One of the first cultural shocks I experienced in America was during my job training. My boss at the time and now a great friend was talking to two customers: a beautiful young girl and her father. My boss commended the girl on her beauty to which both the girl and the father replied with smiles and thanks. I was utterly shocked.
About 3 years later, I visited Pakistan. At an Islamabad bakery, right when I was about to exit the store, I realized that a father and his young daughter were also exiting right behind me. I held the door open for them behind me, keeping with the American manners I had adopted during my years in America. This time nobody smiled or thanked me.
The girl flinched and backed off and the father gave me the most vicious looks one can imagine. I instantly realized that I was in a different time zone. What may work in one culture may not work in another.
A reminder to the French
Pakistan is back in the international news and once again for the wrong reasons. When India murders and slaughters in Kashmir, the world’s conscience has to be woken up and alerted to egregious Indian human rights violations. But when something very little happens in Pakistan, the western world doesn’t need any shaking.
The French drew sacrilegious cartoons dishonoring our beloved Holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). Protests erupted around the world late last year. I participated in one too, right here in Houston, outside the French consulate.
The Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) is demanding the expulsion of the French ambassador from Islamabad. Imran Khan is right about one thing: it accomplishes nothing.
The French are justifying this egregious violation of religious integrity in the name of freedom of expression. Before I get to the brass tacks, let me remind the French people in general and President Macron in particular that Jamal Khashoggi had the same right.
He was murdered for practicing the very freedom of expression, which the French are so aggressively defending. To Khashoggi’s killer Macron merely smilingly said, “ I do worry, I am worried. I told you. You never listen to me.”
France’s devotion towards secularism
Many Muslims are angry and a tit for tat would be, God forbid, drawing caricatures of Jesus. However, that would do more harm than any good. First, Muslims are not allowed to do that. Secondly, as the father and daughter examples mentioned above, religion doesn’t work in France as it does in Pakistan.
To them, their secular values are dearer than any God. It is this devotion toward secularism that the French have banned wearing the Hijab in public. They are going to more horrible lengths in practicing secularism than the Islamists are while protesting for the honor of their beloved Prophet (PBUH).
The French secular belief system feels more insecure because they are the ones making the incendiary attacks against another belief system, which is Islam.
No Muslims are making funny caricatures of Jesus or the French constitution for that matter. I do not know of any Muslims caricaturing the French for their aversion toward a hygienic lifestyle, for example.
Praising the French teacher Samuel Paty, who was killed for showing the sacrilegious cartoons in class, French president Macron said, “because the Islamists want our future and they know that with quiet heroes like him they will never have it.”
Perhaps President Macron would be well served and so would his nation if they all realized that the Islamists may not be so obsessed with the French after all but rather the French were extremely obsessed with Islam.
In the practice of secular ideals, the French are running amok by mocking another faith. Islamic countries have not rewarded Rachid Nekkaz, the wealthy French executive, who paid thousands of penalties for wearing Hijab in public.
However, France does reward the foreign journalists who speak western agenda to the domestic power system. The French secular extremism beats the Islamic extremism.
The writer is a political analyst. He can be reached at his email: firstname.lastname@example.org. He also tweets at: @Imran_Jan. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.