The future of my country, my beloved Pakistan, appears bleak due to the new brand of Islam that is an unstoppable force. Suicide bombing is everyday news. The disease of religious intolerance is increasing and has infected our society immensely. The Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, has been murdered. Pakistanis receive death threats when utilizing a universal human right [freedom of expression] to speak against the “jingoes” [vigilant patriotic fanatics] that have been led astray by those in power that have strong public support.
Blasphemy law in Pakistan [Pakistan’s Penal Code forbids outraging religious feelings, punishes defilement of the Quran with life imprisonment, and prescribes death penalty or death penalty with a fine for the use of derogatory remarks in respect of the Holy Prophet] is not the problem. The society that currently exists surrounding blasphemy law allows a Mulla/Molvi [any person of religious orientation with whom secularists might not agree] to have powerful negative influence on that society, often convincing the act of murder to be acceptable. The problem with blasphemy law resides within power allotted that permits an ordinary Molvi to declare a person“ Wajeb-ul-Qatal.” [power permitted to commit murder due to duty.] The danger to Pakistan is not solely due to Taliban’s terrorism, the danger is intellectual terrorism.
Intellectual terrorists promote extremism and “jingoism” in Pakistan thus provide justification for physical terrorism. Intellectual terrorists create paranoia, fear and hatred. They generate negativity resulting in physical terrorism and use religion as a tool. The society of Pakistan is currently rich with dogma as currency to get populist support to achieve personal policy goals. Intellectual terrorists cannot come to power through fair mandate. The outcome is such “intellectuals” misguide educated youth in order to use them for their own gain. The people of Pakistan must crush this power given to the Molvi in order to see the fruition of a brighter nation.
Salman Taseer’s assassination, among the liberal community in Pakistan, is gut wrenching and heart breaking. It’s a message to those who believe in justice, law and humanity, that the cancer of extremism and intolerance is one that is on the verge of devouring this society. This incident is a call for us to not remain silent and supine in the face of terror, nor to bow our heads before the edifice of fanaticism. Taseer’s blood is not in the hands of the man who fired the shots. Equally guilty are those who have rallied in support of blasphemy law. Politicians and parties have resisted attempts to change this law put in effect by General Muhammad Zia ul Haq, [6th President of Pakistan] due to fear or conviction.
When considering the case of Asiya Bibi [Christian female accused of blasphemy] one needs to ask: Why did a Muslim woman that accused Asiya Bibi of blasphemy refuse to drink a glass of water she herself brought to her? Why had Bibi uttered blasphemous remarks? Do the answers lie within the people who have given Asiya and others the forum to speak against our Din? [Islam] NauzBillah. [May Allah protect it from harm]
Islam teaches good social values, humanity, diversity. I t teaches peace and love. Islam teaches a path to ecstasy and elation. Belief in and love for Allah and His creation is Islam. Violence, terror, murder and oppression are not what Islam teaches. Islam is a moderate way of life.
Why then are Muslims supporting the killer of Salman Taseer? Why are Molvis denying to offer Namaz-e Janazh [prayer] to Taseer? Why are minorities in Pakistan living in fear? Is this the same Pakistan where its founding father belonged to a minority sect of Islam labeled as Kafir Azam [one who does not believe in Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (saw)] by the same creed?
Currently, Pakistan is a society where one does not treat righteously one who belongs to a minority sect. Imagine Muslims as a minority living elsewhere. How then would you feel, as a Muslim, receiving the same treatment from other creeds such as: Hinduism, Judaism and Christianity? That answer can be found by searching deep within yourself.
Islam, the religion of peace, [In Arabic, Aslama means to give self to God. Salaam means peace. These two terms define Islam] teaches us forgiveness and compassion. Islam is spread because of love, affection, and protection to women, the weak, and its elders. Islam provides protection to humanity as whole. It teaches tolerance and allowance of knowledge. It accepts diversity as an asset rather then burden. The 17th century brand of Islam [Wahabisim] promoted puritanical Islam that has engulfed many minds. Those with limited vision and idealism has resulted in misleading people of the faith and Islam resulting in a widespread notion that Islam is a narrow minded faith.
The blasphemy law was constructed during the dark legacy of General Muhammad Zia to terrorize society, crush minorities, and to revenge grudge. Such old laws must be change according to the current society. Blasphemy laws were strengthened during the 1980s rule of Islamist military dictator Zia ul-Haq. The governor of Punjab [Taseer] was the bravest person in the Pakistani government. Salman stood for women, minorities and on changing outdated blasphemy law. What will be the end result? If Bibi is hanged, people will go home returning to their daily routine, talking of this incident for the rest of their lives. I am Muslim, although I do not often write nor speak of Quran or Hadith, my focus is to work towards the betterment of Pakistan and all of humanity. As a Pakistani, our people and nation, as a whole, can be so much better, however it seems we do not wish to prosper.
Is it blasphemy to modify a law? Speaking about crime laws is not a crime. Why is it blasphemous to speak about blasphemy law? Many Aalim-e-Din [ Islamic Scholars] have agreed to modify the law. Why are we, as people, afraid to face this change?
It is time this society dealt with people and organizations on proper footing. Those who proselytize think their actions are pleasing to the Almighty. In the life of The Prophet (pbuh), his Kulfa-e-rashdeen [those who lived closely with The Prophet (pbuh)] and all pious people who follow Islam, I ask, how can such actions be justified?
Silence is a crime unto itself.
They came first for the minorities and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a minority,
Then they came for the liberals and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a liberal
Then they came for the wealthy and the affluent and I didn’t speak up because I was neither
And then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up for me.’
Those who are prepared to stand against injustice, who wish to cause positive difference, who think silence is brutality and have courage to stand up to fanatics; I implore all of you, let us create this change. Let us bring hope. Let us speak of peace and love, and rejoice to our Earth. Let us accept diversity and minority. Wake up Pakistan! Show to the world that you are alive and traveling along a caravan of truth and justice.
Let us do this together.