Who’s objecting?

I find the Misbah “Molly” Rana story to be a particularly interesting one insofar as it seems to very handily illustrate the whole “desi-but-not-desi” dialectic that many of my peers and I seem to have undergone over the years. Well, in my case the whole social misfit scenario was a little bit more complicated, what the liking of the mens and the persistent crushing on Saif Ali Khan (call me!), but leaving that aside, there were always certain cultural divides that we were constantly trapped within, both self-imposed and those brought to bear by the parental units—“go abroad to study, only speak English at school, but then come back here as soon as you graduate, because we’re alone and need you, and everyone hates Muslims in the West and don’t you dare question anything we say because we’re a good traditional family and that’s just how things are.”

My caveat, since this seems to have been cropping up just a teeny-tiny bit: I am not making any representations as to a multitude of opinions, perspectives or experiences other than my own, as a gay Pakistani male from a fairly privileged social background. I just want to put that out there so I donÂ’t have to spend another forty minutes deleting angry e-mails accusing me of trivialising the desi experience, because in case anyoneÂ’s confused, IÂ’m not Indian, IÂ’m not British, IÂ’m not American, and seriously I donÂ’t really claim to speak with any authority on issues relating to any/all of those perspectives.Moving right along, for those of you who may not be familiar with this story, Wikipedia has a fairly decent back-story entry about it, but the short version is something like this: Misbah Iram Ahmed Rana is a 12-year-old half Scottish-Pakistani girl who gained some measure of notoriety a few months ago when she and her father (the parents are divorced) flew to Lahore without informing MisbahÂ’s mother, who freaked the hell out and accused her ex-husband of kidnapping the girl in order to make her into a child-bride. Sajad Rana (the father) and Misbah, on the other hand, claim(ed) that the decision to go to Lahore was MisbahÂ’s, and that she wanted to move to Pakistan in order to live with her father and two of her siblings.

Now the semantics of the case are what make it interesting. A news report from the Dawn, Pakistan’s largest English newspaper stated today that the Lahore High Court has ordered Misbah’s return to Scotland. In particular, I was struck by a comment made by one of the judges, who “said that when he had a chat with Misbah she had no perception about ‘halal’ and ‘haram’ and could not distinguish between the two. She also did not know how to offer prayers according to Islamic injunctions.”

The point of the court order was clarified further on in the article, with the legal opinion being based on the fact that the father had “brought her to Pakistan without approaching the competent court and violated the orders of Scottish courts. This removal is flagrantly illegal, deceitful and a dishonest act, the court observed. The court held that Mr Rana had not been an upright, fair and honest man in this case and was guilty of showing disrespect to the court’s orders, which was tantamount to fraud. And thus he could not be allowed to have the premium of such fraud.”

Great. Lovely. We’ve discovered the ratio decidendi for the case, all’s well. What I find amusing—and slightly worrying—though, is that fact that apparently Misbah’s religious knowledge, or lack thereof, seemed to be influential (at least to one of the judges) in the decision as to whether or not she should be allowed to stay in the country. Hell, I know the differences (and just don’t really care that much), and I know how to pray (more on that later, but how MUCH do I love Eid?), but good grief, pop me in a kilt and send me over to Glasgow if that’s really important (yes, I know it’s not the “real” reason, but I need something to work with here). There was a somewhat similar moment some time ago involving a comment made by a member of the Pakistan Cricket Board regarding the suspension of fast bowler Shoaib Akhter, which basically came down to “he drinks and has pre-marital sex, so he kind of deserved to be suspended, neener-neener”.

I canÂ’t believe I just referenced cricket. I feel so fucking butch right now.

