Every time a non-Muslim or a Muslim is killed on charges of insulting Islam, Qur’an, or Muhammad, the hands of those Muslims, who are involved in these heinous acts, are strengthened; because the Deobandi (Sunni) fanatics want the non-Muslims and other Muslims either to leave Pakistan or get killed. On the other hand, the secular forces and State of Pakistan are weakened by that degree.
On July 19, two Christian brothers, Sajjad and pastor Rashid Emmanuel (32), were murdered outside a court in Faisalabad on charges of writing a “blasphemous” pamphlet critical of Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam. A policeman was also critically wounded.
On July 1, over forty people, men, women, and children, were killed in bomb blasts in a famous Sufi shrine of Data Ganj Baksh in Lahore. These are two recent examples of the mindless slaughter of innocent civilians going on in Pakistan for the last few years.
Let’s say, Pakistan is emptied of all the non-Muslims and non-Sunni Muslims, then what? Are the Sunni fanatics going to be at peace? Not really. The next target would be those Sunnis who are not strict interpreters of Islam or its rituals. The Deobandi fanatics will target Barelvis, for example. Once they are gotten rid of, then, the one with the most power would come up with some idiocy and issue an order: Stop shaving and start plucking the armpit hair**. Of course, there will be some opposition; so then there will be more killings. The one with the absolute power are also endowed with the most unreasonableness; this one can assert is universally true. (Former US President George Bush was one example.)
Pakistan cannot afford this “blasphemous” nonsense and the pandering to the Islamic militants. Sooner or later, but sooner the better, it will have to repeal these inhuman blasphemy laws. The pretense that “Islam is in danger” has gone on for too long.
Just last week, to avoid hurting the sensibilities of the soft hearted fanatics, Pakistan banned the recently released Indian comedy film, “Tere Bin Laden” which also has Pakistani pop singer Ali Zafar in it.
These things are already happening on internet and you can read all sorts of things. There is nor harm in it. Because when you legally permit these people to do what they want to, it not only provides a platform for people to vent out their feelings but it also creates an atmosphere conducive to democracy. Of course, many people’s sensibility would get hurt but consider this as a transition period. Their sensibilities could be diverted to dozens of more important social and economic issues.
A look at the history of religions will reveal that there have always been people critical of religions, and yet religions have flourished.
Look at Christianity. Jesus died a Jew, unaware of the religion to be established in his name! Today, it has the most adherents. Neither the Renaissance nor the enlightenment or scientific revolution in Europe hindered its growth in any substantial manner. Even though, there have always been people who have opposed it. The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche declared the “God is dead” and he hoped God’s death will facilitate the birth of an Ubermensch or Overman who will create new values. Instead what we have today are overleaders (political, religious, and corporate) who are all in cahoot to keep the common people to rot in poverty and ignorance.
Back in 1987, in the US, Andres Serrano created “Piss Christ,” a picture of crucifix submerged in his own urine. There was an outcry and death threats against the artist but 12 years later, the picture was sold for $162,000! Did it stop people from going to the church or practicing or professing Christianity? No.
There are always people in religious establishments who know when and how to adopt some of the changes in order to survive and to grow. The United States is technologically and scientifically the most advanced country yet, back in 2008, 76% of the people identified themselves as Christians.
In the West, Islam is adopting some of the changes. And as more and more women are allowed in the mosques (now this is an unstoppable phenomenon), the number of mosque attending youngsters (boys and girls) will rise as it will provide them with one extra avenue of intermingling.
There are more than 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide in more than 40 countries; so it wouldn’t make much difference if Pakistan disappears from the map because Islam would survive in other countries and in the hearts of stateless Pakistanis. However, the the people of Pakistan have only one country and if it goes down the drain they’ll become refugees—albeit Muslim refugees, that is, most of them. It is not difficult to assume that no country would let these Pakistani refugees in-because of the way the Western media and the horrible acts of the Muslim militants have maligned the rest of the Pakistani Muslims. So it is Pakistan which is in danger and not Islam.
B. R. Gowani can be reached at email@example.com