I was surprised to find out this morning, that if you’re building a mosque in Islamabad, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) regulations require that you clearly state/declare which sect the mosque would cater to. As if our problems with sectarianism weren’t enough already, it’s astonishing to see that the menace is ingrained in our rules and regulations as well.
I thought of reading up a bit on the subject and found another revelation; Gen Zia, during his rule, distributed a form among all government employees on which they were required to fill in the sect they belonged to. It seems like there’s no limit to absurdity.
On a basic level, I wonder, why should it be mandatory for a mosque to declare its sect following? I mean, why can’t a mosque just be a mosque where people from any sect can pray? After all, didn’t the last messenger of God preach unity? Why is it so important to clearly draw the line between sects? So that whenever a member from the opposite side oversteps, they can be punished for it? What kind of temperament are we fostering with such an approach? One of intolerance and hate. More importantly, we are defining these rules ourselves. We are laying the foundations of our ruin with our own hands.
Today we cry about the dilapidated state of our society, our culture. One of the reasons for it is our defensive approach to curb sectarianism. Instead, we should try and inculcate respect and tolerance among our people for the thoughts, ideas and beliefs of others so that this evil is rooted out of our system entirely. Once we start working on productive subjects, we’ll begin to pull ourselves out of this quagmire of personal and social depravity.