An Open Letter to Maya Khan – P2

Maya Khan,

I have no personal vendetta with you.

But you’re at it again.

Last time I found you chasing morality in parks frequented by lower-middle class citizens (they make fantastic targets for righteous condemnation); this time I found you cheering a minority into a further marginalized, compromised position. A conversion on national TV? In a country where minorities are forced to convert already? “Appalling lack of ethics” doesn’t even cut it.

I refuse to get into the whole “Secularize Pakistan!” vs. “Islamic Republic remains!” debate. I’ll be frank with you: I am sick of my Twitter and Facebook timeline where self-proclaimed “liberal thinkers” compete with self-appointed defenders of religion in a hypocritical race of selective outrage against issues within the country and around the world. Apparently you’re Muslim – and quite a passionate one (albeit misguided, misinformed). So am I. But, again, we’re universes apart. In your mind, it seems from your constant appearances on TV, Islam is not a sacred faith that has, in countless instances in history, guranteed that minority rights need not be sacrificed to consolidate an Islamic republic but a sickening opportunity to cash in on consumer-based ratings. Let us assume that Sunil did indeed desire to convert by consent, which is fine, but to air it on national TV in a country where minority rights remain a shaming case of state negligence and constitutionally-endorsed subjugation is a testimony of your indifference or, sometimes I hope, your unawareness of the ongoing oppression. Indifference is a lot worse than unawareness, Maya. I’m giving you the benefit of doubt here.

A few days ago at the Social Media Summit in Karachi, you were mentioned at the media regulation panel which I was invited to and someone told me how the backlash that took place after your park-chase episode was misogynistic against you because the internet had an easy target: A woman. To an extent, I agree. You and I will never find the same outrage and nasty memes against a lot worse people like, you know, Amir Liaquat Hussain (I think I owe him a letter too, just to say hi). So before I explain my stance briefly, I want you to know that I sincerely mean you no kind of harm at all. I don’t know you personally. I don’t even think you’re a bad person. I just think you really need to evaluate your sense of ethics and content selection. Could you possibly do a morning show on, let’s say, media content and the lack of moral responsibility exhibited by those working in said sector? People would love you for it, Maya – think big ratings. I would thank you for it. What better a topic than discussing the recklessness reporters, talk show hosts and anchors have shown in the past? You could win conscientious hearts with this, you could even bring a change in our media. So rich with talent and content this country, it’s a shame you would choose dating and conversion as themes for your show.

What hurts me the most, Maya, is how you have – like many others – used my faith for consumerism, for shoddy attempts at gaining more ratings and ravings. It hurts me when a friend of mine – a Christian – confides in me that she knows that most of the Muslim population in Pakistan would be extremely outraged had a Muslim been converted on TV in a country where they were a minority. It hurts me when I read how people instantly start defaming Islam, my faith that has inculcated in me a profound respect and harmony for non-Muslims, despite knowing that it was not Islam that taught you to run a talk show on a live conversion but your greed for more hits and your insensitivity to the fact that minorities in Pakistan are already isolated and marginalized, that people of non-state religion already know when to keep their mouths shut, that these people will never know that there are people like me who resent you for you irresponsibility – people who are Muslims – and will never, ever condone such a blatant misuse of faith under the guise of ‘spirituality’ on a cheesy TV show. You hurt and maim what you claim to love – a faith that does not encourage relegating minorities into public objects for viewership. That their conversions are utmost private. That their forced conversions are utmost inhumane. Your idea has again, subsequently, backfired.

I’ll keep it short. I’m not angry at you; I am disappointed and there’s a list I could go through. I am disappointed in the silence surrounding this act of hypocrisy. I am disappointed in those who automatically jumped to accuse Islam of such idiocy, never realizing that it wasn’t Islam but our talk show host here who needed to re-educate herself immediately. I am disappointed in what you done in the name of religion without understanding that such a display is another blow against minorities in Pakistan – whether Sunil did it by choice or not, remains an equally significant issue but you do know how it feels to see someone from your own community leave for another, right? Especially when you’re a minority. The number looks small, the number looks weak, the number looks endangered. It is a clear sign of moral superiority draped in congratulating messages.

Before I end, I want you to know that this is not a message against you. This is a message against the electronic media in Pakistan and those ‘regulating’ it; for allowing such a program to be aired only shows how unfazed this board is by the real and unsettling cases of minority oppression in this country. I don’t want you to be fired – I didn’t in the first place. I don’t even want you to stop your show. I just simply wish you would try to understand the consequences of your words and actions. You have an audience, Maya. You have the power to sway public opinion. If you open your eyes, you could raise the public opinion into making Pakistan a friendlier, peaceful place for all faiths. I wish you would never use religion again and I mean this for every single TV personality out there. Using morality for ratings itself is an immoral act. Exploiting Islam is not a great idea. Like I said before, it backfires.

