Events one after the other are taking us to the verge of extremism and one of the expression of this extreme is the baton-laced, or should I say 'Danda Bardar' processions. Holding of long bamboo sticks of various sizes and girth, and their frequent and liberal use on anything that comes 'holder's way' is not only ominous but criminal as well.
Sometimes back we witnessed burga clad girls of a religious school holding these long bamboo sticks as a source of intimidation and threat to peace. Now we see participants of processions, specially taken out by religious parties and groups, holding these batons and freely using them to destroy public and private property. In the recent Friday processions, there were numerous occasions when these baton laced 'warriors' broke glasses of cars, the owners of which had no hand in making of the blasphemous anti Islam film.
On Friday, on my way to attend the funeral of a son of soil who laid down his life in the line of duty and in defense of his country, I passed by groups of such young people holding these batons - my entire drive was gripped with fear. But I think got lucky as it was almost evening and the baton-happys had ran out of their steam after a day long expression of their anger by destroying properties and cars.
It seems that we have failed to teach and preach the essence of Islam to our youngsters and that is why instead of peaceful rallies, we have violent laden protests which can go to any extent of violence to express their anger. If someone makes a film in America ridiculing our religion and provoking us to react and act violently, why this does not dawn upon our political and religious leaders and why don't they act and behave rationally? Even a minister has announced a head money for the maker of the 'Innocence of Muslims.'
I wonder what are we trying to show to the world. Are we a bunch of vagabonds and learning to be a civilized people as our religion teaches us to be. and if our religious institutions are behind this violence, I pity the religious acumen of these people.
We very frequently talk of Muslim Ummah, but has this Ummah ever reacted to the challenges? Upon airing of this anti Islam video, an immediate session of the OIC should have been summoned and a very strongly worded statement should have been issued. And then the matter should have been taken to UNO and it should have been strongly asserted that the law of freedom of speech should include appropriate clauses that should strictly forbid material in any form that offensively provokes religious sentiments of any religion in any form with sinister intent.
But unfortunately it was not and has not been done so far. Instead we are bombarded with claims and vows to hang the producer of the film or cutting off his throat. Well like us Muslims, the religeous sentiments of followers of other religions are not that strong or bonded. Some would remember the P**s Christ artwork in 1987 in the USA (I don't have the guts to spell the world as it hurts me that someone would use such derogatory words to attribute his art work to). The art work was sponsored in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, a United States Government agency that offers support and funding for artistic projects. So if the Christians can defame their won prophet to such an ugly extent, what can we expect from them when it comes to Islam?
The need of the time is to be rationale and cool when such provocations are attempted by the non Muslims and these should be challenged accordingly, not emotionally and with use of violence. While the maker of the film must be enjoying somewhere in his summer resort, almost thirty people got killed in Pakistan, besides damaging of property cost billions of rupees. Isn't it time that we grow up to be a civilized people and show our reaction in a manner that portrays our civic responsibilities and respecting of rights of our fellow citizens rather than hurting them?
Let us equip our youth with education and knowledge to act and react to threats rationally and prudently, rather than infusing hatred that breeds violence as we witnessed recently. Let their be pens and computers in the hands of our youth to express their view point and grievances rationally rather than batons to express their anger violently. Let us show to the project the true meaning and teachings of Islam in a manner that others follow us, not detest us.