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Sectarian divide: Does Mr Sword speak for us?

Updated Aug 21, 2012 01:23pm


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In individuals, insanity is rare; in groups, parties, nations, and epochs, it is the rule.”

-Friedrich Nietzsche.

Mr Victorious Sword or Zafar Shamsheer is a conservative, a Muslim conservative. He believes the entire world is busy conspiring against the Muslims.

The 9/11 never happened. And even if it did, it was a big Jewish conspiracy against Muslims. “Why were all Jewish employees in those buildings on leave that day?” he asks. Although he has seen pictures of Jewish people killed in the terrorist attacks, he refuses to believe them.

He also believes that Osama bin Laden was not killed in Pakistan. The US operation was a fake because OBL had already died in 2002.

All those Taliban who attack mosques, Muslim worshippers, Pakistani troops and military installations are not really Taliban. They are Indian and American infiltrators.

Shias are not Muslims, yes, Mr. Sword agrees with that.  But he refuses to believe that Sunni militants are killing Shias. “Those who do such things are also Indian and American agents,” he claims.

He believes the Arab Spring is a conspiracy to weaken Muslims. And those fighting Syrian government troops are not Syrian Muslims, they are non-Muslim foreigners.

There is no limit to Mr. Sword’s fantasies. He has a fertile brain and can churn out a hundred conspiracy theories a day. His theories often contradict each other but that does not bother him. Nothing does.

Who is Mr. Sword? Is he real? Yes, there is one particular Mr. Sword that I know but there are many others who fit this description too. They all live in their small, make-believe worlds and refuse to look outside.

I did a brief Google search with words ‘Shia kafir’ and it showed me 141,000 results in 0.23 seconds. Most of these posts were by Sunni extremists but there were some by Shias too, calling Sunnis kafir.

So, it is not just Mr. Sword who is diseased. We all are. This jinni is sitting inside all of us and whenever it gets a chance, it comes out with full ferociousness, ready to destroy anyone and anything that it does not like.

Trying engaging a Muslim, liberal or religious, on a subject he disagrees with and see how he reacts. Note how ferocious he becomes, how cruel, how offensive.

Educated liberals do not call each other kafirs, true. But see how they change when using a sectarian or ethnic card to promote their interests. A person blocking a job they covet is signalled out as a Shia, Ahmadi, Christian or whatever sect or faith he or she may belong to.

Where the religious card does not work, ethnic differences do and are used blatantly, without feeling any shame. Racism is bad if the Whites use it against us, but not if Punjabis, Pashtuns, Sindhis, Baloch and Mohajirs use it against each other.

At annual meetings of the Islamic Society of North America, I twice tried discussing the racial discrimination that South and Southeast Asian workers face in the Gulf. I did not succeed.

But let us get back to Mr Sword. We went to the same school, in Islamabad. He somehow passed the matriculation and intermediate examinations, both in third divisions, learned typing and joined a government office in Islamabad. He still lives in a poor neighbourhood in Rawalpindi.

For most liberals, he is a failure, a low-life semi-mullah who is neither here nor there. They are wrong. He is the key link between the extremists sitting on the mountains and the people who quietly slip in a hundred-rupee note into the donation box after Friday prayers in the name of jihad. He encourages them to do so.

People like Mr Sword are also important because, unlike liberals, they retain the ability to speak, write, compose poems and make speeches in their own languages.

The Mr Sword that I know speaks chaste Punjabi and fluent Urdu. He quotes versus from the Holy Quran and couplets from Sufi poetry in his speeches. Most liberals cannot. So when he speaks, he has an impact. The English-mixed, Urdu, Punjabi or Sindhi the liberals speak, does not have an impact.

This Mr Sword is also a poet. He can write melodious poems, in Urdu and Punjabi, glorifying Islam and Muslims. So he is popular.

During the Afghan war, Mr Sword joined a religious leader as his personal bard. He would travel from town to town, reciting his poems that also included at least one poem about this scholar.

Those were the days when the free world – mainly Americans, Pakistanis and Saudis – was busy fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. They were recruiting jihadis from all over the world, particularly from Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Mr Sword came in handy. His poems encouraged teenagers to join the Afghan jihad. Mr Sword was rewarded for his efforts with a small piece of land in the neighbourhood where he lives now. With support from his “maulana saheb,” he built a small house there and is happy with that. He does not want more.

So he did not migrate to Europe or America, like most liberals do. Some like him do go to the Middle East as unskilled labour and return home with a new zeal for promoting their beliefs. For instance, some of these Dubai-returned Mr Swords are more eager than the local ones in branding others as kafirs.

But this is not just Mr Sword’s story. This is my story too. And it starts at a news conference in Rawalpindi, addressed by a scholar, now dead, who often claimed that “every Moharram, I cause the death of two or three Shias.”

The maulana, as expected, demanded new restrictions on religious minorities or “their men will be enslaved and women distributed among the believers.”

Mr Sword got up and chanted slogans, for at least five minutes, backing the maulana’s demand. A small crowd of maulana’s supporters joined him.

I disagreed. But I was quiet, even when a journalist was locked in a room for criticising the maulana. Other liberal journalists were also silent. We did not have the courage to challenge the maulana.

We went back to our newspapers and wrote little stories, in English, criticising the maulana. Our stories did not have much of an impact.

