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Pakistan: Dampening hatred

By News Desk

November 2 2014

At its latest meeting in Islamabad, the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), mandated to review the country’s laws in the light of religious teachings, and make recommendations to parliament for reform, has hit out against speeches promoting religious hatred. The chairman of the Council, Maulana Muhammad Khan Sheerani, has noted that speeches responsible for the spread of sectarian hatred should be banned. The resolution was unanimously adopted by the Council.

This, of course, is a tremendously important step — especially just ahead of the month of Muharram. Reference to tensions created at this time was made by the CII. The step is one to be welcomed. We badly need laws, designed to prevent the spread of hatred, to be implemented. The failure to do so has contributed to the rapid growth of intolerance in our society, and the deaths that come with it. Measures to stop hate from being fanned, by taking action against those who do so, and seizing recordings containing such content is essential, especially as we reach that time of the year on the Islamic calendar when sectarian tensions soar. Reversing this is essential.

Equally welcome is Maulana Sheerani’s demand that the government protect religious minorities. The CII has declared it the duty of the government to ensure this. The attention directed the way of minorities by a body known to be headed by hardline clerics is important. It highlights what the duties of government should be and reminds us of the responsibility to a group of citizens that has been ignored for too long. The CII, of course, is a body empowered only to make recommendations. We must now hope that what it has pointed out will be taken up by parliament and the government. Urgent action is required to prune back the ugly tree of hatred that has been able to sow its seeds in too many places and create a realm of fear in the country that creates so many tensions and so much violence. It is time to do everything possible to halt this tide of hatred that has swept across the country.

Originally published by Tribune Pakistan 

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