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Hate Speech, Mullahs and the Pakistani Public

www.pakpositive.com While we all have responded in different ways to the recent murders of Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti, we also need to push for the regulation, definition, and prosecution of hate-speech so freely aired by the mullahs.

In a recent set of Friday sermons recorded by activists associated with Mashal Books, one aspect of this hate-speech becomes very clear: almost all the mullahs from different sects of Islam are more concerned with demonizing and castigating their sectarian others, instead of focusing on the socio-political issues that affect lives of common Pakistanis.

(Those interested in listening to a sample of these sermons can find them on our blog: //pakistaniaat.net).

The impact of this unbridled hate-speech is further accentuated by the free expression of such hate through the regular Pakistani media channels. Thus, in case of Pakistan, while the secular public sphere has seriously diminished, the avenues for hate-mongers have increased both in terms of physical spaces and digital and news media.

We saw that in the wake of Salman Taseer's murder, not many so-called Ulama were willing to speak up against this act of murder and the same happens to be the case with the murder of Shahbaz Bhatti.

The media, in fact, were overeager to show the accolades being offered to the murderer by the people. Some critics have also suggested that Salman Taseer's murder was probably caused by the false image of Taseer created by the media.

There is, therefore, a need for Pakistani government to legislate against hate-speech and then implement the law against those who still incite hate about other groups, especially minorities.

There is a difference between expressing one's opinion and making one's opinion so absolute that only the annihilation of our opponents seems to be the correct option.

We need to force our government to take note of the actions and words of these hate-mongers, for only then we would be able to transform our public sphere into a place for civilized conversations instead of what we have now: a one way street of death. <span mullahs preaching
11 Mar 2011 | 1570 Badar ul Islam says: Location: Islamabad  Posts: 1
With every passing day, we see Extremism rolling further towards us and engulfing the moderate voices from our society. This is awful since it is these moderate and saner voices which maintain equilibrium in a society and act as a bridge between the liberal and extremist thoughts. This is what we can rightly refer as a Clash of Civilization. It is something which is certainly meant to utterly destabilize us. The recent days saw the murder of Shahbaz BhattiFederal Minister for Minorities. His murder is gruesome which clearly reflects the growing intolerance in our society. The religious fanatics seem to get an upper hand. This murder is exactly done on the same lines on which previously Governor Salman Taseer was shot dead. Both the deceased persons wanted religious freedom and tolerance to prevail in society. They desired something which is fundamentally part of Islam and also formulates the basis of the ideology of Pakistan. Islam has always allowed Religious Freedom and rights for the minorities.
This is also the message of our founding fatherQuaid-e-Azamwho contemplated Pakistan as a state where minorities could enjoy their rights and religious freedom.
Unfortunately we have shelved the legacy of our Founding Father. Extremism is accelerating and Minorities in Pakistan are finding it hard to live. The Murder of Shahbaz Bhatti in broad sunlight has further horrified the Minorities particularly Christians. This is not the first time. Earlier, we have witnessed the cases of the illegal use of Blasphemy Laws against minorities. And how can we forget the Gojra incident past some years when some non-Muslims were burnt alive by Islamic fanatics.
The significant thing left for Government to do is to take up some immediate measures and assuage the concern of Minorities. The Extremism can only be vanished by utilizing the tool of Education at Grass root level and proper propagation of Real Islam and not the one that was used by our Religious Leader to prepare and incite Jihadis. It is here that the role of Religious Scholars is stressing. Undoubtedly the Wrong use of Islam has led us to see this day.
12 Mar 2011 | 1573 Masood Raja says: Location: Denton, TX  Posts: 2
Citizens for Democracy (CFD), a grassroots Pakistani organization, has just launched a massive, nationwide campaign to collect signatures of Pakistanis against violence in the Pakistani politics, especially the violence against the minorities. They aim to collate these signatures and then had the list to the Pakistani government along with a declaration.

I write in solidarity with CFD, and having already signed the petition urge all of you out there to do the same. I know, given the nature of violence that has been unleashed in Pakistan, a signature campaign seems a bit quaint and a bit ineffectual, but looking at it in the long-term precedence for democracy and inclusion of popular voice in the body politic, this is quite a significant turn in the Pakistani public sphere.