There was another maulana, who lived in Islamabad and was equally anti-Shia. Mr Sword and I met again at this maulana’s meeting where he made a fiery speech, cursing Shias, Ahmadis, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and other minorities.

Again, the crowd got up and chanted slogans and again Mr Sword led the chanting. And once again, we the so-called liberals were silent.

Is it just fear that keeps us mum? Not really. A little prodding will unveil the ugly faces of our fake liberalism.

“It is true that the state has no business calling anybody a kafir but Ahmadis are not really Muslim, are they?” you may hear a liberal saying if you engage him in a debate over this issue.

“Shias are not really kafir but they are not exactly Muslims, are they?” another will ask. Perhaps we all believe in what Mr Sword does but hide our feelings under the cloak of liberalism. Perhaps, we are genuinely secular but hesitate to express our views publicly.

Mr Sword never hesitates. He is sharp, like a sword, and always to the point. So he is very effective. All his poems, all his speeches are right on the target.

Someone like Mr Sword came to Washington three years ago and stunned a think-tank audience. “There can never be peace between the Islamic and Western worlds,” he said. “I know you have the power to nuke us now. So do it. When we get a chance, we will do it too.”

Those who were there still remember him. And this is the strategy that people like Mr Sword use, say outrageous things that cause people to notice you and then come back later to pick on those who can be won over.

Where do they get their inspiration from? From Friday sermons that are repeated every week in millions of mosques across the world. True, not all mosques allow such sermons but many do.

And this provides an effective forum for people like Mr Sword to draw their inspiration from and to influence unsuspecting worshippers, who come for saying their prayers but return home with seeds of hatred in their minds.

Liberals have no such platform. They do not have an effective organisation. At best, they can print their views in elite newspapers and magazines that only the liberals read.

So what they say or write does not hurt Mr Sword. Nothing does. The liberals are too weak to challenge him.

Perhaps, they do not even want to challenge Mr Sword. How many times have we seen a liberal Sunni interrupting an imam when he calls Shias kafir? Perhaps never.

When we do not try to stop them from making such outrageous claims, are we not condoning their views? We are.

Perhaps, we also believe in this Muslim-kafir business but are too shy to admit. So we are happy to let Mr Sword speak for us. Does Mr Sword speak for most of us?


The author is a correspondent for Dawn, based in Washington, DC


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Anwar Iqbal is a correspondent for Dawn, based in Washington, DC.

