The Enemies of Western Civilization

1. Defense

August 1990: Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Inadvertently, some of his forces easily took over some territory of Saudi Arabia. Some thought that Hussein would eventually gobble up Arabia as well. The US formed the largest coalition since World War II to repel Hussein.

January 1991: Hussein's Iraq was firing Scud missiles into Saudi Arabia. Many missed their military targets and demolished civilian infrastructure instead. Many in Arabia feared that chemical weapons would be used against them by the madman in Baghdad. Civilians were provided with gas masks.

February 1991: The US air force and later the hundreds of thousands of ground troops liberated Kuwait and saved the Middle East -- especially the Arabs living in the land of Saud.

2. Gratitude

Late 1990s: Many shops in Saudi Arabia had small plastic donation boxes. I asked my dad about their purpose. He told me that the money went to the mujaheddin in Afghanistan. Arabs were freely supporting al-Qaeda.

September 2001: 19 Muslims inflict one of the deadliest assaults on American soil. Almost 3,000 are killed. Ordinary Muslims celebrate.

December 2001: My father worked in Saudi Aramco. I talked to him about the mood at his office right after 9/11. He told me that the Arabs were celebrating like they had won the Football World Cup. Every one was jubilant with one exception. There was one Arab who was not satisfied. My dad went up to him and inquired about his grief. He was looking at the photos and the videos of the collapsing Twin Towers. He said that the towers fell straight down. He was despondent because he hoped that they had fallen on their side. He wished that there had been more death and carnage.

Just a decade after the United States had saved these very people and their families from possible death, slavery and mutilation, they were cheering at, what at the time was thought, the annihilation of 10,000 innocent American civilians.

3. Eternal Enemy

There were reports of certain people celebrating around the US right after 9/11. I met these sorts of people at my university in Canada. I have had conversations with people who openly and proudly supported the Taliban. Wicked glee would be an appropriate term for their reaction to the slaughter of almost 3,000 Americans. What do all of them have in common? Islam.

Muslims are nourished on poison. They are told to hate the unbeliever, the infidel, the kafir. Such has been the case since the evil Muhammad inflicted his cult on the world. That Jew-murdering, slave-owning, paedophile is the role model for over a fifth of humanity. It would be a very confusing world if the Muslims weren't at war with us.

Islam is utterly incompatible with Western Civilization. One simply has to look at the rules and laws of Sunni Arabia and Shia Iran and compare them to the legal books of any Western country. The best thing we can do is to put as much distance as we can between us and them.

Ban Muslim immigration. Burn ISIS. Make it clear to any Islamic organization that even mildly instigates against us: you will be crushed.

4. The Enablers

Why is it that we haven't taken such simple steps to protect ourselves? Islam is the main enemy. But before we get to dealing with it, we have to face the internal foes. The main enablers: the universities, the mainstream media and the leftist politicians.

All of them have a favorite saying about Islam:

Islam means by Bosch Fawstin

Obama thinks that we can absorb another terrorist attack. Obama handed the Islamic terrorist regime of Iran hundreds of millions of dollars. Infidels around the world will pay for that later. He glosses over the slaughter of Christians and imports hundreds of thousands of Muslims into America.

Hillary lets Americans die in Libya. She accepts millions of dollars from the Saudis. The hypocrisy can make one faint.

The very people who're supposed to defend the United States, defend its eternal enemy. They refuse to mention ISIS. They make it deeply unfashionable to call out the evil of Islam. Truth is hate speech.

The moral depravity is not limited to them. Dumb Jews want to be friends with Muslims. Homosexuals march in support of Islam. Feminists are totally cool with the garbage bag burqa.

It was not always so. We had leadership.

How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy [...] The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property—either as a child, a wife, or a concubine—must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.

All is not lost.

After the Brussels attack, the head of Poland's largest party announced that "after recent events connected with acts of terror, [Poland] will not accept refugees, because there is no mechanism that would ensure security."

Victor Orban, Prime Minister of Hungary, declared that "we do not like the consequences of having a large number of Muslim communities that we see in other countries, and I do not see any reason for anyone else to force us to create ways of living together in Hungary that we do not want to see...."

Robert Fico, Prime Minister of Slovakia, announced that "Islam has no place in Slovakia."

The Czech Republic, which had in the past taken in a few thousand Muslim migrants, regrets even that, to judge by the remark of its President, Milos Zeman, this January, that "it is practically impossible to integrate Islam into Europe," and made clear that the Czechs will not be taking any more.

We are in another battle in the Longest War. As long as we tell the truth about Islam, unmask the enablers and support those who fight -- Trump, the Alt Right and the Nationalists -- we shall win.

The Canadian

At the end of 2007, after getting an uneventful background check from the FBI, I had fulfilled all the requirements for becoming a permanent resident of Canada. Thus, my status was changed from a convention refugee to a permanent resident.

I could only apply for citizenship after two years had passed since becoming a resident and so I did in late 2009. I got a letter from Citizenship Canada informing me about the time for the citizenship test in late 2010.

After a quick search, I found a database of multiple choice questions which test your knowledge of Canadian history, politics and geography. A couple of hours before the test, I plowed through one hundred questions on this website and got all of them right. The actual test had twenty questions. I know for sure that I got eighteen correct. The other two I'm not so certain; they were worded in such a way that more than one answer could be technically correct.

Unfortunately, Citizenship Canada does not specify the exact mark on the test. They only inform one about passsing or failing. To pass, one has to correctly answer at least sixteen out of the twenty questions. A couple of weeks after writing the test, they informed me of the time for the citizenship ceremony.

I arrived at the government building half an hour before the main event. I stood outside in the cool morning chill. I remembered that in Saudi Arabia one has to avert the eyes away from shiny objects -- cars, windows, any reflective surfaces -- because of the intense, scorching sunlight. So, the only place one can look is down.

I looked up and breathed in the free air. My heart thanked all those strangers who donated money for my lawyer whose expertise was valuable in front of the Refugee Board four years ago. How kind is fate. Most of my former countrymen consider it their religious duty to slaughter me but here in the West, a small Army of Infidel Davids saved my life.

I noticed some peculiar clouds but they couldn't be as I saw a plane high in the ether. Then one more, then another. All flying in the westward direction, leaving those long puffy lines behind them.

Sixty people, at that place, were becoming Canadian citizens on the day. The judge talked a bit about Canadian history. She shared some personal information with us. Her Asian grandfather was moved and put in a camp during the Second World War. Now, two generations later, his granddaughter was welcoming new immigrants to Canada.

There was a strange moment when we had to pledge allegiance to the Queen in English ... and then in French. I guess that makes the new Canadians doubly loyal.

I applied for a Canadian passport today. The process was surprisingly quick. By the end of this month, international travel for me will be a bit more comfortable.

Pakistan: A Fractured Nation

Classical Liberal emailed me last month:

"I'm reading Adventure Capitalist, by Jim Rogers, about his world trip from 1999 to 2001, and have come to the part were he drives through Pakistan. I wonder what you think of the following passage:

Pakistan is one of those countries that I believe will not survive as such, irrespective of its irreconcilable differences with India. The regional differences and shared animosities within Pakistan itself are so dramatic as to threaten its viability. This is a country rushed together by way of a mass migration of Muslims in the wake of Indian independence. (Muslims who came to Pakistan in 1947 are still considered different from those who were already there at the time. Their children and their grandchildren are still "inferior." Class distinctions parallel those now expressed in Germany, where former East Germans are discriminated against.) A nation hopelessly conceived by frenetic English bureaucrats, it is one whose center will not hold. The farmers of the Punjab have nothing in common with the tribesmen of Baluchistan. The inhabitants of the North-West Frontier are descendants of Caucasians who came down centuries ago. Many still have blue eyes. The various places meshed together after World War II have rarely had much in common. The country is unstable (and especially dangerous since it has nuclear weapons). In time it will be several countries.

In particular I'm curious to know, Isaac, what you think of Rogers' comments concerning Pakistan's disunity, and of the distinction made between those living in what is now Pakistan before and after the break up with India."

My lengthy answer follows.


I studied at a Pakistani school in Saudi Arabia. I remember once reading my social studies book in the late 80s and being surprised by something.

You see, I spent only my early years in Pakistan. The few memories I had were of my relatives who lived there. The Pakistani nation was still a mystery to me. So, it was quite eye-opening to read about the four different provinces of Pakistan -- Sindh, Balochistan, North West Frontier Province and Punjab. The people who lived in these provinces not only had dissimilar styles of clothing for men and women, as the pictures in the book showed, but they also spoke different languages. I found this to be very odd.

In Saudi Arabia, one can travel hundreds of kilometers from Jeddah to Makkah to Medina to Riyadh to Dhahran and still speak the same tongue. The language of the signs on these roads would be recognizable to the vast majority in Arabia. "How do people navigate in Pakistan?" I thought. Of course, the fact that most people in Pakistan are illiterate presents a whole new layer of complexity to the problem.

As I progressed in school -- from memorizing short books and fables to memorizing heavier books and stories -- the back story of Pakistan came into sharper focus.


For over two hundred years, from 1526 onward, the Mughal Empire ruled over the Asian subcontinent. Aurangzeb, the last great Mughal Emperor, controlled a region which included modern-day Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.

The Mughals started their empire-building from the west side of the region, taking a similar route as Alexander the Great in 327 BC. Babur, the first Mughal emperor, had present Afghanistan as his base. Later his line extended the region under Mughal rule. After Babur, followed Humayun, Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jahan (famous for the Taj Mahal) and Aurangzeb.

Of course, the Mughal Empire was inherently unstable since there wasn't any unifying characteristic of the varied populations. The Mughals were Muslims but most of their subjects were not. They enforced Islamic law to certain degrees. For example, the jizya tax was imposed on the population by Aurangzeb. Though, only non-Muslims had to pay this tax. It simultaneously raised revenue while putting an explicit penalty on those who dared to call themselves non-Muslim.

All empires fall and so did the Mughal Dynasty. The British took advantage of the fragile nature of the alliances in the subcontinent and, with shockingly little manpower, took over the whole region by the early 19th century. By 1857, the British exiled the last "emperor" of the Mughals.


The British couldn't maintain their rule over India. The epic battles of the Second World War further eroded their hold on the subcontinent. However, they didn't leave India in one piece. Muslims who as a minority were once lords of the region just couldn't bare being ruled over by the majority Hindus. Muslims wanted their own lands and they got their wish.

Muslims had a majority in the Western and Eastern parts of India. Thus, those pieces formed the whole nation of Pakistan on August 14, 1947. The name means 'the land of the pure'. It's the only modern nation on Earth formed solely on the basis of religion. It's birth started the grandest movement of peoples across boundaries. My grandparents were born in modern-day India. They left all their belongings there and migrated to West Pakistan. Such people are called Muhajirs in Pakistan. Local Pakistanis can be harsh on the Muhajirs; often referring to them as closet Indians. In other words, calling them traitors.

The region of Kashmir, north of West Pakistan, is still disputed. It's mostly Muslim but the ruler of the region had to choose; join India or Pakistan in 1947. He didn't make up his mind. Pakistani troops entered the area to gain control. Soon, India also sent in the army. It's now roughly divided: 50% India, 35% Pakistan, the rest no man's land.

Political power in Pakistan was concentrated in its Western wing. Of course, this resulted in economic discrimination. East Pakistan received less money per capita from the government when compared to its Western counterpart. Eastern Pakistanis resented this imbalance and soon the emotions of nationalism and independence arose in their hearts. The military, directed by the West Pakistanis, tried to crush this movement with naked brutality in the early 1970s but they failed.

In 1971, East Pakistan was no more. Bangladesh was its new name. British India had been broken into three countries in under 25 years.


Today in Pakistan, the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) is home to extremists who protect and nourish Osama bin Laden's friends. The Taliban received their education in the madrassas of NWFP. There, one can walk down a street where on one side the sale of marijuana is taking place and on the other AK-47s are on display. This province of Pakistan was called Afghania under British rule. These tribal people have little in common with their provincial neighbors. Most of the Pakistani military is afraid of entering this region to enforce the rule of law, largely because they'll stand out like sore thumbs and as a result get whacked very quickly. Therefore, there is no rule of law in NWFP. The law is simply what the tribe leaders say it is.

The largest province in terms of area is Balochistan. Oddly, it also has the smallest population. The family which once had ruled Balochistan didn't want to lose power. They, and their allies for their own reasons, have been struggling for independence since the very creation of Pakistan. Skirmishes have been ongoing; over 100,000 people have lost their lives in the bloodshed.

Sindh, where most of the Muhajirs went, and Punjab are the two relatively cosmopolitan provinces of Pakistan. Most of the federal, political power is concentrated in these two provinces. Though, not the same political party holds sway in both provinces. Punjab, for long, has been the cultural center of the nation. It's agriculturally rich which is why it has attracted large populations for centuries. It's also economically rich; the last two great Mughal emperors were born in the city of Lahore in Punjab.

How do these provinces gel together? Mostly, they don't. Punjabis look at the NWFP and cringe. These Taliban protectors have little love for the rest of the country. NWFPers loath anyone who doesn't speak their language. Balochistan is like a ghost town. The education level there is frighteningly nonexistent.

After 60 years of existence, not once has the top politician completed his term and a new one peacefully sworn in. Deaths, assassinations, coups, and the surprise, convoluted ending of terms has been the political story of Pakistan.

There are two opposed strains at work among Pakistanis.

1) Local Nationalism. Balochistan and NWFP are different worlds when compared to Sindh and Punjab. These people have fought for increased local powers and sometimes all-out independent states. It seems that other than religion there is little else that binds them to the rest of Pakistan.

2) Superstate of the Ummah. Some Pakistanis think that the partition was a bad idea because Muslims should have re-continued their rule over the entire Indian subcontinent. Muslim ought to have only one state. Perhaps, it could start in Indonesia, continue through Bangladesh, Iran and go all the way to the Turkish border into Europe. Why bother with these infidel-imposed boundaries?

Of course, in reality, large numbers of Muslims are often killed by other large numbers of Muslims. In Pakistan, it has been a decades-long lethal process. Pakistan has already cracked once. It's likely in the future that the Ummah will be further disappointed.

Breaking the Shackles

Shire News Network:

This week we talk to two free-thinkers. One is from the UK and the other from the USA and both are trying hard not to be defined by the religion they were born into and have subsequently rejected. Shire Network News senior religious affairs correspondent Tom Paine speaks to two ex-Muslims - Sheila (not her real name for reasons which are probably obvious) who lives in the United States, and Adil Zeshan from the United Kingdom. They talk about why they left, and why the fear the reaction from their former compatriots.

Download the podcast here.

My experience is significantly different, in two ways, than the paths taken by Sheila and Adil Zeshan.

1. I wasn't very religious before leaving Islam. I only prayed when my relatives dragged me to the mosque on either Friday or Eid. I have never fasted. I've enjoyed listening to music since 1988. I don't hate dogs. And so on.

I convinced myself that all these things weren't important because on Judgment Day such rituals won't make a difference. In fact, I thought that most of the tiny Islamic regulations were asinine. Things like: men not allowed to wear gold, divorcing a woman by uttering a few words, the ban on photography, interest being forbidden, gender apartheid...all of it just didn't make any rational or moral sense.

So, I simply neglected almost all of the rules. The crucial synapse didn't click till my late teenage years when I asked: Why do I call myself a Muslim?

2. I have visited a Muslim-majority nation after 9/11. Saudi Arabia, to be precise. There, in December 2001, I was saturated with hatred and loathing for the US. In my dad's workplace, everyone celebrated the news of 9/11 as if the Saudis had won the soccer world cup. Everyone except one Arab. This Saudi was sad because the Twin Towers didn't fall sideways which would have caused more death and carnage.

Here was an event where thousands were instantly obliterated and numerous families were fractured forever. The overall reaction from the center of the Muslim world? Pure, unadulterated joy. I knew then that these Muslims will not genuinely oppose the future atrocities committed by Islamists -- for why would they stand against the evil that brings them so much pleasure?

By January 2002, the final synapse had clicked.


There's another critical factor which comes into play: Proximity to Muslims. I went to an American high school in my mid-teens and later to a Canadian university. I was surrounded by infidels and I liked it! I wasn't close to my family before but then the connection thinned even more. Upon leaving Islam I didn't have to worry about being cast as an untouchable by both family (they don't know) and society (Canadians don't care about my religious views).

However, many unlucky ones who reside in the Muslim world have to live a dual life. One can imagine that such apostates still go to the mosque and listen to ridiculous sermons. They continue to praise the wretched life of Muhammad as the pinnacle of perfection. They sing the praises of the black hole called sharia while personally finding it abominable. Their minds had imploded on fully realizing the sham of Islam but publicly they don't, nay, they can't share their "impure" thoughts. For in doing so, they would lose their entire support structure -- family, friends, society -- and possibly their life.

For this reason it's important for ex-Muslims in the free world to share their experience and act as shards of light for Westerners who don't have the visceral feel for the evil at the heart of Islam.

It's the least we can do.

Nourished on Poison

I attended this Pakistani school in Saudi Arabia for 10 years. I've written about my lovely experience there:

Corporal punishment was the result for not doing the work. I never had a single teacher who didn’t hit the students. The punishments varied from different teachers. Some would institute punishments for failing tests. Some used their hands while others preferred to use long and heavy wooden sticks. On many a day I went home with red and swollen palms.

I also mentioned this terrifying incident:

The teacher started to slap and punch him on the neck and the back with each hit more forceful than the last. The kid sitting next to the student got up from the desk and stepped away. The teacher kept on brutally beating the student. The student started crying and fell to the ground within the desk. The teacher grabbed the front of the desk with his left hand and the back with his right. He then started to kick the bawling student. He kicked him for about 20 seconds. He then went to his desk while swearing. No-one said a word.

I wrote another post here:

"No sir, please, I promise sir, I won't do it again. P-l-e-a-s-e sir."

His pleas made no difference. Our English teacher had a vise-like grip on the left wrist of that student. A few days before we had a brief English test. That student got 5 out of 10. Like everybody else, he had to get the signature of one of his parents. Which he did, after he had changed that "5" to an "8". Now, the student was fruitlessly attempting to avoid the customary thrashing.

The teacher held the wrist of the student with his left hand and with his right hit the student multiple times; on the head, the face, the neck, a few punches on the ribs. I sat in front of the class, a few feet away from the entire revolting episode.

Fortunately, if you can imagine, my education could have been worse. I could have been sent to a madrassa -- in the West.

There is a rigorous, perhaps even cruel, system in place; and when it comes to discipline, the stories are awful. One mother (whose sons now attends our Madrasah) relates how teachers would literally beat the kids senseless for the most trivial of errors – stumbling over the pronounciation of Qur’an would merit being boxed in the ears; students would be screamed at rather than spoken to; major discipline came in the form of being whipped by belts until they bled – first by the teacher, and then by fellow students. Their injuries were not attended to, so much so that severe infections were contracted and they became so sick they couldn’t move. The son who now attends our Madrasah still bears scars from his ordeal.

How such memories impact an innocent soul:

Mental abuse was also common; another mother said that for months after her son came back home, he would flinch, cringe and shake if anyone spoke to him in a slightly raised tone of voice, and he would cry when made to read or recite Qur’an – such was the result of his ‘Islamic education’.

