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28 February 2020

Intolerance and Fanaticism. Stop radicalizing our children

Anila Ishaq

Of intolerance and fanaticism

I met one of my distant relatives after a long time .She told me that the elders of her village have decided to build yet another mosque .While I don’t have anything against elders or mosques, I personally think it would have been a really nice idea if they had built a school instead. I can’t understand for the life of me, why they would require so many mosques for the worship of the same god. I am absolutely convinced that a school would have been a much better alternative. If the elders would channel their energy and enthusiasm into something like a school, It would contribute to the education of their children and ensure the happiness of their old age.

Children pick up all sorts of things at school and then they will test you with your queries. Recently my little bro asked me the following questions:

“Do u think all Sufis will go to hell”?

“Why is there no vocation on Naroz day”?

“How come the teacher was so respectful of Ghandi”?

I can see the people around trying to radicalize children. There is no need to interfere with their reasoning process. They be allowed to see the world with their own non prejudiced eyes. Their minds need not be polluted.

I want to throw light on the religious fanaticism that seems to have taken over the society. We as a society are intolerant towards other religions as well as the sub factions in our own religion .Our crippling inability to absorb religious minorities have lead to dire consequences in recent times. I need not explain the results of this religious madness. The whole world stands witness to it. It not only gave a bad name to Muhammad’s religion, it added to the misery and sufferings of Muslims around the globe.

Gone are the days of Jinnah’s Pakistan, when the minorities were treated as equal citizens. When the religious bigotry was yet to be prevalent. When the minorities roamed freely and chatted and shared with Muslims.

The Zia’s era was the time of major radicalization in the history of Pakistan .Zia and his aides used religion as an instrument. Slowly but steadily the poison made its way through the blood stream of common Pakistanis. It seems as if the common Pakistanis have taken upon themselves to rid the country of the godless and the infidels. Churches were burnt and Ahmedis were mobbed and forced to flee. Blasphemy is abused for personal gains.

I could only appeal here. Stop radicalizing our children. Stop radicalizing us. Being intolerant is not going to do us any good. The northern part of the country is rich in culture, languages and religious ideals .The place is home to many subdivisions of Islam as well as the smallest minority in Pakistan, the Kalash valley. It is the need of the hour that we should live with tolerance, peace and tranquility with all concerned. We should realize and make Islam what it really is .Islam is the name of peace and love. Islam strictly prohibits hatred and religious bigotry.  The great Quaid said on one of the occasions: “The new state would be a modern democratic state   with sovereignty resting with the people and the members of the new nation having equal rights of citizenship regardless of their religion, caste or creed”.