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Showing posts from September, 2012

VIEW: Dissonance of Muslims

First Published in Daily Times / 22 Sep 2012

By Afrah Jamal

Nothing works. Major cities have been sealed and an angry mob rules the streets. Scenes from Pakistan on September 21, 2012 have a distinctly dystopian flavour. TV cameras cut to newsrooms happily discussing the need for peaceful protests as sweet sounding hymns play in the background and then cut back to the mob going berserk.

Someone picked the wrong soundtrack for the occasion.

Pakistan, badly battered by terrorism and in an economic bind, doubled as a set for some war zone on the eve of the ‘Love Your Prophet Day’. The sight of rampaging protestors including representatives from banned outfits closing on Islamabad’s Red Zone on Thursday evening was surreal. The army was summoned to safeguard the diplomatic enclave. The military was placed on high alert. And as the nation braced for yet another day of officially sanctioned protests, the mobile networks were shut down. No one really knows why.

A BBC anchor watching the scen…

BOOK REVIEW: The Perfect Gentleman; a Muslim boy meets the West — A Memoir

Thanks to Liberty Books for the review copy

Oct 2012: Thanks Imran Ahmad for the kind email & Mr. Asif Noorani for recommending this book.

First Published in Daily Times / Saturday 1 Sep 2012 under the title: The Ballad of East & West

A local singer who regularly goes on foreign tours admitted that after the Abbottabad raid, acknowledging his Pakistani origins can be a conversation ender, with the ‘gora’ (white) inevitably taking ten steps back. A local businessman confessed that certain foreign embassies now deem all Pakistani nationals as terrorists till proved otherwise.

Imran Ahmad, who recently concluded his 50-State speaking tour of the mainland United States, had occasional run-ins with the representatives of this fear-driven society that love to herd his entire ilk under a single scary looking banner. A Pakistani, growing up in London of the 1960s and 1970s, he must be familiar with the scrutiny that comes with being different. This first person narrative that dusts off …