Who are the liberal extremists?

Published: January 14, 2011
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The writer is a retired brigadier who has served in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Fata 
asad.munir@tribune.com.pk

The writer is a retired brigadier who has served in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Fata [email protected]

During Musharraf’s rule, the term ‘liberal extremists’ was invented and extensively used. He himself, on occasion, said that both religious and liberal extremists are harmful for the country. The term was never defined. It was a political statement made to appease the religious right; saying that the government is not only targeting religion but is also against the ultra-modern and westernised section of society.

Middle class morality is dominant in our society. The standards of morality reflect a mindset and are not necessarily related to financial status. Numerous rich families follow and practice morals and values akin to middle class morality. At the same time, there are people from the middle class who are liberal and rational in their views and conduct. Education, in this country, does not guarantee clear thinking; it only imparts knowledge in particular areas and subjects and teaches students how to read and write. People on the internet, who support and condone the murder of Salmaan Taseer, have basic formal education. People with middle class morality standards are convinced that their lifestyle and values are the only right ones and all others are evil. They invent, and are strong believers of, conspiracy theories. For every wrong done, some foreign power or agency is held responsible. The morality circle they draw, keeps on expanding. They are now leading a lifestyle that they could not even imagine adopting in the 70s and the 80s.

Progressive political parties like the PPP, the ANP, the MQM and the nationalist parties always poll more votes as compared to religious political parties, but they remain under the pressure of radical elements, rejected by the masses. They dare not touch the laws enacted during Zia’s rule. All efforts are made to appease the clergy. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani is scared of calling Salmaan Taseer a ‘shaheed’, and even announced that no proposal to amend the blasphemy law is being considered by the government.

In a democracy, all citizens have the right to their own views, even if these are beyond the norms of society in general. They are entitled to express these views, provided they do not hurt the beliefs of others and impose these through use of force, or advocate violence against those who do not agree with their viewpoint. The radicals have been using violence to impose their viewpoint on others, but no political party or social group advocates liberal extremism in this country. There has been no incident of violence reported where liberals have forced conservatives to follow their lifestyle. The known liberals are reluctant to make their views public out of fear of backlash from the radicals. There is no militant liberal organisation existing. So, who are the liberal extremists?

Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (71)

  • Moazzam Ewing
    Jan 14, 2011 - 12:54AM

    You would be surprised by liberal extremists are defined as. Basically anybody who questions beliefs is a liberal extremist. Recommend

  • ali
    Jan 14, 2011 - 1:12AM

    extremism in any shape,region or sect is a biggest international evil,,,,extremism in its real shape manifests through the action of religious fanatics,,,religious extremism and military dictatorship in this county are like twin brothers they disguise the same dress and act with the same intensity,,,,our military,religious and political elite class all played their due role cherishing such a big cancer,,,,,Recommend

  • Jan 14, 2011 - 1:19AM

    indeed, how i wish there were more liberal and moderate extremists to take on the holy, pious, godlike mullahs in pakistanRecommend

  • Jan 14, 2011 - 2:10AM

    Liberal extremism isn’t a physically destructive force, that would negate its impact, it’s an ideology. I don’t advocate religious extremism, but surely anyone with an iota of common sense can see that any ideology practised to the extreme of its letter is surely counter-productive.

    Pakistan doesn’t have enough liberals (or vocal liberals) to suffer from liberal extremism. As a force without mass support, it’s muted. What the country suffers from is violent and crippling religious fanaticism and a government which cowers in its wake. What Pakistan views as modernity and liberalism is defined as basic freedom of choice and thought for humankind. Basic, not liberal.

    There is courage in Pakistan, real courage. But for every light of courage, there’s ten equivalent fanatics waiting to extinguish it. Recommend

  • Learner
    Jan 14, 2011 - 2:36AM

    The liberal extremists are those who want to impose a secular worldview on the public which is largely religious. They are the ones who are allergic to anything that has to do with religion. They in their liberal extremism and secular obsession try to defend such organizations as MQM only because of their secular credentials and because they secure votes in a particular city. Interestingly, the author calls MQM a “progressive party”. Must be based on some “enlightened” logic that he has used, which I completely missed. To me, he has qualified as a liberal extremist by doing that. BTW, anyone who criticzes or exposes the contradictions of “liberals” does not necessarily have to be a conservative.Recommend

  • Haris Chaudhry
    Jan 14, 2011 - 2:53AM

    @ Learner:

    I agree with your name here – Plenty to learn – I cant make sense of your points here. You are calling a group of people that question the bigotry and violent attitude of a fringe of population as “extremist”. I could well guess, what your ideologies are ….
    HarisRecommend

  • maryam
    Jan 14, 2011 - 4:25AM

    What a typically patronising article! When the author bafflingly alludes to middle class ‘morality’ as somehow being irrational, this just shows how insanely confused some liberal extremists are. Seriously, WHAT is wrong with morality?Recommend

  • Jan 14, 2011 - 6:06AM

    “There has been no incident of violence reported where liberals have forced conservatives to follow their lifestyle. The known liberals are reluctant to make their views public out of fear of backlash from the radicals. There is no militant liberal organisation existing. So, who are the liberal extremists?”

