Following is the English translation of the recent Facebook LIVE talk between founder of Rabwah Times Ehsan Rehman and co-editor of Rabwah Times & Director of Pakistan-Israel Alliance Mr Noor Dahri.
Ehsan Rehman (Rabwah Times founder): Hello Assalamuwalaikum everyone, welcome back to another episode of Rabwah Times Live. I do apologize for the long gap in between our last episode but due to some reasons we couldn’t start this live program for some time. And after quite a wide gap of quite a few months I believe we have started this program again. And in this program my co-host is Mr Noor Dahri, who is also a co-editor of Rabwah Times as well as the founder of Pakistan-Israel Alliance. And we’ll start our discussion today with, you know, what has happened in the last two weeks in terms of persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan..that…you know..two Ahmadis have been shot dead within the past ten days. And Pakistan refuses to even accept that there is a state-sponsored persecution of Ahmadis going on in the country and we’re gonna start our discussion on that and I’m gonna go to Noor Dahri for his views on that issue. Yes, brother Noor.
Noor Dahri: First of all Assaamuwalaikum Warehmatullah. Thank you very much brother Ehsan for inviting me on this show. We were thinking for quite some time about such a live program where we can pass on a positive message to the people. Your question is important for Pakistani community all around the world. I have also heard through a message that Pakistani Ambassador (to U.S.) denied Ahmadi persecution. To me it is completely a joke. How can you deny an ongoing persecution where killings..target killings are going on..how can you deny that on international forums. Not only Pakistanis around the world but international world is also looking at you and watching Pakistan that what you’re doing.
E.R.: He is sitting in an int’l forum in Washington DC you’re trying to present a good image of yourself on behalf of the government because that’s your job, and I understand that, but you cannot just deny that fact. And after that Pakistani people at the UN say that they should talk about human rights of Kashmiris…that Kashmiris are being oppressed..and that India is persecuting Kashmiris..And then India keeps denying that persecution of Kashmiris. But at the same time when it comes to their own persecution of Ahmadis they deny it and you know, they don’t even acknowledge it. India is at least trying to solve that problem. They don’t go out and stop Kashmiris from praying in Kashmir or they don’t stop people from praying as Muslims or they don’t stop them from doing what Islamic stuff is..the Islamic traditions. They don’t stop Kashmiris from celebrating Eid. In India they don’t stop Kashmiris from offering Namaz or Azaan…and at the same time you know the sort of persecution Ahmadis are facing in Pakistan is much worse than what is being done in India..or what Muslims are facing in India. I mean, they have a place in the govt, they can participate in elections, they can vote, they have all these rights. But at the same time Ahmadis don’t even have those basic rights.
N.D.: Look, the first thing is….look, first of all…question, I can raise probably two questions. Are they (Ahmadis) not Pakistani citizens? Yes they are. Have they been declared second class citizens? No. Alright? Do they have the right to vote? Or they can’t find a job? Look, the problem arises when you have made a nation..a community selective. By selecting it you have started persecution against them. Look, we are Pakistanis. We have Hindus in Pakistan living among us, we have Christians, Shia Muslims, Ahmadis..this is a multicultural diverse community in Pakistan. We have diverse culture in our Pakistan. What message do you want to give to the world. Why do you want to tell the world this country is only for Muslims and no one else has a right to live, to pray, freedom of speech..why are you taking away these rights from someone. These are basic human rights. The least you can do is to give people basic human rights. Wherever there are Pakistani Ahmadis around the world, they’re representing Pakistan. Have they taken Indian nationality while being abroad? Have they taken Indian nationality? Have they received training from somewhere to fight against other communities in Pakistan? They’re tolerating it for decades. Geo (tv channel) is being oppressed, in Hazara many Shias have been killed..Shias are being persecuted.
E.R.: So what started as a persecution of Ahmadis has now reached Shias and you know it’s funny…well, it’s not even funny but sad, in a sense that how Shias allied with Sunnis to declare Ahmadis non-Muslims and today this persecution has reached to Shias. Shia community is being attacked right and left. So how do we make people understand that this is not the way your country is going to go forward. Or how do you make the Pakistani government understand that they have to include everybody. They have to be more inclusive towards the Shias, towards Ahmadis. You are the Director of Pakistan-Israel alliance and your organization is very different as in you are trying to create relations between Israel and Pakistan. So if you look at Israel, there are a lot of diverse communities..20 percent of the population in Israel is Muslim, right. And ninety percent of those 20 percent are of Arab descent,right. So if we consider that in Pakistan too there are diverse communities including Ahmadis, Sunnis, Shias, Bahais, they’re all living together. So how can you apply the same Israeli model in Pakistan?
N.D.: Look, there are human rights in israel. Israel is Middle East’s biggest democracy. There is Arab community in Israel. There are Muslims living including Shias, Sunnis, Salafis, Ahmadis, Bahais, Christians. They’re not persecuted. Name me one case where an Israeli killed an Ahmadi or shut down their mosque or oppressed them or tried to crush their voice and human rights. In Israel they have their mosques which are prospering. Their Shias are also prospering. Why is it that Israel as a non-Islamic country they have freedom for minorities while Pakistan as a Isamic country, created in the name of Islam, where every minority community is suffering..why is that..when will we get out of this? From Fatwa-baazi and from Takfeer…please come out of it. Our Pakistani community is worldwide shamed for these things. For how long will we continue to shoulder this shame around the world. We are one nation. Why don’t you think as one nation? The world is watching you. And you have created a joke out of everything. You have made a joke of your traditions, your culture, your identity. Everything is a joke for you. This is 21st century..you can talk about conquering the world on social media…on social media you say that Pakistan has more human rights than anywhere else in the world..on social media you say Muslims in Pakistan have more rights than anywhere else. Brother, where are they? You have to prove it in real life. You’re living in a real life, not in a dream life..not in a social media life.
