Extremism, religious extremism, terrorism – who isn’t familiar with these terms in today’s world? Especially following 9/11, the world has become quite familiarised and comfortable with these terminologies, especially in the context in which they are used. There is certainly no doubt that these terms are almost exclusively reserved for present day muslims. There are a lot of reasons for this. The most important being that any other type of extremism, esp. religious extremism simply does not exist.
For instance: A white American man who carries out a mass shooting in a school or university, though a regular church-goer, is simply American, psychologically unstable, etc, etc, but of course not a Christian extremist. The Buddhist monks in Burma/Myanmar have been persecuting the Rohingya Muslims for decades – but since they are only practicing buddhists, and not practicing muslims, hence they do not fall under the category of religious extremism. And of course the Indian Army killing muslims in Kashmir, or the muslim massacre carried out in Gujarat by Hindus in 2002 can never be categorised as religious extremism. Nor the muslim genocide in Bosnia, in the 1990’s, by Serbs who happened to be Christian, could come anywhere near being defined as religious extremism.
Therefore, to conclude: As per modern definitions, religious extremism exclusively means Islamic terrorism. On a more serious (and non cynical) note, though, such terrosists, and terrorist organizations like ISIS, have a very distorted interpretation of a few Quranic verses which they use completely out of context and reference to their own advantage. They have extremely poor knowledge of the Quran and Islamic jurisdication. A normal, moderate practicing muslim is sure to have more religious knowledge than these radicals who are recruited and pumped by hatred until they develop into the terrorist who blows himself up amongst a crowd of innocent civilians.
Luckily, however, the world has been blessed with the gift of Liberalism. Modern Liberalism, most certainly, is God’s greatest gift to mankind since sliced bread! I mean, where would the world be without liberals. If there is any power in the world that can counter extremism, it is liberalism.
At first glance, liberals appear to be all for humanity, supporting all humanitarian causes, including the oppression of women in different societies, speaking out against capital punishment in their utter compassion and love for humaity. A closer look, however, reveals the uglier side of modern liberalism.
The liberalism, as we know it in the present, modern times, knows no bounds and it defies all limits, chains and fetters of morality or religion. No matter how immoral, unethical or dangerous to basic human values or existence something is, a liberal will always be there to support it. In fact, they appear to be more open-minded in the defence of anything and everything that can endanger human ethics, from homosexulaity to vulgarity and from freedom of speech to desecrating all that is holy and sacred. American political thinker Mary Parker Follet’s following quote quite accurately defines these liberals:
“We are freer than ever before. The trouble is, we do not know what to do with this freedom.”
The freedom and liberty they demand is one without bounds or limits. Just as a vampire is allergic to holy symbols, a liberal is allergic to the word religion. In the case of our Desi Liberals it is the words Islam and muslim that they are specifically allergic to. Thus, the moment a situation involving these two words comes up, you clearly witness their selective humanity. The bloodshed of muslims in Kashmir, Palestine, Iraq, etc, will not cause them to raise an eyebrow, but their hearts will burst for people of the LGBT community killed in Orlando, USA. The hanging of 90 year old senior citizens in Bangladesh will not draw any censure from them, but they will certainly condemn the hanging of terrorists in Pakistan. The rape of thousands of women in Kashmir will not cause the likes of Asma Jehangir and her fellow “feminists” to utter a single word of codemnation or support, but the death of Qandeel Baloch will cause them to shed oceans of tears.
A closer look at both religious extremism and modern liberalism would bring to light the disturbing fact that they are actually two sides of the same coin. A religious extremist is narrow minded, biased, judgemental, intolerant, full of hatred and venom for those who do not agree with his views. Well, exactly the same goes for the liberal. They are the most negative people you can ever meet, full of hatred, intolerance and contempt for those who dare to differ with their views. For instance, the journalist Hasan Nisar, who is willing to give an “ultay hath ka thappar” to anyone who contradicts his views – who thinks that the entire history of Islam is one big lie, and muslims do not have a single moment or incident in their history to glorify or be proud of. We have always been losers and always will be.
Thus, in actual practice, both extremism and modern liberalism simply appear to be two slightly different guises of fascism, with their hateful, cynical views and extreme intolerance. Both display selective humanity. Both are victims of tunnel vision, each caged up inside their own narrow minded worldview, the extremist under the delusion that he will lead the world to reform and salvation, while the liberal is under the delusion that he will liberate humanity from all chains of morality and ethics.
The sad fact is that at present, most of humanity is suffering from the “disorder” of tunnel vision, and the world appears to be almost devoid of sane, moderate minded individuals who follow the “middle road.” Muslims have been called “Ummat al wast,” or the “middle” nation in the Quran, a sane, modern, moderate and progressive people who were supposed to lead the way. But the world of Islam is simply caught and torn between extremism and liberalism. We do not possess the worldview, the vision, which would result in actual reform, and lead us towards peace and prosperity and the resolution of all human conflict and suffering. A vision which is the need of the hour – which Iqbal calls the “Vision of Abraham” – of Ibrahim Khalil Ullah:
براہیمی نظر پیدا مگر مشکل سے هوتی ہے
ہوس چهپ چهپ کے سینوں میں بنا لیتی ہے تصویریں
It is but hard to create the vision of Abraham
Desire forms hidden pictures within the hearts