    To answer my ‘informative’ Brigadier (rtd) Asad Munir, I want to quote the following news published in ‘The Gulf Today’;

    “Pakistan was struck by 335 incidents of suicide bombings in 2010 that claimed 1,208 people’s lives, according to the paper, whereas the number of target killings or assassinations in Karachi during the same period was 1,233.

    The data collected by Gulf Today showed that 122 people were killed in January, 133 in February, 130 in March and April each, 144 in May, 122 in June, 135 in July, 176 in August, 81 in September and 13 people in the first two weeks of October. They said that at least 46 policemen and 2 Rangers’ personnel were killed in the city in the current year.”

    (http://loatay.com/karachi-target-killings-highest-in-15-years/)

    I hope my respected writer will get the answer (without mentioning the names of Liberal Extremist Organisations) and also agree with it as definitely Karachi dont lie in the Tribal belt and also dont share border with Afghanistan.Recommend

  • Radial
    Jan 14, 2011 - 6:28AM

    The author’s point is that conservatives in Pakistan are the ones who use violence and coercion to impose their world view on others, liberals do not. Whatever the beliefs may be of those on the extreme end of either the conservative or liberal sides, if they would use civilized discourse, non-violence, and democratic and constitutional means then Pakistan would not be in the soup it is in right now. There are no liberal violent extremists in Pakistan, and there are numerous conservative/religious violent extremists. Can anyone dispute that?Recommend

  • Himayun
    Jan 14, 2011 - 7:30AM

    Any one who resort to violence to prevent people from practicing their religious belief is a Liberal Extremist.

    @LEARNER,,The word secular means “of this world” in Latin and is usually used to describe any philosophy which promotes the development of the physical, moral, and intellectual nature of man , without reference to religious dogmas .Secularism means both religious tolerance as well as religious freedom.There are no liberal extremist,only religious extremists are playing havoc with this unfortunate country.The founder of the nation wanted Pakistan to be a secular state Please read his speech of 11 August 1947 to the constituent assembly.Well written.Recommend

  • White Russian
    Jan 14, 2011 - 7:46AM

    It is easy:
    For being a religious extremist one has to go as far as committing or condoning MURDER, for the sake of your spirituality.
    For being a liberal extremist, it is just enough to reject the above mentioned murderous point of view.
    Or worse, if you come out openly, and question the inconsistencies of Mullaha, you are liberal fascist.Recommend

  • Dreamer
    Jan 14, 2011 - 8:09AM

    Thanks. Somebody had to say this.Recommend

  • Rizwan
    Jan 14, 2011 - 8:23AM

    The term has been coined by radical apologists.No liberal has ever used violence,coercion or intimidation to impose his ideas or lifestyle on others.They can not even express their views openly.Religious class is a privileged one in our society,They can say anything and get away with it.The people with middle class morality are strong exponents of status quo.Though,as pointed out by the writer their morality standards keeps on changing,They resist new trends,but ultimately adopt those.Middle Class Morality is universal and not confined to Pakistan only.There are no liberal extremists in this country, though we need some.Recommend

  • faraz
    Jan 14, 2011 - 9:14AM

    @Learner

    Do you even know what secularism means. It means you cannot impose your religious beliefs on others. Nobody is imposing secularism; secularism is all about non-interference. The author is right, you cannot give a single example of a ‘liberal fascist’ who prevents others from practicing their beliefs. Recommend

  • Adeel Ahmed
    Jan 14, 2011 - 10:37AM

    I define Liberal Extremist as someone who is secular in his thought and refuses to accept and/or follow religion. Liberal Extremist is a person who gives precedence to his own form of “logic” rather than listening to and adhering to the logic/commandments/laws of religion. Recommend

  • Shuaib
    Jan 14, 2011 - 10:55AM

    I wish sir there were more thinkers like you in the armyRecommend

  • mg
    Jan 14, 2011 - 11:02AM

    If only the liberal extremists would come out and become strong enough to fight for humanity today our prime minister wouldnt be so quite about such a huge incident.Recommend

  • Asmat Jamal
    Jan 14, 2011 - 11:22AM

    The only party I see as liberal extremist is MQM. Despite the fact that most of its leadership comes from middle working class, it allegedly has an armed wing which is used for strong arm tactics in Karachi politics. Numerous murders and extortions are alleged to have been committed by them. Recommend

  • ali
    Jan 14, 2011 - 11:41AM

    true that “There has been no incident of violence reported where liberals have forced conservatives to follow their lifestyle”, but can anybody guarantee that they would remain rational even when they will be in majority. what i see the the only difference between the two is that radicals hold power, otherwise neither is willing to accept the other one.Recommend

