Abdul Majeed Abid is a medical graduate in Lahore, Pakistan that first began writing criticisms of Islamism in Urdu last year. He is the assistant-editor at Pak Tea House, a leading blog in Pakistan that promotes liberal values, where he regularly challenges political Islam, conspiracy theories and historical biases in Pakistani textbooks and pop culture.
Here’s an excerpt from our interview:
Religion is considered sacrosanct in Pakistani society and the only discussion about it is in the garb of reverence. There is little realization in the educated classes of Pakistan about the differences between Islam and Islamism. I was part of that group until the assassination of the governor of the largest province by one of his own guards because the governor had expressed dislike for the blasphemy laws of Pakistan.
Those laws, enacted by the military dictator, General Zia ul-Haq, were considered to be derived from the Quran and Hadiths, the two primary sources of Islamic jurisprudence. In fact, those laws were not based on any religious texts at all. The realization that dawned upon me and on people like me after the murder was that the space for religious discourage in this country is almost over. That particular incident became the core inspiration of my writings critical towards Islamism and the overindulgence of it in Pakistan. That murder made a lot of progressive voices decide that enough was enough and something had to be done by the civil society regarding this.