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Unique Pakistani brand of liberals, leftists and atheists: Camouflaged sectarian bigots – by Laleen Ahmad

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It would be interesting to note that certain sections of Pakistani liberals—secular, atheistic, agnostic, leftist— are too quick to take up issues like violence against Christians, Hindus, Jews, women etc, which is a very great thing to do. But when it comes to the persecution of Shias, Sunni Brelvis, Ahmadis, Balochs etc, these elements mostly not only keep quiet about it, some of them actually justify it.

Superficially, it seems that campaigning for the rights of Christians, Hindus, Jews etc will get these liberals international attention or fundings because these besieged communities have international references, and the international media is quick to take up these issues. But there is something deeper here.

As pointed out by a Pakistani social media activist, it is not just that the so-called liberals of Pakistan (based in and outside Pakistan) ignore the persecution of Shias and Sunni Brelvis; the fact is that these two Muslim communities are ridiculed too. This is so because they have no fire power. In his own words,

“It’s easy to take on Sunni Brelvis (who don’t have state support and are not armed to teeth) and so countless Facebook lifestyle liberals have shared the photo of a guy with green scarf and lights making himself look like a Christmas tree. Majority of them would not dare say a word when Takfiri Deobandis blast their ass off in a market or Salafi beasts chew livers. You can only ridicule and bash Shias and Brelvis apparently, it’s sectarian for others. But you seem to forget that superstition won’t take your life fake liberals, state sponsored Takfiri terrorists will even if you give them cover by remaining ‘impartial’…. When the Deobandi mafia take over Pakistan, which is not too far, we’ll see how the Facebooki lifestyle liberals maintain their false neutrality. This so called impartiality in times of war is a nail in your own coffin.— (Ale Natiq)”

Another fellow acitvist put it thus,
“Given that Sunni Sufis/Brelvis, Shias and Ahmadis, in general, do not aspire for global domination or caliphate of Islam, they are relatively more inclusive and tolerant, as compared to (with some exceptions) Deobandis and Salafis/AhleHadith who, even though some of them may claims to be ‘real liberals’ (eg JI folks) or secularists or atheists etc, cannot overcome intra—Muslim sectarian prejudices and remain full of hatred of the Rafizis, the Qadyanis and the Qabar Parast people. (Abdul Nishapuri)”

A number of examples can be given, but in this short comment just one will suffice for its absolutely heartless sectarian bias. Dr Haider is a Pakistani of Deobandi-Wahhabi orientation based in the UK. He claims to be the founder of a facebook group, Rationalist Society of Pakistan. By his own claim, he is a rational person and understands things rationally. Here is how Dr Haider Shaha shows his ‘rationalism’ in the shape of ShiaPhobia published in the Daily Times newspaper:

“A few days ago, I happened to listen to Maulana Ahmad Ludhianvi and felt devastated. Not that what he said was repugnant but rather surprisingly whatever he said, I felt he had stolen my ideas. He very eloquently stated that billions of rupees were lost on account of extraordinary security arrangements necessitated by a few rituals of a religious sect. This money could have been utilised for alleviating poverty in the country, he argued. Quite rational and sensible comments from someone who is considered an icon of sectarian hatred in the country. There is one problem though, which is not unique to Ludhianvi sahib alone.”

Mark the deference in his tone as he talks about Mullah Ludhianvi, the man who is the leader of the banned Deobandi terrorist outfit Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP aka ASWJ), the head of the terrorists killing Shias, Sunni Barelvis and Ahmadis every day. Dr Shah has simply justified the Shia genocide. His message is: Shia beliefs are a big problem for the economy of Pakistan. Thus they should be banned. His entire article is one example of venomous canard (Read: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/print.asp?page=2013%5C11%5C23%5Cstory_23-11-2013_pg3_3)

But if you watch this TV report (Geo TV), you will find out that the month of Moharram is indeed an economic boon for Pakistan:

Effect of Muharram on Economy of Pakistan from Progressive Activists on Vimeo.

Previously other “liberal voices” eg Saleem Ali, Tarek Fatah and some budding bloggers eg Ali Chishti, Mohsin Hijazi etc have shown similar phobia against Shias, Sunni Barelvis or other communities. This unique brand of Pakistani liberals can go to any extent condemning violence against non-Muslims of Pakistan, but when it comes to violence against fellow Muslims of minority or persecuted communities, they either obfuscate it or justify it.

It is hoped that someone more informed and educated than this writer can shed better light on this issue. Perhaps deep down, they are what they were before becoming liberal: Takfiri Deobandis.

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  • Anonymised comments from fb:

    AA: It would be a good study to interview Pakistani “Liberals” and “Atheists” about their religious background. Apparently the “Liberals/Atheists” coming from Bralvi, Shia, Deobandi and Salafi end up having a little bit different “liberal” values and thoughts from each other.

    BB: Suggestion: Instead of only Barelvis, we should describe them as Sunni Barelvis. Ditto for Sufis. Instead of Sufis, call them Sunni Sufis. It is important to challenge the exclusive claim of Deobandis & Salafis-Wahhabis on Sunni Islam. Radical Deobandis & Salafi-Wahhabis are a tiny minority when compared with dominant majority of peaceful, tolerant Sunni Muslims in Pakistan and other countries.

