Penjihad's Blog

"To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable"

Pakistan’s Dive into the Sewer of Religious Intolerance

The religious zeal and violence we see in Pakistan has nothing at all to do with religion, it is simply a function of manipulation of ignorant masses in order to get control of the country. It appears that even the leaders, the so-called “scholars of Islam” who whip up mass hysteria, do not understand the very basics of Islam. Often the very respected “religious scholars” themselves are too illiterate to even understand the local language, let alone the Arabic of the Quran. The most illustrative example of ignorance and illiteracy that drives fanaticism in Pakistan is the picture below. It is a recent demonstration led by a large sign that is supposed to declare, “Punishment for rudeness towards the prophet is beheading, beheading”. On the sign, however, they omitted a crucial accent which changed the meaning to read, “Rude prophet’s punishment is beheading, beheading”. It should have started with, “Gustakh-e-nabi…” but it was printed as “Gustakh nabi…”.

The demonstrators themselves, are guilty of “blasphemy”!

Tragically, even as we discuss Pakistan’s situation, we run the risk of being accused of “blasphemy”; no idle accusation for, it can carry a death sentence or, result in a lynching death before the trial takes place. Anything can be twisted such that it becomes an accusation of blasphemy in fact, simply an accusation without evidence, can result in a guilty verdict (or pretrial death) from judges who are terrified that THEY will be killed by some mob or, their families will be attacked by an ignorant public whipped into a murderous frenzy, justified by religion and led by “religious scholars”.

Blasphemy laws in South Asia took their origin from imperial British rule because the British wanted to prevent Hindu-Muslim violence and also to protect their own, new, Christian converts. The laws were meant to stop people from hurting the religious sensitivities of each other and did not carry harsh sentences.

In 1971, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto came to power in Pakistan, he was the instigator of the civil war that created Bangladesh  after a horrific genocide of the Bengalis at the hands of the West Pakistanis (now Pakistanis). Incidentally, the civilian militias in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) who committed a large proportion of the genocide, were also Islamic extremist parties. Bhutto ran for elections on a socialist agenda and for that, he was vilified as a “godless Communist”. He still won in West Pakistan (lost the national election to a Bengali). Determined to redeeming his image as a Muslim, he made peace with the religious parties who demanded he declare the Ahmediyya Muslims as non-Muslims and heretics. This was done and the road to power for the religious extremists, opened.

General Zia-ul- Haq wrested power from Bhutto in a coup in 1978, he led Pakistan further down the path of religious fanaticism. His efforts were given a particular boost by the United States which was then, fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. In order to recruit Afghans against the Soviet military and avoid American deaths, the CIA initiated a large web of religious schools (‘madressas”) in Pakistan to teach Afghan refugee children and youth, to hate and kill the “godless people” (Soviets) because those were the commands of God. As the children became of age, they were trained by the CIA and given the title of “Mujahideen” (Fighters for God). The US strategy worked but the US abandoned them almost immediately after the Soviets left Afghanistan. This power vacuum resulted in tribal warfare in Afghanistan that was finally won by the successors to the Mujahideen, the Taliban whose vicious philosphy was succeeded by Al-Qaeda, followed by ISIS and Al-Nusra. In the meantime, the teachings of religious intolerance had become embedded among Pakistanis as well and Pakistan’s political parties raced to out-Islam each other for public support. Religious extremism and violence were unleashed.

Today, religious minorities are targeted by religious extremists while the Pakistan’s political leaders and the all-powerful Pakistan military sit idly by because their interests (stealing money) are not threatened.

The Ahmediyya were targeted as heretics, the Hindus were targeted as godless and the Christians because they strayed from God’s directed path. Now the focus is drawn more viciously towards the Shia who form about 20% of Pakistan’s population. The Shia are regarded by the Sunni majority fanatics as “Kuffar”, heretics and therefore subject to being killed by any “pious” Muslim who may so wish. Today, the Ahmediyya and the Shia are especially targeted for slaughters by mobs whipped into spontaneous frenzies or, by planned murders.

Today, Pakistan is ruled by fear of religion-driven mob-violence which can erupt anytime. Simply talking about the state of fanaticism can be dangerous and calling for reform of laws that allow for capital punishments for any perceived insult to religion (Islam), can itself open one to being murdered by a religious group.

Nothing can change Pakistan’s dive into religious oblivion except for large-scale, national action against all religious leaders who call for any violence. At this point, even the military cannot be sure of its soldiers who may revolt if they perceive Islam is under attack. Political and military leaders do not care enough to try and take control back, they are now focused in getting all the money they can steal from Pakistan and hiding it in Western countries’ Banks; Western governments do not discourage them.

And Pakistan continues to burn.

September 22, 2020 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , ,

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