Not in God's Name
By Mohammad Ahmad
September 24, 2013
“It is not our war,” says Imran Khan, chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, and the All Parties Conference endorses negotiations with the Taliban, calling them stakeholders. A Major General of the Pakistan army is killed by the Taliban as a thank you gift and we still do not call it our war. Killing of men in arms like the police and Khasadaars continues in the days that follow and we remain mum. Our timid response emboldens the mentally sick Taliban, and on Sunday, September 22, the sick mindset attacks a church in Peshawar and kills innocent men and women praying to God. That Jandullah claims responsibility does not absolve the Taliban as it is the same commodity selling in allied shops. People don’t forget the attack on Ahmadi places of worship at Lahore where 94 worshippers were killed and more than 120 injured by their cousins the LEJ. In Pakistan, the Quran is the supreme law. The Holy Book allows the taking up of arms to protect the churches and synagogues and calls it ‘Jihad’. The relevant verses say:
“Permission [to fight] has been given to those who are being fought, because they were wronged. And indeed, Allah is competent to give them victory. Those who have been evicted from their homes without right — only because they say, ‘Our Lord is Allah.’ And were it not that Allah checks the people, some by means of others, there would have been demolished monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which the name of Allah is much mentioned. And Allah will surely support those who support Him. Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might” (22:39-40).
What will the collective wisdom of the nation say now? Is it still not our war? Should we not fight this holy war against the forces that attack places of worship and kill the innocent? It is not the first attack on the Christians. Can we make it the last? That is what needs an affirmative answer. We may not achieve it but that should be our resolve. Our actions should match it. How can we negotiate with groups that attack minorities and others who disagree with them? Islam, the religion of the state, does not allow that. Of course, there will be a price to pay. Government cannot shy away from its duty, citing the cost to the people. The people will have to bear it.
The people cannot complain, as through sheer innocence they afterwards would allow these elements to work freely within them. The extremists told the people that all Christians are infidels and therefore bad. They told them that it was their duty to kill infidels. The access to real teachings of the religion of peace being restricted due to the prevalence of high levels of illiteracy means that very few from amongst the people know that the Quran says the following:
“Lo! Those who believe and those who are Jews, and Christians, and Sabians — whoever believeth in Allah and the Last Day and doeth right — surely their reward is with their Lord, and there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve” (2: 62).
“Thou wilt find the most vehement of mankind in hostility to those who believe (to be) the Jews and the idolaters. And thou wilt find the nearest of them in affection to those who believe (to be) those who say: Lo! We are Christians. That is because there are among them priests and monks, and because they are not proud” (5:82).
Contrary to Quranic teachings, the innocent common man is taught to hate the Christians and other minorities. The extremists do not stop at this. They even consider others who declare faith in the Holy Prophet (PBUH)) fit for murder, if their doctrinal alignment is not in line with them. Ask any Shiite and he’ll tell you.
The state for politico-economic reasons allowed the extremists to gain ground in our tribal areas, in our cities, even in our seats of learning. The al Qaeda members who were caught in the last few days from the Punjab University and Engineering University in Lahore makes one wonder about the extent of their infiltration. Whatever the costs, the state needs to respond in a big way. Total extermination of extremist ideologies should be the target. It is time for action. Mere condemnation of this horrible act of terrorism will not suffice. Those who have been indoctrinated need psychiatric help.
Inaction is not an option. The state and the people both must work towards eradication of extremism without any expression of sympathy. Our sympathies need to be directed towards humanity. Let us all pray for the souls of the innocent men, women and children who died while praying to God. What a shame it is that their lives were taken in His name, He who loves and cares for all. While we do this we must all believe and declare that violence against people of any religion is not in the name of God.