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10/07: Red Mosque: Trouble spots exposed

The Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) issue has been an active one for eight days. Today, the government launched an operation against them after efforts at negotiation failed over whether foreign militants should be given safe passage out of the country. I deem this as a necessary action which should have been done six months ago when this whole issue reared its head.

I would refrain from listing the events of these tense 8 days. Instead, I would mention some of the points which came to my mind during these few days, especially today over the role various people played.

First, let us consider the basis for the trouble wherein lies my first point.

Should a Mosque be demolished?

My emphatic answer to this question would be, "No". However, this is based on certain conditions. First of all, the land on which the Mosque is built should be legally purchased. Even during the time of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), when Masjid-e-Nabvi was made, the Prophet (PBUH) purchased the land from two orphans. This gives us clear insight into whether the land for the Mosque should be purchased or not. Secondly, there should be no activities inside the Mosque which violate Islamic principles and which are used as a basis for trouble making. If a mosque violates any of the above two conditions, I would fully support demolishing it. If given the opportunity, I would help with demolishing it myself.

Before labelling me with something which you wouldn't dream of labelling yourself with, think! The precedent of legally owning the land for the Mosque were set by the Prophet (PBUH). Who are we to ignore this pre-requisite for building a mosque? Are we even Muslims if we deny what the Prophet (PBUH) told us through example?

A Mosque is just a building which has a defined purpose which does not include killing and maiming people, spewing hate or harbouring criminals. A Mosque gets the justified respect it gets because of its purpose, not because of the collection of bricks and marble pattern decorations it usually sports. If the purpose is not there and instead becomes something heinous [fitna], its best to get rid of the Mosque. A similar thing happened with Masjid Zarrar during the time of the Prophet (PBUH) when it was used for fitna. [The Holy Quran - Surah Tauba]

People, in their emotions, say that since the Mosque is already there why demolish it? These people are talking blindly with their emotions instead of thinking logically within the constraints provided by Islam. I will present a simple scenario. Suppose you bought some land after working hard all of your life and some one makes a Mosque on it without your permission. Would you let this stand? Or would you like to get some payment for the land bought with hard earned money? Do you even have the right to refuse them if they forcefully start building a Mosque? After all, Qabza groups [land grabbers] are not uncommon in Pakistan, especially where making Mosques is concerned.


What role has the government played in all of this?

A brilliant one, if I do say so myself. Plenty of people will disagree with me and they certainly have the right to do that. It was first thought that the government would storm in the first day and get rid of all the people inside. However, I was pleasantly surprised when instead of storming in, the government simply surrounded the area and moved directly to the negotiation table despite the fact that the students from the Red Mosque were the first ones to show aggression. I stayed awake till 4:30 AM on the first day of deployment of Armed Forces watching news to see when the operation started. And this was while I had exams the next morning! However, I was glad to note that there was no immediate operation planned for that time.

As a result of this, thousands of innocent lives were saved. Innocent children and women were able to come out and the credit for this belongs to the government. It is not the way of the Armed Forces to wait so patiently. It is high time people realize this. Throughout the events [8-9 days], the government was open to negotiations aimed at getting as many innocents out as they could. On the other hand, Abdul Rashid Ghazi (he is no Moulana as far as I am concerned) was adamant in being allowed to go free despite the crimes he has committed. It is his ego problem and selfishness that so many innocent lives were lost in this stand-off. However, I have seen some weird people giving the analogy of Karbala for this siege and condemning the government for trying to rein in the militants on the Red Mosque. These people probably fell on their head when they were young. These people are extremely gullible! And these very people have voting rights. Damn!

There has also been insistence that this has all been done on the whims of America and why wasn't this done six months ago. I ask this question myself from the government regarding the delay in this operation. It should not have taken so long for them to take action instead of letting it fester and become a threat to residents of Islamabad. About the former part of blaming it on America, it is non-consequential. Whether we do it on America's insistence or on our own, we should aim for our own interests. Our interests are our primary concern and we should not be deterred from aiming for them even if someone else also says that we have to do certain things. To give an example, imagine if America says that you should keep breathing. Will you stop breathing just to defy them? Should we not first check if it is in our own interest or not? People should not let their dislike of America's illegal wars and "holier than thou" attitude from deterring them from seeking the thing which is right for Pakistan!

