A revisit to my old pre-post 911 writings! Lessons from 'Baluchistan to Harvard.'


A revisit to my old pre-post 911 writings! Lessons from 'Baluchistan to Harvard.'
by Iqbal Latif

Daring to tread a radically different path:

Located on the outskirts of Quetta, is the barren valley of Mariabad where the Hazara lead slow-paced lives.

These tribal people, living in narrow brick huts speckled along the rugged hillside, typically sell loose cloth, sweaters or tea for their livelihood.

One student’s journey from small-town Karrar Hussain Jaffar transcended the confines of an obscure town in Balochistan, where people rarely educate themselves beyond matriculation, to study at the prestigious Harvard University.

I am so proud of this boy; yet paradoxically enough no one would have celebrated eminence and illustriousness of this boy if he would have entered any of the following institutions of learning Hawza ʻilmiyya of Najaf, Iraq or Qom, Iran, or a Sunni centers such as Darul Uloom like Jami'ah al-Azhar (Egypt) Dar al-Ulum Deoband (India) Jami'ah al-Qarawiyyin (Morocco) Ma'had al-Fath (Syria) Dar al-Ulum Karachi (Pakistan) Dar al-Hadith (Syria) Dar al-Ulum Nadwah al-Ulama (India) Jamia Rasheed Jamia Farooqia Binori TownJamia Binoria.

Last week Cambridge was ranked top university in the world for the second consecutive year, ahead of Harvard, Yale and Oxford. It is the world's third-oldest university after Bologna in Italy and Oxford University, and educated the likes of Charles Darwin and Sir Isaac Newton.

I am also intrigued as to why none of the above Hawza ʻilmiyya or Darul Uloom made it to any rank in the QS World University Rankings 2011/12.


Hawza ʻilmiyya or Darul Uloom (Hawza ʻilmiyya Shi'a equivalent of the Sunni Darul Uloom) are institutions where Islamic students are trained through a study of classic texts in their original languages; they are centuries old traditional Islamic school of higher learning and considered by the 1.2 billion faithful as global preeminent centers for the training. They are based in Najaf, Iraq and Qom, Iran, and Sunni centers such as Jami'ah al-Azhar (Egypt) Dar al-Ulum Deoband (India).

Are the judges and those who vote these institutions discriminatory and bigoted or prejudiced? No the reason we celebrate LUMS and Harvard are due to the fact that these institutions of learning instill ascendancy of reason, logic and science over creed, doctrine and belief.

Enlightenment is far superior than tenets leading to close-mindedness. When a university teaches myths and fables instead of logic, reason and science, it produces intolerance and parochial narrow-mindedness.

This is the reason we cherish our sons who read at the institutions where Charles Darwin studied and where Newton premeditated and deliberated not the one that breed insular and unsophisticated incoherence of intellect.

Just two weeks before 911 in an article under 'Rise and fall Islamic apathy vs 400 years of forgotten renaissance' I had written that:

''The war of ideas where Islamic clergy, for its own limited interests, has tried to introduce elements of bigotry and fanaticism in mainstream Islamic thought is not new to Muslim societies. It has made them weak and backward and if it continues in its most dangerous form, such a schism will fragment the country whose only reason to exist as a nation is theological unity of belief. Today, our Darul-Ulooms are a breeding ground for sectarian terminators. Unless our Darul-Ulooms become and are redesigned on the pattern of House of Wisdom, of Baghdad and, instead of producing human terminators, we produce men of letters who may recognize how to respect life, our prospect as a nation is bleak.''


Reading this after nearly 10 years is so dejavuish!! Somethings will never change in our life time!! Within 2 weeks of writing ''Unless our Darul-Ulooms become and are redesigned on the pattern of House of Wisdom, of Baghdad and, instead of producing human terminators, we produce men of letters who may recognize how to respect life, our prospect as a nation is bleak.'' The human terminators as predicted had struck, I had to write this one:

Darkest day: Mankind's balance of terror has been most unfortunately changed

''The attack on World Trade Center in New York is one of the most dastardly and heinous crimes committed against mankind.The condemnation of this act has no precedent, and can find no better words than saying that this in the history of mankind will be called as mankind's darkest day. It is the darkest day because today we thought that we had groomed ourselves enough to understand and solve issues through mutual consultation. But that was not to be. The world financial markets have shown how precarious they can be. What it boils down to is that the entire 35 trillion dollar world economy finally became hostage to twelve human bombs who had very little respect for mankind in general. The worst of the whole thing is that this was done in the name of our Holy Book, the Quran, which teaches the message of mercy, forbearance and tolerance.

