By Kunwar Khuldune Shahid
February 28, 2017
Before you get gratuitously judgmental, let
me clarify from the onset that I’m an unflinchingly moderate Muslim. This means
I do not believe that anyone should be killed for their beliefs. Even those
that are Wajib-Ul-Qatl.
But as a Sunni Muslim heterosexual cis male
in his 20s – easily the most underprivileged demographic in the Muslim world –
I would like to break my silence against barefaced intolerance against us. It’s
the discrimination that self-manifests in the gloomy faces outside the US
consulate, and in recipients of rejection letters from the British Embassy in
While the West’s blatant refusal to
acknowledge our existence would be understandable – considering that we’re
prophesised to eventually conquer all their lands and butcher them into
submission – it’s their duplicitous recognition that’s a stab in the back.
Mahershala Ali, first ever Muslim actor to win an Oscar award
Explain this: the first ever Muslim actor
to win an Oscar award, Mahershala Ali, is a non-Muslim. The first ever Muslim
to win a Nobel Prize for Science, Dr Abdus Salam, was also a non-Muslim. Maybe
in Donald Trump the US found its first female president after all.
All this comes after sections from the
extremist fringe of the Pakistani society – like a senator from the political
party that rules the federal and Punjab governments – had spread vile rumours
against our Army Chief’s religious identity.
This pushed many moderate Sunni Muslims
like me into paranoia vis-à-vis Ahmadis. They’re so hard to differentiate with
their names, appearances, actions, beliefs and prayers just like ours.
Again, as a moderate Muslim, I have nothing
in the slightest against Ahmadis. My tolerance can be certified by the fact
that I have never questioned Hanafi or Barelvi existence in the periphery of
true Sunni Islam. I also absolutely believe Shia to be Muslims as long as their
theological beliefs are completely aligned to ours.
As a progressive Muslim, I also condemn
every Daesh attack, even though they are non-Muslims that have been created,
funded and armed by the West to give Muslims a bad name. This should give you
an idea why we can’t accept everyone’s claims of being a Muslim.
But trust me when I say this: in Pakistan
our fellow Ahmadis enjoy acres of legal and existential space between realms of
infidelity and apostasy. And we true peaceful Muslims should support their
right to self-identify as Kafirs or Murtids, whichever they might
Even so, by elevating them to the one
identity they can never be, the West is unnecessarily aggravating the ongoing
apartheid into genocide. Only if we could try the Oscar jury under Sections
298-B and 298-C of the Pakistan Penal Code. This is why we should all support
globalisation and universal human rights.
Also, let me remind you that the West’s
intolerance, and the ensuing extremism, isn’t limited to the promotion of
non-Muslims. The first Pakistani Oscar winner, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, is a
woman – hence, half-Muslim, at least in terms of her testimony’s worth.
Although to be fair to the Academy Awards they did give her two Oscars.
But by rewarding films that highlight acid
victims and honour killings, the West has provoked even more violence against
women in our part of the world. I wouldn’t even get into the harm Malala
Yousafzai’s Nobel Prize has done to young girls in the Muslim world.
Not to mention Nergis Mavalvala, who helped
in the first observation of gravitational waves. She’s a Pakistani woman, who’s
Was observing gravitational waves really
that important? Or is it a ploy to bring all these deviants into the forefront?
Coincidentally Mahershala Ali’s Moonlight
is about a gay man as well. Do you not see a pattern here?
An Ahmadi won Best Supporting Actor, a Shia
won Best Foreign Language Film, a woman won the Best Actress – if this is not a
declaration of war against our sensibilities, what is?
By highlighting Ahmadis, homosexuals, and
women as representatives of Muslims, they’re trying to marginalise the Sunni
Muslim straight men.
Fun fact: Ahmadi actors now have 1 Oscar
win, compared to zero for Sunni Muslims.
But do not expect anyone in the West to
create hashtags to underscore our plight. There won’t be any #OscarsSoAhmadi or
#OscarsSoIslamophobic trends on Twitter tonight, I can assure you that.
Why else would there be more hoopla about
the wrong movie being announced as the Best Muslim, than the wrong sect being
announced as Muslim?
Even so, with all said and done, it was
only a matter of time that the Muslim ban was going to evolve into a true Sunni
Muslim ban. The US has now declared a war on the Muslim identity.
It is in times like these that the role of
us moderates becomes more pertinent than ever. The West’s policy of divide and
rule is centuries old and the only way to counter that is to stay united and
not self-decimate through sectarianism.
This nexus between Western powers, the
excommunicated Islamic sects and outlawed sexual identities needs to be dealt
with Muslim inclusiveness and solidarity. Let’s abandon all extremes and set
examples of peace, tolerance and integrity.
Kunwar Khuldune Shahid is a member of staff.