Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Jinnah - secularist or Islamist?

This interview with Saleena Karim is interesting, not because of her book, but because of other material.

1. The attempt at an archive for Jinnah stuff.


Q) Did Quaid-e-Azam want to create a secular Pakistan or a Pakistan based on Islamic principles?

A) This is the big question. Mr. Jinnah certainly did not tire of talking about Islamic democracy and Islamic socialism. In my book I showed that there are literally hundreds of references to Islamic terminology and principles in Mr. Jinnah’s speeches. Additionally, whilst he stressed the absolute equality of non-Muslim citizens in Pakistan, he never once used the word ‘secular’ to describe the country. There is also some evidence lying around which shows that there were non-Muslims who properly understood Mr. Jinnah’s view of Islam, if you know where to look. These facts should really speak for themselves. People arguing for ‘secular Jinnah’ tend to get upset by this argument because they assume that I, or whoever else, is trying to imply that the Quaid was pro-theocracy. They think for instance that we support a class distinction between religious minorities and majorities, or that we advocate the idea of legislation either being written or authorised by ulema. Yet, as every sensible Muslim and especially Pakistani Muslim knows, a state truly guided by Islamic principles is as far removed from theocracy as is an ideal secular state (I might add that there is not one example of either of these states in existence today). The Quaid himself made this point about theocracy versus Islam, which again I showed in my book. The few people who do support such ideas – taken, unfortunately, from fundamentalist literature, rather than the Quran – usually belong to parties that historically were opposed to Partition and Pakistan. So why give their views special attention, and why assume that every ‘non-secularist’ agrees with them?
 3.   The question is raised;
Whom does it suit to be told that Mr. Jinnah never really wanted Partition?

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