This article is a Guest post. Views expressed in this article are those of the author and may or may not be the views of From The Pulpit and DiscoMaulvi. To submit content for From The Pulpit, please email FromThePulpit [at] MuhammadAly [dot] Com.
In May of last year (2011), I was invited by Tammy to be a guest on her show “24×7 with Ayesha Tammy Haq” to speak on the topic of Internet and Social Media in Pakistan, particularly in the light of the recurrent Facebook ban case that was being contested in the Lahore High Court.
The program went very well and we decided to do a follow-up on the same topic which was aired on May 20, 2011.
Cure Rayan – A 3-yr old child suffering from Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia needs a Bone Marrow transplant and they are looking for donors – all you need to do is volunteer for a cotton swab test to see if you can donate
KARACHI – Wednesday Feb 16th at 112 Khayaban-e-Bahria Phase 5 DHA, (12pm to 8pm)
HELP SAVE A LIFE!!
Received the following via Facebook from a friend. Please help in any way you can by posting this on Facebook, Twitter, email, or to organize drives at educational institutions, clubs, offices, etc. Go and visit the Cure Rayan Facebook page. Alhamdulillah they have done a great job organizing drives in the USA and we should help them in achieving the same here. Oh and above all pitch in with your duas for the little kid. May Allah give him Shifa-e-Kamil and give his family the best in this life and the hereafter.
Yaar, I need your help.
My nephew (Farhan’s son) Rayan was diagnosed with leukemia in December and we need to find a bone marrow donor for him VERY urgently. Marrow matches are very ethnicity dependent, and therefore the highest chance of finding a match is in India/Pakistan.
We’ve been running marrow donor recruitments drives in the USA (see www.curerayan.org) and the plan is now to widen the net to educational insitutuions, clubs etc in Pakistan.
Can you please tell me if you have contacts in colleges/universities/any other venue (for instance, we’ looking at holding something at Karachi Gymkhana) that we can leverage to setup donor recruitment drives at?, schools are out, as donors need to be at least 18 (this is purely for legal consent reasons, close family even 4 year old children can donate!!) There is a lot of information on what this involves on Rayan’s website at www.curerayan.org. If you have any questions, feel free to email me back, or send me your phone number and I’ll call you right back. We only have 2 weeks to find a suitable donor for Rayan, so I would beg your quickest response. Please forward this message to your anyone you know who maybe able to help. We want to reach out and get as large a volunteer base as possible so we can figure out the best venues to hold donor drives at.
Tell anyone wishing to volunteer in any capacity to email Pakistan@CureRayan.org and someone from the team will contact them, I’m also attaching an email we’ve sent out to LUMS giving more details on the initiative.
We’re in the process of getting test kits sorted out to be sent to Karachi – can you please let me know if there is anything you can do to help in this initiative?
> —– Original Message —–
> From: Sohail Khan
> To: Ali
> Sent: Sun Feb 06 20:46:15 2011
> Subject: Message for Students and Alum – Please wait for my phone call before you send out
> Rayan, a three year old boy, was diagnosed a few weeks ago with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), a form of blood cancer. He is now in URGENT need of a bone marrow transplant. The global registry of bone marrow donors has 14 million people on it, of which less than 1% are South Asian. Unfortunately, as a result of this gross under-representation Rayan has not been able to find a suitable match. At this point we have two weeks to conduct drives to find Rayan a donor.
> Since learning of Rayan’s plight last Friday, we began rallying ourselves around the curerayan.org banner (see Facebook) with the objective of finding a donor. Thanks to the power of social media and the ceaseless effort of many, in a little over a week we’ve been able to host 56 donor drives across the US in mosques, schools, homes and offices and have tested 2,000+ potential donors. There has been an outpouring of love and support for Rayan that has been humbling for all of us.
> We now need to broaden the drive to Pakistan and need your help. You can make a difference by:
> – volunteering to help conduct bone marrow compatibility drives at universities, corporations, homes etc
> – spreading the word through tagging curerayan.org on Facebook, emailing the link to friends etc
> – donating at the bone marrow drives later in the week
> Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to join in our efforts
> The bone marrow compatibility is conducted through a simple cheek swab test – it is free (we will cover all costs), painless and takes 30 seconds. Gender is not relevant, but South Asian ethnicity is critical. By creating a large pool of donors we will not only help Rayan, but also others that, over time, may find themselves in his unfortunate situation. There are many myths about bone marrow transplants, in most cases its as simple as a blood transfusion (see http://www.marrow.org/JOIN/Myths_%26_Facts_about_Marrow_Don/index.html).
