By: Agha Haider Raza
What happened in Lahore is truly one of the saddest and heart-wrenching incidents I have ever experienced as a Pakistani. When places of worship no longer carry the sanctity they deserve, the stark divide in religious ideology is made clear in Pakistan. After wandering around various blogs and reading horrible hate posts by people who label themselves as Muslims, I felt compelled to write to the terrorists and their followers directly. It is mesmerizing that there are people in my country who actually applaud the heinous crime of killing innocent people, carrying out a crime against Islam, a crime against Pakistan. I am shocked at the people who have the audacity to support those who kill in the name of our religion, one that bounds my faith for the timeless virtues of tolerance, compassion, and forgiveness.
I’d like to know, who am I or who are you to declare anybody a Muslim or Non-Muslim? Who has given you the right to do so? Are you yourself a Muslim? Do you have empathy towards others? Do you look out for the poor? Do you live a modest life? Look inside yourself prior to naming others for their method of worship. There is a difference between right and righteousness. Righteousness lies with the heavens, not with you. It is shocking that you killed innocents who were bowing before the very God you allegedly pray to! Have some decency. You may agree to disagree, but who has given you the right to take another’s life?
Many of you declare the Ahmaddi community as non-Muslim because of their beliefs and because they have infringed upon your interpretation of Islam. You argue they have associated themselves with another prophet therefore they are blasphemous. I ask you, have you not taken divine authority into your own hands by persecuting others based on religion? God put in place the Day of Judgment: what makes you think, you can do his job based on your own twisted ideology? Let Him be the judge of their religious status. There is no virtue in taking up the mantle of God: indeed, this is where true blasphemy lies.
It is ironic that the very religion you assume you are protecting has been disfigured and defaced because of you. For a religion that preaches tolerance, compassion and forgiveness, you have surely taken away its essence. Suggest you find another name for the mind-boggling and demented ideology you follow. Don’t distort Islam. Don’t destroy Pakistan. You may not want to call Ahmaddi’s Muslims, but that power does not lie with you (thank God). The manner in which anyone practices their faith or religion is between them and their lord. Get over it!
Pakistan was formed to provide for a minority. If you look at my flag, Pakistan’s flag; you will see the white stripe that represents them. Who are you to go and take that away from us? Do you believe in the passion of countrymen? Do you understand the meaning of being a Pakistani? Our patriotism lies in our passion and pride; holed out in caves and hiding your faces, like vipers that slither away after they’ve struck, you reek of cowardice and spinelessness.
We have tolerated you people for far too long. I want my mosque, church and temple to have the sanctity they deserve. Pakistan was not formed to allow space for religious persecution. A country of 180 million people has shed enough tears on the passage of its loved ones. Stop the bloodshed; my country has seen enough blood.
Regardless of religious status, the members of this community are Pakistanis. They pay taxes and they contribute to the GDP of your country. I shouldn’t even say “your” country, for you have no reverence for the very motherland that has provided you with a ground under your feet. You have no esteem for a fellow Pakistani. You have distorted the meaning of being a patriot. You have no respect for those who disagree with you in your community. Stop using my religion to spread terror amongst the innocent. I believe in a faith that allows for disagreement, I have trust in a religion that does not take the lives of innocents, I follow a faith that provides for a community of different religions in a country called Pakistan. Get out of my religion – get out of my country!