Comments (123) Closed

Karachi Aug 20, 2012 01:02am
It takes two to tango, Mullahs from both the sects are involved in it. They both have terrorist wings which kill innocent people of both sides.
A human being Aug 18, 2012 03:04pm
My hats off to you sir!
Mujtaba Abid Aug 18, 2012 03:55pm
Thought Provoking.
Jazzib Aug 18, 2012 03:58pm
Still someone saying this in not a Genocide? every one is burning in this fire equally? For God sake say the truth if u are a True Muslim, dont use Hippocratic sentences, Write on Shia Genocide, raise ur voice. we are those who Make Pakistan, we are those who are living everywhere in the world but this Genocide is continue only in Pak? and some Sunni bros are clapping on this. plz dont divide Muslim Ummah, save my Pakistan from these terrorists and anti-pakistan toots
1277sachughtai Aug 19, 2012 10:46pm
It is the Whole Truth. Are scared from Mr. Sword? Are we hypocrats? Can't we have radio station that we start educating people without interference of Mr. Sword? Is it essential that we must invite Mr. Sword in every talk show and hear his views? Is media responsible to encourage Mr. Sword? True, sir, Mr. Sword and several thousand messrs sword have become extremely poweerful. The Government may have to give them written khutba for Friday Prayers. All loudspeakers banned.Good one
HARIS ALI Aug 20, 2012 12:41am
can anyone define what is liberal and conservative muslim?Did the muslims in the time of holy prophet acquire degrees of Phd to be called as liberals or were they illiterate to be called as conservatives?
HARIS ALI Aug 20, 2012 12:45am
what is liberal education?
malik Aug 18, 2012 03:59pm
I find it impossible to change someones thinking. Everyone believes they are right and everyone else is wrong. It is too late to snub this sectarian jinny now that it is out of the bottle. We are going to pay for it for next umpten years.
Karachi Wala Aug 18, 2012 03:48pm
After reading this article, one wonders, who has done more harm? Mr. Sword or the silent Liberals.
Vijay Dixit Aug 19, 2012 08:41am
What else can be expected from these jahil Muslims,ignorant,& illiterate people.who keep on finding differences with others rather than similarities.They cannot adjust with other Muslims so expecting them to adjust with non muslims is out of the question.They have a one track mind which will sooner than later crash. So all non muslims better disembark at the earliest.All Hindus,Sikhs,Buddhists may migrate to India & the Christains to the West.Let the Muslims stew in theie oun juice.
Saeed Al Mana Aug 18, 2012 02:33pm
Great article. My two cents; liberals versus extremists is not a fight between equals. Liberals believe in giving space to others and thats why they get called liberals. I wish we had some extremist liberals too, who could give a tit for tat to non-liberal extremists.
Usman Aug 18, 2012 02:28pm
Well the reality is in ur heart as well, but u call it a conspiracy thoery :) Wait for the time when u will know that ur heart was pushing towards the truth but u called it a myth.
1277sachughtai Aug 19, 2012 11:42pm
Mr. Farooq: I am happy that you have elaborated it the way it should have been. The Growth and will go on and on and whosoever continues his struggle to know the universe and is creative to conquer, all rewards for him. Your views are candid and solid. Other commentators are advised to read your comments.
pk surendran Aug 18, 2012 01:50pm
Anwar, in your sentence: But I was quiet, even when a journalist was locked in a room for criticising the maulana. Other liberal journalists were also silent. We did not have the courage to challenge the maulana." lies the cause. now you can find the solution. best of luck!!!
mr.great indian. Aug 18, 2012 01:43pm
EXCELLANT SIR, i really like to read dawn for this kind of brilliance.
Magus Aug 18, 2012 01:28pm
The Headlines today read: Koranic verses banished from tombstones of Ahmedis in Faisalabad, cleric arrested for declaring Eid today. Wah Shamsheer!
Mashood Aug 18, 2012 01:11pm
Very ironic and very true. Clerics and close minded factions from both sides of the Islamic sects have played God. None other than they have damaged Islam the most. Your article is a fresh breath of air or at least a ray of hope that Jihad bil qalam is still practiced.
Syed Qaseem Ali Aug 18, 2012 12:06pm
This situation makes the heart cry. I really wish sense would prevail someday, but I totally agree with you that liberals do not have a podium in the public arena. Although social media has helped the liberals a bit, but at the same time it has also helped the extremists and its more or less the same there as well, mostly they keep mum because of fear.
asfi Aug 18, 2012 12:07pm
Cannot disagree at all.
Patriot Aug 18, 2012 12:34pm
Poignant. And so damningly true.
Mukesh Aug 18, 2012 12:29pm
We all (south asians) are very liberal and secular as individuals but when we are in a big group we become a mob and all our secularism and values evaporate.
Indian Fan Aug 18, 2012 12:24pm
Good one Sir!!!!!!!!!appreciate u writing skills................
Magus Aug 18, 2012 11:01am
Doesn't he speak for all or at least most? The cliches of rose petals on murderers, of no one ready to do the last rites of a murdered man, of Friday collections for jihad, of a senior politicians having to retract calling murdered humans brothers are true. He speaks for all
Indian Aug 18, 2012 10:40am
Brilliant, as usual. As an Indian, what frightens me most is that in closed rooms, similar hate-speeches must be given in India as well. Then again, there are venomous speeches by right wing Hindu extremists, but non so fiery that an average Hindu is inspired to take up a position in Karachi to avenge the losses of Hindu lives. But we do have Muslim youths who are ready to create mayhem in Mumbai because of violence in Assam and Burma.
(Dr.) B.N. Anand Aug 19, 2012 09:33pm
That is indeed very delightful reading. Can we have an idea about the difference in percentage of liberals and people like Mr. Sword? But,sir, it is also felt that liberals sometimes also join to agree with Mr. Swords in discussion of open forums though in their hearts of hearts they may be feeling otherwise in order to go with the popular stream for avoiding any conflict. That is the real failing of liberals when time comes to assert and they compromise either not responding or showing not to be in disagreement. It indeed requires courage and boldness for the liberal to assert their view point. This is a view point and please excuse me if you do not agree.