  • Obaid
    Jan 14, 2011 - 11:41AM

    @AdeelDo you think that those who follow religion are religious extremists?If not,then how come a secular person becomes a liberal extremist?The extremist can be defined as a person who imposes his views, on others, through coercion,violence and intimidation.Have you come across any liberal person, in this country, who resort to these means?Logic has only one form the other reasoning are known as fallacies.Recommend

  • Awan
    Jan 14, 2011 - 11:52AM

    I appreciate and agreed with writer’s thoughts. Recommend

  • Ayesha
    Jan 14, 2011 - 11:58AM

    liberal extremists — if only we knew where the country was going, our leaders would have been careful in coining terms like these…but again a lack of sincere leadership is causing these turmoils…may Allah swt help us to get through it..Recommend

  • Ammar
    Jan 14, 2011 - 12:04PM

    Even in the Ayub Khan’s liberal time middle class morality and clergy was used to beat Miss Fatima Jinnah and build public perception against her. And it was beyond doubt the most liberal period Pakistan ever witnessed.Recommend

  • Asfandyar Khan
    Jan 14, 2011 - 12:44PM

    Sir..amazingly written…

    I am a liberal extremist…and proud of it…because Allah gave me a brain…..

    He did not create me a sheep…..
    Mr. Taseer ( SHAHEED) lost his life while trying to fight a false ideology…..May Allah grant him Jannah…..

    And may Allah bless our nation with the ability to use the brain He provided us…..Recommend

  • Waqqas Iftikhar
    Jan 14, 2011 - 1:03PM

    wonder how many suicide bombings and/or qadris were created by liberal extremism…..Recommend

  • Fauzia Haider
    Jan 14, 2011 - 1:05PM

    I agree with the writer. The other day i heard HM use a term, “Liberal Fascist”. Which does not make sense at all and even is grammatically incorrect!
    Liberal and Fascist are opposite of each other. People use the term Liberal and fascist in the context of “liberalism vs Fascism.” Not together as one word!
    Liberal by definition means someone who is tolerant, accepting of others point of views and are progressives. Fascists are dogmatic and believe only in one ideology to the exclusion of all others.(intolerant)
    Majority of our countrymen believe in conspiracy theories rather than the truth ( our electronic media and anchors are to blame for this ) We are emotional people who are easily offended and think with our heart rather than our head.
    We act first and ask questions later.
    We blame India, Israel and USA for all our problems especially the law and order situation. Nobody wants to take responsibility for the situation our country is in.
    Nothing is ever our fault so we never get to fix anything either!
    The terrorists are non Muslims because a Muslim can’t commit such heinous crimes! ( I wonder who are the people filling up our jails, if no Muslim can commit any crime??? )
    We are afraid to question anyone’s motives with the prefix “Maulana” because of fear of offending God! Because we believe they represent God, on earth…which is wrong on so many levels!
    My understanding is that there is no concept of clergy in Quran. God didn’t say, that the Mullahs will represent God on earth! Corruption comes when people claim to represent God on earth… like the Roman catholics did in the Spanish inquisition, When all non Christians had to convert to Christianity or be killed.
    When an ordinary child from a poor family who has no prospects and no future is recruited and told that he is on the side of God and he is fighting for God… what a trip that must be for someone who had nothing to look forward to and now he is fighting for the God almighty!
    How easy it must be for the handlers of these poor uneducated youth to brainwash them into believing that they are God’s warriors… no wonder they will do anything for that Glory.
    A lot has to be changed before things can be fixed and the grip of Mullah’s is loosened on our society. People have to be educated about tolerance, plurality and co existence, as Islam teaches us.
    The wave of Wahabism that has engulfed our country in the guise of “REAL ISLAM” has to be stopped. We have been taken advantage of as a nation by the extremists because of our own lack of knowledge about our own faith.
    We have learned our faith by reading Islamic books written by the so called “Islamic scholars” and not by reading and understanding our Quran and sunnah ourselves.
    We take a short cut and let others tell us what our faith means and by doing so we have ended up in trouble. Islam is a faith of social justice and peace… not tyranny!Recommend

  • UmEr
    Jan 14, 2011 - 1:26PM

    Those who wants to see ISLAMIC Republic of Pakistan as Secular Republic of Pakistan, Ins’ALLAH never ;)Recommend

  • Arifq
    Jan 14, 2011 - 1:59PM

    Dear Writer

    “In a democracy, all citizens have the right to their own views, even if these are beyond the norms of society in general.”

