Showing posts with label Ismailis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ismailis. Show all posts
Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Extracts from an interview with a Paki nuclear physicist. He is an Islmaili Muslim, considered heretical by many other Muslims.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr Hoodbhoy, you warn regularly about the radicalisation of Muslims. What do you base that on specifically?

Hoodbhoy: When I started teaching here at Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad in the early 70s, on the entire campus there was only a single student wearing a burka. Today around 70 per cent of the women here are completely covered. Only 30 per cent go around normally.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Do your students justify it? Or is that not an issue?

Hoodbhoy: I ask them occasionally and many of them say Islam requires it of them. Others say they wear a burka or hijab because most women here do. Others say they feel safer like that, because when they're standing at the bus stop no one bothers them.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: So there's no turning to god or stricter interpretation of religion?

Hoodbhoy: Yes. We are experiencing a major cultural revolution in the Islamic world. It's not just Pakistan that is affected, but more or less every Islamic country. Pakistan is changing, Afghanistan has radicalised, Iran, Iraq, many countries in Africa and the Arabian world, Egypt, Algeria, now Mali. Sooner or later in Syria only veiled women will be seen. But let's look at the Islamic communities in Europe or the USA - they are infected by the same virus. Why? I think people are noticing that they are different from others. A burka is really just a label to distance yourself from others. It says clearly: my identity is Islamic. This identity is closely bound to the feeling of being a victim of history. Deep down, Muslims feel that they have failed. This mix of sensitivities makes me afraid, because it leads to behaviour that is very unhealthy.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: You view Muslim societies as having collectively failed. What do you mean by that?

Hoodbhoy: There are around 1.5 billion Muslims in the entire world - but they cannot point to a substantial achievement in any field. Not in politics, not socially, not in the sciences or art or literature. The only thing they do with great devotion is fast and pray. But there are no efforts to improve conditions of life in Islamic societies. Unconsciously people naturally feel this is a collective failure.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Do you actually receive threats because of statements like this?

Hoodbhoy: Threats, no, but they make life difficult for me. I've just been sacked from Lahore University of Management Sciences, where I taught physics. That's a very progressive private university, but in this society there are limits to what may be said. Even here in Islamabad life isn't easy for me. Because I am a tenured professor, they can't sack me. But I've haven't been paid for months. I'm just sticking to the facts: what significant invention or discovery have Muslims made in the last thousand years? Electricity? Electromagnetic waves? Antibiotics? The combustion engine? Computers? No, nothing, at least nothing that makes for a modern civilisation. And it's the same now. And according to the religious fanatics, that also doesn't matter. Their thoughts are still stuck in the 12th century.
Source: Der Spiegel

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