No doubt Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy’s academic area is nuclear physics but his talk in Calgary and particular interview was about the role of civil society to bring alternate narrative to help Pakistani society to get out of growing extremism. Readers can watch his talk from following link). And the interview Ms. Tazeen is talking about is not yet released by Mr. Jamsheed Qureshi of MapleTV.Extremism: Alternate Narrative - Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy
As I remember the format set by moderators of that session was - after anchor’s talk with guest - in second part audience supposed to ask questions. Regardless of that Ms. Tazeen interrupted discussion number of times. I guess labelling Dr. Hoodbhoy as ‘media darling’ and audience of that session as “pseudo liberals” is nothing but showing frustration and bashing. I was not expecting that low from her.
I meet first time with the author of this blog Ms. Tazeen Hassan during under question talk with Dr. Hoodbhoy in Calgary, Canada. I got impression that she is strong opinionated personality with open for discussion. After the recording, I had conversation with her and comprehended same issue with her as most of the followers of Islamism (political Islam) are struggling – and that is lack of comparative study of political and legal system lay down by traditional and radical Islamic clergy/scholars/authors. During her discussion, she was keep quoting one or two references from Quran in favor of respect for human life and when I brought the question of the rights of women, minorities, slavery and Jihad/Qatal in traditional and radical Islamic literature of Fiq and Tafseer, I got the answer that these are from illiterate Mullahs and then I asked what scholars we suppose to follow to understand real Islam and answer was read Quran. I remember giving her quotes from Quran, normally given by Taliban and other Islamist, in contrary to collective human wisdom of 21st century on Slavery and the rights of women and minorities (in this case none Muslims in Islamic state). I was glad to see that she was also not agreed on parts of these issues as those Islamist believe. No doubt this wave of terrorism and extremism in Muslim countries have strongest links with American foreign policies and proxy wars in the region but the justification and multiplication to accelerate the problem is coming from Islamist interpretations of scriptures. Jihadists are exploiting that with full strength, ignoring that side by persons like Ms. Tazeen is also a part of biggest problem.
One of her argument: Western civilization did lot of atrocities with indigenous aboriginals in North America and Australia also – I acknowledge and I asked does that give Muslims a justification for doing the same on the name of faith/Allah? Isn’t tragedy for brining this type of counter argument to justify atrocities committed by Taliban and ISIS type Islamist groups in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Libya etc? I ended my discussion with Ms. Tazeen with promise to having another session with her on these issues. InshaAllah one day we’ll sit and discuss again to clarify our point of view to resolve some of the questions that arise in our and in every Muslim’s mind.
In this blog in one side author is apologetic about Maulvi sb and in the same time giving her opinion that most of the Maulvis are ignorant they don’t know about Islam. The question is not rather Maulvi is ignorant or knowledgeable the issue is directly or indirectly clergy contributed significantly to spread extremism and violence in Muslim society and apologetic rhetoric like under question blog are also a part of problem. This is undeniable fact that most of the Maulvis in Pakistan are spreading hate and dividing humanity by exploiting scriptures. Criticizing Dr. Hoodbhoy or anybody is freedom of expression but I would suggest to build your argument based on facts not on emotions and labeling like ‘media darling’ ‘pseudo liberals’ etc. People like Dr Hoodbhoy are putting their lives in danger to set the narrative that may bring Pakistan back to normal and peaceful society and we should acknowledge them instead of wrongfully labeling them.
Regarding Maulvi’s power in society – I want to share two facts: in last 10 years Jihadi maulvis killed over 70,000 innocent Pakistanis in terrorist and sectarian violence, material losses are immeasurable. Most recently they besieged capital of the country for three weeks and beat up law enforcement personnel and in the end state went on knees to accept their demand, this is the power of ‘maulvi bechara’.
Regarding the issue of population without planning – I guess Ms. Tazeen forgot the legislation and efforts China did to control the population bomb and India is all together different story where large number of population is living under poverty without necessities of living. No doubt uncontrolled and unplanned population is biggest issue for all sectors of Pakistani society.
Asjad Bukhari, Canada