I refuse to lose my religion!

Published: September 22, 2012

I know now that I am doing the right thing – I refuse to give in to dishonesty, I refuse to suffer fools and stay at home and, most importantly, I refuse to lose my religion. DESIGN: ERUM SHAIKH

What about the rest of us? Meaning the living; those of us who have to make a living, those who have to get to work despite knowing that there is a fair chance we might get shot at for not showing enough solidarity. How do you express solidarity through violence for a system that is about peace in times of chaos, anyway?

I was supposed to be angry today. I was, still am. I am fuming, in fact, because I work for a newspaper and part of my job is to be at work come hell or high water.

I managed to do that and nearly got lynched in the process. I was a block away from my office when a group of kids surrounded my car with sticks. Our car was stopped and just as they were aiming for the windshield I stepped out and asked them what exactly they thought they were doing.

They stopped immediately and slowly backed away. I have two theories here of what stopped them – the sheer surprise of a woman stepping out amid them screaming or a collective moment of self-reflection of how attacking their fellow countrymen and women, risking lives, even their own, was making any sense. I am pretty sure it was the former and not the latter.

I wish it was the latter even though the former would have made me feel a little heroic. Had it been a little bit of the latter, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

I walked in fuming and a colleague of mine, who also had to snake his way through lynch mobs to get to work, told me how he stopped to ask a policeman in his super secure mobile what the safest route to take was; he was told to go home and sleep.

Words of wisdom, surely.

As I started writing this through a red haze of fury, my editor walked in and I go off on a rant on how unfair a day like this is. My editor is one of those people who manages to counter the chaos of a newsroom and daily rants with an otherworldly calm. He silently took out a 500 rupee-note and asked me to read what one of the inscriptions on the note said,

‘Husool-e-rizk-Halal Ibadat hai’  (Striving for an honest livelihood is a form of worship).

The day progressed with the usual newsroom mania that ensues on a day like this. Eventually the race to get pages done overwhelmed everything else.

The anger didn’t subside though. It was channelled however to a different direction. I know now that I am doing the right thing – I refuse to give in to dishonesty, I refuse to suffer fools and stay at home and, most importantly, I refuse to lose my religion.

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Amna Iqbal

Amna Iqbal

Publications designer at The Express Tribune, she tweets @amna_iqb (twitter.com/amna_iqb)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • MonsieurCritique

    The title makes no sense what so ever, in the context.
    And well, good for you that your car didn’t get totaled by the maniacs.Recommend

  • The Guardian

    Very relevant title.Recommend

  • furqan

    Lady this country will stay the same unless same comes to their homes. The way the protested was like those of in stone age. shame on them.Recommend

  • Salman

    Well done. These fools have no reason to be wasting their time over such trivial matters.Recommend

  • BlackJack

    I fail to understand why you people even think in this manner. All of you seek to point fingers at someone’s else’s interpretation of religion and think or say smugly that you are better than them – and then some of you don’t stop at that. This is the root cause of this entire problem – and instead of taking religion out of the discussion, even educated, relatively sane people like you insist on somehow dragging it in.Recommend

  • Ahmed

    Perhaps the single good thing to come out of yesterday’s protests was that they brought the average Karachiites’ routine struggles to affect out of touch snobs like the author and others like her. Recommend

  • Parvez

    You are not ony a good person but a brave one as well.
    I have come to the conclusion that what happened in the major cities of Pakistan on Friday was orchestrated with political undertones and the religious aspect was just an excuse. The reason I say this is because after the film surfaced and trouble started in Libya and other Arab countries nothing happened in Pakistan for a full 4 days and then all hell broke lose.
    Why ??Recommend

  • Yasir Masood

    What to say on such a situation other than to ask God to have mercy on our souls…Recommend

  • Arooj Khan

    Well written and amicably expressed.Recommend

  • http://India Feroz

    Dear Amna, I think the events of the day overwhelmed you. You started out trying to communicate something but what came through was gibberish.
    The link between whatever you wanted to communicate and your title “I refuse to lose my religion” is tenuous at best. How can anyone lose their Religion ? Either you drop it to free yourself from the yoke and become an atheist OR take refuge in another Religion in your search for utopia. I think an intelligent lady like you is capable of a lot better than this article.
    No hard feelings, sister !Recommend

  • Zalim Singh

    welcome to PakistanRecommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    Your Religion is your own, unique in every way. Its not the Religion per se, but you, you conscious, the way you have grown up, the education you have got, the experiences in life.

    In stead of saying you will not lose your Religion, you can say I will not lose myself or my resolve. Stop this Religion non-sense, saying your interpretation is the truer one and is better than other’s. Because the guy opposite to you is saying the same thing.

    Why not fight Religious bigotry with sense, without invoking Religion into every other thing? Sheesh!Recommend

  • http://tribune.com p r sharma

    I think by religion the author means to endeavor for honest livelihood or sincerity and devotion to work despite all odds .. This is the religion she refuses to lose.
    Great saying . I appreciate. Recommend

  • mr. righty rightist

    Now imagine another girl.

    She is surrounded by a similar mob.

    In fact, the mob has kidnapped her from her home and taken to an unknown place.

    You have a car, you have a job…she is just a student, she’s a minor, she’s afraid.

    You were surrounded by kids…this poor girl is surrounded by men with menacing looks and flowing beards.

    The mob threw stones at your car….but this mob forces her to convert to a different religion. The mob threatens to kill her family. Who knows?! one of them even rapes her.

    Now imagine the name of the girl to be Rinkle, Dimple or Rimsha or something (not from your religion).

    Now imagine such things happening on a daily basis in different part of Pakistan.

    So what makes you so special. Wait for a few more years. You will witness hell in your own streets.

    I can wish you gud luck. But we both know it ain’t gonna make no difference.Recommend

  • gp65

    @p r sharma: “I think by religion the author means to endeavor for honest livelihood or sincerity and devotion to work despite all odds .. This is the religion she refuses to lose”.

    I think that the people criticizing this blog get what you are saying. But in effect she is simply saying that HER religion ” work is worship” is better than their religion. This argument is the root cause of problems in Pakistan. People need to get back to making religion a personal matter between them and their God and not drag religion into every argument.Recommend

  • Fatima

    I understand the sentiment and completely agree with it. Though, having some trouble connecting the title with the content. How you losing your religion? Recommend