Siva D Aug 19, 2012 08:59pm
Farooq Although I am not a Muslim, I really appreciate your religious world view. I think most religions should be interpreted as broadly as you speak. Looking at this way, Hinduism also talks of the same essential divinity. For example, let noble thoughts come from all directions; and that truth is one but the learned (e.g prophets/saints) speak of it in many ways, legitimizes not one path but many paths to god. If we start from the premise that god has created the world and everything on it, including the people, it just does not make any sense that only abrahamic cultures would get prophets as the rest of the peoples are his children as well. Indian civilization dates to about 5000 years old. Cultures were thriving here with high sophistication when the Arabs even did not know how to write. So how can god wait till the middle eastern conquerors/ Sufis come by to reveal himself. That is a bit absurd. Thus, god sent or "inspired" people in all parts of the world at appropriate times. The Rams,the Buddhas, the prophets, the African saints that we do not know about must have all come about at appropriate times to reveal the essential divinity. The proof for this is that if we see any religious tradition, look for really holy people (Gandhi and mother Teresa in India and Edhi in Pakistan, Desmond Tutu in Africa for example), we see the same core values that these peopl draw from their very different religious traditions. This is proof that they all are drinking from the same well-spring of divinity.
Aaryak Aug 20, 2012 10:49am
Dilruba darling this is the exact problem you,your community,and your country is facing. When your own house looks like a garbage bin,you should clean your house first,rather collecting garbage bins from your neighborhood. As the writer points , for a majority of your community , your religion and your sect comes before your nation. You people blame US for interfering in all hey-say problems of world. What are you doing when you riot for some wrong deeds to few people of other country?? Time for some self realization , isn't it?? There has been no riots in India regarding Hindu plight of Pakistan. I have no idea if u call yourself an extremist or a LIBERAL,but its only because of people of your mentality which has forced the world to look upon you people as GRAVEST PROBLEM.
Raoul Ciao Aug 20, 2012 10:15am
very well and poignantly said.
ajay Aug 19, 2012 08:09pm
Farooq Saheb, your comment is as good as Mr Anwar's write up.
Devendra Aug 19, 2012 07:54pm
TOUCHE!!! Mr. Khan. But you missed the point/the metaphor. Hatred is not contained in the battery or any other metallic/non-metallic container. It is contained in the heart.....which (the heart containing the hatred) gets destroyed first.
Cyrus Howell Aug 19, 2012 05:13pm
"Their Youtube experience." That's funny.
Cyrus Howell Aug 19, 2012 05:08pm
You all will unite under Iranian leadership.
observer Aug 19, 2012 04:48pm
@Karachi Wala 'Silent Liberals' or 'Silenced Liberals'. Does the name Salman Taseer ring any bells?
Cyrus Howell Aug 19, 2012 04:58pm
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it's the only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead If Muslims raised a 500 million man army there would be 500 million leaders arguing.
A Bajwaa Aug 19, 2012 01:19pm
Pakistan has not been able to tackle terrorism, physically or ideologically.
Adnan Aug 19, 2012 12:16pm
It ALWAYS amused me when I see people making generalizations out of few subjects (in this case Mr. Sword). In my 30 years of Jummah Sermons experience in at least three different cities of PK (an dozens of Mosques in Urban in suburban settlements), I never happen to have experienced such hate-promoting ideas or branding anyone as kafirs. Yes I admit there are serious difference of opinions and there always had been (like in all religion where cast is not a base of discrimination). I think the liberals should also come to PK and attend some sermons before they write or comment something from Washington based on, may be, their youtube experience. There are not only Ms Swords now (who passed matriculation in third division and became typists) but also many western (may be liberals would like to call them intellectuals) who think the same way about 9/11 or OBL being not killed on 2nd May. Go ahead brand them as key link between militant fighting in the mountains and 'foreign dominion of funds collection'. If you never happened to come across these literature based on critical research, I would suggest come out of your holes and read more critical work than the popular work. It equally saddens me when I see more and more people are tending to have low critical thinking and analysis capability and tending to buy popular ideas surrounding them (just to fit-in, may be). These people are conveniently buying these ideas and such articles. I always thought Anwar Iqbal was a reasonable writer but I think I was wrong. Sorry to say but this article really disappointed me.
Farooq Ahmad Khan Aug 19, 2012 10:38am
Drone attacks are the only solution to eliminate Wolves in human garb.
Kiwi/Paki Aug 19, 2012 10:24am
They are not truly liberals then.
Kiwi/Paki Aug 19, 2012 10:22am
It is the state and media who have given such tremendous power to Mr Sword. On the other side what power liberals have. if they cannot say anything openly, it is due to the fact that they know that no one will be there to back them even the laws and state protect Mr Sword. In the given situation it is not fair to blame liberals.
Iqbal khan Aug 19, 2012 10:02am
Such people should be eliminated at any cost.yes more drone attacks are needed.
Kool Aug 19, 2012 10:00am
Excellent article . People should unit for good cause , not for hatred.
Truth Aug 20, 2012 10:24am
You can see in so many of your TV programs..I remember one with Rauf,,pachaas minute..the youngsters start talking about Hindu Dushman..etc the damage is so deep that you need lot many years to believe that yes there are lots of Swords around, cutting the fabric of the society..bringing it to a point of no return!...
Seedoo Aug 20, 2012 02:07pm
"Muslims should unite together" Aaah. Which world do you live in? There is no such thing as muslims ummah. Just get yourself education and educate people around you. Learn to be a human being, before being a muslim and treat everyone kindly and be respectful and tolerant toward each other. Stop living in the world of paranois. Everything should be find.
pramod Aug 21, 2012 10:28am
