Sunday, November 04, 2012

[Update]: Quick note on Umair Asim and the Lahore blasphemy mess

by Salman Hameed

[This is related to the blasphemy mess of Farooqi Girls High School. Please see these earlier posts hereherehere, and here]. 

I received a brief note from Umair Asim late last night. He mentioned that at the time the school building was burnt down, he along with his parents and three teachers were in the office. He said that it is long story of how they survived "those 6 hours". He again confirmed that this was a simple unintentional mistake, that has caused all this commotion. Will update you when I hear more from him.

So were the protestors just upset about the supposed blasphemy? Well, apart from the "protest" that included setting the school on fire, they took generators, computers, office furniture, and equipment from science labs. Apparently, in some instances they even took marble tiles from the school floor. Oh - and if you are wondering about the books - well, thousands of library books were thrown from the school rooftop into the blazing fire in the school courtyard (by the way, I wonder, if any had Qur'anic verses written on them...). And whatever cash was in the school, it was also looted.

There you go. These are actions of the so called self-appointed guardians of religion. My guess is that this is the result of a combination of envy and fear. Envy - that a girls high school is doing so well and has high quality equipment compared to any madrassa's in the country. And fear - that the girls are being educated. I can imagine confrontations between the conservative men and their daughters who want to go to school. But Lahore is not Swat (at least not yet). It is not that easy to simply close down a school because you don't want education for girls. But - ah - the blasphemy law provides a perfect excuse to go after anyone. All one has to do is to point a finger. Does it really matter if the court decides that there is no blasphemy here. Will the lives of Umair Asim and his family, the accused teacher and her family - ever be the same?

Will keep you updated on the situation.


Akbar said...

Thanks Salman for keeping us updated. This is very upsetting and appalling.

Akbar said...

Here is a link to the video of the sabotage :-(

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