    It should read “In a Liberal democracy”, democracy alone does not guarantee the freedom of expression, that only comes through a liberal society. Well said sirRecommend

  • Fauzia Haider
    Jan 14, 2011 - 2:08PM

    @ UmEr, Paksitan became Islamic Republic of Pakistan in the 1950’s at the time of creation it’s name was Pakistan. We are a Muslim majority country where people of other faiths live as well. Our founding fathers envisioned a pluralistic society with Muslim majority as the Flag of Pakistan represents. The white in the Flag represents the minorities and the green represents the Muslims. Our founding fathers gave the minorities so much importance that they gave them representation on our flag! The religious parties who claim to be the flag bearers of Islam and the saviors of the country, opposed the creation of Pakistan and they now want to take control of the country?
    It is not about Islam it is about politics. The religious political parties use the name of Islam as a political tool.
    If they want people to be good Muslims then they should go on Tabligh. Why are they interested in political office and political power? It is all about politics and to get in power using the name of Islam.When they MMA were in power for 5 years what changed in KPK? They made bunglows and drove in expensive cars just like other politicians. All they did was wipe off women’s faces from the advertisement boards and persecute musicians by destroying their musical instruments and their home without giving them an alternative source of income. Their enforcement of Islam starts with hiding women and ends with locking them up in their homes.

    In a secular country rights of all people are secure not just one faith…people have the freedom to practice their faith without fear of persecution. Islam guarantees that as well. But who is following Islam nowadays…. Non Muslims are being killed in the name of religion…. Places of faith are not safe, nobody’s life is safe and people commit crimes to fund their Jihadi movement…..this is not the Islam i know!
    There are so many sects of Islam. Do you think Barelvis will let Wahabis and Deobandis impose their will on them and what about the shias? These people will fight amongst themselves for control and there will never be an end to violence. Vigilantism and taking law into ones own hands is not Islam and it won’t bring about a revolution or peace and will create more chaos then solve anything.Recommend

  • Shabir
    Jan 14, 2011 - 2:36PM

    Very well written, specially the description of middle class morality. Liberals need to meet the challenges posed by ever-increasing threat of religious extremism and intolerance in our society.Recommend

  • True Pakistani
    Jan 14, 2011 - 2:54PM

    “You will find that, in the course of time, Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Muslims will cease to be Muslims. Not in the religious sense, but in the political sense, as citizens of the state”. This was said by Jinnah in his address to the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947.Secular Pakistan is the most viable option for Pakistan to come out of the mess, created by military rulers and clergy.The founder of the Nation wanted this to be a secular state,while those political and religious parities who opposed the creation of Pakistan want it to be a theocracy.There are only religious extremists ,supported by people with middle class morality,and media.There are are no liberal extremists.Recommend

  • Moazzam+Salim
    Jan 14, 2011 - 2:56PM

    Anyone not conforming to the strict standard put forth by the religious extremists is a liberal exterimist. At least this is what our religiously charged segment of the society thinks. No matter how you look at this issue you will find a thousand different opinions. Diversity is good and means that people do think and form opinions. Unlike the strict path of a religious extremist a liberal always think and form an opinion about any given issue. As long as the thinking process remains anchored on logic and reason a liberal person cannot be called an extremist no matter how radical and bold his stance is. So maybe those who think arbitrarily and without reason to advertise their specific kind of ideology are the liberal extremists. Even if such a specie exists in Pakistan it is a fact that they are not organized and do not have the necessary firepower to take on the religious extremists. That burden has fallen on the shoulders of the so called liberals or moderates. I do differ with the writer in his inference that only those have supported Taseer’s murder who have merely the basic formal education. If education was to make only liberals then there wouldnt be any extremism in the educated circles but that is not true. Extremism is probably a result of many factors rather than a single reason. In most cases it is only a reaction to another opposite kind of extremisim. Recommend

  • majid maqsood
    Jan 14, 2011 - 3:32PM

    Yes liberal extremists are not threat for country, they are so peace loving and believed in coexistence so plz religious extremists and liberal extremists may not be compared. We have to admit this religious extremism is a reality of this country. Prime Minister Yousaf raza Gilani has to live in this country and who will protect him?
    when people were jubilating and celebrating the murder of innocent Salman Taseer, no one took the notice then how someone can expect to fight these extremists.
    This is a country where murderer is welcomed with rose petals then what we think about?Recommend

  • Adeel Ahmed
    Jan 14, 2011 - 3:33PM

    @ Obaid…

    I don’t think people who follow religion are extremists… but Liberal Extremists do… thats how you know a liberal extremist.

    I think there are many ways of imposing your views on others without violence… using influence, using ridicule and humour/making fun… these are all tactics to impose your views. Which the liberal extremists are seen doing every where these days… their favourite lines include “jaahil maulvis” and “they are so narrow-minded” etc etc…

    You can either use your own logic, or follow religion and its principles… if they are one and the same… Kudos to you. If not… I rather follow religion, since no one has greater logic than the Almighty Himself, and we are no one to question His logic. Isn’t that what faith is in the first place? Submission to the will of God, no matter what it may be?Recommend

  • Talha
    Jan 14, 2011 - 4:02PM

    I wish Pakistan had liberal extremists, that way they could counter the religious extremists who opposed the idea of this nation and are not destroying it.

