Pakistan…where the moral considerations of religion are given more power than compassion. It is a place where the notion of “Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain” is taken very seriously; deathly seriously.
A Pakistani mob killed a woman member of a religious sect and two of her granddaughters after a sect member was accused of posting blasphemous material on Facebook, police said Monday, the latest instance of growing violence against minorities.
The dead, including a seven-year-old girl and her baby sister, were Ahmadis, who consider themselves Muslim but believe in a prophet after Mohammed. A 1984 Pakistani law declared them non-Muslims and many Pakistanis consider them heretics.
One might think the immediate reaction should be to call the police…that is assuming the police weren’t similarly entranced by fundamentalist religious faith.
“As police were negotiating with the crowd, another mob attacked and started burning the houses of Ahmadis.”
The youth accused of making the Facebook post had not been injured, he said.
Under Pakistani law, Ahmadis are banned from using Muslim greetings, saying Muslim prayers or referring to his place of worship as a mosque.
Salim ud Din, a spokesman for the Ahmadi community, said it was the worst attack on the community since simultaneous attacks on Ahmadi places of worship killed 86 Ahmadis four years ago.
“Police were there but just watching the burning. They didn’t do anything to stop the mob,” he said. “First they looted their homes and shops and then they burnt the homes.”
What is there to say? The condemnations of the behavior are certainly rattling around the skulls of everybody reading. Perhaps there’s this: while there are good reasons to be kind to one another, to view justice as a means to preventing human beings from causing each other to suffer, and to create as much happiness in this world as possible, is there anything but religion in the world that gets people to murder children for contradicting their beliefs of the afterlife?
If you come upon charity in this world, you have no real way of knowing who is performing it. But wherever you find discrimination against gay people, you can be certain you will find religion. Wherever you find men marrying prepubescent girls, you will find religion. Where the genitals of children are being mutilated at birth, it will certainly be in deference to religion.
Because the behavior of some religious people sometimes mirrors the secular does not excuse the swath of religious malice the world the over, and it certainly doesn’t excuse religion’s culpability. And above all, it does not mean that the world would not be an infinitely better, more enlightened place if religion were to vanish.