Beware of the Idols

Posted on April 1, 2009 by


by Umayr Hassan
(It was a reply to an email at Socialist Pakistan News(SPN) mailing list that described a local event occuring after Manawan Terrorist attack and termed it as an awakening against fundamentalism.)
He narrated an incident where in a public van, the driver asked a man with beard to get off the van. He refused to take him in the public van. All the passengers clapped and agreed with the driver and the beard person had to go. It seems that Lahorites are awakening up to the threat of religious fundamentalists.

If the judgment of fundamentalism is bound with appearances, then it is clear that there is no essential difference between “progressives” and “fundamentalists” except in the forms of the ‘idols’ each worships. The hatred or resentment with which Taliban may treat shaven men and uncovered women is now reflected in the attitude of socialists who celebrate mob mania and the misfortunes of bearded men or burqa-clad women.

There are more idols than realities in the world: that is my “evil eye” upon this world…and regarding the sounding out of idols, this time they are not just idols of the age, but eternal idols…

– Nietzsche

A more productive attitude might be to open up the possibility of a “secular” state by rewriting discriminatory laws and, at the same time, to open up the possibility of diversity in religious interpretation, particularly within Islam.