You see, the Religion of PeaceTM is beaten into the young Muslims.

What steps did the local umma take to deal with this matter?

Now, this school was actually under investigation by the government after some people reported them, but apparently the charges were later dropped, reasons unknown (but guessed at).

When I asked my dad why someone would drop these charges if they knew them to be correct and not to be lies, he said that it was a pretty big issue, that it was a matter of getting fellow Muslims into trouble, causing more problems and fitnah in the community. He said that if the media got involved, they’d just use it as another excuse to show how bad Muslims are.

Of course. How utterly irresponsible to suggest that there's anything wretched about Muslims who generously hit, beat, whip and torture kids.

What utter perversity. These monsters of madrassas have obliterated the minds of countless children and the main concern of these heinous Muslims is to shield the evil teachers!

A simple question:

Non-Muslims have to ask themselves: When most of the umma treats its own offspring with such an abhorrent passion, then what is in store for those whom the Muslims hate?

From May 2006:

Poor little Nihad. She must learn not to step on the Holy man's carpet while he is praying.

Otherwise, the Holy man might get a little vexed:

Brutally Beaten

The Marathon of My Life


I left Islam because of the reaction to 9/11 among Muslims. I read a lot about Muhammad, sharia, politics and current events for three years afterwards -- the increased knowledge reinforced my decision.

I started blogging in December of 2004 to share my experience and thoughts. Finally on September 11, 2005, I wrote about my apostasy.

Soon, I came to realize that my freedom was only temporary. You see, I am a citizen of Pakistan and my residence in Canada was based on a study permit. Eventually I would have to go back.

Could I say that Islam is the Greatest Thing EverTM; lie about my core beliefs; follow the religious rituals blindly without believing in them; praise Muhammad at every opportunity -- in essence, could I not rock the boat in Pakistan?

Yes, I could live as a slave but I didn't want to. In April 2006, I became a refugee claimant in Canada. I naively decided on a DIY approach. I filled out the forms, did the research and provided numerous supporting documents.

Then, in August 2006, I received a letter which asked for my attendance at the Immigration and Refugee Board, so that the time for the hearing could be set. (See this post for the details about that atrocious day.)

Right after I posted about my experience, many of my friends in the Blogosphere brought attention to my situation; numerous bloggers linked to my case; a donation button was set up; online supporters narrowed down legal help in my area; within a week I had made an appointment with a lawyer and in less than two months enough money was donated for the legal fees.

I removed the donation image but for many days afterwards folks still came over asking how they could help!


There were a few meetings with my lawyer in late 2006. He would ask me questions to get me ready for the hearing.

"Who do you fear in Pakistan?"

The Pakistani state and the public.


Because of the writings on my blog.

"But no-one knows who you are. You've used a pseudonym."

That assumes that I can go back and keep my beliefs to myself. Government forms (for example, the passport application) specifically ask for one's religion. And religion is woven in as a serious and integral part of society. Five prayers a day, fasting and worshiping Muhammad are part of normal life. When such matters come up, I will not lie.

"Why not?"

Excuse me.

"You can write your thoughts on the blog as Isaac Schrödinger and not worry about Islamic fundamentalists in real life."

So, you're saying that I continuously lie in my real life to get along.

"Sure, why not?"

My dad worked in Saudi Arabia for many decades. Every time he filled out application forms from Pakistan, he fibbed. He is an Ahmadi. Yet on every occasion, he refused to identify himself as one. There is no dignity in that.

And so on it went.

I had been sick in late December. My energy levels were close to zero on Christmas day. Fortunately by January 1, 2007 my physical strength had returned.


It was 4 a.m. on January 4. I had trouble sleeping. My brain was crunching horrible "What if?" scenarios. I told myself to not think about anything. After a few minutes, I was disturbed by the fact that I wasn't thinking about anything.

Somehow around 5 a.m. I did get to sleep. I woke up at 9 a.m. and started to get ready. I put on my suit, saw myself in the mirror and morbidly laughed. It looked like I was going to a funeral.

Along my route was a Church which had a big clock. 11 a.m. struck as I was passing by it. "Great, a soundtrack for my situation." The sounds did add an eerie touch. I looked up at the Church. "What beautiful weather! I can look up." I spent over ten years in Saudi Arabia where, because of the searing sunlight, I kept my head down.

Soon, I was in the hearing room in the heart of Toronto. The judge and I sat on the opposite sides of the room; in the middle-right was my lawyer; on my middle-left was a Refugee Protection Officer (RPO) and an RPO-in-training. The hearing started shortly after 1 p.m.

I stood up, raised my right hand, took an oath to tell the truth and said my full, real, name.

My lawyer started the questioning. We went over my history and how I came upon asking for protection in Canada.

The judge stopped us and asked, "What's a blog?"

I explained the whole concept. After a few minutes, it was time for the RPO to cross-examine me.

The judge, my lawyer, and the RPO all had copies of my applications and supporting documents. I was to answer questions without anything in front of me.

The RPO was establishing a timeline and so questions of a simple nature were initially asked. "When did you come to Canada?", "When was the last time you were in Pakistan?" and so on.

"I see here that you were asked to name your relatives and you didn't list your parents. Why is that?"

Uh-oh. I asked, "Where did I not list my parents?"

"Here in question four, it says list your relatives, in part iii. it asks for father and mother. Why didn't you list them?"

My mind started scolding could I forget such a simple thing...we've just scratched the surface and already I am being perceived as an incompetent buffoon... but, wait, I had photocopied the blank application, filled out the copy, double-checked it and then completed the real form!

My lawyer had opened the same page. After asking permission, I looked at the form. "4. List your relatives, ... iii. Father, mother and any guardian if you are under 18 years of age."

"I am over 18," I replied. "So, why would I list my parents?"


"No-one has brought that point up," said the judge.

"It's confusingly worded," said my lawyer.

"Let's move on," said the judge.

"Yes, of course, let's," I thought.

The questioning by the RPO can be "energetic" but what followed made the RPO, in essence, a prosecutor.

I often tried to elaborate my answers by a few sentences to provide more complete and accurate responses. However, the RPO was interested in "Yes/No" or a few words. Period.

For example: The RPO asked, "Have you seen a "letter to the editor" that is anti-Islamic fundamentalism in a Pakistani newspaper online?"

"Rarely. The reason fo-"

"Again, you're not answering the question."

"Yes, I've read such letters."

"I think he should be allowed to elaborate," said my lawyer.

The judge agreed.

The RPO asked, "What do you mean by rarely?"

"Once in a blue moon."

I shouldn't have said that, I thought. I added, "Remember that anyone in the world can send a letter to the editor of the online Pakistani newspapers. The sender can use a fake name and/or city, and from what I've seen the writers are often living outside Pakistan."

The RPO, quite unexpectedly, wanted, what seemed to be, an off the record conference without my presence. My lawyer questioned why I had to leave. The RPO had to talk about a credibility issue. I was told to wait outside for a few minutes. My lawyer gave his consent.

I stood in the quiet hallway.

"Credibility issue?" That's what it all comes down to. One person will decide my fate in a few hours.

I looked back over the heavy years: Do I regret starting my blog? Would I take anything back? Hell no!

I thought about the occasion: A birthday like no other.

My lawyer opened the door and let me in.

The RPO started to ask me about a few posts that I had submitted. I went over a comment left by a luminary in Distilled Evil.

I am a Muslim who has seen the truth about the jewish lies, and has realized Qur'an and Sunnah provides a perfect testament against the nature of your people.

Suddenly, I'm Moses.

We also talked about "No Compulsion". The RPO was going over each part methodically. Eventually, the RPO asked, "What's LFG?"

What a great blog, I thought. "That is an acronym for a blog called Little Green Footballs."

Then, I ALMOST blurted out, "You don't know the terrible secret of LFG" to explain why I affectionately use that incorrect short form.

"It's one of the most popular blogs in the world," I only added.

The RPO also asked me about life in Pakistan. "Can't you live in some place in Pakistan where you can be safe?"


"Do you know the word "secular"?"

Hunh. "Yes."

"Can't you live as a secular Muslim in Pakistan?"

"I agree with the first part, the secular part, but I don't agree with the second. I don't want to behave like, and live as, a non-practicing Muslim or a secular Muslim when I'm not a Muslim!"

That was by far my most animated and passionate response.

Then, it came time for the two sides to summarize their views. The RPO provided a mixed and lengthy conclusion. It wasn't completely negative nor positive.

My lawyer, however, provided a most concise and brilliant summary. He mentioned the recent history of Pakistan and Daniel Pearl.

He said that, "Why can't he ask for protection from the Pakistani government? How can he when the state itself criminalizes his views!? Look at Ordinance 295."

He went on to provide numerous examples from human rights reports.

"If he were to go back to Pakistan, then he would be in deep trouble."

There was some humor when once referring to me, my lawyer said, "Mr. Schro-," and then he corrected himself.

The judge asked for a few minutes to go over the evidence. The RPO asked for leave. The RPO-in-training left as well.

It was about 4:44 p.m. We had a 20-minute break at around 3:15 p.m. at which time I grabbed a bite. So, we had been in session for close to three and a half hours. The time had come.

The judge talked about the examples of persecution. The judge was very aware of the horrible conditions in Pakistan. Furthermore when talking about my views, the judge said, "I think these are your core beliefs -- what you say comes from the heart."

Then it hit me. The RPO, the in-effect prosecutor, had been a blessing in disguise. I had been brutally hammered for three hours and instead of falling apart, I held up.

"When deciding upon such cases, we have to look at a minimal level of danger and following the recent rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Pakistan, I think there is that danger for you."

"Accordingly, you are a Convention Refugee."

I closed and opened my eyes, "Thank you."

The superb lawyer and I exited the room and shook hands.

"Go and celebrate."

"It will be more of an online celebration," I said and then I thanked him.

There was a cool breeze, the hair got untidy, the tie was on my shoulder. My eyes tend to get watery in such circumstances. While crossing the road, I looked to my right and saw the CN Tower -- a solitary tear went down my right cheek.

"Oh, it's the wind."


Schrödinger's Army of Davids: Members of the Blogosphere, the folks who opened their wallets to help a total stranger, the netizens who tracked down legal help, my lawyer and finally the countless Westerners who wrote many words of support.

Special thanks to these blogs:

I have been granted something very precious and for this I'm grateful.

I Slam Islam

Eteraz writes a post with the title "Self-Flagellating Apostates".

For a moment there I thought he was talking about apostates who're into S&M.

[...] people who come to Islam aren’t the only ones who are excessively obsessed with Islam. People who leave Islam are just as obsessed with the religion. My question is why? Why are apostates all about railing against Islam?

Because Islam is a demented cult built on the hallucinations of a psychotic, thieving, dishonorable, and a genocidal Arab.

Had I come to the West a few decades ago, I likely would have just said, "Good riddance!"; I wouldn't have bothered "railing" against Islam.

Why? Because at the time buildings wouldn't have fallen in NYC, Aussies wouldn't have been murdered in Bali, trains wouldn't have been blown up in Madrid, kids wouldn't have been raped and killed in Russia--the sickness that is Islam and, its evil son, Jihad would have largely been contained in the Islamic domain of the world. The West would have been free and I would have felt safe for myself and the future generation.

That is not the case in the 21st century. Not only have Muslims committed terrible atrocities in the West but many Westerners continue to see a sugarcoated version of Islam. An example: The Canadian province in which I live actually contemplated allowing Sharia law just a year ago!

I don't take pleasure in continually going over a wretched ideology. Just take a look at the categories I use for my blog. I want to write in detail about the Pakistani cricket team and the upcoming World Cup; the bad effects of a minimum wage, either local or global; the symbolic meaning behind the word marathon; how my early years in Lahore were so serene; who should be the villain for Kal-El in the sequel to Superman Returns; link to spectacular HDR images; talk about the motherboards that go well with the Intel Core 2 Duo (look at ASUS and Gateway, by the way) and so on.

I can choose to do all of that and ignore the daily misery that Islam brings. But I know that ignoring it won't make it go away. The war is here and now whether I like it or not. Westerners must be provided clarity on this great issue. That is the purpose of my voice. That is why I blog. That is why I rail against Islam. For it deserves a good railin'.

[...] why are apostates so intent on referring to themselves as apostates!?

Here is my thing: if you leave Islam, please call yourself a “convert to” X or Y, and that’s it. Isn’t it kind of strange that people who leave Islam refer to themselves with the words that Muslims would use to describe people who leave Islam?

Being a murtad or an apostate is part of the identity for an ex-Muslim. A mussulman who becomes a Christian can call himself a convert to Christianity as well as an apostate. Both terms are valid. Somehow, I don't think the rhetoric would bother him as much as the fact that Muslims want to kill him.

In my case, I didn't convert to another religion. Though, I do prefer to say that I reverted to sanity but somehow I don't think it'll catch on.

I understand why coverts-from-Islam do it though. They want to remind all the Muslims that Islam’s got this thing called “apostasy” and that one can be killed for being an apostate, and that Muslims should be ashamed (a sort of passive-aggressive diss intended to shame a believer).

A few points:

1. Some time ago a friend asked me in an email, "Have you ever thought about writing articles or stuff in Urdu?"

I replied: "My writings are directed at Westerners. I get about 2-3 [daily] visits from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on my blog. (Most come from Riyadh where someone almost always searches for "sexy".)

I can write in Urdu but I think that that effort would have little impact. And considering my views, most exclusive Urdu readers would likely shun me."

More broadly: what I write is not aimed at Muslims. I have little desire to remind any Muslim of anything.

2. However, if a Muslim does stumble upon my blog, then s/he should be ashamed when s/he reads about the Islamic view on apostasy (or for that matter most issues). In what moral universe should a Muslim feel happy about the death penalty for ex-Muslims?

3. Eteraz wishes to reform Islam / change the mindset of Muslims while not shaming Muslims?

Best of luck!

4. My dissings aren't passive.

There’s cats out there who are building their entire career on being an “apostate.” (Ibn Warraq). Same goes for bloggers.

Woohoo! I just got compared to Ibn Warraq.

This just in: Starting December 1, 2006, I will charge every reader One Hundred Pennies (*Dr. Evil expression*) for viewing my blog.

It's about time my career pays!

People who leave Islam should become advocates of whatever it is that they now are. This is why I like Razib. He says what he is upfront. Atheist. Bam. He drops the “a” word too, but it doesn’t define him. It’s good to see someone show their autonomy in an affirmative and assertive manner. All this explains why I haven’t bothered to engage the “apostate” critique of Islam.

I understand. You could easily take apart the "apostate" critique of Islam, it's just that you don't have enough space in the margins on your blog to write the devastating fiskings.

I TOTALLY get it, bro!

It’s not that someone who calls himself an apostate regularly can’t have valid critiques. It’s just that a critique without something affirmative thereafter is pure nihilism. I abhor religious nihilism. I equally abhor non-religious versions of it.

This is a most amusing logic.

I have written a few posts in the past days in which I have:

  • disapproved of gender apartheid in Muslim circles.
  • showcased and disagreed with the fact that a Muslim "scholar" openly rejects freedom of religion.
  • strongly opposed the Islam-respects-women view pedaled by feminists.
  • mentioned how the mutaween treat women like cattle.

Now, I think that my readers aren't stupid. (In affirmative-speak, I think they're smart.) So, in each case, the reader can see that I support the mingling of the sexes (gasp!), freedom of religion (astagfirullah!) and the view that Islam treats women like the property of men.

In each instance, the opposition of an Islamic view or ruling isn't nihilism but simple human dignity. I don't have to say that, it's obvious from the context (or so I thought).

The thing is: if the apostate crew are so concerned about the death penalty for apostasy, then why do they insist on continuing to use the evil term at all? Isn’t it the case that the more they refer to themselves as apostates, the more they help to reinforce the already incorrect vocabulary that Muslims are using? I think people who leave Islam should be the first to say: call me convert. That will be of incredibly importance to reformists as they try to do away with the apostasy category altogether.

That is one of the dumbest things I've ever read.

Can you imagine this scenario: A man is on his knees about to be beheaded for apostasy. The gathered crowd is about to break into the uncouth Allah Akbar. The executioner raises his sword. The soon to be headless man shouts, "I'm a convert to X!" The butcher is shocked! He lowers his sword to the side, picks up the man and profusely apologizes.

"My bad. I thought you were an apostate."

Later, the public hugs the relieved man for his conversion to X. Everyone goes home happy!


It's not the bloody term that is evil but the fact that Islamic rulings call for murdering those who dare stray away. (A lot of people openly support the killing of Ahmadi Muslims. Oddly enough, those Muslims don't call themselves by the "evil" term.)

[...] people are welcome to leave Islam. They should, however, abstain from calling themselves “apostates.” Instead, they should simply call themselves whatever they are now.

Yes, ex-Muslims shouldn't refer to themselves by a term cooked up by Muslims. That suggestion brought to you by...a Muslim.

Uff, eteraz pe eteraz.

Psychology of Muslims

Echo asks in an email: "What happens to the psychology of the Muslim-born person who was born & raised in the US, and who visits his parents homeland? Does seeing the difference between the hygiene and the dynamism of the US, and the filth and decay and backwardness of dar al Islam drive them away from Islam or towards it?"

I think there are four possible outcomes when Muslims from the Islamic world go back and forth between the West and their home.

1. Utter Indifference

Some people simply live in a cocoon. They move to wherever there is leisure and comfort. That's it. Either they don't care or don't notice the fact that the Islamic world is backwards because of retrograde policies and ideologies. They're not interested in politics, economics, history or news that doesn't affect them. To them, Hamas is an exotic version of humus.

This attitude is not limited to Muslims. I know a non-Muslim guy who was absolutely shocked when I showed him 9/11 in 2003. His jaw dropped when he saw a passenger airliner crash into the World Trade Center.

"I thought that a cargo jet, or something, hit the towers."

Enuff said.

2. Unnatural Thoughts

Muslims in this category are usually mentally stressed. They've been taught all their life that Islam is oh-so-superior, yet in their personal dealings they almost always choose the non-Muslim side of things.

  • To pray or not to pray.
  • To eat halaal food or eat simply non-pork meals.
  • To drink or not to drink.
  • To be pious or roll one up for Allah.

When it comes to matters of substance such as human rights (that includes women and gays), they usually agree with the matter but remain mostly quiet. Their humanity and what they've been taught are at odds.

For example, in the winter of 2002, I was talking to a friend about the Taliban. Another friend of his was listening to me with full attention. I was detailing the crimes of the Taliban and somehow came upon the topic of the Iranian regime and how it's similar in depravity.

I mentioned that Iranians stone women to death for adultery.

"Do you agree with that?" I asked.

"NO," he said quickly.

That's when his friend pounced on him.

"The Quran sanctions the punishment! Do you disagree with the Quran?"

"Of course not," he said.

"So, you agree with stoning?"

"No, I don't," my friend replied.

"You disagree with the Quran!"

"No," my friend replied.

Think of the mental death match. Logically, he disagreed with Islam but he couldn't possibly utter that. So, he, I'm assuming, continues to disagree with Islamic rulings and still "respects Islam".

Another reason why these Muslims do not speak out is because of the guaranteed loss of goodwill from their extended family and the inevitable dishonor on their immediate family. (If such a Muslim does speak up, then the parents and siblings can't merely disagree with the maverick; they have to cut ties with him/her to safeguard their street-cred within the Muslim community--especially if the family lives in Muslim lands.)