They are most welcome in India
Durrani Aug 22, 2012 10:53am
Good1 and True
Capt C M Khan Aug 19, 2012 08:25am
A Spade must be called a Spade. An excellent article. We liberals always forget the role of Mr Sword. Shame on us and all our leaders for keeping quiet when a Shia or Ahmedi or Christian is killed. Future generations will blame us for this empathy. I pray Pakistan gets a LIBERAL LEADER who openly voices and gets the us the TAX-PAYING liberals on one platform. Interestingly these Mr swords hardly contribute to the country's economy.
mangesh sird Aug 19, 2012 09:14am
I shall narrate what happened in India in the last few days. Two Bangladeshi illegal migrant muslims were killed by Bodos in Assam to reclaim their lost tribal land. the cops promptly arrested 4 suspected Bodos. The bangladeshis surrounded the police van and capture the Bodo suspects and slaughter them to pieces ! The riot start in 5 districts of Assam and about 50 + bangla muslims are butchered. This happens in a month or so. Some Bangla muslims are also killed in Myanmar/Burma,although the two incidences are not at all related . Someone starts a sms/mms campaign sending thousands of sms to muslim youth in Maharashtra/Andhra/Tamilnadu /Kerala. Images of some killings in other part of the world are posted showing as if all happened in Assam/Burma. youth falls a prey to this hate propaganda and walks to protest in Mumbai and start riots attacking cops/molesting lady cops,destroying vans/cars and even a memorial to the soldiers who have sacrificed their lives for the country.The so called liberals have discussion on the live media and NONE dares to say who did it ? knowing fully well that the mullahs/moulanas instigated the gullible youth during the friday prayers in the Mumbai mosques ! the discussion is DILUTED by quoting about the incidences in the PAST ,when the minority Muslims were the target ! NOBODY,NOBODY gives any solution ! Nobody blames the maulanas/hate mail/ hate speeches /a call for jihaad etc etc. Instead the so called secular central govt.provides special trains to carry the North East students/ workers/ employees to FLEE to their native states in the N east ! The muslim misguided and instigated muslim youth from Mumbai/Pune/Bengalore/Cochi/Hyderabad ,Deccan ,Chennai actually threaten the North Easters ,who are not bodos but Assamese/Bangla/Nepalis/Mizo/Manipuris/Tripuris/ Meghalayees/ Arunachalis /Sikkimese / Hindus/Muslims/Christians/ Budhdhists/ et all to leave the cities or THEY WD BE BUTCHERED ON THE EID DAY ! Many are attacked to scare them ! Again,our so called secularists press/media/writers/politicians are QUITE !
LieX Aug 19, 2012 09:47am
Dont get me wrong, but I am a researcher in EU and a highly educated Pakistani friend of friend, opined, "Religion should come before nationality" and this was echoed by a couple more of guys. To me, this seemed no different from some religious extremists. In the world that we live, surely country has bigger social importance whereas religion is best when kept personal, else we would return to Crusade era when someone in village of Germany was ready to fight for his Chritian brethern in Jerusalem. Christians have moved on from it, some Muslim still insist to rewage a war which they actually won in first place.
Dilruba Aug 19, 2012 11:52am
I would say your portrayals although, an attempt to portray your self belief as facts, is another Mr Sword (Hindu version) who engages in self denial of the slaughter and carnage bestowed upon Muslims. Most internet images floating on the net are corroborated by facts on the ground. Take Burma for instance, which I had to leave because of this "peace loving Budhist murderes" I cannot deny my own account of events. This was followed by the president of that country saying openly that he was prepared to handover (in other words ethnic cleanse) the local Muslim population to any country that wishes to have them. This was followed by state operated persecution. The situation is not much different in supposedly secular, liberal and modern India. Gujrat, Bonbay (Mumbai) to mention a few
khan Aug 19, 2012 05:02am
That is an extremist expression as well Deb. Please do not generalize as same could be said for any nation.
khan Aug 19, 2012 05:04am
Not the batteries.
Sukhbir Maggu Aug 19, 2012 01:16pm
Sir, I wish this thought provoking article is translated to Urdu and other languages of Pakistan and published for the People of Pakistan to read and contemplate on as a People. I wish local language news paper editors muster guts to do so sooner than later. The very existence of a culture is at stake if articles like this do not reach the masses for their consideration and education.
Anand Aug 19, 2012 12:48pm
Analysis is spot on. Mr. Swords is a wolf while the liberal is a 'wolf in sheep's clothing'.
MH Aug 18, 2012 04:17pm
Your article itself promotes "hatred" between the two sects. It is high time, all Muslims should unite together which can form a formidable force to reckon with. There are about 2 bilion Muslims around the world. Media has also got great responsibility "not " to publish any articles which can breed hatred.
Jeffmahagaonvi Aug 19, 2012 02:27pm
Need of the time is to become a human, full of love and to hate & discriminate anybody on the basis religion, races, colour and political affiliation. "Live with love-Let democracy work"
Zaidi Aug 18, 2012 04:39pm
Loved this. If you believe answer to all the ills is more Islam, the very next logical question is what kind of Islam. I'm afraid Mr. Shamsheer is just answering the second question. Its upon Pakistani intelligentsia to introspect the first question.
sunil Aug 18, 2012 04:46pm
Excellent writing.
Devendra Aug 18, 2012 05:00pm
Brilliantly and accurately analysed. I couldn't agree more. Not much left unsaid to vex eloquent here. Qudos and respect to the Author - Anwar Iqbal. THE ONLY THING I COULD SAY IS," HATRED IS AN ACID THAT DESTROYS THE CONTAINER FIRST."
Abdus Salam Khan Aug 18, 2012 05:29pm
Brilliant, Anwar Iqwbal. it takes a long time for the jinni to completely disappear from within us.
warrenlarson Aug 18, 2012 05:31pm
Although this article is extremely blunt, perhaps even harsh, it does have a ring of truth to it.
Harinder Aug 18, 2012 05:36pm
Pakistanis must do more Mathematics to improve on their Logical & Rational Skills. Shias and Sunnis fight looks so silly to people who are non muslims.
Slim Aug 18, 2012 05:46pm
Excellent article. Good one for the "LIBERALS" to ponder, otherwise we are doomed.
Isadora Aug 18, 2012 05:57pm
