Intro to ‘Islamophobia’
Edited by John R. Houk
Intro © March 10, 2015
This editorial by Shamim Masih is actually entitled “Status of Religious Freedom in Pakistan”. However the subject line of the email was “Islamophobia” so I went with that title whether intended or not.
As I read Shamim’s editorial I became intrigued to the reason for the Islamophobia subject line. The editorial emphasizes the Civil Rights and Human Rights violations that the Muslim community and politics of Pakistan continuously inflicts upon Christians and other religious minorities in the Sunni majority nation.
Islamophobia is typically the negative intoned accusation leveled against those that at worst hate Muslims and at best those like myself that views Islam as a threat to Western culture and an enemy of Judaism and Christianity in particularly.
The irony is “Islamophobia” more literally means an unnatural fear of Islam rather than the hatred of the Muslim practitioners of that theopolitical religion. In my case, I do not hate or fear Muslims. BUT I do regard the principles and dogmas of the Quran, Hadith, Sira and how that all affects the Muslim respect for Sharia Law as an innate human evil programmed into the mindset of its followers.
Most of Shamim’s past articles and editorials intimate that the only hope for religious minorities in Pakistan is for all religious faiths including the Sunni majority learn to accept each other in harmonious tolerance regardless of religious differences. AND in most cases I would agree to mutual tolerance; however the problem I have is that Islamic revered writings specifically encourages violence up to and including death to all unbelievers (define as kafir in Islam) who refuse to subject and submit their beliefs to Islamic Supremacy. On a personal level then I am not going to tolerate a religious faith that will not tolerate my faith just because I refuse to shut up about Jesus Christ being the Son of God.
Status of Religious Freedom in Pakistan
By Shamim Masih
Sent 3/9/2015 9:06 PM
ISLAMABAD: On the third death anniversary of my mother, we arranged a prayer meeting in our house, where only our family members participated. As we were praying, somebody knocked at the door like he wanted to break it up at once. I went outside and found that our landlord was there. At once, he started shouting, why are you people praying at home, it is not church etc., etc. I humbly clarified that I knew it was not a Church and we didn’t invite other people to pray. It’s our family prayer meeting as it is my mother’s death anniversary. So we gathered in tribute to her [memory]. He strictly cautioned me not to do this again in the house. All the services should be performed in the Churches. This is just one example, there are many like this. Restrictions on building new Churches, registering a new Church based organization etc. even in Islamabad. There are only two properly constructed churches, while there are thousands of the mosques and madrassas (seminary). Reportedly, it is mentioned in the map of Islamabad, there should be one Church in each sector of the capital. But the Capital Development Authority [CDA] doesn’t allow you [Christians] build a Church in the capital.
Despite the first democratic transfer of power in the country’s history, from one civilian government to another, the exceedingly poor religious freedom environment worsened. Recent and previous rulers engaged in and tolerated systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of freedom of religion or belief. Despite democratic institutions, Pakistan’s legal environment is particularly repressive due to its blasphemy laws and other religiously discriminatory legislation and constitutional provisions. Authorities failed to protect citizens, minority and majority alike, from the sectarian and religiously –motivated violence and courts have not consistently brought perpetrators to justice or taken action against societal actors who incite violence. There are many examples to it. I will just quote one, i.e. two years past when hundreds of the Christian houses in Joseph Colony were burnt. During this particular case, only Sawan Masih [Dawn.com] was sentenced to death but the rest of the perpetrators were set free to go for others [i.e. Christians].
Unfortunately Pakistani religious minorities are facing the worst situation in the world for religious freedom. In the past few years, conditions hit an all-time low due to chronic sectarian violence targeting not only Shia’s Muslims but also Christians, Ahmadis and Hindus. Pakistan’s repressive blasphemy laws and anti-Ahmadi laws are widely used to violate the religious freedoms and foster a climate of impunity. During 2014, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCRIF) again recommended that Pakistan be designated as a “country of particular concern” (CPC).
