Malala, the ‘foreign agent’ and Dr. Hoodbhoy, the ‘Jahil’

The past animosity between Dr Hoodbhoy and Ansar Abbasi fueled a debate that turned into an ugly verbal brawl on national television, with insensitive comments being exchanged by both parties. It was really awful! And the most obnoxious thing I found in the debate was Abbasi’s bigoted version of Malala’s book, and his refusal to be corrected when given facts by Dr. Hoodbhoy. He rather, very sordidly, got personal.

Ansar Abbasi has gone after Malala as according to him she, in her book, was too soft on Salman Rushdie. In her book, Malala argued for freedom of speech while disagreeing with the contents of Satanic Verses, more particularly she says:  ‘Is Islam such a weak religion that it cannot tolerate a book written against it? Not my Islam!’ She talks about the rights of Ahamadis, the problems with the blasphemy law, and that Pakistan lost three wars against India. The later is a fact accepted everywhere in the world, except in Pakistan's textbooks. And the horror of it all for Abbasi, she criticized Pakistan's brutal military dictator from the 1980s, General Zia ul Haq, and his ‘Islamisation’ policies that Pakistan is still dealing with. Abbasi is indeed a fan of Zia - and Malala's criticism of his hero must have crossed him immensely.

These are the exact excerpts from her book:

'He (Salman Rushdie) has [sic] all the right under freedom of expression, but my father said that we should write a book against him --- My father also saw the book as offensive to Islam but believes strongly in freedom of speech. ‘First, let’s read the book and then why not respond with our own book,’ he suggested.'

'Now we are a country of 180 million and more than 96 per cent are Muslim. We also have around two million Christians and more than two million Ahmadis, who say they are Muslims though our government says they are not. Sadly those minority communities are often attacked.'

Shame on the talk shows that deliberately manipulate such sensitive issues into controversies and the opinion former who manipulate people's feelings by debating around them. 

23:50 hours
31 October 2013

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