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Scarcely had I finished recounting our 2-Eed history in an earlier post, when along came the first 3-Eed occasion. Imagine. Peshawar and Karachi will now celebrate Eed 2 days apart ... with parts of the country observing it in the middle, too. Wow! So, we've pretty much had a 5-day Eed Festival, if we start with the Bohris, who celebrate all the religious occasions 2 days before the rest of the Muslims in this part of the world. Well, to be fair, from their point of view everyone else is 2 days late! (The jury is still out on whether they'll get zapped two days before everyone else, come Doomsday.)
In Pakistan, Eed has almost always been plagued by controversies on the matter of when to celebrate it. But that's really a pessimistic view. Think of the joys connected with Moonsightings that would put UFO sightings to shame, Official and Unofficial Eeds, Ramzans that overstay their welcomes, enforced Eeds and enforced non-Eeds. I can think back to some examples from the days of that arch-Dictator, Ayub Khan, and cite references to them by misraas/shayrs from my favourite humourous poet of the time, Syed Mohammad Jafri (SMJ).
Thursday, October 19th, was a special day for two girls. Ex-Blogger Maleeha and her friend Saima got an opportunity to meet - at close range - their hero, Pervez Hoodbhoy (or Saheeh Pervez, as some now call him). They had arranged an informal evening with Pervez in Lahore. It was held in a hall designated to be a Gym adjoining the Athena Café (situated at 7A Main Boulevard, Gulberg - and a great place, small, intimate, secluded!) despite torrential rains that not only caused a delay in his arrival at the venue and but also affected the numbers who could turn up. Despite the small group - or, perhaps, because of it - the evening was enjoyable.
Much criticism has been levelled at President Musharraf's memoirs - In the Line of Fire - from specifics, like Retired General Ali Kuli cclaiming passages of the book to be total fabrications, to generalizations, such as questions being raised everywhere on whether a sitting president should have the right to write about things that are - in the view of some - State Secrets or the public washing of our dirty linen.
Apple's "Mecca Project" Provokes Muslim Reaction
On October 10, 2006, an Islamic website posted a message alerting Muslims to what it claims is a new insult to Islam. According to the message, the cube-shaped building which is being constructed in New York City, on Fifth Avenue between 58th and 59th Streets in midtown Manhattan, is clearly meant to provoke Muslims. The fact that the building resembles the Ka'ba is called "Apple Mecca," is intended to be open 24 hours a day like the Ka'ba, and moreover, contains bars [an entirely misrepresented reference to the advice-offering counters, dubbed Genius Bars by Steve Jobs - Zakintosh] selling alcoholic beverages, constitutes a blatant insult to Islam. The message urges Muslims to spread this alert, in hope that "Muslims will be able to stop the project."
Muslims Aren't Offended By Apple Store
By Shahed Amanullah, October 11, 2006
Recently, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) stated that an anonymous Islamic website in the Middle East urged Muslims to show their outrage at the Apple Store in New York City, which built a pavilion coincidentally resembling the cube shape of the Ka'aba, the ancient structure in Mecca towards which all Muslims pray (the actual structure is glass, though MEMRI referenced a black plywood cover during construction). Predictibly, the post brought out cries of indignation from people upset that Muslims would be offended (yet again). But missing in the report was the name of the purported website, why it was considered authoritative on the matter, or any actual offended Muslims (our straw poll garnered a collective shrug, along with much respect for Steve Jobs, himself the son of an Arab). It's not the first time the controversial organisation has selectively framed an issue to show Muslims in a less than positive light.
Although Sabeen and I were there on business, the thrill of meeting our friends was always an overwhelming thought. And what a wonderful time we had. Four-and-a-half hectic days, working with some of the best people in Journalism, loads of Idli & Dossa at Sagar, great - and sensibly priced! - Espresso at Barista, interspersed with mad rushes through Mercury Records, FabIndia, PeopleTree, and - ooooh - those adorable and intoxicating little bookshops!
The ad below appeared in the Dawn (October 8, 2006). It was brought to my attention by The Loan Ranger, Naeem Sadiq.