As the world discusses inventions, child prodigies, new found cures through vaccines, the progression and advancement of human intellect cannot be doubted. Indeed, this side of the picture is a beautiful painting of a future, where mankind’s survival is the ultimate success.
Not far from this reality, is another side of the story that is perhaps the negative of what we anticipate; the absolute regression of mankind. The brain that has evolved, and which was supposed to diagnose, alleviate and cure mankind’s afflictions, has busied itself in the vehement pursuit of questioning the very creation itself. It is a mind that finds comfort in man-made laws, unencumbered by divine laws – in short, a dangerous pet that can go wild if it is allowed to roam free!
This is where the question surfaces: what is the real deal with extremism? According to Merriam Webster dictionary, extremism can be defined as “belief in and support for ideas that are very far from what most people consider correct or reasonable”
A hazard will forever remain until it is erased, or universally acknowledged as a norm. This is where the menace of extremism originates from – accepting what would have otherwise been considered incorrect or unreasonable.
Now putting this into view, one finds ample explanations to various things going wrong in the world today. Focusing on the definition of extremism, it is not just to limit the absurdity of it to the recent threat of terrorism. What is indeed considered necessary is the revision of problems that have penetrated their way, transforming into acceptable morals of the society, much before the introduction of guns and wars.
Remember, a hazard will forever remain until it is erased, or universally acknowledged as a norm. This is where the menace of extremism originates from – accepting what would have otherwise been considered incorrect or unreasonable. This involves the drastic change in perceptions, through levels that is the main scope of the discussion. While the debate is lengthy and time consuming, and therefore must be tackled stepwise, it is not, however to say that any level is less pernicious than the other.
The first blow to a solid conscience is the delusive urge of secularism.
The main purport of the debate here is to highlight the negativity that a so-called liberal and advanced society has injected into us, such that we do not even realize the repercussions in the form of irreparable damage it has inflicted on our conscience and our faith. I speak of a society that believes in human rights over religion, campaigns against religion while campaigning for the rights of atheists, and then campaigns for tolerance for specific minorities, and self proclaimed definitions of feminism, racism, fundamentalism, and radicalism.
On account of the present world that faces terrorism in spite of high tech weaponry and updated security systems, the ever increasing number of rapes, notwithstanding all these feminist movements, the unexplainable increase in poverty in parallel to riches and luxury, and intolerance regardless of high literacy, we are unsuccessful at grasping the grounds of the problems while we strive to counter them.
Erasing religious principles for the sake of free speech, banning the veil to save women from oppression, and bringing up kids in a bubble while there is war looming on our heads, none of these efforts are fruitful because religion is not even the problem here. In this false havoc of religious extremism, the real disease that continues to kill the masses is overlooked, and that is a carefully established mode of information, based on fallacious and delusional concepts of secularism. This information has been allowed to flourish upon a negativity that is superficial to the extreme. This level of secular extremism is the one that is terminal and more disastrous than what is being otherwise forced us to believe.
Secular extremism is a monopoly that thrives upon desires and false promises. It permits one to believe in the control over life as an individual, thereby erasing the concept of collective or productive development. It mainly focuses on rights; to dress, eat, speak and live however one may want to. It diminishes the impressions of law and order, and allows one to live wild under the banner of being liberal and secular. It does not believe in compromise or sacrifice, but demands and liberties.
The world at large, laments religious fundamentalism to have tipped the precarious balance of peace but on the other hand, people like Irshad Manji, Tarek Fattah, Salman Rushdie and Ayaan Hirsi Ali are given credit and encouraged to voice the extent of garbage against religion, either in absolute denial, or in support of a reformation.
They use the excuse of fundamentalism and make it appear as the gravest menace the society is facing today. Meanwhile, homosexuality that caused several untreatable STD’s such as AIDS, female objectification that gave birth to anorexia and triggered rape epidemics, freedom of speech that ignited hatred and ethnic division, consumerism that led to destructive levels of competition, greed, and ultimately poverty, are some of the countless problems that are conveniently overlooked. These problems did not emanate from the overabundance of religious fundamentalism, but rather the lack thereof.
The readers are therefore urged, not to fall for the poison of secularism. It is that delusive lie, which has no ground under its feet. It is where feminists walk out in favor of women’s rights to dress, and demand men to behave, meanwhile objectifying their bodies by plastering them on billboards to sell fast food and mattresses. It is where gays have more respect than our Prophets. It is where freedom of speech is encouraged as long as it is not a religious sermon. It is where mother and father days are celebrated while kids have the right to get their parents arrested. How is this in any way advancement or protection of human rights, or even the slightest bit enlightening in its true meaning?
A secular mindset that speaks about human beings and their rights, conveniently slot away human beings into categories. While the pretty face of secular extremism goes unnoticed, the gruesome image of terror that is being shown to us since the past decade as bombings and killing sprees is perhaps new and acute, hence influential. It is only ironic when one stops to think that the countries that speak loud and clear in favor of world peace and human rights were in the frontlines in both world wars and one of them has an undeniable, inhumane act of wiping out the population of two entire cities to its discredit.
From what I know, the events that humans have witnessed in the last century are strong proofs, and in a way thorough examples of terrorism, if dared to question. These world wars and genocides did not occur through religious intolerance or extremism. They were caused by the very reasons that have found their way into the society today; greed for power and liberty.
But those events have been stacked away in the dust piles of history, and are not brought up along with the new terms and definitions that are even today, paradoxically altered as required, and used for individual benefits without any basic reasoning.
Erasing religious principles for the sake of free speech, banning the veil to save women from oppression, and bringing up kids in a bubble while there is war looming on our heads, none of these efforts are fruitful because religion is not even the problem here.
And finally, Pakistan faces the same trouble; a civil society that gathers for the demolition of seminaries, but stands for the rights of serial killers, blasphemers and diversionists. They speak for the rights of minorities by mocking and defaming their own religious figures. They find examples of scholars speaking balderdash and use that to criticize religious education. They respect idols, support fashion events squandering money, and have absolutely no problem watching women in revealing clothing on TV. Their rhetoric of religious extremism blinds them from that fact that corruption, poverty, disease, illiteracy, terrorism, and several other social deformities have the very solution present in the name of religion, and the only way out of this is elaborate religious education.
This is not to say that science and material knowledge is less important. It is just to disagree with the concept that all the answers to world peace and well being lies in electron division or cosmetology. I refuse to blind myself to a false picture of a world where anyone can be allowed to do anything; it may start from rights to wear, eat, speak whatever one wants to but where it will eventually lead to, is anyone’s imagination. I believe that secularism, in its plight for freedom, inflicts its ideas on our conscience and force feeds them to us. The real deal with extremism is not fundamentalism; it is the fear and escape from responsibilities for ones actions that gives rise to the concept of freedom. This freedom is not from oppression and it does not lead to a world of joy and peace. This freedom is a blind leap that can only result in a crash, face down.