I suppose that I just find it interesting that this comment regarding Misbah’s religious knowledge was enough of a factor to (a) be mentioned in the article, and (b) count as a strike against her appeal to be allowed to remain in Pakistan. Once again, I make no representations as to the sincerity or nature of the motivations that prompted said appeal, but I can’t help but wonder just how or why it was considered relevant enough to be brought up in conversation. Maybe this is making a mountain out of a molehill, but the very fact that religion spills over into what is ostensibly very much a secular and legal matter…well, that disturbs me somewhat. It’s a trend I see going on amongst some of my peers as well—more and more of us, who moved back from the US and the UK for a variety of reasons ranging from racist abuse to the Patriot Act and fear of deportation for pretty much any reason, are coming back to religion as the prime motivator for their return. While I bear no one any grudges as far as religious (dis)belief goes, I do find myself wondering how much of these returns to Allah are based in actual faith and how many are predicated on the notion that by re-embracing faith, the transition back into a society that traditionally remained somewhat unwelcoming will be made smoother. Is it just another flailing attempt to somehow locate a sense of cultural proprioceptive identity, or is there something more genuine behind it? I wonder at how widespread the theocratic notion of identity, legitimacy and/or agency will become.

106 thoughts on “Who’s objecting?

  1. Sin — I didn’t think you would be. You’ve got far too strong a “voice” that I’ve been silently, lovingly, thoroughly enjoying.

  2. Her mother is right to fight to bring her back to Scotland. For sweet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) sake guys, Molly/Misbah is only twelve. She could have been brainwashed or worse, threatened. Pakistan is a scary place for the toughest of goons, let alone a child. Her father, in my opinion is one of those religious kooks, who want to raise their female child in the cesspool, that is Pakistan, rather than Scotland. Pakistan, because there she can learn the proper way to respect “tradition”, where she can be kept in check, just in case. You know, if she falls in love or Allah forbid, have sex outside marriage with a (non) muslim boy or a girl….then her throat could be intorduced to the sharp side of her loving father’s knife.

  3. I think of Dawn as the Pakistani equivalent of The Hindu in terms of POV, editorials etc. Has it bothered any desis that The Hindu (very secular and I think the most objective Indian paper) about the religious declaration in the name although it is a vestige of the Raj. Imagine a paper called The Muslim in India. I doubt it would have the circulation of the Hindu.

    Dawn was founded by Muhammad Ali Jinnah himself in 1941, however, now in this day and age, has become an elitist newspaper with 138,000 weekly circulation. Compare this to Hindu which is more than 125 years old and has 4.05 million circulation. Sure, different country, different size but something to keep in mind.

    BTW, there is a Tamil magazine (I think run by Cho Ramaswamy) named Tughlak, and very well resepcted. There are many others too.

    More on Tughlak.

  4. Sin, in the space of what… 7 hours?… (most of which the likes of us spent in lala-land) you’ve actually managed to start off and get a sort-of climax to an argument from the post. man, don’t you go falling for the folks here and forgetting your ardent, if fewer in number, fans from your own blog!

  5. Her mother is right to fight to bring her back to Scotland. For sweet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) sake guys, Molly/Misbah is only twelve. She could have been brainwashed or worse, threatened. Pakistan is a scary place for the toughest of goons, let alone a child.
    Her father, in my opinion is one of those religious kooks, who want to raise their female child in the cesspool, that is Pakistan, rather than Scotland.

    Hmmm…bleak isolation in Scotland with an ick-inducing new stepfather OR living in the lap of luxury with three of her siblings in Pakistan…

    Pakistan, because there she can learn the proper way to respect “tradition”, where she can be kept in check, just in case. You know, if she falls in love or Allah forbid, have sex outside marriage with a (non) muslim boy or a girl….then her throat could be intorduced to the sharp side of her loving father’s knife.

    All I’m saying is, let’s not resort to stereotypes here. NONE of us knows the truth. Maybe she is brainwashed, maybe she’s an angry 12-year old who resents her Mother’s new baby and is acting out accordingly, maybe her Father would never harm her like that…not every Muslim Father is an asshole. If none of us is as bad as the worst thing we ever did, then the worlds’ major religions are not as bad as the most heinous act one of their sick, delusional followers perpetrates in the name of their respective deity.

