From New York’s Islamic Centre to Lahore’s Ahmadi Mosques – by Dr Manzur Ejaz

For the love of humanity

The common New Yorker believes that jihadists carried out 9/11. Despite that, when the Muslim community applied for constructing an Islamic centre alongside the planned memorial, the overwhelming majority of the committee approved it

Panic has set in, smoke plumes in the air. The adjoining building of Punjab Assembly, the Wapda House and Alfalah were heavily bombed, leaving behind deep craters as shadows of the buildings that once were. Two assailants evaded police but were finally apprehended, as investigators conducted forensics of the body parts of the cohorts and victims methodically. All comprehensive investigation revealed that most of the attackers were Hindus, two Christians from the US and one Jew. All of Pakistan flew into a rage and the nation’s sentiment turned to hatred. Demonstrators started assaulting all non-Muslims, destroying thousands of shops, cars, buses and anything that came in their way belonging to fellow Sunni Muslims. Resolutions were passed in every corner of the country to launch attacks on India, the US, and Israel.

Government and military leaders issued threatening statements against these three countries and did not try to stop the violence against the pagans. Being world-class beggars, all the Pakistani leaders knew quite well they cannot do much about the assailants’ alleged countries. The violence subsided and ‘zinda-dilan-e-Lahore’ started a campaign to construct a memorial on the ruined vicinity and encourage building of worship houses in the space to honour the lost victims with respect to a higher being. Consequently, applications for the allocation of space for worship houses were submitted.

When the council of noble representatives of Lahore started processing the applications, they found an anomaly, which infuriated them. Among the applicants, a few underground Hindu families of Lahore had requested to build a mandar (temple), Christians had prayed to build a small church and a Jewish man had also requested a few yards to build his symbolic synagogue. The news about these outrageous applications was leaked to the media and mobs led by madrassa trainees created more havoc than that created by the terrorists themselves.

A few chronic public litigators took the matter to a higher court and prayed not only for squashing the applications but to ban all non-Muslim worshiping in the Islamic state because Muslim sentiments were deeply injured. The court contemplated for an hour and issued a judgment fulfilling the demands of the petitioners. The court added that non-Muslim worship houses, even those remotely related to the assailants, should be auctioned or demolished. The government, which never moves on any serious matter, took up this matter quickly and enforced the court’s orders.

You all know this is a hypothetical scenario but, most probably, if this were true, then the course of events mentioned above would have taken place. As you all know, this actually happened in New York where the World Trade Centre was destroyed with jihadists hijacking airplanes. Even if one goes by the conspiracy theory that the Bush Administration or Israeli intelligence oversaw it, the common New Yorker believes that the jihadists did it. Despite that, when the Muslim community applied for constructing an Islamic centre alongside the planned memorial, the overwhelming majority of the committee approved it. Thirty-nine members voted in favour and only one against the construction of the Islamic centre.

One would have expected that after the publicity of the approval for the Islamic centre, the Pakistani Muslim, to which community most of the late jihadis are traced, might have softened their stance against the rest of the world. But it was not to be. Instead, the jihadis attacked two Ahmedi houses of worship while 1,500 hundred worshippers were praying on Friday. Whether Ahmedis are Muslims or not — the state declared them non-Muslims long ago — they are human beings. They were not interfering with anyone. They are too scared even to oppose terrorists. They are helpless soft targets for the mindless sectarian extremists.

It is futile to appeal to the good sense of sleeping and on-the-go jihadi terrorists and their supporters in the public and the slick corporate media. When intelligence agencies’ proxy publicists preach hatred against the Ahmedis to the Taliban — like the tape conversation between Hamid Mir, or some imposter, with the Taliban — what do we expect to happen? When murdering the kafirs is taught in state-run school curriculums, do we expect a tolerant society? Therefore, the ultimate responsibility of murder of innocent citizens has to be put where it belongs, on the state.

It would be useful to reiterate that the Pakistani state is unique in sponsoring the armed religious gangs, called jihadis/Taliban. This is not a discovery of any new social theory. The most profound writer on statecraft, Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527), in his The Prince wrote, “Mercenaries and auxiliaries are useless and dangerous; and if one holds his state based on these arms, he will stand neither firm nor safe; for they are disunited, ambitious, and without discipline, unfaithful, valiant before friends, cowardly before enemies; they have neither the fear of God nor fidelity to men, and destruction is deferred only so long as the attack is; for in peace one is robbed by them, and in war by the enemy.”

I am quite sure that after the publication of this column I will receive some abusive emails like the one I got last week with not so subtle threats. While I hope my responder(s) could take more time crafting their responses to sound less like SMS text threats from a fourteen-year-old teenager, that is the risk a writer must take.

The writer can be reached at

Source: Daily Times, 2 June 2010



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