Islam, Minorities, Pakistan, Religion, Terrorism
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The gruesome Lahore attack

A cross post from PakTea House By Salman Latif

We witness yet another saga of terrorism at Lahore where about 70 people were brutally murdered. The terrorists attacked mosques of Ahmedi community and sprayed those in the mosques with bullets and grenades. Eventually, some of them blew themselves up inflicting maximum damage.

What we are witnessing today is nothing surprising. In a yesterday’s Pakistan, Maulana Zia-ul-Haq’s regime had actively supported and funded not only the militant factions to be used in Afghanistan, but also those spewing sectarian violence. In fact, it’s quite interesting to note that event today, members of parties based entirely upon factual dissent and openly proclaiming hatred towards rival factions, not only are not confronted by law but rather make it to the parliament.

Ahmedis have long witnessed a discrimination throughout Pakistan. Despite the fact that some of our most notable personalities in history were Ahmedis, the general perception of the masses is based nearly entirely on the sermons by illiterate mullahs, actively instigating minds with hatred. One outcome was witnessed today as nearly eighty innocent lives were lost in a mad spree where the attackers supported beards and of course were convinced that they were doing God’s work. In recent times, listening to Zaid Hamid’s statements on India reminded me of the once-oft-quote statements about Ahmedis. It’s a shame we wish for a freedom of speech where none talks about our religious ideals when on the other hand, we use the same liberty to literally mud-sling the revered personalities of those we disagree with.

Intriguingly, nearly all the recent terrorist incidents eventually tend out to have religious undertones, reasserting the need for a modern reconstruction of Islam which is still, sadly, no where to be seen. The need of the day is that such interpretations be done explicitly and such resolves be taken by the eminent religious scholars which would clearly root out all forms of extremism. A sufi approach perhaps would be one of the ideal adaptations. Not only that, an intellectual revolution, of the same type that once pushed us towards a political Islam, is also needed. We witnessed in the last century the religious fervor of the proponents of political Islam, all because those who coined and defined the term were truly determined to look it to accomplishment. Maulana Moudoodi and Syed  Qutab are some of the many examples. My point here is that taking a rather passive take on things and religion, particularly, would change nothing at all. A lukewarm effort would barely yield results. We need determined, concentrated efforts towards achieving intellectual dissemination and rational interpretations within religious circles. Also, expecting a change within a few years would be a rather futile expectation. It’d surely take time. Nevertheless, that’s our only hope.

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