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The Trajectory of an Intolerant Mind

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By Amjad Nazeer

What of human rights norms, the verdict of Asia Bibi’s acquittal, including the essential supplementary note, has been handed over in the light of civil law, substantiated by the principles of Quran-o-Sunnah.One wonders then what is the fuss about that mullahs are causing around? No evidence ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ was presented. ‘Presumed innocent’, thus the accused was freed immediately. As simple as that. Now, trespassing due course of law, the intolerant elements, in-fact, want to light a prairie-fire of disturbance and divisive positioning. It is not the gravity of concern rather the living metaphor and manifesto of a mindset. A mindset that is bent upon instability and violence.

 

Schools closed. Roads unnavigable. What next? Shall we read this from the situation that prevails since the day of the judgment? Not at all. It is the handful of hooligan swaging there to-chronicle propaganda of ‘Islam being under threat’. That the agenda of yahood-o-nasaara is being upheld and that the enlightened Muslims and non-Muslims in the country are alien ‘others’ to be cowed-down.

Hence the deeper and disturbingly pervasive thing is not the restive situation but the myopic mindset, evolving through time. Bit persuasive and bit brutal and bloody, it is the tendency being witnessed in the past couple of decades. Fundamentalist fanatics play this game with their provocative oratory and autocratic tenor. Nothing less than the dossiers of death and destruction, their slogans and speeches might be termed. Such discourses of blinkered minds are not scripted in isolation. Their ideological moorings are imprinted in past and the present; easily observed and identified in their social media posts of which they have been fierce opponents in the recent past but no more. It now serves as a weapon of their venomous views.

Dehumanize. Lynch or gun down. This is what they did with Salman Taseer, Shahbaz Bhatti and Mishal Khan. This is how number of Ahmadis and Shias were assassinated.

This is how they intend to treat Asia Bibi. This is what the religious dogmatism does anywhere in the world. Immune from guilt, they vilify and dismiss others and others humanness to commit brutalities and their genocidal actions. Once the inequality and exile of a group or individual is naturalized, the horrible assaults passes into oblivion, very quickly. This is how they portray Hindus or Christians for they have assumed a mission to purify arz-e-pak from all those who think differently or worship God differently or a different god. Need not to go far. This is how the Hindutva brigades in India and hardline Buddhists in Myanmar or Sri Lanka justify the massacre of innocent Muslims.

The words kafir, mushrik and maloon do not simply mean infidel, polytheist and the cursed as can be conventionally translated in English language. In extremists’ lexicology, they imply a whole range of demonizing and dehumanizing ‘the other.’ Cursed, damned, disgraced, dirty, disgusting,loathsome, sinful and apostate along with foreign and estranged are just a few semantic imports to offer. Whosoever they kill, is justified to be, jahanamwasil, rendering paradise as their and their preserve only. In other words, such textual and contextual cores are employed to legitimize their crimes to the common Muslims.

Phrases like ‘ibrat-nak-anjam’ are propelled to excite their followers for egregious murders tied to the ideological legitimacy. Ironically, the leading mullahs are never found themselves doing that. They only incite commoners take law into their hands.

Invoking a divine consent and divisively putting God to their side, their speeches and slogans are a declaration of war against the Government of Pakistan, whom they accuse of influencing the verdict. Actually, the blasphemy law is purposely being maneuvered to terrorize both Muslims and non-Muslims to sway their totalitarian framework of power.

One way or the other, they look for excuses to justify their politically motivated protests and sit- ins in the eyes of the larger populace. Drawn-in, the ambiguous division of ‘we’ and ‘you’ and bizarre claims of translating the aspirations of ummat-e-Muslimaare unfounded as they latter never appointed ‘them’ to judge a matter between God and His people.

Stereotyping, scapegoating and a blind acts of misjudgement are their universal tendencies. Religious perceptions are constantly muddled-up with politics and the local is violently yoked with the foreign without a clue. Mythical past and fictional accounts of a glorious era and its reversal is created stringed to the fairytales of afterlife, alas by invoking manslaughter. Select interpretation of history and historical figures are reconstructed to motivate young minds for certain acts of cruelty. Religious ideology, intertwined with history and power, is manipulated to create an intolerant mindset. It reminds me of Christopher Morley who said, “Instead of puritans landing on planet rock how much pleasant the world would have been, had the planet rock landed on the puritans”.

The mentality, off course, is never going to help Pakistan save prompting our decline faster. The present government need not to retreat and accept their illegal and unconstitutional demands, as done by the former one that encouraged them to prolong their dharna as well as demands.

Contrary to the much acclaimed mercifulness of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH), they are not willing to adopt and practice empathy and compassion. The very act of dividing groups and individuals exclusively into the faith categories and identifying themselves and others only through a faith denominator – as does the infamous ‘clash of civilizations’ theorem, obstructs constituting a common humanity and upholding our humanness.

Never in the name of Islam but to protect socio-political rights of the Muslim minority, was this country created, but the notion been falsely instilled in the minds of many Pakistanis. Otherwise, why would the Quaid say, ‘religion has got nothing to do with the business of the state’. One fails to understand how such people justify condemning those struggling for equality, peace and love for humanity. ‘No religion is higher than humanity,’ would always say Abd-ul-Sattar Eidhi.