Saturday, June 5, 2010

A nation blinded by hate

It has been over week since the attack on two Mosques in Lahore took place, in which almost a 100 people got killed. The reason I am writing this is because these two mosques belonged to the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam. For those of you who are not aware what Muslim-Ahmedis are, here is a quick brief. Ahmedis can be considered the most peace loving and broadminded of all the Muslim World. Most of its followers are very highly educated, exhibit excellent work ethic and by far the most tolerant. This might be the only sect in Islam which hasn't to date waged jihad against anybody, it is also the only sect in Islam, whose followers, to my knowledge, haven't committed a hate crime directed against any group. Another sect that would fit the description were the Sufis.

It is also a community which, not surprisingly, is considered Infidels by most the other sects. So much so that in Pakistan a law was passed disallowing Ahmedis to identify themselves as Muslims or call their place of worship as a mosque. The mullah et al of Pakistan hates Ahmedis sometimes even more than they hate the Jews. Tales of heinous crimes committed against this group are all over Pakistan’s history, from 1953 riots of Lahore when the Chief Minister Mian Daultana himself took active part in spreading hate messages to the attack on the mosques last week. Why were they branded as infidels, an award which the world thinks is reserved for the west, the Jews and people like me. Most people believe that Ahmedis do not believe that Mohammed is the last prophet. What would surprise my Muslim (Sunni/Shia) readers is that they do believe Mohammed to be the final prophet. They just believe that the return of Mehdi as prophesized by the Quran has already happened.

It is pertinent to point out here that the first Muslim man to win a Nobel prize ever Dr Abdus Salam was an Ahmedi, but the then President of Pakistan the hard-line military dictator, Zia-ul-Haq, refused to shake hands with the scientist. This man is a Nobel laureate, the first and only Pakistani in history to do so. There is a street named after him in Geneva, There are institutes named after him in Italy, but the President of his own country refused to shake his hand. Abdus Salam wasn’t even spared after death. His tombstone read “the first Muslim Nobel Laureate”. But since he adhered to the Ahmediya sect, the local magistrate ordered that the word Muslim be removed leaving behind the rather laughable phrase “The first Nobel Laureate”. Such is the level of hate that has been indoctrinated in the people of Pakistan. Hate seems to have blinded us to the extent that we tarnished, in life and in death, a son of the soil who won the Nobel Prize, who was the pioneer of Pakistan’s Nuclear program, who wanted to receive the Nobel prize in his national dress, a man who singlehandedly sent 500 future scientist from Pakistan for PhDs, a man who refused to hold any other passport than a Pakistani, a man who loved this country deeply … look what we have done to him. I get very emotional when I talk about this man. I have rarely said this, but whenever I hear about what happened to Dr. Abdus Salam I feel ashamed of calling myself a Pakistani.

Coming back to the attack on Lahore, how did the media react to the deaths of Ahmedi Muslims? remember almost a 100 died in a matter of hours. Were there many protests... No. Did we the people of Pakistan stand by our fellow countrymen in their hour of need? … No. Did we push our government to do something about it? No. People did pay lip-service but was anyone really aggrieved? No. Except for some who are seen as "western minded Mosad-backed-RAW-indoctrinated-CIA-funded-Jew-loving-Islam-hating” bloggers like me. We as a nation have let down these individuals. They were attacked, in what probably was the bloodiest act of terrorism in Pakistan, and some people around me started debating if they are Muslims or not. Let me be straight here, we as a nation are psychopaths, we have no honor, we have no modesty, we have no regard for human life, we are hypocrites to the core, we have lost all sense of humanity, we are worse than animals, we as a nation should be isolated from the world. Muslims would cherish people like, Zia, like Osama Bin laden, like the Lal Masjid Terrorists but would taint people like Dr. Abdus Salam. We would ignore what Quiad-e-Azam (Father of the Nation) Jinnah and would laud the person who called him Kafir-e-Azam (Infidel of the Nation).

Two days after the attack, the media spotlight moved away, no religious organization condemned the attack, the government paid only lip service. Here is an example of how a certain Talk Show host condemned the attack, "The attack against Ahmedis (not Muslims) in their place of worship (not mosques) last Friday during a religious gathering (not Jumma prayers) is most unfortunate ... We have religious differences with them"..... stop rewind... "I am not an ahmedi and we have religious differences with them" ... why the hell can't we condemn the killing of a 100 people without giving a disclaimer.

Two days later, Israel attacked a ship, 10 died. Did the media, civil society, religious institutes in Pakistan showed the same indifference over this attack NOOOO... two week earlier people posted "blasphemous" content on facebook did we show indifference over that ... NOOOO. All hell broke loose as we took to the streets, called strikes and everyone was condemning it left right and center. Media gave no... I repeat NO room to air the opinions of those who actually said we were wrong in banning facebook, media gave no room NO room for people who said that our reaction of condemning the attacks on the two mosques in Lahore was deplorable.

But there is hope, in my discussions online I saw many young people come up in forums, blogs, social networks condemning this act in a rightful manner. I saw young journalists raising the issue I just raised now, I am still hopeful that the younger lot will turn out better and we will correct the mistakes of our fathers. I will still hope for and strive for a liberal, secular Pakistan.


Rajiv said...

I am from India, born Hindu,a kafir!I use your blogs for reflections within my own country.I would not have believed you,had there been no picture of that tombstone of Dr. A Salam's place of rest.Pl. continue to write as people like me,beyond your country,are also inspired.

Pakistani Atheist said...

thanks rajiv

AZ Ivzir said...

Do check this out too....

sarvesh said...

I am an Indian and a student of Physics and know the contribution of Dr. Abdus Salem and its importance, sadly Pakistanis couldn't realise that what important asset they have. No wonder entire umma couldn't win a second noble prize in physics after legendry Salem.

Anna said...

Wow. As an ex-Ahmaddi Muslim, I am truly touched by your article. I was quite lucky that I led a sheltered life, my family migrated to the UK when I was only 3 due to the danger to Ahmaddis in Pakistan.

I sent this article to my parents to read, because I want to show them that there doesn't have to be a war between Ahmaddis and there is between Ahmaddis and non-Ahmaddi Muslims (Shia/Sunnis).

I want to thank you for the wonderful message in this article. I have always been sickened by the treatment of Ahmaddis in Pakistan, and the way Dr Abdus Salam's achievements were disregarded in Pakistan.

It's been a very long time, but after reading your article, I can finally say that I haven't lost ALL hope for mankind.

With regards,

A fellow Pakistani Atheist.

Kunwar Ali said...

It is a sad incidence. Rather than killing the ahmedis, we should have helped them revert back to Islam.

Did anyone strip abdus Salam of his nationality? No one. Why? Because no one has the authority religiously or lawfully. According to the definition, he was a Pakistani. But according to the definition of a Muslim he wasn't one so Muslim was erased from his tomb. I wonder what is the hate part in it. He didn't fit in, on the basis of definition.if I claim I am a white (I am brown), can I be? said...

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