Tag Archive | citizenship

Are Muslims entitled to be offended?

I’ve been involved with a couple of conversations simultaneously about the ongoing saga of the cartoons of (the prophet) Mohammed (pbuh) and thought I’d share my thoughts.

Some bloggers have been posting some of the cartoons to protest; one blogger actually told me that although he acknowledges that it is rude to insult people’s beliefs and wouldn’t choose to wear a T-Shirt with the insulting cartoons, if the government infringed his freedom of speech by making it illegal, it would be his ‘civic duty to wear the shirt, regardless of the offence caused.’ This sentiment and view seems to be widespread amongst non-Muslims all over the world.

Is this a tenet of civilised society?

Is free speech is a greater and a more sacred value than tolerance or respect?

When the cartoons were first published, the people protested all over the world. They demonstrated to show their anger and disgust. To the non-Muslim this may be a trivial thing to get worked up about, but to the Muslim it’s not.

Isn’t ‘civilised’ society supposed to hear all points of view and be all inclusive? Read More…

Who am I?

I was recently asked a very simple question. And I had to spend a good few minutes thinking about it before answering. I was asked where I was from, but the reason given for asking this question perplexed me even more as it was for the purpose of getting to know me better.

I always dread this question every time I meet someone. As it’s one of the initial questions people ask during the ‘getting to know’ period, more often than not, I hardly know the person asking it and am in no position to give a long winded answer.

You see, I’m a kind of nomad. I have lived in the UK, Bahrain, Qatar and Jordan but hold a Pakistani passport. Although I’ve visited Pakistan many times, I’ve never lived there. So when faced with the question, I don’t really know how to answer it and furthermore, what would make me a Briton, Pakistani, Bahraini or Qatari (assuming I wanted to be any of them)?

Having lived in Britain for a good few years, I often witnessed this discussion, particularly after the Iraq war. The Muslims living in Britain are British citizens and therefore expected to be on the side of the British Army in this war, even if they think the war in Iraq is illegal and people have a right to self-determination. American’s are supposed to support the American army and be more concerned about the body bags returning from Iraq than the death toll of Iraqis. And applying that rationale, I guess I’m supposed to support the Pakistani army even though I disagree with their actions at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Read More…