Tableeghi Jamaat members can knock at any door anywhere in the West. But Christian missionaries cannot proselytize the Muslim world. Any justification?
Our politicians including Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, media commentators, experts, Ulema, all and sundry are busy these days pointing out West’s double standards. Yes, there are certain double standards. No doubt. But I want somebody to help me solve the following contradictions:
1. From Jamal-ud-Din Afghani to Ayatollah Khomeni, every mullah when persecuted escapes to the safety of hypocritical West. While Mullah Krekar is fighting his deportation in the court to stay on in Norway instead of returning to House of Islam, Abu Hamza has moved the UK court against his extradition to the USA. Pakistani Hazaras, mercilessly butchered by anti-Shia zealots, are sailing to Australia instead of next-door Iran. Not just mullahs, all sorts of secularists, nationalists, communists, atheists from all over the Muslim world seek refuge in the West instead of Saudi Arabia. Even economic immigrants from the Muslim world risk their lives to reach the infidel West instead of landing the holy lands. Any explanations?
2. The duplicitous West has been maligned a lot in recent days for constituting laws to punish Holocaust denial but showing scant respect for the religion of Islam. [To set the record straight: Holocaust denial is liable to punishment only in a few countries, the USA is not one of them]. One may also point out host of other contradictions in the Western attitudes with regard to free expression. But is there a law in Pakistan against hate speech? On the contrary, discrimination against religious minorities, insulting other faiths, disrespecting their holy texts and holy individuals is an institutional practice. I wonder if an Ahmadi can move our ‘independent’ courts when televangelists, mullahs, or politicians publicly make fun of their most holy individual, Mirza Ghulam Ahmed.
3. Anti-Islam caricatures, videos, or books constitute symbolic violence. We are not ready to tolerate symbolic violence. But we damn care when Bamyan Buddhas were subjected to actual violence [dynamited] and desecrated. Any explanation?
4. The entire Muslim world was incensed when construction of a mosque close to Ground Zero was opposed by certain zealots in the USA. The mosque [in fact an Islamic centre] was given a green light by the court and it was endorsed by the New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg [a Jew!]. Can Christians build a church in Mecca?
5. Muslims living in the West on fulfilling certain conditions become equal citizens. However, I can understand why millions of Arabs living in Gulf countries, or millions of Afghans living in Iran and Pakistan cannot become citizens in the Muslim countries they live and work?
6. Fascist attacks on mosques are despicable. But setting a church in Mardan is not. Why?
7. The Tableeghi Jamaat members can knock at any door anywhere in the West. But Christian missionaries cannot proselytize the Muslim world. Any justification?
8. There were mass mobilizations in the infidel West against the invasion of Iraq. But 9/11 was largely celebrated.[True, we cannot compare the two. Destruction of Iraq outweighs many 9/11s.] But why we could not hold even a vigil to honour 9/11 victims [many of them Muslims]?
9. The two-faced USA used Pakistan in the Afghan Jihad. But placed curbs on Pakistan soon after the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan. However, Pakistan is a Western ally in ‘war on terror’ consequently receiving billions in aid, how come she also hosted Osama ben Laden and Haqqani network.
Last but not the least: will we never use YouTube ever again if ‘Innocence of Muslims’ is not removed? Will our scrupulous faithful stop going to the West, stop importing their technology, refuse US and EU aid, stop sending their children to Western universities?
Farooq Sulehria is currently pursuing his media studies. Previously, he has worked with Stockholm-based Weekly Internationalen. In Pakistan, he has worked with The Nation, The Frontier Post, The News, and the Pakistan. He has MA in Mass Communication from the University of Punjab, Lahore. He also contributes for Znet and various left publications internationally.