The imagery from Jaranwala, Faisalabad has shocked the entire nation and many are unable to grasp the reality that has unfolded right in front of their eyes. As per the news reports, more than 15 Churches were ransacked and burnt by an angry mob claiming that they are trying to find the alleged blasphemer who burnt the Holy Quran, the homes and residential areas of the Christians were attached in the process. The incident took place on the 16th of August in the afternoon and soon, social media was stormed with videos and pictures of mobs with sticks and petrol, burning everything, they were encountering. Another video message was circulating in which an announcement was being made to all Muslims that they should come out of their house and gather around to demand the immediate arrest of that alleged Christian blasphemer.
With incidents like these, we might need to contemplate on how education can be used to combat extremism in our society.
Christians under attack in Faislabad today توہین قرآن پہ مسیحی بستی کو جلانے کا خدشہ
فیصل آباد ۔۔۔ کی تحصیل جڑانوالہ میں سلیم مسیح پہ قرآن کی توہین کا الزام مسیحی بستی کو جلائے جانے کا خدشہ ۔۔۔ پولیس موقع پہ موجود ۔۔۔ حالات سخت خراب ہیں۔
مسلمانوں کو طیش دلوانے کے لیے… pic.twitter.com/xcpAvbOj5i
— Sara Taseer Shoaib (@sarataseer) August 16, 2023
As per the recent media reports, after a day, Police have registered cases against the perpetrators of the violence and have charged them with articles like 295-B, which deals with ransacking religious places of worship, many people belonging to different organizations are being charged under these laws and one hopes that swift action will be taken by the prosecution to make sure that all people involved get penalized but given the past track record of such cases, one must not get too hopeful. Whatever the judicial outcome may be, we think it is high time for us as a Nation to sit back and retrospect on the policies that have led us to these circumstances that we are facing currently and it is like the monster of extremism is out of the bottle and we have no way to deal with it. This essay aims to highlight the importance of education in combating extremism.
The Root Cause
Before dwelling on the details, it is better to first grasp and ask what can be the root cause of such violence to exist in our society, many liberal commentators believe that the existing blasphemy laws are the sole reason that such extremism is now a mainstream reality in our country while the religious circles think otherwise. The overwhelming condemnations from all across the aisle can be seen as a positive development, especially from renowned religious clerics like Mufti Muneeb Ur Rehman and others. But things have gone beyond the condemnation now and it is high time for these religious clerics to own the responsibility they are entitled to, and make sure to not only trace the actual cause but also to keep the sentiments in control whenever such incidents take place.
جڑانوالہ سانحے کی جامع تحقیقات کر کے ذمے داروں کو قرارِ واقعی سزا دی جائے، میڈیا یک طرفہ موقف پیش نہ کرے، قانون کو ہاتھ میں لینے کی کسی کو بھی اجازت نہیں دی جاسکتی،پاکستان کے ہر شہری کی جان ،مال اور آبرو کی حفاظت ریاست کی ذمے داری ہے،مفتی منیب الرحمٰن
17 اگست2023 pic.twitter.com/7rEbTyxxoi
— Mufti Munib ur Rehman (@MuniburRehman55) August 17, 2023
Education to Combat Extremism
Suggesting that education will solve this problem of extremism in our society is by no means suggesting the modern system, but rather the traditional system has more power to inculcate moral values in the masses of the society. Again, to carry out this society, scholars have to play a proactive role to control this menace. In the past, the state of Pakistan launched the initiative of “Paigham-e-Pakistan” to counter the insurgencies in the tribal areas and that played a pivotal role in addressing the challenge of religious militancy, once the scholars were on board with the state, it became easier for the state to target and eliminate any splinter elements. In my opinion, a similar initiative needs to be taken to address the current challenge at our hands.
Special attention must be given to religious seminaries as they cater to more people than modern educational institutions. It is time we realize our duty as Muslims who are the majority that we are responsible for the safety and security of our fellow brethren, no matter from which religion they belong, as we have been doing that in the past, the Jews who fled from Spain were welcomed to stay under the Ottoman Empire’s rule. Hence, we Muslims need not look at the West to get our moral values, rather we should reconnect with our own legacies, only then we will be able to manifest our inspirations of building an Islamic just society, and education can play a key role to combat extremism in society.
Related: The Message of Independence Day
The writer, Muhammad Saad, is an M.Phil scholar of Political Science at GCU Lahore.