One won't find such meek Muslims marching for sharia but their bottled-up silence makes it practically impossible for the West to distinguish them from the next group.

3. Recoiling from the West

These Muslims are repulsed by Western Civilization. Of course, that doesn't stop them from enjoying its fruits.

The West still has a certain attraction--but to them it's devilish in nature. Aha! Everyone told me that the infidel world will be seductive but I, being a true Muslim, won't give in!

Instead of truly thinking what the West stands for, these retards fall back on Islam. To them, Islam is comfortable--the boundaries are clearly defined (more like barbed wire) and there is little, if any, dynamism. (Oooh, look! The new burqa is a different shade of black.)

These Muslims go back home and instead of seeing a wretched system, they blame the West for all their woes. They think that the West is prosperous not because of its latent strength and granite foundations but because it stole the wealth from the umma. Just don't ask them: where and when were the Muslims rich?

They are very passionate about Islam. They're not content with simply believing in Islam, they want the rest of society to "respect" Islam as well. Note, that is different from respecting someone's decision to follow Islam. They want us to respect their religion in the same manner as we "respect" traffic signals: we have to eventually follow Islam or at the very least not say anything that contradicts that wholesome religion.

To most Westerners, this group seems totally crazy. Why the hell did they leave their hellhole and come to the West to create their own mini-version of hell? Yes, it doesn't make much sense. But then, it's not in the nature of an Islamist to be rational.

One can often point out Islamists since they're quite vocal. They usually spout the following:

  • Jooooos control the banks / news / world.
  • The US should have left Afghanistan alone.
  • Osama was framed for 9/11.
  • The US is the most evil regime on Earth. (A few minutes later: Saudi Arabia is truly an ideal country.)
  • I'm for free speech BUT...if it hurts Muslims...disrespects Islam...shows Muhammed in a thong...then "the racists" should be punished.
  • I'm against suicide bombings BUT...
  • There is a great non-Muslim conspiracy against Islam.
  • Alcohol sellers and consumers, gays, uppity women and apostates should be punished.
  • It is a crime to find a floating Quran in a toilet. Nothing wrong with sharia, though.

I'm including Islamist supporters in this group as well. Not all of them agree with the imposition of Islam; they just align themselves with the Islamists out of spite and envy. These lovely people smile when they see the footage from 9/11.

4. Embracing the Infidelosphere

Sadly, only a tiny group of Muslims come under this heading--partly because quite a few leave Islam completely.

These Muslims see the liberty, lushness, and luxury in the West and they like it. They are humbled by the libraries. They are fascinated by the TV shows and movies. They enjoy the equality of the sexes under the law and they say and write whatever they want without worrying about life behind bars.

They love the entire infidelicious spectrum of the West.

When they go back to their birth countries, reality kicks in the door:

  • Meritocracy doesn't exist in the Muslim world. Status, tribe, connections (wasta) and religion is what matters. Islam says Muslims are equal--some are just more equal than others.
  • The Muslim lands are economic parasites. Yet, that doesn't stop the rhetoric of glory of the umma.
  • The Islamic world is an intellectual wasteland. Islam is the answer. Regardless of the question.
  • The Golden Rule does not apply to infidels. The non-Muslims must not disrespect Islam, allow the building of mosques in the West, give Muslims citizenship while the umma in Saudi Arabia jail people for the possession of a bible, burn down churches in Sudan and practically everywhere chant Death to America, Death to Israel, Death to Denmark, Death to [Any Western Nation].
  • Why are Muslims dumber than the sons of apes and pigs?
  • There is a conspiracy theory for every ill that affects the Muslims. Why can't they accept reality and improve their lot?

The answers to such questions often results in a significant break with their religion. These people don't seek solace in the putrid arms of Islam. Instead, they speak out against sharia and the twisted nature of modern Islamic nations. These Muslims / apostates can be called the anti-Islamists.

They are lucky to be living in the West. They know, not just at a theoretical level, how sharia rapes the dignity of a society. They are horrified at the sight of such evil in the West.

They fight the darkness in many ways: appear on radio or TV shows, give speeches, write for newspapers, publish a book, or post on a blog (ahem).

Note: My guess about the numbers of such Muslims.

(Group 1 + Group 2) > Group 3 > Group 4

It's depressing.

Fear and Loathing in The Land of the Pure

I am a refugee claimant in Canada. This essay goes in great detail about why I am asking for asylum in the West.

Thank you to those who contributed the numerous sources. I hope that, at the very least, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada adds these resources to their national documentation package.

Isaac Schrödinger: An Apostate and a Blasphemer

I was born in an Ahmadi Muslim family in Pakistan. I’m a Pakistani citizen. The attack on the United States on September 11, 2001 and the reactions of Muslims to it changed my mindset. I left Islam in January of 2002.

I didn't share that information with anyone at the time. I was scared of the consequences. My family lived in Saudi Arabia and I traveled to that country every summer and during Christmas break. Upon entering Arabia, I would have to fill out an entry card which required one to specify their religion. My Pakistani passport clearly states that my religion is Islam and I didn't dare contradict that. So, for a long time, I kept my "unnatural" thoughts and beliefs to myself.

I haven’t traveled to Saudi Arabia since the end of 2003. In 2004, I had to apply for a national identity card. Again, I was asked for my religion and again I gave in and wrote Islam on the form. In 2005, I completed the application for a new passport and gave the same answer out of fear. I started blogging in December of 2004 under a pseudonym -- Isaac Schrödinger. On September 11, 2005, I explicitly wrote about my apostasy on my blog.

On October 8, 2005, I linked to and showcased a cartoon that was published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten on September 30, 2005. The contents of the small post follow:

The prophet of the Religion of PeaceTM.


Note, I wrote that before the cartoon-rage-mayhem that erupted around the globe a few months later.

In January of 2006, I published a message for the citizens of Denmark:

If you're from Denmark, then know this:
Don't give in to the psychotic thugs and regimes of the Muslim world. These are the same people who keep half their population as slaves, hang homosexuals, behead alcohol consumers, treat kids with utter cruelty, "think" that Jews rule the world, and celebrate when Westerners are ruthlessly murdered. And yet they're offended by a few harmless cartoons.

It is you--the Danes--who should be appalled at the atrocious and wretched behaviour of such an odious section of humanity. Do not apologize for your exercises in freedom. Do not sacrifice your free speech at the altar of deplorable Muslim feelings.

Cherish your precious liberty and stand tall against these barbarians.

Want to see Muhammed? Here you go:


That image of the so-called Prophet Muhammed was to become very popular. In fact, if one were to search Google Images for "Muhammed", then the cartoon from my blog would show up as the first link out of about 19,900 results.

On April 3, 2006, I published a post about how Muhammed allowed, and was pleased with, the murder of a Jewish tribe. At the end of the post, I wrote:

It is vitally important that the West not put Islam or any other religion off-limits to critical analysis. For only in the West can a person safely write that the obliteration of a Jewish tribe, the taking of sex-slaves, and the confiscation of non-Muslim property is something not to be celebrated and emulated.

As one can see, I have a deeply negative opinion of Muhammed. I do not think that he was a Prophet and I think that he provides a shockingly immoral example to humanity.

Muhammed was a profoundly superstitious man. For example, a small matter such as selling dogs was considered illegal by him. (On September 8, 2006, the Mutaween in Saudi Arabia – the religious police – banned the sale of dogs and cats.) More significantly, I can’t agree with what Muhammed said about legal killings:

Narrated ‘Abdullah: Allah's Apostle said, "The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims."

I, of course, don't think that anyone should be killed for either leaving a faith or for criticizing a religious figure.

Robert Spencer:

[…] the great ex-Muslim Ibn Warraq noted in a statement read for him last year [2003] before the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (he could not appear in person because of threats on his life arising from the same Islamic principles): "The very notion of apostasy has vanished from the West… There are certainly no penal sanctions for converting from Christianity to any other religion." However, one who leaves Islam, he explains, "can be seen as someone unnatural, subverting the natural course of things whose apostasy is a wilful and obstinate act of treason against God and the one and only true creed, and a betrayal and desertion of the community." Thus his death is to be actively sought, so as to erase the stain on the community.

Azam Kamguian, an Iranian ex-Muslim, writes:

The moment you say that any idea system is sacred, the moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible. We must win the right to criticize the religion without fear of retribution. Criticism, free speech, is the foundation of an open society. We need to criticise and use reason to solve our problems. No belief, rational or irrational, scientific or divinely inspired, should be exempt from critical examination. If a belief is sound it will stand on its own merits. If it is not it deserves to fail. No religion should seek immunity from the examination of its claims, or seek freedom from moral criticism of its practices.


To the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada: On September 9, 2006, I wrote about my meeting with a Canadian refugee officer. I said that the time for my hearing was set in early January 2007 and I directly quoted a part from the "Screening Form" that was presented to me during the meeting. That should be proof enough that I am Isaac Schrödinger.

Blasphemy Law
and Islamic Opinion on Apostates in Pakistan

From Appendix 1 of the Amnesty International library article on Pakistan in 2001:

The Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) of 1860 dates from the British colonial period; sections 295 and 298 of the PPC relating to religious offences date back to that period and were intended to prevent and curb religiously motivated violence.

Later on:

Under Zia-ul-Haq, several new sections were inserted in the PPC in the 1980s; they differ significantly from earlier laws relating to religious offences in at least four ways: They do not specifically mention malicious intent to wound religious sensitivities as a condition for an action amounting to a criminal offence, and they provide vastly increased penalties. Moreover, they make specific reference to Islam whereas the earlier laws were intended to protect the religious sentiments of 'any class of people'. There is also a distinct shift in emphasis discernible: the newly introduced sections of the PPC do not make it a criminal offence to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims but rather define the offences in terms of an insult or affront to Islam itself. The offences consist in defiling or insulting the prophet of Islam, his companions and family members and desecrating the Qur'an.

Islamic societies consider their Prophet to be an infallible human. Any criticism of him is considered to be blasphemous. Today, Pakistan, a nation founded for Muslims, has one of the harshest blasphemy laws on the books. Section 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code states:

Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.

Again, from the Amnesty International article:

In October 1990, the Federal Shariat Court ruled that ''the penalty for contempt of the Holy Prophet ... is death and nothing else''. It also noted that ''no one after the Holy Prophet ... exercised or was authorized [to exercise] the right to reprieve or pardon.'' It directed the Government of Pakistan to affect the necessary legal changes and added, ''in case this is not done by 30 April 1991 the words 'or punishment for life' in section 295-C, PPC, shall cease to have any effect on that date.'' Decisions of the Federal Shariat Court are binding on the government. As the Government of Pakistan did not appeal against the decision within the stipulated period and did not pass relevant legislation, the words 'or punishment for life' continue to appear in section 295C of the PPC but do not have legal force. The only punishment available for anyone convicted of blasphemy under section 295C PPC is death.

International Religious Freedom Report 2005: Pakistan:

Under the country's "blasphemy laws," any speech or action that denigrates Islam or its prophets is punishable by death. In addition, any speech or conduct that injures another's religious feelings is prohibited and punishable by imprisonment. These laws were rarely enforced, and the cases rarely brought to the legal system, when the injury was to a member of a minority religious community. Pressure from societal, religious, or political leaders routinely prevented courts from protecting minority rights. These same pressures forced justices to take strong action against any perceived offense to Sunni Islamic orthodoxy.

Perhaps, the current Pakistani regime will repeal the heinous blasphemy law.

In what appears to be an utter disregard of Pakistani religious minorities’ oft-repeated demand for repeal of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, Pakistan minister for religious affairs Ijaz-ul-Haq [the son of Zia-ul-Haq] has insisted that the country’s blasphemy laws would not be repealed even if 100,000 Christians lost their lives, the Telegraph, based in the UK, has reported.

In a speech to the UN General Assembly, the Pakistani president, Pervez Musharraf, went even further:

It is imperative to end racial and religious discrimination against Muslims and to prohibit the defamation of Islam.

The clerical view on apostasy in Pakistan [Email registration required] is straightforward:

A Muslim convert to Christianity in Afghanistan was saved by subterfuge (it was said he was mentally sick and therefore couldn’t be held accountable under any law for converting to Christianity) by the Kabul government from being done to death, triggering protests from the Islamists who wanted him killed. The clerical view in Pakistan that appeared in the press, too, wanted the man killed. Then Pakistan’s top cleric, Mufti Munib ur Rehman, who chairs the moon-sighting committee on Eid days, came on TV and announced that “if a state is truly Islamic” it would have to kill the apostate.

Persecution of Blasphemers in Pakistan
by the State and the Society

1. Amnesty International:

A case of blasphemy was registered against Yousuf Ali, a Sufi mystic and scholar of Islam, by a member of an Islamist organization on 29 March 1997 who claimed that Yousuf Ali had committed ''blasphemy by expressing his determination and views of being the continuity of Holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)''. The charges included offences under sections 295A, 295C, 289A, 505(2), 420 and 406 Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). Yousuf Ali was arrested on the same day. When the family received death threats from local religious extremists, Yousuf Ali's wife resigned her post as Associate Professor of economics at a government college and went into hiding along with their children.

The trial of Yousuf Ali was a mockery of justice:

The bias of the presiding judge was apparent throughout the trial. He called the accused Yousuf 'Kassab' [liar]. In the judgment, he said, ''there is no question of taking any sort of lenient view because the accused is proved to be a 'kafir' [infidel] and 'murtid' [apostate] and any sort of 'tauba' [repentance] in such affair cannot be entertained''. Judicial bias in the context of religious issues and with regard to minorities is widespread in Pakistan.

Yousuf Ali was sentenced to death:

After the conviction, Yousuf Ali was taken to a six foot by six foot death cell in Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore where he was held in solitary confinement.

Yousuf Ali was murdered while he was in jail:

The circumstances in which a pistol could be brought into the jail and used against a prisoner in a death cell remain unclear. Local newspapers reported that on 11 June, prisoners from Block Seven, including Yousuf Ali, were shifted to Block One in an unscheduled move. As Yousuf Ali was taken to a cell in Block One, its inmate, Mohammad Tariq alias Mota pulled out a pistol and shot Yousuf Ali dead at point-blank range.

2. Amnesty International Report 2003:

Several men were sentenced to death for blasphemy. Others accused of blasphemy were killed, some in circumstances suggesting official complicity or acquiescence in the killings.

For example:

Zahid Mahmood Akhtar was stoned to death in July by a mob after a local Muslim cleric called for his death. He had claimed to be a prophet of Islam, and had been charged with blasphemy but freed on bail by a court in 1997 on account of mental illness. Police took no action for two weeks and then arrested several suspects.

3. Amnesty International Report 2004:

Pakistan’s blasphemy law continued to be abused to imprison people on grounds of religious belief, contributing to a climate in which religiously motivated violence flourished.

The example of Mushtaq Zafar:

In February, Mushtaq Zafar was shot dead by two unidentified gunmen. He was on his way home from the High Court while on bail in a blasphemy case brought against him by his neighbours. In November 2001, a dispute between Mushtaq Zafar and his neighbours apparently resulted in his house being set alight and shots being fired at him, killing a friend of his. The neighbours were arrested for the murder; court proceedings in the case were continuing at the end of the year. However, according to Mushtaq Zafar’s son, the neighbours’ family put pressure on his father to withdraw the murder case and the accusation of blasphemy against him was part of an attempt to intimidate him. Friends and relatives of the neighbours allegedly wrote to religious leaders, demanding Mushtaq Zafar’s death.

4. Amnesty International Report 2005:

At least 25 people were criminally charged with blasphemy and at least six of them remained in detention at the end of 2004. Hostility to anyone charged with blasphemy endangered their lives.

From the same report:

Samuel Masih, a 27-year-old Christian, was arrested in August 2003 and charged with having thrown litter on the ground near a mosque in Lahore. This was deemed an offence under section 295 of the Pakistan Penal Code, which provides up to two years’ imprisonment for defiling a place of worship. Samuel Masih was held in a Lahore prison but transferred to hospital in May, suffering from tuberculosis. He died after his police guard attacked him in the hospital. The police officer stated that he had done his “religious duty”; he was charged with murder.

5. International Religious Freedom Report 2005:

On April 20, a mob in Spin Khak, Nowshera District, shot and killed Ashiq Nabi after his uncle filed blasphemy charges against him. Nabi allegedly desecrated a copy of the Qur'an during an argument with his wife. Before police could arrest him on the charges, Nabi fled the village. After a local Islamic religious leader issued an edict declaring Nabi an infidel whose punishment should be death, a 400-member mob trapped Nabi in a tree and shot him.

From the same report:

Converts to the Ahmadiyya community were often accused of blasphemy, violations of the anti-Ahmadi laws, or other crimes. The Government arrested and prosecuted such individuals. Conversion to other minority religions generally took place in secret to avoid a societal backlash.

Later on:

When blasphemy and other religious cases are brought to court, extremists often pack the courtroom and make public threats against an acquittal. Judges and magistrates, seeking to avoid a confrontation with or violence from extremists, often continue trials indefinitely. As a result, those accused of blasphemy often face lengthy periods in jail and are burdened with increased legal costs and repeated court appearances.

6. United Nations Commission on Human Rights. From Point 7:

The Blasphemy Laws in their present form have become a source of victimization and persecution of minorities in the country. Minorities suffer all manner of humiliation through false accusations made under these laws. In the present climate of hate, intolerance and violence in Pakistan, the Blasphemy Laws have become a major tool in the hands of extremist elements to settle personal scores against members of religious minorities, particularly Christians.

From Point 8:

In the present context, lawyers who appear in court on behalf of accused persons in blasphemy cases are the targets of intimidation and threats. The retired Judge of the Lahore High Court, Arif Iqbal Bhatti, who set aside the death sentence passed by the Session Courts in the case of Salamat Masih, and Rehmat Masih was shot and killed by an Islamic extremist. His killer, like that of Manzoor Masih, has not been brought to justice. In view of continuing threats and intimidation, it has become increasingly difficult to engage the services of lawyers to defend cases registered under the Blasphemy Laws.

Point 9 in its entirety:

In the climate of intolerance which prevails and in view of threats and intimidation and the pressures brought on the judiciary, it has become nearly impossible to obtain a fair hearing in Pakistan for those charged under the Blasphemy Laws. In these circumstances, the lower judiciary has often been constrained to accuse and convict persons without proper study of the evidence placed before it. In one case, the Sessions Judge convicted Gul Masih, who was charged under the Blasphemy Laws, and imposed the death sentence on him on the grounds "that the complainant had an outlook of a good Muslim, that he was a college student and that he had a beard". A number of cases are pending under the Blasphemy Laws, including cases against Ayub Masih, Nelson Munawar Rahi, and Catherine Shaheen. In addition, two Islamic religious organizations have announced a prize of PRs. 1.3 million for the killing of Salamat Masih, and Rehmat Masih who are at present living in exile.

7. The story of Dr. Younus Shaikh:

At a meeting of the South Asian Union on 1st October 2000, Younus Shaikh suggested that, in the interest of the people of Kashmir, the line of control between the Indian and Pakistani forces should become the international border. This clearly offended a Pakistani officer who responded by saying to Dr Shaikh that "I will crush the heads of those that talk like this". On 3rd October Dr Shaikh was suspended by his college without explanation.

