Whither tolerance?

Published: January 12, 2011
Email
The writer is a PML-Q MNA. 
marvi.memon@tribune.com.pk

The writer is a PML-Q MNA. marvi.memon@tribune.com.pk

On January 4, 2011 Salmaan Taseer was murdered — for allegedly committing blasphemy — by a man not qualified by law to make such an allegation, but instigated by all those elements of society who believe themselves to be the authority on the subject.

Soon afterwards I, along with 21 MNAs from various parties, moved a resolution on the floor of the National Assembly stating in unequivocal terms that we condemned this murder; that we were not willing to accept the polarisation of society on the subject; that religious decision making had been delegated to clerics in the past and we would not allow this in future; and that we would protect the Quaid’s Pakistan, Islam and our constitution.

Pakistan stands at a truly explosive crossroads, where to condemn this murder is to get labelled as a liberal and liable for causing bloodshed between the two sides. To avoid civil war, some measures are required. Firstly, Pakistan has to recognise that new laws (without touching the blasphemy law) have to be made to stop the blasphemy law’s misuse. Let us arrive at this consensus position which both sides have shown willingness to accept. Let us not polarise society further. It is clear that, for many, the option to amend will be perceived as a blasphemous act in itself.

Secondly, Pakistan has to accept that fear is not the way Islam was spread and is not the way Islam can be protected. Islam will be protected with love. And we will protect it ourselves. We love the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and will not allow any blasphemous act to be committed. Nor will we allow his basic teachings on protecting minorities to be violated. Nor will we allow blasphemy on any other faith to take place. And nor will we allow fatwas to be given by those not qualified to do so.

The only way to achieve this level of balance and tolerance is to spread education on the subject by involving international Muslim centres of excellence. We need backup support by our Muslim brethren and religious scholars who seem to be keeping silent on this issue like most of our own political elite. They need to establish rules and regulations regarding fatwas so that no one takes the law into their hands.

We also need to wake up to another reality. How many places of worship have been attacked in the last three months alone? Only once our memories regarding this are fresh will we decide to defend our religion, which does not allow any place of worship to be attacked. To list a few, on December 16 last year, a muharram procession passing through Yadgar Chowk in Peshawar was attacked; earlier that same month, three children were killed at an attack targeting an imambargah in Fata and in November, as many as 68 people were killed when mosques near Peshawar were attacked.

The bottom line is that we need religious tolerance and consensus on many issues. The liberals and the religious scholars, themselves divided over many issues, need to sit together and arrive at common positions with the help of international Muslim centres of excellence. It is only when we educate ourselves that we can dream of educating the masses.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2011.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (17)

  • long live democracy
    Jan 12, 2011 - 1:46AM

    MARVI MEMON SAHIBA,,,Can u give me any example of worlds nations who enjoy their sovereignty and leading the world today reached up to the climax without confronting internal strife???all the nation has met with the same situation which the unfortunate country Pakistan is badly experiencing thay have faced the same situation after sacrificing men and material they curbed the situation forever,,,to become a true nation its most important to consider just human values of all the citizens with equal opportunity in all the fields of life ,religion,cast,racism,fascism,Nazism, ethnism,regionalism,etc are secondary elements,,think about just human being,,KHON JIS KISI KA B BAHE AKHIR NASLEY ADAM KA HE KHON BEHTA HEY KISI KO QATAL KARNE SE PANI NAHE KHON HE BEHTA HEY,,,SALMAN TASEER KE SURKH KHON KO SALAAM…,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,MARVI MEMEN SAHIBA You are a great national leader and talk about basic structural changes in the country and take a bold step as boldness and bravery is your way of life…..we hope you will prove yourself greater than KATHRINE THE GREAT…..You are a torch bearer for progressive youth of the nation,,,,,,,,Recommend

  • Usama Zafar
    Jan 12, 2011 - 3:43AM

    Why can’t we look at other muslim countries and see what kind of blasphemy laws they have. We don’t need a ‘special’ law for our country.Recommend

  • Humanity
    Jan 12, 2011 - 4:28AM

    Enough lip service. You are the servant of the people and not a mouth piece to preach values. Go and repeal this unholy, man-made law that is nothing but a tool for oppression and tyranny! We’ll see then reply to your ‘whither tolerance’ non sense.Recommend

  • SomeGuy
    Jan 12, 2011 - 7:15AM

    So if I criticize Islam or the Prophet I should be punished in some way?

