WRITTEN BYSherafgun Usmani
Sectarianism means the rigid adherence to a particular sect, party or denomination. Sectarianism has been affecting Pakistan since years. It has made people confused, and the innocent citizens are unable to understand its ups and downs. Islam is-indeed-a vast, liberal and modern religion which does not allow people to be separated or divided into groups. Islam gives the universal message of peace and unity, but unfortunately, the Pakistani nation has to suffer a lot due to the fatal disease of sectarianism which has already given us a lesson in the form of religious conflicts.
How can we forget 15th November 2013? When the biggest Shia-Sunni conflict took place in Rawalpindi. A mosque and many shops were burnt down to ashes. Many people died, and dozens were injured in the same incident. Instead of being united after this serious kind of bloodshed, religious parties have been spreading up the fire of sectarianism all around the country.
After receiving foreign assistance in the form of funds and charities, they are taking us for granted. Countries including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar, Kuwait, etc. are supporting their relevant religious parties and provisional governments in Pakistan to become stronger and influential in the country.
Madrassas and religious seminaries are not being developed as they should be. Instead of this, foreign countries are taking advantage of sectarianism by introducing some anti-Islamic activities in them. It would not be wrong to say that sectarianism came first which gave space to terrorism. Terrorism is a branch of sectarianism, an actual culprit existing in our society for many years, which has made its roots strong enough to be called an individual evil. Now, the ordinary people are confused to decide who is killed and who is martyred. When the government starts taking action against them, the religious parties raise their voices for their so-called ‘rights’.
Apart from this, some religious events have been introduced as the real gift of sectarianism, which do not have any solid base and relevant Islamic background. Majalis in Muharram, the procession on 12th Rabi-ul-Awwal and the gatherings of Muslims called Ijtimas are just a few examples of it. Although these events are harmless and are just conducted to strengthen the religious beliefs of people, yet they made their roots which are destroying the real shape of our religion. Now people are connecting them directly to Islam, which is completely a misconception created by sectarianism.
Now, at this time, when our morality level is going down and down and when the religion of truth can play a vital role, the ghost of sectarianism has bound us in its spell. The web of sectarianism is eating our unity like termites. It is to recognize the real culprit which is none other than sectarianism. We cannot deny the bitter reality, but now it’s our choice; to wake from the deep slumber of ignorance or to take rest in our own shells.
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