Islamabad – The federal government has decided to engage the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), Auqaf department and other stakeholders to ascertain whether or not any contentious material falls in the category of ‘hate material’ or ‘hate speech,’ as it accelerates efforts to take its fight against terrorism and extremism in the country to the logical end.
According to the sources in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration, the move on part of the government is aimed at countering religious intolerance and sectarian hatred amongst the society. ‘Countering hate speech and extremist material’ and ‘dealing firmly with sectarian terrorists’ are the key points in the National Action Plan unanimously drafted after the deadly attack on Army Public School in Peshawar months back.
“The government has planned to establish a board comprising representatives from the Council of Islamic Ideology, Auqaf department and other stakeholders to rule in case a controversy arises over a print material or contents of a speech in terms of hate material,” said a senior officer in the ICT administration on condition of anonymity on Tuesday. He said the decision has been taken to check religious intolerance in the society and promote religious harmony amongst different sects. It is to mention here that the council has a representation of all the sects. The CII is a constitutional body that advises the legislature whether or not a certain law is repugnant to Islam, namely to the Holy Quran and Sunna. Previously, the police and other law enforcing agencies used to ascertain whether or not any contentious material has the potential of spreading hatred amongst society.
On the other hand, the ICT administration is facing resistance from the management of religious seminaries in the federal capital as it has started documentation of the religious seminaries, said the sources. “The management of religious seminaries, particularly from the Deobandi sect, is reluctant in sharing the details of the female students and teachers with the law enforcers,” said the sources in the ICT administration. They told this scribe that main purpose of this documentation is to scrutinise the credentials of the students and teachers.
The ICT administration under the “survey of madaris, ICT Islamabad” has sought details about location of the seminaries, name of the principal, whether it is registered or not, is it on the encroached land or not, subjects that are taught over there, sect and the mosque to which it is associated with. The administration has also sought details pertaining to the students that include name and permanent address of the student, CNIC number or Form B, mobile number, class and since how long he is at the madrassa. Instead of giving details of the students, the sources said, majority of the religious seminaries have reported that their students are below the age of 16 and have no CNICs and mobile phones. The sources said that representatives of Wafaq-ul-Madaris will hold a meeting with the ministry of interior and ministry of religious affairs in the coming weeks to chalk out a strategy in this regard. It is to mention here that ICT has 174 registered and 53 unregistered religious seminaries in the ICT. Besides this, there are 101 maktabs (day scholars) where children of mohalla recite the Holy Quran for one or two hours daily.
Meanwhile, special branch of the police have also started collecting data of the passed-out students of these religious seminaries. The purpose of this documentation is to follow the students so as to check whether they are at homes or involved in some suspicious activities.