July 14, 2010

Back to the Stone Age

I was about to write about the Pakistani-Israeli nexus but then I read this. I have never read anything more saddening and humiliating in my life. It is indeed true that we Muslims have patronized our religion and in that struggle, we have distorted it heinously. I for one do not have the capability left in me to stare into the eyes of any member of a minority in this country and tell them I’m a proud Pakistani. I am ashamed of myself, of the people who claim to be learned scholars; of the people who claim to be following Allah’s laws, and my fellow Pakistanis.

Every day we hear people left, right and center criticizing the West and its media and its ideologies and its policies without failing to stop even for a moment and realizing that it is those very policies of openness, opportunity and equality that have made the West into what it is today. The moral aspects aside, are we all not envious of Americans? Are we all not envious of the British and the Europeans? When I read the news today that Fox News called Pakistan “Pornistan”, I was livid. But what hope do I have living in a country that has Mullah’s deciding the fates of innocent human beings on mere whims rather than concentrating on the evils that have befallen this nation and correcting them?

The Hindus, Christians and Ahmedis are not equal citizens of this state. They have been relegated to the second class stature because we disagree with their religious views. They are treated with disdain because they are not as rich as the rest of us. While we make angry weird noises when the world gangs up on us, and which if it’s put into perspective, it rarely does, we give out battle calls. But in our very Islamic Republics, when twisted and vile crimes are perpetrated, not a single hair ruffles on our heads. And lets be honest, isn't events like these just giving our ideological opposites the ammunition they need to come at us even more severely? If such incidents can send shivers running down my spine, I can only imagine what the non-Muslims must think about our religion. But, just like the attack on the Ahmedi mosques, these events will be forgotten and will never be mentioned again; because we are the “pious” hypocritical Muslims and the Hindus are well Hindus, and the Christians don’t deserve to be our equals and the Ahmedis are Kaafirs.

Radical change is needed in our collective thinking. Our mindsets have to undergo a major change in order to broaden the picture that we currently see. We’re so fond of competing with India so let me compare our situation with it then. A Muslim President who incidentally turned India into a nuclear power; a Sikh Prime Minister and a Christian leader of the ruling Party. That for you is democracy and that is why despite all the problems that India has, it is still at the centre stage of the world’s attention. The reason for that is that the people at the helm of affairs in India realized a long time ago that radicalization of state policies mixed with religious philosophy is bound to have disastrous consequences. We on the other hand were hi-jacked by the Mullahs who forced us into incorporating Islam and its vestiges into our official policies. The result, as can plainly be seen is that our laws and our interests are at a point of conflict. The ever changing global demand of change cannot be implemented here simply because Islam and its ardent, hardliners will not allow it to happen.

The major factor because of which Islam has to take all the heat is that Islam has laid down immense emphasis on the goodness of self. The fact of the matter is that where self is concerned, so is selfishness. All accountability processes, all laws, the social structure of an Islamic state, the financial and monetary system etc, is based on the perception that the person in-charge is a capable, trustworthy and an extremely honest man without a blemish on his personality. It is precisely this point that makes the abuse of Islam so easy. I am sanguine that these are the very reasons we are stuck in this quagmire today.

The need of the hour is to immediately stop the identification of state and its policies through the Islamic kaleidoscope. It is also pertinent that the government stops defining who is and who isn’t a Muslim and treat all the subjects of the State with equality and respect. The religious fanaticism, that has less to do with religion and more to do with vested interests, needs to be tackled head on. Also, the accountability laws need to be separated from the religious accountability laws merely because abuse of the religious laws is way too easy, and we have seen ample abuse of it over the last 2-3 decades.

The West succeeded because it learned that the only way to advancement and longevity is through providing and ensuring a uniform platform of opportunity to its citizens. We need to emulate and replicate that model. The fact is that today through the increasing barbaric and tragic episodes that continue to recur across the board with alarming frequency and ferocity, we are convincing our people that the West, and everything it stands for is correct. We are forcing our people to abandon Islam, and that is ironic considering they are turning away after being disgusted by the antics of the religious fundamentalists that have made sure their influence continues to poison vulnerable minds. The time has come for us to act; any later and we might as well dig up our own graves.