Sep 15, 2011 - Uncategorized    32 Comments

Blaming the victim: modus operandi of the religious right



Earlier this week, TV presenter Fareeha Idrees (she is kinda irrelevant generally, her star shone briefly when she managed to get the first post world cup Afridi Interview) said that Altaf Hussain and Zulfi Mirza are responsible for floods in Sindh. Now we all know that Both Zulfi Mirza and Altaf Bhai are capable of a lot of things but flooding their voters and constituencies is not one of them. Ms. Idrees’ argument was fairly simple. She said, “Jin jagahon pe logon ne Quran uthaya ho wahan azaab tau ayega” (The places where Quran has been disrespected will face the wrath of Almighty). My geography may not be as good as Ms Idrees’ but didn’t Altaf Bhai pull his antics in London and Zulfi Mirza in Karachi? Going by this logic, shouldn’t Northern London and the city by the sea be submerged in water and Nawab Shah and Badin be dry as a walnut? 

As if Ms. Idrees’ ramblings were not enough, Kamran Khan (hosting the highest rated TV show in the country) presented one Maulana Tariq Jamil, a Rajput brother from the fine district of Mian Chunnu and spiritual leader of the likes of Junaid Jamshed, Saeed Anwar and Inzamam-ul-Haq, on 13thSeptember 2011. Maulana sahib very clearly stated that the floods in Sindh and the Dengue in Punjab are a consequence of our sins (he blamed 2005 earthquakes on a gay marriage) and we must repent and seek forgiveness. Now I am all for repenting the mistakes and seeking forgiveness, but the list of sins listed by the good maulana was mind boggling to say the least. Some of the bizarre sins listed were being friendlier towards your friends than to your father, being obedient to your wives, popularity of music esp. female musicians and greeting each other with hello and hi.

Perpetuating this kind of thinking on such a high rated TV show was most irresponsible of Mr Kamran Khan and his team. Instead of looking for public officials responsible for not ensuring that safety and evacuation measures were taken, they took the easy way out and made a telephone call to a member of clergy. The Maulana sahib conveniently blamed the victims for their sins instead of holding the public officials accountable for their negligence of criminal proportions. Junaid Jamshed has done it before and now his mentor is doing the same, blaming the victim while absolving the perpetrators of any wrong doing. Is this the modus operandi of the religious right in this country?

The message that came on Kamran Khan Show was loud and clear; stop making friends, beat your wives twice a day, stop greeting others with hellos and perhaps public beheading of a female musician or two will take care of natural disasters, bad planning and climate change be damned.

Clip to Evernote

32 Comments

  • Why would you expect anything different? TV is all about selling popular products, most people watching tv are happy with this idea. It absolves them from any responsibility.

  • Similar kind of talk was doing the rounds after 2005 earthquake. Dr. Shahid Masood had held a show in Muzaffarabad. He invited religious scholars as well and they agreed upon the fact that it can’t be said about followers of Prophet (or the Muslims) that they were destroyed because it was ‘God’s wrath’. It could be termed as a test of God but not the wrath.

    I don’t know why certain people in media still talk such nonsense. I fail to understand why the poor and crushed have to pay for the sins of others.

  • Ether it is electronic media or print media, perhaps their only aim is making money and conflicts(for cheap popularity)… :/

  • If the comment is on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaV4mzIoKR0 then clarify what do you want to prove? we should support GAY marriages or we are clean from sins and all of us have pre-bookings in Heaven? What Maulana Tariq Jamil quoted was saying of our Holy Prophet (saw) … so please think before inking anything …. your words can misguide people.

  • If the comment is on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaV4mzIoKR0 then clarify what do you want to prove? we should support GAY marriages or we are clean from sins and all of us have pre-bookings in Heaven? What Maulana Tariq Jamil quoted was saying of our Holy Prophet (saw) … so please think before inking anything …. your words can misguide people.