    If there is a liberal extremist organisation that sprouts up, I would like to join.

    Please let me know.

    I wanna play the game the Mullahs like to play, terror, death and destruction.Recommend

  • Talha
    Jan 14, 2011 - 4:07PM

    correction:

    religious extremists who opposed the idea of this nation and are now destroying it.Recommend

  • Rashid
    Jan 14, 2011 - 4:09PM

    @ Writer
    As you wrote Parties like PPP,ANP and MQM are progressive, they are responsible for the worst law and order (target killing in karachi) and weak economy.
    So what do the liberals have to offer if they are getting votes in election ??
    Can they gather masses like the right wing ?? They should be thankful to the Feudalism and corrupt political system which help them get elected.Recommend

  • Tony Singh
    Jan 14, 2011 - 5:13PM

    Can anyone define “Middle class Morality”? And how this “Morality” is somehow stiffling? Just curious to know…..Recommend

  • Jan 14, 2011 - 5:48PM

    Middle Class morality is the defining thought of those who have the knowledge and capacity to think for themselves. Who have been educated enough to seek answers for themselves. Who are in the privileged position of being able to not only look sideways, but downwards too. It’s important to remember that not everyone in Pakistan has that luxury. And it is a “luxury” to be able to think for yourself in Pakistan today.

    I agree with Fauzia when she says that the problem afflicting Pakistan is that many of its habitants are far too ignorant about their own faith to question those who propagate violence in its name. Pakistan needs education, it’s crying out to be educated on faith; economics; politics. Until that doesn’t happen, for every Salmaan Taseer out there, there will always be ten Qadri equivalents. Recommend

  • Learner
    Jan 14, 2011 - 8:33PM

    @ Haris Chaudhry

    Thanks for agreeing with my name. What arrogance! I surely have to learn alot and probably know it too, but some people don’t even know that. And this is what quite defines our liberal extremist friends. That they can pontificate about others, be extremely dogmatic about their ideals, and yet claim to be the children of western enlightenment bearing the white man’s burden on their secular shoulders. You could not guess what my ideologies are because I don’t have one. Ideology is a very loaded word and the way it is tossed around casually only shows how deeply it is reflected upon!

    If you defend MQM as an organization that “questions the bigotry and violent attitude of a fringe population”, I rest my case. That is precisely how the author portrayed this “organized” and “democratic” group. Recommend

  • Learner
    Jan 14, 2011 - 8:57PM

    @faraz

    Yes sir, I think I know what secularism really means. Unfortunately, many of our intellecutals try to either deliberately obfuscate the true import of the term secularism, or are unaware of what it really leads to. It is not so simple to just talk of secularism as the so called seperation between religion and state as it is made out to be in especially our journalistic writings. Stirpping secularism off the historical evolution of which it was a result in Western Europe (in a hard form) and later the US (in a soft form) as a part of modernity, and glossing over the ensuing consequences is, in my opinion, trying to present it too simplistically. Secularism, along with its attendant ideas of, inter alia, modern humanism, capitalism, western liberal democracy and the scientific method (on which an unflinching “belief” is professed), strikes at the very foundation of religion in general and religious morality in particular. (Lest I be misunderstood, I’d clarify that I am not suggeting any inherent problem with either democracy or science but with their particular formulations)

    And secularism is not about non-interference but interference of a non-religious kind. If the secularists don’t want religious beliefs to be “imposed” on others, which by the way are not in the way I understand Islam, they should not be so enthusiastic or fanatical about imposing secularism on others.

    The irony of ironies is that the author presents MQM as an example of a “progressive party”. Therein lies the answer to your question Recommend

  • Qalandar Khan Mastana
    Jan 14, 2011 - 9:01PM

    Oh how times have changed. In my younger years, liberal was a cuss word, for someone who spoke from both sides of their mouths – an opportunist And now the pendulum has swung and liberalism is seen as a virtue, at least in certain circles, albeit it ever shrinking to a vanishing point.

    Kiyon andhaire hai shab-e-gam? hai kiyon balaon ka nuzool
    Aai udher hi ko rahey ga deedai akhter khula?
    Kaya rahon gurbat mein khush, jab hua hwadis ka ye hal
    Namah lata hai, watan se, namah bar aksar khula Recommend

  • Learner
    Jan 14, 2011 - 9:06PM

    @Himayun

    Sir, I am aware of the meaning and etymology of the word secular. As a philosophy and worldview, which has been presented rather brilliantly by the prolific contemporary philosopher Mario Bunge, secularism is an anathema to religion in general and Islam in particular. How and why is something that can be discussed at length, provided we steer clear of ad-hominem attacks and name-calling.

