For God's Sake..
Daily Times, July 21, 2007
On Thursday, Pakistan’s two most powerful seminaries, Jamia Banuria Karachi and Jamia Ashrafiya Lahore issued fatwas based on Fatawa Alamgiri — which also apostatises the Shia — among other sources, against a freshly released film titled Khuda Kay Liyay (In the Name of God). The film shows the conflict between the fundamentalist and moderate Muslims in the Islamic world. Cinema-goers have thronged the halls and given it a thumbs-up and the media is predicting that the film may revive the collapsed culture of cinema in Pakistan.
The clergy that issued the fatwa did not see the film. It was enough for them to know that the extremists were being fought by the moderates in it. Therefore the heads of the madrassas lost no time in declaring the film as heresy. Such is the level of radicalisation in the country that even the “moderate” Barelvi ulema, when contacted, abominated the film. They thought that cinema-halls too should be banned! The first fatwa against the film was issued by Abdul Rashid Ghazi of Lal Masjid notoriety even before seeing the film. The cinemas should now look out for attacks. Far from entertaining any restraining petitions from the mullahs, the independent judiciary should stand up and be counted among the moderate forces in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, GEO’s management needs to be congratulated for its brave venture which is timely, creative and popular.