  • justice prevails in england and socail and religious injustices are major export of Pakistan..
    should God be happy with all this being done in the name of religion,we believe He is with,should He be happy when the same land is being is used to “practically” abuse quran and religion while theoretically claiming themselves its greatest lovers and followers……preffering wives or friends or not having beards not the cause.About homosexual;majorities are never punished due to sins of minorities anyway
    Plus global warming too is a cause but i believe its the intent of God that comes first.His hand works in a hidden undetectable manner.Global warming is can be an illusion and deep down working might be the displeasure of God.One cannot know ,its only a belief

  • Well, apparently you have a serious identity crisis when it comes to tolerance and freedom of speech. Gay rights is okay and asking people to repent is not?
    People of Sindh are paying for the sins of ppp anp and mqm:remember the pending Kalabagh Dam project(common sense). It is pending for noo technical reasons and would have turned present crisis into a blessing.

  • No comments.

    Oh and Mr. Haseeb? She isn’t supporting gay marriages. she is just telling you to stop the blame game and own up your sins. Change should be made in us and our leaders, rather then thrashing someone’s wrong doings.

  • Why is everyone going ballistic over gay marriage? Where did that come from?

  • Blaming the victims is not limited to religious right, where were you when your liberal fellow Ejaz Haider was saying Quetta Shias are to be blamed for their killings…
    Madam, please a blog for him too but I know this is just my fantasy …!

  • Baloch sahab,

    The only common factor between Ejaz Haider and I is that we both write in English.

    I believe neither of us would like to be likened with the other.

    There are various reasons I do not take up certain issues.

    1- Its a god damned blog, |I don’t have to cover everything.
    2- At times I don’t write because I am the laziest bone under the sun and its not like you guys pay me to write anything, do you?
    3- I prefer not to write about things I don’t know about, warna mujh mein aur Amir Liaquat mein faraq kya reh jayega.
    4- Ejaz Haider!!! Come one, why should I write about a baba and his blabbering when I can do posts on Shahid Afridi and David Beckhams of the world.

  • What the commentears should keep in mind is that the issue isn’t about the legitimacy of gay marriages, its about whether it is justified to blame the victims, or non-quantifiable sins for the natural disasters, while neglecting the major causes, such as climate change, global warming, non-existent disease-prevention measure, bad planning and the like. Telling people this is happening to them because they saw the ankles of a woman is leaving the main cause neglected. If these shows spread awareness about how we can quantifiablly mollify the damages caused by the disasters, it would be much more beneficial.

    What doesn’t make sense is why would God want to punish the innocent villagers of Badin for the sins of MQM/ANP (not saying that this is the cause, but hypothetically). Oh! And why does, Pakistan, where people like this religious right abide and pray for is constantly stuck worst by natural calamities? Why doesn’t God’s wrath descend upon the wahayaa (sic) continent of Europe or Amreeka (sic).

    Such blaming is absolutely groundless and reflects upon the anachronistic, superstitious ideology of the religious right.

  • What the commentears should keep in mind is that the issue isn’t about the legitimacy of gay marriages, its about whether it is justified to blame the victims, or non-quantifiable sins for the natural disasters, while neglecting the major causes, such as climate change, global warming, non-existent disease-prevention measure, bad planning and the like. Telling people this is happening to them because they saw the ankles of a woman is leaving the main cause neglected. If these shows spread awareness about how we can quantifiablly mollify the damages caused by the disasters, it would be much more beneficial.

    What doesn’t make sense is why would God want to punish the innocent villagers of Badin for the sins of MQM/ANP (not saying that this is the cause, but hypothetically). Oh! And why does, Pakistan, where people like this religious right abide and pray for is constantly stuck worst by natural calamities? Why doesn’t God’s wrath descend upon the wahayaa (sic) continent of Europe or Amreeka (sic).

    Such blaming is absolutely groundless and reflects upon the anachronistic, superstitious ideology of the religious right.

