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Contact: progpak@gmail.com / 917.922.9836

Pakistanis Hold Vigil for Mumbai Victims
Call Upon India and Pakistan to Work Towards Peace

When: Saturday, December 13th, 4:00 pm
Where: Union Square NORTH (16th Street) – across the street from Barnes and Noble

(New York, December 8, 2008) – Action for a Progressive Pakistan (APP) condemns the violence of Nov 26th which claimed the lives of over 180 people in Mumbai, and expresses solidarity with the people of India. The group calls upon the democratically elected governments of India and Pakistan to work together in bringing the perpetrators of this heinous act to justice.

APP will hold a vigil this Saturday, December 13th at 4pm in Union Square to express sorrow at the loss of innocent life and call for peace and stability in the region. It demands that measured and deliberate steps be taken to ensure the safety and security of all the citizens of India and Pakistan, who remain the true targets of these extreme agendas. The group also calls upon the governments of India and Pakistan to work for a peaceful resolution of the current crisis, and asks that the world community support the two countries in this endeavor.

“The people of Pakistan stand in solidarity with their brothers and sisters in India because we also bear deeply the scars of terrorism,” said Assistant Professor of Sociology Saadia Toor who’s also a founding member of APP. In 2007 alone, 1500 people were killed in terror attacks in Pakistan. This year, forty people were killed and as many as 350 injured including school children when bombs destroyed a federal government building in the heart of Lahore on March 11th. Another fifty were killed by a terror attack on the Islamabad Marriott hotel in September. These acts of violence, whether in India or Pakistan, are a backlash to the global War on Terror by non-state forces seeking to destabilize the region and derail long-overdue peace initiatives being pursued by the two countries.

The only defense against terrorism is a prosperous democracy. Pakistan has just elected its first civilian government in over a decade after a protracted struggle against the military dictatorship of Pervez Musharraf. The civilian government has already taken several key steps towards de-militarizing the domestic political sphere, and has made overtures towards trying to solve the issue of Kashmir. The civilian regime has managed to impose some limitations on the military but it must do more. To ensure peace and security in the region, the world community must support Pakistan’s democratic institutions. This support must include development assistance geared towards addressing the needs of Pakistan’s poor. APP calls for an immediate end to US airstrikes inside Pakistan’s borders, as they are contributing greatly to the destabilization of the region and causing hardships for innocent civilians.

Action for a Progressive Pakistan stands with the people of South Asia in their struggle for peace in the region. The group, comprised of concerned Pakistani professionals and academics, is committed to ensuring peace, democracy and development in South Asia.

If you are in NYC, please consider attending!

Eid is by tradition a happy affair, but in India it is muted this year, in the wake of the Mumbai attacks. In addition to forgoing the slaughter of cows for the sacrifice (out of respect for the sentiments of the Hindu majority), Indian muslims are wearing black armbands this week as a mark of loyalty and mourning.

best_eid_ever.jpgThough it doesn’t get as much press or festivity, Eid ul Adha is arguably the more important Eid, from a spiritual perspective, than Eid al-Fitr after Ramadan. Eid ul Adha is an introspective affair, coming after the Hajj which is a season of spiritual renewal. Eid al-Fitr, in contrast, comes after an entire month of fasting, so on a purely human level the sense of accomplishment seems higher. Those who have actually performed the Hajj will forever after have a special appreciation for Eid ul Adha, of course, but for the rest of us it is sometimes a challenge to remember that this Eid is more than just an opportunity to eat a big meal. Last year, ReligionWriter.com interviewed Asma Mobi-Uddin, the author of a children’s book on Eid ul Adha, which touched upon the same general topic – the book, The Best Eid Ever, is definitely worth checking out and makes a great gift.

And what would Eid be without the usual confusion about when, exactly, it occurs? I previously blogged on the diversity of interpretations and methods used to find Eid al Fitr, and Eid ul Adha is subject to much the same (though since many muslims observe Eid ul Adha over a span of a few days, the impact is lessened). Mr. Moo, one of my favorite blogs in the Islamsphere, has brilliantly satirized the perennial Eid confusion in an awesome, hysterical little video entitled, Hitler wants a united Eid:

That needs to be required viewing for everyone on Eid ul Adha. Given all the fabric used to make the tent city at Mina, surely they could set up a big screen somewhere near the Jamrah for public viewings?

Also, I found today’s Garfield Minus Garfield to be kind of relevant:

fSymsOGXOhbqonueBWvOdCZ4o1_500.pngOn that note, Eid ul Adha Mubarak to everyone, and a special mubarak to all who completed the Hajj this year!

Related – a picture of Eid in China; Preparing for Eid in Damascus;  struggling with Eid in Gaza; a poem about Hajj then and now; and a childhood memory about two goats named Ateeq and Irfan (whose not-quite-happy ending you can probably predict 🙂

Eid is by tradition a happy affair, but in India it is muted this year, in the wake of the Mumbai attacks. In addition to forgoing the slaughter of cows for the sacrifice (out of respect for the sentiments of the Hindu majority), Indian muslims are wearing black armbands this week as a mark of loyalty and mourning.

best_eid_ever.jpg

Though it doesn’t get as much press or festivity, Eid ul Adha is arguably the more important Eid, from a spiritual perspective, than Eid al-Fitr after Ramadan. Eid ul Adha is an introspective affair, coming after the Hajj which is a season of spiritual renewal. Eid al-Fitr, in contrast, comes after an entire month of fasting, so on a purely human level the sense of accomplishment seems higher. Those who have actually performed the Hajj will forever after have a special appreciation for Eid ul Adha, of course, but for the rest of us it is sometimes a challenge to remember that this Eid is more than just an opportunity to eat a big meal. Last year, ReligionWriter.com interviewed Asma Mobi-Uddin, the author of a children’s book on Eid ul Adha, which touched upon the same general topic – the book, The Best Eid Ever, is definitely worth checking out and makes a great gift.

And what would Eid be without the usual confusion about when, exactly, it occurs? I previously blogged on the diversity of interpretations and methods used to find Eid al Fitr, and Eid ul Adha is subject to much the same (though since many muslims observe Eid ul Adha over a span of a few days, the impact is lessened). Mr. Moo, one of my favorite blogs in the Islamsphere, has brilliantly satirized the perennial Eid confusion in an awesome, hysterical little video entitled, Hitler wants a united Eid:

That needs to be required viewing for everyone on Eid ul Adha. Given all the fabric used to make the tent city at Mina, surely they could set up a big screen somewhere near the Jamrah for public viewings?

Also, I found today’s Garfield Minus Garfield to be kind of relevant:

fSymsOGXOhbqonueBWvOdCZ4o1_500.png

On that note, Eid ul Adha Mubarak to everyone, and a special mubarak to all who completed the Hajj this year!

Related – a picture of Eid in China; Preparing for Eid in Damascus;  struggling with Eid in Gaza; a poem about Hajj then and now; and a childhood memory about two goats named Ateeq and Irfan (whose not-quite-happy ending you can probably predict 🙂

Baktash Siawash is an Afghan-based blogger and journalist. At his blog, he has a guest post by Shamsia, an Aghani schoolgirl who was blinded by the Taliban who threw acid in her face to intimidate her from attending school. Shamsia’s courage and defiance is humbling and inspiring:

I have one [message] for those who thrown the Acid on my face that, if they repeat this action on me hundred times I well never leave the school and I continue for my studying. And also I have one [message] for Kandahari school girls that please and please do not leave school and learning

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