There is a growing infection in Pakistan. Will it, in time, go away? Left untreated, there is little doubt that it will. In fact most unteated infections only grow.
AZHAR NAQVI Aug 18, 2012 06:07pm
Drones are their only treatment..........Well done US.....
Ingrid Aug 18, 2012 06:07pm
Sharp piece.
Sana Haq Aug 18, 2012 06:15pm
I agree totally. The irony is that people who are misled in their views are openly promulgating them while those of us who, blessedly, consider such sectarian discrimination wrong restrict our opinions to our cosy drawing rooms.
Ahmad Aug 18, 2012 06:23pm
hatred? He's asking everyone to condemn any form of hatred or extremism.
Deb Aug 18, 2012 06:37pm
And many other things that Muslims do look silly as well. My personal experience is that even Muslim liberals are not as liberal as ones from other religions.
Deb Aug 18, 2012 06:41pm
Or maybe you should wait till you realize what was thought a myth is really nothing but a myth. What your heart thought was the truth was nothing but the sermon of a semi-literate maulana.
Deb Aug 18, 2012 06:42pm
Not publish these articles?? With all due respect, that would be called 'sweeping the truth under the carpet'. Now that would not be good.
rizwan Aug 18, 2012 07:18pm
silent liberals......however, they have their own families to protect, their lives and their parents live...also, for whom should they give their life.....for compatriots who would sell their soul to the highest bidder....well, i feel both be exonerated, and the one accused is the aam pakistani.....
Iftekhar Aug 18, 2012 08:01pm
I am surprised by the totally biased article and the hatred which just goes on and on throughout the piece of 'writing'.
janbar Aug 18, 2012 08:02pm
In a country where even people from different branches of " the same religion " cannot live in peace together, what chance do the minorities have ? This country was founded on the principle of giving freedom to a minority yet in the last 65 years all we have done is learn to hate each other and discriminate against anyone who is different, we are destroying our beautiful country. Sadly Only God can save us now and even God has probably lost faith in Us.....
sparky singh Aug 18, 2012 08:20pm
The aam aadmi needs hidayats but he must also be entertained at the same time or he looses interest. The factual critiques of our ways that liberals talk about is usually too dry and boring and hence not worthy of being remembered or repeated. What we are missing are our poet-saints like bulleh shah who could appeal to the logic and common sense of the common man with their insight packed into small lyrical gifts that are still remembered today.. "ouh tenu kafir kafir aakhde, tu aho aho akh"
sparky singh Aug 18, 2012 08:22pm
"There are about 2 billion Muslims around the world" numbers only matter if you are thinking of raising an army. For an intellectual force sometimes a single man is enough.
Mian Zahid Aug 18, 2012 08:24pm
Although, he did not say it in the piece. I know Anwar was the journalist who was pocked up. Zahid
suma Aug 18, 2012 08:25pm
Writer is washington based and im not far away, great entertainment value, no? My bad, oh, there is an impact? urdu papers, TV, anyone?
miramshah Aug 18, 2012 08:28pm
A rose is a rose is a rose.
Solitar Aug 19, 2012 05:57am
O Mr. Sword you are a Socrates born at a wrong place, instead of evolving into a superman you evolved into a VIRUS for which there is no cure as late as today!
Jawad Alam Aug 18, 2012 09:00pm
Great article. To make an impact, I think such articles should be written in Urdu and publisished in popular Urdu press. Coming to Kafir now. I was wondering if there was an actual "Kafir" religion and those practicing Kafirism and at the same time living in Pakistan, what would their fate have been?
Muneer Aug 18, 2012 09:26pm
Good article ... but what can the liberals do ? If they start asserting their views then soon they will also be categorised as fanatics. So now we need a sequel to this article where a solution should be presented - liberal education ?
BRR Aug 18, 2012 10:13pm
Pakistani muslims are eager to condemn the world while hushing up any semblance of religious discord in Pakistan while at the same time willingly killing dissenters. They are so self-righteous that they are willing to kill for it.
Mahavir Aug 19, 2012 12:14am
You want to create a formidable force of 1.2 billion muslims? For what? To fight non muslims?
Siva D Aug 19, 2012 01:15am
I am not sure if challenging someone like the Maulana in a crowded mosque would be an effective or a smart strategy to counter hate. In the end, he is the Maulana and you are not. It appears to me that there is a larger cultural problem in Pakistan. This urge, rather an obsession, to sit in judgement on whether someone is a "good muslim" or not is a fundamental root cause. Somehow the Pakistani society has to come to a realization that this should not be such a big deal. I think as the author rightly hints, most people (liberal or not) are not in this situation yet. On the contrary, I think they silently judge others (muslim-non-muslim; believer or non-believer) and that it is an important value to them (I am talking about an overwhelming majority but not ALL pakistanis). Thus, this kind of evaluation trickles down to every aspect of the larger society and sometimes erupts into ugly violence in the hands of the even more emotional and less rational people.
sunil Aug 19, 2012 01:18am
Well..we all do silly things - like the treatment meted out to Dalits in different parts of the country, Thanks to the British - we got rid of another silly habit - Sati burning.
Simple Aug 19, 2012 01:42am
Simple Aug 19, 2012 01:44am
Excellent article. 9.5 out of 10!
Lahori Aug 19, 2012 01:46am
It is not biased.Now if the suicide bombers and sectarian attackers were really foreigners, would they also attack markets, banks, music stores and restaurants besides attacking our military establishments and masjids???
Farooq Aug 19, 2012 01:58am