The attack on World Trade Center and its associated human loss of life is coincidentally too large a price for what has changed for humanity today. The world is poorer today, like the 1967 mass hijackings changed the way we fly now. These attacks have changed the way we have treated hijackings so far. The next time any plane takes to the air will not only be worrisome for the passengers, but the real agony will be for the people on the surface over whose heads these planes shall be hovering.

The dynamics of hijackings will change completely. So far nations used to refuse to accept flying planes as too hot to handle on ground; now, the first change would be that the people will try to bring these planes down on the tarmac as soon as possible. There will be a deep sigh of relief if human bombs do not hijack the fuel-laden planes. The world will have to live in fear of the unknown and that is the biggest disservice to mankind. Unfortunately, doing this in the name of Islam is the biggest disservice to Islam. Islam is a religion of compassion, not destruction and death.

It is sad today that we are at this juncture. Not only have the dynamics of terror been changed, but the fact that a fuel-laden bomb or biological-laden passenger bombs, the equation of threat against civilians has completely changed. It's New York today; it can be Cairo tomorrow. The same militants are as much against New York as they are against any other moderate Muslim government in the Middle east. Those who are gleefully dancing in the streets should realize that this is a common threat against mankind. We will never fly again the way we used to, and our profiles will be under more careful scrutiny. We who have darkened skins and darkened hair. Is this a fair price to pay for the whole Islamic nations that today one billion people are under suspicion? The act of few has clouded the prospects of billion. That is not acceptable.''


After 10 years it is my 'little' dream that everyone of the 1.2 billion faithful gets a break like Karrar Hussain Jaffar and they study 'Hawking Newton and Darwin with equal intent and zeal as they study the holy verses and sermons from the pulpits of Qom and Alazhar; the fate of the nation of Islam would be far better; fewer deranged suicide bombers and human terminators will be produced and co-habitation amongst man may become a custom and a norm in our troubled part of the world! Let's be united in our diversity is the lesson of tomorrows world !



more from Iqbal Latif
Iqbal Latif

پندار نیک ، گفتار نیک ، کردار نیک

Iqbal Latif

What is known as western philosophy this statement had a considerable influence. In 2005, the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy ranked Zarathustra number two in the chronology of philosophical events.

پندار نیک ، گفتار نیک ، کردار نیک

Even Colotes accused Plato's The Republic of plagiarizing parts of Zoroaster's On Nature, such as the Myth of Er.

Plato learnt of Zoroastrian philosophy through Eudoxus and incorporated much of it into his own Platonic realism. Several ancient Greek writers such as Eudoxus of Cnidus and Latin writers such as Pliny the Elder praised Zoroastrian philosophy as "the most famous and most useful".

Greek philosophy and Roman philosophy became the harbinger of the western civilsation. The Persian philosopher Osthanes was also under the influence of Zarathustra's ideas and philosophy, which afterwards affected the Greek philosophy through Democritus, his student. Zoroastrianism likely had as much influence on the formation of Christianity as did Judaism and the Greek mystery religions.

He is the forgotten Saint of mankind. Post-Classical Western culture though almost forgot Zarathustra; nothing was known of his ideas until the late eighteenth century time; his name was then associated with lost ancient wisdom and was appropriated by Freemasons and other groups who claimed access to such knowledge.

Zarathustra appears in Mozart's opera "Die Zauberflöte" under the variant name "Sarastro", who represents moral order in opposition to the "Queen of the Night". Enlightenment writers such as Voltaire promoted research into Zoroastrianism in the belief that it was a form of rational Deism, preferable to Christianity.

maziar 58

easy does it

by maziar 58 on

 Iqbal the simple solution would be no more guidance needed to find our way in life by the book (religiouse manuals) or mofti (moft khor)telling others how to live ;Back to the basic just live like humane and do good as humane.