E.R.: (audio not available due to technical fault)
N.D.: Look, people who don’t have the guts to give rights to their neighbor..the nation which can’t give its minorites basic rights..so what do they do? They call people ‘Kaafir’. Prophet Muhammad has said if the person you’re calling ‘Kaafir’ is not a ‘Kaafir’, then you’re definitely a ‘Kaafir’. Come out of these fatwas. This Kaafir fatwa started from 1970s..In Zia-ul-Haq era’s when this fatwa-baazi started..come out of it..this is not Zia’s era anymore…this is 21st century. For how long will you kidnap, murder people after giving fatwa on them. For how long will you destroy whole communities and burn their houses after giving the ‘Kaafir’ fatwa. The world is laughing at you. You are beheading your own countrymen after declaring them ‘Kaafir’…you’re killing them. And then you tell the world that you’re a civilized nation. At least act civilized. I’m not an Ahmadi…I’m a Salafi. I talk about human rights. To me, every human being…every Pakistani, whether he is Christian, Hindu, Shia, Ahmadi or whether he belongs to any party..or whether he is an atheist..someone who doesn’t believe in Allah..alright? we don’t have any right to take someone’s life by giving fatwas. God has kept the responsibility of takin life in his own hands. we don’t have any justification, religious or legal, that we could declare someone ‘Kaafir’ and set their bus on fire. For God’s sake, let people live in their country.
E.R.: (audio not available due to technical fault)
N.D.: Look Mr Ehsan, Pakistan-Israel Alliance is an educational reform organization. Through this alliance I want to bring a reform in Pakistan. An educational reform. I want to bring revolution..educational revolution. To make people understand that the era of hate has ended. You have to move forward. India imposed three wars on you but you talk about love and harmony with them. And where Israel has not fought a single war nor has killed a single Pakistani ever..it (Israel) sits thousands of miles across…you’re talking about enmity with it? On what basis? You should either have the guts or reason for enmity. Who do you want as your enemy. Sometimes you talk abut enmity with Afghanistan, sometimes you talk about enmity with Israel, sometimes with Bangladesh. Is there any country that you have considered your friend? You must walk with unity with other countries in the world. You are one nation. Act like a nation. Don’t become a group…
E.R.: You’re right.
N.D.: ..that keeps fighting with others. Israel is a superpower in the world. If you can make good relations with America, if you can make good relations with Britain, If you can make good relations with Europe, if you talk about having good relations with India..you talk about peace talks..so why don’t you come to the table to create good relations with Israel? Do you want Palestinian issue to be resolved? how will you solve it? For 70 years you have given ‘kufr’ fatwas..persecuted people..but you couldn’t get justice for Palestinian nation. If you want this issue to be resolved, then come to the table for table talk with Israel. You have to talk to each other. You cannot defeat them.
E.R.: As far as religious freedom is concerned, yesterday we did a poll on Rabwah Times where we asked in which three countries from India, Pakistan, Israel do Ahmadis have most rights? So it was very interesting that the poll which we ran on Twitter and Facebook, the top country was India, after India it was Israel and Pakistan was last. So it is interesting that Ahmadis have more freedom in a country like Israel..and it is not only because they’re Ahmadis but also because they’re Muslim. Because Muslim community as a whole lives in Israel without sectarianism even though just across the border in Palestinian society there is a lot of sectarian bloodshed. The fire of sectarianism didn’t reach Israel, and there are Muslims, Bahais, Jews, Christians living together there. Just last year, in the Palestinian Authority controlled area, a woman who had converted to Ahmaddiya was declared a ‘Kaafir’ and her marriage was broken up by Palestinian courts. At the same time in Israeli courts, Ahmadis are taking part in politics. there are Muslims who’re taking part in politics. Same thing with Ahmadis in India in Qadian. That Pakistani Ahmadis who helped in the creation of Pakistan go to India to practice their religion while in Pakistan two Ahmadis cannot even gather in public or read Quran. So if you see this situation, for instance when there was talk of ban on Azaan and in Israeli Parliament a Muslim member of Parliament gave Azaan and said that don’t ban Azaan and in Pakistan too many people condemned it and said look what Israel is doing. But at the same time if you look at the situation of Ahmadis in Pakistan, there’s a blanket ban on Azaan by the Pakistani govt on Ahmadis. Ahmadis cannot even give Azaan in the mosque let alone use loudspeakers. At the same time they’re condemning Israel’s actions that oh look Israel is banning Azaan. And it wasn’t still a ban..they said that please turn down the speaker volume or don’t give Azaan during particular timing..but Azaan itself still wasn’t banned. So you see this conflict going on. And there are many similarities in Pakistan and Israel. Pakistan was made in the name of Islam. Israel was made in the name of Judaism. So when you see that and then you see the religious extremism in Pakistan and religious freedom in Israel. So then what do you think after seeing this?
