Last week, in a small village known as Kot Radha Kishan, a sad and brutal incident took place which sadly failed to move the nation yet again.
A young couple belonging to the Christian faith was lynched and then burned alive in a brick kiln. Why? What had they done to deserve this horrible form of mob justice which seems to becoming a norm in Pakistani society? Nothing, they had not done anything. Their only mistake was that they had taken a loan from the brick kiln owner and had failed to pay back on time.
Both husband and wife worked at the brick kiln, when they couldn`t pay back the loan amount, the kiln owner levelled a false allegation of “desecrating the Holy Quran” upon the couple. This news spread like wild fire through out the entire village and within minutes an angry mob converged upon their small house. They were beaten, dragged out from their homes, the people used whatever they could to beat them to death and when they were barely alive, the angry mob tossed them into the burning hot brick kiln.
Initial investigation proved that the couple had not committed any desecration, and for a second let us assume that even if they had desecrated the Quran, the procedure in the law is clear. The law should have taken its course.
I`ll be labelled as a liberal fascist for saying this, but I`ll still say,for this is the truth. Where are these angry mobs when Muslims desecrate the Holy Quran? Have we forgotten the case of “Rimsha Masih” where a young Christian girl was accused of a similar act, in the end the cleric of a local mosque pleaded guilty that it was he who had desecrated the Quran to blame the Christian community in his area! What happened to that cleric? Why is Rimsha Masih still in prison? The only person who talked about freeing her was the late Punjab Governor. Salman Taseer, who was gunned down by his own guard for committing blasphemy, which Salman Taseer never did.
Mr.Taseer on right side
Last month a “so-called” Islamic cleric appeared on television, clearly in a drunk state, he couldn`t even talk properly and in this state he recited Quran, wasn`t this blasphemy of this highest order? Had a shia cleric or any Christian done it, they would have been lynched and murdered in minutes. But no, when the head of Islamic Ideology Council does it, it becomes legit!
Taking false oath over Quran is also an act of blasphemy, but you`ll never see angry mob lynch any minister for this act. Nope, furthermore everyday thousands of false oaths over Quran are given in courts, but no, you`ll never see angry mob outside courts to ensure justice.
However when it comes to Christians, Hindus or any other minority, these angry mobs come uncalled as dutiful patriotic servants.
It will not be just on my part to restrict this debate here, allow me to explain the religious liberty given by Prophet Muhammad [Peace be upon him]. The act of an angry mob in no way reflects the teachings of Islam.
A delegation of Christian scholars came to Prophet Muhammad[Peace be upon him], they stayed in Masjid e Nabwi-Mosque of Prophet ( Second most Holy site for Muslims) and when the time for their worship came, Prophet Muhammad [Peace be upon him] allowed them to pray according to their own faith inside the second most Holy mosque in Islam.
“This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.
No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.
No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.
No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.
Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).”
When Muslims were being persecuted in Makkah by the pagans and the tribal elders, Prophet Muhmmad[Peace be upon him] gave permission to the Muslims to migrate to Abyssinia ( Present day Ethiopia ) , Negus the King of Abyssinia was a devout Christian and he gave the Muslims sanctuary and allowed them to worship according to their religion.
When Caliph Umar[r.a] conquered Jerusalem and Sophronius, the Patriarch of Jerusalem offered him to pray inside the Church of Holy Sepulchre, Caliph Umar refused and said “Had I prayed inside the church, the Muslims coming after me would take possession of it, saying that I had prayed in it..”
This is the extent of protection granted to Non-Muslims. Furthermore when Imam Hussain bin Ali[a.s] was martyred and the heads of 72 martyrs of Karbala were being taken to Damascus, it was a Christian Priest who took the blessed head of Imam Hussain for one night and showered it with rose petals and kissed it in respect.
Furthermore,the incident of the martyrs of Cordova is not well known among the Muslims. When Spain was under Muslim rule, some Christians used to publicly abuse and mock Prophet Muhammad[Peace be upon him], but what did the courts do? The Muslim judges knew the gravity of the situation, this was only a small group of Christians and therefore the judges adopted delay tactics to negotiate with the Christians. At times they even offered the abusers to convert to Islam only as a token so that their death sentence can be waived off, no one would check on how they chose to live later. As a result only 48 Christians were decapitated after a long trial during which everything was done to avert this fate. Why? To keep relations among both faiths cordial. Muslims of Spain didn`t resort to mob justice, even now a large number of Muslims reside in Spain with religious harmony. [Muhammad – Karen Armstrong]
More examples can be quoted. The point I want to make is simple, as the Quran states “La ikraha fi deen” (There is no compulsion in religion). Protecting and safeguarding the religious minorities is a responsibility of Muslims. If they commit any thing wrong then law should take its course, there is absolutely no room for mob justice.