The Islamization of Pakistan

This month’s Newsline has a couple of excellent articles on the Islamization of Pakistan.

First there’s an article called ‘The Power of the Pulpit’ by Mohammad Hanif, author of ‘A Case of Exploding Mangoes’ which was shortlisted for the 2008 Guardian First Book Award.

Hanif writes:

Mullahs, maulvis, imamas, or ulema-i-karam as many of them prefer to call themselves, have never had the kind of influence or social standing that they enjoy now. A large part of Pakistan is enthralled by this new generation of evangelists. They are there on prime time TV, they thunder on FM radios between adverts for Pepsi and hair removing cream. In the past few years, they have established fancy websites with embedded videos; mobile phone companies offer their sermons for download right to your telephone. They come suited, they come dressed like characters out of the Thousand and One Nights, they are men and they are women. Some of them even dress like bankers and talk like property agents offering bargain deals in heaven.

Then there’s an article called ‘The Saudi-isation of Pakistan’ by Pervez Hoodbhoy, professor of High Energy Physics and the Head of the Physics Department at Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad.

Hoodbhoy writes:

The common belief in Pakistan is that Islamic radicalism is a problem only in FATA, and that madrassas are the only institutions serving as jihad factories. This is a serious misconception. Extremism is breeding at a ferocious rate in public and private schools within Pakistan’s towns and cities. Left unchallenged, this education will produce a generation incapable of co-existing with anyone except strictly their own kind. The mindset it creates may eventually lead to Pakistan’s demise as a nation state.

Both are excellent, though long, articles that I highly recommend you read.