What do Pakistan and Israel have in common? More than one might think.
Pakistani columnist Irfan Husain, writes in an op-ed in one of his country’s major newspapers:
From being mostly liberal, tolerant world citizens, they [Israelis] seem to be on a rapid trajectory towards becoming a harsh, literalist people. This, too, is a familiar path to us in Pakistan. From being a secular, forward-looking country when it was created, it has drifted steadily towards religious extremism and intolerance.
He draws several parallels:
- Both countries began with high-minded humanistic and secular ideals.
- Both have a significant group of fundamentalists who challenge the legitimacy of the state.
- In both contries these fundamentalists have disproportionate representation and in both countries this is attributed to high voting rates among the fundamentalists.
- In both countries the fundamentalist group is gaining power by force of extravagant birth rates.
- Whether based in secular culture or religion, ideology has dominated political discourse from the very founding of the state.
You can read the full op ed at Dawn.com: “Spiritual Twins”.