Judicial Terror: Pakistani Court Sentences Man 13 Years of Prison for Facebook Posting

Thirteen years of prison and a fine of ($2,300) – only for an offensive Facebook posting of a Shia sect member in Chiniot, Punjab, in Pakistan. The case hasn’t evoked a media furor but is another alarming example of the judicial vandalism that is rampant in Pakistan under the current government.

ABS-CBN is one of the few media outlets that published the AFP story of the case.… [Read more]

Is killing sinners more important in Islam than saving lives?

The news in Pakistan has brought forth two stories that makes you wonder whether some aspects of Islam place a higher value on saving innocent lives or getting a sinner killed. The first tells of two children starved to death in the Sindh province where torrential rains caused considerable destruction, particularly to the poor part of the population.… [Read more]

Marathon Man

Another all too predictable Paul Ryan beat down, cue the fact checkers, ‘we got a bleeder’ screed? Well, only a little. After his GOP convention acceptance speech, putative VP Ryan triggered a torrent of criticism centered on his (ahem) fast and furious approach to the facts used to smite the godless, graceless Democratic horde. We that sling stones from the Great White Plexiglas fortress have another idea about the self-promoted MarathonMan.… [Read more]

Outrage in Benghazi

News reports continue to come in on this breaking story. Factors, such as the September 11th date, and the heavily armed and choreographed attack have some in the Pentagon considering if there was an al Queda attack, and not the less well-organized demonstrations seen in Cairo.

U.S. Ambassador John Christopher Stevens and three others were barely dead in Benghazi as the Mitt Romney campaign rushed in to condemn the Obama Administration.… [Read more]

Right or Left: The Incomplete Portraits of Al Qaeda

Every year around this time—the time near the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks—numerous articles and TV segments sprout up professing to explain the true motivations of “those who hate us,” or, in other words, of the broadly-based Al Qaeda movement. And every year, I find that most of these assessments come up a little short.… [Read more]

Islamist Proselytism and Policy of Haunting the ‘Captives’

The recent on-air conversion of a young Hindu man to Islam on a private TV channel in Pakistan has again stripped the clerical segment of Pakistani society of the hypocrisy it has been blasted for numerous times already. Besides making it an item of public entertainment, the incident defines the level of bigotry a TV channel would indulge in so as to win applause from the fundamentalist mindset.… [Read more]

Islamism vs. Institutions: Not a Simple Equation

Often it goes without saying in the political science world that the best way to foster liberal democracy against the threats of extremism and illiberalism in a post-revolution society is through the presence of institutions and political parties.

However, the recent Arab-Spring-related elections may not bare this popular theory out.

Egypt—a country with a deep history of civic institutions, secularism, and political parties—elected a member of the Islamist party, the Muslim Brotherhood, as its first post-Mubarak regime president.… [Read more]

Freaking Out Over Egypt’s Islamists

Every now and again, my inbox becomes the victim of interest group spam. Most recently, a rogue, unsolicited email reached me with urgent news from a conservative website: Not only had Egypt elected an evil Islamist as its new president but our own president, Barack Obama, had called to congratulate him! Gasp! We can only assume now that the reign of Sharia law will race through the world, wiping out Israeland the Western world in its path!… [Read more]

Mob Frenzy Destroys the Innocent

What horrors mob mentality entails was witnessed once again yesterday, this time near Quetta, Balochistan—which currently remains among Pakistan’s most insecure territories. Media reports informed that a police station in Kachlak area was raided by a furious mob of locals who were demanding that the police hand over to them a man arrested for allegedly committing desecration of Islam’s holy book, the Koran.… [Read more]

Nostalgia and the Conservative Ostrich

With François Hollande winning the first round of the French presidential vote, Sarkozy’s re-election prospects are looking quite grim, and the dawn of a new age in French politics seems to be fast approaching. The French cultural mirror, head turned sharply back (to call it vain would be cliché), is proving to be unsustainable in the 21st century: Amelie might have sustained the wonderful simulacra of Montmartre, artistic and quirky, but this whitewashed past hasn’t simply vanished in the desert of postmodernism; it has really never existed at all.… [Read more]

Who’s a ‘Martyr’?

“A martyr is a man who dies in fight against infidels,” I read the opening line of a grade-2 lesson about a Pakistani military hero from the 1965 war between India and Pakistan. “Infidels”? I read the line again to make sure I didn’t get it wrong. And maybe I did, for the word in that line was none else than “infidel”.… [Read more]