Saturday, April 24, 2010

Pakistan’s “liberals” and the mullahs: two sides of the same coin

Excerpts from my final reply to Man 1.
This is the fourth and last instalment of my internet exchanges with Pakistan’s westernised secularists. For all their vaunted “liberalism” they turned out to be just as prejudiced and narrow minded as the mullahs they despised. More surprisingly, the “Islam” they professed to follow appeared to be a carbon copy of the religion that the mullahs shout from the mehrab. Man 1, in particular, seemed to have an unhealthy obsession with sexual topics – just the sort of thing that Pakistan’s “liberals” associate with the mullahs!

“From time to time I come across a piece of writing which has the effect of making me feel physically sick. Your string of posts yesterday had that effect on me – it is with some effort that I am responding to your comments.

[Blogger's note, 4 May : following objections, I have removed the second paragraph. Perhaps I had allowed my judgment to be swayed by the excessive crudity of Man 1's comments]

The Qur'an is easy to understand but the “understanding” is not guaranteed. If you wish to acquire understanding you will have to discard your practice of quoting selectively from the Qur’an to support your pre-conceived ideas. You will have to act in accordance with those verses which tell you to think hard over the aayaat of the whole Qur’an. In other words, see things with the eyes of a grown up, not those of a child.

It is a pity you refuse to learn from the knowledge and wisdom of others. The fact is the Qur’an does sub-divide its verses between the Mohkemaat and the Mutashaabehaat verses. Please do read my article on Islam to understand the difference between the two and the reason why the meaning of the Mutashaabehaat may not be clear to you. As for the Mohkemaat, the biggest stumbling block to our understanding is the simple fact that the Qur’an was revealed in Arabic which was in use 1500 years ago. A language – any language, its proverbs, the meaning of words – changes enormously over such a long period. Try reading an English text written 500 years ago or an Urdu text just 300 years old – you will have a hard time making sense of what you are reading. Therefore, not all translations of the Qur’an are equally reliable. You need to read several different versions and arrive at your own conclusions.

The story I have told you above also serves to bring out the difference between a matter of fact statement and a pornographic description. If, for example, the little boy looking into the room were to be replaced by your favourite author Harold Robbins, you would be guaranteed to read a titillating account which would make you drool at the mouth. Is teaching of biology “pornographic” because it specifically mentions the private parts of men and women? Do you now understand the essential difference between the Quraanic descriptions and the vulgar stories attributed to the greatest man who ever walked on earth?

Many repellent stories – “ahadees” – were dreamed up by the muftis of the time to provide a justification for the vile deeds of the reigning khalifah and members of the aristocracy. Child abuse was made acceptable by “discovering” ahadees some 250 years after Allah’s Messenger had passed on, which gave his wife’s age at nikah as 6! Al-Quran says a marriage is a contract between a Muslim man and a Muslim woman, which they enter into freely. Only a mullah’s mind can think of treating a child of 6 as a grown up young lady who understands the nature of the contract she is entering into.

According to the Qur’an there is nothing wrong with living in peaceful co-existence with one’s fellow human beings. If you dig up stories which contradict the Qur’an then I shall have to reject them out of hand. In any case, do point out to me where you can see an Islamic society anywhere in the world. Take Pakistan, dominated as it is by the twin evils of mullahism and westernised fascism. It is a land where corruption, lies, deceit, injustice and oppression are widespread, and where we get the leaders we deserve – Zardari, Musharraf, Nawaz Sharif! Tell me what is Islamic about this society? You need to create one before you stand on high moral ground and let off hot air into the atmosphere. The sad fact is that what we have in Pakistan today is the Age of Jahiliyyah masquerading as Islam.

Another bombshell you drop is: 'If Shaan-e-Nazool is not important [as per you] then please follow all those Verses which are quoted as Violent Verses of Quran and start hacking the heads infidels'.

This is pure mullahism! There are verses in the Qur’an which tell you how you need to defend yourself in wartime from treacherous enemies. There are separate Quraanic passages which tell you to be kind and fair to all human beings irrespective of who they are provided they are living in peaceful co-existence with you. It is an insult to Allah’s Book to imply that you are ordered to “hack off heads of infidels”. The “shaan-e-nazool” thing is nowhere mentioned in the Qur’an – it is simply the product of our mullahs’ fertile imagination.