  • There are plenty of intelligent Islamic scholars in Pakistan and elsewhere. The media tends to seek out the inflammatory idiots who are happy to speculate and come up with ridiculous ‘fatwas’ and interpretations. It makes better press and is so much more interesting to the view than “all things and events – good and bad – are a sign of God’s power and existence and a reminder to those who would take heed”. I’m a member of the media, I know how it goes.

  • @ME: But again I think the comments made by the Maulana are adequate as they were made in light of Quran, Sayings of Holy Prophet (saw) and other Islamic Teachings. There is no doubt that whatever is happening is due to irresponsible attitude of any human but the food-for-though is that why they are sitting on our heads and are “so-called” leaders.
    In a nut-shell, lets ask question to ourselves, are we clean from inside? Do we follow the teachings and practices (religious and non-religious) we are supposed to? I doubt that the answer will be in positive.

  • Aap mein aur Aamir Liaquat mein farq kaa to mujhai nahin pataa but I think those who released his video and you have at-least one thing common, they deliberately didn’t include his comments for Ahmadis (when he declared them wajub ul Qatal) but included his comments for Ghalib & you choose to know much about South Indian culture but not about Quetta dynamics. Matter of preferences madam. Anyways, I am your twitter fan for your wittier comments and love your blog posts having funny aspect & wish either you don’t touch serious subjects like this or abandon this selectivity, just a suggestion please don’t take it at heart, I fully respect your individuality. And finally thanks a bunch for your reply.

  • Tazeen,
    Shahid Afridi is a loser.

    I have lost count of the number of times he has retired and ‘unretired’ from cricket.

    Is he still playing for Pakistan??

  • i agree with fareeha idress. london riots are a simple proof. yes, that happened before Altaf Bhais conference but who says punishment of sins cannot be in advance. for karachi, we all know how much punishment we have already received for our sins.

  • Convenient solutions, certainly. But does the ‘aam janta’ really get taken in by this rhetoric?

  • So, I suppose we can call all of them our ‘Chai Party?’ 😉

  • SPN sent out this email from Waseem Altaf which said something similar to your post.

    This is what he wrote:

    “Molvi Tariq Jamil quoting from Tirmizi that “God is angry with us and showing his resentment through bringing natural disasters over the people of this country. He further added that when the ruling elite loots and when men turn obedient towards their wives rather than their mothers, when the rich do not pay zakat, and when people come closer to their friends than their fathers, and people say hello hi to each other and mosques turn into battlegrounds, female singers and music becomes popular, and musical instruments become common, and wine is in demand and men wear silk, and the new generation considers the previous as lesser enlightened rather stupid , and religious education is sought for worldly benefits; God shows his wrath.
    He further told that no drop of water can fall from the sky without the will of God and dengue cannot affect anybody without his consent so it is the revenge of God befalling upon us. (This proposition turns the entire criminal justice system obsolete)
    When asked why there is no distinction kept between good people and bad while subjecting them to God’s vengeance, he told that after death the good ones will be duly rewarded. (Again a breach of justice and fair play as the sinner and the innocent both receive punishment, one here and the other there)
    The immediate solution he offered was tauba by all and sundry.
    Instead of inviting a water management specialist and a medical practitioner to give their views on floods and dengue fever Geo invited a Molvi which is clearly reflective of intellectual bankruptcy.
    I wonder why the poorest of the poor should suffer due to floods and dengue because the rulers are looters.
    And should we start thrashing our wives and start sleeping with our parents to avert floods and epidemics.
    And if the rich do not pay zakat, why do those who deserve zakat get swept away in floods.
    And why can’t we be closer to our friends in some respects than our fathers. Should we go to dance parties with our fathers rather than our friends?
    And what’s wrong with saying hello or hi. Should we say assalam o alaikum wa rahmatulla hay wa barakat a hoo every time me meet each other.
    And let me also say that the ordinary people have not turned mosques into battlegrounds but the likes of Molvi Tariq Jamil, so why should they be made to suffer.
    Molvi saab also knows that female singers have become popular. Is he referring to Fareeha Pervez or Hadiqa Kiyani or maybe Annie but they are not in. Perhaps he has seen Meesha Shafi, Zeb & Haniya or Zoe Viccaji, or perhaps Lady Gaga. Anyway a total ban on all these would prevent Punjab from the dengue epidemic.
    All musical instruments must also be destroyed to stop the deluge. The surface of tablas should be shot at using a Walther P99 semi-automatic pistol.22 while the strings of a sitar can be severed using a two-stroke electric chainsaw. That would annihilate the mosquito population involved in the spread of dengue.
    Well wine is already banned for Muslims and is not accessible to a common man (they should wait till they enter into paradise where they would get the stuff in abundance) While the rich drown in wine the poor drown in floods. So please Molvi Saab do not victimize the poor for no fault of theirs.
    As far as wearing silk is concerned I know that Rahat Fateh Ali Khan,Ustad Shafqat Ali Khan and Ustad Rustam Fateh Ali Khan put on silky kurtas. I think we should get hold of these guys and give them a hammer thrashing for using the material so that next time they do not put on silk. That would prevent dengue and deluge.
    Well considering the older generation wiser and turning to religious education without considering its material benefits would turn this country into a heaven where there would be no floods and no dengue but not one but millions of Tariq Jamils turning our star cricketers and star singers into useless bearded mullahs, preaching nothing but nonsense.

