When did religion become a tool for violence?
A few days ago, a story popped up on international media:
“Three Muslims were burnt alive in Bihar, India, and their village was ransacked by a mob of 5,000 people.”
Somehow, the news seemed like déjà vu. Oh wait! We did the same to Christians living in Pakistan a few years ago, when a large mob of Muslims burnt the Gojra Village down to ashes.
A major question that came up after the incident in India was, do Pakistanis really have the right to defend the three Muslims burnt alive?
The Hindu community defended its act by pleading that the dead body of their boy was found seven days after he went missing. And this boy was allegedly in a relation with a Muslim girl. The blame of the boy’s murder was put on the Muslim community, which led to this tragedy.
It wasn’t long before Pakistani social media crusaders started raising voice against this barbaric act. There were angry Facebook pages posting vitriol against Indians and one could even see sponsored stories on Facebook’s home page against the attack. However, in all their rage, I realised that people had completely forgotten what we did to our minorities just a few years back; in fact, recent incidents like that of the Joseph Colony and the tragedy with Shahbaz and Shama are still fresh in my mind.
— Reema Omer (@reema_omer) January 19, 2015
@OzerKhalid such beyond barbaric killing of Muslims for no reason is surely not acceptable and tolerable.It's very sad though,May they R.I.P
— Fatima Fateh (@Fateh_Fatima) January 19, 2015
— Nida Khan Yousafzai (@NidaYousufzai) January 19, 2015
And it’s not just with the Christians. Ahmadis and Shia Muslims have faced the same fate in Pakistan. Going as far back as the start of this millennium, we can see that oppression has been a common theme here, regardless of religion. It’s more like a phenomenon, a mental state, where the sense of “I am right” gives a certain group of people an open license to destroy humanity.
It is not astonishing that this mind set is present among certain groups, who take it for granted that any disapproval with their beliefs shall result in immediate death of the counterpart. My question to everyone reading this article, regardless of any religious or sectarian affiliation, is: what have we made of our religions?
Maybe in the war of “my religion is right” and “my sect is the true form of religion”, we have lost the true meaning of religion. Between blurred lines of the true meaning of belief, we have forgotten that its love which drives us and this world. I wonder if Moses, Jesus, Muhammad (pbuh) or even Krishna ever killed anyone in their name. They didn’t – all of them preached love.
Religion, that is supposed to bring peace and tranquillity amongst humans, has become more of a tool to exploit differences. And it’s not just different religions fighting each other. We have sects and sub-sects as well, which are hell-bent on eliminating each other.
Where have we buried the true meaning of religion? Maybe we believe that following clerics blindly and giving money in the name of religion frees us of all the pain of afterlife. And this selfish attitude has brought humanity to a level where killing people assures us of a comfortable afterlife.
Let religion be a source of peace for humanity. Let it be yours and everyone else’s personal affair.
Live and let live.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.