I have shown you how close to the spirit of Islam Quaid-e-Azam was but you continue in your stubborn refusal to acknowledge the truth. I shall not go over ground I have already covered.
Are you really unaware of the contradictions in your postings? You will sink deeper and deeper into the bog as you discard Allah’s Guidance in favour of the wild pronouncements of self-important mullahs. “To you your Deen, and to me mine” - let this be the end of our discussion. I am not interested in prolonging this meandering “discussion” leading nowhere.”


Some aspects of my response above may have left you a bit puzzled. This approach, I felt, was necessary to deal with the wild statements of Man 1. Here is a sample of some of his less extreme rants:

“Yes I have understood the Quran because it is very easy to understand and I am very proud of it. Allah says and He is saying it repeatedly that Quran is easy to understand.
وَلَقَدْ يَسَّرْنَا الْقُرْآنَ لِلذِّكْرِ فَهَلْ مِن مُّدَّكِرٍ
And We have indeed made the Qur’an easy to understand and remember: then is there any that will receive admonition? [ AL-QAMAR (THE MOON) Chapter 54 - Verse 17]”

“Those Muslims [particularly Pakistanis] who talk of Quran and Islam and living in the West under 'Infidel Kaafir Secular System which is made by man not Allah' should leave West and should live in 'Jinnah’s Paradise' or stop defending Pakistan and Secular Jinnah’s Ideology through Quran”.
“On Hadith a noted Political Maulvi of the Sub-Continent Ubaidullah Sindhi couldn’t teach Bukhari because of certain ‘explicit Hadiths’ [as per him but he was and is not Hujjat - Proof] then why didn’t he feel any shame while teaching Quranic Verse like these, which are quite explicit and Maulana Ubaidullah Sindhi should have discarded these verses from Quran due to Maulana Illogical and absurd shame.
وَمَرْيَمَ ابْنَتَ عِمْرَانَ الَّتِي أَحْصَنَتْ فَرْجَهَا فَنَفَخْنَا فِيهِ مِن رُّوحِنَا وَصَدَّقَتْ بِكَلِمَاتِ رَبِّهَا وَكُتُبِهِ وَكَانَتْ مِنَ الْقَانِتِينَ
Wamaryama ibnata AAimrana allatee ahsanat farjaha fanafakhna feehi min roohina wasaddaqat bikalimati rabbiha wakutubihi wakanat mina alqaniteena
Arabic Word in the verse: Farjaha or Farj means Vagina [should I say it in Chaste Urdu]
And Mary, daughter of ‘Imran, whose body was chaste, therefor We breathed therein something of Our Spirit. And she put faith in the words of her Lord and His scriptures, and was of the obedient. [AT-TAHRIM (BANNING, PROHIBITION) Chapter 66 - Verse 12]”

“قَالَتْ أَنَّى يَكُونُ لِي غُلَامٌ وَلَمْ يَمْسَسْنِي بَشَرٌ وَلَمْ أَكُ بَغِيًّا
Qalat anna yakoonu lee ghulamun walam yamsasnee basharun walam aku baghiyyan
English Translation:
She said: How can I have a son when no mortal hath touched me, neither have I been unchaste? [MARYAM (MARY) Chapter 19 - Verse 20]
How would you define the touching by a man? What kind of a touch makes woman pregnant? Please define or would you prefer silence because of the shame like Ubaidullah Sindhi!”

“وَأَنَّهُ خَلَقَ الزَّوْجَيْنِ الذَّكَرَ وَالْأُنثَىمِن نُّطْفَةٍ إِذَا تُمْنَى
Waannahu khalaqa alzzawjayni alththakara waalontha Min nutfatin itha tumna
And that He createth the two spouses, the male and the female, From a drop (of seed) when it is poured forth; [AN-NAJM (THE STAR) Chapter 53 - Verse 45 and 46]
Now where has gone the shame of Obaidullah Sindhi? What is being discussed here if not the Intercourse between Man and Woman and word Sperm i.e. Nutfa in Arabic is in the Quranic Verse and men emit Sperm through Penis [Should I use chaste Urdu]”

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pulling Quaid-e-Azam every which way – PART 2

Small-minded bigots distort history and religion.

