middle east for your inspiration.
Muhammad Irfan Aug 16, 2012 05:44am
You approach is rightly true in sense of confrontration of Shias but the fact is prevailing in our life that Hazrat Muhammad P.B.U.H says that there will be 72 sects and only one will be free. Do you know sir, you thinking approach is goods and sensible but immam of mosque is also saying true, because in our religion all have invented their own way of life. surely they all beloved on death and death is all answer of their queries to the world. but be patient and keep silence on this issues
Dixit Aug 16, 2012 05:58am
Why do muslims feel happy by converting other faith people.
Rezaul Karim Aug 16, 2012 06:46am
Muslims were spread out all over the sub-continent, hence partition was not a perfectly wise decision. In an imaginary undivided India the ratio of Muslim to Hindu would have been 30% / 62%, the rest being other religions. It wouldnt have been so bad for muslims. There would have been some more khans in Bollywood. Economy of the subcontinent would have been better. But it was not to be: hatred was stronger than freindship.
napak Aug 16, 2012 06:58am
Look at Afghanistan! lol!
Goga Nalaik Aug 16, 2012 07:26am
Dear Murtaza Thanks for this well documented article (as always!). You are always cautious with words and precise with figures and I do appreciate that. I'm sadly surprised with your figures about Pakistan. I think this ill consideration is directly proportional to ratio of education. It will go down if education increases. Keep Up your good work.
ATIF JAVED Aug 16, 2012 08:30am
Allah Almighty says in Quran not to divide ourselves in sects but re Ulema are the one adamant to preach against he very instructions of Quran. Strange are the people who follow them blindly.
rehan1975 Aug 16, 2012 09:40am
Where is Iran in the graph ?
Karthik Aug 16, 2012 05:26pm
God bless Pakistan and Pakistanis! Hard to see a bright future for the country in such turmoil, the flaw and the crux is at the bottom, the foundation which was terribly wrong and is now dreadful for its citizens.
Rafia Mirza Aug 16, 2012 06:11pm
Ofcourse mankind should have matured enough by now ,to know all religions preach goodness & belief in God. Why do people forget that most of them ,had no say in the choice of their faith. They become so insanely defensive & illogical in discussion on the subject. Pakistanis are perhaps among the worst such examples.
Danali Aug 16, 2012 08:02pm
Jazak Allah bro! Also refer to verses 30:31-32 of The Holy Qu'ran, and pay strict attention to the Arabic word used for sects!
Danali Aug 16, 2012 08:05pm
This article is an EPIC FAIL! Firstly, Allah (SWT) forbids Muslims to divide into sects in The Holy Quran in the following verses: 6:159 and 30:31-32 Finally, Hon'ble Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah (Rahmatullah Allhai) did not associate himself to any sect, and just called himself Muslim! :P
Sadiq Aug 16, 2012 08:10pm
99% civilans killed by Taliban were Sunnis not Shias.
HelloWord Aug 16, 2012 08:15pm
please show statistics of how much Sunnis and Shias killed in last ten years of terrorism. I am definately sure it would be 99% Sunnis.
@sahRIZVI Aug 16, 2012 08:47pm
"We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another." - Jonathan Swift. So please keep hating and killing each other with the help of petro-dollars !
Bangvi Aug 17, 2012 01:45pm
It was a matter of time. That Sunnis and Shias got into this unfortunate situation. But it's there fault , when the others like ahmadies, Christians were being persecuted, where were these Sunnis and Shias. They were silent and keeping there mouth shut. It's amazing I see all these comments about no sect according to Holy Quran, but in pakistan there are all these murders of innocent people.
EQ8Rhomes Aug 17, 2012 03:26am
How many "real Muslim" Sunnis are there in the world?
Agha Ata Aug 17, 2012 03:58am
I think that the author of the Objective Resolution was the ONLY real Muslim in Pakistan.
Talha Aug 17, 2012 05:27am
I read in a very wise tale that if a king allows a pinch of salt be taken without a price for his use his servants will put thousands of animals to spit in his name if he takes an apple his servants will uproot whole gardens. The start of evil in the world is small but the seed grows rapidly. The blame of all the sectarian rife in our society is laid at the feet of Zia ul Haq but what we all seem to forget is that the seed was sowed by our most democratic of leaders (so called) Zulfiqar Ali bhuto who was warned about this outcome. After that it was just a matter of time before a despotic leader emerged.
ahmad Aug 17, 2012 05:40am
Mr.Murtaza! i have read all these comments but all the comentors have disagree that shias are not muslims.I think that this is itself a servy and 100 % participants have given answer as NO. thanks
shahzad Aug 17, 2012 06:37am
Dear Mohammed, do you have any record of killing of suuni muslim in IRAN?
Talha Aug 17, 2012 09:34am
Fighting in our nature we will find new issues for eg an atheist is planning to flog the Quran in USA against the declaration by a state to call this year the year of religious diversity. See the similarity between him and the taliban. So we need to reconnect with the better side of us.
Devendra Aug 17, 2012 07:05pm
Who authorised one Muslim to say the other is NOT? Did Allah gave them the authority or did the Prophet Muhammed? I believe neither one of them.
Shafi Aug 17, 2012 07:09pm
Tell me brother, Was our Prophet (PBUH) a Shia, Sunni, Wahabi, or any of the other 70 sects? If your answer is no then why join any of the sects?
Hassaan Aug 17, 2012 08:37pm
My attitude is simple. Sectarianism is a curse,. Here and everywhere, period.
Hamid Ullah Aug 17, 2012 10:00pm
It was a matter of time. That Sunnis and Shias got into this unfortunate situation. But it's there fault. Everone stood silent when Christians and ahmadies were being slaughtered. Where we're these people.?
Amnah Aug 17, 2012 10:40pm
I will like to question this survey for its aim and premise of, what was the aim of such a research, it does not specify the parameters or how Shia are defined or the time frame without that told to the readers, it clearly is sharing of mere data. Several flaws in the write up are clear, such as," Arab countries like Iran, why was Middle East not used ?. For security reasons it could not be conducted in Iran, Saudia Arabia and India, since when India joined such a club of freedom of research.Please be careful in sharing such jarring information for I fear it will disconnect and alienate the two communities even further.
Laeeq,NY Aug 18, 2012 03:04am
We carry out ralies for Kashmir, Palestine, Chechnia anf Burmese Muslims. What about our treatment towards our minorities?
Dr Imran Ahmed Aug 18, 2012 05:46am
My good friend a specialist doctor who is a Shia used to say his prayers in a Sunni mosque in Bombay. It was only when he came to get married in Karachi and was physically thrown out of a mosque that he realized the great distinction we muslims of Pakistan attach to being Shia or Sunni muslim.
DABEER Aug 18, 2012 07:31am
not necessarily MUllahas .Mullahs are just being is a joint effort of agencies ..who just don't want peace in the region..
lala Aug 18, 2012 08:15am
people dont care for that....fanatic factories are producing bigoted people continuously and we are in the state of a perpetual chaos.
Khaild Aug 18, 2012 04:23pm
Well, I understand that there is a BIG divide among sunnis as well. I gre up in Karachi in 70s and never felt the need to explain to anyone if I was Shia or Sunni or Sindhi or Panjabi or anything like that. We were all Pakistanis. Because of this Shia Sunnia divide (let alone the injustices to my brothers and sisters who belong to other reliogions in Pakistan), I am ashamed to be a Pakistani and shamed to be a Muslim. I really hope one day I will stop reading these Pakistani newspapers as they are making me beginning to hate my beloved country....