Back to the basic should be:

pendar nik,goftar nik ,kerdar nik.......

when there is no followers any more

And the Islam business will close its dookan the world may be abetter place to live for all maybe.


maziar 58


by maziar 58 on

we the peoples are hussain

And the money machines of the world are yazid

at least this ashura has many witnesses and the other was a hadith go figure!


Iqbal Latif

Who here is Husayn? And who Yazid?

by Iqbal Latif on

You decide as to who here is Husayn? And who is Yazid? The facts are:

"Every drop of blood that was shed or is being shed in Afghanistan and Iraq is the responsibility of bin Laden and Zawahiri and their followers," writes Dr Fadl.

This is no less a person but 'Sayyid Imam al-Sharif,' aka Dr Fadl, the person who helped bin Laden create al-Qaeda. Fadl is reported to be one of the first members of Al Qaeda's top council. Sharif, a surgeon who is still known by his underground name of "Dr Fadl", is famous as the author of the Salafi jihadists' "bible" - Foundations of Preparation for Holy War.

Twenty years ago, Dr Fadl became al-Qaeda's intellectual figurehead with a crucial book setting out the rationale for global jihad against the West. He is said to be "one of Ayman Al-Zawahiri's oldest associates, and his book Al-'Unda fi I'dad Al-'Udda ("The Essentials of Making Ready [for Jihad]"), was used as a jihad manual in Al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan. It was like what Das Kapital was to the Marxists.

He thinks 9/11 "a catastrophe for Muslims," because Al Qaeda's actions "caused the death of tens of thousands of Muslims—Arabs, Afghans, Pakistanis and others."

The equation is simple, Alqaeda terror = Islam+ wanton killing.

Take Islam out and what is left is needless criminality and personal egos of the leadership. (Laden looks at the rule over House of Saud and Zahwari aims for Khalifat of Egypt. In the name of Islam they have destroyed lives of millions). Sayyid Imam al-Sharif (Dr Fadl) has taken Islam out of the Alqaeda equation leaving only criminality behind.

Some say @Terrorism has no religion !!!

911- This war of terror had religious connotation inscribed from inception and written all over it please.

I will disagree, when an act is committed in the name of political symbolism and 'emancipation of a oppressed nation' and it is then presented as a fatwa (1996 and 1998) and no one from Alazhar to Deoband and Qom condemns it and dissociate itself from its religious connotations , such a document constructs the basis of terror legitimised by religion; unreservedly without condemnation and dissociation it becomes a clarion call of the people who practice ambivalence and silence of lamb. 911 terror was conducted under this fatwa please:

//www.pbs.org/newshou r/terrorism/international/fatwa_1996.html

(Osama bin Laden wrote what is referred to as a fatwā in August 1996, and was one of several signatories of another and shorter fatwa in February 1998. Both documents appeared initially in the Arabic-language London newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi. At the time, bin Laden was not a wanted man in any country except his native Saudi Arabia, and was not yet known as the leader of the international terrorist organisation al-Qaeda. Therefore, these fatwās, or fatawa, received relatively little attention until after the August 1998 United States embassy bombings, for which bin Laden was indicted. The indictment mentions the first fatwā, and claims that Khalid al-Fawwaz, of bin Laden's Advice and Reformation Committee in London, participated in its communication to the press.

The 1998 fatwā reached al-Quds al-Arabi by fax, and was signed by five people, four of whom represented (or were said by the newspaper to represent) specific Islamist groups:
• Osama bin Laden
• Ayman al-Zawahiri, "emir of the Jihad Group in Egypt", probably meaning Islamic Jihad, now known as Islamic Jihad
• Ahmed Refai Taha, alias Abu Yasser, of al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya (in Egypt). This endorsement was retracted because of the enormous unpopularity of terrorism in Egypt following the Luxor massacre of tourists and Egyptians by al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya. Taha explained his signature to fellow members of the Islamic Group saying he had only been asked over the telephone to join in a statement of support for the Iraqi people.
• Mir Hamzah, "secretary of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan", or so he claimed
• Fazul Rahman, "emir of the Jihad Movement in Bangladesh", probably Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami/Bangladesh or HUJI-B; HUJI itself is in Pakistan.