All my attempts to reason with MAN 1 came to nothing as he proceeded to attribute all kinds of views to me and to support his rants by digging up “evidence” from the “scriptures” in a manner which distorted the Message. He said:

“Following Comment are for those “who talk of Islamic Republic of Pakistan” and accept that Pakistan was came into being in the name of Islam. I will not mince my words nor I would take the cover of Moderate Islam [if you talk of Islam and Quran]
Since you “believe” that Pakistan was attained in the name of Islam and if that is so in reality then Islam doesn’t allow any Non-Muslim to be appointed on a Key Position and that too a Foreign Minister.. [Hazrat Omar [RA] had sacked one such governor who appointed a Non-Muslim on a key position – Reference: Tafsir Ibn-e-Kathir and History by Tabari]…. Proof from Quran that Non-Muslim cannot be friends of Muslims [Quadiyanis are Non Muslims] and they cannot be trusted and we cannot be sure that they are sincere. Allaah says
وَالَّذينَ كَفَرُواْ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاء بَعْضٍ إِلاَّ تَفْعَلُوهُ تَكُن فِتْنَةٌ فِي الأَرْضِ وَفَسَادٌ كَبِيرٌ
English Translation:
And those who disbelieve are protectors one of another – If ye do not so, there will be confusion in the land, and great corruption. [ AL-ANFAL (SPOILS OF WAR, BOOTY) Chapter 8 Verse 73]
وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاء بَعْضٍ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلاَةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَيُطِيعُونَ اللّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ أُوْلَـئِكَ سَيَرْحَمُهُمُ اللّهُ إِنَّ اللّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ
English Translation
And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends one of another; they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and they establish worship and they pay the poor-due, and they obey Allah and His messenger. As for these, Allah will have mercy on them. Lo! Allah is Mighty, Wise. [ AL-TAWBA (REPENTANCE, DISPENSATION) Chapter 9 - Verse 71]
قَدْ كَانَتْ لَكُمْ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ فِي إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ إِذْ قَالُوا لِقَوْمِهِمْ إِنَّا بُرَاء مِنكُمْ وَمِمَّا تَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ كَفَرْنَا بِكُمْ وَبَدَا بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمُ الْعَدَاوَةُ وَالْبَغْضَاء أَبَدًا حَتَّى تُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَحْدَهُ إِلَّا قَوْلَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ لِأَبِيهِ لَأَسْتَغْفِرَنَّ لَكَ وَمَا أَمْلِكُ لَكَ مِنَ اللَّهِ مِن شَيْءٍ رَّبَّنَا عَلَيْكَ تَوَكَّلْنَا وَإِلَيْكَ أَنَبْنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيرُ
English Translation
There is a goodly pattern for you in Abraham and those with him, when they told their folk: Lo! we are guiltless of you and all that ye worship beside Allah. We have done with you. And there hath arisen between us and you hostility and hate for ever until ye believe in Allah only – save that which Abraham promised his father (when he said): I will ask forgiveness for thee, though I own nothing for thee from Allah – Our Lord! In Thee we put our trust, and unto Thee we turn repentant, and unto Thee is the journeying. [ AL-MUMTAHINA (SHE THAT IS TO BE EXAMINED, EXAMINING HER) Chapter 60 Verse 4]
It would be better if we all do away with double policy i.e. Riding Two Boats [Islam and Democracy] at the same time. Policy should be very clear. This confusion has resulted in Trouble and will created more Trouble if we didn’t separated Religion from the Business of State [Like Jinnah had said on 11 August 1947 Speech]”

“I can only speak for myself. I cannot give you answers for your generalised queries directed at people who believe one thing or another.

The original idea of ‘Pakistan’ was one of a semi-autonomous homeland for the Muslims of India, to enable them to achieve economic independence from the Hindus and to organise their lives in accordance with their distinct Muslim culture. In the face of Hindu obduracy this idea hardened into one for an independent country to be named ‘Pakistan’. I am, therefore, highly sceptical when people claim that Pakistan “came into being in the name of Islam”. The truth is that an overwhelming proportion of Muslim religious leaders opposed the creation of Pakistan. What they are claiming now is a claim made with hindsight and, possibly, it is designed to support their hidden agenda of taking control of political power (e.g. Jama’at-e-Islami).