This problem; not being able to think and make decisions independently, is the crux of our current problems. Were we able to think and understand our religion our own selves, we wouldn't rely so blindly on these Mullahs. To outline this point, how many of us go home and look up controversial things [particularly the context of various verses of the Quran which are so rampantly and wrongly used by terrorists to justify their cause] in the Quran and the Saheeh Bukhari [amongst other books]? I reckon 90-95% of people don't do that and never will since they themselves want to give power to a person to dictate to them how they should live. Is this perhaps a display of the slave mentality from over 60 years ago when we were not an independent nation? I assure these people that the British have left long since, and they should start thinking for themselves instead of relying on others to do their thinking.

If we were able to think and make decisions ourself, we also wouldn't need opportunist politicians like Benazir, Nawaz Sharif, Altaf Hussain, Fazl-ur-Rehman, Qazi Hussein Ahmed and many others who play on our weaknesses and disunity based off petty issues. The first two were corrupt and looted the economy, the third one is a terrorist [90's in Karachi + May 12, anyone?] and the latter two are merely religious nutjobs who can't do enough to project their non-existent powers so they try to keep airing anti-Musharraf feelings. I wouldn't mind seeing these politicians getting the barrel end of a shotgun stuck down their throats for lying and deceiving the general public alongside their own voters numerous times. The sad thing is that quite a few people still want to bring these corrupt people back thinking that they will solve their problems when they have never done so in the past, despite repeated opportunities to do so. And herein we see why democracy shall remain a failure in Pakistan and why military rule, even though it is distasteful, has always proved more effective.

In our haste to criticize Musharraf, we conveniently forget every other good thing he has done. Are good things done by him so easily forgettable? Will we, in a similar manner, forget the wrong things he has done to appreciate his good things? Both are wrong approaches and we must acknowledge the good and the wrong things he has done to give an intelligent opinion.


What role has the media played in this?

The role of the media is a tricky one. It has done good by giving 24 hours coverage to the events. The journalists risked their lives to bring the news and ongoing events to the public and for that, they get two thumbs up for their efforts. Unfortunately, some reporters lost their lives in the crossfire. Their services will be remembered.

However, there has been a negative aspect to this too. The media has been furthering its agenda regarding its stand-off with the government. I have seen more negative comments than positive ones. They are showing dead bodies and the injured which will just inflame people exactly as President Musharraf said in an earlier press conference. One particular channel doing this is Geo TV. I was a strong supporter of Geo until some time back but their self victimizing has degraded their value to me. Initially, they reported the events just as well as other channel like ARYOne World, Aaj TV, etc but in the recent days, they alongside other channels [including those above], have started doing some highly undesirable things. Have they not seen how international media [like CNN, BBC, etc] specifically avoids showing the bloody scenes of the war in Iraq despite the so-called "freedom of speech" which they have? I reckon it's one of rare things which the international media does right. By showing dead bodies and blood, they are just inflaming the public and trying to get public support with these cheap tactics. They have continuously been taking pot shots at the governments decision to not allow the journalists and reporters inside sensitive areas around Jamia Hifsa and the Red Mosque. It is rightly stated that absolute power corrupts. Geo is a willing victim of this corruption! And I have this to say:

Geo, you have failed me and unknowingly, the millions of Pakistanis which trust(ed) you for unbiased truthful reporting.


That's all for now. I have been avoiding writing on this issue since we Pakistanis get inflamed too easily on issues involving religion but the path to improvement starts with realization of the problem itself. I am hopeful that the walk on that path has started after today's operation against the Red Mosque radicals.




Asad  General 
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Comments made

I reckon 90-95% of people don't do that and never will since they themselves want to give power to a person to dictate to them how they should live. Is this perhaps a display of the slave mentality from over 60 years ago when we were not an independent nation?



The problem in the first sentence is so prevalent (including in America) that I don't think you have to look further than human nature for why it is.

Two generations after gaining freedom ought to be long enough, there's hardly anyone of importance left who really remembers those times, right? (Or that will be so soon.)

Looking at the various generations in America, you can see how e.g. the "Greatest Generation" (the ones who fought WWII) were scarred by the Great Depression. The next Silent Generation is quite different (you probably don't know of anyone from that generation, they were skipped over in e.g. Presidents, but my parents are from it).

The Baby Boomers, at least the first part of them, were raised by the Greatest Generation, and, well, it's pretty obvious the ones who set the tone for it have little in common with their fathers.

Bush the father is from the "Greatest". Clinton and Bush the son are early phase Boomers. All are not terribly bad representations of their generations.

