Holy war | Pakistan Today

Holy war

It takes a sacrilegious video to unite the Muslim world

If attacking the US, German, British consulates, killing people who had nothing to do with that sacrilegious video and banning YouTube wasn’t enough, our government has now announced a holiday to mark the “Youm-e-Ishq-e-Rasool Day”. Even if one were to ignore Pakistan’s fragile economy and the fact that every single holiday costs some serious dough to the national exchequer, if you need to take a day off to remember the person you believe to be your spiritual role model, there is something seriously wrong with your faith. And why now? Just because an idiot patches up a 14-minute-footage to insult your religious sentiments, you need to soothe your inner insecurities by taking a day off from work? Faith, they say, is supposed to move mountains, but ours can’t even take a pathetic attempt at mocking religion –that’s how strong it is.

Violence in the name of religion is the natural corollary of this insecurity. We don’t realize that by getting all worked up and manifesting hostility there is no one that is insulting our religion more than our own selves. The message being given out by the Muslim world is simple: all you need to do is wake up one fine day, post something idiotic on the internet and we’d come out in hordes, either demonstrating hostility by burning down our own property or attacking American consulates to pacify our souls. And if we are of the ‘moderate’ creed our ‘protest’ would be non-violent, which would involve waking up late afternoon, doing nothing all day, and rejoicing at the fact that we get a three-day weekend. So basically our expression of religiosity involves two things: violence or indolence.

Both violence and indolence have unfortunately been incorporated into the Muslim ethos. We’d be Shias and Sunnis and kill each other over trivial sectarian differences not missing out on any opportunity to depict aggression, loathe and despise until someone else gives us the slightest of excuse to redirect that detestation. And then we’d be the flag bearers of Islam, all under one flag, calling for the heads of every single ‘non-believer’ on the surface of the planet. It indeed is a pity that it takes disrespect and scorn to imbue ‘religious’ sentiments inside us – it is a pity it takes a blasphemous video to unite the Muslim world.

Here’s a question: is Islam the only religion that is being mocked on the internet? Do we see Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists or Jains burning their own countries or the consulates of other nations protesting insults against their religions? Sure, Islam calls for due punishment for blasphemers, but then so do most of the religions. Why is there a $3.3 million – raised from the original $2.7 million after the YouTube video in discussion – killing bounty for Salman Rushdie while Dan Brown still leads a relatively peaceful life despite his blasphemous allegations against Jesus Christ in The Da Vinci Code? Were core Christian beliefs not hurt by said accusations?

Sentiments of every single religion are being put to the sword all over the world on a daily basis and chopping off heads – or even calling for it in the name of religion – is a medieval way of protecting your ideological beliefs. You want to make sure people respect your religion? Stop reacting exactly like the maker of this video would’ve wanted you to react; stop being the primary antagonist of the script that was designed to defame your religion.

Followers of all religions can dig out something blasphemous from even the sheer existence of other religions owing to their interpretations of their own beliefs. Do we not realize that by killing someone because of blasphemy against Islam, we’re giving other religions the license to kill Muslims according to their interpretation of their own ideologies? And if it continues, this would take us all the way back to the holy wars and crusades, and we’d all be clamoring “an eye for an eye” as we vie to cement our religious superiority by dint of the proverbial sword –were it an eye for an eye anymore, we’d all be blind.

If you really want to launch a holy war, if you really want to ensure that the flag of Islam flies higher than the rest of the religions let’s fight against other ideologies and see followers of which religion can make this world a better, a more peaceful place to live in. If you really want to launch jihad, struggle against your own intolerance and insensitivity for other beliefs first – amateur B-grade film makers should be the least of your concerns.

The writer is a staff member and can be reached at [email protected]

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  1. Jean Ashley-Jones said:

    Well Said, I applaud you Sir. Now Islam will have to take much more of this because their Achilles heel has been found, no response would have served better. Today in Pakistan I am fearful for any person with white skin whatever religion they are, mobs are not in possession of their faculties. Police and Army must protect the Embassies in Islamabad and Pakistanis will be killed I am afraid to say.

  2. Sarah Shahid said:

    The writer is the cutest thing on the planet. How does one go about getting his phone number? Or address? Or more?

