Attacked by a mob on September 21

Published: September 22, 2012

The writer is a homemaker based in Islamabad

At 7:00 pm on a Friday night, I left the house with my husband for my weekly check-up at the gynaecologist. I am pregnant and have recently been experiencing blood pressure complications due to which the doctor had ordered regular weekly visits.

September 21, 2012 was not any usual Friday but the day our country, Pakistan, declared a national holiday to express solidarity with Muslims across the world in condemning the sacrilegious video that denigrates Islam by wrongly depicting our Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Besides causing Muslims grief and hurt, this video created a dynamo effect, resulting in riots, protests, bomb blasts and innocent civilian killings across the world — and now, the violence had reached my backyard.

Before we sat in the car, we checked the local news. The coverage indicated that Islamabad was clear and that the rampage had died down. I said a silent prayer that we return home safe and sound. As our car approached Murree Road (a central road that links the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi), we saw around 100 men in front of us at a distance. A dozen of them walked close to our car and directed us to continue our journey. One of them came rather close to my window and said with a smile ‘’Aajao aajao raasta clear hai, aap ja saktay hain’’ (‘Come on, come on, the path is clear, you can continue driving’). Being an optimist who always believes in the good in people, I turned to my husband and said: ‘’The path is clear, let’s continue’’, but before I could finish my sentence, my husband had already started reversing the car and was frantically speeding back in the direction we had come from. I looked behind me and saw the same man who had pretended to be our well-wisher, now throwing bricks at our car along with his entourage, all aiming to hit our car windows with their bats. In a matter of seconds, our car was ambushed by an angry mob, which attacked it with punches and sticks. Had we not sped from there fast enough, it is horrifying to imagine what could have happened to me, my husband or our unborn child. We were fortunate that the car only received a few dents and our family escaped unharmed.

This is the first time (and I pray to God the last time) in my life that I came across an angry and defiant mob. I am saddened, grieved and angry, not only at the makers of the blasphemous video but also at the people of our country. Is this the way to show our solidarity with other Muslims and condemn the video — by trying to harm innocent people? Is this the behaviour that shows respect and deference to our Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)? Or, does this violate the very premise of his message, which was based around love for humanity, as is evident from his Hadith (narrated by Bukhari): “None of you will truly believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.” These words of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) are, in fact, a variation of the Golden Rule which all faiths of the world preach; ie, “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.”

I request the Muslims reading this article to set aside their hatred and malice and show their strength as one of the world’s largest faiths by uniting in peace and brotherhood. Instead of hurting one another and creating chaos in their communities, they should unite peacefully and petition strongly against the showcasing of this horrendous video. As a pregnant woman, I condemn the hurt and killings that innocent people had to suffer in the aftermath of the protests against the blasphemous video, and as a future mother, I implore the citizens of our country and the wider citizens of the world to think of the message we are sending to our future generations. Is this the legacy we’ll be leaving our children with? May God’s peace and blessings be upon Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the entire humanity.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2012.

Reader Comments (28)

  • Max
    Sep 23, 2012 - 12:14AM

    So sad rather pathetic. The lady was expecting and her BP was running high. I hope the fetus is alright and healthy. Destroying someone’s property (car) just because???
    I have hanged-up my hopes for Pakistan and am ashamed for what happened to the young couple.

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  • Dr.Gopinath
    Sep 23, 2012 - 12:21AM

    What the writer wishes for- Peaceful Islam- is an oxymoron. It has never been that way , and never will as long as the moderate Muslims do not actively resist and defeat the extremists. These violent Muslims are not the fringe as most Muslims like to tell the world but are a significant part of the community. Some of them go out rampaging while some sit in TV studios egging them on. How long will the rest of the world uneasily watch while these holier than thou miscreants attack everything and everybody for every perceived provocation? This time it was the US ambassador; next time someone might do another 9/11 or a Mumbai and then, maybe the rest of the world would have to really do something about it.

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  • Dr Mishra
    Sep 23, 2012 - 12:22AM

    Dear lady,
    Must have been a terrifying experience. As a doctor, I know what stress can do to a pregnancy.

    You said- “Instead of hurting one another and creating chaos in their communities, they should unite peacefully and petition strongly against the showcasing of this horrendous video”

    Maybe there is strong textemphasized textanother option for the ummah-

    Shrug your shoulders.

    Walk away.

    Walking away is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of self-confidence and maturity.

    Prophets and Gods do not need your outrage.

    You may want a simple petition, the hothead will want to burn something, or someone.

    Save the hothead’s life and your own.

    Teach people to walk away.

    Coolly, confidently

    Peace

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  • Rastionalist
    Sep 23, 2012 - 12:34AM

    The protests Yesterday were not about the movie, it was a class between the haves and have-nots…simple and clear

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  • Funny guy10
    Sep 23, 2012 - 12:44AM

    I am sorry that this happened to you. You should not have gone through this. You did not deserve it. What can I say other than this that may Almighty give wisdom to those who think that self-destructive behaviour and violence against innocent people and their property will convince anybody to support their side of argument.

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  • mandy
    Sep 23, 2012 - 1:11AM

    My heart goes out for you. Fanatics like this are everywhere. The only way you can get rid of them is by keeping them busy ..i.e. providing them enough work to meet ends…

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  • Nadir El-Edroos
    Sep 23, 2012 - 1:33AM

    This really hits home the madness that has become so common, that an unborn child, faces mortal threat even before he/she is born. Its really time to reflect on the reality we live in and face it, otherwise you cannot expect future generations to be able to undo all this hate, for they will grow up thinking that this is all just part of daily life… something common and something you expect to happen, shrug and move on with the day. I truly hope you and your child are well, and that neither of you will have to face such a situation ever again.

