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Tackling sectarianism... By Tajammal

08 January, 2014

The report recently released by the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies (PIPS) is really shocking. According to this report, 658 people were killed and 1,195 injured in 2013 because of sectarian attacks in different parts of the country. To curb the sectarian menace, scholars from various sects and the government should be on the same page. Actually, a number of meetings have already been held in the past between the ulema (clergy) and government but, unfortunately, without any fruitful results. If nothing concrete is done at this juncture in time, the number of people so killed and injured will increase in number with every passing year, ultimately resulting in a bloody civil war.

In my opinion, the major cause of sectarian hatred is uncontrolled use of loudspeakers in religious institutions. Through an act of parliament, the government should stop the misuse of loudspeakers in all mosques, imambargahs, madrassas, etc. Daily, five times, the call to prayer should only be allowed with religious sermons on Fridays only, that too in the Arabic language. In no case should Friday sermons be allowed in Urdu, Punjabi or in any other local language. This is the practice in vogue in many Muslim countries and, because of this, there is no sectarian hatred in those countries. The law of control of loudspeakers must be implemented in letter and spirit, and it is hoped that by doing so 90 percent of sectarianism will be eliminated. The draft of the Friday sermon should be given by the government in writing to all religious institutions after getting it passed by parliament.

S TAJAMMAL H RIZVI
Lahore

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