> Rayan’s life depends upon the kindness of strangers. I know LUMS, its students and alum are not new to kindness. I also know as an institution we seek to instill in our community a sense of social purpose, of acting as a moral compass. I hope the student body embraces this opportunity to do something for Rayan and the countless other Pakistani’s that will fall prey to this heartless disease.
> I’m attaching herewith a letter from Rayan’s parent. You can make a difference.
> Sohail Khan – MBA ’96
Are you an avid reader of From The Pulpit? Do you sit around waiting for a new sermon? Do you idolize DiscoMaulvi and follow him on twitter but have never really managed to interact with him? If the answer to any of the above is yes you should seriously consider consulting a psychiatrist! 🙂
Jokes aside, it has been a great journey these last 2-3 years to be on Twitter and to be part of the Pakistani Twitterati and the Blaagers. Over this time I have become friends with some people and interacted with some great people. Unfortunately, I have not been very sincere to my blog and not given it the time it deserves. While I doubt I will ever gain the following and readership commanded by Awab Alvi (Teeth Maestro), Faisal Kapadia (Deadpan Thoughts), or Kalsoom Lakhani (CHUP!), or ever manage to get as passionate about things as Sana Saleem (Mystified Justice), I hope that over 2011 I will be able to dedicate more time to blogging and improve From The Pulpit.
While at the moment there is no plan to shift from wordpress.com to my own domain, I hope that someday in the future I will be doing that (although one of my blogging mentors Awab Alvi has been after me to take the leap).
One of the biggest challenges I face as a writer is that I am too harsh a critic of my own writing. Thus, most of my stuff is buried before I even complete it. Another problem is the lack of time I am able to give to writing. I hope I can learn to better manage my time and start cranking out some quality stuff in 2011.
The most important aspect with being a writer is the feedback you receive for what you write. Unfortunately, I have not been able to get much comments on my writing or other stuff I post. This is a setback as it is only discussion which can lead to further ideas to be generated and get the rust off my brain. Thus, in order to make it easier, here are some ways that the reader can interact with me:
Facebook Fan Page
While the Fan page of From The Pulpit has been there for time, I have decided to slowly shift to another fan page for DiscoMaulvi. I think that this fan page will be a great forum and offer discussion to take place not only on the content I post but also be a breeding ground for new ideas for me to write on. Thus, all readers are encouraged to head over to the fan page and start the interaction!
Twitter has served as a great place to interact with people but the likelihood of people being on FaceBook vs Twitter is much higher. In addition, Twitter being limited to 140 characters sometimes limits the comments greatly. However, since DiscoMaulvi has been and will stay on Twitter (as it is where I met all these wonderful people I know), head over to Twitter and start following DiscoMaulvi on Twitter.
RSS Feed & Email Updates
While I am pushing all of you to do this and that, keeping updated on when I post to From The Pulpit is necessary for a timely interaction. Thus, you need to be subscribed via RSS or email updates to be alerted when there is a new sermon. You can see the links for RSS and the form for email signup in the right hand column (I have no clue how to put them in the body of this post!).
All in all, it would be great to hear from my readers and get feedback on my posts.
I initially started this as a response to this comment by Arzoo on this post on Teeth Maestro on the subject of Everybody Draw Mohammed Day and the ensuing Facebook Ban but decided it needed to be on my blog for a longer response.
You are not a Religious Scholar as you admitted “I’m not a religious scholar” But yet you make a statement on something you don’t know
You Don’t Agree With All of Scholars Of Islam Including All the Prominent Scholars ? You Disagree with Prophet (PBUH) order to Umer (RZ) to kill the Jew who insulted Prophet (PBUH)
The ruling on one who insults the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
The scholars are unanimously agreed that a Muslim who insults the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) becomes a kaafir and an apostate who is to be executed. This consensus was narrated by more than one of the scholars, such as Imaam Ishaaq ibn Raahawayh, Ibn al-Mundhir, al-Qaadi ‘Iyaad, al-Khattaabi and others. Al-Saarim al-Maslool, 2/13-
I agree with you that the thought of anyone disrespecting our Prophet (SAW) should make your blood boil and make you want to chop his head off. This should be our level of Iman that we love Allah and his Rasool above all even ourselves.
I however disagree that we as individuals should go about chopping heads. This is the duty of the Khalifa to impose such a punishment and as an individual or group of muslims we have no legal Islamic right to harm anyone.