Some day we’ll meet. Maybe in a park, maybe in a temple, maybe in a masjid, who knows. I hope by then you have set a precedent for horrible TV hosts that media could be used as a tool of change instead of a shallow device for more ratings, less brains. Till then, please don’t give me another reason to write you a letter.

Amir Liaqat Hussain ne hi kaafi tabahi phelayi hui hai.

Mehreen Kasana

41 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Maya Khan – P2

  1. Good one, Mehreen however I must add that Maya and her ilk cater to a large segment of our viewing population who were thrilled by Maya’s shameful act. They are our real problem.

  2. Hi, You are one of those who have courage to say some thing on wrong doing before your eyes. the first step of the EMAAN. These people have made or I would say convert religion to money making machine although MAYA need to be taught some ethics but AMIR LIAQAT does it all the time in every program. He got no shame what so ever.


  3. I’m not sure I understand your point here. Are you saying it was wrong to show someone accepting Islam because of minority rights issues in the country? That’s a non-sequitur–no one on that show passed remarks about another religion, or did anything to insult anyone. From a Muslim perspective, it is a blessing and a positive thing if someone accepts the faith, and I see nothing wrong with sharing that experience in the media. There’s enough negativity and vulgarity that gets plastered on TV screens, so what’s wrong with an uplifting segment during Ramadan?

    1. Disagreed. I’m proud to be a Muslim; that said, I’m equally aware of the state negligence and the religious tension created between minorities and the majority. In a state where minority oppression occurs, in my opinion, it would be detrimental to air conversions like this. It creates a very subjugating narrative.

      1. If there was a program on why people should shun their faith and become Muslim, then I would agree with you about a hostile atmosphere. But I see no reason to censor or shy away from someone accepting Islam–I fail to see how it shows subjugation. You talked of hypocrisy; I actually think the hypocrisy is that vulgarity has become common place in the media, but there is no social or mainstream media outrage to do anything about it. One harmless segment about a young man becoming Muslim, and it becomes a controversy.

      2. I somewhat agree with Kasana and partially agree with Gilani too. I don’t think this issue is all black and white. Regarding the subject matter, yes, it is a blessing but also can be seen as a subjugating message to already threatened community. It’s all about perspective.

        It’s a case of deciding whether B is correct if preceding A is also incorrect. Some would say one bad should not dictate other goods to not happen. I personally think that there should be caution and the message should have been conveyed with responsibility, not like some bestselling item in an evening show.

        However, I principally agree that in today’s age, religious sentiments are basically revenue generating fuels’ for the media. Aamir Liaqat, being a showman that he is, is one of the prime examples. Is he presenting the wrong message in his shows? Don’t think so. But is he the right person with required religious knowledge? Don’t think anybody cares. He is pushing the right buttons and reaping huge financial benefits for himself and the channel, no matter who he is as a person. That’s what business, consumer based products and public consumption is all about. People are to blame in general.

      3. Just to add one thing here to quote Gilani “One harmless segment about a young man becoming Muslim, and it becomes a controversy.”

        Sarmad, I am afraid it is not the segment about conversion but the hypocrisy of the principle and the unequal promotion that’s behind it, is what I hold an objection to.

    2. Gilani Sahab,

      Just one question:

      Would you be this cool, casual & accepting if/when a Salim becomes Sunil?

      Before I am labeled a Islam basher let me profess my deep admiration & affection for ‘your’ Aaka (saw). I don’t think he would have done this..


      1. Sudip,

        An analogous situation, such as a Hindu TV program in India showing a Muslim converting to Hinduism, would be fine by me as long they are not badmouthing Islam or Muslims. It’s his/her choice to convert, and Islam also teaches that there is no compulsion in religion. And that broadcaster has every right to show it as well.

    3. When your country stops kidnapping young women and “converting” them to Islam – and such is the strength of the conversion that the woman is not allowed to meet her family and relatives ever again, and this is supported by the magistrates of your courts – when that practice stops, then showing conversion to Islam on TV will not be offensive.

      Till then, F.U.!

  4. I always felt that she needs to study the ethics of journalism seriously .

    But then I told myself who else actually (in the media world) religiously follows those rules?

  5. We are unaware of such irresponsibility shown by Maya and ARY? I am surprised that in the same show Dr Shahid Masood is also co-host. He appears a sane person so why even he could not guide her.
    Very frankly, such routine absurdities made us sick and tired from Pakistani media. Shame on You and brand like Amir Liaqat!!