    As for whether the founder of the nation wanted a secular or a religious dispensation, there is plenty of arsenal to be found for both sides in his utterances. Despite having immense respect for him, I am not so “fundamentalist” as to constantly refer to what he said. It think we can either move on, or move much farther back in history. For our secular liberals, he is probably more important than the Prophet (sws) himself. Recommend

  • A Feminist
    Jan 15, 2011 - 12:30AM

    Liberalism and extremism are mutually exclusive.A liberal cannot be an extremist.So calling a liberal as an extremist is a contradictory claim.Recommend

  • I love allah
    Jan 15, 2011 - 1:16AM

    I have noticed that many male Pakistani politicians do not grow their beards to size of say Osama or the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). This is completely un-Islamic. Why have blasphemy laws when so many Pakistani males are not growing their beards ?
    What are your views, my fellow Pakistani muslims ?Recommend

  • Jan 15, 2011 - 5:16AM

    When people use the term “extremism” it does not have to equate with violence — rather with intolerance. No doubt liberal “extremism” is physically benign as compared to its religious counterpart in the Pakistani context. However, consider the following — if you had nonviolent religious activism — then how would we reconcile the two? Do you think the seuclarists would then happily chat with nonviolent maulvis (whom they usually dismiss as irrational lunatics)? The main point to consider is whether or not liberals and conservatives are willing to talk to each other at that level. Resistance to communicate with each other is just as prevalent among liberals as conservatives. The violent fringe of the religious right are used as an excuse all too often to explain the futility of communication. However, there are plenty of religious scholars who would be willing to talk to people within the secular establishment. For example, consider the ulema of the Jamia Ashrafia in Lahore who are quite willing to engage with secular scholars and consider ways of reforming madrassas. Having spent time among both sides, I can assure you that the level of contempt for any communication with “mullahs” is resolute among the secularlists as well. Both sides need to try harder to find common ground.Recommend

  • shahzad hussain
    Jan 15, 2011 - 7:07AM

    Back in the 70’s there were very people in punjab uiniversity who were deeply religous and dressed and behaved accordingly. Some of them were my very close friends and I could trust them completely they had a fairness and decency about them which came from an understanding of their faith. The state in those days did not patronize them. They were so because of their faith.

    These days a person with a hijab or beard need not necessarily be trusted since it is politically correct to be so attired and such people do not necessarily adhere to a faith or read about their religion about islamic history or culture.

    I believe a a truly religous person who understands islam and follows the of our prophet (pbuh) is bound to be a liberal.

    If I may to call an extemist fundementalist is wrong the appropriate word is obscurantist. But then gen mush was a soldier and was not expected to understand english perfectly and when he used the word fundementalist I believe he meant obscurantistRecommend

  • Haris Chaudhry
    Jan 15, 2011 - 9:55AM

    @ Fauzia Haider
    Very succinct and excellent comments. Please keep writing. We need more of you.
    HarisRecommend

  • Hamid Khan
    Jan 15, 2011 - 1:18PM

    @LEARNEREducation, in this country, does not guarantee clear thinking; it only imparts knowledge in particular areas and subjects and teaches students how to read and write“.The writer may have kept people like you in view,once making this statement.You are scared that you may not be able to defend your faith in a secular society.However you may be wrong,as people in large numbers are converting to this religion in Secular countries.The reference to MQM has been made by the writer in the context of non religious party.Secularism is not against religion,but provides an environment, where dogmas could be discussed,without arousing wrath of the obscurantists.Recommend

  • Anwar Afridi
    Jan 15, 2011 - 1:55PM

    There are Fatwas of KAFER by Deobandis against Barelvis,Shias,Wahabis and Ahmadis,, against Deobandis,Shias,Ahmadis and Wahabis by Barlevis ,,against Barlevis,Deobandis,Shias,Ahmadis,,by Takfeeris.Politics is being played by religious parties and groups for power.Religion is being misused for political purposes.We must stand up against obscurantist forces.They are misleading mentally uneducated,but apparently sincere, people like LEARNER.Do not be scared of forces, who are salable commodities.Recommend

  • SomeGuy
    Jan 15, 2011 - 2:26PM

    “Liberal extremist” is one who holds the shocking belief that every ethnicity, sex, gender or religion should be treated equally.Recommend

  • FARHAN
    Jan 15, 2011 - 4:13PM

    We can reduce extremism of any form present in our society by start believing that Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) was not called Rehmat ullil musleem but he was called Rehmat ullil Aalameen by our very Quran……

    It is also true that “Our establisment has always use Islam as a tool for its vested interests”..resultantly, today, we see a confused society where everyone believes that he or she is “true muslim’….

