Published by Seth Oldmixon on July 13, 2018

Critical Mass: Extremists don’t need a majority to fundamentally alter society

With national elections approaching in Pakistan and Bangladesh, there is a lot of talk about whether Islamist candidates stand a viable chance of winning. Typically, Islamist parties do not perform well in either country. In Pakistan, the Muttahida Majlis–e–Amal, a political alliance of Islamist groups, managed to win 53 National Assembly seats in 2002 during…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on May 4, 2018

How Secularism Protects Religion and Culture

In a recent interview with the Economist, Pakistani politician Imran Khan expressed his support for women, like his wife, who choose to wear a veil that fully covers their face. “The amount of clothes a person wants to wear – how much they want to wear or how little they want to wear – is a…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on February 8, 2018

Echoes of Pakistani Extremism Ring Out In Indian Politics

In her indispensable book, Purifying the Land of the Pure, Farahnaz Ispahani details the tragic history of Pakistan’s descent “into internal violence as the search for Islamic purity set Muslims against non-Muslims, Sunnis against Shiites and Ahmadis, and various Sunni sects against one another.” Today, echoes of this tragedy can be heard ringing out in…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on December 20, 2017

Pakistani Newspaper Alters Report on Religious Minorities

On December 13, The Express Tribune, a Pakistani newspaper affiliated with The New York Times, reported on a Supreme Court case pertaining to the rights of religious minorities in Pakistan. According to the original report, “the top court has expressed its anger over the Punjab government’s failure to ensure the the presence of Hindu idols…

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Published by Liberty South Asia on December 18, 2017

Pakistan Cabinet Official Makes Inflammatory Statement About Religious Minorities

Pakistan’s Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Marriyum Aurangzeb, told reporters on Friday that “Jews and Hindus” are secretly funding an opposition political party for the purposes of “halting the way of Pakistan’s prosperity.” The most recent data available from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics lists Pakistan’s Hindus as just under 2 percent of…

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Published by Liberty South Asia on November 17, 2017

Pakistan Doubles Down on Persecution of Ahmadiyya

Ahmadis, an Islamic sect whose members follow the teachings of the 19th century religious leader  Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, have suffered incredible persecution in Pakistan. Despite their constituting a tiny minority of the country’s population, Pakistan took the extraordinary step of amending its constitution in 1974 to explicitly declare Ahmadis – and Ahmadis alone – as…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on October 8, 2017

Pakistan’s Army Just Handed Religious Extremists A Huge PR Victory

This post was originally published by The Hudson Institute and is available here: http://www.southasiaathudson.org/blog/2017/10/6/pakistans-army-just-handed-religious-extremists-a-huge-pr-victory At a press conference on Thursday, Pakistan Army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor handed religious extremists a huge PR victory. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, the Army spokesman said, “Neither the armed forces have compromised on Namoos-e-Risalat (SAW), nor would they…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on August 9, 2017

Political Normalization of Extremism Poses New Threats In South Asia

In 2005, a popular Hindu nationalist was denied entry to the United States under a section of US law that makes any foreign government official who “was responsible for or directly carried out, at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom” ineligible for a visa to the United States. Nine years later, that Hindu…

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Published by Liberty South Asia on June 7, 2017

PAKISTAN: Journalist Receives Death Threats For Writing About Religious Minorities

Pakistani journalist Rana Tanveer has received death threats at his home in Lahore for writing about religious minorities in the country. According to Mr. Tanveer, he moved to his current home just under one and a half years ago so that his daughter could attend a local school. Three months ago, his landlord began receiving…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on May 23, 2017

Congressional Resolutions Express Concern About Religious Freedom in Pakistan

Two new Congressional resolutions, H. Res. 319 in the House and S. Res. 162 in the Senate, call special attention to threats to religious freedom in Pakistan. The Senate Resolution, which reaffirms the commitment of the United States to promoting religious freedom, includes the following language specific to Pakistan: Whereas, according to Human Rights Watch,…

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