  • OMG silly me up till now I was blaming the floods and dengue virus on our lack of planning and mismanagement by the government. Looks like this is not the case. I want to send my apologies to zardari and shahbaz sharif who I unfortunately cursed a few times after reading the news.
    Thank you Molana for your brilliant solutions to our problems if only every pakistani beat his wife, grew beards, killed every female musician, tied himself to his parents and never said hi what a better place the world could be.

  • Media’s nonsensical ways to get higher ratings. What is one to expect when a maulana is seated in place of a met/govt official? My beaf with these clerics is that they make religion sound extremely daft! But I guess that’s the kind of people that steal most of the airtime. The more stupid one is, the more attention is paid to him.

  • What you have written is indeed based on reason & logic and is definitely worth appreciating. It is only through awakened people like you, that religious hypocrisy can fade.

    But look at the reactions of the people – from nowhere they pulled up Gay marriage & started blabbering. Also, many are writing insane words. This is alarming, as majority are becoming ignorant & intolerant.

    Struggle on! The fight is not at all easy, but is not worth giving up!

  • Tazeen Bibi

    Were u expecting something rational and scientific from both the Maulanas(Tariq and Kamran).Though there is lgical inconsistency between the omnipotence of God and existence of such evil in the world nevertheless considering floods, earthquake and Dengue a wrath of God is simply bullshit not bcoz religion doesn’t hold this but bcoz it is absolutely against the physical laws to blame the misdeeds of the people for these claimities.This mode of thinking is the logical consequence of the concept of God as an externel being a man in the sky, sitting over there and watching over us.

    Unless and untill the muslim mind get rid of this mindset(of personnel God) we will continue to explain these things in this manner.

    You can’t blame the Maulana here.As someone said in previous comments that maulana was just saying what the religion has gotta say on this issue.

    You don’t have any choice other than leavging the religion or constructing a redically different theologoical paradigm that can explain things in the religious context without resorting to such utter BUllshit.But, unfortunatly, given the nature of Maulana’s faith it is highly unlikely to happen anytime soon.Even the like of Ghamidi, a supposed moderate, consider these things the ‘trial, or azmaaish from God if not an azaab.So we have pretty limited choice here.Either consider it azaab(wrath) or azmaaish(trial).There is no third way, in either case we have to believe in some sortta nonsense.

