Intolerance Kills: Zealots Turn Eid Milad Celebrations into Battlegrounds

Posted on February 28, 2010
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Law & Justice, Religion, Society
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Adil Najam

In both Faisalabad and Dera Ismail Khan, religious zealots turned Eid Milad-un-Nabi celebrations violent leaving at least seven dead and more than thirty injured. The irony, and sheer lunacy, of this criminal violence is that there are those amongst us who are so convinced that they and they alone are the “best” Muslims of all, that they and they alone know what “true” Islam is, that they are willing and ready to attack – and even kill – even those who profess the very same faith as them. And all in the name of “saving Islam” … from other Muslims!

(News photos of the violence in Faisalabad that left property destroyed and burnt, including the charred remains of a copy of the Holy Quran inside seen inside a house which was attacked by a religious mob during the clashes)

The editorial in today’s Dawn (excerpts below) get it right, but one wonders if anyone at all is listening:

Pakistanis hardly need reminding that the country is in the grip of religious intolerance and violence: the war against militancy has touched every corner of the country inflicting a terrible toll, and for a while certain areas were virtually ceded to the militants without a fight. But there is another, more insidious, religious poison that is spreading, largely unnoticed, across the country, and it is not quite as easy to explain as the territorial ambitions of the Taliban. That poison has pit Sunni against Shia, Deobandi against Barelvi, Muslim against religious minorities — and it defies easy categorisation. The only thing its various strands seem to have in common is a hatred for everything that is ‘different’, where ‘different’ is inevitably judged as an unacceptable deviation and therefore deserving of punishment, even death, in many instances.

Invariably — perhaps suggesting where the cure must first begin — a steady diet of dogmatic preaching is to be found wherever such violence occurs. In Faisalabad, the khatib of a local mosque was arrested on charges of inciting people to violence. It will take great political will but such violent elements need to be purged from the mosques and madressahs, for without that it will not be possible to roll back the tide of hate that is threatening to engulf the countryThe infrastructure of hate that has slowly taken hold at the grass-roots level is really what needs to be dismantled. Further delay in initiating that process will only cause the problem to grow in magnitude.

The details of what happened on what was supposed to be a Holy and auspicious day, are gory but no longer unfamiliar, or even surprising. For those who might have missed them, here is a detailed report from The News:

DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Police and security forces on Sunday arrested over 100 suspects in a swoop launched after sectarian clashes during the Milad-un-Nabi procession and, subsequently, between protesters and the police in Dhaki village… At least, seven people were killed and 32 others sustained injuries in the violence and clashes between the protesters and personnel of police and security forces. Eyewitnesses said that a procession was taken out from the Bilal Mosque in connection with the Eid Milad-un-Nabi (PBUH) in Dhaki village on the Dera-Chashma Road.

After covering some distance, the students of a seminary of another sect blocked the road for the procession and did not allow them to proceed. The situation worsened when participants of the procession and the students exchanged hot words. Subsequently, the sources said, the religious students started firing at the procession in which Muhammad Irfan Kanju was killed on the spot while nine others sustained injuries… The sources said the students involved in the firing on the procession fled after the incident. However, the members of the procession took out a protest rally as a large number of people from the nearby villages thronged the place and joined the protesters. Eyewitnesses said a fierce clash between the enraged protesters and the police erupted after the former attempted to block the road and set the seminary and the house of the cleric heading it on fire.

The police, led by District Police Officer (DPO) Gul Afzal Khan, tried to stop the mob by blocking the road. However, the protesters did not disperse, which forced the police to use batons and fire teargas shells at the protesters. The protesters, the sources said, reportedly opened fire on the police in which Sepoy Sanaullah of the Elite Force, Sepoy Asmatullah of Paharpur police station and the DPO’s security guard Tahir sustained injuries. The sources said the police and protesters exchanged heavy fire in which six people were killed and 32 others were injured. Those killed included Muhammad Hanif, Azizullah, Hafiz Alam Sher, Sanaullah, Hashmat Ali and Ahsan.

… Maulana Zahid Mahmood told journalists in police custody that the participants of the procession allegedly pelted the main gate of Gole Masjid with stones and used abusive language. According to sources, Gole Masjid Ghulam Muhammadabad was considered the main centre of banned Sipha-e-Sahaba.

