Reacting on the contempt of a faith …By Zeeshan Christopher


The issue of blasphemous cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) published in various newspapers has become more sensitive and responsive in recent few days. According to the Muslim faith no one can draw the images of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the violation considered to be a serious contempt of the religion Islam. Muslims across the world have shown their deep concern considering this issue as an open contempt of a faith and criticized the newspapers and governments involved in it.
Pakistan is one of the states where this protest has turned violent and the demonstrations have been staged by burning imported goods, vehicles and the worship places of other religions. The religious political parties taking a lead role of this campaign organized various rallies and shutter down strikes throughout the country. The consistent demand of these protests is the boycott of foreign goods (particularly the goods imported from Norway and Denmark); hang of the accused who committed this blasphemous act and apology at state level from the Muslim world. In response, the state of Pakistan has called back its ambassador from Denmark for consultation whereas the Danish ambassador has already left Pakistan for unknown period. In addition to that the government has started arresting a number of protestors after banning the public protestations. Eventually the CEO of Telenor (a Norwegian mobile company) spoke publicly and showed his sympathies with Muslim World whereas Daewoo bus service (owns Korean buses) hanged banners to show their solidarity with this public protest. This all happened after the destruction of 14 Daewoo buses in Peshawar and Bahawalpur and offices and boards of Telenor Mobile throughout the country.
Not understanding the political basis of the issue and the political agenda of these rallies and strikes, some militants even attacked churches and convent schools in Peshawar and Sukkur, committing another blasphemous act while protesting a blasphemous act of sketching cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Thus it has increased fear and insecurity in the religious minorities of Pakistan as it happened with many Muslims after 9/11. The routine arrests have been made and the security has been tightened on the churches country wide.
In a previous few years, the minorities of Pakistan have been attacked again and again by the forces of retrogression and fundamentalism. The blasphemy laws being practiced in Pakistan have become a hanging sword on the heads of the minorities and almost all the brutal attacks on churches, convents and personal places of minorities are based on practicing these laws. The extreme steps taken by the government in history is the encounter killing of culprits, formation of inquiry commissions and words of sympathy by the Chief Minister.
The cartoon issue in Pakistan has become a source for adding more pain and tease in conditions of the minorities living in Pakistan. The Blasphemy laws which were continuously criticized by the Christian leadership and human rights organizations of Pakistan are automatically rationalized. The extremist powers that were already defending these laws have come to the forefront once again and any further discussion on these laws seems impossible conclusively.
At this crucial time there is an urgent need of understanding the whole issue and then reacting on it through appropriate channels and ways instead of burning goods, public and government landholdings and churches. We must not ignore the hidden political perspective of this issue directly interacted with the visible religious perspective. At the moment, theory of conflict of civilizations is at stake whereas many hidden forces are working to prove it. So we as a Pakistani nation must be aware of all these forces.

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