    Happy Azaab(Dengue, flooods etc) to u all.

    Verily, we are fucked.

  • *typo*

    Even though there is NO logical inconsistency.

  • Really impressed by your other blogs too 🙂 Are you on facebook? By what name?

  • @Sidharth Manu

    Thanx for showing ur concern for the pakiland.We respect ur liberalism but i will advise u not to stretch urself too much abt us.U better pay attention to how things are going on the wrong side of the border i.e ur own backyard.

    And yes, u r right that only through enlightened people like Tazeen will the relgious fanaticism fade away,however,don’t expect us to go vegetarian anytime soon.In spite of our anti-state religion rhetorics we are devout paki who believ in Eid, shab-e-barat, eating Halwa, flying kites and eating beef steaks instead of worshipping our dinner plates and the candle.Islam like any other religion is OK as long as people don’t wear it in their sleeves all the time.

  • Tazeen, you sure attract a diverse audience. You are very right in your review about the MTJ’s reasoning of flood and natural catastrophoes. This is insane and so is everything else happening in Pakistan. Sometimes I don’t understand why people don’t have simple common sense and their priorties so twisted that it seems like a completely hopeless situation. I wish, I could just wipe all religious confusion from our country, give everybody Quran and teach them some basic values. Respect each other, stay clean, do good deeds, keep your house and neighborhood clean. Eat simple food and take care of your mind and soul. Read Quran to understand the purpose and nature of this world and life and understand it to the best of your ability and then leave the rest to Allah. We are solely responsible for our own actions. Quran has such simple and basic instuctions for a society to live by that there should absolutely be no confusion. For some reason, we all think we are religious scholars, we all think that by just narrating everything from one holy book or other, we have explained the cause of everything. We simply don’t believe in gradually improving our knowledge of DEEN through progressing from one level to another. Its because mind plays games over heart and deen is as much a matter of heart as it is of mind. Our social values and religious understanding is so convulated, its beyond belief. What about our passion to go and help those people suffering with Dengui instead of driving our BMW or whatever hot political car these days. We lack accountability since Pakistan and we lack accountability as nation. We lack respect for each other and we are so poorly equipped to handle natural catastrophes and disasters. On top of that, we are so poorly equipped to handle our lives and live it with the guidance of Allah swt. “[5] O’Allah! You Alone we worship and You Alone we call on for help.
    [6] O’Allah! Guide us to The Right Way.
    [7] The Way of those whom You have favored; not of those who have earned Your
    wrath, or of those who have lost The Way.

  • In simple words, Yes all natural disasters and catastrophes are from Allah and not without his consent. It’s for us to fear Allah and ask for his forgiveness and at the same time, its not for us to blame the victim’s unholy ways for their sufferings. Who are we to shout about Allah’s Almighty wrath and not fear for our actions? We should get up and help those people and fear that one day we could also be in their shoes and no one but ourselves to blame for it. What will we do then? We are not safe from a natural or man made havoc.

  • @Abdul Manan

    You started off so well, but then started showing signs of prejudice 🙂

    Abdul, even though I’m a Buddhist/Hindu, I have nothing against Islam. In fact, many of my good friends right here in India are muslims. India celebrates all the Islamic festivals with the same zeal as we celebrate others. Its a very open culture.

    Also, I do understand that India itself has many problems. I am doing whatever I can from my side. But should that restrict me from looking to our neighbour? Don’t think so narrow mindedly.

    I don’t want to be a prophet of friendliness, but I do wish a lot of peace & growth of each common man in Pakistan & India both.

    ~Indian Friend

  • @Abdul, your post unmasked your intolerance for alternate thoughts. 🙂

    The problem is people like you who think Islam and Islam only is the right religion/way of life.
    Open your eyes mate.

    There is a world beyond Islam/hinduism/christianity/choose your religion.

    If you have the means, try to travel a bit. You will be surprised.

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