Later that evening, an employee of the Pakistani Foreign Office, who was also one of Dr Shaikh's students, complained to a cleric, saying that on 2nd October in a lecture between 12:00 noon and 12:40 pm, the doctor had made blasphemous remarks about the Prophet of Islam. The cleric filed a complaint with the police. Younus Shaikh was arrested on the evening of 4th October and charged with blasphemy.

His trial:

The trial of Dr Shaikh, held throughout the summer of 2001, took place in a hostile courtroom packed with Islamic fundamentalists who warned the defence lawyers: "think of your families and children". The final two sessions were held in-camera with gun-toting Pakistani Taliban waiting outside. It was finally established during the trial that the alleged events had never taken place. Nevertheless, on 18th August 2001, Dr Shaikh was found guilty and sentenced to death. Sadly, in Pakistan, such injustices are not uncommon in cases of alleged blasphemy.

His retrial:

The retrial was held over three sessions in November 2003. In the light of the harassment and intimidation suffered by his lawyers at the earlier hearings, and much against the advice of the judge, his colleagues, his family and the members of the diplomatic community present in court, Dr Shaikh decided this time to conduct his own defence. The prosecuting counsel tried to exploit the religious feelings of the court but Dr Shaikh confined his defence to legal arguments and was finally acquitted on 21st November.

A few weeks after his release, Dr. Younus Shaikh fled to Europe. More from the article:

This week, one of Dr Shaikh's supporters, speaking anonymously from Islamabad said:

[…] "It is also a sad reflection on the state and society of Pakistan that even when individuals are exonerated by law of any guilt, they are forced to flee the country for their safety. The state or society is unable or unwilling to provide them protection. Dr. Sheikh was not at all eager to leave the country. If he had a choice he would have stayed with his family and friends. I could see his reluctance to leave the country written large on his face when I accompanied him to the airport."

8. A blasphemy suspect was stabbed to death in early 2006:

A Pakistani accused of making blasphemous remarks against Allah and the Prophet Muhammad was stabbed to death in a frenzied attack by two men in front of Muzafargarh district and sessions court on Friday, June 16. According to a press release sent to ANS by a group called At any Cost Jesus Mission, the killers, later identified as Imran and Iqbal, attacked and stabbed Abdul Sattar to death with frequent strikes of knives despite being escorted by police for a court hearing.


Abdul Sataar was detained in police custody under Pakistan blasphemy law. He was accused of passing derogatory remarks against Allah (God) and His Prophet Muhammad.

9. A blasphemy suspect flees Pakistan:

A Pakistani “blasphemy” suspect has appealed for asylum in Holland after facing police torture and attacks by Muslim extremists for his controversial religious views.

Yasaar Hameed, 36, applied for asylum in late March, meeting Dutch immigration officials for his first hearing on June 7. Still wanted on charges of blasphemy in Pakistan, Hameed told friends in Pakistan that authorities said it would take at least six months to process his application.

Hameed’s wife and two children remain in Pakistan where they face dual insecurity for converting to Christianity and for Hameed being sought as a blasphemy suspect. Hameed and his family converted to Christianity in 2004.

A colleague of Mr. Hameed was killed in 2003:

Mushtaq Zafar – Hameed’s co-defendant in the 2002 blasphemy charge and a political colleague of his – was released on bail in February 2003. On his way home from the courthouse, Zafar was ambushed on the road and killed by “unknown assailants,” daily newspaper Dawn reported on February 7, 2003.

The younger brother of Mr. Hameed was killed in 1998:

In addition to the legal accusations of blasphemy, “there were processions against us,” Hameed recounts. “First they were only in Lahore, and then it spread to the whole of Pakistan. Muslims threw petrol bombs on our houses and killed many of us. I was shot six times.”

Extremists murdered his younger brother – who had become a Christian – in March 1998.

Last excerpt:

Now living in Holland, Hameed hopes that his wife, 14-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter can soon join him. The Pakistani is living in the Dutch city of Arnhem near the German border.

Last week he underwent surgery to remove a bullet that was lodged in his shoulder from an extremist attack.

“It happened five or six years ago,” Hameed said in a telephone interview from Holland. The asylum seeker has been shot so many times, he said, that he cannot remember which incident left him with the imbedded bullet.

10. A blasphemy suspect gets life in jail:

The International Society for Human Rights (IGFM) honored Ranjha Masih, still serving his life sentence, with the newly established Stephen Endowment award in recognition of Masih’s “steadfastness in maintaining his Christian beliefs.”


Masih was arrested on charges of blasphemy in May 1998, allegedly having disfigured an Islamic sign during a funeral procession for former Faisalabad Catholic Bishop John Joseph. Ironically, Bishop Joseph had committed suicide in front of the Faisalabad courthouse to protest Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws.

Masih denied damaging the sign, and police testified in court that its invocation of Muhammad as the prophet of Islam was in perfect condition, lawyer Sindhu told Compass. But the Faisalabad Additional District and Sessions Court sentenced Masih to life imprisonment in April 2003.

Mr. Masih will get no respite even if he’s acquitted:

Masih, his wife and six children may face greater danger if Masih is acquitted.

“In case [Masih] is released, it is to be feared that he, like other acquitted Christian blasphemy prisoners, will have to live in hiding or outside of Pakistan,” an IGFM representative told Compass. “The threat from Islamic extremists and self-proclaimed guardians of sharia, Islamic law, would be too great.”

11. A teenage Christian jailed for blasphemy:

A Pakistani Christian jailed last week on suspicion of ripping book pages containing Quranic verses appealed to Punjabi police through his lawyer yesterday (September 21) for his case to be cancelled for lack of evidence.

He was implicated in a strange manner:

The young man allegedly tore pages from a tafseer, a book explaining Quranic verses, while stealing several books from a medical clinic in the Madina Town district of Faisalabad last week.

The charges are based on the testimony of Muhammad Ghaffar, who claimed he had carried out the crime with Masih.

More disturbing details:

Charges of blasphemy, whether real or invented, often draw the attention of fanatic Muslim groups, who are quick to take justice into their own hands when they believe a suspect has been unfairly acquitted.

Masih’s parents and 12 siblings were so afraid of negative attention from such groups that they at first refused to visit Masih in prison, lawyer Sindhu said.

Their fears appear to have been well founded.

More than 200 Islamist fanatics attended Masih and Ghaffar’s first hearing before Judicial Magistrate Ghullam Fareed Qurashi in Faisalabad on September 14, Sindhu said.

Extra-judicial killings of blasphemy prisoners in Pakistan are not uncommon.

Concluding Remarks

What I say is no more holy than what an Arab uttered fourteen centuries ago. Muslims, or for that matter anyone, can choose to read and criticize my words. That is the beauty of free expression.

The West, rightly, doesn’t penalize those who don’t follow the orthodox religious views in their community or leave a faith altogether. In fact, one can openly disagree with the teachings of a religious figure without worrying about being thrown in jail.

Unfortunately in Pakistan, those who dare contradict the "perfect" example of the Prophet Muhammed are treated most harshly by both the public and the ruling regime. For the sake of safety, one has to fib on applications that ask for religion and the "unnatural" thoughts have to be kept away from the family and the public view. A single rhetorical slip or an anti-Islamic action is enough for the charge of blasphemy.

I refuse to keep quiet about what I truly think. There is no dignity in denying one’s beliefs for the sake of elusive security.

To the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada: These facts and my statements should be weighed carefully for my life hangs in the balance.

Illuminating the Cosmos

[2 of 2]...Part 1

I lived in a dormitory in the US. There, in early 1999, I was chatting with a friend when the book he was holding caught my attention. I asked him to hand me the paperback. My eyes were fixed on the cover.

It was him.

"Who is this?" I asked.

"Richard Feynman," my friend replied.

I borrowed the book along with another one and dug in. I was hooked.

In one part of the first book Feynman described his teaching experience in Brazil. There, he could ask the students a question from the textbook and they would have the answer in full. Though, they didn't know what the answer meant.

"That's exactly like my school in Saudi Arabia!" I mentally screamed. The students there can vomit out encyclopedic amounts of information on biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics without knowing what any of it means or how it works.

Our principal in the Pakistani school was a math teacher. He would punish those who scored less than 50% on a quiz or a test; a heavy stick was brought down on open palms. There was zero explanation about the math problems on the test afterwards. Understanding the subject was immaterial--what mattered was that we could somehow fit the solution in our heads. And if we couldn't, then it would be, literally, beaten into us.

Imagine what that does to the younger generation. Learning is never associated with understanding the world. Instead, education becomes synonymous with pain and humiliation.

I was one of the lucky few. I came to America where I could see how infinitely better education could be.

Those Brazilians were lucky as well: Feynman observed and constructively criticized their broken system. Sadly, someone like Feynman wouldn't be welcome in Saudi Arabia. Why? Jews are not allowed in the Kingdom. One can't even bring books authored by Jews in Saud's Arabia--the custom officials confiscate them.

Yet, here was a single Yahoodi who towered above the Muslim thugs who masqueraded as teachers in my Pakistani school. Feynman, from the grave, taught me more about life than all of those barbarians combined.

Feynman had the freedom to ask, decipher, probe and question the world around him. In addition, the curious character passed on his brilliant insights to his pupils. After reading those two books, I could not only see but comprehend the intellectual and moral superiority of Western Civilization.

* * * *

In the documentary that I watched in Arabia, there was a scene in which a student of Feynman relayed a small talk.

Feynman had cancer. A few days before his surgery, this student was feeling distressed. Feynman asked, "What's the matter?"

"You're having this could die."

Feynman replied, "Yeah, that bugs me too."

After a few moments, Feynman said, "I have taught a lot of people. There's a small part of me in them."

"So...I won't really go away."

Instilling Fear and Loathing

[1 of 2]

"COME TO THE FRONT," the teacher barked.

One of the toughest kids in our class had been caught chatting while the teacher was regurgitating material from the textbook. The teacher was aware of his stubborn nature. Extreme punishment was forthcoming.

The teacher took a thick and long wooden stick in one hand and grabbed the miserable student with the other. He pushed down the head of the kid, finally placing the neck between his legs. He, then, proceeded to hit the back of the student with the heavy stick. He hit the kidneys around ten times before stopping and letting go.

The student raised his deep crimson face without uttering a word or a cry and then went back to his seat. The entire class was mum.

An indiscretion could earn a disproportionate response from any teacher. Let me rephrase: Any perceived indiscretion could earn a disproportionate response from a teacher.

Many teachers checked our homework during class time. Our homework was basically copying material from the course book to our notebook. During the checking, we lined in front of the teacher and presented our notebook. The teacher would then put a few ticks and sign at the last page. Rarely did he ever read what we had written down. What mattered was the right volume of words and figures.

Once during this checking process, a student didn't gently put down his notebook in front of the teacher. As a result, the teacher clutched the notebook and hurled it across the room.

"What do you think I am? Some kind of a dog! Go to hell," the sage said. The kid had no choice but to meekly walk away.

Everyone knew about the insane cruelty: The teachers, the students and the parents. Once in a blue moon, the principal would get a phone complaint. The offending teacher would be told about it and then nothing would change.

One time, the headmaster had received numerous complaints about a specific teacher. The hideous man in question finally revealed this news to us in class and then asked, "Do you really think I swear in front of you?" Of course, our lips remained sealed since his gutter rhetoric was the least of our concerns.

Such was life at my Pakistani school in Khobar, Saudi Arabia. While at home in the desert Mordor, I once watched a documentary on television that confused me. You see, it showcased the life of a teacher who had passed away. He was deeply missed by all especially his students. I simply could not understand how that could be.

Teachers were vicious creatures. For us students then, the "favorite" teacher was the one who was the least violent. Yet, there on the TV screen were people who actually praised the departed soul.

I was dumbfounded.

The documentary also presented a few photos of that peculiar personality. I soon forgot his name but the face of that man was forever etched in my mind.

Some years later while attending a private school in America, I would see him again.

to be continued...

See Clearly

Iman AL-Qahtani writes about apostasy in Islam:

There is no basis for executing an apostate in Islam. It is nothing more than an invention by narrow-minded men.


Abdul-Rahman's conversion to Christianity and abandonment of Islam is his right, from the perspective of true Islam, which guarantees the right to believe in any faith one wishes.

Final excerpt:

In his book Killing the Apostate, A Crime Forbidden by Islam, writer Mohamed Adlbi points out that The Qur'an states clearly, {There is no compulsion in religion} and that compulsion is unnecessary because {Truth stands out clearly from Error}.

A few points:

1. During the time of Muhammed.

Sahih Bukhari: Volume 9, Book 84, Number 58.

... There was a fettered man beside Abu Muisa. Mu'adh asked, "Who is this (man)?" Abu Muisa said, "He was a Jew and became a Muslim and then reverted back to Judaism." Then Abu Muisa requested Mu'adh to sit down but Mu'adh said, "I will not sit down till he has been killed. This is the judgment of Allah and His Apostle (for such cases) and repeated it thrice. Then Abu Musa ordered that the man be killed, and he was killed....

Perhaps, Mu'adh had been mistaken.

Sahih Bukhari: Volume 9, Book 84, Number 57.

Narrated 'Ikrima:

Some Zanadiqa (atheists) were brought to 'Ali and he burnt them. The news of this event, reached Ibn 'Abbas who said, "If I had been in his place, I would not have burnt them, as Allah's Apostle forbade it, saying, 'Do not punish anybody with Allah's punishment (fire).' I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah's Apostle, 'Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.'"

'Ikrima had a hearing problem. Honest.

Sahih Bukhari: Volume 9, Book 83, Number 17.

Narrated 'Abdullah:

Allah's Apostle said, "The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims."

Okay, this is definitely a Jewish conspiracy.

2. Islamic "thinking".

The four major schools of Islamic thought -- Hanafi, Hanbali, Maliki, and Shafi'i -- agree that a Muslim apostate should be put to death. Though, Hanafi does show some mercy for female ex-Muslims: Life in jail.

Link: "Imam Tahawi has provided an interpretation of the Hanafi School in his book Sharh Ma'ani al-Athar as follows":

The lawyers differ among themselves concerning whether or not the person who has apostatized from Islam should be requested to repent. One group says it is much better that the imam (leader) requests the apostate to repent. If he repents, he should be released. Otherwise he should be executed. Imam Abu Hanifah, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad Rahmatullah are among those who have expressed this opinion. A second group says there is no need to request repentance. For them the condition of the apostate resembles that of the harbi kafir ("the infidel at war").

3. Recent news and events.

January 31, 2005: An article by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross.

... Asia News reported on December 17 that Emad Alaabadi, a Saudi Arabian convert to Christianity, had been taken into custody by Saudi authorities.

Even in Muslim states that don’t officially prohibit conversion out of Islam, the legal system is often used against those who leave the faith.  In Egypt, for example, the government refuses to issue new identification papers to converts that reflect their new religion.  Without new identification papers, converts’ children must be raised Muslim and the converts have to live their lives as though they were still Muslim.  Those who attempt to raise their children in their new faith when their papers list their religion as Islam may be charged with blasphemy.

March 22, 2006: Abdul Rahman, a convert to Christianity, is put in jail.

Rahman, a father of two, was arrested last week and is now awaiting trial for rejecting Islam.


The Afghan constitution, which is based on Sharia, or Islamic law, says that apostates can receive the death penalty.

March 29, 2006: The view in Pakistan.

A Muslim convert to Christianity in Afghanistan was saved by subterfuge (it was said he was mentally sick and therefore couldn’t be held accountable under any law for converting to Christianity) by the Kabul government from being done to death, triggering protests from the Islamists who wanted him killed. The clerical view in Pakistan that appeared in the press, too, wanted the man killed. Then Pakistan’s top cleric, Mufti Munib ur Rehman, who chairs the moon-sighting committee on Eid days, came on TV and announced that “if a state is truly Islamic” it would have to kill the apostate.

April 10, 2006: An article in The Daily Times.

... state prosecution for conversion out of Islam is relatively rare in Muslim-majority countries, at least 14 such countries considered apostasy a crime, with Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, Mauritania and Comoros making it punishable by death, said Nina Shea, director of global rights group Freedom House’s centre for religious freedom.

May 25, 2006: Government-approved textbooks in Malaysia.

... under the heading ‘Ways of Dealing with Apostates’ (Cara menangani orang murtad), the following precepts are given:

1. Advise and persuade the offender to repent and return to Islam (menasihati dan memintanya supaya bertaubat dan kembali kepada Islam)

2. To impose a death sentence (melaksanakan hukuman bunuh)

June 15, 2006: Coming full circle. Iman AL-Qahtani.

There is no basis for executing an apostate in Islam. It is nothing more than an invention by narrow-minded men.

Conclusion: One of the following.

A. Muhammed and his companions and the founders of the four major Islamic schools and the governments and regimes of Muslim-majority nations such as Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, Mauritania, Comoros, Malaysia, and Egypt are all narrow-minded.

B. Iman AL-Qahtani somehow misses the clear truth.

C. Both A and B.

Banu Quraiza or How the Prophet Muhammed Momentarily Forgot the Peaceful Nature of Islam

Sahih Bukhari: Volume 4, Book 52, Number 280.

When the tribe of Bani Quraiza was ready to accept Sad's judgment, Allah's Apostle sent for Sad who was near to him. Sad came, riding a donkey and when he came near, Allah's Apostle said (to the Ansar), "Stand up for your leader." Then Sad came and sat beside Allah's Apostle who said to him. "These people are ready to accept your judgment." Sad said, "I give the judgment that their warriors should be killed and their children and women should be taken as prisoners." The Prophet then remarked, "O Sad! You have judged amongst them with (or similar to) the judgment of the King Allah."

The Prophet Muhammed was glad because of Sad. A more detailed look at this event follows.

1. After the Battle of the Trench, the Prophet Muhammed was enjoying a bath. Suddenly, the angel Gabriel appeared and told him that the Battle was not yet over. Muhammed had to fight the tribe of Banu Quraiza.

2. After almost a month-long siege, the Prophet Muhammed proposed that Banu Quraiza accept the judgment of a man named Sad bin Muadh. Sad offered a simple final solution: Behead every single postpubescent male of the tribe--approximately 600-800 males; take all the females as slaves; divide up their property among the Muslims who accompanied the Prophet.

3. The Prophet Muhammed praised Sad. A few days after the massacre of Banu Quraiza, Sad died. Sahih Bukhari: Volume 5, Book 58, Number 146.

A silken cloth was given as a present to the Prophet. His companions started touching it and admiring its softness. The Prophet said, "Are you admiring its softness? The handkerchiefs of Sad bin Muadh (in Paradise) are better and softer than it."

Sad, the man who proposed the death of an entire helpless tribe, has a place reserved in Paradise.