N.D.: Look, first of all, we don’t have religious tolerance in us. Unfortunately. It is very sad..in fact, it is a shame. The time for sadness is gone, now it is a shame for us that we don’t have religious tolerance in our country. we are killing our own brothers but give fatwas against Israel. We are killing Shias but we will give fatwa against Israel. This is no religious tolerance. There should be pluralism in the country. This extremist monopoly in the country should end. If you talk about democracy then bring democracy. Everyone should have the right to free speech and practice their religion. Where does Islam say that you cannot give rights to other people? You think yourself as a fort of Islam but the rules and basic rights that Islam has put forward, you have shot holes in them. Look, if you want to learn then learn. Learn from Westerners. Learn human rights. There is a Hadith of Prophet Muhammad which says that even if a ‘Kaafir’ speaks the truth, you have to accept that. And here we are killing our own Muslim brothers because they’re speaking the truth.
E.R.: A Mr Hafiz is commenting that you are a Qadiani *chuckle*
N.D.: Look when I have told you that I’m a Salafi then I’m a Salafi. The world knows me. The person who has given this comment, I want to tell them, I don’t know you and maybe no one in the world knows you except your family, alright? The world knows me. I cannot hide any personal thing. If I was a Qadiani or an Ahmadi or whatever, then I would have declared so. I am not sitting in Pakistan. I am sitting in England. Whoever I would be I would have declared so. When I’m a Muslim Zionist and I’m declaring that, then I can declare anything. Alright? You don’t have to worry, my brother. Whether I’m a Qadiani, a Muslim Zionist, Shia or whatever I am, no need to worry. Your problems won’t be solved by fatwas. If you want to learn, learn from your enemies. I am not talking about friends. Because unfortunately you haven’t made friends in the world. You’ve only made enemies. So learn from your enemies. Educate yourself. Knowledge is a power. Pen is mightier than a sword..You teach children about toy weapons. You teach them about guns in books..abroad they shoot guns in marriages…have you given them books in their hands? Have you ever said that education is the biggest power. The first verse in Quran was that you should educate yourself….but you threw it away and you’re walking with fatwas. Whose fatwa? Every sect is going around with the fatwa given by their sect’s leaders…talking against other sects…waging Jihad against other sects. Think about humanity. Don’t give fatwas about Qadianis or who is what…instead see what is your national interest. How is your country benefiting and from what? Talk about bringing people together, not about dividing them. That era has ended.
E.R.: So in your view, as you have started Pakistan-Israel Alliance, which has been quite a while now, so the communication you have had including with people in Israel as well as with Pakistanis and Muslims, as there are many Pakistani members of Pakistan-Israel Alliance, so what do you think the current affairs will lead this towards, specially after Trump presidency..you know in Washington DC, Israel has a big lobby..so if Pakistan creates good relations with Israel so can that lobby help Pakistan for a better relationship with the U.S.?
N.D.: Look, yes, it can be definitely done. When Musharraf was in the government, Israel offered them that if Pakistan recognizes Israel and creates good relations, Israel will even pay all the debt of Pakistan. They were ready to give billions in donations. And Musharraf was the only Pakistani leader who openly….I’m not talking about backdoor relations..if you talk about backdoor relations then Benazir Bhutto also maintained backdoor relations with Israel, Nawaz Sharif also used relations with Israel even for doing personal businesses…
E.R.: Let’s talk about this in detail as I have also read your articles at Times of Israel where you gave much details how through backdoor channels Pakistan-Israel diplomacy has continued over the years. This is a very controversial topic about which no one in Pakistan is willing to talk. And discussing this is considered a taboo. So what kind of backdoor diplomacy was it that has been going on between Pakistan and Israel?
N.D.: Look, the first thing is Pakistani politicians have blinded the Pakistani people. By keeping on lying they have blindfolded Pakistani nation. The blindfold has become so strong that even when someone tries to tell them the truth, they think he’s their enemy and lying. Because the blindfold of lie is so deep on the eyes of Pakistanis. No one is willing to accept. Look my brother, the people you have been voting for have stayed in touch with Israel through backdoor diplomacy. Take Nawaz Sharif, the first and second era of Nawaz Sharif..he has always used his relations with Israel…he has sent his religious ministers there..the ones who give you fatwa that there’s a ‘Kaafir’ go kill him…they go to Israel and arrange meetings and have lunch together with Israelis and have lived with them and sign secret pacts with them…and then they go back to Pakistan and advice their PM that Israel is a good state..
