How Reluctance to Debate Religion Is Compounding Problems

Source : Huffington post

By Raza Habib Raja

I have often been much more amazed not at the religious fanaticism of the few, but at passivity of the moderate majority. And although skeptics will cast their doubt but the fact is that Pakistan on the whole has a moderate population. In Pakistan comparable fervour is dominant only in pockets. Yes this is a country which has Taliban but it is also a country where people have largely voted for moderate parties. This is a country which despite being conservative has never voted clergy into power. It has a relatively independent media and entertainment avenues are more eclectic compared to many Islamic countries from the Middle East.

And yet this is the also the same country which through legislation declared Ahmadis Non Muslims and that too during the tenor of ZAB, arguably the most intelligent and liberal Prime Minister. And mind you PPP ( party in power at that time) did not originally have any such agenda item in its manifesto. Moreover, Hudood ordinance ( a controversial law which is discriminatory against women) and blasphemy laws(which carries death sentence to the convicted) are solidly entrenched despite the fact that these were not enacted through a proper legislative procedure.

Today parties are reluctant to even debate these controversial legislation[s] despite the obvious fact that these are in contravention of the modern day ideals of human rights. Due to these laws, the religious extremism and discrimination have been institutionalized and Pakistan has become extremely controversial in the international arena. Despite the enormous negative publicity and being in the watch list of various human rights organizations, there is hardly any concrete debate in Pakistan on the mainstream media and legislative forums to repeal these laws. No political party wants to be the political casualty even if it can muster the two third majority. And this is happening in a country where clergy are regularly outvoted by huge margins.

In my opinion the issue is not that population is radicalized but rather actually too timid due to the extreme veneration of religion and its fanatic patronage by the clergy. This is an important factor which needs to be understood before we can have any realistic chance of repealing of controversial laws and even tackle general extremism. Plus it is this reverence which creates this state of denial wherein Muslims find it impossible to believe that any Muslim can indulge in heinous crimes like terrorism.
From the childhood, religion is revered and its reverence is reinforced through promoting a culture of unquestionable acceptance.

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Categories: Islam, Religion

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