It all started after the 9/11 fiasco and the “historic” declaration by Bush that “Either you are with us or you are with the “Terrorists”, without defining what was a “Terrorist” and thereby leaving the ground open to play as it would suit their vested interests.
However there was a wider implication that started taking shape in the wider Muslim “world” and more so in the minds of those caught in the middle of the storm, the Pakistanis.
As is always the case, the elite started following the “Enlightened Moderation” slogan by the then CEO and now accused “Devil” of Pak, Mr. Musharraf. This trickled down to the masses and the middle class. This created a new left, claiming to be liberal Muslims. Initially it was good in the sense that it made people think and question. But than it started verging on the fences of self-bashing. Islamic morals were seemed not to be fit for the modern age, ridiculed and laughed at. There was everything and anything wrong with Pakistan specially if coming out from the West, authenticity or critical appraisal were not important anymore.
The effects still haven’t receded after almost 9 Long Years. Even today a controversial writer would write a piece with a disclaimer that it is based on the interviews (and hence perceptions of) the (hostile) Afghan officials and Nato commanders, and not surprisingly would be picked up by the international media to “prove” the “guilt of Pakistan. Suggesting the Pak Army and Intelligence is somehow behind the scenes in the Mayhem in the country is like suggesting to Indians that their Establishment carried out the Mumbai Attacks. Just imagine the response you would get. Still interestingly it found vocal support amongst some segments of the self-depreciating Pakistanis.
Let me share one particular incident from just last year, while in London, there was news in the media that a Muslim guy raped an innocent Christian girl and then killed her. It resulted in extreme Islam and Pakistan bashing for almost a week untill the police declared that the guy was actually a mentally disturbed person of Christian faith. And guess what? Let alone an apology not even a single media outlet bothered to run the clarification.
Let us now move to East London to see another interesting incident that happened in this “Muslim area” of London termed as a “Muslim Ghetto” indirectly by the ex-PM Mr. Brown.
A Masjid was planned to be built there in line with all the applicable laws and regulations. It wasn’t of any particular sect or involved with any political party and the project was in the pipeline for several months. The funding was to be done by the “Tabligi Jamat” (Preachers’ Group).
Come time to gain the final planning permission and suddenly there was a big outcry, initially started by the White-supremists but later on joined in by guess who?………… ………. None other than the infamous self-bashing “Liberal” Muslims specially of Pakistani descent. They not only started leading the campaign but some signed petitions that they have “serious concerns that this Masjid would result in their children being radicalized“. The fate was than sealed. It was to be shelved, atleast for the time being. This was what a prominent Pakistani British, ex-councillor had to tell me:
Ok now a Masjid will radicalize your Children?
That I don’t know but I don’t want our “perception” to be “badly affected” by having a Masjid in our area.
Well, your son just last week was arrested for a drunken brawl after an all night party, doesn’t that give you a “bad image”?
I don’t need to give explanations to people. It wasn’t his fault.
What? . Give me a break. So the actual issue is that you are concerned people would hate you for being a practicing Muslim but being an anti-social element doesn’t even create an issue for you.
Let’s now move to North London, home to the biggest Jewish community in the whole of UK. Shamon (not his real name) is walking in the garden with the traditional skull-cap, a beard and the long black Jewish dress with his little daughter. He works in a leading bank.
Don’t you have issues at work due to your appearance?
No. Why should I. I’m competent at what I do.
Ok but don’t you worry what others will think of you?, you look so .. err. …. traditional
(Laugh) You mean fundamentalist. Well, this is my faith and no one has a right to judge me. Do I laugh at them? Than why should they have a problem with my way of life.
But what about your daughter. You wouldn’t want her to be influenced by extreme ideas?
As I said this is my faith. And my daughter would be better in the hands of God than the hands of people.
So much assured and confident, despite the worst persecution of the Jewish faith for centuries, for whatever reasons. I wonder if Muslims specially a Pakistani Muslim would have the same confidence and faith to stand tall amid the criticism.
The culture, religion and heritage of a person is not only their identity but defines essentially what they are. Changing that due to some misconceptions is as low as it can get. One should try to clarify the misconceptions rather than give in. We owe it to our forefathers, our future generations and ourselves. It is something the new “left” should learn from the Jews.
Left has been the term to refer to the liberals and right for the “religious fundamentalists”. However with the new times the left is effectively becoming the new right, void of confidence and logic, self-pitying and trying to appease others in the fear of being declared an outcast.
I remember being told once that Fear kills the abilities of a person by taking away the faith and confidence. And I can say confidently that I’ve seen plenty of examples.