Sunday, September 28, 2008

In the name of faith by Irfan Husain

By Irfan Husain

IN a moving article on this page (‘Not in the name of faith’, Sept 21), Kunwar Idris reminded us of the treatment being accorded to the Ahmadis in Pakistan.

He mentioned the three murders that took place this month in the aftermath of a television talk-show in which one of the participants said Ahmadis were ‘wajib-ul-qatal’, or deserving of death.

A few days later, the Marriott hotel in Islamabad was targeted by a suicide bomber, killing around 60 people, most of them Muslims. Before and since, many other innocent victims have been murdered in the name of faith. So what do all these deaths have in common? Two things: firstly, these people are killed because one group believes it has a monopoly on faith, and anybody who does not subscribe to their version of it should be killed; and secondly, those who murder in the name of their faith are rarely caught and punished, unless they are suicide bombers.


Over the years, intolerance has hardened and become a murderous element that is now threatening to break up Pakistan. Whether this is expressed in the form of a truck of explosives detonated outside the Marriott; an Ahmadi killed because his beliefs do not conform to mainstream orthodoxy; a Christian attacked on the grounds of his faith; or a Hindu girl kidnapped because she has no protection in a Muslim state, it all leads back to the same strain of intolerance that says:I am right, and you are wrong. And because you are wrong, I have the right to kill you.


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