A Eucharist in Arabia
It was interesting to see the Pope celebrate the Eucharist, along with around 100,000 Christian pilgrims in Abu Dhabi – an emirate of the birthplace of Islam.
This alone was enough of a surprise for the whole world as the Arabian Peninsula is commonly known as unwelcoming towards non-Islamic festivity, not to speak of the Pope being welcomed along with a six-digit attendance. The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Muhammad bin Zayed, is reported to have stated that the Pope symbolises “peace, tolerance and promotion of brotherhood”.
Christian pilgrims had started to arrive almost a week before the Eucharist; their presence was felt on streets, in hotels and more so through the Christian doves of peace on placards – their wings with UAE flag colours. The celebration was held in a very hospitable atmosphere with state backing.
We see this (or like to see this) as a leap of the Arab world towards interfaith harmony, but, at the same time, it leaves us wondering whether it can be called a true spirit of religious tolerance. What still leaves us in the shadows of doubt is the fact that the Arab world prohibits a Muslim sect to set foot on their soil.
Ahmadis cannot even land on the Arabian soil with an Ahmadi identity. They are banned from travelling for Hajj, Umrah or to any places sacred to them and to the millions of Muslims.
If the Pope’s welcome in Abu Dhabi means that Arab states are now moving towards religious tolerance, then this is good news. If this is just another golden-handshake of some kind with the West (which Arabs are notorious for), then we are left to doubt that life will become any easier for Ahmadis who have spent more than a century longing for the soil that their holy master, Hazrat Muhammad Rasulullahsa, once lived on and the air he breathed.
Since Ahmadis have no commercial ties to offer, it seems far from reality that they too would be welcomed in the status quo of the Arab world. We, Ahmadis, like to think positively, so hope survives any doubts.
Last week, talks between the USA and Afghanistan were held in Qatar in an attempt to reach a ceasefire with the Taliban.
One of the American demands was rather ironic: Afghanistan to pledge that it would not become a haven for terrorism again.
Those with even a slight interest in international geo-politics will have thought only America itself should make the pledge that they are asking of Afghanistan. The parent bodies of the Taliban were sown and nurtured in Afghanistan by none other than the US. What they got to reap, along with the whole world, was taken as an unforeseen end-product. The same USA that rocked the cradle of terrorism in Afghanistan now demands Afghanistan never to give birth to such a thing again.
Another astonishing factor is that news outlets still seem to believe that American claims of having talks with the Taliban are true and still let this fairy tale make it to their headlines.
Does the media still believe that the Taliban is a group of people? Does America still think that they can deceive the world by saying that they are holding talks with a group called Taliban? What else will it take for them to realise that Taliban is neither a club, nor a group, nor a cult; what we now know as Taliban is a mindset.
Of all religious leaders in the world, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaa is by far the only one to say this openly and clearly, that Taliban and ISIS are more of mindsets than membership clubs.
Huzooraa has reiterated this fact on many occasions that radicalisation is now a global phenomenon and needs to be tackled accordingly. One does not have to travel to Syria or Afghanistan to be radicalised; a Twitter account can be more than sufficient to get brainwashed and see the loss of innocent lives.
Is America still not going to pay heed? We dare not answer this scary question.
Happy Birthday Facebook
A social networking site was born on 4 February 2004. Like all newborns, it had everything it takes to be called innocent, lovely and harmless. And just as with all other newborns, no one knew what it was going to grow into.
On 4 February 2019, Facebook turned 15. While some celebrate the reunion of lost friends; an easy and no-cost pass-time; a platform to stay connected with the greater family and friends, irrespective of distance and time difference, there are others who mourn their once-upon-a-time happy lives lost to the anxiety, depression and insecurity caused by the cons of this 15-year-old site.
Researches have often surfaced showing Facebook pushing people into envying others and thinking of others as better off than them.
Since the modern world seems to ignore the good or bad effects before celebrating someone or something as revolutionary, Facebook is often credited for bringing about a “revolution” – a revolution that changed how we interact (so what if it cost us real-life interpersonal skills!); a revolution that brought everyone close by enabling us to share every moment of our day (so what if it cost us dignity and privacy!); a revolution that enabled us to become friends with people of our choosing (so what if there was someone totally different behind the innocent profile picture of the account robbing us of privacy, dignity, modesty and cheating us to do what we would never do in a normal, real-life situation!).
We believe that everything in this world has a flip side, but at the same time we believe that both sides have to be of the same size. Can you imagine a coin with two sides of different sizes? But then again, you never know; we do live in a bizarre world, don’t we?