KARACHI: As sectarian violence threatens to flare up in Karachi, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain has called for those who incite hatred in the name of religion to be declared hypocrites (munafiqeen).
Hussain said that people need to unite against those trying to invoke sectarian violence, as he noted that target killings of Shias had begun anew in Karachi.
Hussain was speaking via telephone to clerics on Monday at an event organised by the MQM in connection with the Islamic calendar month of Rabiul Awwal, on the twelfth of which Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) was born.
He said those spreading hatred or involved in violence did not deserve any concessions. The pain felt by the families of the victims of either sect was equal, which is why he renewed his appeal to defeat conspiracies intended to ignite sectarian clashes.
He also asked what “compulsion in Islam” was. “When God has said in the Holy Quran that there was no compulsion in religion, what is this ‘jabriya Islam?’ To force your beliefs on another?” He noted that there were people who incited hatred at the pulpit. The MQM chief said that the party had always strived to spread religious harmony and to create a society where people were free to practice their faith.
Ahle Tasheeh leader Allama Abbas Kumaili said there was a need to record sermons to know who was responsible for spreading sectarian hatred, but that the government was not able to. He said there was a need to “crush” those responsible, and called on the MQM to take the lead.
Responding to Hussain’s question about religion by force, Allama Kumaili said that Pakistan was the only country where this was taking place. He said this was being done as part of an international conspiracy. “There’s been a lot of talk about deweaponisation. Either there should be no weapons or everyone should have arms for self defence,” Allama Kumaili said.
Allama Amir Abdullah Ali Farooqi said the ulema would support the MQM in its work for peace.
Maulana Tanveerul Haq Thanvi quoted a Hadith by Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) and highlighted that Islam called for rights for and protection for the life and property of non-Muslims as well. Allama Qadri noted that Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) advocated tolerance and not violence or revenge. He declared that the ways adopted by ‘jihadis’ and ‘whatever was going on in Waziristan was wrong’.
The event, held at the Lal Qila Ground in Azizabad on Monday, was attended by clerics, scholars and prayer leaders from different sects and schools of thought.
Allama Rashid Ali questioned why banned groups were allowed to hold rallies and proclaim they were defending Pakistan, a hint at the Difa-e-Pakistan Council, a coalition of religious-political parties that has been holding rallies countrywide. He also called for clerics to practice brotherhood when they were off camera as well.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 31st, 2012.
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