E.R.: Please name one such minister..as an interesting fact *laughter* Please tell please tell, nothing will happen *chuckle*
N.D.: *laughter* Right now I can’t remember the name of that person..I think he was from Jamiat-e-Ullema Fazlur-Rehman or maybe Sami-ul-Haq…*trying to remember*… well, he belonged to their party. It was someone named Qadri or something like that…I can’t remember the name right now…I will tell you the exact name next time. Okay so these parties are religious extremist parties. But their backdoor dealings with Israel are there. Now take the Army, take ISI..ISI and Army, talking against which is condidered treason..you can talk against politicians but nothing will happen..talk agianst judges and nothing will happen..but if you talk agianst the army you are called a traitor..and after that even if you leave Pakistan it will stay with you and you can’t go back like myself..the truth is why doesn’t the army tells the nation that we (army) has relations with Israel since before 1970. We have done joint military operations with them. Look at Operation Cyclone…in the war in Afghanistan against Russia, CIA Mossad ISI jointly supported and trained the mujahideen..they did this together… ISI cannot do an international operation without support from CIA and Mossad. They have intelligence cooperation among them. And yes there should be, it is a good thing..but what I mean to say is that when you have backdoor relations then why don’t you bring them to the front? By bringing it on the front your country benefits. Atleast be selfish..look at your national interests…your national interests right now are saying that you should shake hands with Israel…Look, on whose sake have you rejected Israel since last 70 years? Arabs? Arabs have pacts with Israel. There are Israeli officials working in Saudi Arabia. There is an Israeli consulate in UAE. There is an Israeli consulate in Qatar…
E.R.: ..ok so because of this there are allegations that Ahmadis/Qadianis are Israel’s agents or Jewish agents..but I have read articles that religious minorities are serving in Israeli Army…and such news items go viral in Urdu newspapers every other day… so do you what is the history of Ahmadis in Israel..you were telling about an Ahmadi village in Haifa which dated before creation of Israel? You must know..
N.D.: Look, if some people are relating Ahmadis with Pakistan and India then it is their ignorance in my view. Look, Ahmaddiya is a religious group which is spread everywhere outside India and Pakistan…they’re in Western countries..in Israel..in America..In israel they have their own community consisting of thousands of people..their have their own mosques there…if you say Ahmadis are Israeli agents then I ask how can they be Israeli agents? In your Army (Pak Army) there are generals and brigadiers who are Qadiani. You tell me which pacts have they done with Israel against their country? Ahmadis are working inside your ISI (intelligence agency). Ahmadis are working in your national defence. Ahmadis are working in your Cabinet. Ahmadis have played a role in the creation of your country. Who are you calling traitor? Has Pakistani Army said that Ahmadis are traitors?
E.R.: You’re right…yes please continue from here but I want to tell you an interesting thing..even though Ahmadis are officially not considered Muslims in Pakistan but in Pakistan Army any Ahmadi who is killed in the line of fire..against terrorists and extremists..they are given the title of martyr by Pak Army officially. Which is technically against govt rules because govt doesn’t declare Ahmadis are martyrs but Pak Army’s list of men killed in action contains the title of ‘martyr’ (shaheed) for Ahmadis.
N.D.: Look, there is no persecution against Ahmadis in Pak Army. There is a bloc in Pak Army…there is a group of Ahmadis in Pak Army..just like there is a bloc of Shias..Sunnis have their brigades…the same way there is a bloc of Ahmadis…there is no persecution in Pakistani Army like we see outside among civilians
E.R.: So like the persecution in the civilian govt there is no such persecution in Pak Army.
N.D.: Yes absolutely it doesn’t exist, persecution doesn’t exist in Pak Army. So whoever these Ahmadis or Qadian or whatever who fight for Pak Army against Pakistan’s enemies, they are given the same respect and honour as everyone else. They are a community. How can they deny them the honour. They are part of your country. They are born there and raised there. If their belief is different it doesn’t mean that you start killing them. Stop this killing in the name of Islam…in the name of religion..if no then at least learn from Israel what are human rights..learn from Israel what are minority rights..yes, it’s true..
E.R.: People will say this is a controversial thing to say considering the treatment of Palestinians by Israel..so this question will always be raised when you say Israel has human rights and minority rights..you must have heard that question a lot..you know when you talk about Israel and what it is doing against Palestinians and I do see some issues..in fact everyone sees it..there are videos from Israel depicting brutality..so how will you respond to that?
N.D.: Looks, the first thing is that Israel was created in 1948. Since 1948 till now name once occasion when Israel attacked any country or community deliberately. You won’t find it anywhere. You will find in every operation who attacked and who defended. Second thing is when you will attack a country, it has the right to self-defense. Whether it is Pakistan, India, America, UK, or whether it is Israel. If you’re going to conduct killings in a country, wage terrorism, so obviously they have a right to defend their country, their people, so they have a right to defend, same as the right of any other democratic country. Another thing that is said is that Israel is oppressing Palestinians. First of all, you can’t fight the state. Secondly, I have nothing said that Israel is 100% right. I have always compared Israel with others, with Islamic and Western countries…Look, Israel is not a heaven…alright? Israel is not a heaven. It has bad policies, good policies, bad people and good people, their political policy and military strategy could be right somewhere and wrong somewhere else…you have to balance..if an Israeli soldier beats a Palestinian with sticks and throws him in jail and its footage is seen all over the world so in Pakistan there’s 10% more cruelty than that. The footage of that cruelty doesn’t go in the world. It means that no matter how much oppression is in Pakistan and there is no international or local coverage…even local coverage isn’t allowed..if you talk about human rights then international media is present in every corner and street of Israel… If someone is even slapped there, it is told with 3% more exaggeration on international media. At least Israel is giving freedom of speech and freedom of journalism.
