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The following article written by me was not published as it tackled a so called “sensative issue” . It seem like it is becoming a trend that anything portraying Israel in a good light and anything remotely suggesting freethinking beyond Islam has difficulty getting published, even if it is something that we can learn from. 

Are we free? The answer to that question is normally “Yes”. The reasons given for that affirmative answer are usually: we are free from the shackles of the colonial British and we are free from the united sub-continent, so we are free. According to the Two-Nation Theory that we study all through our school lives,  essentially, we as Muslims, would be a minority in United India and our right to practice our religion would be taken away because Hindus and Muslims are two separate nations.

So today, in 2011, are we actually free? Or this is just a fallacy? In this article I would refrain from a long tirade of blaming the corruption of our leaders for our perilous history and would invite readers to look at their own selves. I would specifically focus on freedom of thought and belief.

Author Yoram Kaniuk allowed to state "without religion" on his Israeli Identity card

I would quote an example from our arch ideological rivals, Israel. Israel has a strict Jewish identity. Even one of the pre-existing demands of the Israeli Government to kick-start negotiations for Palestinian freedom is the recognition of Israel as a Jewish State by the Palestinian Authority. So, in a nutshell, they are very serious about their religious identity, both at government policy level, as well as, society. In this same Jewish State, the famous Sapir Prize winning author, Yoram Kaniuk, was granted the freedom to identify himself as, “without religion” on his identity card by a Tel Aviv district court. After the court ruling, many Israelis gathered to sign a petition to declare themselves as “without religion” and the court’s decision was hailed as a big step towards freedom of thought. Let me make this clear, “without religion” does not mean, atheist or agnostic, it just means what it says “without religion”. There were no sweeping protests across the country for the decision, nothing was burnt down, and Yoram Kaniuk, is still alive and does not have 27 bullets in his chest.

Let’s come back to Pakistan. Pakistan was created on the basis of a religion and also we thrive on our religious identity. The constitution claims to be based on Islam and we are called the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Academically speaking, both Israel and Pakistan are religion based ideological states (although created in different circumstances, but that is not the focus of this article). I will put up the question to the readers. Is it possible that the freedom that was given to Yoram Kaniuk, possible in Pakistan? Will a court allow a person to put that in his/her passport? Keeping in mind the fate of Salman Taseer (Governer of the Punjab province assasinated for supporting change in the blasphemy law), I believe that freedom of thought does not exist in Pakistan. Forget about someone declaring oneself as “without religion” which would instantly spring a plethora of “punishable by death” fatwas and will make the “death to the apostate” brigade all hot and heavy. Just airing your views about a man-made law about religion would qualify you for free 27 bullets in your chest (case in point – Salman Taseer). Just having a different ideology within the same religion might lead you to death (consider the fate of Shia Muslims killed on their way to Iran). Or just read the constitution regarding the rules about Ahmadis. I would really urge readers to take a look at Sections 298(b) and 298(c) of the penal code of the constitution and you will see archaic and medieval nature of the law.

So, again I ask, are we actually free? I would term our freedom of thought and belief as a conditional freedom. Free, as long as it along a certain belief system. Freedom, according to Merrium Webster dictionary is “the quality or state of being free: as the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action”. All three conditions necessary to be absent to be fundamentally free are present in Pakistan. “Necessity” to believe in a certain way, “Coercion” if one does not believe in a certain way, and “Constraint” if one does want to believe in a different way. Essentially our minds are not free, what do you think?

Disclaimer: The reason for making a comparison with Israel is solely because my argument is based on both of our country’s fundamental foundations based on religion. I am not trying to prove they are better or worse because that would be a topic of another article. 

 

By Ahmed Αμονας Aziz

This great country, Pakistan, provided a sanctuary for the minority of the subcontinent. Yes, this great country, whose great leader told everyone that go to your temples, worship as you want. Such a fantastic country! Everybody has their rights. Christians go to Church, have Sunday mass. Hindus go to their temples worship whoever they want. So much happiness! Minorities have heaven in the shape of Pakistan. We Muslims protect them. We give them seats in the parliament. Yes, it’s a great opportunity for them to mingle with us righteous Muslims in the parliament. Yes! we let them sit with us. Have a nap or two in the parliament with us. Such a heaven!

Us magnificent Muslims give them jobs, oh yes, even jobs. We try and make it specialized for them. So we pushed them to the margins of the society so that they can clean up our gutters and sewage. It’s a specialized skill isn’t it? We are doing them a favor aren’t we? Oh we are such beautiful people. We care so much. We bomb a church or a temple. Yeah, they require renovations anyway. It’s a favor isn’t it? Burn a Christian or two alive, what difference does it make, we did them a favor, they will go to heaven.  So many favors we do.

If they say something against us, oh yeah, we put them in jail, death penalty and all that. Who wants these poor illiterate people speaking up their mind? Yeah we do them a favor. They get our finest police food in the prison, some punches, some whips, some rape. Yeah it’s a favor, food, work-out, and sex, all the excitement you need in one place.

Oh I forgot our beloved Ahmadi or Qadiani. We had the honor to turn them into a minority because we wanted to treat them so much better. We made beautiful laws for their easiness. They are not allowed to call any person Ameer ul Momineen (leader of all the Muslims) besides the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the actual Caliphs. They can’t even say Razi Allah unho (may God be please with him). Yeah it’s a favor. Who needs so much formality, if they want to pray for someone that God be please with them, they don’t have to, it’s all good, it OK. We call Mullah Umer of Taliban Ameer ul Momineen but we are the beautiful Muslims; we can do anything we want. They cant call their place of worship a “Masjid”, we proactive Muslims have patented this word with God, so even though Masjid mean a place of prostration, we Muslims, try to save them the trouble, because God might send them to hell, so if they use it we put them in jail, remember the heavenly place with all the free food, work-out and sex. Three years of all that, we are so good to them.

They are not allowed to propagate their faith, why should they? They should just sit and relax at home. We can do all the propagating; they don’t want to walk around door to door, fly around the world talk about their religion. No No, its OK, they should sit at home have some tea. And if they do get caught propagating, we send them to that heavenly jail – free food, work-out and sex. We are so great. Yes we have such big hearts; there is nothing wrong with us. It’s the world that is against us. It is a Zionist conspiracy. We are poor because of the Zionists, we are corrupt because of the Zionists. We kill people for religion because it is the fault of the Zionists. Actually we are the best, the beautiful people. There is nothing wrong with us. We put our women at home, hit them, kill them, and rape them for honor. We are actually very honorable people. It’s the Zionists who spread the bad word about us.

It is not only Pakistan. We are so honorable that we fight each other all around the world also. Oh yes we do. We like our small pieces of land. Allah has given us so much Oil, so much money. But why should we spend that money on poor people  and minorities, they don’t want the money, money is too much stress, we don’t want to give them stress, we just make huge buildings with it, 800m in Dubai, 1km in Jeddah, oh yes so much tension and stress, we don’t want to give it to the poor and the minorities. Gaza and West Bank burns. Let it burn. It doesn’t concern us. We are fighting each other for honor and all that sort of thing. Gaza and West Bank has nothing to do with us anyway. It’s the Zionist fault. Nothing to do with us! We are pure, innocent, honorable, considerate, peaceful, and perfect. There is nothing wrong with us. It’s the Zionist’s fault. We are the best.