The Muslim family of 12 which went missing from Luton, UK has reached Syria and confirmed joining the Islamic State. The 12 include two grandparents in ill health and three grandchildren aged one to eleven. Imagine the extent of radicalisation, brainwashing and manipulation that took place over months in Bangladesh, actually convincing three generations of a British-born family to turn its back on a safe life in the UK and make their home with terrorists of the worst kind. The family has, in effect, denied the kids an education, shoved them in the midst of murderers, and deprived the ailing grandparents of free healthcare and safety.
Amusingly, the family members in Syria maintain that they feel safer than they have ever felt before, and attribute their move to the command of the IS’s caliph. The family’s sickening press statement, presumably drafted and released by the IS as a propaganda tool, shamelessly uses religion to justify its action, and implores other Muslims to join the so-called movement.
I’m sure Britons are hoping for swathes of more such extended families to embark on their one-way journey to Syria and Iraq rather than living off taxpayers’ money and ravaging the social and cultural fabric of their country. But for the dangerous traitors to get flushed out, the UK needs to grow a pair of balls. While France is deporting clerics found to be preaching hatred in mosques, the UK, under the evil spell of the Human Rights Act, is frightened to offend communities. If anything, it offers easy asylum and platforms to extremists, who are hypocritical to soak up the trappings of the Western world, but insensitive and ungrateful enough to destroy the very country that pampers them with shelter, handouts and undue benefits.
Pakistan’s hardcore youth
As a nation, Pakistan is subjected to stringent religious and social norms, but it is heartening that the educated, city-bred youth is not as regressive as the older generation. Most of my Pakistani friends represent the affluent new lot — adventurous, spirited, bohemian. I’ve seen them at the forefront of political change. They take active interest in national politics. Well-stocked bars exist inside their homes and car boots. Substance consumption is a common social fad — the maal sold in Pakistan is hardcore, presumably the ‘real stuff’ that comes from Afghanistan. The rock culture is pronounced; infinitely more than what is prevalent in India. The music downloaded by the youth ranges from Linkin Park to Nusrat. Designer sports bikes tucked away inside rich home garages are seen zooming on Clifton Beach in Karachi and on Ring Road in Lahore, post-midnight. The love for luxuries, expensive watches, fancy wheels, designer apparels, night-long house parties and celebratory mujras is ample.
The myth that Pakistan’s Gen X is like its forefathers is one that I often try debunking with foreign friends, who still think that all Pakistani women roam around in burqas and that a bomb goes off every hour.
Shahid ki shadi
It didn’t take long for Komal Rizvi’s selfie with Edhi to become passe in the virtual world. Shahid Kapoor’s wedding took over and become a top trend (#ShahidKiShaadi) on Twitter in Pakistan. Re-endorses the enormous power that Bollywood folk wield the world over. Shahid got hitched to Delhi girl Mira Rajput at a traditional ceremony for family and close friends. A major reception for the Bollywood wallahs will be held in Mumbai soon.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2015.
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