FAISALABAD: Some unidentified persons opened fire on Eid Milad-un-Nabi procession near a mosque in Ghulam Muhammadabad on Saturday afternoon, injuring at least four persons seriously. Infuriated participants of the procession blocked the road by setting tyres on fire and later attacked the Ghulam Muhammadabad police station. They pelted stones and torched vehicles parked on the police station premises. More than 100 vehicles, including impounded vehicles, wagons, motorcycles and cars and motorcycles of the police officials, were set ablaze, while the criminal cases record of the police station was also burnt to ashes. However, a local official denied the earlier reports about torching of 150 vehicles and motorcycles. He confirmed that 50 vehicles and 10 motorcycles and record of the police station were gutted during the incident.

When the fire-brigade staff reached the police station, the furious religious workers pelted them with stones. The police have reportedly arrested four persons on charge of involvement in firing on Milad-un-Nabi procession and damaging the public property. However, their names were not disclosed by the police. After setting on fire the police station record, the protesters ransacked the house of Maulana Zahid Qasmi, looted valuables and set his house on fire. This caused serious damage to a gas pipeline in the area, which resulted in burning of a nearby house and two cars parked along the road. The furious protesters also burst into the Madrassa run by Zahid Qasmi, but the police took prompt action and got vacated the building.

Meanwhile, both factions of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan, Sahibzada Fazle Karim faction and the Rasool Group, announced to observe a complete strike in Faisalabad on Sunday against the incident of firing on Milad-un-Nabi procession and asked the trade organisations to close down their businesses on Sunday against the incident. The JUP leaders also announced taking out protest rallies in Faisalabad and stage sit-ins at various points, including Ghanta Ghar Chowk.

Police have registered a case against 25 persons, including 15 top activists of different sects under 7-ATA and various sections of the PPC. The police have also arrested 10 people, including Maulana Ziaul Qasmi, general secretary of the International Khatme Nubuwwat Movement. Meanwhile, religious scholars staged a protest to condemn the attack on the house and seminary of Jamia Qasmia. The eight bazaars were closed as the protest demonstration entered the downtown area.

Addressing the protesters at Ghanta Ghar Chowk, Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi and Maulana Ilyas Chinioti termed the incident a conspiracy against peace of this city. Meanwhile, the Khurrianwala police have also booked 12 activists on the charge of displaying arms on Eid Milad-un-Nabi. Those booked included Bilal, Tanveerur Rehman, Naveed Zafar, Saleem, Naveed Taj, Rizwan Afzal and Abdul Ghafoor.

SARGODHA: About 12 people were injured in an attack on Eid Milad-un-Nabi procession at Chak 35/NB on Saturday. A complainant, Asif, told the Sadr police that dozens of people attacked the Eid Milad procession with sticks at the behest of Aziz. As a result, he, Faisal, Azhar, Atta Muhammad and others sustained minor injuries… Meanwhile, Markazi Milad Committee Convener Khalid Iqbal Musarrat demanded strict action against the attackers. In the meantime, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif ordered the IG Punjab to conduct an inquiry into the incidents, while the IG reviewed the situation.

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rehman Malik has also ordered a joint investigation to probe the incidents occurring on Saturday in Dera Ismail Khan and Faisalabad.

42 Comments on “Intolerance Kills: Zealots Turn Eid Milad Celebrations into Battlegrounds”

  1. ARSHAD says:
    March 1st, 2010 12:55 am

    Islam kay sabb say baRay dushman tou hum musalmaan khud hain! Har sakhs samajhta hai kay sirf woh he Islam ka thekaydaar hai aur uss ka Islam sachaa hai aur baqi sabb ka naqli. Khuda Islam ko aisay musalmaanoun say bachaye.

  2. Kaneez Fatima says:
    March 1st, 2010 1:14 am

    Apnay piyaray aaqa ka Jashn hum banatay hain.
    Jalnay walay jaltay hain, Jalnay walay jaltay hain,

    The people who try to stop the Jashn e Eid e Milad un Nabi Juloos are not Muslims.

  3. Faraz says:
    March 1st, 2010 1:18 am

    Seems like every lunatic in the country has a gun in one hand and matches in the other.

  4. Muhammad Ashar Azhar says:
    March 1st, 2010 1:19 am

    Govt. should take some strong steps against the culprits, who tried to stop the Eid e Milad un Nabi Juloos. At least we should avoid such incidents on the birth day of our Holy Prophet.

  5. ASAD says:
    March 1st, 2010 1:31 am

    I can’t understand where they get all these tyres to burn. Do they travel with them all the time. Really, this has to be planned.