4. The Prophet Muhammed had clashed with two similar tribes earlier--Banu Qaynuqa and Banu Al-Nadir. However, in their case, the Prophet let them go into exile. Why? Here's the answer:

All three tribes are accused of breaking their treaties. If Muhammad would have acted on the basis of law from God he would have judged them consistently. We see that "circumstances" played a much more important role in determining the punishment for these tribes. If it was right to let them go, why did he not let the Banu Qurayza go into exile? If it was right to execute them, why did he give in to `Abdullah b. Ubayy b. Salul and let him prevent the execution of the judgment of God? No true prophet would give in to a misguided companion who wants to stop God's righteous decree. This inconsistency shows that Muhammad was guided chiefly by his own desires of vengeance against those who would not accept him as a messenger from God rather than by a law of consistent justice as it comes from God. The judgement is about offending Muhammad, not about offending God, and Muhammad decided according to expediency.

5. Banu Qurayza was a Jewish tribe.

*       *       *       *

Muslims are taught from an early age that the Prophet Muhammed is an infallible example for mankind till the end of time. There is zero tolerance for anyone who dares to say otherwise. Muslim-majority nations have legislation on the books--blasphemy laws--that accord horrific punishments for those who merely question the actions of the Prophet Muhammed.

For example, Section 295-C of the Pakistani Penal Code states:

Use of derogatory remarks, etc. in respect of the Holy Prophet. Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.

It is important to note that, in the eyes of Islamic nations, such laws should not be constrained by geographical boundaries. Recently, the most famous example of this "universal blasphemy decree" was the 1989 fatwa by Ayatollah Khomeini calling for the death of Salman Rushdie. The Iranian regime has continually reiterated the call for Rushdie's death.

Today, the Cartoon Riots have surpassed the Rushdie Affair in terms of body count. More than 135 people have been killed. Wikipedia:

Deaths have been mainly in Nigeria, Libya, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

It is vitally important that the West not put Islam or any other religion off-limits to critical analysis. For only in the West can a person safely write that the obliteration of a Jewish tribe, the taking of sex-slaves, and the confiscation of non-Muslim property is something not to be celebrated and emulated.

Cruel Affection

OVER THE PAST FEW months, I have watched bits of programs on a channel called Animal Planet. For example:

In the southeastern corner of Michigan beats the industrial heart of America's "Motor City" — Detroit. And on the outskirts of town is the headquarters of the city's primary animal welfare agency, run by the nonprofit Michigan Humane Society (MHS).

Animal Cops: Detroit follows the MHS's animal cruelty investigators as they track down animal abusers and bring them to justice.

It was fascinating to see all these different men and women who do their best with the provided resources to help the neglected, and sometimes battered, creatures. Their genuine concern for animals was always evident from their body language.

Such shows always bring back a rotten memory or two from my life among the Ummah. In a topsy-turvy reality, Western society tries to provide a comfortable life for animals whereas the Islamic World has rules about wife-beating and where children are treated with mindless savagery.

ONE OF MY RELATIVES was having a conversation with my dad in 1996. My dad was being updated about all the different family members and their present situations. The talk soon turned to one of my uncles who, at the time, had been recently married. This guy told my dad in a most nonchalant manner, "He beats his wife practically everyday."

"Tsk tsk, that's not good," said my dad.

Then, they moved on to other topics.

DURING THE SUMMER OF 1995 in Lahore, Pakistan, my mom asked me to come with her to a nearby town as she was going to meet a tailor. My leg was aching but I agreed anyway. A few minutes later our car stopped in front of the tailor's house. My mom went in as I stood outside with our transport. It was a bright sunny day and not a single structure with more than two stories could be seen in that village.

Suddenly, a wailing noise broke the calm. It was coming from the street at my front-right. Soon, a child, who was at most five, emerged from there. He was crying his lungs out. Behind him, I guess, was his father. He was ferociously yelling at the kid. The weeping boy kept on walking as his dad approached him from behind. Then, he hit his kid on the back of the head with such revolting force that the frail boy practically leapt forward and landed on his face.

The crying stopped for a moment. The boy got up and started to weep and walk again. And again that man would menacingly catch up to him and sickeningly smack him with brutal power. It was not the first and likely not the last time that he had hit a kid. In public. No-one in the neighborhood stopped the brutal beating or even uttered a word of disapproval. There were no Kid Cops who could rescue that young boy from his gruesome fate.

IN AN OLD POST, I described the barbaric behavior of teachers in my Muslim school. I ended that piece with this:

Some of you might be asking, "How could the parents allow this barbarity to continue in schools?" You naively assume that such violence is limited to schools in Muslim lands.

I've been hit with the following list of things. By some magical coincidence, the people responsible--parents, teachers, and relatives--were all adherents of the Religion of Peace.

  1. Hands. On many occasions I was smacked across the face. Most of the time, I didn't even know that I had done anything wrong.
  2. Footwear: flip-flops, slippers, boots etc. My dad lovingly used to call the procedure Bata service.
  3. Clothes Hangers. Lots of 'em; mostly plastic. A few hits would break the hanger right in the middle at its horizontal part. It would leave burning pain; often I'd sob and go to sleep.
  4. Sticks. All sorts of varieties: small, thick, rounded, long, taped. In Urdu, a stick is called a dunda. I got the dunda treatment almost exclusively from my teachers. What did I do to "deserve" the punishment? Take your pick: failed a test, couldn't recite or write a verse from the Quran, didn't do an assignment, collective corporal treatment for everyone in the class because of excessive noise.
  5. A Spoon. A stainless steel spoon to be precise. It was hurled from across the room and I instinctively raised my arms to protect my skull. It hit me on my elbow and afterwards my mouth was wide open for a few seconds but not a single sound came out. There was some bleeding.
  6. A Water Pipe. A stainless steel water pipe to be precise. After being hit on my left leg, I couldn't walk for the rest of the day. The affected area was bruised and I had trouble walking comfortably for a couple of weeks.

I'm fortunate to be no longer around such viciousness and to point it out. However, today literally tens of millions of kids within Islamic borders are subjected to such vile brutality. The overwhelming majority grow up and internalize this loathsome pathology, instead of rejecting it.

Violence is utilized in countless Muslim-majority schools, not just the madrassas, to keep pupils "in line" and in most homes to restrain a "disobedient" wife or raise "honorable" children.

Non-Muslims have to ask themselves: When most of the Ummah treats their own offspring with such an abhorrent passion, then what is in store for those whom the Muslims hate?


Thanks to Isabel for the link at Western Resistance.

What Doesn't Offend the Muslims

THE CROWD GATHERS around as tears flow down her cheeks. Her last day will be her worst. The assorted gang are allowed stones of a particular size: Not bigger than, nor smaller than one-third of, a human digit. Hence, the stones should be around one-half the size of an adult finger. The logic is to inflict the maximal pain. The objective is to stone the adulterous woman to death.


The woman is buried up to her neck as her kids watch the whole scene. The Iranian state forces the close relatives of the woman to attend the public execution. A truck pulls up with the correctly proportioned stones. The verdict is read and then the official of the regime throws the first stone.

The chanting and the barrage start. The stones smash into her delicate face. Soon, the red liquid gushes out of her forehead. The intensity of the direct hits gouges out her right eye. Her nose gets completely broken. Her teeth are torn apart. She inhales a mixture of noxious air and blood. Her face is forever lost.

She streams in and out of consciousness. Shards of bone are sent in all directions as the stones brutally chisel the region where once her face was. The last thing she hears as the crowd extinguishes her frail soul is, "Allah Akbar!"

Such is the fate of women who are found guilty of adultery in Iran. In the modern world, no other state-sanctioned punishment exceeds this heinous display of public savagery.

A FIRE BROKE out in a girl's dormitory in Makkah during March of 2002. The girls, of course, ran out of the burning building. However, the Mutaween -- the Religious Police -- wouldn't let the girls exit the building since they weren't properly covered from head to toe. At least one parent was outside the dorm looking for her daughter. He saw her come out of the blazing dorm but was powerless in front of the Mutaween. He distressingly told her to go back and get her abaya.

She never came back from the inferno.

THREE CHRISTIAN GIRLS were beheaded in October of 2005 as they were walking to their school in Indonesia.

... their heads were found 2 hours later some distance away, including one head found about 100 meters from a church.


Through some cosmic coincidence, the perpetrators of such barbarity -- the stonings in Iran, the deaths by fire in Saudi Arabia and the beheadings in Indonesia -- were Muslims. In all three cases, the acts were carried out in the name of Islam.

Today, a few benign caricatures of Muhammed in a once-obscure Danish newspaper are "causing" a Muslim meltdown. It is, thus, illuminating to see what doesn't make the Muslims go crazy.


Thanks to Isabel for the link at Western Resistance.

What Muslims Learn

"No sir, please, I promise sir, I won't do it again. P-l-e-a-s-e sir."

His pleas made no difference. Our English teacher had a vise-like grip on the left wrist of that student. A few days before we had a brief English test. That student got 5 out of 10. Like everybody else, he had to get the signature of one of his parents. Which he did, after he had changed that "5" to an "8". Now, the student was fruitlessly attempting to avoid the customary thrashing.

The teacher held the wrist of the student with his left hand and with his right hit the student multiple times; on the head, the face, the neck, a few punches on the ribs. I sat in front of the class, a few feet away from the entire revolting episode.

The student was half-way between standing upright and on his knees. His voice muffled because of sobs, he again futilely begged, "P-p-please s-s-sir, I w-w-won't do it..."

Then, a man from the school administration entered the room to hand the teacher some kind of note. That man looked at the whole situation and airily inquired about the weeping student. The teacher told the story as he hit him again. The man responded in Punjabi, "Tsk, kids nowadays" and then left.

The above scene was from my Pakistani school in Saudi Arabia. It was just another normal day at our Muslim school. Everyone knew about the default mode of "teaching". Most of the teachers barked out whatever was in the books and the students heard the whole thing without often comprehending the subject. Practically all the students had study guides, or photocopies of them, to answer the questions for the various assignments.

Most students, myself included, simply memorized whatever was in the books and the study guides and regurgitated the material on tests and exams. This activity of cramming alien material into our heads was known as ratta (pronounced rut-ta). It was sad that most students did the same with mathematics; they could solve any problem from the book but give 'em something even slightly different, and they would be stumped.

Arabic was our third language; Urdu and English were the first and second respectively. This made Arabic and Islamiyat (the study/world of Islam) our worst courses. To top it off, we had the most grotesque teacher for these two subjects. He wore shalwar kameez and had a big black beard. His style of teaching was quite simple: If the kid doesn't learn, then you haven't beaten him enough.

On the day of our test, this teacher would start off by calling out a student and then telling him to write such-and-such sura from the Quran. Understand that the meaning of the Quran is immaterial, what matters is that a student could vomit it all back. If the student made even a single mistake, then the teacher would send him off to the faculty lounge. You see, all the exquisite dunday (long and strong wooden sticks) were there. The teacher would tell the student to bring back the one with the black tape--the heaviest one. I can't imagine that long walk. Afterwards the teacher would hit the open palms of the student with the stick, one hit for every mistake. A few students later, the teacher would get bored, so he would start hitting students on the back of their knees and thighs as they wrote out the verses on the board and made errors.

Imagine the effects of this Muslim way of teaching on the psyche of young kids. Formal education becomes synonymous with pain and suffering. These kids repeatedly learn that violence is an acceptable method of instruction. When they do graduate from high school, they have little to zero understanding of what they've "learned". Whatever they've memorized evaporates within a few years and all they're left with is horror stories of vile teachers.

If it wasn't for my introduction to the Western way of teaching less than a decade ago, then I would have forever thought of teaching as an odious profession. Though, most Muslims aren't so lucky. Everyday, thousands, perhaps millions, of Muslims are brutalized by their teachers as we're repeatedly told that Islam is a Religion of Peace.

Some of you might be asking, "How could the parents allow this barbarity to continue in schools?" You naively assume that such violence is limited to schools in Muslim lands.


Update 03:00 PM ET
Thanks to AbbaGav and Isabel at Western Resistance for the links.

Update 06:20 PM ET
Thanks to Ali Sina for the link at Faith Freedom International.

Update 10:00 AM ET, JAN. 11
Also linked at the Carnival of the Vanities #173.

How Islam Treats the Dead

The act of leaving Islam is called ridda. The one who does so is called a murtad. Let's take a look at three inter-connected Islamic institutions that systematically unravel the life of a murtad.

1. Family and Friends

Muslim families are very tightly knit. For example, more than half of all British Pakistanis marry their first cousins. The story is the same with Arabs who more often than not marry within the clan. In such honor-based cultures, any un-Islamic behavior of a person brings shame upon the entire family.

An apostasy -- the ultimate dishonorable action -- would definitely cause a meltdown in a Muslim household. Most likely, the disgraced siblings of the apostate would no longer be able to marry in the family; the parents would disown "the infidel"; friends wouldn't want to be seen with such a heinous creature, and some might even report the murtad to the local imam or the state. Since nepotism is rampant in clans, a murtad would no doubt lose all his/her favorable connections with the family.

Thus, the entire inner circle of a murtad would crumble. A Muslim only has worth as long as he/she remains a Muslim.

For small "dishonorable" activities, such as a Muslim woman studying with males or working with them, dating males, refusing to wear the burqa in public, the punishment has sometimes been death. Muslim families quietly and quickly enforce these unwritten laws. The punishment by Jordan for such honor killings has been on occasion only six months. The fate of a murtad with these families would be no different.

2. Society and State

It is quite rare to find Muslims in Islamic countries who knowingly hire people of other sects or religions. For example, in Pakistan the law treats Ahmadis as non-Muslims. Ahmadis don't believe that Mohammad is the final Prophet. All their other beliefs and practices are the same as regular Muslims.

However, the Pakistani society treats them with contempt. The Ahmadis can't call their areas of worship "mosques". They're openly discriminated against in schools and jobs, only because their belief in one tiny matter is different from mainstream Muslims.

Imagine what such a society does to those who reject Islam in its entirety. No-one in the society dares associate with an apostate. The job of the apostate vanishes. If the apostate is married, then a divorce with the Muslim spouse is automatic. Any kids in the relationship go to the Muslim spouse. At every turn the apostate is asked for his/her religion. For example, applications for a national ID or a passport require everyone to classify their religion in Pakistan.

Here's how Egypt, another Islamic state, deals with murtads:

While there are, as yet, no laws against apostasy from Islam, the missionary or the convert may be convicted on other charges, for example "threatening social peace and intercommunal relations". There is, however, a Supreme Court ruling that a Moslem who apostacises is legally dead. He loses all rights and powers. He cannot withdraw funds from his accounts. Any person who kills him does not commit murder from a legal point of view because he is already legally dead. The "dead" person cannot marry or inherit. Nor is it possible for an apostate to have his identity card changed to "Christian". More than one hundred and fifty Muslims who have adopted Christianity have been detained in maximum-security prisons. They have been accused of threatening national unity.

One example from a Coptic press release, concerned the case of Dr. Abdul-Rahman who has been held in Cairo without trial for two years for breaking with Islam. He is in solitary confinement but his will has not been broken. He is undoubtedly being used as a warning to anyone else contemplating apostasy.

[Emphasis mine]

A recent story from Iran:

An Iranian convert to Christianity was kidnapped last week from his home in northeastern Iran and stabbed to death, his bleeding body thrown in front of his home a few hours later.


He is the fifth Protestant pastor assassinated in Iran by unidentified killers in the past 11 years. Three of the five were former Muslims, under Iranian law subject to the death penalty for having committed apostasy.

Even though certain Islamic states don't have laws on apostasy, they still go ahead with the punishment of death by hanging or beheading. Ibn Warraq:

The absence of any mention of apostasy in some penal codes of Islamic countries, of course, in no way implies that a Muslim in the country concerned is free to leave his religion. In reality, the lacunae in the penal codes are filled by Islamic law. Mahmud Mahammad Taha was hanged for apostasy in Sudan in 1985, even though the Sudanese Penal Code of 1983 did not mention such a crime.

At last, we come to the heart of the matter.

3. The Quran, Hadith and Sharia

Quran 4:89

They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them friends until they fly (their homes) in Allah's way; but if they turn back, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper.

Ali Sina provides the relevant context about "they." Even so, this verse can be interpreted as ordering Muslims to kill disbelievers.

Quran 9:74

They swear by Allah that they did not speak, and certainly they did speak, the word of unbelief, and disbelieved after their Islam, and they had determined upon what they have not been able to effect, and they did not find fault except because Allah and His Messenger enriched them out of His grace; therefore if they repent, it will be good for them; and if they turn back, Allah will chastise them with a painful chastisement in this world and the hereafter, and they shall not have in the land any guardian or a helper.

Muslims often carry out this delivery of chastisement.

Sahih Bukhari: Volume 9, Book 84, Number 57.

Some Zanadiqa (atheists) were brought to 'Ali and he burnt them. The news of this event, reached Ibn 'Abbas who said, "If I had been in his place, I would not have burnt them, as Allah's Apostle forbade it, saying, 'Do not punish anybody with Allah's punishment (fire).' I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah's Apostle, 'Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.'"

But remember, Islam is the Religion of PeaceTM.

Sahih Bukhari: Volume 9, Book 84, Number 58.

There was a fettered man beside Abu Muisa. Mu'adh asked, "Who is this (man)?" Abu Muisa said, "He was a Jew and became a Muslim and then reverted back to Judaism." Then Abu Muisa requested Mu'adh to sit down but Mu'adh said, "I will not sit down till he has been killed. This is the judgment of Allah and His Apostle (for such cases) and repeated it thrice. Then Abu Musa ordered that the man be killed, and he was killed. Abu Musa added, "Then we discussed the night prayers and one of us said, 'I pray and sleep, and I hope that Allah will reward me for my sleep as well as for my prayers.'"

Ah, the sweet wet dreams of 72 raisins.

Sahih Bukhari: Volume 9, Book 84, Number 64.

No doubt I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "During the last days there will appear some young foolish people who will say the best words but their faith will not go beyond their throats (i.e. they will have no faith) and will go out from (leave) their religion as an arrow goes out of the game. So, where-ever you find them, kill them, for who-ever kills them shall have reward on the Day of Resurrection."

Again, we see the talk of reward (read: heaven) for killing a murtad.

A sensible person might think that modern Muslims have outgrown these 1400-year-old writings. One might even ask, "Isn't this punishment too barbaric?" The answer from Understanding Islam is simple and illuminating:

Saying that a particular punishment is too barbaric or otherwise, is basically giving a value judgment about that punishment. If that punishment is fixed by Allah or any of His prophets, it is the belief of all Muslims that then that punishment, whether severe or soft, serves justice.

That brief answer crystallizes the pig-headed thinking of most Muslims:
If the Quran or Hadith specify a certain action, then that activity is right.
End of debate.

Let's see the prescription of Islam Online for a murtad:

If a sane person who has reached puberty voluntarily apostatizes from Islam, he deserves to be punished.‏ In such a case, it is obligatory for the caliph (or his representative) to ask him to repent and return to Islam. If he does, it is accepted from him, but if he refuses, he is immediately killed.‏

Note that Sharia is not confined by geographical boundaries. If it is just to kill a murtad in Saudi Arabia, then so it is in America, Australia, Europe -- anywhere and everywhere.


The vast majority of Muslims treat murtads as traitors. In their eyes, the life of an apostate is worthless. From the closest relatives to the entire Ummah, an apostate has little to no shelter. Murtads are surrounded by a climate of suffocation in Islamic societies. That is why so many countless apostates keep their thinking to themselves. If caught, their only recourse is to profess maniacal allegiance to Islam. Otherwise, a tight noose or a sword welcomes them.

