(Islami Jamiat Talba)
The hypocrisy of juggernaut vs juggernaut
The Pakistan report card
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Zaid Hamid once looked like an unstoppable juggernaut. It didn't matter that much of what he said was inaccurate, or that he posed every problem in the context of himself being the only saviour. Self-serving arguments were lapped up without question.
Then the ulema challenged him on account of his admitted ties to the false claimant to prophethood, Yousaf Ali. Within a span of a few weeks his whole house of cards came crumbling down. Now Zaid Hamid is no longer able to preach hatred at universities, nor come on TV to satisfy his ego.
The first shot came in the International Islamic University and then in quick succession at Islamia College University in Peshawar where students prevented him from speaking. Prominent among those students were the members of the Islami Jamiat-e-Talba.
But there is such hypocrisy in their targeting of Zaid Hamid. Religious arguments aside, how different are Zaid Hamid and the Jamiat-e-Talba? This Islamic student wing has used Islam for its own ends to justify thuggery elsewhere.
They killed a student in Peshawar for listening to music. One student against scores of their men. They claim "ghairat", but where is the masculinity in lynching, slowly kicking and beating one young man to death? Where in the Quran has the Islami Jamiat-e-Talba been given the right to murder?
When they accuse Zaid Hamid of the murder of Maulana Jalalpuri, have they no shame in looking inwards and thinking of that poor boy?
And then, they have caused the virtual suspension of the University of Punjab after torturing a professor for hours. Islam is unequivocal in its support for education, so how exactly can the Islami Jamiat-e-Talba justify what they have done? Surely, these thugs will not find anything in the Quran to support their violence. How is this different from the allegation that Zaid Hamid's people beat up a student asking critical questions at a lecture of his?
So, is Zaid Hamid and the Islami Jamiat-e-Talba one and the same? Well, it looks like it. The irony is that the natural friends of violence are at each other's throats. If, as the Jamiat contends, Zaid Hamid is leading his own cult for a false prophet, then are they not themselves insulting the memory and teachings of the Prophet (PBUH) by committing these gross acts of indecent violence in the name of Islam?
It's easy for the Jamiat-e-Talba to lash out at Zaid, whose follies have been well documented by the Khatam-e-Naboowat group. The Islamic parties have always had an issue with the MQM for its secularist stance, again how exactly is the hold of the Jamiat-e-Talba in the Punjab University any different than the MQM during the worst of its excesses in Karachi in the past?
The Ulema are galvanised against Zaid Hamid. There are religious issues on the finality of prophethood involved. But, they are also critiquing his emphasis on nationalism, where he has put country and identity as central to his use of Islam. In other words, they condemn him for fascism with a religious underpinning.
Again, how different is the Islami Jamiat-e-Talba from Zaid Hamid in this respect. They have a narrow definition of what is permissible, and allegiance to the party line, not individual conscience according to the Quran, is supreme. If that wasn't the case, there would be a paralysis of soul searching for what they have been doing. But, not a word of remorse out of them. Shameful.
So rather than getting the neo-fascism of the Islami Jamiat-e-Talba in line, what has been of paramount importance during this time to them, what was so crucial that they could not bring themselves to contain and condemn their own? They spent their time disrupting an event where a shaving company was trying to set a record for the most number of people shaving at one time. Yes, that was most important.
The writer is a Rhodes scholar and former academic. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org