by Zeeshan Rasul Khan
The Hazara community has once again been attacked by its ruthless enemies. Dozens of its members are dead and injured.
For too long now, the Hazaras appear to have been an easy target for the terrorists. They live under a constant threat of targeted violence. The attacks have been going on for decades. Almost every family in the community has a painful story to narrate. Many of them have lost people close to them to a terrorist attack and there seems to be no end to it. A sad aspect of the violence is that it has gone own without there being any retaliation by the community. It has been hard, in fact, following several attacks to pinpoint an immediate cause.
The media has speculated that one reason they are being persecuted could be sectarian hatred. This, if true, should be a matter for great shame for any state. For an Islamic republic it is all the more unfortunate to be unable or unwilling to protect a Muslim community.
Is it a sin, one may ask, to have a different point of a view? And if it is, is it for us to pronounce a punishment? We routinely listen to the Holy Quran read from a pulpit, read it in our homes and lecture others to live by it; but do we ever resolve to live by it ourselves? Who among us does not know that the Quran encourages Muslims to adopt the attitude that “There is no compulsion in religion” (al Baqarah, 2:256)? Or that it tells Muslims to pronounce: “For you your religion and for me, my religion” (al Kafirun 109:6)? These and other verses ordain the believers not to try to impose their opinions on others. If someone doesn’t agree with their ideology, they must let them follow their own. The tolerance extends to non-Muslims, let alone Muslims, our own people who believe in the oneness of God and who revere His messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Allah says: “Whosoever kills an innocent person it is as if he has killed all humanity.”( al-Maidah 5:32). Thus, there can be justification for killing innocent Muslims. A Muslim cannot be a killer. Therefore, there is no question of invoking religion to attack an innocent people. The perpetrators of such violence and their allies cannot achieve anything by this savagery. There is unlikely to be a worldly benefit, and an advantage in the Hereafter is unthinkable. They are only blackening their faces by spilling innocent blood and causing anguish to all peace-loving people in the world. It is hard to think of a normal human being who can bear such cold-blooded murders.
Such attacks bring a bad name to humanity. It is sad that religion should be ignorantly thought of as asking for it. Such atrocious acts a false righteousness attract opprobrium, not only for their perpetrators but also for the religion they claim for themselves. The violence is a blemish upon all Muslims across the globe. It all of us need to deliberate over these tragic happenings. We need to introspect and scratch our heads about how to protect one another and how to protect our religion from such unjust blame. Those behind these gruesome murders too need to contemplate how spilling of innocent blood can serves their purpose or any purpose.
People from every walk of life, from every sect and faith, need to unite to fight extremism tooth and nail. The government needs to act now. Watching from the sidelines like a mute spectator cannot halt the violence. It can only facilitate and encourage fanaticism. Those responsible for this bloodshed need to be dealt with sternly. There needs to be an effective policy for protecting minority Muslim sects as well as other religious minorities.
It has been suggested that such dreadful attacks could be a part of a conspiracy to destabilize Pakistan. One should not hasten to rule out that possibility. However, the onus still remains on the government to ensure the safety of the citizens. The minorities should not live under a constant threat of death.