    We can only hope to see positive results in next 15-20 years, provided our “GHQ” start asserting its power to bring out the real face of Islam…

    Remember, we just not need to start condemning extremism,,,,but also start playing our individual part to reduce militancy and extremism even its effect would be 0.0001per cent of the total society, and we need to start from today……… Recommend

  • Talha
    Jan 15, 2011 - 4:46PM

    I have figured it out, it took me a few days to come to this scientific conclusion on who is a liberal extremist:

    Anyone who advocates rights for all in Pakistan
    Anyone who was not present in the ‘Namoos-e-Rasoolat’ march.
    Anyone who condemned the murder of Salman Taseer.
    Anyone who utters Jinnah’s constitution speech.
    Anyone who is in a religious minority.
    Anyone who speaks to Ahmadis, works with them, has a good relation with them is Super Hyper Liberal Extremist.
    Anyone who condemns the religiously guided ways of the Mujahids all over Pakistan.
    etc.
    Recommend

  • mg
    Jan 15, 2011 - 5:01PM

    @ Fauzia Haider…best comments from ur side…excellent way of writing :)Recommend

  • Maulana Sandwitch
    Jan 15, 2011 - 7:53PM

    @MOAZZAM SALIM I think the writer did not mean that uneducated people are supporting Qadri.His point is that education in Pakistan does not guarantee clear thinking,and just make the students to learn how to read and write.The people using internet must have got some formal education.But even then they are supporting the cold blooded murder of Salman Taseer Shaheed.You may like to go through again the relevant portion.Very well written Asad Munir Sahib.Recommend

  • Jan 15, 2011 - 9:33PM

    Those who are questioning the corruption of liberals have not seen the corruption of mullahs yet so there is nothing to compare at this time.

    The liberal extremists are those who want to impose Western lifestyle on a populace that is–mullah or not– largely conservative.Recommend

  • SomeGuy
    Jan 15, 2011 - 11:18PM

    //The liberal extremists are those who want to impose Western lifestyle on a populace that is–mullah or not– largely conservative.//

    Liberals don’t want to impose anything. You don’t want to drink? Then don’t. Nobody is forcing you.

    It’s you conservatives who like to force everything. The concept of freedom does not exist for you. I am not preventing you from going to your mosque. It’s people like you who prevent Ahmadis from practicing their own religions freely – and if they don’t agree you kill them or bomb them.Recommend

  • apakistani
    Jan 15, 2011 - 11:39PM

    The vast majority of Pakistanis are progressive, however emotional! They are morally conservative and believe in strong values. Also to add, these value are present in vast majority of our liberals as well. Creating these extremists terms is pushing both sides against each other which is not needed at all and creating disharmony in the country.
    In my belief, what Pakistan needs is a reformed education system access to all. Education system that is not based on rote learning but makes our students analyse and form rational judgements. When we have the capacity to do that we don’t follow the crowd and mindlessly protest. An educated person steps back and say hey! what i am being told..does it add up or not and does their individual research. We have a wonderful religion, beautiful country and we are beautiful people! Lets stop destroying ourselves. We need to rise to the challenge to educate the country, so go out and do a little what you can. sponsor a poor child, volunteer and go and teach maths to kids who are not as fortunate! We need to stop complaining and moaning!!!! God helps those who help themselves. Learn something from how communities are helping each other after the Brisbane floods. They are showing value we are taught in our religion and what are we doing? bickering and fighting!
    Lets help ourselves and bring peace to Pakistan! Ameen
    PS: brag about about little contributions you make or know of people who make so that you inspire others. Lets get into a race of who can be more helpful than the other in educating our people beyond what the govt/private schools are doing!Recommend

  • Learner
    Jan 15, 2011 - 11:58PM

    @Hamid Khan and Anwar Afridi

    I’ll quote two portions of the responses of these gentlemen:

    Hamid Khan: “The writer may have kept people like you in view,once making this statement.”
    Anwar Afridi: “They are misleading mentally uneducated, but apparently sincere, people like LEARNER”

    The level to which our secularists can stoop reminds one of the frowning mullahs they so love to castigate. Quite like them, rather than focusing on the argument, they focus on the individual, his abilities and motives. Just as the mullah will say “how dare you challenge this holy idea” (which in fact is his interpretation of the idea), our secularists on these forums thunder “how dare you challenge secularism and what it stands for” (which in fact is their understanding of it).

    As to Hamid Khan sb’s assertion that the reference to MQM was made by the author in the context of non-religious parties, this is what he wrote:

    “Progressive political parties like the PPP, the ANP, the MQM and the nationalist parties always poll more votes as compared to religious political parties, but they remain under the pressure of radical elements, rejected by the masses.”

    The reference above is made with regard to votes secured as compared to religious parties, and the label that has been used is “progressive”. With 31 people massacred in Karachi in a couple of days, I am sure “progressive ” is the right label for the latter two secular parties.Recommend

  • Malik
    Jan 16, 2011 - 3:21AM
  • Jan 16, 2011 - 4:42AM

    The term liberal extremist is oxymoron. There are NO liberals extremists. Being rigid in views is not extremism.Kindly check the dictionary.Recommend

  • Omar bin Abdulaziz
    Jan 16, 2011 - 11:55AM

    I think the writer has only wasted time and space.
    To understand the term more, read this:

    http://www.jasarat.com/graphic/fridaydetail.php?fridaydate=14-01-2011&newsid=02.gifRecommend

  • Jan 16, 2011 - 1:18PM

    @Liaquat Ali

    The liberal extremists are those who
    want to impose Western lifestyle on a
    populace that is–mullah or not–
    largely conservative.

