|The flashy caption
that I chose for my article’s is not depicting a
sequence from a Hollywood movie by any long shot. In
this short article I will discuss a serious matter. It
is a matter of life and death. It is a heartbreaking
real-life drama where you see a man is in manacles.
Believe me, the manacles came as a result of Wahhabiized
Sharia’s perilous shadow in Pakistan.
The subject of this
profoundly sad image is none other than Dr. Younus
Sheikh, a medical doctor and teacher, who were
sentenced to death by none other than Pakistan’s
draconian Blasphemy Law.
Dr. Sheikh was charged with
blasphemy for answers he gave to students about
whether the Prophet Muhammad followed Muslim practices
before he assumed prophethood. The 1986 Blasphemy Law
C-295 of the Pakistani Penal Code (PCC) in practice
gives license to any fanatic or cynic to accuse
arbitrarily anyone for insulting or defaming the
Prophet of Islam.
It reads as follows: Use of
derogatory remarks etc. in respect of the Holy Prophet:
Whether by words, either spoken or written, or by visible
representations, or by any imputation, innuendo or
insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name
of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) shall be punishable
with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall be liable to
fine. The Amnesty International views this barbaric law this
way: "The Blasphemy Laws of Pakistan are a handy tool to
silence debate and dissent. They are also used to detain
people when the real motivation includes land issues or
professional rivalry. In the interest of justice, the
blasphemy laws should be abolished or as a first step amended
to prevent abuse".
Blasphemy Law is integral part of Wahhabite
brand of Islam, which propagates its divinely driven Sharia
Law. In the Indian subcontinent during the hundreds of
years of Mughal Raj, Islam had been the dominant religion. Wahhabite
Sunnism with its enormous power of petrodollars was not even
existent those days.
That is why chopping hands for minor
thievery or capital punishment for "insulting the
Prophet" was not heard of for hundreds of years.
Moreover, the Indian subcontinent gave birth to a kinder and
gentler form of Islam, which was in true sense, "a
religion of peace." Therefore, it comes as no surprise
that Sufism flourished in many parts of India during those
golden days of benevolent Islam.
Let us not forget for a moment that
South Asia was also a place of saints like Nizamuddin Aulia in
Delhi or Hazrat Moinuddin Chisti in Ajmer or Hazrat Shah Jalal
in Sylhet. Till today, devotees from all facets of life, from
all religious groups gather in those shrines for spiritual
salvation. This is an amazing scenario of composite culture
where Hindus and Muslims come to a common place of Divinity.
The present-day high tide of
Wahhabite brand of Islam is a juxtaposition of peaceful Sufi
Islam, which used to be prevalent in the Indian subcontinent.
This fascistic philosophy that espouses a draconian archaic
idea is gathering strength not only in Muslim majority
countries, but also in western societies where Muslims are
gaining a stronghold. This is a far cry from the teachings of
Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi, the greatest Sufi Islam had ever
cycle of Sharia with its abdication of
women’s rights and imposition of an antiquated
judiciary poses a serious challenge in liberal
countries with a Muslim majority. Like the domino,
Afghanistan and Iran are following some forms of
Sharia-based political ideology. This surmises a
totalitarian worldview where individual rights are
squashed at the mercy of some religious elites. The
oligarch attains absolute power where accountability
is a rare subject. As the extreme example of
Mosque-State conjugation, these Sharia-based
societies showed the ultimate ugliness any
philosophy could produce.
The vanguards of Sharia would like to
portray the religion they practice as "peaceful and
humane" and they would always claim that there "are
no excesses in the religion." They also constantly
paraphrase another rhetoric for public consumption regarding
the most "tolerant form of religion." In reality,
though, their hypocritical ploy may dwarf the big brother in
George Orwell’s famous novelette, "Nineteen eighty
four." Whatever the champions of Wahhabite ideology
pronounce, the opposite may be true in reality. Dr. Younus
Sheikh’s fate is an ideal example justifying this argument.
Muslims in America, especially
Bangladeshi Muslims are becoming the innocent preys of the Wahhabite
Islamists’ global agenda. Many of them are unknowingly
becoming part of a mosque-based political network. Also, a
substantial number of them join various Islamist groups
without knowing that they are ultimately strengthening a force
that may someday push them (Bangladeshis) to a collision
course against their host country.
Many of them love music but they have
no clue that in Sharia-based societies listening to many such
music may be tantamount to committing a big crime.
Unfortunately, blind adherence to faith often transforms a
rational human being into a living robot.
While Islamists want to portray that
the basis of religion has strong footing on historical
rationale, no historical scrutiny of the religion is
permissible by them. There is no outcry if Jesus Christ is
discussed among secular historians in a historical
perspective. Nobody gets a capital punishment by uttering such
word, "Jesus Christ was born a Jew." That is why ABC
TV’s "In Search of Jesus Christ" boldly gave the
The reality is such that Christianity
is showing its tolerance and mercifulness. Moreover, it seems
that there are no compulsion or excesses in Christianity. In
the Christian domain, no moral police or members of virtue or
vice censored any documentary to be palatable to the devotees.
This is why viewers did not have to watch a sanitized and
patronizing version of the ABC documentary.
Bangladesh is next in line to embrace
the intolerant brand of Wahhabite Islam if it has not
already done so. The followers of such archaic dogma
overshadow one of the leading parties in Bangladesh. If they
are fortunate to win the election, more and more Younus
Sheikhs with manacles tied in hand may be seen in front of
Bait-ul Mukkaram or any other famous Mosque. Because of the
historical blunders of secular forces, that could be a real
Voters in Bangladesh should think
twice before they cast their valuable vote in the next
election because too much is at stake including future
direction of Bangladesh’s civil society. They shouldn’t be
to Save Dr. Shaikh