Muslims are immensely proud of their timeless religion. The Quran is respected and revered instead of being recognized for what it is -- a glorified encyclopedia of asininity. Islamic laws such as punishments for stealing, adultery, murder, rape, and apostasy remain the same across time and space. These laws are unreformable by definition.

The only hope is for Muslims to ignore such laws. Sadly, the past fourteen centuries don't offer much in that direction. Terror, both psychological and physical, is the very soul of Islam. For what would you say to "continue to believe or die"?


Update 09:25 AM ET, DEC. 05
Also published at Western Resistance.
Thanks to Known Unknowns for the link.


All the women were taking their clothes off.

That aspect of the scene got my attention. Another odd feature was that the movie was in black and white. Some guys were playing the VHS tape in the living room of our high school dorm.

All the naked women were told to enter a huge room which was then locked. The unclothed women started to scream.

The whole scene was confusing.

Then water started to flow from the shower heads above them. There was relief and laughter.

Did they fear that the water would be too cold? That was my bewildered thought. The scene was from this movie. The scene was set in Auschwitz.

My confusion was alleviated later when I read of the Holocaust and what happened to the millions of Jews and other undesirables whom the Nazis murdered with industrial-scale efficiency.

How could I have been so ignorant? The answer is simple. The first ten years of my education (I use the term loosely) were in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. I didn't learn anything about the World Wars from my curriculum during that time. Before coming to the US for my last two years of high school, the sum total of my World War II knowledge was:

  • The German dictator, Adolf Hitler, started conquering countries in Europe. Poland was one of those countries.
  • The anti-Hitler countries were called the Allies. The US and Britain were a part of this Alliance.
  • The Hitler supporters - Italy and Japan - were called the Axis.
  • The Axis lost the war.

That's it. I got that cursory information from watching foreign TV shows in Saudi Arabia.

Why don't the Saudis and Pakistanis teach their students about the Holocaust? I'll offer a good guess. When the purpose of their history is to show that the non-Muslims, especially the Christians and Jews (in modern terms: the US and Israel), are always trying to cheat, convert and butcher the Muslims, then the Holocaust undermines the whole narrative. Muslims are always to be the only victims and sufferers in the world.

Also, for a Muslim, an awkward question arises from learning about the Holocaust. How could six million Jews be annihilated when, as we all know, they rule the world? The facts about World War II, or rather the truth in general, would shatter the woe-is-me worldview of many a Muslim.

Westerners learn from, and teach about, the Holocaust. Deplorably, for hundreds of millions of Muslims the Holocaust simply doesn't exist.


Also, read about a visit to Dachau.

Update 01:11 AM ET, OCT. 27
This post is included in the Carnival of the Vanities #162.

Update 02:35 PM ET, OCT. 28
Open post at NIF.
A photo of real American heroes at Mudville Gazette.
Open trackbacks at the Political Teen.
TGIF at Cao's Blog.
Friday Specials at Jo's Cafe.

Update 10:40 AM ET, OCT. 29
Open post at the RWN.

In Delirium

[4 of 4]...Part 1...Part 2...Part 3.

I described the various atrocities committed by Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Iranian regime to my friend. One of his Muslim friends was present as well.

"What should be the punishment for adultery?" I asked my friend.

He didn't have an answer.

"Should women be stoned to death for adultery like they are in Iran?"

"NO," he said quickly.

That's when his friend pounced on him.

"The Quran sanctions the punishment! Do you disagree with the Quran?"

"Of course not," he said.

"So, you agree with stoning?"

"No, I don't," my friend replied.

"You disagree with the Quran!"

"No," my friend replied.

I watched in silence as my friend couldn't possibly disagree with the words of Allah. Yet, his humanity wouldn't allow him to support the stoning of women. I didn’t have to deal with such cognitive dissonance since I’m an ex-Muslim. Stoning women to death is vile and deprave regardless of what the Quran says.

*       *       *       *

Once again, I had to go back to Saudi Arabia for the summer. As usual, I wrote Islam as my religion on the entry card. I lied since I had an odd desire to have my head attached to the rest of my body.

There was no respite from conspiracy theories in Saudi Arabia.

“4000 Jews were told not to show up at the WTC as Mossad carried out the 9/11 attacks.”

The following is one of my favorites.
“The entire War on Terror is a scheme cooked up by Israel and the US to attack and keep down the Muslim world.”
That’s particularly rich considering that the overall economic and democratic condition of a Muslim country improves after the US attacks.

This one is for hating the US even when there’s no open war.
“The US steals Saudi oil. The Americans in Saudi Arabia pump [let’s say] 20 million barrels of oil but write down, and pay for, only 10 million. They’ve been doing that since 1991!”

Let it not be said that the Muslim world is not creative. They have an incredible talent for creating a conspiracy theory for every event and occasion. The sad result is that they end up hating the Jews and the Americans more than their own tyrants and terror masters.

Some, however, brazenly support the merchants of the Dark Ages.

The following conversation took place in the summer of 2002. It includes myself (IS), my dad's friend (DF), and his son (FS). Of course, we conversed in Urdu and I have translated to the best of my ability.

DF: They found out that the guy is a Muslim, and automatically he's a...

FS: A terrorist.

DF: Yeah, a terrorist.   

IS: He fired shots at LAX. What do you think you'd call him?

DF: There are other crimes that occur. Those criminals aren't called terrorists. Only Muslims are terrorists in the West.

IS: Well, on 9/11, all the terrorists were Muslim.

DF: How do you know that?

IS: How do I know what?

FS: How do you know that the people who carried out the attacks on 9/11 were Muslim?

IS: The passengers on the planes made calls on their cell phones. They told their loved ones about the hijacking. That's how the people on the fourth plane knew that their plane will be crashed and they tried unsuccessfully to stop that. Plus, the airlines have the names of these hijackers on file. So, not much doubt that they were Muslim.

DF: What does that have to do with the war in Afghanistan?

IS: I don't understand the question?

DF: Why attack Afghanistan? Why go after Osama?

IS: Because he planned/financed the 9/11 attacks.

FS: Where is the proof that Osama did that?

DF: So, a guy in a place like Afghanistan is responsible for 9/11. Why couldn't the US, the superpower that it is [smirk], stop the attacks?

IS: How do you stop a hijacking? The police can't help you in the air. Osama was, on tape, gloating about the success of his attacks. Isn't that proof enough?

FS: The US can make a tape like that with actors. They have the [special effects] technology to do so.

IS: [hopeless]

DF: The real reason the Americans went to war in Afghanistan was to destroy the Islamic state. The Americans can't stand the fact that a pure Islamic state was formed in Afghanistan under the Taliban. They, the Taliban, have suffered setbacks but one day they will rise again and there will be Islamic law over Afghanistan. One day, they will return.


DF: So, do you think the US will go to war with Iraq?

IS: Yes.

DF: It's all about the OOILLL. What do you think?

IS: I don't think it's about the oil. Saddam's time is up.

DF: Man, you support the Americans on everything. You're practically an American.

IS: Hunh. 

A small detail: My dad’s friend applied for US citizenship for himself and his family in the 90s. Most of his family has green cards. His son, at the time, went to a college in the US. These people naturally want a good life for themselves while simultaneously trashing the country which provided them that. They’ll happily and greedily take the fruits of liberty but then adamantly refuse to water the tree.

The level of perverseness, hypocrisy, and ingratitude in that conversation was nauseating.

*       *       *       *

I went back to Canada and started my new university year in the fall of 2002. After the Axis of Evil speech everyone knew that Saddam was the number one target. The Unfinished War of 1991 would finally be brought to an end. That made for some very dull and sometimes absorbing conversations. The usual charges would often be brought up: “War for OOILLL,” “No moral authority,” “Imperialism.”

It was strange that people who placed themselves on the right of the political spectrum were easily demonized by many Canadians but calling real evil by its name was considered uncouth. In a conversation about the US and Iraq:

“Bush is evil,” a friend pontificated.

“What do you mean?”

“He looks evil,” he replied.


“I think Saddam is also bad from what you have said...”

He really didn’t think that Saddam was objectively evil. Saddam was just being puffed up to be this BIG BAD BUTCHER so that the US could easily take him on.

Later, I was talking to a different friend. We were in a group of four in which two guys were spectators. I was tallying the crimes of Saddam and the reasons for the West to take him out. My friend didn’t have much of a reply.

“You talk like...”

Everyone was attentive.

“ American.”

There were audible gasps from the other two guys. Remember, this was a group of university students, so often the language was R-rated. But still, calling someone an American in Canada is harsh.

“Yeah, so?” was my reply. They all laughed.

The conversation always ended when one played the “American” card. Instead of calling me ignorant or jingoistic or a warmonger, the umbrella term would be employed to convey all the negative stereotypes. It was the same as when my dad’s friend called me an American or when my mom said that “you talk like a Jew.” These remarks said more about the people making them than about myself.

*       *       *       *

Our war against the Islamists will be multi-generational. The US has to fight. She has no other choice. We’ve tried leaving the Middle East alone in its soup of hatred, the result of which we witnessed on 9/11. The Islamists do not fully understand the West. They do not comprehend the latent might of the American Republic and they constantly deny the dignity of freedom in Israel. They truly believe that they’ll make us kneel before them. If not today, then twenty years from now. For them it is only a matter of time.

It is up to the US to prove them wrong. We must destroy Al Qaeda, crush Hamas, smash the Iranian regime, and grind the Saudi rulers into powder. We must completely and utterly annihilate Islamism Islam.

Many Westerners didn’t say a word of support for the tortured and oppressed population of Iraq. We had useful idiots before, today we have useful infidels. They are quick to point out all the supposed evils of the West but when it comes to Islamists, the silence is deafening. They effortlessly consume freedom, yet refuse to even rhetorically support the providers and defenders of liberty: the Allied armed forces with major credit to the US troops.

It is most impressive that the US military is manned by a volunteer professional force. They volunteer to wake up in a desert in a pool of their sweat. They volunteer to embrace the stratosphere at super sonic speeds. They volunteer to spend months surrounded by hundreds of miles of ocean. They volunteer to leave behind a life of leisure and their loved ones. The US is blessed to have such fine men and women who protect Western Civilization from oblivion.

On March 20, 2003, the US embarked on a most noble enterprise. I unfurled Old Glory and put it up on a wall in my room. This American proudly supports the US troops.



Update :: September 24, 2005
Stop the ACLU is having a trackback party. It's too infidelicious to resist.
Mudville Gazette has an open post. Btw, in Saudi Arabia alcohol consumption / possession earns one a beheading. Such lovely people.
My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy has put up "the Obligatory Weekend Trackback Post™."

The Political Teen has Open Trackbacks.
Basil's Blog has an open post.
Outside the Beltway has got a Traffic Jam.
Cafe Oregano has put up Friday Specials. I hope my "Tuesday" special is worthy.

bRight and Early has got an open post. Happy reading!
Cao's Blog, which has a soothing design, has got inline trackbacks.


[3 of 4]...Part 1...Part 2.

I was having breakfast in my serene world, unaware that zero-hour had arrived. I went to my class at 9:30, came back to my dorm afterwards and checked online for the latest news and upon scanning caught three words.

“World. Trade. Crashes.”

“The stock markets are crashing?” was my confused thought.

“Center,” was the fourth unbelievable word that hit me.

I clicked the link and there on the page was a picture of one of the crumbling twin towers.


I ran out to the main living room and turned on the TV. The twin towers were no more.

I knew who was responsible. Every fiber in my body knew. It was the scum who had declared war on Americans in 1996, and then masterminded the attacks on the embassies in Africa two years later. His group had attacked a US warship in Yemeni waters in 2000. I knew that he wanted to showcase a grand attack. Perhaps, bombings of multiple airliners over the Pacific and Atlantic or assaulting the enclosed infidel sites in Saudi Arabia. Instead, Osama had struck at the jugular of the American Republic.

Practically all the channels showed gruesome scenes and presented scary scenarios. Some thought that there were more than 10,000 dead. Others differed but still offered numbers in the thousands.

Students started to stream in the living room. They all watched the horror without uttering a word. I left them and went to my room. That morbid picture on the screen, in which so many innocent lives were instantly extinguished, produced a feeling of emptiness.

I checked other websites and came upon a most wretched spectacle. Palestinians were celebrating and passing around sweets. Their euphoric performance made my stomach churn. How demented is a society when it reacts with glee to the slaughter of thousands of innocents? I simply couldn't comprehend the depths of their depravity.

As the day passed, my grief morphed into anger. Anger for those who had carried out, supported, and financed the heinous acts, for those who had rejoiced at the news of the atrocity, and for those who were planning more assaults on the West. For too long the Islamic terrorists had thought of Americans as cowards. For too long the Americans had been at the receiving end of their attacks. For too long the US had done little in response. For too long the majority of the American public had not acknowledged their evil enemies.

At long last, at tremendous personal cost in blood and treasure, the US was awake and furious.

*       *       *       *

The immediate months after 9/11 were quite jarring. An economics professor of ours told us to not believe “the official” version of events. He hinted at some dark conspiracy without illuminating the situation. Sometime later, on a different topic, he told us to not pre-judge communist economies. I stopped listening to his Leftist palaver after that.

Then there were the idiotic doom and gloom scenarios. For example, thousands of American troops dying, millions of Afghanis starving to death, and the war raging on for years and years. The Ayatollah of the Left, Noam Chomsky, was always present to crown the US as the leading terrorist state in the world. Yet, there was a clear-cut choice. America plus the Allies were up against 7th century woman-beating, gay-hating, liberty-crushing Jihadists. After the incredible victory of the American army in less than two months, the credibility of the Left was in a quagmire. The overwhelming majority of Leftists kept on spewing venom at the Americans.

Leftists were not alone. One day, I walked into the living room where two guys were watching some news channel. The program was about the merciless lampooning of Osama in every late night show. One of the guys was very agitated.

“I understand why he makes fun of Osama all the time. It’s because he’s a rotten stinking Jew. But I don’t get why Leno jokes about Osama so much?”

The other guy nodded. I was speechless. I don’t know to whom he charmingly referred to as “a rotten stinking Jew,” though, I was touched to hear him defend a mass-murdering psychopath. A few months later, I would find the same guy laughing heartily at the President Bush pretzel incident. It seemed that no amount of ridicule of the Chimp-in-Chief was too much.

I found out later still that the guy was a member of the Muslim Student Association.

From my experience, the reactions of the Muslims in Canada ranged from indifference to outright support of the Islamic terrorists. It made little sense because these Muslims would never live in an environment with harsh Islamic rules. It’s uncanny how this attitude is shared by most Leftists in the West who proclaim the superiority of Castro’s Cuba or in years past the Great Soviet Russia. Yet, all of them -- similar to most Western Muslims -- are like leeches on the democratic capitalist system.

*       *       *       *

After finishing the exams, it was time for my December trip to Saudi Arabia. As usual, on the flight to the Land of Saud, the passengers are provided customs cards. So, I started to fill one out.

“First Name. Second Name. Third Name. Family Name.” I filled out the entries.

“Nationality.” Pakistani.

Further along, checkboxes for “Single” and “Married.” Single.

“Religion.” I stopped.

“Religion.” I had mindlessly filled out those forms on countless occasions.

“Religion.” Why was it so hard to write the same thing I had written so many times before?

“Religion.” Finally, I wrote down the usual answer: Islam.

The days that followed were unreal.

“The planes were remote controlled by the Americans. That’s why it was easy for them to be slammed into the buildings.”

“They want to start a war to go after Afghanistan.”

“How could Osama pull off 9/11? He is thousands of kilometers away in Afghanistan.”

“The US is the superpower, isn’t it? So, how could supposedly 19 Arabs cause such havoc to such a super country?”

“The US wants to subjugate Muslims.”

That’s just what I heard from my family. The situation was not much different in the newspapers and magazines. Every time the media mentioned Osama in a story, the “who is blamed for 9/11 by Washington” was not far behind.

I was reading through a Pakistani magazine where in the letters section was this gem. “The attacks on 9/11, which we all know were caused by Mossad,...” It was mind-numbing. The Muslim world simply couldn't agree as to who was behind the 9/11 attacks when the plain truth was staring them in the face.

Though, what they could all agree on was a sense of uninhibited joy. Whether it was Americans, Israelis or the tooth fairy that was behind 9/11, they didn't mind the auspicious atrocity.

For example, my dad told us of a blue Saudi in his office right after 9/11.

“He was distressed because he wanted the twin towers to topple sideways for more death and carnage.”

I felt sick. The US, just a decade before, had sent half a million of her finest to save the Saudis from imminent danger. On 9/11, the citadel of the US was attacked, thousands of innocents were murdered, and the ingrate citizens of Arabia were delighted.

Many went a step further and defended the "innocent" Muslims of Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia was one of three countries which not only recognized the Taliban regime but also sympathized with it. The attack on the pure Islamic state of Afghanistan was considered an attack on Islam itself.

It seemed that with a few exceptions the entire Muslim world had gone stark raving mad. Instead of opposing the evil regime of Afghanistan, they openly supported it. There were women in Pakistan who publicly supported the Taliban. That made about as much sense as blacks in favor of the KKK. It felt like being in a lunatic asylum where the US was attacking Muslims and the Taliban were gentle and sinless creatures.

Many Muslims had supported Saddam against the US, more than a decade before 9/11. Why? Because he's a Muslim! Again, the same horrid logic was being used to defend the most wretched and wanted man in the world.

*       *       *       *

The West simply can’t please the Muslim world. The ummah basically manufacture reasons to hate the West. There’s a conspiracy theory to back up each and every grievance for loathing the West. The infidels, in the minds of most Muslims, are out to destroy their communities. However, their very Islamic rules cripple a functioning society. Their one-and-only solutionTM to every perceived problem is more Quran, more aping of Muhammad, more 7th century barbarism - in one word, Islam. That was, and is, by far the loudest force in the Muslim world.

Very few, very precious few, look at the US, and the West in general, and say, “How about emulating those successful folks?” The rest are shocked and ask, “You want the Great Satan and his minions to be our role models!?” That is enough to shut up most liberals in the Muslim world.

I had wondered about many questions that had gone unanswered. After coming to North America, my life was on auto-pilot and I hadn’t given much thought to those questions. Then, 9/11 acted as a catalyst. The thin "Islam means peace" mask was removed and the hideous truth was in the open. No amount of evidence could convince the ummah of America’s innocence.

I left Saudi Arabia for Canada in January 2002. I filled out the Saudi customs card as same as before. The trip was long and arduous.

I walked in my dorm room and firmly shut the door. I was a Muslim no more.



September 11th Remembered by Jay.
A compilation of 9/11 commentary from Lorie Byrd.
In Memory by Cassandra.
Remembering 9/11 by Josh:

I remember watching the smoke and debris pour through the streets like an avalanche. It looked like something from a movie--only the tears and the terror on the faces were real.

The terror was real. Damn you Moore.

Update II
Crossposted to Colbert's Comment's Open Trackback Party.
Four years ago - never forget at CatHouse Chat:

"...Who could do such a terrible, terrible thing?"

Well, now we know, and we are hunting those bastards down like the barbaric animals they are. God indeed help us wipe this scourge from the face of the earth.

With courage, strength and perseverance, we shall.