    Brother can you elucidate this further, how are ‘they’ imposing the ‘western life style’? And what exactly is this western lifeatyle. For example,
    a. Have they made western attire compulsory.
    b. Have they made western food compulsory.
    c. Are they pouring alcohol down everyone’s throat.
    d. Have they declared the all the ‘non-western’ peole wajibul qatl.

    Once you try to concretise your apprehensions you would probably realise that you are being delusional.Recommend

  • Sadeea Inam
    Jan 16, 2011 - 1:37PM

    All those who are members of social network sites,who do not wear hi jab,Work with stranger men,Who do not obey their husbands,even if their demands are, non Islamic,those who do not observe parda,keeps a saving account,watches TV plays,showing non mehrams,drive cars,use tooth paste during Ramadan,listen to music,get themselves photographed,follow any other firqa than Wahabis,go to graves of saints,drink water while standing,do not say insha allah,while talking about future events,use left hand for eating,do not keep shalwars above toes,woman who enjoys coitus,and indulge in sex without aiming for reproduction.All these are liberal extremists.For them God has promised fire of hell,where they will burn for eternity.This is a country for practicing Muslims,the liberal may migrate to another country,preferably to India.Recommend

  • Jan 16, 2011 - 3:12PM

    @Adeel Ahmad

    You can either use your own logic, or
    follow religion and its principles I
    rather follow religion, since no one
    has greater logic than the Almighty
    Himself,

    A fair choice indeed, but are you saying that you do not follow any Hadeeth and any Fatwas by any Mullah as these have not been deliverded by the Almighty himself. Or are you saying that while you will not use ‘your own logic’, you would allow the Mullah to decide things for you.And if so, is there a verse anywhere in the Quran Sharif prescribing the Mullah as being authorised to deliver the ‘logic of the Almighty’.Recommend

  • Sadia Khattak
    Jan 16, 2011 - 3:22PM

    The Hijab is a Western European head gear,Burqa was worn by Hindu woman,the dress for Muslim woman,used during Prophet’s (PBUH) time was Chadar.The Pashtun woman of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA are the only one ,using Islamic dress of Prophet’s (PBUH) time,rest all are misguided.We shake hands with men,do not observe parda from people of our own Tribe,we work in the fields,we help our men in economic activities.Hijab is a luxury enjoyed by few woman,who have some problem with their identity.I live in a conservative society but me and my family are liberal in their thoughts,like rest of the people of this great Province.I am liberal but not an extremist.I agree with Asad Munir,who seems to be a Pashtun,that there are no liberal extremists in this country ,only the religious extremists,supported by Punjab.Recommend

  • sofiakhalid
    Jan 16, 2011 - 7:38PM

    It is a sensitive topic indeed. but you did a great job.Recommend

  • Adeel Ahmed
    Jan 16, 2011 - 11:53PM

    @ observer…

    What I mean is if my logic, or anyone else’s for that matter, contradicts with Quran or Hadith (Hadith do not need to be interpreted by a Maulvi… you can read and understand them yourself… and Hadith I believe are just an extension of Allah’s will and message through the Prophet PBUH), then I rather follow Islam (Allah’s will).

    For example… homosexuality is quite common these days. A lot of people will tell me that its not by choice, but they were born with such an orientation. What we straight men feel towards women, they feel towards men, etc. However, when you read the Quran, you are told how big a sin it is, and what punishment it entails, etc, etc. Controversial, I know. And since I am not gay myself, I wouldn’t know whether you are in fact born with it, or if its a personal choice… Wont know.
    Soo, in such a case, I would shut up and let the Quran/Hadith dictate its will, and accept its logic/commands and move on.

    Hope that answers your question.Recommend

  • Waqas Ahmed
    Jan 17, 2011 - 12:36AM

    Liberal extremists have been mostly ruling this country and they are the ones occupying most of the resources of this nation.Recommend

  • Fauzia Haider
    Jan 17, 2011 - 3:08AM

    @ UmEr, No! To “Mullah Republic of Pakistan”. Yes, to Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
    It is already Islamic Republic of Pakistan… what change does the religious right want? Recommend

  • shahzad hussain
    Jan 18, 2011 - 8:14AM

    I agree with the Brigadier according to our establishment Mr Yousaf Raza Gillani is a good Muslim and Salman was not. This is politics and nothing to do with faith.

    When I read Islamic history the way of the Prophet (PBUH) was the way of Salman Taseer and before him Jinnah and Iqbal. This is not only about extemism it is about political expediency.Recommend

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