Religious intolerance major hit

THE assassination of Salman Taseer, Governor of Punjab, purportedly at the hands of his own security guard confessedly because of the gubernatorial comments against the blasphemy laws is a sad state of affairs. The blasphemy law is not divinely ordained; it was manmade and gave human beings the right to consider amending it or repealing it. If anyone had a difference of opinion, both the religion and the Constitution of Pakistan provide a methodology to resolve the issue. The kind of vigilante action resorted to by the gubernatorial Elite Force guard is totally unconstitutional. It is very unfortunate that last Friday many of the mosques in Pakistan during the Friday prayers’ sermon, were openly condemning Governor Salman Taseer for expressing solidarity with Ms. Asiya, the alleged blasphemous Christian, sentenced to death; throughout Monday, SMS were being texted to cell phones all over the country by unknown persons, urging action against people considering the repeal or amendment of the blasphemy law. Some individuals had gone to the extent of announcing head money for anyone who would eliminate the Punjab Governor. This should have been taken cognizance of by both the judiciary and the religious leadership. Unfortunately, a number of religious leaders who appeared on various TV Channels after the assassination refused to condemn the heinous act and thought that the vigilante elite guard, who killed Salman Taseer was justified in his act and should be set free.

Islam is a religion of peace and does not justify slaying people unless they have taken up arms against Islam or the state. The religion professes armed action only as a last resort; first they should be asked to stop their aggression, next they should be told categorically that if they do not lay down arms, their aggression will be met with force, and if they persist, then the use of force is authorized. Difference of opinion should be resolved with dialogue and not the use of brute force. In this case, it is being professed that Salman Taseer’s comments of calling the Blasphemy Law as a “Black Law” hurt the feelings of devout Muslims and thus he was eliminated. It must be remembered that the Holy Prophet (MPBUH) was himself the most tolerant of humans. The case of the infidel old woman, in the days of early Islam should be recounted as an example. She would throw garbage upon the person of the Holy Prophet (MPUH), whenever he would pass her street on his way to the prayers, forcing him to go back home and change his clothes. When she did not appear one day to conduct her abhorrent deed, the Holy Prophet (MPBUH) went to her home to inquire upon her welfare.

He discovered that she was lying sick with no one to attend her. The Holy Prophet (MPBUH) looked after her, and when she regained health, she was so impressed by the Holy Prophet’s (MPBUH) conduct that she converted to Islam. We may also recall the occasion, when during a battle, Hazrat Ali (RAU) floored an infidel warrior and was about to behead him when he spat on the face of Hazrat Ali (RAU), who spared his life stating that “I was going to kill you since you were an enemy of Allah, but when you spat on my face, you became my personal enemy and I would not like to take a life on personal enmity”.Our religious leaders need to revisit the teachings of Islam and the personal example set by the Holy Prophet (MPBUH) and the Caliphs regarding tolerance. Religious intolerance is a cancer which has made us demons, who are willing to become vigilantes in the name of honour and religion. Such behaviour is in direct contravention of the tenets of Islam and opinion builders including the media must take it upon themselves to educate the ignorant rather than flare up emotions, which have horrible results – Dailymailnews