HASSAN: The religious turmoil continues in Pakistan — as Canada deports Christians there

Author of the article: Farzana Hassan Publishing date: Apr 29, 2021  

Supporters of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party block a road as riot policemen fire teargas shell during a protest against the arrest of their leader as he was demanding the expulsion of the French ambassador over depictions of Prophet Muhammad, in Islamabad on April 13, 2021.
Supporters of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party block a road as riot policemen fire teargas shell during a protest against the arrest of their leader as he was demanding the expulsion of the French ambassador over depictions of Prophet Muhammad, in Islamabad on April 13, 2021. PHOTO BY AAMIR QURESHI /AFP via Getty Images

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Pakistan is unique among Islamic nations in continuing to protest the publication of controversial cartoons of the prophet Mohammad.

Yet, no other Islamic country appears to care enough to demand the expulsion of its French ambassador, as is happening in Pakistan over the issue. The controversy has long died in other Muslim nations. There is a contagious and deadly disease raging globally, and people are now preoccupied with other concerns.

But Pakistan has erupted in violent riots over a controversy it wishes to prolong. Islamists’ latest demand is to expel the French ambassador because someone in a remote region of France decided to show his students the cartoons to discuss the limits of free speech.

It was not an act sponsored by the French government, just an act by an individual. The French ambassador to Pakistan had absolutely nothing to do with the cartoons.

Yet Amjad Ali, the parliamentarian from the Tehreek Insaf party, promptly ignited the controversy in parliament. Earlier, Saad Rizvi, the radical Tehreek Labayk leader, was arrested for demanding the French ambassador’s expulsion.

Since the arrests, 10 people, including four police officers, have been killed in the riots. The government has cowered to the demands of the Islamists by withdrawing criminal cases against them. Rizvi, however, remains behind bars.

One must question why Pakistan continues to demand such action from its government. Why, for example, has Saudi Arabia, the cradle of Islam, not called for such action against its French ambassador?

The reasons could be many. The sense of Muslim identity is avowedly strong in that nation. Built on ideological grounds, Pakistan has had a long tradition of rioting over religious issues. Its political culture has been violent even on other issues, but the masses adopt a fever pitch when it comes to religion.https://www.youtube.com/embed/iPUXvfitFFE?embed_config={%27relatedChannels%27:%20[],%27autonav%27:true}&autoplay=0&playsinline=1&enablejsapi=1

Indeed, Pakistan’s very creation resulted from a strong Muslim identity fostered by Muslim League officials, of which Jinnah of Pakistan was the main player. Anti-Ahmadiyya riots took place soon after Pakistan was carved out of India. The riots resurfaced around the time Zulfikar Bhutto was asked to declare the Ahmadiyya sect a non-Muslim minority in the 1970s.

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Islamists have had their way all this time. They continue to make trouble for governments.

It is therefore puzzling why Canada would deport some Pakistani Christians back to the country they fled in this current climate. The Charismatic Social Integration of Canada (CIOSC) is a Pakistani Christian advocacy group that recently expressed concern about possible deportations of Christians to Pakistan in this current political climate.

In a press release sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the CIOSC stated that “in such a volatile and religiously charged atmosphere, Immigration Canada is making decisions to deport the failed refugee claimants. These decisions are incomprehensible and reprehensible since Canada claims to be a compassionate and humane country.”

It seems there is little thought given to the issue by Immigration Canada. Whether Pakistani Muslims persecute their fellow Pakistanis over perceived blasphemy or whether the French ambassador was responsible for causing offence to these far-right groups, it is indeed a sad reflection on the country’s general state of literacy, enlightenment, and civility.

source HASSAN: The religious turmoil continues in Pakistan — as Canada deports Christians there | Toronto Sun

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