By Munir Varraich, Sweden
“Freedom of Expression” – like other “Freedoms” has limits. However, when there are no limits then the society goes “bezerk”. The scenes being shown on the TV news channels indicate how far “intolerance” has gripped the Muslim Mindset, for whatever reasons and yet we claim that “Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance”.
As for the issue of recent anti-Islam film and the cartoons in a French weekly – which has gripped the Muslim World, we need to STOP for a while and see why “insulting holy persons” has become the trend under the shelter of “Freedom of Expression” – a licence to the common man, media and along with that the “scholars”.
This misuse of “Freedom of Expression” became a trend in the 1970s quite unnoticed by the Muslim World and the West.
The Ullema in Pakistan were given a free hand to “insult” the holy personalities of weaker sects within the Muslim World. The case in point are the Ahmadis in Pakistan, when, after Ahmadis were declared “non-Muslims” or heretics in the Christian terminology, on 7th September 1974, a genie was unleashed. Ten years later, to be accepted as a “Muslim” one had to sign a “Declaration” in which the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiyyani, was labeled as a “liar” and an “imposter”. The right of “Freedom from Insult” was taken away from a section of society in the Muslim World.
The monster of “Jihad” was let lose during the Afghan War, by the then President of Pakistan, General Zia-ul-Haq. Along with this monster – “Freedom to Insult” was also let lose during that very time, unfortunately, by the Ullemas of the Muslim world.
However, soon afterwards in 1984 when Pakistan was being “Islamized” another bill was passed branding the Ahmadiyya belief as “cancer of Qadiyyanism” which needed to be “cut” and thrown out of the pale of Islam. “Freedom to Insult” was sanctioned in one part of the Muslim world and that had the support of all the Muslim Ullema. At that time, insulting words and harsh language was considered a “victory” by the religious scholars in the name of Islam. At that point in time none of the Muslim scholars remembered the Quranic noble teachings:
Thus while its most important battle is against false gods it asks its followers to refrain from reviling them. (Qur’an, Al-anam, 6:108). It also reminds them to stay away from harsh speech. “Allah loves not the utterance of harsh speech save by one who has been wronged.” (Qur’an, Al-Nisa, 4:148).
The “harsh speech” referred to in this verse is freely used by the learned Ullemas when “fatwas” are given against one or the other sects within the Muslim World and when referring to the “values” of the Western societies. The so called religious scholars like “Amir Liaqat” is on record in his recent “Talk Show” when he referred to the people of Denmark as being “illegimate” and in another of his shows, he was inciting the murder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
So while the Muslim World is reacting to this issue and trying to teach the west about the “high morality” of Islam, it is high time that they also act and practice the “high morality” which is mentioned in the above verses.