The return of Karishmaism

The return of Karishmaism

Asif Raza
Social media sites have provided a source of rapid information, earnings, and cultural exposure for everyone; but everything in this world comes with two faces – positive and negative. The negative aspect of this medium is even more problematic. “CTRL+C” and “CTRL+V” shortcuts have become more bandwagon in the status quo than in any other erstwhile period.
For a couple of days, different social media sites (Facebook, Twitter) have been full of posts regarding the recent “Football Exchange Program” under which 35 girls, mostly from lower Chitral, were taken to Islamabad led by Karishma Ali. The program includes football training sessions, visit to different sites in Islamabad, and psychological and physical training about different situations that the girls may face during their course of life.
The football exchange program remains in the limelight with different TV channels interviewing these girls; they called this event a “once lifetime experience.” Till now, it was a win-win situation.
During the sessions, Karishma Ali uploaded their pictures on her social media accounts and soon social media evangelists glanced at these pictures and called them “inappropriate” due to their attire. Karishma Ali is being called “yahoodion ka agent [political terminology used for traitors, and these traitors belong to Israel].” Some of the people are saying that even playing football is “un-Islamic” and due to these sins, these girls are facing different tumultuous situations. On the other side of the coin were people endorsing “Karishmaism” as an “Ideology of necessity” in this modern, and such an ideology is inevitable.
It is found that 70pc of university students (males) are supporting Karishmaism while 20pc remain silent. During the whole saga, only a handful of 10pc are antagonistic toward her ideology. The former claimed 10pc still very active in Facebook than the 70pc supporters, who are sharing commenting uploading such hateful contents to defame her.
Some of the keyboard “Jihadist” were sharing pictures of LUMS women football team by captioning these are the girls who had been to Islamabad, one of them had written “the wave of acculturation has transformed their attire”, and people started commenting on them without knowing anything about. Yes, who has the time to do research when you have “copy” and “paste” options.
Are these the only Muslim girls who are playing football? No, out of the 57 Muslim countries, only four do not have women national football teams while the remaining 53 countries have their football teams. These countries include Iran [where Islam is the state-owned religion], United Arab Emirates (UAE), Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Maldives, etc. and the list continues. As above mentioned, all those Islamic states have a national women’s football team, we cannot say it is an un-Islamic approach for girls to play football.
Now, what is the reason for such hatred? The only reason for such hatred is the intermixing of “culture and religion.” Religion and culture are dependent on each other and they may change according to location, time and needs. But the sole purpose remain the same. For example, in his book Pakistan in Search of Identity, Dr. Mubarak Ali says: “During the 60s and 70s we used to be a part of Iranian culture and we used their language, norms, and values but when Zia’s Islamization took over Pakistan we found new partners and aligned ourselves with Arabs.” he further says that “during our relation with Iran we used to Khuda Hafeez [an Islamic way to say goodbye], but after Zia’s dictatorship we changed it to Allah Hafeez” though the meaning is same it’s the culture which makes the difference.
Coming to the problem, playing football for girls is not in our culture but it has nothing to do with our religion. Just like women working in a bank is in our culture but not in our religion, the same is the case with other fields of life. Those who are against Karishmaism have coalesced the two to one, and they are using a single lens to look at it which makes it a conundrum to differentiate between the two.
The same religious paranoia took nearly a century to accept the printing press, almost ten years to accept loud speakers and three and a half years to accept the acculturation of SalatCards and environmentally Wuzu, so this would happen with football too. Sooner or later, we have to accept it. 


(The writer is studying at University of Engineering and Technology (UET), Peshawar).

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