The Attractive Tag of Liberalism!


Educating against Extremism

Educating against Extremism

Since Pakistan stepped in war against terror, the debate of “Extremist“, “Moderate” and “Liberal” has become common. Until now extremism is being considered uni-polar i.e. religious extremism. You may find oodles of analysts local and international popping up on your T.V screens commenting about extremism, of course they mean religious extremism. By any stretch of imagination it is not tenable.

Unfortunately, now our society deems the word extremism in only religious radicalism. On the other hand, word liberalism has become almost a cliché and everyone likes to be called one. You can witness this thing on any public online discussion forum whether it is a social network, blog or newspaper website. Everyone wants to jump into the discussion and say, “hey, you Mullah, you close minded! You need to get rid of your fundamentalist beliefs”, without realizing the very fact that liberalism is also an extreme on the opposite end on fundamentalism. It’s bipolar.

In fact now we do not argue instead we indulge in tagging each other with labels of fundamentalist/extremist and liberal. We never try to convince by logically arguing and never try to listen what counterpart has to say about it. We go like, “Oh you, believe me or get ready to be labeled as an extremist”. Liberalism tag has become so attractive that everyone wants to wear it. The tag itself is very dictating, and one who wears it unconsciously tries to protect it by whatever means possible.

There is a universally accepted rule that when one accepts any religion and enters into any faith he/she have to accept all the corollaries that accompany. Religion cannot be customized to our political, social or individual needs. When you accept it, then you have to accept it fully.

View of liberals is they have the right to question, to think freely, to have freedom of expression and unrestricted free thinking. Yes, indeed they have the right to think freely and have freedom of expression but religion tends to put a restriction at it. Suppose for the sake of argument you are a liberal living in a liberal society will you allow freedom of blasphemy, free sex out-of-wedlock, homosexuality, theft, robberies and murders just because you think you have the right to express what you want to express.

Indeed most of you will say No, a Big No to it, and that’s where religion put limits and these limits drag liberals to the moderation i.e. to a real comfort zone.

In the words of Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal (Rehmt. A);

People who have no hold over their process of thinking are likely to be ruined by liberty of thought. If thought is immature liberty of thought becomes a method of converting men into animals.

You may argue that Allama said “Immature thought” but may I put stress on the last part of preceding sentence “to be ruined by liberty of thought” which shows that liberty of thought without any hold would at least ruin you and if the thought is immature it would lead to“converting men into animals”. One can see the least and most consequences of having liberty of thought. We as a nation and modern western world unfortunately have lost the sight of this extreme.

On the other hand confining the thought to a smaller territory will bring one to other extreme i.e. conservatism/fundamentalism a.k.a religious radicalism or extremism. The question may arise; which type of extremism is more dangerous? If you ask me I would say “Liberalism” (though my facebook profile says ‘approaches to liberal’ in religious view column). There is a reason behind my sweeping statement; and that is Liberty of thought have no barrier and hence have uncontrollable and far-reaching consequences, which will destroy the very fabric of any society and social institutions.

Social institutions being the building block of society if affected by these extremes can affect the most important social institution i.e. family. Once family system is ruined, the process of “converting men into animals” begins. If we go by this speed we’ll be not very far from it. What we need is a middle ground and that is moderation.

Cross Posted @ MEY

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17 thoughts on “The Attractive Tag of Liberalism!

  1. hi

    This is Ikhlaq Ahmed. i hv read your blog and see that you hv vry nicely presnted ur point of view. I totally agree with this and beliv that extemism is not unipolar. It is bipolar, it is the name of State of Mind.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Mideast Youth » Blog Archive » The Attractive Tag of Liberalism!

  3. When you say opposite end, what exactly do you mean? what’s at the opposite end of being implicated for blasphemy? do you get murdered if you criticize darwin? Whats at the opposite end of suicide bombings, torture and kidnappings done in the name of islam? the same in the name of “liberalism”?

    The verbal criticism of the conservatives gets a magnified response, from the pulpit Mullahs at times use swear words to describe women who dont wear burqa when they go out, or people who dont pray.

    What is missing is violence from the liberal end, and that my friend is why there is no such thing as a liberal extremist in Pakistan. If there were suicide attacks on deobandi madrassahs, if women wearing burqas were attacked with acid, if beards were shaven off forcefully, only then you could make that claim.

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    • Khan I see things differently than yours. I see this as

      Religious/Fundamentalism Extreme————————– Moderation —————————— LiberalismExtreme

      My point is neither of the extreme is good. Lets pave our way from both extremes to the middle ground and that to me is “Moderation”.

      Thanx Khan for visiting and sharing your thoughts.

