Thursday, April 14, 2005

l'affaire

This is in reference to your editorial on the Samiul Haq episode
in Belgium (Daily Times, 21 April) and the subsequent protest by
the Pakistan Foreign Office to the Belgian Government.

Several questions come to one's mind. First, Pakistanis are aware that
almost every year, prior to the month of Muharram, certain'maulanas'
are banned from entering into certain districts or provinces. Some
of them are even detained temporarily. This special treatment is
meted out to the pious personages for they are known to preach hatred
and inspire violence against other sects. If the movement of such
individuals is restricted, at times, in their own country then what
is so wrong with a Western country refusing an individual entry into
its territory when that individual is known to preach hatred against
the West and the Western values?

Secondly, what value Maulana Samiul Haq's presence could possibly
add to a Pakistan delegation's discussions with the European Union?
What could he do or tell the Europeans that would improve Pakistan's
image everyone seems to be so concerned about?

And lastly, when Samiul Haqs of Pakistan cannot even bring themselves
to look at a commercial billboard with a woman's face on it, what is
it then they find so attractive in visiting countries where it would be
impossible to avoid seeing scantily clad women lolling in the sun
or going hand-in-hand with men not necessarily married to them?

New York

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