“Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.” – Isaac Newton

The growing concern of Islamophobia

Reports from the United Nations highlights growing Islamophobia and excessive surveillance of Muslims in countries around the world. The United Nations Human Rights Council reports are unsparing in their critique that governments around the world, including in the United States and China, should do more to combat Islamophobia. Opinion polling shows Muslims are increasingly seen in an unfavourable light. The rise of Islamophobia has been driven in part by local conditions in individual countries and regions in which underlying issues such as class and ethnicity often also played a role. The rise of far-right groups is another factor driving an increase in hate toward Muslims. Islamophobia affects more than a small fringe group of Muslims. Globally, many Muslims report not feeling respected by those in the West. The promotion of Islamophobia creates both prejudice and discrimination among the general population. Prejudice plays a key role in the existence and proliferation of Islamophobia. Prejudice alone, as a negative judgment, opinion, or attitude, is a detriment to a population's overall well-being. Prejudice combined with overt actions, rising to the level of discrimination, creates a dangerous environment for its victims. Within key Western societies, there are genuine negative perceptions, prejudices, and discriminations targeted against Muslims. Seeing Muslims as not loyal, voicing prejudice against Muslims, and avoiding Muslims as neighbours are all symptoms of Islamophobia that exist in the West. However, these feelings do not characterise Western countries. They are generally shared by a subset of the general population, though they exist in substantial enough numbers to draw both attention and concern. The very existence of Islamophobia is something to be addressed. The degree to which individuals expressing Islamophobia have particular views of Muslims in their communities, Muslims globally, and Islam as a religion is genuine and quantifiable with measurable outcomes.

Maleeha Imtiaz,

Monsoon disasters

With the arrival of monsoon season in Karachi, and unexpected heavy rains, Karachiites faced catastrophic after-effects which resulted in the loss of life and property due to electrocution, urban flooding and poor drainage system of the city. We should be prepared beforehand to prevent such disasters and learn how to minimise our risk. Here are some safety tips to help you prepare for rising water – and what to do once a flood has begun. 1) Introduce better flood warning systems. Pakistan must improve its flood warning systems, giving people more time to take action during flooding, potentially saving lives. Advance warning and pre-planning can significantly reduce the impact from flooding. 2) Modify homes and businesses to help them withstand floods. Concreting floors and replacing materials with more robust alternatives is one way. 3) Tackle climate change, as climate change has contributed to a rise in extreme weather events, scientists believe. It is now crucial that authorities work on environmental policy-making. 4) Improve soil conditions. Inappropriate soil management, machinery and animal hooves can cause soil to become compacted so that instead of absorbing moisture, holding it and slowly letting it go, water runs off it immediately. Well drained soil can absorb huge quantities of rainwater, preventing it from running into rivers. 5) Put up more flood barriers. Temporary or “demountable” defences should be put up in at-risk areas. 6) Drains must be kept clean. Adequate draining can prevent flooding. Keep debris and leaves out of the drains so that the drains are not overflowed by rain water. That said, the government should take immediate steps to eradicate the ongoing problems brought by the rains and make fool-proof preparations for the remaining monsoon season as showers are expected to last, and Karachi cannot afford more destruction.

Hassam Khan,