  3. Maham Khan said:

    I can not believe someone in Pakistan has the wisdom and the guts to write something as brilliant as this. Take a bow sir!

  4. Nazia said:

    These are same group who never bother where Burma Muslims are running for their safety and survival.What is being done in Pakistan for last two days on the name of protest is obvious to all.They are inflicting damaging the properties of common man and state and all stake holders are enjoying state security and watching such stupidities via satellites or cable. so who is mocking to whom is still not clear in this wave of violent protest.

  5. Qamar Adib said:

    A very thought-provoking article. Keep it up Shahid. I wish every one in Pakistan thoroughly reads this excellent piece.
    Qamar Adib

  6. shiv kumar said:

    while the author seems the sanest of the lot in Pakistan we must understand that world does not run on reason or intellect.

    The dark forces rearing their heads again are the same that demanded partition of India in 1947 based on hatred of the other. the only difference is that now they want this ideology to be the only narrative of the world.they will not tolerate dissent and are willing to kill or be killed. if you analyse the situation correctly history is repeating itself. only 10% muslims of the estimated 10 crore muslims of India migrated to Pakistan but almost 90% of them(the so called silent majority) had a soft corner for it and they did not oppose it.

    similarly today the terrorists,mullahs and the military alliance in almost all the Muslim countries may not be more than 10% but by shouting Islam in danger they want to re-create a situation for a super Islamic bloc which will be in conflict with west and freedom as these 10% want to usurp the hope of a new dawn that was being seen in the arab world.

  7. Jon said:

    So the thing is…the WHOLE of Western world is looking at Muslim countries and saying to themselves: 'So the Muslim world is experiencing irrational and violent protests over a movie that depicts Muslims as violent and irrational?'

    Am I missing something..?

  8. pakone said:

    Excellent article and I wish the fools on the streets chanting about a religion they know nought about could read this. IA Pak Army and police will protect the embassies. This was one of the stupidest moves by the gov't. Declare a day for the love of our Prophet (PBUH)? Are ya kidding? We love our Prophet (pbuh) everyday! Now even those who had work to do today now got an excuse to be fools over a video made by one moron! Well done gov't – PPP is always the first to appease the "mullahs". Bravo indeed. I hope army takes over today!

  9. naghmana said:

    The "day off" was not meant to express our feelings for our profit . It was a mark of ,Protest ~ which says , " Look you don't have a right to redicule our Prophet [P.B.U.H]

    • AShah said:

      Protest to whom? No one suffered form the "day off" but the Pakistani economy and hence Pakistan itself.

  10. Saad said:

    Extremely well written article. Could not have put it better. Extremely unfortunate but true. Sad state of affairs.

  11. AShah said:

    Well written young man. We have only given Islam a bad name with all this violence and as Pakistanis we have damaged ourselves and our country, which it really can't afford.

  12. invincible said:

    a fanatastic explaintory article that speaks about our narrow mind and myopic members who have gone on acomplete strike day off. What we showed the world that we can incurr colossal losses for several days on and off but we cannot tolerate religious blaspheme. The muslims in land of pure are staunch believers among all the muslims in world. They proved this by holding all routine affairs off.

  13. Acolyte of Sagan said:

    A very true and very brave piece of writing. Reason has a new hero!

  14. blogc2011 said:

    Faith, they say, is supposed to move mountains, but ours can’t even take a pathetic attempt at mocking religion –that’s how strong it is. netcom avis

  15. Javaid Bashir said:

    The offensive movie hurt the feelings of the entire Muslim World. The Muslims are rightly upset over this western insinuation and blasphemic acts. This thing must stop. This effects the inter faith relations.

    The countries must have laws against such acts of hatred . They should grow up and show respect to the Prophets, who came to us to give the divine message. They taught us how to live in the society and to respect human life and , gave freedom to worship God in their own ways.

    I fail to understand the twisted logic of these idiots ,who produce such trash movies to spread hatred in the workd.

    This kind of material must be banned out rightly before showing to the public. This comes under the hate speech, not the freedom of speech . There is no freedom or fundamental right involved in this case. We must take action against the producers and others who promote such hatred , that evokes protests and unrest.

    We must promote inter faith relations instead of creating an environment of hate.


    BEdfordNH, USA

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