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
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
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 produced.
The vicious 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
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 non-devotee’s perspective.
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 possibility.
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 smitten twice.