  6. “I am sick of my Twitter and Facebook timeline where self-proclaimed “liberal thinkers” compete with self-appointed defenders of religion….”

    THAT, made my day… or sehri, whatever you might call it.
    Kudos, for writing a post that depicts it all clearly.

  7. a very well written letter Mehreen. Mehreen let me add some thing that when a show is planned there is team (producer, Associate Producer and Researchers) involved in deciding the content.Now it is also fact that most of the shows are anchor based in Pakistan but let me also tell you by my personal experience that only paratroopers like Meher, Mubashir lucman, Maya khan, Balam on line (Dr Aamir Liaqat) goes for ratings and unfortunately Producers have no say in content in these type of shows. Now there is need to strengthen the role of editors and producers to avoid these situations.

  8. Listened to her words…”aur aj live musalman hoga sunil”… Such a disgraced this women bring to our country,
    And what happened to Dr. Shahid masood…. All gone wild in rating race…You’re right in saying that this is an open letter to all Electronic media

  9. I dont know why you people are so ashamed of your relegion as you call yourself muslim.We saw live conversion on peace tv so many times.I never found any article in indian media about this.I think nobody forced that boy to accept islam.I will pray for all liberals to become liberal for islam too.West will consider you inferior whatever you do to please them….so it will be better for you to please ALLAH.

  10. I agree with Mehreen. In a country where minorities are discriminated against and there are even laws that make that discrimination legal, not to mention the public bias towards a pro-Islamic message, I believe that if the show had shown a Muslim guy turning Christian, the show would have been banned, there would be huge protests. There would be talks about restricting such shows as they give out a message the majority of this country is against. Perhaps the TV might be stoned or burned to the ground.

    While being a Christian, I have no objections to anyone accepting Islam or any other religion; I do believe that it is important that we realize that while it is not wrong to show someone’s conversion on TV, it is highly wrong when we do not and will not afford the same courtesy to someone else. I have seen Christians who have converted from Islam but are still Muslims on the front for fear of their lives.

    So when you can not and will not tolerate the same thing done to you that you are doing to others than I believe one should not take such liberties.

  11. Amir liquat needs a letter on daily basis. Besides this yes our media persons do not realise their responsibilities. They have the power to educated this nation.

  12. Thank you Mehreen for expressing your views so procrastinators like myself could find our bearings and speak up.

    Here we go again! (The Curious Case of Maya Khan)

    I am beginning to feel that moral policing is the only language understood by Maya Khan – so allow me to go to the dark side for a moment here. Maya and company must rise above the moral superiority doctrine in Pakistan and need to learn how to live with a trait found rare called “Humbleness”. Isn’t it enough that Pakistan has a Muslim population of 96 %.Safe guarding minorities in a country means giving a sense of security at the most basic level of interactions, rubbing in someone’s face would hardly get you their sympathies. And Maya Khan did exactly that.

    Choice of content aside – Maya Khan’s timing to air her shows is truly poor and would make Glenn McGrath’s batting endeavors look nothing short of a batting genius. What is sad is that during Ramadan – Maya Khan had the epiphany to rid her show with any subtlety and exploit the same faith she triumphal protects for her ratings that too on national television on the expense of local minorities.

    Parasite or may be a sadist – you pick!

    Too harsh? Well, I can’t begin to contemplate the pain Maya has caused this time.

    I do not think Maya (who has the means to influence) and her sympathizers who are riding Pakistan from all its diseases have any sense of how Pakistan could be, should be, or would be a better place to live. Allow me to suggest, perhaps one way for a better Pakistan is for peace to prevail in the country and we could perhaps start from peaceful co-existence with all who dwell in the country; Jinnah wanted it – our forefathers wanted it. Demeaning minorities on National television to gain ratings which comes off as a moral superiority stunt will only make matters worse for Muslims and other minorities in Pakistan.

    Consequences Maya ! Consequences !

    Maya’s rating driven thirst in disguise of either moral policing or Islam has dire consequences for personal liberties or those oppressed minorities in this country. Though I am quite certain that Maya’s moral brigade antics are only rating driven; but be warned Maya that Veena Malik is doing a hell of a job at pulling the ratings without any serious moral hazards or shredding anybody’s dignity – but just her clothes.

    I hear Veena has asked for Tauba (forgiveness) for one of her Ramadan specials. Time Maya seeks a sincere one too. Again !

  13. Maya khan is a fake person herself. Such a fake character that she will do anything for a higher ratings. If u watch her show’s just see how fast she switches from crying to laughing and vice versa.Total Fake, Fake, Fake, Fake person. Everything she do is Fake.