    Sorry but I’ll never agree to it. Muslims need to stop being so thin-skinned. Don’t bring in other faiths as an excuse to punish others. Recommend

  • Umayr Masud
    Jan 12, 2011 - 10:30AM

    Seems unfortunate that even after moving around in the masses so much you are completely disillusioned about this issue.Recommend

  • Fasih Ali Khan
    Jan 12, 2011 - 12:04PM

    Secondly, Pakistan has to accept that fear is not the way Islam was spread and is not the way Islam can be protected. Islam will be protected with love. And we will protect it ourselves. We love the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and will not allow any blasphemous act to be committed. Nor will we allow his basic teachings on protecting minorities to be violated. Nor will we allow blasphemy on any other faith to take place. And nor will we allow fatwas to be given by those not qualified to do so.

    Golden Words … Every Sane Pakistani is thinking on these lines in today’s Pakistan. May Truth Prevails over Madness. Ameen.Recommend

  • Tony Khan
    Jan 12, 2011 - 2:08PM

    “Nor will we allow blasphemy on any other faith to take place.”
    Marvi, Please be steadfast and move a bill to extend the blasphemy laws to cover the Ahmadiyya Jamaat founder. This will ensure peaceful co-existence. Recommend

  • Jan 12, 2011 - 2:14PM

    “we would protect the Quaid’s Pakistan, Islam and our constitution.”

    A jolly good job the so-called democratics parties (yourself’s included) have done so far in this respect. (Both in past and the present)Recommend

  • Faraz
    Jan 12, 2011 - 2:39PM

    Marvi, Why dont you stop taking and do something about it. Writing in the english press does little, its the Urdu press you should be concentrating on. Recommend

  • Pakistani57
    Jan 12, 2011 - 4:39PM

    I quite like the idea of bringing new laws to protect miscarriage of justice, primarily we need to re-asses the evidence required and tough credibility criteria of the evidence required. The burden of proof should no longer be satisfied by mere Witness Statements.

    We should also consider the possibility of automatic hudd of ‘tohmat’ applied on the plaintiff if the case is proven false during the proceedings. moreover district and session courts should no longer deal with blasphemy case. any such case should directly go to high courts thus repressing the possibility of stress and undue influence on judiciary. Recommend

  • Jan 12, 2011 - 6:46PM

    Marvi do you know a minister from YOUR party actually said that if anyone would commit blasphemy I would kill him too and didnt even ONCE condemn the murder of Salman Taseer?

    Guess charity begins at home.Recommend

  • Majid Maqsood
    Jan 12, 2011 - 7:41PM

    Marvi is absolutely right Islam did not spread will sward but it spread with love and characters. I dont think education can make any difference on these minds. Our all scholars are mostly educated but what they think on the murder of Salam Taseer? who are these advocates who talk for rule of law and supporting killers, are they not educated? AA and HM are not educated people and just read their point of view, In all articles of AA he has justified the murder of salman Taseer but he is badly failed to prove what blasphemy Mr Salman Taseer did?Recommend

  • Arshad
    Jan 12, 2011 - 8:42PM

    This is right Islam spread through love,, but one has to remind that our Prophet (PBUH) also fought three war by himself and our companion of Prophet (PBUH) also fought thousands of war for the Islam.

    Marvi there is no concept of Quid Islam… Islam is the religion of God and spread by Prophet (PBUH).Recommend

  • Arijit+Sharma
    Jan 12, 2011 - 9:28PM

    ‘Marvi is absolutely right Islam did not spread will sward but it spread with love and characters.”

    Really ?Recommend

  • Pakistani57
    Jan 12, 2011 - 9:51PM

    @Arjit Sharma : yes that is correct if it wasn’t you wouldn’t have seen us (Pak) and millions of your muslims originating from india. if it was spread with persecutions the victim would have gone straight back to their original religion after the passing of the tyrantRecommend

  • Humanity
    Jan 12, 2011 - 10:30PM

    Islam did not spread will sward but it spread with love and characters.

    Who ever said that is liable of blasphemy according to the JI teaching. Maulana Maudoodi categorically called them Kafirs who opposed the Jihad of sword.

    So, in other words you are claiming Maulaua Maudoodi’s books that promote Jihad of sword are against Islam and must be banned as they preach violence. No wonder, Bangla-Desh has already banned his books. Good for them. Bengalis are highly intelligent people anyways.

    This is for sure the age of Jihad of pen and not the Jihad of sword. Recommend

  • amlendu
    Jan 13, 2011 - 12:38PM

    @ Author………. All your rhetoric is fine but I still remember you on a TV talk show with Zaid Hamid just after the Mumbai attacks of 2008 and denying that any Pakistani or Muslim was culprit in that I still remember how you said (I just don’t get it..” and started puting the blame for the attacks on CIA-RAW-MOSSAD_INDIAN ARMY. When you yourself defend extrimist in your country when they strike your neighbor then you do not have any moral right left to right about tolerance and such stuff. Please first realize that fanatics from Pakistan waging war against other nations (Yes including India and Israel) are just as condemnable as ones striking inside Pakistan then only the positive change in your society.Recommend

More in Opinion