  6. If none of us is as bad as the worst thing we ever did, then the worlds’ major religions are not as bad as the most heinous act one of their sick, delusional followers perpetrates in the name of their respective deity.

    I like that. I really, really like that. I’ve never heard it phrased that way before.

  7. But the unnecessary mention of her not knowing the difference between halal and haram considering she is a 12 year old western girl of mixed marriage is sort of pathetic.

    I agree that this seems a strange mention. Also, if she came to live in a more Muslim-friendly living situation, wouldn’t it be normal to that she’s still learning and working on these concepts? I have no legal background, but it seems that the issue at hand is how she was taken and the custody battle beneath it, not whether or not her understanding of Islam is up to snuff.

    And #52, whoa, that is heinous. We don’t know what the backstory is, for all you know her mother beats her and locks her in a closet lined with broken glass and rusty nails.

  8. We don’t know what the backstory is, for all you know her mother beats her and locks her in a closet lined with broken glass and rusty nails.

    You certainly have an imagination to be feared. ;)

  9. Compare this to Hindu which is more than 125 years old and has 4.05 million circulation. Sure, different country, different size but something to keep in mind.

    So we’re dealing with a newspaper that has been around about one-third the same time as the Hindu and is in a country that has about one-tenth the population, and a literacy rate that’s (sadly) about half that of the Hindu’s host nation. Definitely something to keep in mind. I think that the comparison, relatively speaking, is probably apt.

  10. “and the Injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah shall be the supreme law and source of guidance for legislation to be administered through laws enacted by the Parliament and Provincial Assemblies, and for policy making by the Governmen (Ninth Amendment) Act, 1985.”

    The above is a cut-and-paste job of a portion of the constitution of Pakistan. Seeing that this is what is included in the constitution, helps to explain why a Pakistani judge would think it important to take into consideration if the girl new the difference between halal and haram. Is this backwards? Yes, but then again Pakistani law is not notorious for being logical.

  11. I think this case is getting so much attention because of a) the regular media reports about south Asian muslims in the UK forced to marry folks from back home and b) the fact that this story looks on the surface rather like that silly Not Without My Daughter book/movie. It fits into so many “juicy story” frames that everyone’s looking to grind their particular axe on it. I think the religious knowledge part might have been a factor because the girl’s father said he wanted custody of her to ensure that she’d be brought up in the proper Muslim way. Sounds like a garden-variety custody tussle, and even though it’s a few years post-divorce, one can understand how an adolescent might be swayed by her father’s promises of a nice indulgent home and life in Pakistan when she’s pissed off with her mum or something.

  12. suspension of fast bowler Shoaib Akhter, which basically came down to “he drinks and has pre-marital sex…“

    Inti was a little more specific. The exact quote was: “He [Shoaib] drinks alcohol, has an active sex life…”. link

    If Shoaib were more passive, everything would have been just fine.

  13. He [Shoaib] drinks alcohol, has an active sex life…”

    This is very sad; it’s not a gentleman’s game anymore.

  14. If that’s reason enough to get Shoaib fired, Imran Khan wouldn’t have made it a month on the team.

  15. It’s a trend I see going on amongst some of my peers as well—more and more of us, who moved back from the US and the UK for a variety of reasons ranging from racist abuse to the Patriot Act and fear of deportation for pretty much any reason

    Sin: I wonder about how well-founded the fears of your peers are. Would I be correct in making the presumption that your peers belong to the upper echelons of the Pakistani society. I know a lot of hipsters with brigadier general and major generals as dads, who go to undergrad, work in the US. I am not sure if they are facing the brunt of the crap that has been thrown at Pakistanis since 9-11.

    Of course, its a different situation altogether for the Pakistani dude who works illegally at a gas station or drives a cab, the legions of men with fake marriages doing odd jobs, the poor English skills/no money/ low education visa overstays shacking with their relatives etc. These people are certainly being harassed (though some of our friends on the right wing will call it enforcement of laws, I would still call it selective enforcement at best). These people certainly have to face a lot of shit and are still probably the least likely to leave the US for Pakistan.