E.R.: Yes that’s true..there is freedom of speech and freedom of movement in Israel..it is true..but in Pakistan the topic of Ahmadis is such a taboo that when I started Rabwah Times in 2006, the situation at that time was so bad that in Pakistan to use the word Qadiani was considered like you have invited ‘kufr’ fatwa on yourself. If you are even only reporting things about them, whether it is persecution or any news, whether it is the murder of an Ahmadi or an achievement of an Ahmadi, to even report that as an Ahmadi was a taboo. Ten years ago. But since social media and how people are using Twitter and Facebook, the taboo has ended. And the blanket ban and self-censorship that existed in people…that no we shouldn’t talk about it or something will happen..like the situation of Hamza Ali Abbasi last year..who wanted to talk in mainstream media about it…but they got his show banned. I mean that sort of, you know, at least in Israeli media you don’t face these issues.. their Palestinians can stand up in the Knesset and speak and give Azaan and debate but an Ahmadi can’t even stand at the Parliament’s door and talk.
N.D.: Look, what is this. This is called persecution. Is this not oppression? You challenge the human rights of Israel. But in your country where there is 10% more violation of human rights, you’re ignoring it. Why this hypocrisy. Stop this hypocrisy. if you want to compare yourself with Israel then come, correct your institutions. At least give freedom of speech. What freedom of speech are you giving. You conducted operations in the name of Zarb-e-Azb in the areas of Waziristan, thousands of people died, we have proof of that. why don’t you allow media to go there?
E.R.: Recently they started Radd-ul-Fasaad in which they said they will take action against hate speech..and the action they took, you know the hate speech against Shias by extremist groups like Ahle-Wal-Sunnat Jamaat, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Sahaba,..they’re openly blatantly taking out rallies in Islamabad and Karachi. But Radd-ul-Fasaad isn’t in action in this case. But if Ahmadis try to gather or want to hold an event, they’re not allowed to do so, their libraries have been emptied, their books taken..Ahmadis are afraid of keeping Quran in their houses. There is so much persecution that if a Quran is found in your home during operation, then they will try you under anti-terrorism law and throw you in jail. And I believe at least 4 to 5 Ahmadis are arrested under this operation so far. There is a Shakoor bhai who has been arrested for keeping Islamic books in his shop and he has been charged under anti-terrorism law. Then there’s an editor from the Ahmaddiya community paper, their editor is being charged under the same anti-terrorism law in Pakistan. And then two other Ahmadis were picked up from Lahore which hasn’t been confirmed yet..I mean, they have gone missing..only because a Quran and some Islamic book were found on them..so they were arrested from Lahore. So you know this is the sort of persecution..where did Radd-ul-Fasaad go? Is it only meant to be for the peaceful communities because your Radd-ul-Fasaad doesn’t work on terrorists but the locals, the peaceful people who won’t give you any reaction, you take action against them.
N.D.: Look, Radd-ul-Fasaad or similar operations are all against our own people. Name one high profile terrorist who has been killed in these operations.
E.R.: Look at Hafiz Saeed..they don’t even consider him a terrorist.
N.D.: yes yes that is what I’m talking about. I’m coming to that. I am saying that if you’re talking about Punjab, there are 450 banned terrorist orgs in Punjab. And they’re operating there. Those 450 orgs have merged into around 75 orgs. First there were smaller groups of 450 terrorist orgs. Now they have merged into 75 bigger groups and they’re operating in Punjab and in other areas. If you talk about Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, so Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is Muslim League Nawaz’s religious group. Votes from the all the areas under LeJ go to Nawaz. Rana Sanaullah is Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s man. They have gotten people killed there. Rana Sanaullah is involved in the murder of Shias. Rana Sanaullah and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi are behind killings of Shias and Ahmadis.
E.R.: And Punjab govt you know, they don’t ever take any action against those outfits. Because they need help from them..you know, they use them as pawns..to create influence in Pakistani communities in Western Punjab you know..
N.D.: See, some years back a Christian colony was torched in Lahore and later there was a report in which it was said that Muslim League N’s MNAs and MPAs were involved. But that inquiry was ended later on because Muslim League N was behind it. Call an inquiry on all the Ahmadis who have been killed. Where is the justice? Where is human rights commission? Where is high court and supreme court? Why isn’t suo moto action being taken by the supreme court? Why are minorities not being given rights? Why is there wholesale slaughter of people of a community? One human’s death is the death of all humanity. Have you forgotten Quran verses and Hadith in this case? I don’t understand why are you persecuting Ahmadis, Shias. Do you have no trust on your faith?
E.R.: Yeah faith is apparently endangered by these things.
N.D.: If you think that your religion, your Islam is strong, No one can move it, then why are you engaged in persecution? What are you afraid of?
E.R.: One Aziz Tariq is saying that you may face fatwa that you’re a Qadiani *chuckle* He’s right though
N.D.: No this Qadiani fatwa is nothing for me, I have bigger fatwas on me, leave it. Reformation is needed in your country. The Islam you have adopted in your country, there’s a a need to reform. You have to use relations with your neighbors. Move forward for the interest of your country. The whole nation has to become one. If you keep stuck in Shia, Qadiania, Barelvi, Biddati, Mushrik, then this attitude will prevent you from prospering nationally, let alone internationally. You have to present positive behavior, your attitude. You’re not doing that. Who has given the right to give fatwas on someone. Your every group has its own Mufti Azam. How many Muftis will you create? Fatwas and slips of ‘Kafir’ are in your pocket. You see someone and you say take them out.