A bizarre claim you have made is: “Islam doesn’t allow any Non-Muslim to be appointed on a Key Position and that too a Foreign Minister”. In support of this statement you first mention “Tafsir Ibn-e-Kathir and History by Tabari” and then three quotations from the Qur’an, 8:73, 9:71 and 60:4.

You are obviously unaware of the reality of “Tabari bin Rustam” and the scholarship of Ibn Kathir. I will avoid getting into a long, fruitless discussion about these gentlemen here. I will refer you to Dr Shabbir Ahmed’s website,, where you can learn a great deal. For example, you might like to read “The criminals of Islam” and “The reality of Karbala”.

As for your quotations from the Qur’an, they are largely irrelevant to this discussion and you have failed to explain the context in which they occur. The first deals with a situation where the Muslims are in a state of confrontation, the emigrants from Makkah having found refuge in Madinah. The correct translation would be:
“Those who reject the Divine Message are protectors of one another. If you do not help the immigrants, there will be chaos in the land and great corruption”.

The second quotation is telling you how Muslim men and women should behave towards each other. It says nothing about non-Muslims.

As for the third quotation, where did you get your stern translation from? Here is one from ‘The Qur’an as It explains Itself’ by Dr Shabbir Ahmed:
‘Indeed there is an Excellent Pattern for you in Abraham, and his companions. They said to their folk, “Certainly, we stay clear of you and of what you worship instead of God. We denounce you and between us and you has arisen distance and aversion until you believe in God alone”. The only exception was Abraham’s saying to his father, “I will indeed pray for your forgiveness, although I have no power to achieve anything from God on your behalf.” Then he prayed, “Our Lord! In You we place our trust, unto You we turn, and unto You is the Final Destination”.’

The context of this particular aayat concerns people who are in a state of confrontation with Muslims – please read the preceding aayaats leading up to this one. This Surah is, in fact, about showing kindness and compassion towards all human beings. Here is aayat 60:8:
‘God does not forbid you from being kind, and fully equitable to those who do not fight you on account of Religion, and do not evict you from your homelands. Indeed, God loves those who lead a just, balanced life’.

What you have omitted to do is to quote Quraanic passages which deal with “consultation” – democracy – and the fair treatment of all human beings (as, for example, 60:8 above). Are you unaware of the existence of such passages? Would you like me to put up more of them here?

Please avoid making selective extracts from the Quraan. The mullahs are particularly adept at using this unpleasant trick.

Jinnah knew his Qur’an better than most mullahs. He had thought hard over the Quraanic Surahs and come to his own conclusions (do re-read the quotations I have previously given from Quaid-e-Azam’s speeches and talks). The Qur’an explains Itself clearly enough by shedding light on a single topic from different angles. We must reflect on ALL relevant passages of the Qur’an if we are not to end up drawing the wrong conclusions.”

A new person intervened, MAN 3:

“’I know a great deal about Quaid-e-Azam. Though he was born into an obscure Shia sect, his greatness lies in the fact that he disowned all sects and declared himself to be just a Muslim who was neither Shia nor Sunni.’ It was just bcoz he was not a practicing muslim….”

ME (to Man 3):
“Kindly define what a ‘practising’ Muslim is. A man whose integrity is legendary, whose courage is beyond description, who goes around with a copy of the Qur’an and reflects deeply on what he reads, remembers Allah often, is not a ‘practising’ Muslim!! You must have some odd mullahistic conceptions of Islam.

The only criterion for judging whether or not a person is a good Muslim is the Qur’an. Thus, for example, when Quaid-e-Azam responded to a question about his being a shia or a sunni, the answer he gave was in accordance with the Quraanic injunctions. Our army of mullahs, who head up scores of religious sects, are the ones who are defying Allah’s commandments. I wonder if you are some sort of mullah with an axe to grind?!”