  16. I don’t know what the Pakistani judicial system is like, but this opinion might reflect a genuine judicial philosophy. For example, in the United States, the court system values the judicial process more than any policy outcome that a decision might bring (hence all the nice about judicial activism and such). The same is true in Great Britain. In civil code nations, such as France and Germany, judges are given a fair amount of leeway to take policy and given facts into account and don’t have to abide by precendent so much. India is much the same way in that by U.S. standards, the court system is very activist. Perhaps the decision in Pakistan merely shows that the Court wants to honor the process of bringing a child into the country. I’ve not read the actual opinion, so I don’t know how much of the decision focused on the child’s lack of religious knowledge. I wouldn’t put it past the press to disregard the true legal argument and focus on the argument that makes for better copy.

  17. The really interesting thing about this story is the colliding identity politics here. You’ve got race, religion, and gender all bouncing against each other, and sending people into pretzel knots trying to figure out their allegiances.

    The religious stuff has been batted around a bit, but I’m particularly interested in the gender and racial politics here. The empowerment of women is, in my opinion, one of the most important elements of Western culture. However, the disempowerment of women has become a major part of the Western view of Islam. As such, it would be VERY easy for a Western woman to garner a huge amount of sympathy by portraying herself to be the victim of the “perfidious heathen Moor”. The (earned) reputation of Desi, particularly Desi Islamic, culture as misogynistic (thx, Taliban!) lends a certain amount of credibility to Western women who claim to be oppressed in inter-cultural relationships.

    Now I’m not saying that’s necessarily the case here (although ANNA’s article definitely does raise some suspicions). But it does happen. I’ve heard of inter-cultural relationships where people split up and the man later hears false rumors that he’d been married off, or that he’d been abusive, or that he’d expected her to convert, or whatever. These situations are the MINORITY, but they do exist. And the fact that this power dynamic exists, and has now been showcased in the media, has got to be making a lot of people in these sorts of relationships uncomfortable, especially in Europe, which seems to have embraced the “clash of civilizations” more wholeheartedly than the US.

  18. Sin — never mind what some of the haters may say, I enjoy the heck out of your writing.

    I canÂ’t believe I just referenced cricket. I feel so fucking butch right now.

    Sorry to go off on a tangent, but given recent discussions about voices people would like on SM, I think someone should blog about the cricket world cup, which is coming to North America in a few months. I think it would be very entertaining if Sin were to blog about it, but I may be hoping for too much.

  19. It’s a trend I see going on amongst some of my peers as well—more and more of us, who moved back from the US and the UK for a variety of reasons ranging from racist abuse to the Patriot Act and fear of deportation for pretty much any reason, are coming back to religion as the prime motivator for their return.

    Maybe the 9-11 refugees (filthy rich Pakistanis who went back when life in NYC got tougher) embrace religion as an excuse for their departure because they are too embarrased to admit to themselves the real reasons they didn’t stay in the US. Pretending it is about God, not fear, lets them maintain their egos?

    Or maybe they would have become Godly in the USA too. We’ve talked about that trend here bfore — the increasing religiosity among upper class Pakistani-Americans. Occasional Hijabi sightings at dinner-parties, where there were never any before. Awkward looks when you decline to join the men at Tarawi. Who knows.

    (Also, I enjoy the under-the-kilt type posts. More like that are welcome. I look forward to a gay-soft-porn 55Friday)

  20. I think this case is getting so much attention because of a) the regular media reports about south Asian muslims in the UK forced to marry folks from back home and b) the fact that this story looks on the surface rather like that silly Not Without My Daughter book/movie. It fits into so many “juicy story” frames that everyone’s looking to grind their particular axe on it. I think the religious knowledge part might have been a factor because the girl’s father said he wanted custody of her to ensure that she’d be brought up in the proper Muslim way. Sounds like a garden-variety custody tussle, and even though it’s a few years post-divorce, one can understand how an adolescent might be swayed by her father’s promises of a nice indulgent home and life in Pakistan when she’s pissed off with her mum or something.

