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The 2nd 9/11 For Muslims

“No one can lower the status of Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) given to him by Almighty Allah”, said Altaf Hussain, the chief of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). “We need to take some solid steps against the matter of blasphemous caricatures instead of showing emotional response”, he added while addressing a gathering in respect of “Dialogue on changing scenario of world and inter faith harmony” in Karachi.

Now-a-days, Muslims all over the world seem to be angry ever since the French satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo” once again printed the blasphemous caricatures of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). They are expressing their annoyance by staging protest rallies on the roads against this.In some places, these protests got violent especially in Nigeria where dozens of churches were set ablaze. Like other parts of the world, in Pakistan too, religious groups are on roads for the same reason. Their leaders are seeing the publication of the cartoon as a planned conspiracy to defame Islam. Even Siraj-ul-Haq, the chief of Jamat-e-Islami (Ameer) warned that the anti-Islam policies of the west could plunge the world into the 3rd world war.

Earlier, we have seen the protest in the West against the attack at Charlie Hebdo by the militants in which at least 12 people got killed. Thousands of people gathered near the office of the magazine to express their solidarity with the magazine. In addition to it, the million march as part of “a cry for freedom” was attended by over 3.8 million people including the heads of 40 different countries. A part from the peaceful march, there were some extremists who attacked some mosques after the Paris tragedy that fueled to the mounting tension between the Muslims and the Western world.

It is worth noticing that Arab League, The Union des Organisations Islamiques de France (representing more than 250 Muslim organisations across France) and the Egypt’s Al-Azhar university condemned the attack at Charlie Hebdo. Tariq Ramadan, a leading Muslim thinker, commented: “It is not the prophet who was avenged, it is our religion, our values and Islamic principles that have been betrayed and tainted”. The mounting religiously-based heat between the west and the Muslim world, is causing a serious threat to the global peace that needs to be nipped in the bud at the earliest.

It is on record that after the 9/11 tragedy, world had the similar tension between the two religious communities whose negative consequences badly affected the Muslims all over the world. Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya became the victims of the war emerged after the terrorist attack on WTC in US. Pakistan also became the indirect victim of the same. At that time too, the heat was raised especially by the Muslim religious groups which termed the America`s hunting the culprits as a war against Muslims and, thus, declared “Jihad” to fight the same.

We should not forget that this was not OIC, Arab League, or Al-Azhar university that was representing the Muslims during the period from the 9/11 tragedy to the war in Afghanistan. Rather, it was Al-Qaida and its allied militant groups including Taliban which brought about the disaster and severe problems that the Muslim have not yet come out from.

But, it was very strange that after about a decade when Muslims had faced great damages, some of these religious leaders termed the Twin Tower attack as a well-planned conspiracy of the west to drag Muslims into the war. The question is if the 9/11 was a planned conspiracy hatched against the Muslims, why did the Muslim groups become the victim of the same? Why did they term it as Jihad? Should they not have avoided it so as to save the Muslim world from losses that they have not come out  yet?

Very unfortunately, once again we are seeing alike situation as developed in 2001. This time it is Al-Qaida Yemen which has proudly owned the Charlie Hebdo attack and it is Boko Haram`s under controlled Nigeria where dozens of churches have been burnt during deadly protests over the publication of blasphemous cartoon.In Pakistan too, its traditionally Jihad-supporting religious parties have started provoking people not only to protest against the insulting cartoons, but also against west after a complete silence over the killings of about 60,000 people in the country. These are the same groups which had incited the common Pakistanis to go at Jihad against America and its allied countries after the Nine eleven.

The question is, should the religious leaders who had sealed their lips over the brutal killings of our children at Army Public School, tell the world how the Pakistanis` feelings got offended due to the blasphemous cartoon?No, not at all!In fact, it would be a suicide to let these so-called Islamic groups or organizations represent, rather misrepresent, the views of the Muslim world.But, if we still do so, we deserve neither to regret over the distorted image of Islam and Muslims being conveyed to rest of the word, nor to object to any military retaliation from the west against the “Jihadi” terrorists and the sates directly or indirectly supporting them.

Taking into account all these, MQM`s Altaf Hussain seems very logical when he urges to avoid emotional reactions to the blasphemy and to go for interfaith harmony in order to nip the global division on religious basis in the bud. He rightly criticized the OIC (Organization of Islamic Countries) for having played practically no role in dealing with such sensitive issues.

Yes, it is a fact that the attack on Charlie Hebdo attack an anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim feelings in France, but it is also a fact that these were the same French people who gave the title of hero” to the Muslim police officer who sacrificed his life outside the magazine office and to Lassana Bathily, the African Muslim who saved about 30 human lives in the Kosher super market hostage incident. Similarly, we should appreciate the role of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel who vowed to protect the German Muslims considering the weekly marches by the PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West).  On top of all, the words of Pope Francis are of the utmost importance when he criticized the re-printing of blasphemous cartoon in the name of freedom of expression saying,

“One cannot provoke, one cannot insult others people`s faith, one cannot make fun of faith”,“There is a limit, every religion has its dignity…in freedom of expression there are limits”, he added. Even Pope said,“Those who make fun of faith can expect a punch.”

No other better words could be uttered in response to the blasphemy in the name of freedom of expression. Muslims all over the world must appreciate Pope Francis for coming up with a neutral version over the issue.

Therefore, it is wise to consider Charlie Hebdo attack and the Prophet Muhammad`s caricatures as a planned conspiracy against Muslims and we should try to maintain religious harmony with the other nations of the world.

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