Your child failed to qualify for a scholarship at college – the administration must be engaged in a Yahoodi Sazish. The Supreme Court of Pakistan sensibly acquitted Asia Bibi – another Yahoodi Sazish. McDonald’s trying to control the Pakistani food market – definitely a Yahoodi sazish. Now, what is a “Yahoodi Sazish”? In literal terms – a plot by the Jewish people. Yet, in Pakistani terms, it is an adage that is chanted by conservative minds and brown parents in great zeal, the perfect scapegoat for all of their problems. After all, Jews are constantly plotting to overthrow us, right? Wrong. Even in the 21st century, humanity is haunted by racist ideologies that stem from a profound ignorance about the culture of other societies.
You see, a vast majority of Muslims see Jews with skepticism, a big reason being the Palestinian occupation by Israeli forces which is a Jewish state. But we fail to realize that those very forces are not representing Jewish values, there is a stark difference between Zionism and Judaism where the former is defined by “a national movement of the Jewish people that supports the re-establishment of a Jewish homeland in the territory defined as the historic Land of Israel” whereas the latter being an Abrahamic religion. In fact, Tom McCarthy from The Guardian wrote a journalistic piece back in May stating,
“The massacre by Israeli soldiers of dozens of Palestinians in Gaza this week has prompted a new round of protests by progressive Jewish-American groups who object to the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem – and who lump the Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu administrations together as enemies of peace in the region.”
We need to realize that terrorism has no religion. Look at ISIS, the entire west seems to associate them with Islam but we know that those people are not following Islam, don’t we? Then why is it that we fail to offer the same logic to other faiths? Why is it that we do not offer them the same tolerance we expect, is it a classical epitome of double standards? Indeed it is. And the sooner we realize, the better because every moment that passes with us blaming another faith for our faults, we will lack in progress. The first step of progress is to accept your mistakes, a thing we seldom do?
Let’s move back to analyze the solution, shall we? Since childhood, we are taught Islamic Studies right from primary school till the end of secondary school. And fair enough, it is the Religion we believe in and we should learn and know more about it but there’s a problem alongside too. The syllabus of these Islamic books does not delve considerably into the teachings of other Religions, we are taught about Islam and Islam only. This results in us concluding the core of the problem – intolerance.
Does Islam teach tolerance? 100%. But how do we learn it? Through passing tests? Never.
It is learned through embracing other cultures and having an open mind towards others which requires a practical approach. And for this very reason, I believe that there is a need to introduce comparative religious studies. When we will learn that all Jews are not plotting an attack against us, when we will learn that Christianity, Islam & Judaism accept the same God, our children will be much more welcoming of others.
And this change does not come easily, it requires an amendment at the federal level by the government, it requires a counter-ideology to every extremist that wishes to erupt the seeds of peace, it requires unpopular decisions which will receive backlash but once taken, the effects would be seen in the long term. Recently, a video was circulating on social media of children in a local school, perhaps in a village were chanting slogans calling for the death punishment for Asia Bibi. Those children did not know the reason for their very calling for sure but they were brainwashed into believing it was the right thing without thinking of the “why.” To save their future, we need changes and it starts from the mind’s indoctrination tool – education.