The Hazards Of Religious Extremism

The Hazards Of Religious Extremism

By Dr Maqsood Jafri

There are many religions in the world. Every religion is the jumble and package of some rites and rituals. Basically, theses rituals were a sort of spiritual course to train people for purification of soul and for social courtesy and civilized morals and manners.

Some religions preached very rigorous and hectic spiritual practices which were inhuman and irrational. These religious rites, ultimately, became the apple of discord, destruction and devastation. The adherents of different religions took these rituals as the core and crux of religion and did not understand the basic purpose of these rituals.

The spirit of these rituals was to train illiterate and savages to become good humans. But, unfortunately, the clerics/ clergy of all religions took theses rituals as religion and put aside the spirit of religion, which is the adoration of One God and Service of all humans.

One God means oneness of all humans. But, tragically, every religion has its own God. The followers of every religion claim to go to heaven and wish the people of other religions go to hell. This rubbish outlook is the product of their dogmatic and negative mind set. This combat between heaven and hell made the human life worse than hell.

It is my considered opinion, after my neutral and analytical study of history and religions that the misuse of religion by the clergy brought horrible and horrendous havoc to humanity. Now, if we intend to stop the religious extremism and want to promote peace, then we will have to unite all humans under the banner of humanity. Human rights are the Real Religion.

Instead of finding faults in other religions, we must find unifying factors and shun unnecessary conflicts and controversies. Religious debates, rebuttals and discussions are absolutely futile, fruitless and toxic. If a person is trustworthy and a good human, he is the real representative of the Divine mission.

We are nobodies to distribute the tickets of heaven or issue the decrees of hell. All this mess is created by the so-called custodians of religions. The priests act as they are prophets and issue the decrees and hoodwink the followers who are more prone to rituals.

Now, the question arises: Is religion necessary? The simple answer to this sensitive question is that Rational Religion is necessary and Irrational Religion is not necessary. Now again, another question arises: which religion is rational and which one is irrational? The religion which teaches nobility, justice, love, equality, peace, humanity is a rational religion and which teaches extremism, dogmatism, prejudices, hatred, and spiritless rituals is an irrational religion.

Irrational religious attitude divides humans. If the spirit of all religions is same, then why not act upon that spirit? If all claim that their religion teaches humanity, then why not to embrace humanity and fight for human rights and make this world the semblance and emblem of heaven?

A few years ago, I attended a dinner party, in which, I encountered a Russian intellectual. We just got engaged in a chit chat about Marxism. When, I told him, I am a revolutionary and believe in God, he was astonished on my statement. He thought, how a believer in God can be a revolutionary. He said: “Religion is the basic cause of dissent and discord amongst humans”.

I said, “of course, religion is one cause of discord but there are other causes as well. The Russians and the Chinese are Marxists. Both states do not believe in religion; then why they are at loggerheads. They are antagonistic to each other”?

He had no answer. I said, “the cause of collision is the interpretation of Marxism. The Russians believe in Marx- Lenin interpretation and the Chinese believe in Marx- Mao interpretation.” Similarly, in all religions, the differences in their followers are because of the differences of interpretations. Dr Iqbal in an Urdu couplet had said:

احکام ترے حق ہیں مگر اپنے مفّسر

تاویل سے قرآں کو بنا سکتے ہیں پاژند

O, God your ordinations are just and right,
but theses interpreters of the Quran can change it into Avesta.

The human history is replete in the blood of humans in the name of religion. The fights between the Hindus and Muslims, between Hindus and Sikhs, between the Jews and the Christians, between the Jews and the Muslims, between the Christians and the Muslims are the black spots on the brow of humanity.

The Crusades between the Christians and the Muslims are the worst type of fight in the name of religion. The Pope ignited the flame of hatred in the name of Sacred Jerusalem and painted it with the red blood of numberless humans.

Recently, in Rwanda, the Muslims were cut into pieces by the Buddhists. The Palestinians are mercilessly being killed in Palestine by Israelis. Recently, a beautiful small kid was killed by an Israeli soldier. He put his foot on his neck and strangulated this lovely child. The boy cried and said: “I am suffocating and dying”. But the uncouth Israeli soldier thought it his religious duty to kill even a Muslim kid. The video of this heart wrenching scene was viral and the world was stunned. Every lover of humanity was sunk into the chasm of agony and anger on this inhuman act.

