The rising extremism in our country

By: | Abdul Moiz Malik |

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Dirk Collier in his book ‘The Great Mughals and Their India’ writes: ‘’It is a dangerous fallacy – also increasingly so, among today’s Muslim – to think that modern Muslims are in some way, less religious than extremist. On the contrary: a moderate, open and modest attitude is much closer to the spirits of the Holy Quran than that of misguided extremists, who are doing the cause of their religion a terrible disservice.

He wrote this while talking about Aurangzeb Alamgir’s reign. The quote is very pertinent even in today’s circumstances. It implies that even in 17th century the issue of religious exploitation by some was threatening the gist of our religion, and today as well, such elements are ominously looming. When a college going student assassinated his principal to death just because he reprimanded him for missing college, it’s a sign of worry; something to be very much apprehensive about. It signifies that our youth is inclined towards those who preach and promote violence.

It deserves our immediate attention and we should ponder why our youth is rapidly diverting towards such extreme ideas and intolerance. If this (Charsaddah incident) can be ignored as one single act of anger, then what happened in Faizabad and the resultant capitulation of state combining with the brutal lynching of Mashal Khan isn’t something that can be insouciance to.

This is a trend that can have catastrophic effect on the entire country. This is something to be really concerned about. It is an ominous sign.

A college student is justifying his violence in the name of religion. Certainly, it points to the fact that those who are shaping his opinion are instigating such brutality in people and these emotions are galvanizing their ferocious actions.

It’s not going on behind the door. It is not something that is far from the reach. It is very much public. These zealots are openly disseminating their filth to the vulnerable minds. With the impunity they are enjoying, it is not unfathomable why they’re luring such audience. Their audience are not confined within the realms of social division. It is not that a section of society is attracted towards them, rather, they have inflicted beyond societal divisions. From proletariat to bourgeoise, they have garnered support firm enough to threaten the collective inclusiveness of our country.

NEGATIVITY DOES FIND ITS WAYS

The problem is that these people are finding more space in national discourse than the rational and modest voices. The state as it appears – for some mysterious reason – is afraid to curb these extremists mind and they are given the carte blanche to organize congregations and hold rallies. They have access to social media without checks; they are penetrating the minds of our kids who use such platforms. It gets transpired into what we witnessed in Charsaddah.

They felicitate terrorists. They eulogize a murderer. They abuse people and declare them heretics. They put life of individuals in danger and rebuke other Muslims for being less pious as they firmly believe that only truest interpretation of Islam is the one they want to implement.

They situation wouldn’t have been so grim had there been visible steps by the state to parry such malicious agenda of these sections. If – ostensibly- state would have been sincere to negate it with a much more moderate narrative, things would have been better.

The situation demanded state to eschew leniency and deal with such elements with utmost power against their vandalism and arson. State should be the one dictating the terms, not the one to be succumbing.

What we are witnessing is an utter submission of the mighty state in front of hate mongers – who don’t have any constitutional power – who’re out with their abhorrent agenda and want to denounce the state to implement what they consider right.

State is petrified. It is countering every venomous act with more and more inclinations. They’re acquiescing every demand that is being propounded by them. What are the divine reasons of such crippling attitude is best known to the institutions that are responsible for controlling these goons. The reason of this inactivity is contentious and unfathomable.

We’ve long been subjected to this war of hate. Time and again, these vile elements are used, sometime as assets and other time as a mean to win elections. Today, they have entered the political dominion and are easily securing second or third spots in every election with their confidence on a rise in their support. Because of the following they garner, they are sought for help by politicians to secure votes or to extend their rules.

The repercussion of such coalitions is depicted in our society today.

While a predator in the garb of piety molest our kids, we’re more concerned about the faith of the person who’s assigned to catch that predator.

What have we become today? We can’t hear a reasonable – not at all blasphemous – argument on religion. The protection of religion has been undertaken as a solemn responsibility by some and they consider their narrative to be flawless and superior over all the other opinions. We use the garb of religion to conceal our heinous desires. We seek religion as a cover to seek vengeance and settle personal scores. We play the religion card to justify our crimes, because we know that this will mount the pressure on law enforcers.

We’re holistic towards minorities. We’re unable to protect even the basic rights of our minority sects with whom we share the same religion. The pluralism in our society is diminishing.

So much power in the hands of few that they’re dictating the terms to state is not something to be satisfied with.

It is very important to control this scourge. Societies cannot be built on hate and extremism.

Counter it with harmony.

What’s needed is to curb this narrative and crush those who seek to divide our country on what so ever bases. State and all the other stake holders should appear to be taking robust measures without a fear of backlash. Not only this, those social factors that incline people towards these hate preachers should be sorted and a policy should be devised on how to this torment be stopped from reaching the minds of our people.

Otherwise, if we continue with the current ignorance, this fire will engulf our country and we won’t be able to control it.

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