Love has many different meanings in many different contexts. But does this broad term encompass vandalism, robbery, arson, murder, terrorism? Many would disagree; many did just all this in the name of love. Someone made a blasphemous video insulting Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.); this ignited the sentiments of the Muslims and resulted in attacks on the US and European Embassies around the Muslim world, which included the murder of the US ambassador to Libya.
Wednesday 19th September 2012: the federal government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan announced Friday 21st September 2012 as Ishq-e-Rasool (S.A.W.W.) Day, a public holiday to enable the people to show their love for Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.). The move might not had been entirely religiously motivated; the Islamic fundamentalist political parties in the opposition had issued a call for strike as a protest against the said video.
It was announced by the Interior Ministry that cellular services would be suspended throughout the nation on Friday 21st October 2012, to prevent any undesirable incident. Cellular blackouts are now a common feature under Abdul Rehman Malik’s ministry.
Thursday 20th September 2012: In Islamabad, the federal capital of the Islamic Republic, protesters marching towards the US embassy in the Red Zone’s Diplomatic Enclave scuffled with the police; this evolved into skirmishes between the protesters and the security forces. In hours this escalated into a battle, and the Pakistan Army was called in. Protests also erupted in other cities of Pakistan as well other Muslim countries around the world.
Friday 21st September 2012, the Ishq-e-Rasool (S.A.W.W.) Day: Protests in all major cities began after the Friday prayers; before that an uneasy calm prevailed. The demonstrators and the criminals alike took to the streets and vandalized public and private property: petrol pumps, banks, cinemas, restaurants, shops, and many public places were vandalized, robbed, burnt and many people lost their lives. At many places the protesters and the law enforcement agencies were involved in street gun battles, in which many were injured and some lost their lives. At the end of the day, 189 suspects found themselves in police custody, and 27 were dead.
All in the name of love; love for the person who never cursed even those who tortured and persecuted him, love for the person who was sent as a blessing to humanity, love for the Prophet of the religion which means peace.
Protesting about something which one may consider offensive is one’s right, but protesting in such a way, is that even acceptable? Not at all, as I believe; this believe is shared by all I know. That day, Facebook statuses denouncing such acts flooded every Pakistani’s news feeds. Every sane and literate person hated what was going on outside in the streets.
But why did all this happen? The answer lies in the mentality of the masses, majority of which are illiterate. Literacy rate has been very low here in Pakistan, even when the definition of a literate person is “one who can read and write their own name”, funny, isn’t it? Their mentality has been altered; they have been brainwashed, hatred has been seeded in their minds. What Pakistan needs at this moment is a strong, well-funded educational infrastructure. For only educated and sane people seem to realize that love isn’t what many showed what it meant to them that day.
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