  14. These Maya supporters are not only damaging humanity but also Islam and Muslims because Muslims live,not only in Pakistan but,whole world. So if India make Hinduism as the state religion,Europe and America introduce Christianity in public life and whole of East Asia and South-East Asia declare Buddhism as their state religion and then the people of majority religions start converting the people of minority (muslims) to their own religion,then what would be the reaction of Maya-like people and would it be a service to Islam or dis-service ?

  15. Some golden ideas for Maya and other cheap publicity seeking anchors;

    1- A patient is dying in hospital live on TV, with Maya Khan
    2- A jobless youth committing suicide, exclusively on Maya’s XYZ TV, tune in NOW…don’t miss the action
    3- An indebted father of 6 daughters going to burn himself live with Maya!
    4- Zaalimans killing infidals, live with Maya, exclusively on XYZ TV!!!!
    5- A man is biting a dog, live with Maya
    6- Maya is madly chasing sex working heejraas on the dark streets of Karachi, live sensation!!!!!
    7- Maya chasing men in the male toilet…enjoy sensation of live pissing and pooping with Maya…only on XYZ TV…wow…that’s height of reality TV!!!!

  16. The first thing you need to understand is that TV programming, like any other consumer product, is aimed at fulfilling a demand. This in turn brings the channel the profits, which are, after all, the only thing that matter. The key word here is ‘demand’. People want to see things like this. What the crowd wants to watch means more to TV channels than what Mehreen Kasana wants to watch. The crowd sees these shows as a celebration of their shared moral code, not as a debasement.

    You’re right when you say that shows like this create a ‘subjugating narrative’. To a Pakistani Hindu, the sight of a throng of Muslims cheering a young man on as he renounces Hinduism in favour of Islam would be anything but comforting. But you have to realize that this narrative is not a work of fiction. It is a faithful portrait of Pakistani society. The Hindus know their Muslim compatriots well. This show didn’t reveal anything they didn’t already know.

    Also, ‘your faith’ is just one version of the religion among many. ‘Islam’ means very different things to different people. You’re Muslim. So are the Taliban. So is the average Pakistani on the street, for whom this kind of show is made. All adhere to different versions of the faith, so much so that in some cases these different versions become practically separate faiths, with the name remaining the only commonality. As I said before, your version differs significantly from the mass’s. The show may have offended your faith in some way, but it certainly did not offend anyone else’s. Yes, you could get into an argument over whose version is better, but I don’t have time for that. Personally, I despise both.

  17. which firqa ,, he(sunil) has been included..? shia ..sunni.. brelvi. etc in case of morning attack on dating couple he apologised.. and cried also.. what about this time.