BTW, thanks for your thoughts, they're insightful.

- Harold
10/07 21:05:22
@ hga:

In retrospect, yes, I should have thought about that.
10/07 21:46:54
Well, between Real Life and a bloody and very disturbing spectacle occurring in your own city, you are I'm sure rather distracted. I know I was on 9/11/01, when I was living in Arlington, VA about two miles NW of the Pentagon....

- Harold
11/07 00:57:34
Good article Asad. I agree with almost all of the stuff that you have posted.
11/07 01:05:45
@ hga:

Real life... mmmm... I can now enjoy saying that I am free from the menace of exams. :)

There is a certain amount of distraction, yes, but not that much. I reckon I just forgot to factor in the mob mentality and how people resist change to their own set ways.

You were near the Pentagon? Interesting. Must have been pretty tense then with crashing planes and panicking people.

I read a fic recently which had a "sixth" hidden side to the Pentagon for the US magical community's defence forces. How can a pentagon be a hexagram? ^_^
11/07 01:20:21
@ Zarrar Jareeh:

Thanks for commenting. Back to the barracks sonny! ;)
11/07 01:21:21
Tributes to our free media:

Today at Lunch Time when I got out of my office (Jang Building Blue Area Isb) to go to my car I found that an Alto is double parked behind it. I waited for half an hour than called my freind to come and pick me up. After 35 mins a woman came to the car and when I asked her why she has double parked for more than half an hour she asked me who the hell am I to ask this and tried to sit in the car and drive away. I held at her door and ask her to stop as I had called the ITP by that time. Just then another guy came from her office and started shouting at me that I dont have the decency to talk to ladies! My a@# ladies! My friend got in between and took me away.

It was afterwards that I learned from my friend that this so called lady is a reporter on GEO doing Parliment Cafeteria program. And the lady's supporter was also wearing a GEO badge. He told me that if required we will abuse you and also beat you!

Welcome to Free Media Era...

---------------------

Got this off a forum (PakWheels).
11/07 02:07:14
Asad - good article,

I agree with you entire on the demolishing of a mosque, Islam is a religion far beyond a simple brick structure, if we hold these items as our faith then we have moved away from the true essence of our religion.

Role of Govt - well the action had to be done, call me a conspiracy theorist but knowing well our leaders I strongly suspect a lot of foul play. And have doubted their actions on this issue since it first began. Musharraf DID do good things barely the first 2-3 years but since then. But Ghazi brothers, right or wrong did have a valid point when they argued DEGRADING MORALS OF OUR SOCIETY. I support them on that issue, we see it happening everyday even in our own lives.
12/07 14:18:43
@Asad
I agree with almost all of what you have written, I should have said more, even something about the media blackmail what GEO does. But one thing really bad is the death toll. There is something rather strange about the numbers told by the govt. and those reported by the media. Who should I believe?
12/07 19:20:14
Very interesting and sensible article.
14/07 04:39:03
re the free media, actually Pakistan's media are a national and international disgrace. PEMRA ordinance 2007 was ill thought out but properly thought out we need a law controlling these pesky journalists

how much does it cost to buy a story in a newspaper or airtime these days?
14/07 04:41:09
I am going to play the 'devils advocate' here and would like to hear your take on it.

Let's say that your democratically elected govt was sabotaged by a westernized, drinking, amoral general who then hand-picked a PM from an infidel country and imposed his one-man rule. Then on the orders of an infidel king (Bush), started bombing and killing the faithful who's only sin was to resist the infidel king's armies which had amassed all around them and had killed tens of thousands of their brethren in a newly declared Crusade war.

If the faithful were using a mosque to gather and discuss their plans of routing the infidel armies (and their locally hired mercenaries) is there a moral justification for their wholesale murder ?. Ask any American why they spend so much money on defense and tromping around the globe poking their nose in other people's business and their canned reply is, 'to protect our way of life'. Their 'way of life' being the Capitalist System based upon greed. So why should they, of all people, bemoan a Muslim trying to preserve his way of life, ie; giving greater glory to God ?.

The (puppet) govt.'s of Pakistan and Afghanistan have provided bases, logistics and troop support for infidel armies to kill Muslim brothers, sisters and children by the tens of thousands. If our govt.'s and jihadis were on the same page, do you think the Taliban would have opened two fronts, one against the infidel armies and the other against the local govt.s ?. You and I both know, that If NATO forces left Afghanistan tomorrow, it would suck the oxygen right out of the whole jihadi movement in the tribal belt, in a New York second.

