Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Qadri and Imran--A Match That Just Could Not Be?

Graphic from Saach.tv
The headlines say
"Tahirul Qadri ends alliance with Imran Khan's party"
Qadri parts ways with Imran Khan
and he might have said this more strongly this time, saying things like
“Those who are part of status quo and involved in corruption could not become our allies”.
But despite the "cousinly" coordination they might have had—maybe encouraged by the Third Umpires referred to by The Captain, maybe not—this really was a match that could not have been. Several reasons come to mind:
  • One could invoke the old Urdu proverb about two swords in one scabbard ("aik miyaan mein dho talwaar") and implying/accusing the two leaders of being all about ego; 
  • One could take the Allama's words at face value and notice that his is a demand for ripping out the whole constitutional system while the Khan is talking the talk of democratic change, albeit on his terms;
  • ...and one could also notice that while Imran Khan has been playing footsie with the neo-purist parts of our faith community, namely the Jamaat-e-Islami (see discussion on Facebook here) and the Further Right, so to speak, Allama Qadri comes from a more traditionalist, albeit revolutionary place. In that regard, what really jumped out of the articles this morning was this line:
"The cleric called for capital punishment for those involved in spreading sectarian hatred and claimed that the situation could be improved only after the "execution of some people."

Monday, November 17, 2014

Haroon Moghul (@hsmoghul) on the Islamic State and the 7th Century Canard:

Haroon Moghul; Twitter
Profile Photo
Whenever anyone takes the line that neo-purist fanatics of any ilk are "taking us back to the 7th--or 13th--century", I would like them to read this rather intellectual piece from Haroon Moghul. It's from back in June 2014, when the IS declared itself a Caliphate, but it's a good introduction.
There is a new declared Islamic State–and Caliph–what does that mean?
He asks. Then goes on to explain that
[T]o call a radical Muslim a transplant from the seventh-century may sound comforting to our Western ears, but it is profoundly offensive to the Muslim’s. What are you saying except that Islam’s founding generation was violent, nasty, brutish, short-tempered and narrow-minded?

For Muslims, however, seventh-century Arabia is not a long time ago in a desert far, far away, a very moving story with no contemporary consequences. It’s what we aspire to realize in our quotidian circumstances. It is the template. In the Muslim worldview, to be brief, God gives Muhammad revelation and Muhammad, in turn, embodies revelation, so we his successors know how to live it. Of course, in the absence of Muhammad, individual Muslims must struggle to apply their reasoning to understand what to make of that legacy in different circumstances. To call the Islamic State “seventh-century” is to say that they somehow reflect what Islam was, and is meant to be.
It’s giving the Islamic State the legitimacy it craves and does not deserve.
Read his whole argument at The Islamic Monthly (where Haroon is identified as an editor) at:
An earlier Storify of tweets I posted on a related thought can be seen here:

Friday, November 14, 2014

"The Means of Information": Freedom of the Press and Control of Social Media

Freedom is guaranteed only to
those who own a (Word)Press?
One of the most relevant--and trenchant--things I have heard on this topic is the quote:
Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.
That quote is from an older age, and I feel that in this day, age, and point in our technological evolution, you should read that with "media" instead of the first "press" and think of the second "press" as the platforms—Facebook, et al, so to speak.

Which to me overlaps or parallels Marx and his crowd's observations about the means of production. In the Industrial Age, he who owned the mean of production ruled the roost; in the Information Age, it is the platforms and the networks.

Definitely stuff to think about.

Thanks go to Mike Cherba for making me sit down and have to sort this out enough in my head and write it down during an exchange on Facebook.

Friday, Juma, Prayers at the Washington National Cathedral