E.R.: So an outsider you see human rights abuses by Pakistan, how do you see it..Ahmadi community, Shia community, Christian community, how can they counter this narrative?
N.D.: Look, you have to end religious monopoly in the country. End this right to fatwa-baazi. All the mosques that are sectarian, present a way forward for them. The govt has to present a strategy in this area. Go look at Saudi Arabia or other Muslim nations. Every Friday before prayers one Khutba is given in all the mosques which is approved by the govt. No Imam is allowed to give Khutba in his own words or terms.
E.R.: Standard government issued Khutba, right
N.D.: You have to present something like this. All these loudspeakers in the country and the religious monopoly in mosques, you have to restrict them. I’m not talking against mosques. I’m not talking against madrassas. I’m not talking against religion. I’m a mosque’s guy myself, I’m a madrassa guy myself. I have faith in religious books..I’m a religious person myself. I am against the unjust use of religion which you’re doing against your nation, your country, against your minorities..you have to stop it. You have to ban it.
E.R.: You’re right. So our Pakistan’s future relating to this…well, this is a long debate..when will we create a standard…because politicians enter the govt by using religious monopoly…and you know they owe them favors and that’s how they do all of those things…you favor religious extremists and they favor you..they increase your influence in their areas..and you sort of have unofficial control over that…When you go in the govt the police is under your control, but you’re not in the govt you use those extremist outfits to keep control in your areas..so it will take time to end this monopoly..We’ll see InshAllah, it has to end one day. And if people like you keep coming forward….
N.D.: Look, I can only hope. I have hope from Allah. I don’t have hope from this nation. If Allah wills He can bring a revolution so they become human beings…whenever I look at them, my heart lights out..It is not as if they don’t have the potential. There is very high level potential in this nation. There are intelligent people in this nation…there is brain..there is cream..this nation has living human beings who can raise awareness to change this world..there is a lot of potential in this nation..but problem is this nation has been misled…by fatwas and by calling other traitors, this nation has been misled…open the mind of this nation…give them some freedom…give them freedom and give them ability to think….this nation has the ability and it wants to move forward and has great potential..let this nation move ahead…
E.R.: Shahzad Panhwar is saying that you have missed something..the role in Black September of General Zia, can you please highlight some of that?
N.D.: Look, General Zia-ul-Haq was a colonel…posted in Jordan..when…well, this operation has a long history..I will give you a brief overview..PLO, Palestine Liberation Organization, it is famous in the world..you must have also heard about it. Their badluck is that in whichever country they take refuge in, this organization tries to overthrow that country..they went to Syria and started conspiring against them..Syrians then kicked them out…they went to Lebanon and Lebanon gave them refuge, to save them from persecution from Israelis..there they started conspiring against Lebanon..they tried to hijack Lebanon’s government..they also kicked PLO out..Jordan gave them refuge…
E.R.: If this is the case brother Noor then who represents Palestinians? According to you they’re extremists, and of course Hamas is obviously an extremist org.. so then who represents Palestinian people at this time?
N.D.: Look, first of all there is no democracy in Palestinians..After Yasser Arafat’s death Mahmoud Abbas was made the President..those elections were held 13 years ago…since 13 years there have been no elections in the Palestinian Authority. There is no opposition party. Whenever a leader rises up in opposition, Palestinian Authority quietly kills him..so that no one dares to oppose the PA President..You talk about taking a country from Israel? You don’t even have roots of democracy in you….you don’t have an opposition party that can contest elections against you….how will you take a state from Israel? Okay so even if you got a state…by making a fool out of UN and Western countries even if you got a state..first of all this state that you have taken, who will rule this state? Because a Palestinian state will have Gaza, it will have Palestinian Authority, some area of Jerusalem..there is Area A , B, C…tell me, you will start fighting again..like in 2006 when Hamas..Palestinians started slaying each other…they dragged the dead bodies of Palestinians by tying them at the back of trucks…the world saw it..
E.R.: Who, the PLO did it?
N.D.: Palestinians did it among themselves…Hamas and Palestinian Authority..they started killing each other’s members for rule and power…so if you get a state, then tell me who will rule that state? Fatah or Hamas? If Hamas rules, then Fatah won’t accept it. If Fatah rules, then Hamas won’t accept it. And then again a war will start..first of all you have to bring democracy in your nation..you have to create unity first….you have ten groups within you..you engage in wholesale slaughter of each other…and you talk about taking a state and you talk about rights with Israel? You’re not together among yourselves, how will you take a state from Israel?
E.R.: Junaid is commenting that you’re a Zionist agent. You’re an honorary member though..you’re a member, not an agent, no?
N.D.: Look, I am an honorary member of Zionist Federation (UK).
E.R.: Ok there’s a lot of misconception about..when we published about you being our editor so Pakistanis were very confused that one one hand you look like a maulvi, and on the other hand you say you are a member of Zionist Federation and a supporter of Israel. So how do you carry all three identities together.
N.D.: Look, listen to me. If to be a member of Zionist Federation or to be a Zionist means you are expelled from Islam, so then 20% Muslims who’re in Israel who have Israeli passport, Israeli citizenship, sing Israeli national anthem, raise Israeli flag, so all of them are then expelled from Islam.
E.R.: What does Zionist mean? If you identify as a Zionist, what is the definition of a Zionist for you? What’s a Zionist?
