United against Violent Religious Extremism

 

There are but a few truths in life which transcend race and religion. These are essential truths that the founding father of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah found to be self-evident when he declared to the citizens of the yet to be born State of Pakistan, “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed. That has nothing to do with the business of the state.”

 Indeed it could be argued that Jinnah’s truism which was predicated on man’s deep sense of morality, allowed the state of Pakistan to be entered into the comity of civilized nations. Our faith has to be grounded in Jinnah’s truth and the truth that we, who are the successors to Jinnah’s vision, is this: All people of Pakistan have the right to life and to be free from bondage. Moreover, all Pakistanis should have the right to freely practice their faith devoid of fear of persecution from anyone. Religious freedom is an unequivocal, universally accepted, God given human right which should be vouchsafed by the Government and the State of Pakistan.

 For far too long a segment of Pakistani society comprising of Shia, Christian, Ahmadi, Hindu and Sunni Sufi followers have become targets of violence emanating from indigenous, radical, fundamentalist groups who perpetrate murder and mayhem in pursuit of an ideology predicated on hate of the other; hate of those who are different and indeed those who dare to differ. These hate groups seek no dialogue and are motivated solely by the prospect of committing gratuitous violence on the innocent. Their ultimate objective is intimidation and subservience to their will – a will to implement a most grotesque and perverse form of a religious ideology which violates the fundamental tenets of the great religion of Islam.

 On October 13th, 2012, we will organize a protest demonstration at 11000 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA. The purpose of our demonstration is to show solidarity with those Pakistanis who have become victims of religious violence. For the families of the victims we say this: know that we bear witness to the fact that the Human Rights of your loved ones have been violated. Know that your tragedy is also our tragedy. We will no longer remain silent on this issue as we realize our silence is tantamount to acceptance of a great wrong that is being committed against you. This is a wrong that cannot be undone but can be spoken against loudly, unabated and without mitigation until the greater good of humanity comes together and prevails over those bent on spreading hatred.

 To the Government of Pakistan we say this: Join us in returning Jinnah’s Pakistan to the Pakistani People. Fear not those who seek to divide Pakistan but strengthen the hands of those who want to reunite Pakistan. Sixty-five year ago a man battled against a debilitating disease and a colonial power to deliver freedom to a nation. Help us regain our freedoms from those who wish to destroy the legacy of the Father of the Nation by constitutionally protecting the freedoms of the People of Pakistan.

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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