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  • Khurram The Muhajir
    Sep 23, 2012 - 2:09AM

    I don’t have words to express grief…. are these people even humans?

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  • Imran Con
    Sep 23, 2012 - 4:11AM

    It’s “domino effect,” not “dynamo effect.”
    Yeah. I know people doing things like that can get annoying. But, I don’t mind if this comment doesn’t get posted and it’s silently fixed. In fact, it would be my own preference. Those kinds of mistakes just eat at me. I’m not interested in um… being a grammar police hitman?

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  • Khalid Pathan
    Sep 23, 2012 - 4:34AM

    Sad and sorry to read your ordeal. I fully agree that people involved in vandalism, looting, burning and harming innocents in every possible way must read your article, unfortunately the number of people who could read and understand an article in English is a miniscule minority shrinking further by day, courtesy of our educational standards. Try to publish the Urdu translation of your article in national dailies. We are entering into Dark Ages.

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  • Saif M
    Sep 23, 2012 - 6:01AM

    If you can keep your child, when s/he is of school age, away from the maulvis and madrassa, from their speeches and sermons, both online and offline, you will have truly put this scary experience to good use.

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  • Naeem Siddiqui
    Sep 23, 2012 - 7:28AM

    I am sad and feel shame :(Recommend

  • F
    Sep 23, 2012 - 7:40AM

    ” Is this the way to show our solidarity with other Muslims and condemn the video — by trying to harm innocent people?”
    - does one need to answer your question? It is not just innocent Muslims but those “lesser” non Muslims too.

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  • F
    Sep 23, 2012 - 7:44AM

    ” Is this the way to show our solidarity with other Muslims and condemn the video — by trying to harm innocent people?”
    Better yet, your Railway minister just announced $100,000 for killing the producers of the video. This is from people in responsible positions representing Pakistan and Muslims. Need one say more.

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  • T4U
    Sep 23, 2012 - 8:02AM

    as long as media will have the current crop of anchors and their favorite guests, this is not going to get better, if anything its more likely to get worse. When you have incompetent/mentally deranged politicians who are being invited to TV talks shows by equally retarded anchors, I am afraid that there is no hope!

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  • Semper fi
    Sep 23, 2012 - 9:01AM

    It’s a shame, do these butchers have no home or no one waiting at home for them? No mom, no kids, no wife to go to? How empty must these people be from within. What do they feel when they reflect on their acts before they go to sleep every night ? Is there no shame no remorse ?
    Congratulations to you and your husband, i hope you have a healthy baby and hope the baby will bring joy to guys. I’ll pray to my Hindu gods for it .

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  • Feroz
    Sep 23, 2012 - 10:17AM

    You and your family escaped but imagine the plight of those who could not. I cannot but repeat “Hate and Bigotry will destroy, Love and Peace will conquer”.
    Is anyone listening ?

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  • mahakaalchakra
    Sep 23, 2012 - 11:26AM

    @Dr.Gopinath:

    Moderate Muslims are either busy on posting comments to defend the undefensible or redesigning IEDs while waiting the Islamic tide to lift them.

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  • Agnostic Guy
    Sep 23, 2012 - 1:28PM

    I am glad you and your family made home safely.Recommend

  • Sep 23, 2012 - 4:52PM

    Worst is not over for you miss. your child will still have to grow up in this environment. that will be more dangerous then this encounter.
    may god be with you.

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  • s shah
    Sep 23, 2012 - 8:02PM

    Very well written. I am glad you and your family made it home safely. Stay safe and blessed.

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  • Pir Bulle Shah
    Sep 23, 2012 - 8:10PM

    The lady obviously doesn’t realize that we love our Holy Prophet more than our parents, children, husbands, wives, neighbors. She should have joined the protesters instead of running away.

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  • chacha jee
    Sep 23, 2012 - 8:24PM

    @Vishnu Dutta:
    Please do not scare off the lady for no reason. If you are trying to settle some India Pakistan dispute, please wash your dirty laundry in your own backyard. We have the capabilities of taking care of ourselves and we will. Now get lost.

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  • alicia
    Sep 24, 2012 - 11:56AM

    @Pir bulleh shah
    Are you crazy? She is pregnant and got attacked by a mob.

    Does love for the Prophet(PBUH) entail attacking pregnant women and their unborn children?

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  • sabi
    Sep 24, 2012 - 4:24PM

    Dr Mishra,
    “Prophets and Gods do not need your outrage”
    You are an educated and civilised man.
    Regards.

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  • Hindu Indian
    Sep 24, 2012 - 4:35PM

    @chacha jee: Yeah we both know how well you are taking of your problem :) . And as far as the author is concerned, this might be the first incident, but i seriously doubt whether this will be the last :(

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  • AK
    Sep 25, 2012 - 1:30AM

    There is only one solution to this menace…and that is to scrap the ucrrent police system and bring in a new force which will arrest every single one of these terrorists. Iff countries like UAE and Turkey and Malaysia and Brunei can remain peaceful then there is no reason why Pakistan cannot….we just need to replace this police. The police at the moment are nothing but chowkidaars…

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  • Jat
    Sep 25, 2012 - 2:50PM

    A very sad and also a terrifying incident. Hope the author and her family are safe and sound.

    To educated Pakistanis – is this the kind of future you are looking forward for your children ? The way you close your eyes to everything that goes around you, the way you pretend nothing wrong is going on, it seems you are happy with the future that is staring in your face.

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