So let's not jump and blame the selfless jihadi for creating the trouble and mayhem that surrounds us, just because the NY Times and CNN say it's so. Last time these guys snuck-in and established their bases inside our territories, we lost the whole sub-continent to them. And this time they didn't even bother dressing up as merchants...
26/07 05:06:48
bad article very bad article.illegal kis tarah hai masjid leagel the aur jamai hafza maulana sahab ne khud kaha tha ke islami nizam ka governoment elan kar de mein pervez mussaraf ke jotay uthanay ko tayar hon jamai hafza bhi garanay ko tayar hon phir islami nizam govt kyoun nehin latey sath islamabad mein 90 mosque ko notice diya 1 masjid tu 100 years purani hai us ko bhi garaya diya 7 majid shaheed kardein gain kyoun aakhir 1 church bhi gara kar patao goverment walo phir dekhtay hain kya ho ta hai .hazrat muhammad( saw) ke zamanay mein majid mein teerandazi ke practise muqabli hota tha mujahideen ke training hottey thay kya wo bhi galat tha naozbillah 03335452622 any question
26/02 23:43:19
@ Waqas:

You have the right to your narrow minded opinion. However, its validity is highly questionable. By saying that the mosque and madrassa was legal, you demonstrate that you have no idea of the issue at hand. Please read the article again to understand the legality of that mosque and madrassa.

Islamic 'nizam'? Which one? As I see it there is no one thing called Islamic 'nizam'. There are too many sects and divisions to just select one and declare it valid. Which is right and which is wrong?

I highly doubt Abdul Rasheed was ready to demolish the madrassa. There was no such thing declared at any time during the stand-off.

It doesn't matters how old a mosque is. What matters is the purpose it currently serves and whether it was legally built or not. A mosque is just a collection of bricks and cement. What makes a mosque a true mosque is what is actually being done there.

Don't try to play the religion card with me. That is just as disgusting as a certain group of Jews asking for sympathy based on what happened during the holocaust.

About your suggestion of demolishing a church as a counterstrike, you clearly display your immaturity and knee jerk attitude to events. What have the Christians in Pakistan done to deserve such ire? FYI, mobs have burnt a few churches in Pakistan and it is reprehensible that such things occurred when they did.
27/02 01:35:13
Asad,
Great Article.Thanks for writing.I love your blog and articles man.Write more articles please!!
10/05 02:51:04
MR ..... A SLAM O ALAIKUM I READ UR COMMENTS ON GHAZI SAHIB SHAHDAT .I JUST WANT TO TELL U WAT IS THE MEANING OF TERROR .I WAS IN TERROR WHEN I HEARD THAT MILITARY IS IN ISLAMABAD 4 OPERATION.WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE 4 THAT.MY DEAR WE DISTURBED A LOT WHEN WE LOSE OUR CHILDREN'S.WHEN THEY LEFT US ALONE WE DON'T KILL THEM.IT IS NOT ALLOWED IN ANY RELIGION TO DESTROY ALLAH,S HOME. IN CRISTIANITY IF A TERRORIST GO TO CHURCH TO SAVE HIS LIFE NOBODY ATTACKED ON HIM. WE COULD NOT FORGET WAT ALL HAPPENS IN ISB .AND TIME WILL SHOW U WHO WAS RIGHT AND WHO WAS WRONG
25/05 18:15:11
@ UMEMUSA83:

You clearly have no idea what you are talking about. If you were terrorized by the idea of the Army being in the city, you have issues. The Army was protecting the civilians of the city. I was tired of the games those terrorists inside the mosque were playing and harassing civilians by implementing vigilante law.

We avoid the underlying reasons and that the parents of those children inside the mosque should share in the blame for the lives of the children lost. Were they so out of their mind that they didn't even investigate what their children were being taught and how they were being brainwashed? The government officials who aided in the transportation of weapons inside the mosque are equally to blame.

When you say that demolishing a mosque is not allowed, you merely expose your lack of information and knowledge about Islam itself. If Prophet Muhammad ordered that a mosque be demolished when its usage was for negative purposes, who are you to question the action? If you do not agree with what the Prophet did, given that every single action of his was by the will of Allah, you are clearly not a Muslim.

What ever happens in Islamabad, worse happens in Karachi and Lahore. Should these other two cities be handed over to militants too?
25/05 21:37:34

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