Thursday, August 02, 2007

Lal Masjid - A time for Retrospection

I recently came across an interesting piece of article on a forum. There were two paras that particularly caught my attention and forced me pen down something. I'm listing them below for reference.

Lessons of the Red Mosque Massacre: The Role of the Military

Sheharyar Shaikh

As the dust from the Red Mosque slowly settles on the ground and the decapitated body parts of Jamia Hafsa’s female students are sullenly picked up from the smoking rubble, the prevailing mood in Pakistan is anything but jubilant. An army reared to protect and serve the country deliberately used brute force against a largely innocent people caught in the imbroglio. Moreover, many who had been following the Red Mosque crisis for days are now left with dozens of unanswered questions surrounding the official version of the event. Reports are now surfacing that General Musharraf had planned to raid the mosque complex back in February but then decided to delay it so as to bring maximum PR advantage to his government – a government heavily discredited inside the country for failing its people and which now readies, after having won a shameful victory, for an undeclared war against its citizenry. A recent Stratfor report predicts that the Red Mosque operation ‘is likely the beginning of a long confrontation’ and such operations will inevitably lead to a clash involving ‘nationwide social unrest’. Way to go, General Musharraf!

Were the imams of Red Mosque wrong in their understanding of the fallen soldiers as non-martyrs? One might as well ask: How can a Pakistani Muslim soldier who fires arms against another Muslim and dies in the process all the while serving the Bush agenda for Pakistan become a martyr? He is a mercenary – a meager tool to carry out foreign designs, not a shaheed. Even the possibility of a moral ambiguity in the matter is surprising.

The Muslims in Pakistan were never more divided on the role of religion in politics. But, the fact remains: Democracy in Pakistan was always fragile. And the problem lies with the people themselves.

Pakistan was always a different and difficult country to govern. Where else would you find an elected PM hanged despite many clemency appeals from foreign leaders! General Zia started the Islamization of Pakistan at the cost of a sectarian strife, which has already seen several thousand Muslims die over the years. The state in which Pakistan finds itself today, there can't be a better leader than Musharraf, who's both a moderate Muslim and a strong administrator.

As for Mr Shaikh, I think he got it all mixed up. First, who were those so called students carrying weapons in a place of worship? Second, the mosque was never used as a battleground in the history of Islam. Third, the events that add up to the final onslaught suggest that the government tried all kind of diplomacy to avoid such a bloody outcome. But, the people inside had other ideas. It was infact developing as a state within an state. Perhaps this verse from Qur-'an will shed some more light on this issue:

"We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people."
-------------------------------------------Surah Al-Maeda (Chapter 5), Verse 32

Today Islam is the fastest growing religion. In other words people are influenced by the holy Qur-'an and the teachings of Islam. Ironically the born Muslims are mostly ignorant about their religion. And that's why the edcuated ones amongst us need to stand up and propagate the true essense of Islam. And by doing that we will be undoing some of the damage that has already been done.


mariamkt said...

I came upon your blog by chance and I totally agree with this post. I can't believe Mr. Sheharyar Shaikh
seems to have so much information on the Red Mosque episode, and that so much of it is so wrong. There was nothing innocent about the madrassa students - male or female- who were sporting guns and kidnapping policeman and other innocents, taking the law in their own hands. Anyone who knows the tiniest bit about Islam knows that kidnapping is a definite NO. And I was in Pakistan when everything was happening and the mood was that Musharraf had no choice but to take the action he took because the students were just not willing to be reasonable. Besides, those inside it were law-breakers, and action had to be taken. Just because they were (wrongly) using Islam's banner to condone their actions does not mean we should be lenient with them. And America had nothing to do with it. It was in Pakistan's national interest.
"Ironically the born Muslims are mostly ignorant about their religion. And that's why the edcuated ones amongst us need to stand up and propagate the true essense of Islam."

Inam said...

Thanks Mariam for your input!