Masood Raja

Originally from Pakistan, Dr. Masood Ashraf Raja is an Associate Professor of Postcolonial Literature and Theory at the University of North Texas and the author of "The Religious Right and the Talibanization of America" (Palgrave, 2016).

Mashal Khan’s Murder: An Act of Collective Cowardice

Last week a mob of students of Khan Abdul Wali Khan University in Mardan performed a collective act of cowardly murder of one of their fellow students. In any other country, this news would have come across as ‘fake” or sensational but in what has now become of the so-called “Land of the Pure,” this…

Counter the Trump Strategy for a Second Term in Office

Until the rise of the ultra right in Europe and the United States, we on the left were at the forefront as the critics of neoliberal globalization. For us, it was obvious that economic globalization, as it was being practiced, had a huge potential but was normally working only for the global elite. In our…

Disappearing Acts: What is at Stake for Pakistan

In a recent spate of unexplained disappearances, at least eleven social media and other activists have suddenly gone missing in Pakistan. At this point neither any terrorist organization nor any state agency has claimed the responsibility. There are no ransom demands or any other announcements about these disappeared activists. I am only aware of the…

The Incredible Pettiness of Mr. Trump

America has had its fair share of not too intelligent presidents, but in most of the cases when such people got elected they made up for their intellectual shortcomings by either being compassionate and kind, or by simply projecting a popular I-am-just-like-you-all persona. That Mr. Trump does not have the required experience and intelligence to run…

We Need to Re-Read Iqbal More Critically 

A few years ago I presented a paper on Allama Muhammad Iqbal at a conference in Islamabad. It goes without saying that in Pakistan, Iqbal holds a larger-than-life status and is often remembered as the Poet of the East, the Poet Philosopher, and as Musawwar-e-Pakistan. Thus, my paper, encouraging a different and more nuanced mode…

The Profane Defenders of the Sacred

  Last week thousands of defenders of the faith descended on the Pakistani capital to mourn the execution of a convicted, and self-declared, murderer.  In the process of their protests these valiant warriors set fire to a couple of metro stations, threw slippers at the army helicopters (to scare them away it seems) and then used…

Lahore Massacre: Mourn and Then Stand Up for Our Children!

Another day, another massacre: target, our children. This is the sad reality of Pakistan, a country gone so wrong that to put it on the right course of history (if we can collectively figure out the right course) seems to be a task beyond human capabilities. This time the same perpetrators–those who claim to know…

Mumtaz Qadri: A Case of False Hero Worship

That we Pakistanis are always seeking larger-than-life figures to, somehow, lead us out of our mediocrity is almost a cultural truism. We have Maulvis, cricketers, businessmen, ex-generals, and now–thanks to our inner micro fascist tendencies–a murderer to give us hope of a better future. As you might be aware, Mumtaz Qadri, who murdered Governor Salman…