“Reviving Jinnah’s Legacy of Religious Freedom in Pakistan” Farahnaz Ispahani

In establishing a homeland for Muslims, Pakistan’s founding father, Muhammed Ali Jinnah, also supported the idea of Islam serving as a unifying force and believed Pakistanis had a responsibility to uphold the principles of religious freedom and to protect the rights of religious minorities.

As religious intolerance and violence against religious minorities grows, it is clear that Pakistan has failed to uphold Jinnah’s original vision. Whether it is attacks on the Ahmadi community as in the one last December, or on the Christian community as in the mob lynching last November of two Christians accused of blasphemy, or on the Shia community as in the bus attack in May in Karachi that killed over 40 – Pakistan must do a better job of protecting its religious minorities. Join us to hear Senator James Lankford, who has been an advocate for upholding religious freedom throughout the world, and a distinguished panel of experts as they address what can be done to revive Jinnah’s legacy of religious freedom in Pakistan.

Link to the speech of Ms Farahnaz Ispahni speech at “Reviving Jinnah’s Legacy of Religious Freedom in Pakistan”

Reviving Jinnah’s Legacy of Religious Freedom in Pakistan

Written by Farahnaz Ispahani

Farahnaz Ispahani is a Global Fellow, at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC. She is the author of the recently published book "Purifying the Land of the Pure: The History of Pakistan's Religious Minorities. Oxford University Press, 2017. Ms. Farahnaz Ispahani has been a leading voice for women and religious minorities in Pakistan for the past twenty five years, first as a journalist, then as a member of Pakistan’s National Assembly, and most recently as a scholar based in the United States. An advocate of Pakistan’s return to democracy during the military regime of Pervez Musharraf, she served as a spokesperson and international media coordinator for the Pakistan People’s Party, working alongside the late Benazir Bhutto. During her tenure in parliament (2008–2012), she was a member of the Human Rights Committee and the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus. In 2013–2014, she served as a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, where she completed a book on the persecution of religious minorities in Pakistan. In 2012, she was listed among Foreign Policy magazine’s Top 100 Global Thinkers, as well as Newsweek Pakistan’s Top 100 Women Who Matter. During her fellowship, Ms. Ispahani is exploring women’s political participation in the Muslim world, both in terms of their progress toward gender equality under democratic systems and the converse rise of women as agents of extremist propaganda within the world of the Islamic State. FARAHNAZ ISPAHANI is Senior Fellow, South and South East Asia Action Team at Religious Freedom Institute also.

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