  6. HaroON says:
    March 1st, 2010 1:36 am

    Very well said, Adil Najam. You have identified the real enemies of Islam and Pakistan in this para:

    The irony, and sheer lunacy, of this criminal violence is that there are those amongst us who are so convinced that they and they alone are the “best” Muslims of all, that they and they alone know what “true” Islam is, that they are willing and ready to attack – and even kill – even those who profess the very same faith as them. And all in the name of “saving Islam” … from other Muslims!

  7. Sajjad Junaidi says:
    March 1st, 2010 1:51 am

    Kaneez Fatima, I can understand your anger but the whole point is that Fitna starts from this very point when we declare others ‘Non-Muslims’ or ‘Kafirs’. Just leave everyone’s faith to themselves and keep an open mind. There is something to learn from all faiths and religions.

  8. Ghiasuddin says:
    March 1st, 2010 1:54 am

    Very well said Sajjad Junaidi.

    Why does everyone feel compelled to tell others they are kafirs and be so sure that they know what is right. Why can’t we let God be the judge of that and just be as good as humans as we can!

  9. Mujtaba Hasan says:
    March 1st, 2010 3:34 am

    We are paying the price of our sin of silence. These madmen have been at this game for the past 30 years, but the ‘civil’ society did not speak till the target were ‘others’ and not ‘us’. Let’s recall Martin Niemöller’s dictum:

    First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me.

  10. Yasir Qadeer says:
    March 1st, 2010 5:53 am

    “Religious Tolerance” along with all other sorts of tolerance towards each other is a concept we need badly as we lack in it noticeably. People should be given room to breathe and practice their faith unless it does not affect or involve ridiculing other faiths.

  11. S says:
    March 1st, 2010 6:24 am

    It makes you sad to read about this stuff happening in Pakistan. Why are we Pakistanis so quick to move to violence? How can those people claim to be Muslims? Trying to save a religion of ‘peace’..

  12. Haider Zaidi says:
    March 1st, 2010 8:53 am

    Pakistani of all religious believes have lived as one community . Who are these people spreading hatred , intolerance and violence amongst our nation . I am a Muslim of Shia school of thoughts age 55 and been in UK since 1970 . I learned Quran and Namaaz in a nearby Sunni masjid . As a matter of fact my Quran Maulana was a Wahabi . No one ever called me kafir . Shia a Sunni still live in Pakistan as one community .

    Who are these person firing at innocent peoples . Who provides them with money to carry out these hatred . All indicators leads to Saudi family . How long we as will respect the Saudi . All Suadi is not a Saudi sharif . only Macca and Medina can have this title .

    A Saudi is not more a holy man then anyone else in this world . My message to my nation . Wake up . Recognize your enemy and deal with them accordingly . Saudi family is not a friend of Pakistan , because a friend will never create discord in his friends house . Saudi do . I do not wish to blame the Wahhabi School of Jurisprudence . It is the politically motivated Saudi family and their cronies within the Muslim Ummah who are responsible for disunity amongst Muslims .

    Government of Pakistan should reduce the Saudi Embassy to a non friendly embassy . India has harmed us less then these Saudi .

  13. Vinnie says:
    March 1st, 2010 9:28 am

    It seems that such incidents are the fate of Pakistan. Very Tragic and Pitiful situation and circumstances prevailing in Pakistan :(

  14. Shahid Ali says:
    March 1st, 2010 10:58 am

    Pakistanis belonging to all schools of thought lived in harmony, believing AND practicing “Apne Aqeede Ko Mat Chodo Aur Doosre Ke Aqeede Ko Mat Chedo” (Be comfortable with your beliefs and respect the beliefs of others), until the wrath of God descended upon us___ Murdood-e-Momin, Murdood-e-Haq! This shameful intolerance is Zia’s making. May he rot in eternal hell.

  15. Muhammed Umer Farooq says:
    March 1st, 2010 11:38 am

    Religion + politics = poison

    The day Muslims as a whole understand this simple point, Islam will come out the Dark Ages in which it has been living for the last 1000 years.

  16. azeema says:
    March 1st, 2010 11:40 am

    i know several people who instead of feeling angry and sorry at this would blame it all on RAW or MOSAD!

  17. azeema says:
    March 1st, 2010 11:42 am

    well said Mujtaba!

  18. Roshan says:
    March 1st, 2010 12:32 pm

    The self proclaimed custodians of Islam are trying to annihilate the religion. I am sure it will not happen because majority of the followers of Islam believe in peaceful coexistence. These are the tough times and we will go through it.

