Sunday, March 28, 2010

Minority Report!!


Muslims are minorities in US & EU, when it comes to minorities in our own countries we are mostly silent; be it blasphemy law or equal treatment of religious and ethnic minorities in Pakistan.

Yesterday, I was part of an interesting interactive session with Safiya; it was broadly on Muslims in West & minority rights.

Safiya has most recently served as the South Asia policy analyst at the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) where she monitored violations of religious freedom in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan and made policy recommendations to the Obama administration, the Secretary of State, and to the Congress with respect to matters involving the treatment of religious minorities.

Interesting discussion initiated with the word minority, when it comes to us being minority in US, we talk a lot about our rights, at the same time Christians & other religio-ethnic minority groups are brutalized and violently suppressed with the sword of vague blasphemy law in Pakistan with tough punishments .

Everyone understands the way minority groups are mistreated but interesting outcome of the discussion was, 'a learning from US experience' , the way Muslim minority groups are using various mediums to voice their concerns to alleviate post 9/11 fury. In 60s non white immigrants were subject to discrimination in US and after 40 years a black minority immigrants son is a president.
As civil society in Pakistan, it is our responsibility to mobilize, create awareness at grass root level for minority groups rights; either through writings or using various mediums “media” to push political parties to repeal vague blasphemy law.

At times I feel that as educated class, we do not question the authority and at times critical loyalty is looked down upon in Pakistan & people question one’s level of patriotism. Critical loyalty is the need of the hour to change social anomalies in Pakistan.

Just like any other forum or any talk relates to extreme religious behavior in Pakistan often leads to blame game and we end up doing nothing. During the discussion, participants believed that its US's role during cold war resulted in Talibanization “extremism” in Pakistan; others believed that Pakistan army was equally responsible.

Question comes, how to deal with the monster, on the one hand religion is so sacred & religious parties are supported by establishment; how could one dare to challenge blasphemy law!!! Discussion outcome was simple, one may use religious logic to counter extremists using religion but it may be a rough ride.

In the wake of all, at least educated middle class or so called civil society must gather around center left parties or so called pro democracy or anti establishment elements, to influence pro minority legislation or at least voice their concerns through whatever available medium.

We can make a difference.
Must check out the following link about the state of minority groups in Pakistan;

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