ISLAM IS NOT A RELIGION - When all else fails, read the instructions: Sectarian conflicts arise from treating Islam as a Religion. Islam is a state of enlightenment, or deen, the word having common etymology with din as in the light of day. Religion and religiosity is something promulgated by MCPs - Mullahs, Clerics, Priests and Politicians as a means of expanding their influence, power, and control. It goes like this: "If you do not do believe or practice exactly as we say in terms of rituals, prayers, chants, and sacrifices, including martyrdom and hatred of those who deviate from these practices as we prescribe, you will burn in Hell, suffer eternal torment, or be reincarnated as something really, really uncomfortable and bad!" Hence arise sects, fiqhs, and fitnas, and religious conflicts, dividing our common humanity into Us versus The Others. As Almighty God created this universe apparently with a Big Bang (and probably an indefinite number of other universes) and the universal constants and the laws of physics by which it functions, everything and every entity including intelligent and non-sentient life forms, are subject to His will, and by semantic definition follow Islam and are Muslim. As seen on the other side of the expanding membranous bubble of this particular universe, about 13.75 billion light years distant are millions of galaxies containing quadrillions of stars and probably billions of habitable planets containing living organisms, some of which God evolves to aql or sentient intelligence and confers free will upon some. The study of the processes by which God does this is the study of natural sciences including physics. This is the ilm which we are supposed to seek, even in China. 1450 years ago, the Chinese had no knowledge of Arabic religious culture, but they did have rocket science. How can Mullahs with an obsession with rituals, and bereft of logic and critical judgement claim to be Muallim? God created Man, or more appropriately Mankind, to be His Deputy or Khalifah, deputed to protect and to serve Planet Earth, including establishment of justice, equitable distribution of resources, protection of human rights, and moderation in behaviour so as not to harm others. The mursaleen, or those sent forth, including Adam, Moses, Jesus and Mohammed (PBU them) were by definition Muslims, and the Word of God that they brought was an explanation (the Theory of Everything that God created or is creating, for us to discover what may be presently ghaib through science) and instructions and examples of how to carry out the duties due to huqquq-ul-ibad as per the definition of Khilafat above. Reading The Instructions in a ritual manner over and over again with exactly the presumed right accent of a certain Arabic tribe with threats of eternal dammnation if you miss a beat, and doing nothing about implementing the Instructions (in terms of social justice, equitable resource sharing, establishment of good nutrition, sanitation and hygeine, avoidance of toxins or harmful behaviour, and acceptance of diversity of cultural and "religious" beliefs which do no harm to others) is hugely missing the point of Islam. Another vast misconception foisted on humanity by MCPs is the equation of Salaat and Ibadat as identically equal to ritual prayers. Prayer may be rituals, chants, or hailing, hareing, or praising one or more deities and/or their associates, with the expectation that this will lead to the reception or attainment of desirable things in this life or an afterlife or lives by virtue of the powers of those deities or their associates, proportional to the intensity and frequency of repetition in exact formats of the prayers. Establishment of Salaat is reading, remembering, and carrying out God's instructions as per the duties due to humanity, and Ibadat is Service to Almighty God by carrying out His instructions.
Karachi Wala Aug 19, 2012 02:32am
This is a painfully beautiful article. For me, saddest part is not Mr. Sword because he does not hide his anger and hate toward anyone who dares to disagree with him. It is the so called liberal, educated group of people, who are hiding their swords and daggers. This is the same bunch of people the author met at the annual meetings of the Islamic Society of North America.
sameer Aug 19, 2012 02:39am
As if Drone is solving our problem and number of terrorist attack have lessened
Yawar Aug 19, 2012 02:40am
Excellent article sir. You have articulated the clash between liberals and religious conservatives in Pakistan very well. This is a significantly important subject as quite often this clash results in fatal consequences. Mr. Sword has taken the entire country, including the government, hostage in the name of Islam. The conspiracy theory minded fanatics understand quite well the insincere lip service provided by some liberals to events like the Drone attacks and the Lal Masjid incident. At the same time our government officials, including the Supreme Court, are afraid to take any actions against them lest they themselves and their families become future targets. At the same time, liberals are afraid to organize demonstrations, dharnas, long marches, etc. against the killing of Shias and other minorities lest a suicide bomber shows up in their midst. Clearly, Mr. Sword has the upper hand in this clash, and he knows it.
Yawar Aug 19, 2012 02:44am
...thats right, they should speak up and offer themselves as targets
MLuhano Aug 19, 2012 02:56am
I completely agree with the writer that the liberals have done the same harm as deep in their hearts they somehow believe in what extremists are doing. I would share a real life experience. I was on secondment in Bahrain with all my muslim colleagues from Pakistan (I am Pakistani too by the way) and we are all Chartered Accountants from big cities. While on secondment we heard the news that Talibans in Afghanistan are going to blast Budha's old carved statues. To my surprise, my muslim colleagues were very proud of that moment and the courage of Talibans to eradicate kafirs. Probably they didn't realise at that time that the same extremists then will declare other muslims kafir soon. Now these so called liberals are living in western world. If they are reading my post.. they should at least feel responsibility (even minute one) that they are party to this hatred....
raza Aug 19, 2012 03:37am
One who stays quiet when see an opression is worst then the opressor
raza Aug 19, 2012 03:41am
very rare that you find someone put say things exactly you'd like to but couldn't. Very eloquent...
afia salam Aug 19, 2012 04:30am
The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!
Guest II Aug 19, 2012 05:20am
Here's my problem with pious religious folk, including the masulvis the authir is talking about, who spout hate: They should look up the word "irony" (or its equivalent in their language) in the dictionary. Then look in a mirror.
Dini Aug 19, 2012 05:39am
Schizophrenic delusions!
Vijay Aug 19, 2012 07:15am
Agreed .. thats what worries me cause we have so many of them in our midst.
