THE ANATOMY OF HATRED
Dr Rasheed Hasan Khan
The question of the mosque near the site of the World Trade Centre appears to be the cause of great controversy and debate in America nowadays. The expatriate Muslims on one hand and the right wing political parties in the USA on the other are going at it hammer and tongs. Of course our friends in the U.S.A. know the situation on the ground much better than anyone in Pakistan, but I would like to make some observations based on my own knowledge of US society.
The backwardness, savagery and uncivilized nature of all societies except the western, whether they be African, Asian or Latin American is God’s own truth for a majority of Americans. That is what they have been taught in their homes, that is the credo of their political leaders and their government. Prejudice and discrimination is as American as apple pie. It just happens to be that at the present moment Muslims are at the top of their hit list. They succeed the Russians, the Chinese and the Vietnamese to this place of eminence. Some among the expatriates think that a change or alteration in the set of beliefs and social practices to bring them more in line with scientific thought will change the American and western attitude towards Muslims. We must be very clear here that this is not a scientific or rational discourse, the main problem is, and will continue to be one of prejudice. Let me cite the example of Turkey, it has been waiting for decades to be allowed to join the E.U. , is there any other reason for refusal apart from prejudice? I do not hold a brief for the Muslim fundamentalists, but as far as I am concerned, it is up to the West and the U.S. in particular, to prove that they are not two sides of the same coin. It was the U.S.A. that chose these most backward elements in the Muslim world as its allies, trained them, armed them and let them loose on its rival super-power. Now when the Jihadi pigeons are coming home to roost, the ruling class of America wants the whole Muslim community to pay for the sins of people like Ronald Reagan and Osama Bin Laden! The problem will not be solved by changing this or that Imam either. The likes of Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin are not going to miss a golden opportunity to rouse the rabble and extract political mileage out of this issue. It is time that the Muslim community took a realistic stock of the situation and determined a future course of action whereby their moral and constitutional rights in the land that boasts of being the champion of Human Rights all over the world are protected.
Let me conclude with an anecdote, When I was young, an act of childish cruelty left an indelible impression in my mind. It was a hot and boring summer vacation. A house sparrow sought refuge from the pitiless sun in the shade of my room. My cousin bolted the door and used a towel to make the sparrow fly without rest, till it could fly no more, it fell, shivering and exhausted to the floor. He then took the sparrow, dyed it bright pink and released it. The other sparrows attacked at once and pecked it to death in a matter of minutes.
The distasteful cruelty of my cousin and the mindless violence of the sparrows cannot be forgotten by me. My cousin was cruel, but capable of understanding the consequences of his action while the sparrows were acting out of an instinctive antipathy to something different. Perhaps in their minds, they felt threatened by it. Who can say what prompted their murderous attack on one of their own kind? Later in life, on many occasions, I was vividly reminded of this incident by the behavior of Homo sapiens in our world and time