This campaign signifies that semiotic resistance to acts of violence, if coordinated and executed nationally, can affect our nation both materially and symbolically. This also displays to the rest of the world that Pakistanis are not silent, nor have they been coerced into an acceptance of the terror of the so-called saviors of Islam in Pakistan. This turn to a semiotic, civilized, and democratic mode of resistance by building lateral solidarities may be a first step but chances are it would lead us to think big and to feel more empowered and engaged in the affairs of Pakistan.

It is, therefore, imperative that we stand in solidarity with CFD and use all means necessary to pass their message along to as many Pakistanis as possible.
25 Mar 2011 | 1592 Manahil says: Location: Pakistan  Posts: 1
When Governor Punjab was assassinated. It could not be called less than a tragedy but when some garlanded a murderer, many pseudo-moderates updated apathetic, cold statuses or left comments denouncing the Governor, when the law-makers stood up only to assure no one ever will touch the blasphemy Laws again, When most remained silence, uttering a word only to correct the so-called Liberal fascists. It was an atrocity, It was suicide.

Murder is Murder. Period.

The same story repeated. Bhatti was killed with bullets in the 20?s- again. Everything else- from Security lapses to Foreign hands to conspiracies made to distract from the Raymond Davis case were blamed, except the real cause; the monsters and the monstrous society-in-the-making.

Many people I personally know are told not to publicly denounce these atrocities in the name and in the fear of the Blasphemy Law. Even discussing these laws is blasphemy, Forget freedom of speech and expression, what happened to rational thinking?

Islam is not that small or vulnerable that it is endangered by so-called words or actions of illiterates likes Asia Bibi. It is not corrupt that it is made as an excuse for killing people. It is not a tyrant. It is not a dictator.

It is not the wrong. It is only being wronged.

Not all but a lot of our so-called religious clerics are misled and misleading others. Now is not that Blasphemy?
Why dont they ever come in the news for saving a life? For standing up with the oppressed? For spreading messages of peace and prosperity to others?
Why are not they the true embodiment of Islam when they are suppose to be the flag-holders of Islam?

With an aim of Exposing and Popularizing Misrepresentation and Lies in the discourse that supports 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code(the Blasphemy Law) the movement Awaz Uthey Gi is speaking up.

Speak up.
Cut the silence and stop this discolouring, distortion of this religion.
24 May 2011 | 1651 jollygoodfellow Says:   
I do not know how did Dante describe "inferno" in his great work The Divine Comedy, I have not read it ,though , once I boasted in some literary circle that I had read it and everybody present in "wah wah" gathering ( in inferno the literary gatherings are for social nexus and I call them wah wah gathering) looked at me enviously with the admitted fact that in inferno no body reads but all are boastful of reading much. But one may claim with honesty that in Dante's inferno OBL was not found, hiding in the 'safe' compound and people were not committing suicide for want of bread as the elite was busy in minting money and busy in making the arsenals but unable to answer to protect whom?
One thing for sure that Dante's inferno was imaginary whereas, I am experiencing it. My inferno has no stages it is all 'De profundis'.
The other day I eavesdropped my younger son cramming" we are a great nation and are heir to the great civilization." Surprised. Yes, we have schools, text books; taught by pot bellied , bearded people, who never miss an opportunity to molest their pupil and majority is pedophiles. Inferno. So, my kid was trying his hard to mug up the line and I found the heir of great civilization malnourished. I did not have money to fed him him properly. His back was red with rashes since we have 17hrs outage here and no clean drinking water.
The other day me and my siblings, who can not walk straight for want of meal, were on our post-crusade to digest the rotten melon I purchased for them to keep them alive. We were bonked to find ourselves almost ran over by the khaki entourage. Sirens deafened us .My eldest son was watching them with great curiosity . "Who are they?".Holding my hand tight he inquired . "They are the guards of inferno, so that no body runs from here." We were to live here for ever and for ever for the sins not committed by us.
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