Who Supports Persecution?

Hadhrat_Mirza_Ghulam_Ahmad2The persecution of Ahmadis has hit the news again with the killing of an American Ahmadi doctor in Pakistan last week while he was volunteering in an Ahmadi hospital. Having written on the issues of labels in relation to the Ahmadi before at the Bulletin for the Study of Religion blog, I found the careful phrasing of the Reuters article about the shooting of the doctor impressive. Describing the Ahmadi as “a group that says it is Muslim but whose religion is rejected by the state,” I appreciated the precision with which the author acknowledged who described the Ahmadi as Muslim and who rejected that label. This phrasing is similar to what I have advocated generally. To acknowledge that labels are both contested and consequential by stating with precision who applies and contests particular labels is imperative. Continue reading “Who Supports Persecution?”

What Came First, the Difference or the Similarity? Part 1

huffpostThe Huffington Post has a new article that opens with:

Hindus and Buddhists in Sri Lanka may have been divided through political strife over the years, but they have one important thing in common. Her name is Pattini to Sinhala Buddhists and Kannaki to Tamil Hindus, but she is one and the same goddess shared in religious practices by the two faiths.

And it closes with the following:

Most importantly, in her shared worship among Hindus and Buddhists Pattini-Kannaki is an ironic reminder of the parallel cultural traditions that may exist between groups divided along ethnic or political lines… Continue reading “What Came First, the Difference or the Similarity? Part 1”

Selling the Human

googleindiaDid you see Google’s new ad, released not long ago and which is part of their Google India strategy? It’s quite effective. Continue reading “Selling the Human”

Patricide and the Nation

Jinnah and Gandhi, “fathers” of Pakistan and India

Yesterday was Father’s Day in the United States, a manufactured holiday (like any other) that promotes socially-sanctioned sentiments through the mass production of “World’s Greatest Dad” cards and mugs. The day before US Father’s Day, multiple attacks in the Pakistani province of Balochistan included a form of symbolic patricide, as a group fired rockets to destroy a residence where M. A. Jinnah, regarded as the father of Pakistan, had lived in Ziarat, also killing the police officer guarding the site. The other attacks in Balochistan that day reportedly killed dozens, including bombings at a women’s university and a hospital, both in Quetta (a few hours away from Ziarat). While Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which some people link with al Qaida, claimed responsibility for the hospital and university attacks, the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), identified as a separatist group trying to gain the independence of Balochistan from Pakistan, claimed the attack on Jinnah’s residence. Continue reading “Patricide and the Nation”