VIEW : The lost word — II — Noshe Lynn
If Muslims can come out on the streets to protest about cartoons and books, why can they not come out in protest against these outrages being committed in their own country?
Many people refuse to blame the Taliban (and others like them) for anything, saying that, after all, they were an entity created by the US and the state powers in Pakistan. But no one created these fanatics and their ideology that has infected the masses. They were always there, doing what they do, wherever they lived. They jumped at the chance to get real power when the time came.
It is not the US that throws acid in women’s faces for not wearing a burqa, or who aim to kill barbers, musicians, writers and religious minorities. The US did not start the old traditions here like ‘dishonour’ killings, child marriage, keeping women locked up and stoning abandoned babies to death in mosques. A regressive, patriarchal and egotistical mindset is the root cause of the main evils here. Those outside forces that have exploited them for their own ends might one day be gone, but the evils, and those same atrocities, will remain.
Yes! Today’s religion is truly a unifying factor. It makes a good lynch mob. It is the norm to see a brainwashed public go into a frenzy if someone ‘appears’ to have damaged pages of their holy book. Yet the same mob has no clue what the meaning in those pages is, and it rarely practises what is written there. It is an era recorded in bloodlust. A while ago, a man was burned alive for ‘damaging’ the Quran. A child, Rimsha, was falsely accused of blasphemy and sent to jail in fear of her life. Luckily for her, international pressure forced the government to investigate, and the accuser was arrested. But it was a step taken too late, and no telling if it will lead anywhere except back to square one.
If Muslims treat their minorities like this, they should not complain when they hear about the treatment of Muslims in the countries where they are a minority. They have lost all powers of logic and reason. They only come out of their apathy when it is time to throw stones. If Muslims can come out on the streets to protest about cartoons and books, why can they not come out in protest against these outrages being committed in their own country?
Recently, Muslims circulated protest posters about a film insulting their Prophet (PBUH). One rarely sees similar posters circulated about the atrocities carried out here, and that too, in their Prophet’s (PBUH) name. As for the protest carried out on their ‘Day of Love’ for him, they showed that love by killing and vandalising their own cities.
The double standards and hypocrisy are incredible. They utter sacred names, recite scripture, all the while persecuting innocents. Routine corruption goes on with a rosary in the hand and a holy name on the lips. I believe the Prophet (PBIH) would feel terribly insulted by that. They are insulting him and his memory by going against everything he stood for. And it is so much worse when done by people who belong to the religion he left behind, rather than those who have nothing to do with it.
And so, back to the attempted murder of Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old girl targeted by the Taliban for championing the cause of girls’ education. From a powerful governor to a simple schoolchild, no one is safe from the radical mindset. As we hear news of Malala’s recovery, rightwing groups are spreading smear campaigns and conspiracy theories, trying to reverse the damage done to their ‘cause’, as the public swings anti-Taliban. The public is truly gullible. The campaign is working.
As an objective observer, I believe that until Muslims in Pakistan stop obsessing about religion, they are doomed. They will be unable to move out of their one-track mind-zone and improve things. Until they learn to stop hating all those who do not fit into their mould of what is right, they cannot make progress. Until they dump the cumbersome baggage of obsolete ‘traditions’ they drag with them everywhere, they will not be capable of change. Any religion is only as good or as bad as those who practice it. People have pulled religion down from a high place to their own level. I have a feeling, if the original messengers of God were to return to the scenes in the religious world today and express their horror publicly, they would be accused of heresy and be persecuted!
The country has been overpowered and brutally violated by those with a regressive agenda. A violation committed repeatedly over the years, in broad daylight, while citizens watched in silence. Only one word was needed to prevent it. But the government, and the people of Pakistan, never said: No.
The writer is an animal rescuer, painter, photographer and an explorer of world music. She is also a copywriter and freelance teacher of English and Creative Expression