Points to ponder!

Daily Times, October 22, 2005
SECOND OPINION: Why are the Jews ‘kanjoos’? —Khaled Ahmed’s Review of the Urdu press

Pakistani Jews could be killed the same way a number of Qadianis were killed this month after the Urdu press published offensive Khatm-e-Nabuwwat material against them. The religious leaders who spewed the poison were not named in the FIR

We have a stereotype of the Jew. He is supposed to be mean and miserly. In the past, many nations had the same stereotype till they became civilised. Shakespeare gave English a new idiom about miserliness in a play discussing a cruel Jew. We have another stereotype about the Hindus, which is remarkably similar. Both Hindus and Jews were the underclass that plied commerce when being a warrior carried the badge of honour. Today both Jews and Hindus are on the rise. The warriors are down and out.

According to Prof Adil Najam writing in daily Pakistan (September 21, 2005) a Jewish synagogue in Karachi was destroyed in 1960 to make way for a plaza. There was also a Jewish graveyard looked after by a Jewish lady. This graveyard, too, was destroyed to make room for a plaza. The Jewish lady was promised an apartment in the plaza after its completion but she never got it and vainly tried to approach the government to help her. The Jews left Pakistan in great misery after 1947.

The story is painful. Another report says that there are actually 250 Jews in Karachi but they have changed their names to hide their identity. The truth is that it is dangerous to talk about the Jews today. Someone might even kill these poor remnants because of the poison the Urdu press secretes about them. This month the Urdu press published offensive Khatm-e-Nabuwwat material against the Qadianis. Two days later seven Qadianis were shot dead in Mandi Bahauddin near Lahore. The religious leaders who spewed the poison have not been named in the FIR.

Writing in Jang (September 19, 2005) Mehmood Sham stated that as he prepared to sit at the table arranged by the World Jewish Council for Pakistani journalists he noticed that there were only sandwiches, tea and cold drinks for the Pakistani journalists. He remembered that Jews were famous for kanjoosi (miserliness). Behind the mikes on the stage the backdrop was of black cloth, just like the black past of Pakistan-Israel relations and possibly future also.

More than the tight fist of the Jews, the occasion highlighted how visceral the Muslim guest was. Once upon a time, Muslims had a reputation for austerity; today they are civilisationally impoverished but ostentatious in adversity. They are still warriors prizing honour while the world belongs to the formerly downtrodden who had to do commerce to survive. The warriors continue to be simple-minded; the ‘kanjoos’ nations have a sophisticated mind.

Writing in Nawa-e-Waqt (August 31, 2005) Prof Fateh Muhammad Malik wrote that it was Allama Iqbal not Chaudhry Rehmat Ali who wrote the famous pamphlet Now or Never in 1932 in which the name Pakistan was proposed for the new Muslim state. Chaudhry Rehmat Ali was one of the students Iqbal knew in London. Once Rehmat Ali went to see him and asked what name he would give to the Muslim state he had thought of. Allama Iqbal replied that he would call it Pakistan.

The writer of this review had two pieces of evidence about the name Pakistan. My elderly relative late Dr Jahangir Khan told me that the name ‘Pakistan’ was coined by Khwaja Abdur Rahim. Then on his visit to Pakistan from India Azim Hussain, the son of Punjab’s legendary Unionist leader Fazle Husain, told me that his cousin and Pakistan’s late foreign secretary, Arshad Hussain, had actually seen Khwaja Abdur Rahim derive the name from a Central Asian map!

According to Khabrain (September 17, 2005) Indian Muslim-born tennis star Sania Mirza was warned by the clerics of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind that she would have to wear a shalwar in place of her shorts to play tennis in future or they would take action against her. Following this the Indian government increased Ms Mirza’s security. She said she was determined to play in Calcutta but she did not comment on the threat from the clergy to stop her from playing if she did not play in a shalwar.

India’s democracy allows the Muslim clerics to become more and more extremist, but it will prevent them from doing harm to the Muslim tennis star.

According to Khabrain (September 18, 2005) Islamic scholar Dr Riffat Hassan read a paper at a gathering in New York which said ‘blasphemous’ things about the Quran when she pointed out that the Holy Quran did not mention the name of Hawwa, nor did it say that Hawwa was created out of Adam’s rib. Pakistani journalists led by ARY’s Dr Shahid Masood objected to her deviating from the Quran and said that her version was against the Islamic tradition. Dr Hassan also said that Adam was a Hebrew word meaning earth and the Holy Quran meant both men and women when it referred to Adam. Also the Quran stated that men and women were created from the same essence. Her point was that the Quran believed in the equality of men and women. The journalists said that the matter could only be decided in the light of fiqh. Khabrain also published the views of the ulema who said that hadith did refer to Hawwa and Adam as separate people.

The truth is that the Holy Quran doesn’t mention either Hawwa’s name or her creation from Adam’s rib. If you disagree with this, why lose your cool over it?

Writing in Nawa-e-Waqt (September 19, 2005) Ataur Rehman stated that Musharraf had embraced the liberal and enlightened intellectuals and NGOs when he came to power. These liberal enlightened intellectuals were once supporters of the Soviet Union but now they had become slaves of the United States because of the money they received from it. After Musharraf gave them shelter these NGOs threw caution to the wind and revealed their total slavery of the US. Now Musharraf is angry with the NGOs and their enlightened ladies, while Pakistan’s secular intellectuals look like the lost sheep of Israel who didn’t know their direction.

There is nothing one can do when lies are repeated as mantras. The real problem is that the right wing doesn’t want to include the leftwing NGOs in its trade union of hatred against America. Anti-Americanism is not the monopoly of the right wing alone. Pakistan was introduced to it by the Left, which now runs the NGOs with anti-American European funds and remains anti-American. *

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