Religious Extremism is Pakistan’s biggest problem

I believe Pakistan’s biggest problem is Religious Extremism and not corruption. It has become widespread in our society. And unfortunately it is only increasing. The state, politicians and the establishment have not made any strides to reduce the tensions. In fact they have only made it worse by allowing the extremist religious parties like Tehreek-i-Labbaik to take part in the recently concluded elections 2018.

While it is true that state is responsible to keep a check on religious intolerance, the individuals themselves also have an important role to play.

Here I have described some events experienced by myself which are examples of religious bigotry.

Upbringing of Children
School fights are not an unusual thing especially when you enter O/A level stage. However, what happened with me was not so usual. I was studying in 3rd grade in Pakistani International School Al-Jubail. Our class was divided into groups. The leader of one group used to say bad things about my friend who happened to be the leader in the other group. Once, he said some bad things about my friend regarding his sect. And because I wasn’t aware of Sunni/Shia conflict, I didn’t get what he was on about. So I told my friend and he said some things against his enemy which again were not understood by me. Eventually the groupings and the divisions led to a showdown. The two groups fought in school. After the fight we were taken to the principal office. But nothing really happened as we were just kids who got involved in a fight.

However, when I look back I wonder what was wrong with the guy inciting hatred around the whole class. And considering that we were only in 3rd grade, it testifies the sort of upbringing he got from his parents. At such young age he was taught to hate a specific sect. You can say that it was not his fault, but of his parents.

Education system
My memory recalls one more incident. In one of my university days, our finance teacher started his lecture by giving a hate speech on Ahmadis. Instead of teaching us finance, he went on with his rant for 30 minutes straight. I was sitting at the first row and felt compelled to question him. “Sir, but they are also Pakistanis,” I said. “Jawad, tumhay nhe pata”, he answered.

If a teacher of a reputed university in the capital city is inciting and promoting hatred towards a particular sect which is already oppressed than there is something wrong with him or the education system.

Interference in others life
I was walking on foot and just about to cross the road when this bearded guy in the car tells me that I’m wearing shorts below the knees which according to him is Haraam. I just stared at him trying to digest what the man had just said and trying to keep my cool. Now I’m not going to get into the argument of whether it is haram to wear shorts below the knees or not. The point is what harm I inflicted on him or on others by showing my knees. Secondly, one should mind his own business and if he is really bothered about my knees not being covered then just don’t look at them.

The conclusion I can draw by these examples is that we as a society have gone from bad to worse. The one thing I admire about Musharraf was his boldness to take action against the religious terrorists and extremists in the Lal Masjid Operation. It remains to be seen how Imran Khan tackles this menace.

There is a saying which goes “Your beliefs don’t make you a better person, your behavior does”. Sadly, in Pakistan it is the exact opposite.

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3 Comments

  1. Ali says

    Religious extremism will go away when our culture is given due respect within society and wearing shorts is not a part of our culture. Culture forms the identity of a populace and Pakistan being an Islamic republic, Islamic culture must be protected and endorsed within our borders. Wearing shorts, speaking English, or adopting Western culture in a country which was under colonial rule isn’t a case of “one should mind his own business” but a serious lack of consideration for a culture and society one is born into. Given it is the month of Independence, this article highlights the real tragedy of Pakistani society; long after our ancestors fought for independence, people are embracing the very culture of the people who colonized us.

  2. Muhammad Asif Khan says

    Mr. Jawad Jamil from where I start n where I end …..its really difficult for me right now to answer your above foolish statements.
    I believe tehreek-i- Labaik is much more patriotic then anyone else right now in Pakistan, more then 2 Million people showed their trust on Tehreek-i- Labaik in recent elections that means at least 1 crore people in Pakistan put their weight on Labaik side on their debut appearance and persons like you without having a brain in your skull discredited such kind of movement and also announced a verdict that such kind of religious parties are extremists…lol
    Based on few incidents you are saying all this?
    Once I appeared for an interview in a well known hotel in Lahore you know what HR manager said to me ” Sorry! we cannot offer you this front desk job because of my beard ” I replied sir! you are an equal opportunity employer after reading this I am here but you are denying what you have written on your website.
    Once I was looking for an address in a street a person came to me and said ” You wear the same trouser in front of ladies at your home for a moment I ignored him but he was right because body prominent in it”
    Indeed we are not practising Muslims that is why a lot of things exactly according to Islam is unbearable for us. You believe it or not today how much it is difficult for a Muslim to survive in Pakistan is not for any other religion. Last but not least if your teacher delivered you a wake up call then it is an asset, I think you do not know anything about ahmadis that is why you are saying this.

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