    CC: I don’t know far am i right to come up with this hypothesis but atheism doesn’t come “naturally” in our society. Like a person would study logic, travel around, meet people, observe but have the liberty to not practice what his parents believe or do not believe, study nature, go camping , enjoy outdoors/sunset or last but not the least have an exposure to extensive reading from different cultures , societies, schools of thought staging a background for ‘comparative study” which is so essential for critical thinking , cross checking and deducting logic cum results. Usually you don’t get time for that while there are people being blown up in your streets, small girls getting raped and innocent people being slaughtered.

    Atheism is mostly a reaction in our society , an effort to break free , to have the freedom to say no. Usually these people would have a strict back ground , abusive parents (when it comes to religion i have seen majority of them turning one) so its kind of a war between fear and breaking free so when these people come out to challenge the status quo they kind of already know what they are doing where fear is a given but not a variable . They have already dealt with it.

    what i am not fine with is partiality some of them show while being impartial. Usually the first category tends to fall in there coz they are acquiring knowledge for a drawing room discussion, they dont seem to realize the terrors of religion at hand(deobandi) .that’s actually why the people who are “bitter” about religion tend to speak the truth coz they have the first hand knowledge. I always say these people “live” what many post modern philosophers “write”. That’s exactly why i respect these people more than a so called “learned” or “well read” class.

    For a long time I used to think fake liberals are confused (silly me) , they are quite deliberate in making their choices(even if they are confused , its their responsibility, they cant get brownie points for that). They are like ‘limbos” ,good for nothing characters who are too stupid to get heard and too afraid to get lived, moreover they confuse their readers/followers. there are some who dont talk , they just do (deobandi salafis), those who dont do but just talk (fake liberals) and those who neither do nor talk (the peaceful sunni majority) . The fact remains doesnt matter how limited in numbers the ones who” do” are, would out numbered the later two combined.

    The status you shared sums it all up , we are always short of people who can nail it.

  • Ale Natiq’s excellent comments on fake liberals, the Shia phobe bigots:

    عجیب ہیں یہ فیس بکی لبرل. خود ہر طرح کی بلاسفیمی اپنا حق سمجھ کر کرتے ہیں ، اسے آزادی اظہار کا نام دیتے ہیں پر شیعہ مرتے ہیں تو اورنگزیب فاروقی سے مل کر کہتے ہیں کہ یہ صحابہ کی غستاخی نہ کرتے تو نہ مرتے.

    …….

    Those educated urban privilege lifestyle liberals who’re apolitical all around year but turn into instant 2-min activist to bash Shias (whenever they read this word), defend ASWJ as impartial human rights activists (like in Pindi on Ashura) and become rationalists whenever required (like every Ashura) go dead every-time Shia are bombed or target killed. Find me a single one of them concerned as a suicide bomber blasted his off in Shia Imambargah in Rawalpindi. “Oh, we’re are apolitical” they would say but actually they are disguised Shia haters and Taliban in their heart.

    …..

    This moron is not alone. Majority of the so called liberal activists will tout the same line with their ASWJ fellas about the Shia killings i.e. “Shia are killed because they abuse Sahaba and it will stop if they stop doing it”

    https://lubp.net/archives/297385

    …….

    Many of the so called secular liberal activists who are rightly concerned about forced Hindu conversions and inhumane social boycott of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan seem to be enjoying the silent genocide of the Shias across the country. You’ll always find them hibernating when Shia are target killed. Disguised Shia haters or what?

    …..

    Count the number of lifestyle liberals concerned about the killing of another Shia zaakir. Zilch. Zero.

    …..

    The real enemy is not the #SipahSahaba #ASWJ #Taliban; it is the silent majority which sympathises with them.

    …..

    According to Pakistan’s fake liberals, using the word Shia makes you sectarian. Chutyapa has no limits.

    …..

    A lot of you post Diwali greetings every year (some even take part in celebrations) – which is great. It does not make you a Hindu and it feels great to extend a message of support to your Hindu countrymen/friends. You do the same on Christmas, Vaisakhi etc. But, Ashura par kya mout aati hay bhayya? Why does it become so hard to relay a message of condolence to 40 million of your countrymen for whom this is the most important day on the calendar? Sari naam nihaad secularism aur liberalism isi din umaad kar bahir aa jati hay? Or is this your too-hard-to-getover ShiaPhobia?

    ……….

    It doesn’t offend me when I read statements by Takfiris ridiculing the Shia by the way of showing how close/similar they are to the Christians and Jews. I better be a Christian-like Shia than a liver eater Salafi, I better be a Jew-like Shia than a throat cutter Wahabi. I does make me feel good actually to be related to oppressed Christians of my motherland than with blasting-asses Deobandis. Ya Ali Madad, Help Lord Jesus!

  • I have read all the comments from distinguish thoughts but i point out only one issue which is totally ignorance about the Religion which is qadianis (ahmedis).. All the muslims in the world including sects do not accept muslims because they have declared non-muslims in this regard. they have seperate identity a different religion from Muslims. .So please dont mix them with Muslim Sects or Islamic Religion..
    Thanks

  • They are also quite shy to speak out agaimst corruption & nepotism. No streanghts of the system noted. Sad
    Those who do notcrae for this country…should leave !