    Yes!!! Pakistanis and Scots (& the rest of the planet) will miss the forest for the trees! Think of it this way. Misbaholly (to be fair) has had her whole world turned upside down and hasn’t known stability for almost half of her life (if ever). Her memory of home and family included: dad in the home, a particular cultural/religious environment, SIBLINGS, material wealth and comfort. Granted there was obviously the usual drama that comes with the disintegration of a marriage. However, she did not have to put up with the discord alone – and had one home. After several years of bouncing around w/ dad and her siblings, she goes back to mom. Naturally, there’s drama at home. At some point Mom gets a new man. What kid doesn’t hate their new stepdad? Her siblings leave and Misbaholly is stuck by herself with [allegedly] drunken stepdad and a new 1/2 sibling who is getting the attention that Misbaholly got when SHE was the baby of the family. The man is unemployed – so no new Xbox for Misbaholly. All this and she’s left the city for a backwater, to boot! 3 of her siblings are w/ Dad in Pakistan living it up w/ 20 rooms & servants. HMMMMM what does a girl do????

    It’s reeeaaall easy to get caught up in the religious factor. Sure her mom converted and changed her name and attire. They got married [too] young. She, like many girls (as she was), went all nuts over a guy and did whatever she could to please him. (If mom had fallen in love with a trustafarian from a Northeast prep school she would have worn Birkenstocks instead of a burqa (or was it only hijab) and worked in an Amsterdam coffeeshop.) Was the home Muslim? Sure! Was it necessarily religious? As she couldn’t discuss haram and halal – probably not. Religion will be kicked around by both mom & dad to justify why Misbaholly should live with either parent. Her sister got married young? Was it religion/culture… or to escape that f@#*ed up family life??!!!

    I suppose this situation has morphed into East vs. West and religion and child bride and miniskirts and booze. Sadly, every discussion of marriage needs to discuss what will happen with the kids if things don’t go as planned.

  21. dutty brown boi said:

    “and the Injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah shall be the supreme law and source of guidance for legislation to be administered through laws enacted by the Parliament and Provincial Assemblies, and for policy making by the Governmen (Ninth Amendment) Act, 1985.”
    The above is a cut-and-paste job of a portion of the constitution of Pakistan. Seeing that this is what is included in the constitution, helps to explain why a Pakistani judge would think it important to take into consideration if the girl new the difference between halal and haram. Is this backwards? Yes, but then again Pakistani law is not notorious for being logical.

    The quote from the constitution says that Pakistani law will be based upon the Shariah. You are saying that this decision by the judge, based upon the girls lack of ‘Islamic’ knowledge, is a result of the Shariah based law. So the logical jump/conclusion you are making is that somehow Shariah/Islamic law has a relgious test of the child in custody cases.

    While I’m no Islamic law expert, I find that to be a little ridiculous. If you want to call the judge an idiot, fine. If you want to say Pakistan is bad for any number of other reasons, fine. But this has nothing to do with Pakistan’s constitution being based upon Shariah, as far as I can see.

  22. The Dawn carries lots of religious, of the Islamic sort only, mumbo jumbo on its pages. That alone, one hopes, should make it anathema, to decent people in Pakistan.

  23. Amini:

    I didn’t know I wasn’t allowed to make sarcastic rude comments.

    Say so right in the FAQ it does. We all have to play nice, doncha know?

  24. AMFD – No, I don’t believe that all Religious people are indecent. I do, however, beleive that a newspaper, esp, one which purports to be progressive should eschew religious editorials, that sing the praises of Islam and Muhammad (PBUH).

    Ikram – No, I am not calling you indecent. I was only pointing out that the progressive Pakistani should start giving a damn about Pakistan’s minorities.