N.D.: Yes, first of all you have to understand…our 90% Pakistani nation doesn’t know what is Zionism. First of all you have to understand what is the definition of Zionism? Because Zionism is an ideology. And based on that ideology there is an organization..Zionist Federation..which is 100 years old…Somewhere around 1894 the foundations of Zionist Federation were laid…Okay so first of all address what is Zionism..Zionism is a political ideology..if you accept Israel’s right to exist on that land, if you accept Israelis as a nation, as a state in the land where Israel was founded..you have become a Zionist.
E.R.: So a Muslim living in Israel who accept its right to exist because they have the citizenship of Israel..so technically they can be counted as Zionists. Muslims living in Israel would naturally be called Zionists..Because they accept that Israel has the right to exist and they’re living in Israel..
N.D.: Look whether they’re called Zionists or not, the point of Zionism is that you accept Israel as a democratic separate Jewish state for the Jewish people..you accept it, you are a Zionist…any Muslim or Christian in the world who is supporting Israel, supporting their rights, supporting Israelis, in that land..so he’s automatically a Zionist, whether he calls himself a Zionist or not.
N.D.: This is like…if a Pakistani or an American says that Pakistan has a right to exist or that Pakistani people should have a separate Muslim state of their own…like Quaid-e-Azam said that there should be an Islamic country..well, not Islamic but a country for Muslims..so that..if we change the words and replace Muslims with Jews, then technically Quaid-e-Azam would be a Zionist for calling for a Jewish state…or a Muslim state.
E.R.: Yes, exactly. At that time there were two wars between nations…There was All India Muslim League, which was fighting for a separate state for Muslims..political movement..the second was the Zionist Federation..which was fighting politically for Jews on that land…Motives of both were the same..Muslims who were being persecuted, they should have a land of their own where they can freely practice their religion, their culture, their tradition, their identity, without any persecution..Zionist Federation shared the same motive, that there should be a land for Jews..who have been persecuted….around the world..the Jewish nation…Or the 6 million Jews killed…so there should be a state for them where they can practice their rights without any persecution or barrier. These are two reasons behind the establishment of Israel and Pakistan..There is no difference between Zionist Federation and All India Muslim League. The objectives and motives of both were the same.
E.R.: So politically they were the same…as they were working for the Jewish state and All India Muslim League was working for a Muslim state. So technically the ambition was the same even though religion was different..political ambitions were the same…Right
N.D.: I only want to say this that Zionist Federation has two histories…two angles..two objectives…their motive before the creation of Israel was to create a political mission to help create Israel…when Israel was formed, since then till today Zionist Federation’s objective is to morally support Israel…the meaning of Zionist Federation, whether it is the Zionist Federation in US, or the one in Israel the World Zionist Organization…or the Zionist Federation UK..and similar Zionist orgs around the world…their objective is to morally support Israel…their objective is not to persecute Muslims or to talk against Islam or to open fronts against Islamic countries, to wage war on Muslims…to demonize or single out Muslims..Zionist Federation has nothing to do with it…in Zionist Federation there are people of all cultures, traditions, religions who is supporting Israel and are Zionist….they’re the part of the Zionists….and they are exercising their rights within the Zionist Federation..
E.R.: So whether they define themselves as Zionists or not, by definition they are.
N.D.: Yes, any person who accepts the right of Israel, who accept Israel’s right in Israel, they are Zionists…
E.R.: We have feedback from Abdul Shakoor who says so far your program is going great..and after that…Shah Haroon Saifi is saying MashaAllah very knowledgeable program…Dr Shaan is saying that Mr Noor Dahri are you with Muslims or Jews? What response do you have for this, please tell *chuckle*
N.D.: Look, I am a Muslim, Alhumdulillah..it’s my identity…I was with Muslims, I am with Muslims and I will stay with Muslims…To support Jews is not against Islam. Islam defends Jews. Quran defends Jews. If you don’t believe in Judaism, you’re not a Muslim. If you don’t believe Torah, then you’re not a Muslim. If you don’t believe in their Prophet Moses then you’re not a Muslim. What are you talking about? Our Islam has support for Jews in it. The rights Islam has given to Jews..Prophet Mohammad (SWAT) had two wives who were from Jewish families… brother read history of Islam. Read Islamic history, see how many rights Jews have been given in Islam..if Jews were enemies of Muslims, why would Prophet Mohammad (SWAT) marry women from Jewish families…Secondly, Quran says you can marry Ahl-e-Kitab (believers of the book)..how can it be that on one hand Islam allows marriage with Jews and on the other hand it says Jews are your enemies and you should kill them..you have contradicted your Islam, your Quranic verses…You should open the Quran read the Tafseer (translation), you will understand things..that what has Allah said..there’s a huge difference between marriage and friendship…On one hand people tell me that Islam says that don’t make friendship with Jews..Ahl-e-Kitab (believers of the book)…answer my one question..in Islam, is the relationship of marriage more important or the relationship of friendship? You’re friends today but maybe you won’t be friends tomorrow..But the relationship of marriage is a relation through which races spread…Quran says that you can marry them..where does it say in Quran that you can only marry Ahl-e-Kitab if they convert to Islam….no , it says you can marry Ahl-e-Kitab..you can eat Halal food of Jews…if you can eat their food, if you can live with them, if you can marry them, then how can it be that you cannot be friends with them?