  19. dhamial says:
    March 1st, 2010 1:17 pm

    I certainly deplore the violence and loss of innocent life as Muslims should engage in protecting life and property of fellows Muslims but whose Eid is this anyway; Hopefully Eid meaning a day of joy – historically speaking 12 Rabi-ul-awal (used to be remembered as BARA WAFFAAT in good old days) is the day of demise of the last prophet of Allah (peace be upon him).

  20. lidaliqa says:
    March 1st, 2010 1:36 pm

    Where is the outrage and burning of effigies???
    I guess when ” muslims” do it… its OK or not blasphemy!!!

  21. Jesa Karo Ge says:
    March 1st, 2010 6:22 pm

    Very familiar pictures ..

    First they came for the Ahmadies, and I did not speak out—because I was not an Ahmadi ..

    In the 1974 court drama against the Ahmadis, they Mullas couldn’t answer the question “What is the definition of a Muslim?” They asked the court to give them some time to research the answer. Their research continues …

  22. Fareedi says:
    March 1st, 2010 8:43 pm

    Pakistan’s estimated population in 2009>> 180,800,000.
    Every Pakistani claims he or she is saving Islam.

    Here is the history lesson—— in the the school books.

    “Abraha, the Governor of Yemen, wanted to break the power of Mecca. He wished to set up another Kaaba. He came with a large army to Mecca to pull down the Holy House. His men seized some camels of Abdul Muttalib, a Chief of the Quresh. Abdul Muttalib sought an interview with Abraha. He asked him to return his camels. Abraha gave back the camels but said,
    “Abdul Muttalib, you seem to care more for your camels than for the Holy House!”.
    Abdul Muttalib replied:
    “I am the master of the camels only. There is a Master of the Holy House. He would take care of it.”

  23. readinglord says:
    March 1st, 2010 9:48 pm


    What you mean by quoting this piece from the pre-Islamic history. It raises many questions if you think. Was not Mecca then virtually a mandar with 364 idols kept therein being worshipped? And was not Abraaha, a Christian, i.e., a Muslim of pre-Mohammadan Islam? And did Abdul Muttalib believed more in the power of Allah than the Muslims of today do? And rightly so …?

    Btw, history also says that the Muslims of Yaman, incidentally the same one to which Abraha belonged, did take away the sacred ‘Black Stone’ and placed it in a toilet to stop its worship which they considered to be ‘Shirk’. But God did not intervene then. Why?

    The Quran also says,”Afala Tadabaroon” (Why don;t you think?).

    I think we would stop killing each other if we think and believe in God as Abdul Mutallib did…..and, of course, Abutaalib did.

  24. sidhas says:
    March 1st, 2010 9:50 pm

    Those of us who have not yet choosen any sides or have not been asked to choose sides, we must act to ensure sanity in Pakistan.

    If we do not, we will be asked to choose sides. May Allah subhan o tala protect us from that day and from being spiteful.

    We must restraint ourselves from rage that spews when we hear such news and resolve to uphold life, liberty, justice for all regardless of faith, religion, or ethnicity.

  25. Wadood says:
    March 1st, 2010 10:47 pm

    The intolerance that has been bred into society with everyone becoming Islam ka thekedar and trying to make everyone else a “good muslim” is very very dangerous. Every neem hakeem idiot is going around telling you what the right and wrong way to do things is what this or that hadees says – and half the time they are even making these up.

  26. Obaid1 says:
    March 2nd, 2010 9:47 am

    Problem is from both sides it’s the banned outfits that have taken up this cause; from Brelvi side its Sunni Tehreek and from Deobandi side its Sipah-e-Sahaba. This turf war is not going to go away soon.

  27. Akif Nizam says:
    March 2nd, 2010 11:50 am
  28. Shahid Ali says:
    March 2nd, 2010 12:06 pm


    No doubt that there are extremists on both sides. But it is the Barailvis who most if not all of the times get the short end of the stick. Deobandis / Whabis / Salafis seem to have holier than thou attitude.

  29. Fareedi says:
    March 2nd, 2010 9:05 pm


    We muslim are good to raise a hell or unwanted question you say Kabah was a Mandir how come Allah had save this sacred house and Quran itself telling the whole story in Surrah AlFeel. please don’t get emmotional in the name of Islam, we call ourselves muslim but we are the killers and do the most heinos crimes, every where in the Islamic domain we find mutilated bodies of our own kind.
    I was talking about power of faith in God and for sure Hazrat AbdulMuttalib and Hazrat Abu Tallib were the people of great faith they were the followers of Deen E Haneef of that time.

    good luck

  30. Rafi says:
    March 3rd, 2010 9:55 am

    Religious intolerance is becoming a bigger and bigger threat and really we need to do what the Dawn editorial said the other day. Start looking into these mosques and start cleaning them of hate mongerers.

