KARACHI: In light of the recent sectarian violence, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief, Altaf Hussain, clarified that he is not fighting for the Shias or the Sunnis but for the respect and protection of every religion according to the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Altaf was speaking to the clerics of the newly established Muttahida Bainul Muslimeen Forum, which aims to promote religious harmony. The forum held its first session at the party’s Karachi headquarters Nine Zero on Tuesday. According to a statement issued by the party, Altaf said that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) did not teach to slaughter those who follow a different faith. Islam’s image was being ruined because of “some extremist elements”. Not only are these elements targeting non-Muslims, he said, innocent Muslims are also being killed for their Shia faith.
“At several international airports, as soon as they see a Muslim name, they start making separate lines for passengers,” he said. “We do not want that someone who follows a certain sect or school of thought should have to leave it and adopt another. We only want that people of all faiths respect others and leave the question of hell and heaven to God.”
He said that if his efforts could result in the safety of innocent people – regardless of their faith – then he would consider that Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) teachings had been implemented.
Expressing concern over the hateful and inflammatory language used against non-Muslims in Pakistani school curricula, he cited a recent National Commission of Justice and Peace report on the subject. “We need to think that if the school curricula include such hateful material then what impact will it have on the minds of our children?”
He paid tribute to the members of the Muttahida Bainul Muslimeen Forum and hoped for their success. The forum was constituted last weekend after Hussain delivered a speech at a meeting of clerics in Karachi. Over the past couple of weeks, Altaf and the MQM have taken a strong public stance on the spate of killings of Shias and the oppression other religious minorities.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2012.