Update III
Sister Toldjah:

It would be an understatement to say that one of the events that changed all of our lives in a most major way was 9-11. I was in NYC when 9-11 happened. The first plane struck at 8:46 a.m. and during that time, my friend and I were in Rockefeller Ctr...

Read the first comment as well.
Always Remember September 11th 2001 by Ken.
The Political Teen:

We will never, ever forget.

Update IV
Port McClellan:

On a Tuesday morning four years ago, I stood on top of an office building, two blocks from the White House, fuming with rage, watching the Pentagon billow clouds of black smoke. Al Qaeda believed they had achieved a great victory.

Less than a month later, Al Qaeda was reaping the rewards.

The Land of Trinity

[2 of 4]...Part 1.

Our plane had a very rough landing in New York. We had to change airports and take another flight to our final destination. I was stunned by the colorful scenery between the airports. It was very unlike the dull and bland Kingdom. My dad and I finally arrived at the place and stayed at a hotel. It was around 2 a.m. and I couldn’t go to sleep because it was 10 in the morning for my mind. My dad, as usual, fell asleep within seconds.

I was interested in viewing the many TV channels. We had about 3 channels in Saudi Arabia, 5 when the weather co-operated. I started to flip through the clear variety on display. I was confused by this one small detail. Quite a few channels had women who wore nothing but bikinis. This wasn’t new to me since we had satellite dishes in Saudi Arabia and every good Muslim in the land devoutly watched Baywatch. The confusing part was that all these women offered a phone number.

“Why?” I thought to myself. “What purpose would it serve to call them at 2 a.m.!?”

I had a lot to learn.

Next morning, we went down to the lobby for breakfast and came upon this most unusual of breads. It was round and rather tough. My dad didn’t add anything to it and simply ate it. He said that the bagel wasn’t very satisfying.

We left the hotel for my new high school. I was to share a boarding room with two students. I was given a class schedule and then given a tour of the school with the rest of the boarding students. In Saudi Arabia, our classrooms were fixed and the teachers switched rooms after each session; in the US it was the other way around. And more visibly the sexes were not segregated in the school. Though, the dorms were all single-sex.

My dad left for Saudi Arabia after a few days and for the first time in my life I was alone. Nobody at the high school spoke my language. So, I had to always converse in English. The atmosphere, the varied people, and the food were all so strange. It took me a few weeks to get into the rhythm. My English wasn’t poor but I was certainly bashful. That earned a lot of giggles from girls in my classes.

“So, you folks don’t have the guys and the girls together, right?” one of the curious girls asked during physics.

“No,” was my reply.

“You must really be enjoying this then!”

“Um...,” I just stared at the ground. The curious clique laughed.

Slowly but surely I started to talk, and have dinners, with the same kids. Soon, my English flowed more smoothly; I enjoyed the non-infernal weather, and the only food I abhorred was the vegetarian option.

It was surprising to see the hard work of the teachers. Sometimes they failed spectacularly but almost without exception they tried their best. When a student got a result that was considered poor, the teacher would ask him/her to come after school for extra help. I would go to such a session if I was stuck on a question. There I would see the teacher try to help the students one-on-one. I had rarely seen such dedication before.

Most students in Saudi Arabia would go through their entire education without asking a single question. The fear of offending the teacher and thus receiving verbal and physical abuse was always a present danger. Yet, in the US, students would often say that they didn’t get the material. The teacher, instead of being offended, would try a different approach or provide a new example to illuminate the situation.

I finally had true teachers after 10 years of barbarity.

My dorm was filled with colorful characters from different nations. We had Americans, Brazilians, Bermudians, Germans, Koreans, a Thai, and a Venezuelan. For quite a few, my first year in the US was the same for them. The diversity brought different cultures, languages, and music together.

I was once in the bathroom when a dude walked in with his boom box. He plugged it in and turned it on. When he was done with his shower, he asked me a question.

“Yo, do you like this music?”

“I don’t really know since I don’t understand what they’re saying. If the words were in English, perhaps I would like it.”

I sensed that something was wrong. I looked at him.

“It is in English,” he replied with an expressionless face.


The Bermudian then left with his boom box.

*       *       *       *

A completely new experience for me was the internet. I had heard about it so much on the BBC but had no idea what it was. Finally, I could see its awesome power. Business or entertainment, the web provided everything. I was fascinated by the almost costless transfer of data through email and online chatting. I learned a lot from online sources. Soon, I was hooked on Encarta because my learning wasn’t limited to “acceptable” books. It was not all reading though since I very much enjoyed my introduction to Quake.

I didn’t like to hang out with most of the boys in the dorm. I preferred to have conversations with adults. Those had a dual purpose. I improved my English and had many vexing and versatile questions answered. A vivid example follows.

We had teachers as dorm proctors. On a weekend, a girlfriend came to visit one of them. They talked for some time and then she left. It was that proctor’s duty time on the same weekend. I had done all -- okay, most -- of my homework, so we were sitting in the lobby and talking about stuff.

I casually asked him about his girlfriend and what they talked about and immediately I sensed that something was wrong.

“What did you say?” he asked.

“Um, it’s none of my business, I shouldn’t...”

“No, no, did you just call her my girlfriend?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I replied. At this point I was a little confused. “She is a girl, well a woman, and she is your friend. Hence, she is your girlfriend. Right?”

He laughed. “No, no, that’s not how it is. When we talk of a girlfriend that means someone with whom you’re...romantically involved.”


“So, she is only my friend, not my girlfriend.”

“I get it. She is a friend.”


One can understand why he’d want to stress that point. He was married.

There were a few breaks during the school year. The school and the dorms would close at such time. So, resident students had to find a place for themselves. The school offered, for a small price, the option of residing with a local family when the dorms were closed. It was an economical choice.

My first stay was very pleasant. The family had one son about my age and a friendly dog. The American family was genuinely warm and interested in my alien culture. Later, that hospitable experience was repeated with another family. Through many conversations, we learned a lot about each other. I was surprised to hear about so many different backgrounds of these few Americans and they were amazed at the harsh punishments for crimes in Saudi Arabia.

These experiences helped shape my views of Americans. I can honestly say that I talked longer and with more Americans in any 10-day period in the US than I did with Arabs in over 10 years in Saudi Arabia. I was a student in Saudi Arabia for over a decade, yet not one friendly Arab ‘brother’ invited me or any of my family members to his home. We spent all the time within our detached Pakistani community.

However, in a couple of years in the US, I spent many days with different families. They were always respectful of my customs. They didn’t cook pork or use alcohol in the food when I stayed with them. Their understanding, generosity and openness were in stark contrast to the Arabs.

My education wasn’t limited to just the course work. Oh, and by the end of the first year, I had figured out the reason. The reason all those women offered their phone numbers late at night. Ahem.

*       *       *       *

I went back to Saudi Arabia at the end of the year. I had to work on an English assignment. I had already started writing it in the US, so I decided to take it with myself to Saudi Arabia via a floppy disk.

I kept the disk in my pocket within a plastic cover. After passing through customs, a Saudi in a police uniform took me aside into a small room and patted me down. He found the disk and with a look of triumph waved it and asked me about it. “Ah, a floppy disk, you know, you put it in a computer, and-” he cut me off and took me to another room.

There, a Western teenage girl was pleading, with a bearded official, for her books. The man gave her a receipt and told her to come back in two days to pick up the “acceptable” books. You see if a book contains “harmful” material or, even worse, is authored by a Jew, then the Saudis confiscate it.

The official then came towards me and waved the floppy in my face and said four words that I’ll never forget.


“No,” was my horrified response. I told him to put it in his computer and check it right then. He didn’t listen and inquired about my dad, noted my passport number and gave me a receipt. Later, my dad had to drive all the way to the airport to pick up a bloody floppy disk.

We had to move in the summer. Again. My dad had long desired to own a house in Saudi Arabia. But non-Saudis are not allowed to buy property. For that reason, we had always had to rent an apartment in the country. Some Saudis would initially ask for a reasonable rent but after the first year, they’d jack up the rent by over 15%. Perhaps, this was their way of showing us their brotherly Muslim love.

My dad would always refuse to pay such an exorbitant amount and naturally we had to move to a new apartment. We’ve had to switch apartments on at least 5 occasions in the past 10 years.

That time, my dad found a place for a decent amount. The landlord came over once and was talking to my dad in the guest room. I wanted to meet him simply for courtesy.

“Do you need any help?” he asked my dad in Arabic as I entered the room. He laughed as he saw me. “Oh, you already have help!” We moved towards each other to shake hands. At that very moment, my dad mentioned that I was doing my studies in the US.

Immediately, revulsion was etched in his face. He took his eyes off me as though I was a maggot-infested carcass. He backed off and motioned me away with both hands as someone would a leper. My dad did nothing except laugh. I was filled with rage as I lowered my hand and left the room. Later, my dad said that the landlord tried to convince him of sending me to a highly reputed madrassa in Saudi Arabia for a decent education. My dad politely and repeatedly refused. Of course, next summer we had to move again.

Later in the summer, we were watching morbid scenes on the TV. I had heard his name before but that was the first time I had seen his capacity for evil. Osama was serious about his war against the US. The charred US embassies in Africa were a warning signal for the world.

A monster had followed through with an attack on the US and had promised to do so again. Yet, the Americans and their government didn’t treat the matter as a war. I was to be very underwhelmed by the US response to the embassy attacks.

*       *       *       *

My dad decided that I should apply to Canadian universities since the tuition in the US was too high. And so I did. I didn’t think that I would miss the US much since I thought that Canada was basically a clone of their neighbor to the South.

I still had a lot to learn.

I arrived in Canada after over 30 hours of traveling time. I was exhausted as I came upon the residence service desk. I provided them my name and after a few minutes they responded.

“Um, we don’t have you on record.”

“Excuse me?”

“I’ve checked all the records for the resident student applications, and your name doesn’t show up.”

“I got accepted some months ago, I filled out the residence application. I...I’ve got my student visa and everything.”

“I’ll re-check,” was her reply.

I had traveled thousands of miles to be told that I didn’t have any place to live. I sat down on a very uncomfortable couch with my head in my hands. After about an hour of searching, a woman came towards me and called my name. She was holding my approved application. They had moved all the applications from a nearby room and somehow forgot mine. I felt so special.

My roommate was a very likable Canadian. We got along very well. The notable change from my high school dorm was that nearly all the residences in the university allowed both sexes to live next to each other. For most, that was the first time away from their family. They were finally free to showcase their opinions and behavior regardless of how stupid and atrocious they might be. Most made full use of the opportunity.

It was really odd to see some students put up words of wisdom and display pithy one-liners while they drank booze and passed around weed. Their studying was limited to 12 hours or less prior to a test. They copied their assignments from the resident nerds. Once, I entered my dorm and took the elevator with other students. There, a well-groomed guy was complaining to his friends. He was freaking out about his Calculus class.

“Dude, I can’t take this class! I have to drop it. It’s too much. Today, the professor started talking about this FX shit!”

It took a lot of strength for me to not burst out laughing. The poor guy was scared to death of the incomprehensible f(x).

I once saw a group of kids get all well-dressed and asked them the reason. They were going to a library. You see, a library on campus was considered the social place for fluttering souls to pick up mates. And all that time, I naively used the place for research.

Unlike my high school, the university had many Pakistanis, Indians, Bangladeshis, and numerous other nationalities. They came from varied backgrounds. Some had lived in the Middle East, usually in Dubai, while some had spent time in Europe--mostly in Britain. My conversations with them were limited to gadgets, cricket and the latest Hollywood and Bollywood movies.

I got a single room in my 2nd year. That was the first time I had a room all to myself. The pleasant experience was marred by the buffoons who lived on my floor. They were noisy throughout the night. Their racket would wake me up at 3 in the morning. I complained many times to the student proctor on my floor. The spineless doofus told me to get earplugs. And I did but I couldn’t go to sleep with those things stuffed in my ears. I had to live with inconsiderate idiots.

*       *       *       *

As usual, I went back to Saudi Arabia for the summer. It was getting more and more uncomfortable to live there. I had spent the winter in Canada and after a few weeks of spring I was in the inferno. The weather in which I used to play cricket was then too cruel to bear. Outdoors, the sweat would immediately start pouring out and the moisture in my eyes would disappear.

But that wasn’t the worst of it. The schools in Saudi Arabia closed for the summer. My siblings weren’t very fond of studying during the break and since the weather was horrid, they all understandably stayed indoors. It was like living in a zoo. Fights over the movies, music, computer, and the game console were a regular occurrence.

My mom, as usual, was again on my case.

“You need to pray. Read the Quran. Follow the religion. You are studying for material wealth. What about the afterlife? You are neglecting the more important duty.”

I had enough of that. One day, after the mini-lecture, I replied.

“Which Islam do I follow?”

My mom was confused. “What do you mean?”

“Well just look at all the different people who claim to follow the real Islam. Which one of those do I follow? Note the Sunnis and the Shias. They can’t both be correct. Look at what the Taliban have done in Afghanistan. They’ve shut down schools for all the girls in the country. They’ve beaten up women who dare show their face in public. They’ve banned TV, music, and kite flying. Should I follow that?”

The silence was very unsettling.

I thought that my mom would say something but she said nothing in reply. I again talked about the Taliban and what they had done to religious minorities and “Muslims” who didn’t agree with them. My mom agreed that that was bad but didn’t condemn the Taliban further.

I had asked my earlier question in frustration but then I realized that it had a consequential meaning. What is Islam? Why doesn’t the Muslim world come down hard on the Taliban? I felt a little filthy to have lived in two of the three countries who supported that vile regime in Afghanistan.

The three countries: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. All three had Muslim majorities. The Saudis punished booze drinking with death, Pakistan and UAE didn’t. Pakistan allowed shops to remain open during prayers, Saudi Arabia didn’t. Women could vote in Pakistan but not in UAE and Saudi Arabia. Pakistan and UAE are eager for tourists but Saudi Arabia isn’t. Even in these three countries, there wasn’t much agreement in these matters.

Why would these three support the Taliban? There aren’t many countries to which the Saudis will look at and say, "Wow, you’re extreme." Yet, Afghanistan under the Taliban had managed just that. Why would the UAE, with its tourist-friendly image, endorse the merchants of the Dark Ages? The Pakistanis love to play music and fly kites. What was their logic for supporting a regime that outlawed both of those activities? Not to mention the fact that the Taliban sheltered one of the most wanted men in the world.

That simply didn’t make any sense.

It was eerie that my mom couldn’t or wouldn’t answer my questions. IX.XI would make the situation crystal clear.



Pesky Questions

Mom would insist that I go with my uncle to the Friday prayers. This was in Karachi, Pakistan. The atmosphere was hot and dusty but I didn't mind all that. What I dreaded was the soul crushing sermon before the main prayer. The words of the imam were full of righteous fury and rattling passion. The problem was that I had heard the same message a million times before. But even after the mind-numbing repetition, most of it didn't make any sense to me.

He talked of the hopelessness and powerlessness of the Muslims all across the globe. The imam's voice rose with each word. "Look at our own society, we've forgotten our values, we've strayed from the right path. The TV is to blame for our youth's drift."

That last bit got my attention. I quickly looked around and saw the men nodding in agreement. But how? How could the TV be even partly responsible for the position of Muslims in the world? The Pakistani shows on TV are made by Muslim themselves and it wouldn't make sense for them to be, somehow, regressing the ummah. Anyway, only housewives and old ladies watch those shows.

All the foreign shows on TV are censored of any infidelicious material before they're aired. I just couldn't see Bob Newhart leading the young ummah to hell. Or MacGyver using his infinite skill to make the Muslims less pious. Although, it's possible that this flying death machine caused a few Muslims a little heatburn. Perhaps, it's me, I thought. I'm just too young to understand the adult Muslim logic. I'll have a better grasp of the Zionist TV channels when I grow up. I never did.

I had more questions as the years went by. Ramadan comes along 10 days earlier every year since Muslims follow the lunar calendar and in Saudi Arabia, it was amazing to behold the transformation in my class. Almost all the troublemakers were polite and quiet. The few who caused a stir were not ruthlessly beaten by the teachers as was the case in the other 11 months. It was odd to see friends and classmates suppress the usual swear words and be oh-so-angelic. "It's Ramadan!" they all exclaimed. "We have to behave like good Muslims. We don't fight. We don't talk dirty. And we pray five times a day."

Was that hypocrisy or the lack of food that brought the best behavior? Why, oh why, did they all revert to being jerks when Ramadan was over? And non-praying jerks at that. Of course, I kept these questions to myself since I wished for my jaw to remain intact.

Mom had always lamented that I'm not religious enough. I don't pray. I don't fast. I don't read the Quran...I'm a baaad Muslim. So, after hearing these complaints for the umpteenth time, I asked her a few questions that just happened to be on my mind.

Why is it that whenever there is a conflict between a Muslim and a non-Muslim, other Muslims take the side of the Muslim regardless of the facts?

"Aaah," was her reply.

Why do Muslims hate modern day Jews and Christians? Let's assume that Jews and Christians were enemies of Muhammad in the 7th century. How does that criminality transfer to their innocent descendants 1400 years later?


It says that the Haj washes away all the sins of a man. Don't you think that's a bad idea? Consider a Muslim who is foul-mouthed, drinks alcohol, steals for his drug addiction, and sleeps around in his 20s and 30s. At age 40, he makes the noble pilgrimage to Mecca. Presto, his slate is wiped clean. Don't you think the Haj acts as an incentive for reckless behavior?


Take the 5 prayers during the day. The first prayer is before sunrise and the last two are after sunset. How could one perform them at the North Pole? It's daytime for 6 months followed by night for the next 6. Imagine the first day of Ramadan during daytime. The sun never sets! Your religious fasting would kill you.

Mom was pissed. "You know, you talk like a Jew. They always bothered the prophets with too many questions."

Cute. My questions still remain unanswered and I continued to be a baaad Muslim.


Instruction by Monsters

The first teacher takes attendance by calling out the roll numbers. The roll numbers are assigned in alphabetical order with respect to the first name. After the roll call, the teaching commences teaching assuming that one can call it that. Everyone opens the course book and the teacher starts to either read from it or writes the same material on the board. That was the only method of teaching in my Pakistani school.

Continue reading "Instruction by Monsters" »

Honor in Slavery

It’s a joyous occasion when a boy is born. The reception for a girl is somewhat muted. A boy will grow up to be the heir of the family. A girl’s final and proper place is with her future husband. She is thus a burden on her immediate family. She has to be shielded from society. She cannot converse with any male with whom marriage is possible. Only then can she preserve her honor.

A boy can go outside and play various sports. A girl is confined to home and can play with other girls when they come over. The parents allocate education money for the young nawab but the girl is lucky if she reaches the eighth grade. What purpose would it serve to provide a girl with a high school education?

A boy has little limits to what he can wear. It’s a girl’s duty to respect the parda. She must cover her entire body with, preferably, black cloth. Public places such as schools, mosques, hospitals, are segregated by gender. Sometimes strict parents enforce this segregation in their homes. The sons and daughters have their own respective rooms and bathrooms.

The teenage years are frustrating for girls. Boys play sports after, and sometimes during, school. On weekends, they can watch a new movie in the cinema, race in their foreign cars, play pool, or simply hang out. Girls are denied these options. The punishments for breaking these rules can be severe. A girl risks losing her friends and her TV and phone privileges forever if she is seen leaving the house alone. She risks her life if she is caught with another boy.