Saadhu Aug 19, 2012 09:45am
Only US has solution to these Swords. Pakistan is not able to control them. They are killing innocent people everywhere. If Pakistan government cannot control these mullahs and mosques, let these drone attacks start happening on these madrassas and other religious places.
Sanity Aug 19, 2012 07:43am
I second your observation completely
Azmat Aug 19, 2012 08:06am
Pakistan's future is anarchy worse than Somalia's. Even I a former Pakistani would like to see it fenced off from the rest of the world for the next 100 years.
irfan ali Aug 19, 2012 08:09am
good article...
Eli Aug 19, 2012 08:53am
Struggle is not between liberal or fundamentalist but between ignorance and enlightenment; all ignorant whether muslims, hindus, christians or jews behave the same; so answer is more education and that's the reason Holy Prophet emphasized on knowledge more than anything...
Saadhu Aug 19, 2012 09:40am
isaak Aug 20, 2012 05:38am
Hameed Khan Aug 20, 2012 06:15am
Isn't it the government responsibilty that should not allow anyone to take laws in their own hands, including Mr. Sword and his sermons/speaches. No one can do it if the Govt wants.
alixedi Aug 20, 2012 08:13am
I am a liberal and a Shia. A week back, I was talking to a very dear friend of mine who is also a liberal but a Sunni. I told him that I went to the Youm-e-Ali jaloos in Karachi and that there were at least two incidents when the jaloos was showered with bullets from the rooftops. During the next 15 minutes, I received a fiery tirade about the importance of the gift of life. Following are some snippets from his speech: + "When the Saudis kill your people in Bahrain, you bring out rallies but you are silent on Syria" + "When you are in majority or have power, you dish-out the same treatment to Sunnis" + "You are not the only ones getting killed in Balochistan; Everyone except a Baloch is getting killed there" + "Sunni extremists should be condemned, but also the Shia extremists" I do not have the will to answer these questions. Death of a few dozen peacocks receive more prime-time coverage than hundreds of human beings shot in cold blood. Couple of bottles of Scotch, an impulsive slap and the damn letter are sufficient to demand hundreds of man-hours of judges who command salaries that are 6 times the national average. All this while still more Shias are hauled off buses and shot. While the self-acclaimed killers receive honorable acquittal due lack of evidence. While the reduced life-expectance of witnesses in these cases is comprehensively ignored. Yet! and yet I should value my life and not participate in the one and the only act of collective protest to this calamity? Interestingly, I didn't! Neither did most of the members of my family. Never before that ashura jaloos. After that, everything changed. Noew, there is a minor sub-culture amongst liberal Shias. While the more relgiously endowed of our clan go to the jaloos for obvious reasons. The liberals walk because there is not other channel of registering out protest. We walk for our rights - the right to live, the right to practise our rituals and the right to a distinct identiy. Yes we can save our lives and sit in our homes burying our head in the bossoms of our women. But then what guarantee do we have that this fire will not reach our homes?
Rehana Kanji Aug 20, 2012 08:22am
excellent article.... liberals are quiet because their point would not make any difference to that so called Mr.swords.... because in their point of views they're representing Islam by determining on their set mindsets that who is Muslim or not..... unlike them if liberal would raise voices only the so called liberals will read, listen and make opinions....... this is what we're living in.
Prany Aug 20, 2012 09:27am
Situation is not much different in India?!! You are crazy. Don't you know how Gujrat carnage started? More than 50 Hindus were burnt alive.. I live in Dubai. At that time I had asked a Pakistani friend of mine, what would happen if Hindus or Christians burnt 50 Muslims alive in Pakistan. Without blinking an eyelid he said, "Ek bhi jinda naheen bachega". So Mr. Sword don't compare India with Pakistan or Myanmar. Muslims are enjoying better life in India than in Pakistan.
ali Aug 20, 2012 06:51pm
"Mr sword" has greatly increase in number these days thanks to state policy supporting "Mr sword" from decades. Now as belong to Particular sect of Islam, I try my best not to reveal my identity. I do not even tell them my home town name besides living in Islamabad which is consider secure. This country has been hijacked by sick people.
Iftikhar Husain Aug 21, 2012 11:48am
There is nobody who has found the answer of extreme poverty uneducated masses too many children the families cannot afford. The only solace is the religion and that is taught by non trained religios leader. We can see the result of all this in our countries.
bigsaf Aug 21, 2012 12:57am
It seems bleak as if not only are Sunni liberals a minority, so are the Sunni moderates.
Calis Aug 21, 2012 01:10am
Dixit: Why should the Christians migrate to the West. Are not they South Asians, former Indians. I welcome them to India.
Guest Aug 21, 2012 03:12am
Perhaps you have not read the US history. How the Catholics were actually considered less than human and wrote laws to outcast Jews. The Puritans even tried to have the wife of the governor of Massachusetts executed on charges of blasphemy and witchcraft. Fencing off will mean fermenting - Pakistan needs to be more open. Education has to spread throughout the country.
Pakistani Aug 21, 2012 03:21am
To Indian..... If you hate, hate with awareness If you love, love with awareness…… Let everything arise out of your awareness OSHO
raza Aug 21, 2012 03:49am
Fully agree with what is discussed in this article but, are you sure that the crusade era is over?
akhter husain Aug 21, 2012 05:43am
Very perfect comment
Anand Aug 21, 2012 07:46am
Thanx akhter. It is necessary to to unmask and expose the liberals. This is even more important than dealing with Mr.Swords and people of his ilk.
Anand Aug 21, 2012 07:52am
You say "Shame on us and all our leaders for keeping quiet when a Shia or Ahmedi or Christian is killed.". Does this mean you support the killing of hindus? Are you another Mr.Sword in the guise of a 'liberal', Capt Khan?
aamir Aug 21, 2012 03:47pm
good and to the point. You talk of the actual words we use as while arguing in our state of denial
chakraborty Aug 22, 2012 06:34am
hypocritical !