An unprecedented protest is unfolding in the Balochistan city of Quetta in Pakistan. Thousands of people have staged a sit-in, and are using 93 coffins to block a road to protest the slaughter of Shia Muslims by Sunni Muslim terrorists allied with the Taliban. In their demise is a warning to the rest of us. A nuclear power is about to collapse.
While the world observed Christmas, and Pakistanis were distracted by a cricket match against rival India, Pakistan troops in armoured personal carriers and helicopter gunships circled Mashkay, Balochistan. Baloch politicians claim the army's Chistmas Eve operation there resulted in the death of 32 civilians.
We did it! After tens of thousands of Canadians and even more people from around the world signed my petition on Change.org, we got every single party leader to get behind the campaign to unanimously nominate Malala Yousufzai for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize. I had never imagined that not one, but all of our federal parties and leaders would end up supporting the campaign to support a girl halfway around the world.
The shooting of the young Pakistani activist shows one thing: Fanatics are cowards who resort to violence to silence their critics. Malala Yousufzai was shot and seriously wounded on Tuesday as she was leaving her school in her hometown. It is sad and shameful to see these thugs committing horrific crimes against humanity in the name of religion. Doing their dirty work in the name of the faith is a great insult to those who follow the faith and to the faith itself.
Journalist Doug Sanders, whose latest book The Myth of the Muslim Tide: Do Immigrants Threaten The West? tackles (and pretty much straightens out) the laundry-list of misconceptions and falsehoods that has made its way from the fringe to the forefront of the public domain about Muslim immigration and the West. In this interview, he goes in-depth on the larger issues.
A faculty member at an elite educational institution in Pakistan mentioned in his recent Express Tribune blog piece that more than 80 per cent of his students replied in the negative on the question of Mother Teresa's entering Heaven. The overwhelming majority of students reasoned that despite saving thousands of lives, she was not a Muslim. The essence of all these discussions was that notwithstanding good deeds, it was the correct belief that decided salvation. I think being a good human being trumps religious beliefs and rituals any day.
An 11-year-old Pakistani girl with Downs Syndrome might be put to death for blasphemy. Killing people for expressing negative and/or dissenting views on religion, for burning Qurans, for writing letters -- is this Islam? No. In Islam, a law that penalizes a person for challenging or disparaging the religion -- is blasphemy itself.
In Sharia-benighted Pakistan, an 11-year-old Christian girl with Down's Syndrome has recently been incarcerated for blasphemy. Rimshah Masih allegedly burned pages of the Quran and other Islamic textbooks, including a Quran primer. The girl was found holding the charred pages. Unfortunately, Rimshah is not the only Pakistani facing such charges. Pakistanis collectively have shown little outrage at these travesties.
If there's one rule every one of the scores of broadcast journalists I've ever coached -- in Canada or overseas -- agrees with (at least in theory) it's this: the best broadcaster talks to one person, and only one person, at a time. And shares information with that person. Here some ideas on anchoring.
A member of Pakistan's Christian minority, a 13-year-old girl was responding last September to a test question about a poem praising the Prophet Mohammed. But when she tried to write the Urdu word for "praise," an unfortunate typographical error instead produced the word for "curse." Faryal Bhatti was hauled before the class, beaten by her teacher, then expelled from school.
It's classic Bollywood: mother gives up two sons, one becomes a cop/top industrialist, the other ends up embracing the life of crime as a gangster/con man. So here we have two nations, India and Pakistan born in 1947: one finds their way into enviable success, while the other struggles in the deep waters of corruption.