The jubilant time comes to marry off the girl. It’s usually the prospective boy’s family who do the searching. The mother, sisters, and aunts join in and go to different homes and take a peek at the bride. They also do a little research on the side. “What is the reputation of that family?” they ask of the neighbors. “Do you think she is a well-behaved girl?” they ask the servant.

The prospective family looks for two main features: fair skin and honor. Often with abundant choice, dark-skinned girls are rejected immediately. Ultimately, public reputation is what matters. A girl has little to no choice in choosing her husband. It’s the families that decide.

The girl is now a woman. She is married and her job is to provide the husband with an heir. She is unfortunate to have a husband who is the oldest in his family. That implies that her mother-in-law lives with them. Such is the life of an average Pakistani woman.

Her husband gets a job in Saudi Arabia. He can only take his wife. She is elated. The husband spends most of the day in the workplace. After a few weeks in Saudi Arabia, she feels lonely. She doesn’t speak much Arabic. Even if she did, she couldn’t go out alone in Saudi Arabia. She must have a male companion with her. Her husband is the only male she knows in Saudi Arabia and he is tired after work. Thus, she spends entire weekdays indoors. She leaves the TV on to keep her company. Only on weekends does she get a merciful respite in the desert while covered in the black abaya.

A few months pass and she gives birth to their first daughter. Her life is now about taking care of the little angel. Two years later, she gives birth to another daughter, and her joy multiplies. Then unfortunate news comes from Pakistan. Her mother has passed away. She can’t go alone with the daughters to Pakistan. By Saudi law, she needs a male companion. She pleads with her husband to come with her. He can’t. Too much work at the office. The small window of time closes. She mourns alone and has no choice but to accept his harsh and inconsiderate judgment.

The next five years provide her with two more daughters. After the birth of their fourth daughter, his job in Saudi Arabia is done. All six of them go home. The mother-in-law is unhappy with the absence of grandsons. Then, good news comes as she is pregnant again. The mother-in-law arranges for a visit to the hospital. Modern technology can determine the sex of the unborn. The new child will be a female. Under pressure, she aborts her. She feels sorrow and guilt. Few months later, she is pregnant again. Her sorrow diminishes. But once again, she has to abort the unborn girl.

The mother-in-law has had enough. She tells her son to get a second wife since the present one is barren. The first wife understands. The family must have a son. She is treated nicely and her husband has enough money for a second wife. Why not? Her husband fulfills his mother’s wishes. He now spends practically all his time with the new wife. The first wife spends her time with her daughters. Her task is now to raise each one as an honorable woman. Just like her.



Final Update: You can view all my "heavy" posts on one page by clicking here. I often submit them to FFI and Western Resistance as well.


Cruel Affection
Faith Freedom International: Cruel Affection
Islam Watch: Cruel Affection

What Doesn't Offend the Muslims
Faith Freedom International: What Doesn't Offend the Muslims
Islam Watch: What Doesn't Offend the Muslims

What Muslims Learn
Faith Freedom International: What Muslims Learn
Western Resistance: A Window Into the World of Learning: Saudi Arabia
Islam Watch: What Muslims Learn


How Islam Treats the Dead
Faith Freedom International: How Islam Treats the Dead
Western Resistance: How Islam Treats the Dead

Faith Freedom International: The Perversion of History

Faith Freedom International: Musings of a Murtad

* * * *

The following four essays detail my personal and ideological journey through four countries: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the US, and Canada. If I could recommend only one essay, it would be the third one.

1.0. In Darkness

2.0. The Land of Trinity

3.0. IX . XI

4.0. In Delirium

Think of these posts as "deleted scenes" from the above four essays:

1.1. Honor in Slavery

1.2. The Ideal Life

1.3. Instruction by Monsters

2.1. Pesky Questions

2.2. Cold

* * * *

In Darkness

[1 of 4]

My father had brought enough for all of us. My siblings were playing around with them and putting them on. At the time, they looked quite funny on our faces. Even my father had an uncomfortable grin. Today, looking back, the gas masks don’t provide much humor.

It was 1990. Saddam Hussein had broken the cardinal rule in the Middle East. He decided to enslave, torture, and murder people that were not his own countrymen. Many thought that Saddam wouldn’t stop with Kuwait. He might attack the country in which we resided. Naturally, everyone in Saudi Arabia was scared. There was tremendous fear of chemical weapons. My father had therefore brought everyone a gas mask, and taped shut all the windows in our apartment. All the unused electrical outlets were also taped. We tried to make our apartment as air tight as we possibly could.

In early 1991, the US-led coalition started its mission to liberate Kuwait. I’ll never forget that one night. I was doing my homework at around 9:30 p.m. when suddenly a loud wailing sound broke my concentration. I had never heard that sound before. I came out of my room and saw my parents leaving theirs. I asked my father if that was the siren and he nodded. We turned on the TV and a statement on the government channel stated, in essence, that the situation is tense in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.

We went to a different room where my father told me to get under a table. I questioned how that would help if the whole building were to come down. After seeing the angry reaction on his face, I got under the table. A few uneventful minutes passed by. It was dead quiet. I was looking around and glanced outside the balcony door. The colors on the building across the street looked faded in the night.

Suddenly, there was a bright flash, like lightning, which briefly illuminated those colors. I looked at my parents and asked them if they saw that. I pointed at the balcony door and said, "there was a bright-" and then our building shook violently. Saddam’s military was firing scud missiles into Saudi Arabia. Five seconds had elapsed between that light and sound, so that missile hit the city, at most, two kilometers away.

That moment cleared the mind. There was an eerie quiet after the building shook. No one uttered a word. I was sweating and felt completely empty. Will this be the end? What is there between the building crumbling and myself? Nothing but a thin table. Fifteen minutes must have passed. I looked at my parents and said, “I am hungry.” They both looked at each other and smiled.

My father decided that we had to leave the country. He, however, would stay behind because he had a job to do. We were to be sent to our home country. The airports in the Kingdom were closed. So, we had to first travel to Bahrain via a van and then take a flight from Bahrain to our country. And thus it went. In early February, I think, my father gave the passports to my mother and we went to an empty lot where other folks were assembled as well. We had a few suitcases for ourselves. It was night time and many vans were going to Bahrain. Our journey took about 4 hours. Most of the time was taken in customs. Each passport took a few minutes to process.

We waited at the Bahrain airport for the whole night. Many people waited, for the flight was in the early morning. I was slightly and naively happy since school had been cancelled. This seemed like a vacation for me. Still at the back of mind, I knew that my father was in a dangerous situation. Chemical weapons could be used by Saddam. The real fear of that resulted in our taping the apartment shut. But what if? What if?

Finally, there was sunrise and with it the murky Gulf Air appeared. We boarded and hoped for a safe journey. We usually went to our home country once a year to visit our relatives. This time it was for a grim reason. My parents had decided to enroll me into a school there since we didn’t know when the war would end. I was told this upsetting news after we landed in Pakistan.

*       *       *       *

Pakistan is a strange country. She is full of people from every stripe of life. Of course, being a Sunni Muslim usually puts one in a safe position. Thus, we kept our affiliation private. The cogs of society are more often than not very rusty. Though, a few rupees always keep the state mechanism running smoothly.

Soon, my mom was filling out the school application. I had to take a brief entrance test, after which I was admitted. I still remember the ridiculous amount of workbooks bought for my studies. I think there was one course that required four workbooks. I had to keep up with four different languages: English, Urdu, Arabic, Sindhi. It was Sindhi that gave me the most trouble since nobody in my family knew the language. The Sindhi teacher required everyone to read a paragraph or more of Sindhi from our course book while he marked your work. I was mortified at the thought of messing up. Fortunately, nothing happened.

The atmosphere in Pakistan was quite tense. Almost everyone had their TVs on some news channel to get updates on the Gulf War. I didn’t follow the matter. I was busy after school. One could buy a coin for one rupee at the arcade. At the time, US$1 could buy you over 20 coins. I used up around 5 rupees everyday on that activity. I would play mostly Street Fighter till my heart was content or when the electricity went out.

Afterwards, I had enough money for a choice between sugarcane juice or chick peas. A guy would be on the side of the street with loads of sugar cane and a sugar cane crusher. A small glass of juice went for 1 rupee, the bigger for two rupees. Another fellow would be on the side of the road roasting chick peas. He had a small bag going for 1 rupee or a bigger one for 2 rupees. The bags were made from newspapers. I would prefer the roasted chick peas after finishing the fights. The choice of juice with a billion flies swarming around the sugar cane wasn’t that appealing.

Manure was all over the streets in Pakistan because of horse carriages. They were the cheapest but slowest means of ground transportation. The rickshaws were the next in line. The cabs were the most expensive. One always had to bargain with the three for acceptable rates. Only the vans and, the glamorous art soaked, buses had fixed rates. I didn’t have to bother with them since all of my little shopping errands, mainly groceries, involved walking a few minutes.

The Pakistanis have always been crazy about cricket. It’s their national passion. On every afternoon, except Friday, I would see other kids playing the game around our building. I joined in once. They hadn’t seen me before and thus were curious. I told them about our situation. After we finished, I was walking back with one kid who, out of the blue, asked me a question. “Who do you think is going to win the war?”

“The US,” I said.

“Why do you think that?” he asked.

“Since the US is more powerful than Iraq and has sent such a large force across 8 time zones.”

“No, Saddam Hussein is going to win!” he shot back.

I didn’t like that answer and asked him to explain his choice. He gave an answer that I knew was not right but my nine-year-old mind couldn’t compute as to why.

“Because he is a Muslim,” he replied.

Our apartment was infested with flies. They couldn’t be avoided. In addition to the lovely flies, we had to deal with mosquitoes. On many an occasion, we smacked them after they had helped themselves to our blood. We slept on a few blankets which covered the floor. The wall next to the blanket had the mosquito hall of fame. Literally scores of mosquitoes were plastered on the lower part of that wall. Our relatives smiled at the morbid work of art since our blood made a stark contrast against the exciting beige paint.

Good news came. The US-led war was quite brief and comprehensive. I naturally stopped going to school. In a few weeks we were to travel back to the glittering jewel of Islam: Saud’s Arabia.

*       *       *       *

Saudi Arabia is even a stranger country than Pakistan. The first and most noticeable aspect is the overpowering atmosphere. We suffered high temperatures with high humidity because we lived close to the coast. It takes, at most, ten seconds for one to automatically start sweating in that heat. Every apartment and place of work has air conditioners installed. We had three at the time.

The second aspect is the customs form one has to fill out. It effectively states in red that the punishment for drug trafficking is death, and by the way, alcohol is a drug. In the mid 90s, Listerine was banned in Saudi Arabia thanks to this Islamic policy.

The third aspect is the total blackout of women. The religious police, called the mutawa, or mutaween if more than one, enforce this policy throughout Arabia. Women must be covered from head to toe and cannot travel without a male companion. I cannot imagine the suffocating feeling women feel under their black abayas in 500C temperatures.

The fourth aspect is the azaan. All of Arabia has the azaan, the call for prayers, five times a day. The exact times vary; first call for prayer, Fajr, during the summer is at 3:15 a.m. Then follows Dhuhr at 12:05 p.m., Asr at 3:20 p.m., Maghrib at 6:45 p.m. and finally Isha at 8:15 p.m. All the mosques have the azaan. In a typical neighborhood one will have at least three mosques within hearing distance. Before long, the out of sync clamoring becomes background noise. For easily 20 minutes after the prayer call all shops, stores, markets – any business – must close itself. Otherwise, they’ll have to deal with the Mutaween.

Muslims take great pride in their religion. Muslims consider themselves all as one superior brotherhood. The laws apply to all of the brothers equally. My father worked in a company alongside many Arabs. He sometimes spent half the weekends going to the workplace. His salary was around half of what the Saudis were paid for the same job. It seemed some brothers were more equal than others.

The fundamentalists in Saudi Arabia hold tremendous sway. For years they had blocked the sale of satellite dishes in the kingdom for fear of the diseased Western programs and, gasp, scantily clad women. In the 90s, certain dishes were allowed. This was a case where economics trumped the idiotic Islamists. Very soon Baywatch was the TV show of choice in the desert. One can imagine why.

The weekend days are Thursday and Friday in Saudi Arabia. That’s to accommodate the longer Friday afternoon prayers. I, however, used to read novels or watch old movies. There was not much on the TV. We had about ten channels at most. Most of the shows didn’t interest me.

Sometimes on the weekend, my dad would offer 5 riyals (US$1.33) to have the car waxed. The whole process would take around two hours. Once, on Thursday, I was wiping the wax off when there was the azaan for Asr, the third prayer of the day. Indifferent Arabs passed me by to the mosque with the exception of one. This bearded Saudi grabbed hold of my arm and swung me around and then started a mini-lecture in Arabic on stopping all activities and praying. In the end, he pointed towards the mosque and left in disgust. I was out in the scorching heat for a little money and didn’t expect that outburst. I slowly left the unfinished job for the prayer time and finished the work afterwards.

It was summer time. The school was closed for July and August. My dad took his vacation time. We were to visit our relatives in Pakistan by choice.

*       *       *       *

Not much had changed in Pakistan in the mid 90s. The most noticeable change was our purchasing power. The Pakistani rupee had fallen against the Saudi riyal. I was happy because my saved up money was worth more. However, our relatives were increasingly squeezed by this devaluation.

This time I was among my cousins. We used to play cricket, fly kites, enjoy the arcade games, and even a few board games. It was a lot of fun. My family lived with the relatives for the duration of the vacation. The contrast between the life in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan was stark. Electricity would go out without notice in Pakistan. Of course, the flies and mosquitoes were ever present. The tap water had a lovely odor. No question, it was unfit for drinking. There were special small taps in each house along that part of the city. We would get drinkable water in that tap for one hour every day. Even then, we later boiled that water to be safe.

Another worry was rain. One day, the neighborhood would be alright. Then, it pours overnight. The next day, there would be a river in front of the house. There was once over two feet of foul water in front. We had to go through that to get groceries. Buying groceries was not simple. One had to move about and bargain since prices are never fixed. We had all the time and would always get the lowest prices.

We didn’t have enough beds. The relatives would let my family use all of them. They would thus sleep on the floor separated by a blanket or two. They put old clothes in a cotton or wool bag. That constituted our pillows. We had ceiling fans to allay the summer heat. A few devices and lotions would be used to keep the mosquitoes away. They thankfully worked.

Almost everyone in Pakistan is delighted by mangoes. The mango is considered to be the king of fruits. For my family and relatives, the feast would come after the main course. They would literally finish off a bucket of mangoes. I find the fruit to be too messy. So, I would leave my share. My relatives certainly didn’t mind.

One of my cousins was memorizing the Quran by heart. He would sit down with his mother and read aloud the verses. He would rock back and forth while doing so. His mother had a stick in her hand and would use it to correct him whenever he misspoke. I was horrified but didn’t say anything. Other relatives inquired about my Quran reading. I hadn’t read it. “Tsk, tsk, tsk,” they said with extremely disappointed expressions. My mother joined in with the gloomy expressions. I then left the pathetic room.

One day, I overheard a conversation between my aunt and family. She had come back from a mosque. She told us about a foreign lady who had come to teach birth control to women near the mosque. She said that the Westerners were afraid of Muslims. This talk of birth control was a scheme by the Westerners to keep the number of Muslims low in the world. I knew that this statement wasn’t right but kept my mouth shut. By the way, this aunt had seven children. I am sure that Western lady must have been petrified with fear because of her.

The few weeks with the relatives were memorable. The time came to say goodbye. We were to go back to the land of Saud.

*       *       *       *

I went to a Pakistani school in Saudi Arabia. The only choice in our course material was the language of instruction. Urdu and English were the two choices. Except that, everyone took the same courses. My instruction was in English. The rooms for students were fixed. It was the teachers who changed the rooms after each period.

Each classroom had two air conditioners. The students in my class numbered from 30 to 50 in different years. Each classroom had 4 to 5 columns of desks with 5 to 6 rows for each column. Each desk could fit two students. Even then, the school could not meet the demand for students. That’s why the school had two shifts. The first from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and the second from 3:15 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Yes, the evening shift was shorter. Most of the upper year classes were in the morning shift.

Not much teaching took place in the Pakistani school. Almost all the teachers simply regurgitated the material found in our books. For typical homework we had to write the material from the books in our notebooks. Such was the case for all the courses. We only copied and memorized the history of Islam and Pakistan, the various prayers in Arabic, the numerous feats of science, and the various stories in Urdu and English. Most of us never learned them. Such was the art of "ratta." Sadly, students even memorized the math problems for homework. They could instantly write the solutions for the math problems they had seen before. Yet, the same problems with different numbers would confound them.

The students did all this useless work out of fear. The punishments could be quite severe for tardiness. Sometimes a teacher would leave for his succeeding class and the next teacher would be late. Meantime, I would do a little of my homework. However, the noise level of the class would get out of control. The next teacher would storm in and ask everyone to stand up and raise their hands. Then, he would leave and bring back a thick stick. He would then go around the room and tell each one of us to lower his arms and show him the open palms. Our hands would be hit anywhere from 1 to 9 times; the punishment depended on how much the teacher liked you.

The same punishments were handed out for not doing the homework and performing poorly on a test. It was this fear that drove me to finish my school work. When I was in the evening shift, I would start my homework at around 9 or 10 p.m. and often continue till 3 a.m. I often committed to memory entire chapters from my science book without understanding a single paragraph. I could perfectly write out entire stories from my Islamic studies but I didn’t know what they meant. I could recite the prayers in Arabic without knowing their meaning. Such were the rotten fruits of fear.

I vividly remember one incident. Our Urdu teacher was once talking to a few students in the front of the class. A few rows back, a student was causing a ruckus. The bearded teacher told him to shut up and he piped down for a few minutes. The teacher called him by name the second time and again he was quite for a short while.

Finally, the teacher had had enough. He got up. The entire class went silent. He went over to the student and started slapping him. The student covered his face. The teacher started to slap and punch him on the neck and the back with each hit more forceful than the last. The kid sitting next to the student got up from the desk and stepped away. The teacher kept on brutally beating the student. The student started crying and fell to the ground within the desk. The teacher grabbed the front of the desk with his left hand and the back with his right. He then started to kick the bawling student. He kicked him for about 20 seconds. He then went to his desk while swearing. No-one said a word.

That was the last class of the evening. The brutalized student wailed all the way to home with visible shoe marks on his white shirt. Soon, practically everyone knew what had happened. A few days later, the same bearded teacher seemed quite miffed. He said that while he was shopping, the few Pakistani shopkeepers around the school had asked him to go easy on said student because he was devoutly religious. That was the sum total of the outrage. The only reason these Pakistanis uttered a few words was because the said student was a spellbinding Quran reciter.

It is no secret that Muslim parents themselves hand out medieval punishments in the home. They don’t expect much pity from the teachers in school. A teacher could be cruel to his pupils for decades without as much as a telephone complaint. These people show such tender affection to their loved ones. I shudder to think of what they would do to the hated kufaar.

A life changing event was to occur. Up till then, I had lived in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. My mind had been imprisoned by fear and ignorance for all this time. The Land of Trinity would completely shatter the cage.