Pt 1 of this interview appeared yesterday and can be viewed here.
Nadir Ali: Is what the western media does to mock the prophet of Islam (pbuh) acceptable in Islam or should it be condemned, and if so what is the right approach?
Ghazal Omid: Liberty and freedom of speech does not mean freedom to mock. It does not mean freedom to degrade, and it does not mean I am going to make fun of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) or tomorrow I will be mocking the Prophet Jesus to kind of justify that. No, that kind of freedom is a very dangerous game to play.
If I do not like something, I can write about it, but that doesn’t mean I am going to mock the leader of a faith with 1.2 billion followers.
Nadir Ali: The issue of minorities in Pakistan with regards to their political and civil rights is petrifying. How do you think the discrimination against minorities, especially Shias as sponsored by the state, can be stopped and their rights secured?
Ghazal Omid: It is tough question to answer in a short interview like this but I will try my best.
At this time if their governments continue to suppress minorities, two things will happen – either it will descend into chaos with brothers killing brothers in the name of either jihad, or it will lead to a chaotic governmental shutdown etc. – or there could even be a discussion of segregated areas of Muslim minorities.
Basically, it is becoming north VS south just like America was at one point in the 1860’s and that unfortunately is something that might happen in the future because many people do not feel safe anymore.
And what is happening is happening to a lot of minorities, like Kurds, Balochis in Iran, Arabs also in the south of Iran.
They believe they can actually keep the pressure on these minorities but there is only so much pressure that a minority will take before they react.
Nadir Ali: In recent months we have heard stories of abuse and atrocities by the Chinese government against Chinese Muslims in Xinjiang. The burning question is why there is no world-wide condemnation of what China does?
Ghazal Omid: China is the most powerful economy in the world. China is the friend of many countries including Iran. I can start with Iran. Why would Iran want to poke its strongest ally? Muslim Sunnis will say they are not Shia (so) that is not my problem, go to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is one of the most powerful countries in the Middle East, and in the world right now, but they choose to do nothing. They don’t want their strategic partnership with China to be jeopardized.
The king of Saudi Arabia is the keyholder of Mecca and Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) Mosque so they should be the ones actually intervening, but they choose not to.
The United Arab Emirates is the second most powerful country in the Middle East right now and is involved in a war with Yeman or the Houthi Rebels, and both Saudi Arabia and the UAE can do a lot of things, but the UAE is now involved with China in vaccine sales.
So why would they want to jeopardize this relationship over a minority that looks like Chinese Mongols.
Nadir Ali: Why is the USA, the beacon of democracy, quiet about China’s abuse of its Muslim population?
Ghazal Omid: They are America’s bank.
The U.S borrows billions of dollars from them, and I have no idea how they are going to pay it off but that is the reason.
The U.S. and China have this relationship.
(And consider how important China is to the U.S. now) – In the 1970’s about 70% of everything sold in America was made there. Right now, this figure is under 11%.
Nadir Ali: More importantly why is Iran is quiet towards such atrocities?
Ghazal Omid: Iran is a Shia country – more than 90% of Iranian people being Shia. Except for Palestine, Iran doesn’t care about Sunni Muslims – especially when they happen to be in China.
They have almost sold Kish Island to the Chinese government. Right now the Iranian regime’s stability depends on China, and that is why Chinese minorities do not feature in their talks.
Nadir Ali: My last question to you now that there is a new change in the White House is to what extent will Joe Biden’s policies towards Iran help in sorting issues with the west and its allies?
Ghazal Omid: The first thing I noticed when he came to power was that the US dollar went down quite drastically but is coming back again now he said that he is ready to sit down and talk to Iran.
We know that Trump tried to pressure the Iranian regime and the Europeans are also trying to pressure the Iranian regime after the hanging of an Iranian European opposition member.
But Obama tried, John Kerry is still involved, and now that the administration of Joe Biden is ready to take over the White House it seems to be facing even more of an uphill battle with Iran.
And knowing that the Europeans are unhappy because of what the Iranian government has done in past few months to their members of the European Iranian communities I think only time will tell if we are facing a bumpy road in the months and years ahead,