Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Update: News about Farooqi school, new fatwa, and more pictures

by Salman Hameed

[This is related to the blasphemy mess of Farooqi Girls High School. Please see these earlier posts hereherehereherehere, and here. You can also sign the petition here]. 

It looks like local government has taken charge of the private school burnt down by a mob last week. The principal of the school and Umair's father, is still in jail and the school is still closed. Here is an item from the Daily Times:

The school was suspended after the angry mob set it on fire on October 31. The premises came under attack after an alleged blasphemy case by a teacher who, while giving an assignment to students, had unintentionally mixed words from different pages. This led to the blasphemy controversy.
However, on the very next day, the City District Government Lahore was given the administrative control of the school and Additional Commissioner General was appointed as its administrative. On the other side, the students and their parents held a protest outside school building for release of Principal Asim Farooqi and early reopening of the school. 
On another front, here is a fatwa by Maulana Mohammad Asim Makhdoom and it correctly asserts that Umair's father is innocent and should be released immediately and that the school should be reopened immediately: 
However, it also says that the accused teacher should be investigated, and if found guilty, should be sentenced to death immediately. In addition, instead of blaming anyone from the mob, it goes on to blame some random conspiracies of infidels that are causing Muslims to fight amongst themselves. A fatwa like this is essential for the release of Umair's father. But the language in here makes me further worried about the life of the teacher - both within the judicial system and without (of course, I'm also worried about Umair and his family - but I have noticed a trend where some have started to solely blame the teacher. Remember, she made an unintentional mistake. Let's not hang her up to dry. If there is anyone to blame, it is the mob and a law that allow these incidents to happen). Furthermore, this attitude ensures that there will be more innocent Umair's and Arfa's waiting to be entrapped by this system. 

And here are some pictures of the destruction of the school. Here is the main office: 

And a classroom:

And another classroom: 

Here is a protest against the burning and closure of the school. This is a good juxtaposition of the protest with the burnt out school:

Here is a close-up of the protest: 

Some individual faces of protest: 
And some more:

The above set of pictures illustrate the on-going (and future) battle for Pakistan. This is not about about religion - but about the kind of religion one believes in. There is definite hope if the future of the society is shaped by those in the bottom four pictures. And we may be facing despair if the vision is coming from those preaching intolerance and the purging of any diversity within Pakistani society.


Akbar said...

I think the note by the respected scholar is wisely written. The first priority is to get Mr Farooqi released safely because he and his family are the focus of this apparent conspiracy. This cannot be done without calming down the mob mentality of the masses while maintaining popular stance on the issue. Any softer it gets and it will lose its efficiency. The perpetrators of this whole conspiracy wouldn't be interested in the neck of the teacher, so she may be safe(r). The next step would be to let the whole episode diffuse away with time. So let us keep our fingers crossed.

Salman Hameed said...

I'm curious. So you think that this respected scholar will write something more forthright after this particular crisis is over? Please post it here when that happens.

Akbar said...

Read between the lines...I am just being careful. Who knows who would be next? We do astronomy outreach activities in schools and colleges which are not the favourite places for fanatics. So I would carefully 'appreciate' anything that may be helpful even by 1%. :-)

Amir said...

its pity of our society that after such things people just blame foreign hand. this same mindset is visible from this Fatwa Letter. Although Mr. Farooqi (Father of Umair Asim), gave explanatory letter on 30th october 2012 to this very same sect but still school was attacked and burnt down.
They should have controlled themselves at that time instead of putting blame on infidels now. Sorry, I don't see any infidel or foreigner involved in this act of Looting, vandalizing, burning and so on....

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