Pakistan

Conspiracy and the Tides of History

by mgopin on July 15, 2012 · 7 comments

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Allegedly this is a picture describing how the Polio vaccine is a US-Jewish conspiracy to annihilate all Muslims. It is from Pakistan where many friends of mine have told me of similar posters.  I would love someone to comment further on the veracity of this photo. The criminals who engage in this kind of behavior have some clear intentions, but what people may not realize is the origin of this.

This is much older than people think. It has deep origins in the antisemitic Middle Ages. Jews were always associated with cutting edge medicine by dint of their professional pursuits and their own health and eating practices. Those who wanted their knowledge, who respected science, brought in Jews in large numbers, sometimes to Muslim societies who rescued Jews from persecution in Christian lands, sometimes to Christian societies. But those past and present who see knowledge as a threat to …

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This article was originally published on January 18th here.

At the beginning of December 2011, the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University convened a meeting of over twenty world famous Islamic scholars and dignitaries together with over one hundred and twenty clerics from every province of Afghanistan. The event was unprecedented in the history of Afghan conflict resolution. Never before had anyone brought together the beleaguered Imams of the Afghan provinces, men who had stood up for peace and risked their lives to fight against the misuse of their religion. These men stood witness as colleagues, who dared stand up at Friday prayer and advocate for Islam’s commitment to nonviolence, for women’s rights, and for tolerance, were assassinated by radical forces in the region and neighboring states whose only purpose was to keep the war going and Afghanistan divided. Nevertheless, these men …

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Dear readers,

Welcome to the “Islam’s new Kartinis” series here on MarcGopin.com! As explained in my last post, this column will focus on Muslim women from around the world who work to bring positive incremental change to their communities and beyond. This month, we’re featuring Valerie Khan Yusufzai, chairperson of the Acid Survivors Foundation of Pakistan.

 

Valerie Khan Yusufzai speaks publicly about acid violence

Valerie Khan Yusufzai speaks publicly about acid violence

 Raquel: Have you always been interested in human rights work?

Valerie:  I grew up in a family where the ideas of freedom, thoughtfulness and fighting for what you believe is right were very much present. My great-grandparents resisted against the Germans in the First World War. My great-grandfather even received the Legion D’Honneur for excellent military conduct. This is the highest distinction for a French soldier. My grandfather, at age 19, joined the clandestine French forces to fight the Nazis during the Second …

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In Refugee Aid, Pakistan’s War Has a New Front
Jane Perlez

Refugees from the Swat Valley in Northwestern Pakistan

Refugees from the Swat Valley in Northwestern Pakistan

QASIM PULA, Pakistan — Islamist charities and the United States are competing for the allegiance of the two million people displaced by the fight against the Taliban in Swat and other parts of Pakistan — and so far, the Islamists are in the lead.

Although the United States is the largest contributor to a United Nations relief effort, Pakistani authorities have refused to allow American officials or planes to deliver the aid in the camps for displaced people. The Pakistanis do not want to be associated with their unpopular ally.

Meanwhile, in the absence of effective aid from the government, hard-line Islamist charities are using the refugee crisis to push their anti-Western agenda and to sour public opinion against the war and the United States.

“The Western organizations have spent millions

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The Children of Afghanistan

The Children of Afghanistan

This important exchange took place at ICAR, my school, in recent days. This debate addresses a topic we must think about which is how and whether to engage extremists who have committed massive war crimes. Inevitably it devolves into questions of what we know and who we know it from, which also gets into issues of trust and distrust of prevailing sources of information in the West and elsewhere. I have come to see in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, especially the Israeli/Hamas conflict and the Hamas/Fatah conflict, that reliable information is very hard to come by. This is where we need to listen to each other, listen to victims, agree on core principles, and move forward with plans that attack the problem from several directions. It begins with Saira Yamin’s letter to NYT, continues with Professor Richard Rubenstein’s response and then Saira’s response:

More Force in

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Sderot Under Rocket Attack

Sderot Under Rocket Attack

This is a message from a group of Israeli Jews from Sderot, the front lines in receipt of the rocket attacks from Gaza who have been meeting with Gazans:

For two months, our teams from Gaza and Sderot have been documenting life as it is in their two cities: hope, anger, daily hardships, dreams. In Gaza, our characters have shown us what it means to live under siege. In Sderot, we have heard our characters tell us how their lives are haunted by kassams. All of them have told us about their desire to live inspite of everything, however different their situations might be.

It so happens that nearly at the very moment we had planned to complete our web documentary series, the truce is over. Now has come the time of weapons. Watching the videos that were produced over these two months, we are trying

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Mumbai

by mgopin on November 28, 2008 · 10 comments

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I have tried to concentrate on putting the finishing touches on my book manuscript to hand into the publisher. I was looking forward to the exquisitely quiet isolation of writing days when I got a phone call from a young person at Al Jazeera English here in DC on Wednesday. “We need you to talk about the violence in India tonight.” I thought that she meant the ongoing issues between Hindu militants and Christians and so I said, “Sure.” I was just on their station about that subject a few weeks ago. I had no idea. Then I got a call two minutes later, voice agitated, “We need you sooner, like in two hours.” I said, “Sure, send me what you have in the latest updates to my email.” Another phone call, “How fast can you get here?!” I started to smell the horror of something terrible.

I stayed at …

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VERY GOOD NEWS FROM PAKISTAN’S MILITARY

by mgopin on August 18, 2008 · 7 comments

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The fact that Musharraf is resigning is excellent news. Yesterday’s news that the military was not going to interfere with his impeachment is far more important. The military was prepared to turn its back on Musharraf’s old ways, of engineering military coups, possibly assassinations, and throwing thousands of democracy proponents in jail.

This is a major turning point in the history of modern Pakistan, and perhaps the beginning of an authentic democratic evolution. The foundation of democracy is the willingness of militaries to submit to civilian rule. The only reason that the United States achieved democracy as early as it did is because General George Washington went home. With all that power and popularity, amazingly, he just went home! It was a damn miracle in history. Only after constant prodding did he accept the Presidency. He never had imperial ambitions, though he easily could have succumbed to that common …

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Pakistani students recite the Koran in an Islamic school in Peshawar

A young Pakistani man who I met recently said to me, “If Pakistan is safe the world is safe, if Pakistan is in danger then the world is in danger, because we have “atom.” And Pakistan is in deep danger.” He was sincere, persuasive, brilliant, but also blunt in that special way that survivors whose lives are in danger tend to be. He was also on a mission to rediscover the religion of his youth, an Islam he could be proud of. He watched helplessly in his lifetime as the contest for Pakistan and Afghanistan that ensued between the Soviet Union, Iran, the United States, and Saudi Arabia morphed into a bloody battle in the name of religion.

The young man, who we will call Malik, has been searching to restore the earlier Islamic culture to his native Pakistan, but the forces arrayed against him are enormous. This is what …

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