MAN 1:
“I know Dr Shabbir Ahmed and his work very well rather we have been exchanging mails with each other since last 4 years. The tragedy with cut and paste is this that it stops you from independent Research and that’s what just happened above. Not everything Tabari wrote was correct and similarly not everything Tabari wrote was wrong. Mind you there are two Tabaris.
1 – Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Jarir ibn Yazīd a-abarī أبو جعفر محمد بن جرير بن يزيد الطبري of Tarikh al-Tabari (History of the Prophets and Kings) and Tafsir al-Tabari. [which I quoted]
2 – Muhammad b. Jarir b. Rustam al-Tabari Shia Scholar of Khabar [Hadith]You would have to read and research a lot to even defend Jinnah through Quran.

English Translation I used was of Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall [AS Muslim] and I don’t need crutches of Dr Shabbir Ahmed’s Translation to undertsand Quran. Every verse of Quran has the background context i.e. 1400 years old [if that is your logic] then May Allah help us because if we apply your above logic then there is no need to consult Quran any more.
What is “Distinct Muslim Culture” please explain your above written “Jargon” in the Light of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and other Muslim Scholar’s Rampant Racism against the fellow Muslim.”

ME (to Man 1):
“I am glad that you are familiar with Dr Shabbir Ahmed’s books. I hope you will also have read Allama Ghulam Ahmad Parwaiz’s books – he is one of the greatest religious thinkers our nation has produced.

So, having put paid to Tabari and Ibn Kathir, I take it we are both in agreement that it is the Quraanic Guidance which must determine whether a particular course of action is permissible or not.

I understand that you disagree with Quaid-e-Azam’s decision to make use of Sir Zafrullah’s talents in the service of Pakistan. While you are certainly entitled to your personal likes and dislikes, you should exercise care not to invoke the Qur’an in support of your prejudices. As I said in my last post, you are simply beating about the bush, coming up with quotations from the Qur’an which have no bearing on the subject we are discussing. You have also ignored numerous injunctions where mankind is told to live by principles of justice and fair play irrespective of a person’s background – religious, social, racial, whatever.

When I ask you not to take Quraanic aayaat out of context, all I mean is that the linkage between one aayat and another should not be ignored. Quite often the essence of a particular command is spread over more than one aayat, which means we must consider all connected aayaat as one whole.

You ask about ‘distinct Muslim culture’. I used this phrase in the context of the Indian society where Hindus and Muslims were living side by side. You must, therefore, understand this phrase in relative terms. May I request that you spare an hour or so of your valuable time to read Mumtaz Mufti’s essay “Ram Deen”. This will open up your eyes to the stark reality of life for Muslims living in a Hindu dominated society.”

MAN 1:
“To understand Quran I don’t need Pervaiz or Shabbir’s help and if you ask my personal opinion then I understand Quran through Quran and then Authentic Hadith. Pervaiz was Hadith Rejector and not a Hujjat [Proof] for me but I have read him. I have read Shabbir’s work but I also have original books from where Shabbir have quoted and Shabbir often present only side of view which supports his point of view. Yes, every Quranic Verse do have the context [Shaan-e-Nazool] and every Quranic Verse have the general meaning and commandment for day to day affairs [no time bar most of the Quranic Verses are valid till the Judgement day].

Please don’t tell me as to how to understand Quran because by the Grace of Allah when I read Quran I read it like it should be read and understood not through the lense of Pervaiz, Shabbir, Iqbal or Pakistan Ideology.

I am least bothered if Jinnah would have appointed a Devil Worshiper a Chief Mufti of Pakistan because my point of view is this that Policy should be clear because when you talk of Islam then Sources of Islam [Quran and Hadith] would be consulted not Jinnah’s personal understanding of Islam.

Again you are quoting a book of Mumtaz Mufti on Culture of Undivided India, I am just asking a simple question what is “Muslim Culture” and please explain it in the light of Quran and Hadith.”

“A little humility would become you!

No one, not Iqbal, Parwaiz, Shabbir, or anyone else for that matter (I would leave out the Messengers as the world they inhabit is beyond my comprehension), can comprehend the Qur’an in its entirety. Why? Because the Qur’an deals with the universe as a whole, there is the world we can comprehend with our senses and there is the one which lies beyond our earthly experience (I have touched on this aspect of the Qur’an in my article on Islam which, judging from your comments, you have considered it unnecessary to read). In my entire life you are the only person – other than a mullah – who claims to have understood the Qur’an.

