By Iftikhar Nasim
We, Pakistanis as a nation, have a problem. We claim to be very brave but is it more bravado and less bravery? As Muslims we claim that we are not scared of death but can we say the same about the “Angel of death”. I will explain later.
The bitter truth is we (Pakistani Diaspora) emigrated to England, America and Europe in 1960s and 1970s and the young men of my generation really enjoyed themselves, having fun in night clubs and drowning their “loneliness” in drink, dozens of “girlfriends” and three/four wives here and back home as well. Those old enough to remember know that it was same in the “liberal” era of Ayub Khan and Bhutto’s Pakistan.
Now when even Viagra cannot do any miracles (excuse me!), we have suddenly remembered God and realized that “our daughters have become teenagers.” We have to atone for our “sins” in order to make our children “proper Muslim”. The best way to gain Sawab(rewards) in paradise is to evangelise the “White” Christians and crusade as “soldiers of Allah”. We, the 50 and 60 year olds, now want to convert our children (especially daughters) and the whole of West to this new (petro-dollar) brand of Islam.
The experiment of Islamization back home has gone wrong very badly and the extremists are busy “target killing” anyone who speaks out, not just Salmaan Taseer or TV journalists in Swat and Karachi and even the 80 year old parents of an august Judge are not safe from murderous gangs.
I have recently returned from Pakistan and the whole country seems hostage to these religious terrorists and extremists. We have to take back our beloved country from the clutches of these barbarians. Almost every day there is news of newly-arrived Muslim Pakistani immigrants in USA or Europe being involved in terrorist conspiracies and there are raids on mosques and Muslim Sunday schools. The Americans and the Europeans see Muslim Hijab and beards as signs of conspiracy and hatred.
No one can trust anyone in the Pakistani community. The community elders are afraid to speak out against these neo Islamists for the fear of fatwas and violence against them and their family in Pakistan.
Back home in Pakistan, I saw the fear of “Angel of death” among the “liberal” and “secular” intelligentsia.TV anchors and columnists have either become silent spectators or jumped on the bandwagon of hatred after the martyrdom of Salman Taseer (even I have received threats from the community ‘elders’ and extremists for writing an Urdu column on blasphemy and Salman Taseer).
I live in America but I am repeating what I said earlier, the problem is that we Muslims are not afraid of death but we are scared of the “Angel of death” and every extremist preacher and leader can knock at our doors in the guise of an angel of death (like the American Halloween).
Arguably, this is the darkest period in our history as Pakistanis or even as Muslims? I can only quote American history as an example. Compare yourself and see what is happening!
In America Year 1600 A.D Salem Massachusetts, every educated woman was condemned to death for witchcraft. The quest for knowledge was termed anti-religious by the puritans and women were burnt alive.
The revolutionary men were accused of heresy or homosexuality and hanged at the orders of the courts of “law”. Aborigines and Red Indians were kidnapped and their girls and boys forced into harsh labour, sexual exploitation and prostitution for the sake of “converting” them to new religion of their masters (does this remind you of the state of Pakistan Madrassahs?).
This religious extremism in America lead to worst human rights abuses for women, children and blacks.No one was allowed the right to education, the right to vote, the right of religion. Single women,widows and orphans deprived of the property by family members and laws (will that be Pakistan in future, God forbid).
In 1886 my city Chicago started Labor struggle for the rights of workers, women started equal rights movement. Blacks and Christians like Dr. Martin Luther King started Civil Rights movement and the religious extremists of the southern states were challenged and religious discrimination was outlawed.
In Europe after 1648 they stopped the wars in the name of God and Christian religion. They started the Industrial Revolution and now they are the masters of Science and technology of this world. In 1492 we lost Muslim Spain and with it all our love for science, industry, technology, books and libraries (you ask someone when did they last read a book?)
Pakistan is in year 1600 A.D; remember when you are happily sitting in your own home in front of TV News channels thinking that all is well with your life, why bother about human rights. Someone will come and knock at your door to take your human rights, property and even life. This is exactly what happened to Salman Tasser, Geo News reporter, family of the Justice and countless target killings (at the time of writing Urdu column Raymond Davis incident was not on the news channels).
Wake up and see that extremists are taking advantage of your weakness and abusing your human rights. Please look after your children and family; there was a time when parents taught their children about religion, holy Quran and family values at home. Don’t let these extremists come into your home or even your mosques lest there is bloodshed in the place of worship.
We have no control over our birthday, family or country we are born in but we do have the choice to select our friends, area we live in and mosque we go to? These extremist will never let you live in peace.
The murder of innocent Salman Taseer is enough to open our eyes. The killer Mumtaz Qadari is no hero of any sect or any religion (ban his facebook and valentine day pages). Qadari is an ignorant and coward guy. He is not a symbol of Pakistan and Islam.
He killed an innocent man, had Qadari read holy Quran with Urdu translation he would not have killed Taseer. Islam teaches peace, if you look around you will see many like Mumtaz Qadari. Save you family and future generations and make Pakistan the beautiful country it used to be before Zia ul Haq era.
Iftikhar Nasim is a syndicated columnist in USA, Europe and Pakistan. “Ifti” is also a celebrated presenter at South Asian community TV and Radio channels in USA. Iftikhar Nasim can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org