While the incident of the Jew you mentioned may have happened, the order was given by the Amir-ul-Momineen of that time (the Prophet (SAW)) and Omar (RA) would have not been right if he killed the Jew on his own initiative. Today we neither have the Prophet (SAW) in our midst nor a Khalifa. Thus, to impose these verdicts is not in our legal right.
I am all for the Government banning specific links to all that is unsafe and unislamic (includes thousands of porn websites that anybody can easily access, links to terrorist outfits, Nazi websites, and several anti-Islam websites). I am also all for the Government protesting on the international front by sending a strictly worded letter to the country where this all started (USA), raise this issue from the platform of Islamic bodies and in the UN. Blanket bans of Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia, Flickr, etc have just served to catapult this issue in the limelight as Fatima Ajmal, Sana Saleem and several other Blaagers have highlighted that we have created free publicity for the perpetrators of this filth and then banned our own access to be able to protest it on the forum of propogation!!
Allah (SWT) has made Islam a complete religion and way of life for us. We look at the incident of the Jew and we take it as proof for violence but we do not look at the rage of the Prophet (SAW) when he expressed his wish to go and burn the houses of those Muslims who did not come to the Masjid for Fajr. Our blood does not boil when we see the elite of this country (and increasingly the non-elite) consume alcohol and make fun of Islamic injunctions. Are we enraged when we see our country waging war against Allah and His Messenger (SAW) by allowing an interest based economy?
Granted that if I am not following one part of Islam, it doesn’t mean that I should stop following another part. We should however use this incident to do a self-evaluation and see just how we are insulting the Prophet (SAW) in our daily lives by ignoring all the things he ordered us to do.
At the end of the day, I am reminded of a verse by Allama Iqbal
Na Thi Jab Apnay Haal Ki Khabar
Dekhtay Rehay Logon Kay Aib-o-Hunar
Parri Jab Apnay Gunahoon Par Nazar
To Nigah Mein Koi Aur Bura Na Raha!
You may remember a couple of years ago, there was a series of mass protests all over the Muslim world, when a Danish newspaper published cartoons of the Prophet (SAW). Some Muslims chose to take the way of violence, some burnt flags and took out rallies, and many economically boycotted all things Danish. The issue boiled the blood of almost all who claim to be Muslim.
Recently the South Park controversy came and went, but no one really noticed it much since Comedy Central decided they didn’t want to risk it after an extremist group sent a gruesome picture of Theo Van Gogh (a Dutch film maker who was killed for his film Submission).
After being invited to one too many groups declaring war against Facebook for not banning the fan page of “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”, I figured i would read up on just what everyone was so antsy about and put in my two cents worth (and hopefully being able to kill the Writer’s block that has been troubling me for the past few months).
Molly Norris, a cartoonist based in Seattle couldn’t understand why anyone would resort to threats of violence on the South Park depiction of Prophet Muhammad. Such extremism must be voiced out against; we have a right to draw whatever we want; our wonderful First Amendment gives us the right, blah blah blah. So Molly set out her thoughts in a way that she knew best: in a cartoon. Little did clueless Molly know it would go “viral” and take a life of its own.
I did NOT ‘declare’ May 20 to be “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.” I made a cartoon about the television show South Park being censored. The cartoon-poster, with a fake ‘group’ behind it, went viral and was taken seriously. I never started a FaceBook page; a stranger did and there is nothing I can do about it.
My one-off cartoon of a fictional poster does not work well as a long-term plan. The vitriol this ‘day’ has brought out, of people who only want to draw obscene images, is offensive to the Muslims who did nothing to endanger our right to expression in the first place. Only Viacom and Revolution Muslim are to blame, so write to them instead!
I apologize to people of Muslim faith and ask that this ‘day’ be called off. Thank you to those who are turning this crazy thing into an opportunity for dialogue, education and solutions.
(I regret going on a local radio show on April 25th; my ego took me there, it was a mistake. I meant for this to remain a fictional CARTOON, an artistic IDEA, never to catch fire as an actual ‘event’.)
Something doesn’t quite add up here. Molly meant this as a cartoon, her own voice against extremism. So why did her “ego” take her on air of a local radio show? (In this day and age of super connectivity and broadband internet, is anything really “local” any more?) And why did she pass on the image to Dan Savage, a Seattle based blogger and a nationally syndicated columnist, in the first place? Oh sure, now she claims in interviews that she was an idiot, but if she meant this never to go viral why did she start spreading it in the first place? Dan Savage served as a promoter and his network of readers served as the means to disseminate this graphic out to the world and mothball this into the controversy it is.
