Kashif Hafeez Siddiqui

Posts Tagged ‘religious intolerance’

Call me a cynic

In Anti Ahmadiies on June 13, 2010 at 10:00 am

By Naqad

It is been 10 days since Pakistan witnessed barbaric acts of terrorism in Lahore. Armed men went on a killing spree taking 100 lives. Ahmadis, a peaceful and quite community, were targeted. Perpetrators were highly equipped and held the premises and worshippers hostage for four hours before blowing themselves up. Fortunately one was captured alive and led to further arrests.

The immediate outburst at the 2nd Constitutional Amendment, “imtina i qadiyaniat ordinance” and blasphemy laws has deviated attention from the act to these controversial issues.  These rants have a long history, although raised by a new breed of individuals, and stem from the secular doctrine.

The same doctrine that flourished in 20th century Europe as not only a historical process to de-divinize the cosmos, history, theology, philosophy, psychology, economy, and political life, but also became a way of thinking and living. Later it spread to Asia and Africa through European colonization. The colonized elite, politicians, men of letters were deeply influenced by the economic, political, social, intellectual and cultural colonialism experienced by them.

Our expressive brethren, remnants of above phenomenon, perhaps, notbecause of their dislike for the religion but because of the mind set created by the legacy of European intellectual tradition, consider secularism as a solution to our inner conflicts. They want to separate religion from state and yelp for such measures.

In a drive to separate religion from state these advocates are actually substituting Islam with Secularism which Henry Cox calls the new religion. In his article titled The secular city published in 1990, Cox argues “Secularism, on the other hand, is the name for an ideology, a new religion. With its claim to finality, apparently, lead to fundamentalist outlook in which nothing but secularism can solve socio-economic and political problems of the so-called developing world.”

Their patriotism is unquestionable nor there is any doubt in their intentions but the ill-direction has created a question mark on their objectives. Picking on controversial issues and constitutional clauses, especially the ones bearing religious importance, project them as praise savvy quixotic individuals. It appears not to be a matter of legislation or genuine concern for the minorities but a means to be projected and recognized as progressive, conscientious, enlightened and reformists in the west.

Voicing slogans of Dignity Equality and Freedom our learned thinkers remind me of voluntary followers mentioned by Henry Ford in The Dearborn Independent, July 24th 1920. Citing the 1st protocol of the Elders of Zion Ford quoted “Already in ancient times we were the first to shout the words, ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,’ among the people. These words have been repeated many times by unconscious poll parrots, flocking from all sides to this bait, with which ruined the prosperity of the world and true personal freedom … The presumably clever and intellectual Gentiles (non-Jews) did not understand symbolism of the uttered words; did not observe their contradiction in meaning; did not notice that in nature there is no equality …”

The attacks at innocent worshippers, although in humane and barbaric, are not unique. The country had witnessed much worse acts of sectarian violence. We have lived through bombings in Imambargahs, indiscriminate killings of worshipers in masajids and sporadic and targeted killings. The current attacks and their predecessors points to displaced priorities at national level.

Opeds and blogs instead of looking at Illiteracy, unavailability of health care services, rising inflation, lack of opportunity, poverty and subsequent intolerance, frustration and sense of deprivation which fuels hatred have directed their attention to certain legislations.

What public interest infrastructure has been laid in tribal areas and south Punjab in the last 63 years and especially in the last decade? Why have we let these areas to become breeding grounds for radical Islam? Was it only the military dictatorship or the civil governments also did nothing other than usurp money? Why no finger is raised at our involvement in US’s proxy war which has cost innumerable civilian lives in addition to 3,500 military personnel.

Religious scholars irrespective of their school of thought have condemned this atrocious act calling this a conspiracy to defame Islam and Muslims. In addition to condemnation they are united in denouncing the act as un-Islamic and a contradiction to Quran and Hadith.

Abolishing a certain amendment and ordinance will not riposte the monster of terrorism; however, it will ignite the flames of hatred and disgust amongst the masses. We are concerned about religious clauses of the constitution while the country is led into anarchy.

Source : http://naqad.wordpress.com/2010/06/07/call-me-a-cynic/

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Do we really need to repeal laws?

In Anti Ahmadiies on June 9, 2010 at 1:33 pm

By Naqad

On May 28th, 2010 Pakistan witnessed a black Friday. More than 80 Pakistani citizens were butchered as they congregated to offer their prayers. The atrocity has every sensible Pakistani shaken or shocked. However, in land of pure, using the opportunity to settle personal prejudice is nothing new and seems to be the order of the day. The incident triggered a chain of continuous and voluminous claims that Ahmadis are state persecuted.