  25. I don’t understand much of Sharia and who has the jurisdiction (courts in Pakistan or those in the UK) in this particular case, but here is the Economist on the issue.

    The Economist likens this to the Elian Gonzalez case a few years back and mentions how Molly insisted on being referred to as Misbah.

    And extra points to the Economist for the hillarious title.

  26. Dost you said:

    You are saying that this decision by the judge, based upon the girls lack of ‘Islamic’ knowledge, is a result of the Shariah based law. So the logical jump/conclusion you are making is that somehow Shariah/Islamic law has a relgious test of the child in custody cases

    I never said that Shariah/Islamic law has a religious test for a child custody case. What I said was, that it helps to explain why a judge would care about a child’s knowledge of Islam. If Islam is the basis for law and jurisprudence in Pakistan, then the child’s knowledge (or lack thereof) would be something that a judge might potentially bi interested in if making a judgment. Why? Well, maybe, if the judge was trying to determine if the child wanted to willfully stay in a Islamic country, he might query the child’s knowledge of the faith of that country. Is this a logical line of questioning? No. But again, if you use religion as basis of law, it creates the possibility for such illogic. All I am saying is this is not strange in a country like Pakistan.

  27. the economist article linked to in #81 hints at one possible reason why the judge may have chosen to mention her knowledge of islam.

  28. Keep it on topic, folks. Also, please conform to the comment policy you see directly above the box you are typing in, thanks.

  29. 56 · siddhartha on December 1, 2006 12:42 AM: Awww. Can’t we share? <<

    Hmm… let’s see. At stake, a person extraordinaire. Hmm… NO!

  30. Hot from the oven. I found this diary from MIT Sloan graduate Elizabeth Yin ’07 who just interned @ infosys. She seems quite astute in her observations:

    Happy Summer! I’ve now been in Bangalore for a month, working at Infosys’ headquarters. It has been an incredible experience and really eye-opening. On one hand, there is extreme poverty, marked by hawkers and beggars who wander through the main city just trying to make a living. (My first impression of Bangalore was seeing a man stand amidst a pile of garbage surrounded by stray dogs. He was licking a plate clean — presumably dinner that he had found in the trash.) On the other hand, there is Electronics City, a sector of Bangalore that is comprised of world-renown tech companies. Infosys, for example, is a large, gated, private campus, complete with meticulously groomed gardens, golf holes, a swimming pool, restaurants, workout rooms, shops, and a guesthouse, where I stay. On the weekends, the campus becomes Disneyland, as employees bring their friends and families to spend the day snapping photos and using Infosys’ recreational facilities! Some days I worry that the wealth disparity will drive this society to turmoil, but on other days, I can really see everyone improving his/her lot in life. For better or worse, it is amazing to be able to see a much bigger picture of India than if I were to just visit this country on a holiday. Coupled with soaking in the culture and society, the conversations I have been having with the other Infosys interns is the best part about being here. Coming from all over the world, the other Infosys interns and I spend a lot of time discussing both what we see inside and outside of Infosys. From a business angle, we have had so many good conversations about Infosys’ operations, which are so different from many U.S. firms. We debate the future of outsourcing, global business, and generally what makes a successful management team/company. It has been an unparalleled experience to be able to see the challenges of running a global company seamlessly and take part in such incredible growth.

    Now the question: Are Indian-Americans or South Asian Americans availing such opportunities? Tell us the one who are? The reason I am asking my sister-in-law sister and her husband are in Shanghai now. They are Taiwanese Americans. I guess they saw incredible opportunities and jumped at it.

    I am sure such interactions are also Indian interns and graduates @ Infosys presently.

  31. I pity the ‘screwed up’ lives of the children who get caught in vicious custody battles.. It will traumatise a 12 year old.. not so young to remember nothing and not so old to be more mature.. :-(

  32. Say so right in the FAQ it does. We all have to play nice, doncha know?

    The problem venu, is that some of the replies to her where as rude, if not more rude. But of course, you just must not have noticed.

