Save Burma, let Pakistan burn

Social networks are crowded with pictures, pleas and appeals for the Burmese Muslims caught in the midst of a terrible conflict with the Buddhist majority in Burma. The tales and pictures (most of which are fake though) being used on social media are gut-wrenching and horrifying. Amnesty international has accused the security forces and ethnic majority of Rakhine Buddhists for the violence being perpetrated in the north. It should be well-known that this conflict is purely ethnic and has nothing at all to do with religion. Loss of life (in any way or form) is condemnable and all measures should be taken, to bring these horrific crimes against humanity to an end.

As with everything remotely related to Muslim persecution, my Pakistani (Muslim) friends are at the forefront of the campaign to ensure that the news reaches everyone. They consider this their ‘religious duty’ to make sure every Muslims is actively participating in spreading the news of such violence. Words being used to describe the acts of the Rakhine Buddhists are “shameful”, “heinous”, “criminal”, “in-humane” etc. Just yesterday I noticed a poster where it was claimed that Muslims aren’t allowed to say “Azaan” and that this was “cruel in-justice”. I cannot say it is true but it did sadden me, to think that an individual is being deprived of his most basic religious activity.

But then, it hit me, Burma’s situation is not that different from Pakistan. The majority Muslims in this country impose on (whatever) minority (is left) in this country. Christians, Hindus and other minority religions are being persecuted all the time. Even minority Muslim sects like the Shia sect is not safe from this persecution. They are killed upon identification, Christians and Hindus are forced to give up their religious belief and convert. Those who do and revert back are killed again. Ahmadis are barred from praying, their places of worship (which cannot be dubbed as mosques according to the constitution) are being demolished. They, and other minorities, even some Muslim sects are dubbed ‘wajib-ul-qatl’ (obligated to be killed) and yet the same Pakistani Muslims feel sorry when they find Muslims in the same situation?
hypocritical isn’t it?

In no way I am justifying the crimes against humanity in Burma. They have the rights of religious liberty and freedom of living and speech. But since when does a Pakistani Muslim care about it? Burma is not a Muslim state, if Pakistanis can legislate killing of people who believe in the freedom of speech, why are they outraged if another country uses something similar to it for Muslims? They celebrate when Mumtaz Qadri kills someone who have a different opinion on some issue, but they protest if the same thing happens in Burma. I hope they understand how it feels to be at the receiving end of this persecution which is deemed ‘HOLY’ by many. It isn’t that holy when it is brought upon them (or people from their clan).

The point of writing this is not to condemn the protests against these crimes being committed in Burma (they are to be condemned strongly), but to make my fellow Muslims understand that they are no different from these Burmese military men or the Buddhist majority, imposing their will on the helpless and exposed minority. I hope this might help them understand.

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Blunt hypocrisy

Ban on FB by LHCThe Lahore High Court, on the 19th ordered the ministry of information technology to block access to all websites spreading religious hatred. It seems like a flashback from not so long ago, when the same institution banned Facebook and Google along with various other websites, claiming it was spreading religious intolerance. The infamous competition of drawing pictures of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is provided as an argument for the ban.

One might understand the judgement since it was directed towards protecting the feelings and emotions of the majority in Pakistan. But the simple facts are these:
The majority of Pakistan is illiterate, out of the minority that is literate, majority don’t have (or can’t afford) computers, out of those who have personal computers, majority don’t even care about
the stupid competition.

Besides, since when did Pakistan became the world leader in religious tolerance? Just a few days earlier, Pakistan was counted among the top 10 countries / regimes, which failed to protect religious freedom. Go further back this month, innocent people were killed and injured in the name of ‘protecting religious emotions’. In a country, where there are many laws, tailored purely to discriminate and suppress minorities that belong to other religions, Justice Azmat Saeed of the Lahore High Court deemed some websites on the internet (which aren’t made for this purpose) harmful and intolerant.

Not so long ago, in the same province, flyers were distributed calling upon an average Muslim to kill two Christian brothers, then banners put up which suggested it is ‘must’ to kill someone belonging to Ahmadiyya sect, even flyers were distributed citing names of those people in Faisalabad, along with the message ‘liable to be killed’. I wonder how any of these incident went unnoticed by the Lahore High Court or even the Supreme Court of Pakistan. How is banning a few websites, which were used by some mischief creators for their own purposes, an honest decision, when all of the above mentioned ‘crap’ is being done every day under the nose of the court?

Let us for a minute look away from this hypocrisy, Pakistan and India have been the hub of software engineering for over a decade now, the majority of software engineers around the world is desi (from Pakistan and India). Since the arrival of social media portals, innovations have cropped up in this field and many now depend on platforms like Facebook, Google, Orkut etc. for their living. Banning these websites will not provide good results for these people. In-fact, many of these projects have been recalled already.

The sensible thing to do here is to reconsider this matter on a broader scale, not just religiously but also considering the economic effect of these actions. Though in my view, this decision will never be an honest one, considering what has been going on in Pakistan (in terms of religious tolerance) for over five decades.

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