Islam in Pakistan was not threatened either by TikTok or books, Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Sunday, a few days after the Punjab Assembly passed the Tahaffuz-e-Bunyad-e-Islam Bill. Ch’s statement that Islam is not threatened by any modern technology is a reminder of his progressive thinking to transform Pakistan’s cultural discourse on religiosity and politics from parochial to a participant one.
In a series of tweets, Chaudhry underlined how “at present, an atmosphere has been created in the parliament, especially in Punjab, where a member comes up with a new motion every other day, claiming Islam is in danger if that is not passed”.
یہ قانون نہیں پڑھا لیکن اس وقت پارلیمان خصوصاْ پنجاب میں ایسا ماحول بنا دیا گیا ہے کہ ہر ممبر روزانہ ایک نئ تحریک لے کر آتا ہے اور بتایا جاتا ہے اگر یہ نہ ہوا تو اسلام خطرے میں ہے، یہ خطرناک رویہ ہے اس سے ہم فرقہ ورانہ اور مذھبی شدت پسندی کے گرداب میں دھنستے جائیں گے https://t.co/cwthNWkuAG
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) July 26, 2020
“This is a dangerous attitude that will throw us into a vicious circle of sectarian and religious extremism,” he said. “In Pakistan, Islam is neither threatened by TikTok nor books.”
The minister added that Pakistan, on the other hand, was threatened by sectarian divisions and extremism. “Individuals in palaces should be careful not to fan the flames lest they be burned themselves,” he noted further.
Pakistan with green flag
Earlier, Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM) chief Allama Nasir Abbas spoke about the Tahaffuz-e-Bunyad-e-Islam Bill passed Wednesday by the Punjab Assembly, saying: “We need Quaid-e-Azam’s, Allama Iqbal’s Pakistan, with a green flag and a crescent.”
“Unfortunately, some elements do not want the country to remain Quaid-e-Azam’s Pakistan,” he added, noting that the Constitution gave every citizen in the country the right to live their lives according to their faith.
“The country is facing economic, political and diplomatic problems. In the current situation, it cannot afford any more challenges,” he added.
‘Islam takes precedence over everything else’
In addition, Senator Professor Sajid Mir, the chief of the central Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadees, also issued his comments about the bill while speaking Lahore, saying his group supported the passage of the Tahaffuz-e-Bunyad-e-Islam Bill in the Punjab Assembly.
“There may be political differences but Islam takes precedence over everything else,” Prof Mir added, terming the bill “a historic step”.
The senator further noted that Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and other MPAs deserved congratulations on the Bill’s passage. “The Tahaffuz-e-Bunyad-e-Islam Bill is the best attempt to eradicate sectarianism in the spirit of Islam,” the cleric said.
Importance of seeking knowledge in Islam
The decision has been widely criticized for having no objective basis. Experts believe that the discretionary powers given to the MD may lead to some serious consequences i.e. promotion of sectarianism. “Basically he will serve as the thought police,” academics maintain.
Just read the Tahaffuz-e-Bunyaad-Islam Act passed by the Punjab Assembly Thursday. The Act gives the DGPR to ban any book published in Pakistan or abroad that is ‘likely to jeopardise or is prejudicial to the ideology of Pakistan.’ Basically he will serve as the thought police.
— Nida Kirmani (@NidaKirmani) July 25, 2020
The holy Quran repeatedly urges Muslims to pay special focus on acquiring knowledge and explore the universe. For example, it says that “[I]n the name of thy Lord who created man from a clot. Recite: And thy Lord is the Most Generous Who taught by the pen, taught man that which he knew not.” (Quran, 96:1-5)
Uneducated weak ignorant men have banned&burnt books through out history. From burning the Grand library of Iraq at the high point in Islamic history 2 Nazis burning books by Jews. Which “unIslamic” direction is Punjab going? Our dear prophet said 2 travel 2 China for knowledge!
— Najma Minhas (@MinhasNajma) July 25, 2020
Similarly, the Quran also questions: “Are those who have knowledge and those who have no knowledge alike? Only the men of understanding are mindful” (Quran, 39:9). Islam advocates for the establishment of reason-based political order and an inclusive cultural discourse for social development. Therefore, experts maintain, Islam is not threatened by any modern scientific innovations.