The butchery of Lahore was hijacked for revocation of constitutionalamendment and Ordinance. Putting the blame on the 2nd Amendment and Ordinance XX is a façade. Why? Let us cross examine the said Ordinance with the Articles 14, 16, 19, 20, 22, 25 and 28.

Ordinance XX.

Ahmadis are barred from preaching or professing their beliefs, to call themselves or pose as Muslims. For them to Offer their prayers in Non-Ahmadi mosques or public prayer rooms became illegal. They were prohibited from calling their place of worship mosque, performing Azaan, publicly using traditional Islamic symbols, greetings, quoting from the Quran, publishing and disseminating their religious materials. The above forbidden acts can lead to imprisonment of upto 3 years.

Ahmadis themselves were the reason for such strict measure. It was there continuous and never ending preaching that formed the basis for Ordinance XX instigated by religious groups. In the words of experienced columnist Athar Abbas, Express “Preaching is the worst habit of Ahmadis. This is the single reason why they entice violent acts upon themselves.” Athar also shared a couple of personal and first hand experiences.

Having similar outlooks, displaying identical rituals and symbols made common Muslims an easy target of Ahmadis. Posing as Muslims they recruited converts thus deviating innocent and unsuspecting Muslims away from Islam. Hence it became imminent, in the greater public interest, to deprive them of their cover. Why are they adamant on preaching their beliefs? The answer was given by Mirza Nasir during parliamentary debate in 1974. “Muslims not conforming to Ahmadiya beliefs are infidels” he stated.

Now let us move to the often mentioned Articles which the infamous Ordinance contradicts.

Article 14. Inviolability of dignity of man, etc.

  1. The dignity of man and, subject to law, the privacy of home, shall be inviolable.
  2. No person shall be subjected to torture for the purpose of extracting evidence.

Ahmadis are not under continous surveillance nor are they required to report what they do in their personal lives. Infact, there are countless ahmadis amid us who lead their lives unnoticed. Secondly, Ahmadis are not rounded up, arrested or later tortured for extracting information by the police or other law enforcement agencies. Excesses if any have died with the dictatorship which exhibited unrestrained behavior against political activists and other threats.

Article 16. Freedom of assembly.

Every citizen shall have the right to assemble peacefully and without arms, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of public order.

The fact that more than 1500 Ahmadis were present in prayer houses refutes the claim pertaining to the violation of article 16.

Article 19. Freedom of speech, etc.

Every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, and there shall be freedom of the press, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defense of Pakistan or any part thereof, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court (commission of) or incitement of an offence.

The article is defends the Ordinance XX when it provisions that restrictions can be imposed in the interest of glory of Islam.

Article 20. Freedom to profess religion and to manage religious institutions.

Subject to law, public order and morality:

a)      Every citizen shall have the right to profess, practice and propagate his religion; and

b)     Every religious denomination and every sect thereof shall have the right to establish, maintain and manage its religious institutions.

Athar Abbas in his column wrote the following incident.  A few days earlier if village elders hadn’t succeeded in pacifying the threat to public order was very well on the cards at Shakar Garh. It so happened that an Ahmadi student and a zamindar’s ward played together. The ahmadi used to propagate Ahmadiya beliefs to his playmate and how by converting the later could enjoy benefits of living in US, Britain and Germany. Annoyed the boy turned to his parents and it enticed hostility amongst Muslim of the area. Fortunately, before any mishaps the area elders intervened and hushed the matter beneath carpet.

Hence the Ordinance does not contradict rather complements the Article 20 of the constitution.

Article 22. Safeguards as to educational institutions in respect of religion, etc.

  1. No person attending any educational institution shall be required to receive religious instruction, or take part in any religious ceremony, or attend religious worship, if such instruction, ceremony or worship relates to a religion other than his own.
  2. In respect of any religious institution, there shall be no discrimination against any community in the granting of exemption or concession in relation to taxation.
  3. Subject to law:
    1. no religious community or denomination shall be prevented from providing religious instructions for pupils of that community or denomination in any educational institution maintained wholly by that community or denomination; and
    2. no citizen shall be denied admission to any educational institution receiving aid from public revenues on the ground only of race, religion, caste or place of birth.

Law does not stop Ahmadis from preaching their beliefs to members of their community and only bars public professing. Other than confusing prayer halls with educational institutions I don’t see any contradiction in the above Article and Ordinance XX.

Article 25. Equality of citizens.