E.R.: Very nice…Mr Khadim Ahmad has commented Thank you Mr Noor Dahri for defending the rights, may Allah reward you for these efforts, and open the eyes of other Muslims who declare Ahmadis as ‘Kafirs’. Discrimination has no right whatsoever in Islam. These are Muslim, that’s a fact. Let’s unite together again against intolerance and extremism.
N.D.: Thank you gentleman. All I say is this..leave everything, if you look at all the minorities in your country from one angle, that they are Pakistanis…look at them from only one perspective..that they are Pakistanis…Stand with Shias, Ahmadis, Hindus, stand together and hold hands like one Pakistani nation..I can say I swear to Allah no one will be able to defeat you…Eradicate hatred from inside yourself….this hate has been planted to divide you…to end your unity…open your eyes…get out of this political, religious monopoly….Educate yourself…as long as you will be ignorant and not educated, you will stay a slave to your political and religious leaders…get out of their trap..they have relations with Israel, they have relations with India, they have relations with all those nations who they presented as an enemy in front of you…take Benazir Bhutto, take Nawaz Sharif, their ministers, they have relations, they have businesses with Israeli boards in America…they have investments with Israelis…they make a fool out of you…you have to end their monopoly…move forward…Israel, the Israeli nation is ready to welcome you with open arms…they are a very generous nation…if you take a step towards them, they will take three steps towards you…
E.R.: Okay Mr Dahri thank you so much it was a lovely program I think, it will continue but at least we had an introduction of you…and some introduction of mine, because I’ve stayed in the background for a long time..I started this website in 2006 but I have been in the background, I’ve never come forward in public in such a way until recently…My work and the work of volunteers of Rabwah Times is that Pakistani minorities including Hindus, Ahmadis, Shias, who are being persecuted for , you know, no reason..only being persecuted because of their faith…and the culture communities that are being persecuted in Pakistan….they must be provided with a platform because in Pakistan..I started this website in 2006 and at that time in Pakistan there was no such platform..to talk about Ahmadis was a taboo and people were scared, and at that time social media was new and still coming out, it was still emerging, there was not much influence of social media at that time..Facebook and Twitter were also new at that time around 2006 2008..So at that time I started Rabwah Times and I thought that I need to get everybody onboard..the Hindu community in Pakistan, the Shia community in Pakistan, the Shia community around Rabwah, the Sunni community, who want a reformation of Pakistani society, to bring them together and give them a plaform… at that time if I wanted to publish a story..well, Express Tribune didn’t exist at that time I believe, and Dawn, and English media of Pakistan was also very reluctant to talk about minority rights…so I started that website to make sure that we get our voice heard…And Alhumdulillah right now we have partnership with a lot of the big news networks..with Google News, with Bing News, with Apple News we have partnership…which is why every time there’s an attack on Ahmadis in Pakistan, Shias in Pakistan or Hindus in Pakistan, we can make sure that our part, our view is also heard..that what is being done with us in Pakistan with Ahmadis..I’m an Ahmadi myself…so I want people to know even if media doesn’t cover it, like recently the two Ahmadis who have been martyred in Pakistan within ten days, and I asked that question in Washington DC to the ambassador of Pakistan the other day, that do you accept the state persecution, and he blanketly denied that no there is no state sponsored persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan…so the same way the persecution that is now being going on of Shias, of Hazaras, of Hindus…forced marriages, to forcefully marry Hindu women…I think you also belong from Sindh so you must be better aware about the oppression being done against Hindu community…so our objective is to raise voice for them, and we can get our voice heard on international level, I go to Washington DC, so at least the questions that we cannot raise in Pakistan, we can raise those questions living here in US, UK, Canada, especially the incident of Chakwal and the coverage that Rabwah Times provided that was used by all of the mainstream news media. Because no one even in Pakistan was talking about that attack…And the Rabwah Times report was used by Canadian newspapers, the U.S. Justice Department, and UK government used information from Rabwah Times about that attack…And the facts that were raised.. and then an attacker who involved who was a Canadian citizen named Rasheed Ahmed, when he ran away from Pakistan, and after that the follow up story that came was published by Rabwah Times and because of that there is an investigation going on right now by the Canadian Consulate in Pakistan into how he ran away from Pakistan and if he was really involved, hopefully we can use Rabwah Times as a platform, we can use your expertise in fighting extremism..and your training and your skills, as you’ve also worked for the Metropolitan police in UK as well..so we can use all of those skills and make sure that Pakistani minorities and religious minorities, get their voices heard. We’re also working with Hindu community and trying to build a network…stories that no one in Pakistan is willing to publish, people for whom no one raises their voice, because it is a taboo. Even mainstream channels like Geo Tv and Bol also don’t publish those things because they get labeled blasphemers and if they go missing they say they had it coming and it is a good thing…there’s a person named Nasir Sultani who claimed to be a Muslim reformer, and he was arrested. But no one has published his story in the mainstream media except Rabwah Times. So hopefully we can use your skills and connections to raise these lesser known issues that are not mainstream issues, so we can use Rabwah Times can raise voice for these issues and stay connected with people…..Hopefully we can continue to this program.
N.D.: Thank so very much Mr Ehsan.