(This article was written for the 64th birthday of Pakistan and was originally published here, on Let Us Build Pakistan)
Whereas Pakistani society, including the Ulema, have largely looked at third gender community with sympathy, and pity, believing their plight to be ordained by Allah, Ibtisam in his Friday khutba, reproached the Supreme Court’s recent measures to have a third box on the NIC cards for eunuchs. According to him then even those naturally born in the condition of being third gendered ought not to be seen as humans. This would come as a surprise to even the bearded class.
Let me give you a cursory look over the views, verified via his facebook page he personally responds to, held and propagated by Ibtisam. He states that in order to overcome moral/sexual corruption we must promote polygamy, marriage in early years (which to me sounds encouraging child marriage), segregation of sexes in schools and functions, and avoiding music/dance. Why is it assumed by morally self righteous beards that a woman and man just wouldn’t be able to control their lust if they were to sit together alone and unsupervised? Music and dance can be used for constructive purposes as well. Music has proven its scientific benefits. Dance traditions such as Kathakali are expressive and an art form of storytelling. In a second we are advised to leave our ingenuous cultural values of centuries for those of another land and time. To 21st century’s problems our esteemed Ulema still have solutions of 7thcentury.
“Allama” Ibtisam also informs us that certain people are out to do propaganda against Ulema (religious scholars). Are you telling us that like six year old Talha, raped by his Quran teacher and found bloody in the corridors of the mosque in 2004, various victims of pedophilia at the hands of their Quran teachers are doing propaganda? The hate filled speeches are for everyone to see on youtube. What “propaganda” do these people talk of then?
In his Friday lecture Ibtisam reproached Nawaz Sharif and President Zardari for keeping silence over the killing of, in his words, “Shaykh” Osama Bin Laden. Why so much fuss over how West misunderstands majority of Muslims being terrorists when we have Ibtisam and others who not only use praiseworthy words for the very man responsible for the havoc created against Muslims but also cry crocodile tears while performing his funeral rites while purporting to represent Muslim Ummah?
In their dream to Arabize Pakistan, the caliphate dreamers are now waging a war not only on liberal values but the local and more tolerant brand of Islam, seeking homogeneity in Islamic thought and practice. Let me be very clear, Wahabbism is not our ideology. Sufism is. And it is a liberal and inclusive tradition of Islam. Instead of telling us to get visas of European countries, it is those feeding off petro-dollars who are anything but representatives of what Pakistan used to be, a modern Muslim state.