The signatories as a group were identified as the "World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders". This fatwā complains of American military presence in the Arabian Peninsula, and American support for Israel. It purports to provide religious authorization for indiscriminate killing of Americans and Jews everywhere. It appeared in February 1998 and the embassy bombings followed in August.)

Iqbal Latif

911- When you plant cactus don't expect roses or lilies..

by Iqbal Latif on

It was and shall remain essentially "Ashura" of political Islam, the foibles o f terrorism have crippled reason, tolerance and logic in the mainstream body of Islam. Where do we go from here? What needs to be done?

Sun Oct 25, 2009 11:56 AM EDT

What goes around comes around; the albatross of intra killing amongst nation of Islam just about 'our' necks has been weaved by our lamb like silence.

I wish, I had magic wand and I could have answered this very pertinent question.. As far Where do we go now? Only one route condemn these acts of terror at the top of your voice, do not allow them to be part of the main stream religion, excommunicate the extremes from mainstream Islam, a global fatwa from Najaf, Qom, Al- Azhar to Deoband that anyone who take a life of innocent irrespective of their faith takes the life of the whole world, this is the road forward not duality and two faced approach where we say' no' but it is not a no.

Islamic world has been planting and promoting cactus and expecting lilies or lotus to grow, law of nature is clear we reap what we sow unfortunately. Generations can only be transformed by contemporary learning and that learning is strictly prohibited in the most of these lands that produce thousands of these disgruntled terminators.

The vampires that the 'political extremist Islam' encouraged have now come around in a full circle to devour their own kin's. Political religious based agenda where old wounds dating thousands of years are to be settled in today's modern world is the major cause largely behind these suicide bombings.

The 'political Islam' voyage to enforce its writ through elimination of its own people cannot be overcome by anything else but clear cut condemnation of worthless indiscriminate killings in the name of Allah. No moral equivalence it is not the 'war of Palestine or freedom of Iraq' it is about the control of extremist Islam over moderate though ineffective governments of the crescent of Islam.

That is where the problem lies not many will come in open and condemn with free mind the ugly side of this heinous message of hate. Even the most moderate of the elements like to discover the cause of the present higher number of suicide bombings, a bombing by Al-Qaida or Taliban that kills scores of innocents is sometimes credited to foreign hands. The ambivalence and duplicity of the' Islamic word' at large has allowed this malignancy to grow out of control. A suicide bombing is as bad for a Muslim as it is for a Jew or a Hindu.

The siege of Bombay made a new high in criminality of actions as did the siege of Lahore recently. The two actions equally reprehensible and condemnable. Baghdad has been arbitrarily and mercilessly bombed by few suicide car bombs; suicide killings are fashionable amongst the perpetrators of ideologically infested political battles.
Will these' ideological thug hoards from the steppes' overcome the resolve of those so far' billion silent neutral majority' who are not yet fully aware of the dangers of this message of disgust that pursues them? The only way out is a million man march on the streets from Tehran, Cairo to Karachi condemning this ugly face of hatred perpetrated in the name of deity and God.

This was my main line of argument even in 2002: What goes around comes around the albatross around our necks was weaved by our silence:

Millions of young men are watching and learning this dreadful art of carnage and the world, as a whole, is a loser. These new techniques of suicide bombing will not see the end in Palestine; like plane hijacks gained momentum this will spill out of the borders of the region, maybe we will have to go through the same kind of thorough checks as we go through for planes even for small bus journeys. The world is being made a smaller and a more closed place. Free movement is the strength of global interaction and we are being robbed of that systematically.''


Yes, but...

by Tabarzin on

Who here is Husayn? And who Yazid? 

maziar 58


by maziar 58 on

As sad as the event was and witnessed by billions in OUR life time which is undeniable.

The American "Ashura" will be the food for thaughts for many years to come.



911 Joke

by Tabarzin on

What's the difference between 9/11 and a cow? You can't milk a cow for 10 years!