      Keep Visiting and sharing 🙂

      Like

  4. very good piece.
    keep raising voice on the issue – for now the bipolar phenomenon is rapidly progressing and theirs “either you are with us or them” policy.

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    • Thanx Fatima for Appreciating and taking time to read this article.
      I have just visited your blog and found that you are promising writer at the very first glance. I’ll visit your blog soon to read few article soon.

      Keep Visiting and Keep sharing 🙂

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  5. I completely agree with imran. What exactly do you mean by a liberal extremist? If a person wants to have sex out of wedlock, drink alcohol, not say his prayers, then that’s his problem (regardless of whether or not he is a muslim), he isn’t forcing anyone to do the same. HE has a right to do whatever he wants with his life if he isn’t harming anyone while doing so.
    so go on and exlain: what is a liberal extremist?
    and saying that you see things differently isn’t a valid argument.

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    • Dear Shah G: Not offering prayer is certainly ones personal matter. But when it comes to sex out of wedlock you certainly are involving second person. Trespassing other individuals personal space.
      Does extreme means forcing someone to do the same? No absolutely not. Please consult any dictionary you would like. (apart from yours 😉 just kidding). this is the prime reason why I wrote this article. Very few know what is extremism. But everyone knows; we shouldn’t be part of it 🙂

      and I may add, when “I say I see things differently”
      I want to avoid direct disagreement what I learned in my days @ University in Business communication class.

      Thanks for sharing your valuable point of view.
      Keep Visiting and Keep Sharing 🙂

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      • Wahab Sahib,

        “Trespassing” is when you do something without the consent of the other person involved, in the case of sex this would mean; being a peeping tom or far worse, a rapist.

        When the other person, whether you are married to her or not, also consents to having sex, then its not “trespassing”.

        Also, on the meaning of extremism, lets use the bar that you used to explain things differently, but with examples this time..

        Religious Extremism (suicide bombings, blasphemy killings, etc)—————-moderation ——————–Liberal Extremism(speaking out against blasphemy law, having sex out of wedlock, anymore you wanna add?)

        Now tell me, are the two equal according to your somewhat different approach to analyzing things?

        if you say that asking for reforms in a law through parliamentary procedures is the same as strapping on a suicide belt and exploding then, i rest my case.

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  6. I quiet agree with Imrans points, and feel you, like many others, don’t seem to grasp exactly what liberalism is. Secular is another term often misquoted.

    I wrote the following in in another blog, which may show you what I mean.

    Liberalism isn’t compliance to a certain lifestyle , but a way of thinking. To accept that people have different ideas, not necessary ones that you like. So a burqa clad woman who shares her meal with a Christian can be called a liberal, while a upper class woman looking at the Burqa clad woman with disdain can be called a conservative. All a matter of perspective.

    —-

    Liberals are always moderate. Liberal fascism, a term coined recently in Pakistan, is an oxymoron, as fascist arn’t liberal. I believe extremist is on both sides that you are alluding to are the fascist right and the fascist left.

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  7. I fully agree agree with you

    Liberalism isn’t compliance to a certain lifestyle , but a way of thinking.

    You probably missed my point on way of thinking when i quoted Dr. Muhammad Iqbal.

    People who have no hold over their process of thinking are likely to be ruined by liberty of thought. If thought is immature liberty of thought becomes a method of converting men into animals.

    the crux of the quote was to show the repercussions of liberalism described by Dr. Muhammad Iqbal (Rehmt. A)

    I (sorry for a strong word) with

    disagree while a upper class woman looking at the Burqa clad woman with disdain can be called a conservative.

    Because my dictionary explains conservative as

    Holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion

    Since upper class woman looking is at “Burqa clad woman with disdain” is not clearly sticking to the traditional attitudes etc so for me she cannot be Conservative in the very first place.

    thanx for sharing your views esp. giving the garnishing touch of Fascism to the thought.

    Keep Reading and Keep Sharing 🙂

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    • Interesting response. I will let Iqbal slide for the moment, as his intellect far outweighs mine.

      On your comment on conservatism, you seem to assume that Burqas are the majority traditional dresses of women in the sub-continent. This may not be true, as most Muslim women preferred the variations of Shalwar Kameez and sarees for the last 500 odd years. Burqa and its fascination has grown more recently, and can be called the un-traditional attire. I say this from personal reading, and may not have any authentic sources to back it up though.

      My point was the woman who sees the Burqa as an innovation is also a conservative.

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      • Dear BM: Sorry, i couldn’t savvy your point

        the woman who sees the Burqa as an innovation is also a conservative

        As far as your your view on my comment

        ou seem to assume that Burqas are the majority traditional dresses of women in the sub-continent

        I would humbly request you to go through the following again with some stress on quotes

        cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion

        not only traditions but Religion.

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