There are two things you need to bear in mind. One: the particular dialect of the Quraish in which Al-Qur’an was revealed some 1500 years ago was different from the Arabic spoken elsewhere, and it bears little resemblance to modern Arabic. Thus, when Arabic scholars take it upon themselves to “translate” the Qur’an, quite often they are simply regurgitating someone else’s translation and ideas about what the Qur’an says. I do have a copy of Pickthall’s translation, which I never finished – let us just say that it is “traditional” and leave it at that.

Two: Al-Quran, being the revelation of the Creator of the Worlds, cannot contain contradictions or anything that defies established scientific facts. Thus, for example, the mention of movements of the planets, the conception and gestation of a baby in the mother’s womb, the evolutionary processes, etc probably made little sense until the discoveries of modern science. Being aware of latest scientific research will also be helpful in strengthening your understanding of the Qur’an. In fact, the Quraanic definition of an ‘aalim’ is closer to that of a scientist. The widely understood meaning of an aalim as someone who has read an awful lot of “religious” books and sets himself up as a “spiritual guide” is not supported by the Qur’an.

You have obviously not read Parwaiz or you would not use words like “Hadith rejector” for him. He simply repeated what Al-Quran says, namely, that we must not accept anything blindly – if we do, we lower ourselves to the level of cattle. The Knower of all the worlds that exist doesn’t want us to have blind faith in His Book: we must use our minds, all the faculties we possess, to understand His Message before we accept it. Blind faith has nothing whatsoever to do with Islam. The same criterion applies to hundreds of thousands of stories attributed to Muhammad Mustafa, Rehmatul-lil-aalameen – many utterly disgusting and pornographic. Allama Parwaiz simply says that we have to use our intellect to judge these stories in the light of the Quraanic Guidance given to us.

Regarding Jinnah, you have failed to prove that Jinnah’s understanding of Islam was faulty. So, what exactly are you objecting to?

Regarding the difference between Deen and culture, let me tell you a story. Many years ago I knew a young Welshman whose name was Glyn. He was attracted to Islam and his conversion ceremony took place in our local mosque. The imam gave him the ‘Muslim’ name Dawood. Thereafter, he was always ‘Dawood’ to people at the mosque. He complained to me that in his own language, Welsh, the word ‘glyn’ meant a brook, a flowing stream winding its way through a valley, and he couldn’t see why he needed to abandon that beautiful name simply because he had accepted Islam as his Deen. I laughed and said he was absolutely right. Needless to say he was ‘Glyn’ to me and ‘Dawood’ to other people at the mosque. You see, Islam as Deen is wide as the ocean, it gives you tremendous freedom to live your life within very wide boundaries. However, where those boundaries are going to be threatened, and people’s lives are made miserable, then you have to do something about it. It is a pity you refuse to learn from other people’s knowledge and wisdom. Mumtaz Mfti’s “Ram Deen” would have answered many of your questions. This post has become quite long and I have to stop, I am afraid. By the way, you might also find Mufti’s “Talaash” useful.

The West has given me education, information and cleverness, for which I am grateful. However, such knowledge and wisdom that I possess, has come to me from rummaging in the treasure trove in my own backyard.”


Thereafter, Man 1 filled page after page with quotations from the Qur’an and went to great lengths to let me know what Islam meant to him, embellishing his narration with lurid tales from what he claimed were the “ahadees”. He continued to claim that the Qur’an was very simple to understand, which he fully understood and needed no help from anyone. As Quaid-e-Azam was no longer the subject of our discussion it is not necessary to present that part of the discussion.

Except, perhaps, a part of the very long reply I gave him? I may present this in my next post. Again, it would be helpful if you would let me know if you have found this post helpful and whether you would like to know what I said to Man 1 on aspects of Islam. While I appreciate face-to-face conversations and receiving e-mails or an occasional telephone call, I would appreciate it more if you would write a brief comment directly in the blog’s ‘comments’ section. 

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