  33. The really interesting thing about this story is the colliding identity politics here. You’ve got race, religion, and gender all bouncing against each other, and sending people into pretzel knots trying to figure out their allegiances.

    I think this is a family fight, complete with a divorce, custody battle and a kid in adolescence, and its been turned into a story about identity politics. Without the (wrong-headed?) paradigm of a clash of civilizations, i wonder if the story would be messy, but still similiar.

  34. Not on topic, but pretty fucking cool: I’d like to draw your attention to the fact that this thread has registered a comment from a blogger in the Outer Hebrides who calls himself, wonderfully “the librarian at the end of the world.” Click his link — he’s got some fantastic photographs and words from a place I for one would love to visit sometime. Oh, and there’s some cute pictures of cats on his About page too, if like me you are inclined toward the felines.

    The power of the Internet.

  35. Wow, and I thought I had seen all the Uk had to offer! Where is Chick Pea? I am sure she is going to add the Outer Hebrides to her world tour and I will definitely join her! Librarian at the end of the world, you live in a beautiful place.

  36. I think of Dawn as the Pakistani equivalent of The Hindu in terms of POV, editorials etc. Has it bothered any desis that The Hindu (very secular and I think the most objective Indian paper) about the religious declaration in the name although it is a vestige of the Raj. Imagine a paper called The Muslim in India. I doubt it would have the circulation of the Hindu.

    The second most popular soccer club in Kolkata is called “The Mohammedans”, though most of their players and fans are Hindu. No one seems to care.

  37. Haven’t seen many (any?) comments from the UK yet — in almost every mainstream media story about Misbah, they call her “Molly Campbell,” which is apparently the name her mom gave her when they went into hiding in Scotland (Campbell being her stepdad’s name, if I’m not mistaken), which I think leads to a very different opinion among the masses. I’m assuming she spent most of her life as Misbah, until the divorce or after. So constantly calling her Molly probably makes the average person think she’s this innocent British kid brainwashed into moving to Pakistan. I hadn’t read any stories that referred to how the judges made up their mind, so thanks for that. The impression I get here is that it’s merely an ugly custody fight — headstrong 12-yo misses her dad and siblings and runs away to be with them. (hell, my bf ran away when he was 18 from his Bangladeshi parents and no one gave a fark) If she’d gone to London, obviously there wouldn’t be half the fuss. But she DID make a lot of statements to the press dissing her mom, saying that she didn’t live a Muslim life and all that, so I’m fascinated by the judges asking her what she actually did know about Islam. As I’ve commented before here, I know a few Brit-born Pakistanis who whine on and on about how life is so much better in Pakistan, but I ain’t ever seen any of them make moves to settle themselves or their kids there. So I’d be curious to know what Misbah thinks when she’s older, if she stays there. If they send her back to the UK, she’ll just become some kind of Muslim martyr.

  38. Just to be precise, it is the third most popular club – after Mohun Bagan and East Bengal – and the name is Mohammedan Sporting Club, but your point holds.

    Prior to independence, however, both the players and supporters were predominantly muslims. They had a very strong team in the 30s and had a glorious run in Calcutta football league. After Bengal’s partition, Dhaka’s Mohammedan Sporting Club was created as a branch of Calcutta MSC and along with Abahani Krira Chakra, they dominate the Bangladesh football scene.

  39. The second most popular soccer club in Kolkata is called “The Mohammedans”, though most of their players and fans are Hindu. No one seems to care.

    The soccer team, “The Mohammedans” are very popular and deeply entrenched amongst their fans for now ages.

    Also, there is a huge portal – Chowk – mostly run by Hindus and Muslims from India and Pakistan. It dicusses a lot of India-Pakistan and Islam related issues. I often read Chowk.

  40. The second most popular soccer club in Kolkata is called “The Mohammedans”, though most of their players and fans are Hindu. No one seems to care.

    Where is Kolkata?