When the Muslims ruled over Spain, there were harmonious relations between the Muslims and the Christians. The Christians were happy because they were equally treated and were protected. They enjoyed religious freedom and social equality. They were not forced to embrace Islam. The Omayyad Muslim rulers acted upon the Quranic verse: “There is no compulsion in religion.” But, when the Muslim rule was ended, the dogmatic Christians randomly and ruthlessly killed the Muslims. Even their ladies and children were not spared. They were asked to accept Christianity or exile. Jesus Christ gave the message of love, humanity and peace. But what his followers did with the chaste and innocent ladies and kids? Shame on them.

A few days ago the additional Inspector General of the Punjab Mr. Ghulam Rasool Zahid who is a poet and scholar as well called me and sent his book titled: کوسوو میں ایک سال (One Year in Kosovo) through eminent poet and literary scholar Dr Nisar Turabi. While reading the book, I was stunned. This book is an eye opener. It is very informative and insightful read. The MD of National Book Foundation, Islamabad has published it. It is an excellent piece of literature and travelogue.

After the dismemberment of Soviet Union, Yugoslav like other several states got independent position. Albania, Balkan and other parts and provinces declared independence. Kosovo is a predominantly a Muslim state, while its neighbouring state Serbia is a Christian state.

Historically, in Middle Ages, in fourteenth century, the Christian king, Stephen Dothan conquered some parts of Balkan and established his rule. In 1389, AD, the Serbs were defeated by Muslim Ottoman Dynasty and Kosovo was included in the Ottoman Empire. The war broke up between Serbia and Kosovo. Serbia intended to conquer Kosovo, attacked Kosovo and declared it a sanctum omen to kill the Muslims. The element of religious bigotry and extremism was included in this political war.

In 1999, on the orders of the President of America, Bill Clinton, the NATO forces intervened and provided military succour to stop the unprecedented atrocities perpetrated on defenceless People of Kosovo and Bosnia Herzegovina. Numberless Muslims were bestially killed. Their ladies were gang raped and kids shot dead. This all happened in the frenzy of religious extremism. This inhuman and horrible plight is described on page 112 of the book of Ghulam Rasool Zahid. One gets shattered on reading the inflections perpetrated by the Serbs on the Muslims of Bosnia and Kosovo.

The Muslim ladies were gang raped and molested. Their bellies were ripped and babes killed in their wombs. The ears and noses of babies were cut. A baby was roasted alive on flames and his father was asked to eat the roasted meet of his son. Forcibly, a piece of meat was put into his mouth. He fainted, had heart attack and died there and then. No human can support such an unprecedented crime and cruelty. Is this the teaching of Jesus Christ?

I have never heard or read such inhuman act which the Serbs did with Muslim families. The Serbs declared this heinous war as a Religious War. When religion will be exploited to this pernicious and pugnacious extent, then who will support or favour religion in this enlightened era?

Now, there are only two ways left. One, total rejection and negation of all religions as the atheists, materialists and Marxists do. Second; rational and humanistic approach to religion. Religious harmony should be promoted. Live and let live should be our religious goal. The religious extremists must be condemned and forsaken. All humans must be loved, protected and respected.

In 2005, a meeting of international scholars of different religions was held in UNO secretariat in New York. I was also invited in that conference. I had suggested that a booklet should be published, which should introduce the basics of all major religions on universal and fraternal level. This booklet should promote tolerance for all religions and should be made compulsory in all schools and colleges world over. The Secretary General of UN Mr. Kofi Annan was presiding over the meeting. My proposal was highly appreciated by the participants of the conference.

I strongly appeal to all the lovers of humanity to promote peace culture and harmony in all mankind, irrespective of the country, credo, culture, caste, class and creed differences and unite humans in the name of Humanity. Our slogan should be: “Humans unity in the name of humanity.”

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Voice of East.

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Categories: Ideology, Opinion

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