  31. March 3rd, 2010 2:20 pm

    Buring Quran or related books is getting quite common in Pakistan,Islamic Republic. Be it in the disguise of blasphemy by “opponents” or in the name of eradicating terrorism from a mosque(the Lal Masjid massacre)

  32. Musalman says:
    March 3rd, 2010 3:32 pm

    @ Adnan Siddiqi

    On the burning of Qurans. In the so-called ‘blasphemy’ cases the Qurans are usually burned by Mullah types who want to extort and frame non-Muslims, usually for personal gain of some sort.

    In this case, as the news story here suggests, the Quran was burnt, along with the houses of other Muslims and of one Maulvi himself but those “super-Muslims” who think they can directly speak for God and who are against the celebration of Eid Milad Nabi. So because they are againts these celebrations they went and killed others Muslims and burned their property, including burning Quran.

    I guess for the types who are against Muslims and against Muslims celebrating Eid Milad, they actually also enjoy burning Qurans!

  33. readinglord says:
    March 3rd, 2010 9:41 pm

    @Fareedi on 3rd March

    Thank you for your kind comment but sorry you did not get my point.

    My point is; when Mohammadan religion and the pre Mohammadan ones both believed in Allah why all this conflict and confrontation over the centuries continuing to this date?

    In any case it is better if they fight for their feigned religious sectarian proclivities instead of murdering peace loving innocent people indiscriminately.

  34. Adnan says:
    March 4th, 2010 1:21 pm

    “I guess for the types who are against Muslims ”

    @Musalman: My Dear friend,Nobody is considering your “guesses” credible enough that they should be taken as holy commandments. What all i said was based on what appear in news or what I was told when visited ISB after Lal masjid massacre that how “Pak” Army Jawans and other establishment people dumped Quranic pages in gutter. Internet is your friend, it’s just you should know how to use it.

    Oh, by the way every one knows what kind of Partying and Mastis are done in the disguise of “love” for Muhammad(saw).

  35. maskeenel says:
    March 6th, 2010 7:44 am

    All this nonsense stems from the laws which came into existance post fall of E. Pakistan. Pakistan became an animal and Pakistanis became wild beasts. It is a sorry state of our old country. God save Pakistan from religious leaders who instigate hate. It is time to weed out these radical teachers and where ever they could be found.

  36. anony says:
    March 6th, 2010 8:34 pm

    Where did you find that picture of Quran burned?

  37. satwa gunam says:
    March 26th, 2010 11:57 pm

    I am pleasantly surprised by this site. A honest analysis of the situation rather than blindly blaming india, isreal and usa. i do visit and reas following site who generally does the same :

    All problems of muslims will be solved, if they can rationalize the following small story that happened in life of buddha.

    Assuming i am given 100 gold coins by Mr. X
    I say i donot want it.
    Who does the gold coin belongs to ? Logically to Mr. X

    Now just replace the gold coin with abuse or bad words about any body or any book. This will actually reduce haf of the hatred and move the energy to productive work. When i tried to say this, the author was not ready to publish the same.

  38. Monety says:
    April 5th, 2010 6:24 am

    Where did you find that picture of Quran burned?

  39. mus says:
    April 9th, 2010 4:07 am

    Graet photos and Your article.

  40. June 16th, 2010 5:50 am

    I am pleasantly surprised by this site. A honest analysis of the situation rather than blindly blaming india.

  41. June 16th, 2010 6:02 am

    “Religious Tolerance” along with all other sorts of tolerance towards each other is a concept we need badly as we lack in it noticeably. People should be given room to breathe and practice their faith unless it does not affect or involve ridiculing other faiths.

  42. Syed Ali says:
    January 5th, 2011 8:40 am

    In Pakistan there is a law of Jungle……this Jungle is full of dangerous, poisonous & horrible influential & approachable people…each person is under the influence of any political or religous party….here legislators make the laws for common people and keep political parties above the law….as legislators also belong to Political Parties…..without the implementation of equal law system for all…..this jungle couldn’t be turned into a civilized society…..May Allah Karim bless on all of us…Ameen

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