Sunday, September 23, 2012
From Print Edition
It is with shame, disgust and hopelessness that most of us spent the day that was dedicated to expressing our love for the Prophet. Torching police vehicles, throwing stones and bricks at law-enforcement personnel, blocking roads, tearing down billboards and banners and putting cinemas alight are, in no way, the right ways to show our love for the person whose honour we vow to protect. We have taken it upon ourselves to protect the Prophet’s honour. But, in reality, we made a mockery of his teachings. We behaved like a herd, a group of zealots, not a civilised community. We looked like the harbingers of death and doom, not the messengers of peace and forgiveness.
The onus of what happened on Friday lies with the government and religious parties alike. Instead of playing the populist card, the government and religious groups should have used the day to promote the teachings of the Holy Prophet. They did exactly the opposite by resorting to violence and through their deeds they have cemented the notion that there is some critical flaw in our thought process and the way we have been brought up. The image of our Prophet that is shared by some bigots and hate-mongers around the world, it appears, has been inspired from our actions, not his teachings.
On Sept 21, at around 7 PM, I left my house with my husband for my weekly check up with the gynaecologist. I am expecting and have recently been experiencing blood pressure complications due to which the doctor had ordered regular weekly visits. This was not any usual Friday, but the day our government had declared a national holiday to express our love for the Prophet and to condemn the sacrilegious video. Besides causing us grief and hurt, this video has resulted in riots, protests and killings of innocent civilians across the world. Before we sat in the car, we checked the local news channels and the coverage indicated that Islamabad was clear and the rampage had settled down. As our car approached Murree Road, we saw in front of us 100 men at a distance. A dozen of them walked close to our car and summoned us to continue our journey. One of them came rather close to my window and said with a smile ‘’Aajao, aajao rasta clear hai, aap ja saktay hain’’. Being an optimist, I asked my husband to go ahead. But before I could even finish my sentence, my husband had already gone into reverse and started speeding back frantically in the direction we had come from. I looked behind and saw the same man who was pretending to be our well-wisher was now throwing stones and bricks at our car, along with his companions who were aiming to hit our car windows with their bats.
In seconds, our car was ambushed by an angry mob of 50 men. Had we not sped away fast enough, it is horrifying to imagine the damage that could have happened to us. We were fortunate that the car only got a few dents and we left unharmed. This was the first time, and I pray to God the last time, in my life that I came across an angry mob. I am saddened, grieved and angry not only at the makers of the blasphemous video, but also at the masses of our country. Is this the way to show our condemnation of the video by harming innocent people? Instead of hurting each other and causing destruction, we should unite and petition strongly against this horrendous video and its creators.
Sara Said Qazilbash
The Ishq-e-Rasool Day was observed in Pakistan on Sept 21 as the entire nation witnessed rowdy mobs plundering public and private property and burning cinemas, police posts and CNG pumps. Innocent people lost lives and several got injured.
What an awful picture of our society was portrayed to the world. Did our actions have any impact on the makers of the anti-Islam film? No. What happened was we, as a nation, became a laughingstock for the rest of the world.
It is ironical that the intent behind the violent protests against a blasphemous movie was to show our love for the Prophet who had instructed his companions not to destroy the enemy property or kill children, women and old people during battles. Then why, and for whom, were such brutal protests launched?
I am sure the people behind this disgusting movie are sitting cosily in their homes, cheering each other on their achievement.
Ahmed Azeem Butt
All the people who lost their lives and properties in the protests belonged to Pakistan. The motorcycles and rickshaws which were set on fire by the angry mob surely didn’t belong to the blasphemous movie’s creators. The religious and political leaders, who gave the call for protests and left the lives and properties of people at the mercy of rowdy crowds across the country, should be castigated.
It was very strange to see the tag of ‘Yaum-e-Ishq-e-Rasool’ flashing on our television screen as the news channels showed clips of people looting and plundering. Oh the irony!
Punish the miscreants
The miscreants who burned down buildings, cars and destroyed whatever came their way can be recognised by the footage gathered by the electronic media.
These hooligans, who hijacked people’s right to protest peacefully, should be arrested and punished severely.
Dr Munawar Aziz