  1. All citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law.
  2. There shall be no discrimination on the basis of sex alone.
  3. Nothing in this Article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the protection women and children.

The Ordinance does not state that Ahmadis are not liable to government protection or allowed to file petitions with the court of law pertaining to regular social and business matters. It does not state that they are lesser mortals and can be deprived of their valuable or even life when and as Muslims please. Twin attacks in Lahore were a heinous criminal act and perpetrators should be awarded due punishment.

Article 28. Preservation of language, script and culture.

Subject to Article 251 any section of citizens having a distinct language, script or culture shall have the right to preserve and promote the same and subject to law, establish institutions for that purpose.

Ahmadi worship centers are neither attacked nor their scriptures burned by state agencies. The Government prohibited mass scale printing for public distribution and not amongst the Ahmadi community.

The much dreaded Ordinance doesn’t violate the constitution of 1973 and hence can not be held responsible for the mayhem of May 28th, 2010.

Source : http://naqad.wordpress.com/

2nd Amendment, Ordinance XX & Lahore Carnage

In Anti Ahmadiies on June 8, 2010 at 5:29 am

By Naqad

WTF! The words came out spontaneously. The carnage in Lahore that took place last Friday was an inhumane and un-Islamic act. Islam allots complete protection to the Non-Muslims living in its fold. Who ever did it perhaps had a certain agenda or was intoxicated with religious choran. Reports of 80 casualties reminded me of the ordeal faced by Karachites a decade ago. Sectarian killings claimed many innocent lives especially in masajids and imam bargahs.

A series of opeds and blogs followed each condemning the heinous crime. It seems bigotry has become the order of the day. Critical of particular laws and to term them as usurping the spirit of Pakistan’s Ideology is nothing but bigotry.

The desensitization of our masses to the ills of corruption, terrorism, nepotism and subversion to radicalism either towards west of Islam has led to Pakistan suffering Bi-polar identity disorder. Which if not addressed will develop into chronic schizophrenia. The universal polity between left and right existed but never nor anywhere is it as intolerant as in Pakistan.

The most ironic point is that our thinkers in their prejudice often miss the all vital and significant point “Greater Public Interest” while they debate on such issues. It seems that we are motivated more by the hatred for each other than the love of our country.

The fact that so many people lost lives is deplorable but what is even more condemnable is the fact that their misery is used by a bunch of pseudo intellectuals who seized the opportunity to score some easy points. Praising Khwaja Nazim ud din for using brute force against the agitation of 1952 while lambasting Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto for back stabbing his comrades (Ahmadis) in 1974.

Ahmadis were Bhutto’s political partners. They were the only organized group, whose electoral network was most beneficial in Bhutto’s 1970 campaign. Ahmadis needed a liberal government and People’s Party matched that goal. They (Ahmadis) took these elections as if they were fighting their own war. Additionally, declaring them Non-Muslim was even harder task because of their patronage by US and Britain.

An extensive parliamentary debate pursued for two months.  Mirza Nasir,third caliph of Ahmadiya Jamat even though not a member of the parliament was invited and given a good 52 hours to explain Ahmadiya perspective in detail. Mirza Nasir during parliamentary debate in 1974 was asked about Ahmadiya perspective on Muslims that does not conform to Ahmadiya. “Infidels!” replied Nasir.

The second amendment was a well debated matter and involved in Mirza Tahir’s (fourth caliph of Jamat e Ahmadiya) own words a consensus amongst all Muslim sects. During these two months parliament held 28 sessions and 96 sittings for resolving this issue after which it was decided to amend the constitution. The second amendment, as it is known, declared Ahmadis a Non-Muslim minority.

The amendment was a result of continuous and extensive struggle, initiated in 1935 “Muqadma e Bahawalpur, and was applauded by the religious right. The left-wing intellectuals termed it religious bigotry and pressure power of the mullah factions. Their stance though sympathetic to Ahmadis is motivated from their animosity for the right-wing.

It is the same hatred that is visible once again. These enlightened individuals really not care for the consequences nor are aware of the reasons why such acts were introduced in the constitution but are adamant to have them nullified or void. They say that the Ordinance XX passed in 1984 to be a violation of Article 14, 16, 19, 20, 22, 25 and 28 of the 1973 constitution.

The fact of the matter is even in the presence of current laws killing Ahmadis or any other Pakistani citizen or taking law in ones own hands is not justified. A crime is a crime and the perpetrators should be apprehended and punished accordingly. Islam accords complete protection to non-Muslims living in its fold. Such acts are nothing but barbarism and have no place in Islam

Source : http://naqad.wordpress.com/