  18. This is letter from me for you honourable sister.

    Their are many things to write a letter about,condemn and criticize regarding media’ commercialization and basically mockery of Islam which it is making by basically promoting a selective Islam or making unIslamic things acceptable. I have not watched Maya Khan’s Ramadan programme even once nor I watched the tv reversion to Islam. but their was nothing wrong and condemnable with televised reversion. infact it is a very good way to promote Islam and inspire other non Muslims towards Islam. or atleast they will also read the Quran to learn about Islam. and as a Muslim I am happy to see a non Muslim revert to Islam and its a sign of a hypocrite amongst Muslims who condemns and opposes such a thing as you and many who claim to be liberal Muslims in our country did it. their was nothing against the rights of our non Muslim or Hindu national brothers in this at all. we respect other faiths but we also believe Islam is the only religion Allah has chosen for humanity. as Allah says that in the Holy Quran and it is our right and responsibility to give message of Islam to non-Muslims that is the Sunnah and wholemark of Prophet Muhammed(PBUH) life. when he started preaching Islam and giving message of Tauheed the Mushrakeen a Makkah were offended and threatened him but my beloved holy Prophet Muhammed(PBUH) said’even if the put Moon on my one hand and Sun on the other still I won’t stop spreading the message of Allah. I have seen 100s of televised conversions on UK based Islam Channel and Peace tv in India no outrage on it their. but their is outrage on reversion of non Muslims to Islam from the self proclaimed liberal Muslims like you. which is hypocritic. If reversions are not televised or made public than people like you make free conversion into a forced conversion with their forced assertions without any evidence and even if the Supreme court gives the verdict that conversion were free not forced like the conversion of 3 Hindu girls earlier this year. Their is no room for forced conversion to Islam nor does it count because you can force someone to read the Kalima but you can never make anyone Muslim by force because becoming Muslim is not reading the Kalima but believing in the essence of Kalima and you can’t force anyone to do that its a matter of conviction. before accusing other Muslims of maiming and hurting Islam I think people like you who come up with a such a negative reaction in one way or a another weather the conversion to Islam is televised or not should seriously think about themselves. your are demeaning Islam by coming up with such a negative reaction on televised reversion to Islam under the guise of minority rights. as someone who is labelled religious extremist,fanatic,backward,etc by self pro-claimed liberal Muslims I believe that Pakistani,Hindus,christians and sikhs are our my national brothers and I have no hatred or any kind of grudge towards them and I know sometimes they suffer discrimination at individual level from Muslims who are deviated and misguided but reversion to Islam which of course has to be with free consent is not a sign of discrimination or subjugating non-Muslims weather it is televised(publicized) or not. those like you who say non Muslims are forced to revert to Islam in Pakistan. I want to ask them that despite the fact that Islam is most demeaned religion in the world still it is the fastest growing religion in the world and every year 1000s of people mostly women convert to Islam all over the world specially in Europe and it is easy to blow the air with fog in Pakistan by spreading the lie of forced conversions but because 96% of this country are Muslim but what about the lady in London,Paris,Newyork,Berlin,Melborne etc who forces her to revert to Islam just about every day people revert to Islam in these places. so please do speak up for the rights of non Muslims Pakistanis but don’t try to maim and hurt Islam with your forced assertions and hypocritical propaganda about Islam in 1 way or another . the best thing we can do to a non Muslims is give him the message of Islam and through the Quran inspire him to become Muslim that is the way of Holy Prophet(PBUH) and the companions. obviously it hurts hindus weather the conversion is televised or not if when one of their community leaves them for Islam but because of that it does not mean that publicized conversion or reversion to Islam is wrong or contrary to Islam teachings. we have to spread the message of Allah weather non Muslims like it or not they have complete freedom to stay by their faith and practice it. but it necessary that they would get hurt or offended by conversion of by conversion to Islam who it may motivate them to read the Quran and once someone reads the whole Quran its not difficult to find that true religion is only Islam as many do it around the world. During the time of Holy Prophet(peace be upon him) conversions to Islam were publicized and their were also cases where at 1st the relatives of the converts were offended and hurt but when they read the Quran themselves out of their curiosity and found the truth in they also reverted to Islam classic example is the converstion to Islam of Ameer Al moomineen Omar Farooq RA. he learnt that is sister and brother in law had converted to Islam and he was so hurt that he went to their home to kill both of them but as he reached he heard them reciting the Holy Quran and than he told them to read more in front of him and eventually Omar bin Khatab RA through the Holy Quran was inspired to to become Muslim and than the way he served Islam and humanity is history.
    lastly I want to say that those say Pakistan should be Islamic country are not defenders of Islam nor they claim to be at least I don’t nor I am against non Muslim Pakistanis Allah is defender of Islam but as believer in Islam slave of Allah and lover of Muhammad(PBUH) I know that it is my responsibility and right to speak for Islam if someone criticizes opposes and lies about Islam consequently demeaning Islam intentionally or unintentionally. its so ironic that from lying,opposing and criticizing Islamic laws&beliefs and spreading unIslamic trends and creating acceptance for them in Holy Ramadan our greedy media is doing a lot to maim and hurt Islam but It gives one good news about Islam the converstion of a Hindu to Islam and it hurts you and so many other Pakistani Muslims who are very active on social media. its a shame and hypocrisy. I don’t care how much you criticize the hypocritic double faced Aamir Liaquat and Maya Khan but think about your self before judging others and writing such ignorant letters in outraged reaction to converstion to Islam on TV. Their many things to criticize complain and condemn about Pakistani media but televised converstion was certainly not one of them.

    I hope you read my letter or comment and respond to it Sister Mehreen.Ramadan Mubarak

  19. This letter is the reason I follow your blog religiously! <3

    Even if you want to convert someone, you do it by the air around you, by your demeanor which should be reflective of the peaceful region you believe in.

    These baboons at media need to do a crash course of ethics, common sense must be an elective too :/

  20. I am actually disappointed at the media barons, who bring in such people back on to the screens, and people are actually sort of forced to watch them! Like Maya Khan, or Aamir Liaquat. Forced on to the audience of most viewed news channel. Pathetic.

  21. I love your style of writing and I’m glad that another muslim female has the courage to speak up against the issues in our culture and those bringing us down in the world. Thanks for being awesome :)

  22. It’s long time, I do not watch Maya show at all! I’m wondering why people watch them? Is that watching Maya is the only thing what you have to do? There are many other show much better then her, see ‘Shaan’ and many…’

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