Muslims not only from Pakistan but from Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Syria and everywhere else have done enough to deserve hatred. They have been killing innocent children, attacked schools, burnt Christian villages, torn down Hindu temples, mutilated journalists, shunned scientific laws and flogged enough bloggers for free thinking to deserve this acrimony all around the world. Many of them claim that version of Islam is peaceful, a version that promotes brotherhood and peace. Unfortunately, that version of Islam is only found in books now.
Pakistani Christians live under the fear of religion, our churches, our kids and our lives are not secure. Converting to another religion is out of the question. Honestly speaking, at this very moment, Pakistan is not fit for Shia Muslims or non-Muslims alike. We are not against Islam but against this Mullaism*** (Islamophobia).
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[***Blog Editor – Mullaism: I had to get a handle on Shamim’s concept of “Mullaism”. Here are some excerpts from three different websites that might be what Shamim had in mind:
Join us to stop religious harassments and terrorism in Pakistan, so that our country can move forward with peace and prosperity. (Stop Mullaism & Religious Terrorism In Pakistan; About Page; Facebook Community)
Mullaism is an industry in Pakistan. If the Mullahs reform themselves then their madrassa incomes and Saudi donations would stop. They do not want to be penniless after all. Their influence has been strong even in liberal times. During President Ayub khan’s rule from 1958 to 1968, he wanted to get rid of the word “Islamic” attached to Pakistan’s name in the constitution. This was opposed by the Mullahs who warned the President to refrain from doing so or face consequences. The President cowed down before them. Ayub khan also wanted the role of Mullahs to be restricted to mosques. Sadly, he could not do this. (Do Mullahs Represent Islam? By Farooq Ahmad Khan; Pak Tea House; 6/3/12)
Kashmiryat - the lofty notion of belonging to one region - flourished by Kashmiris, irrespective of their faith, for centuries despite gravest provocations lies bruised in the wake of the current phase of secessionism in the Valley. Terrorist outfits groomed by the Jamaat- e-Islami (Jamaat) have outwitted those who professed their allegiance to secularism.
The Jamaat presents Islam as a political ideology - and not as religious pedagogy concerned only with the relationship between man and God. Abul Ala Maududi, the founder of the Jamaat, had no hesitation in making it explicit that Islam was a political ideology comparable to Communism and Fascism. According to him, it covered all departments of life, whether private or public.
The Jamaat also presents Islam as a creed whose mission is to fight all other creeds because it believes Islam to be the only true creed - all other creeds being flawed or false. Maududi reasoned that just as God has made the laws that govern physical nature, He has also made laws that govern social relations. The first set of laws can be ascertained by observation and experimentation. But God conveys the second set of laws concerning man's duties towards God and his fellow human beings only through revelations. Accordingly, divine messages have been transmitted to mankind from time to time through prophets.
Another feature of Maududi's ideology is that he singles out secularism as the chief adversary of Islam. He argues that secularism makes a distinction between the personal life of an individual and his public life, and banishes religion from the latter. Hence, anyone who believes in secularism will inevitably allow his secular values to influence his social, political and economic behaviour and thus violate the teachings of Islam, which draw no line between the domain of the spirit and that of the flesh.
Some ideologues of the Jamaat go a step further and argue that secularism is the road that leads to atheism because when you separate your personal beliefs from your social and political principles, the latter develop their own momentum and eventually dominate the former.
The Jamaat is not only communal in its outlook, it teaches militancy as well. Communalism of a minority community often centres on grievances of a political or economic nature and tends to be paranoid.
The Jamaat brand of communalism, however, is not concerned about immediate or short-term gains for the community. It projects Islam as an ideology and calls upon Muslims to organise themselves into a revolutionary party with the object of capturing total power. It is not bothered about jobs for Muslims or for a share in the power pie. On the contrary, the Jamaat requires its members not to hold any office under an unholy political system or alliance.
Maududi was the first noteworthy religious figure in the history of Indian Islam to propound the thesis that the supreme purpose of Islam is not the spiritual salvation of mankind; but to establish the sovereignty of God on earth or an Islamic state. All other purposes are secondary and subordinate to that of establishing an Islamic state. Before launching the Jamaat, he did a great deal of preparatory work which … There is MORE (Mullaism; Kashmiri Overseas Association)
Edited by John R. Houk
Text or links enclosed by brackets are by the Editor
© Shamim Masih