Showing posts from February, 2007

Persecution without reason

Universities all over the world tend to hire people with a sound academic background as they want the best for their students. The Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan did the same when they hired Dr Ghazala Anwar as Deputy Dean of Usul-ud-Din (Islamic jurisprudence) at the women’s campus of International Islamic University (IIU) in Islamabad. Dr Ghazala earned her PhD in philosophy and religious studies from the Temple University (USA) in 1993, with teaching and research interests in Islamic jurisprudence, gender issues, Sufism and sexuality. She was appointed at the IIU under the Foreign Faculty Hiring Programme after her application was reviewed by a Peer Review Committee of scholars.

Dr Ghazala Anwar has been part of a movement that has been trying to fight for the just treatment of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Intersex and Questioning (LGBTIQ) Muslims. The movement does not preach to others to become homosexuals, but asks Muslims to be tolerant of these “sexual min…

‘Feminism’ is ‘humanism’

“We have to be careful in this era of radical feminism, not to emphasise an equality of the sexes that leads women to imitate men to prove their equality. To be equal does not mean you have to be the same” — Eva Burrows.

The term ‘feminism’ has been interpreted in many ways. There are the correct interpretations and then there are the misinterpretations. The basic purpose of feminism is to establish that women are ‘people’ who are equal to and/or better than their male counterparts and that they do not have to be subordinated to men or oppressed by them. This in no way suggests that women have to do anything and everything that men do and be “a man”.

From literature to the media, from sports to education, from politics to the business world, we can see discrimination based on gender biases. Women are used as commercial objects; they face sexual harassment, sexual abuse, physical abuse at the hands of men, and various other forms of discrimination. When feminism talks about equality, it …

Living in denial

“Is Pakistan a refuge for the Subcontinent’s Muslims? Then why are more Muslims in India; why did Bangladesh separate; why did millions of Muslim families like mine consciously reject Pakistan and not migrate in 1947?” This question was recently asked by an Indian on an online community and I am unable to answer him. Not only me, but any other Pakistani is at a loss for an answer to this question. The fact of the matter is that there is no answer to this question. As an Indian friend rightly puts it, “Pakistan’s identity crisis or lack of an identity is not because it lacks history, but because its basic premise for existence, the TNT [Two Nation Theory], has been and is being proved false over and over again, both through the secession of Bangladesh and the continued co-existence of Hindus and Muslims in India, spots of communal disharmony notwithstanding.”

India and Pakistan share a common history, yet we Pakistanis are living in denial of that shared past. Our freedom fighters were …