“This particular cartoon of a ‘poster’ seems to have struck a gigantic nerve, something I was totally unprepared for”
Seriously Molly, have you been hibernating all these years? What cartoonist wouldn’t have heard of the controversial cartoons of the Prophet that sparked off worldwide protests?
We also find Jon Wellington, who created a Facebook event for this non-existent day, has backed out. He created the event on Facebook because he “loved [Norris’s] creative approach to the whole thing — whimsical and nonjudgmental.” So why is he backing out? And now that he is backing out why not just delete the event and all its content? Instead of writing
New game: Be super-nice to everyone! Enough of this drawing nonsense.
just get rid of the event and remove the controversy! Because the wall on the event is looking like a duel between Muslims and those who are intent on bashing Islam and spreading hate.
And now the event has spawned into splinter Fan pages and what not where the extremists are having a blast in bashing Muslims and spawning hatred.
So while Molly may have washed her hands off this mess by posting an apology and a revised version of her cartoon, Molly Norris’ monster is still out there, growing rapidly and embroiling all in this controversy.
Facebook is also playing its part in feeding this monster. Instead of acting responsibly and shutting down all such events and fan pages that are clearly in violation of their terms of service particularly item 3.7 which states
3.7 You will not post content that: is hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence
So should we boycott Facebook for a day?
A campaign has started to call for banning Facebook on May 20 as a protest against Facebook’s inaction against the “Everybody Draw Mohammed” pages on Facebook.
But why stick to just a one day boycott? Why not boycott until Facebook sits up and notices? Is our love for the Prophet so meager that it warrants staying off Facebook for just 24 hours? And where does this love for the Prophet disappear to when we blatantly ignore his teachings day in and day out? Do we boycott ourselves for not loving and respecting the Prophet by obeying his teachings? And does not the Quran tell us that all Prophets are equal and we should not distinguish between any single one? So why don’t we protest when South Park regularly depicts Jesus (AS) in its cartoons? Just some food for thought for us all as we stay off Facebook on 20th May.
August 14, 2009: Pakistan turns 62, and the Blaagers (name given to Paki bloggers) celebrate by Going Green and Trending #Pakistan on the Twitter Trends (similar to when we trended #PakCricket and Twitter was a Sea of Green). And while I was among those involved in this effort and fully supporting it these past days, a strange void was felt inside. A nagging thought that maybe Going Green and making it to the Trending Topics were feel good measures; a sense of Patriotism that rises up at occasions like this and then conveniently is put in storage for the next appropriate Pakistan Pride moment. We owe it to Pakistan to move beyond just superficial lip service to the ideals of Jinnah and our founding fathers. We must do something to stall the downward spiral we see our beloved country in.
I just finished reading The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell recently and one particular discussion in the book stuck with me: The Broken Windows theory. This thesis put forward by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling in 1982 and further discussed by Kelling in his book Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities gives us a great insight on the problems Pakistan faces right now. We have essentially become a community where there are too many Broken Windows.
So just what is this theory?
Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it’s unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside.
Basically, the premise is that a Broken Window sends a negative signal and people start slowly treating the area around this Broken Window as rundown and derelict. The idea is that if you want to make a big change sometimes the best thing is to change seemingly trivial things. As these trivialities add up we reach a tipping point, and soon we know it the area is no more what it used to be.
So just what am I talking about? What windows are we breaking? Whether it is that 50 rupee note you slipped the policeman to avoid a ticket for talking on the cell while driving, or the fact that you just flaunted every traffic law that exists while driving an unregistered car without a driver’s licence. Or it is that empty Coke bottle you just threw from the car’s tinted windows.
Patriotism is not just about the paper flags you have decorated your street with, it is also about taking those flags down once the celebration is over. It is not about the huge flag on top of your house, it is also about removing that illegal and unislamic Kunda your house is running on. It is not about blaring National Anthems from your car stereo, it is about respecting the traffic laws as you do so. It is not just about being enraged at the disappearance of the Quaid’s photo from the President’s House, it is about living the ideals of the Quaid.
This year, on this Independence Day, let us resolve that we the Citizens of Pakistan will not shed our Patriotism when the clock strikes midnight. We will instead mend Broken Windows, clean up our mess, and implement the dreams and ideals on which Pakistan was founded on. And as pane after pane is fixed, we will Insha’Allah soon see Pakistan become Evergreen.
“It ain’t easy being Green” – Kermit The Frog