When a professor of environmental planning didn’t plan his article titled ‘Shia-Sunni Reconciliation’ well, which was published in Express Tribune’s December 9, 2011 edition, a blaze of fury was created among many of us. The uproar ended up in removal of the article from ET’s website, banning of the writer, Saleem H. Ali and a formal apology by the paper’s editor, for hurting religious sentiments of the Shia community.
The apology practice might have been a step by the newspaper to clear their part, which had to be this way in any case. But, they still bear the burden of giving it a negligent editorial judgement. The circumstances would have been apparently different, if they had properly gone through the article at first place.
Secondly, for the writer, as he tried to convince people after the controversy, this time via newsvine.com, that in the rush to write we (writers) can all be sometimes negligent. No wait, you have got be kidding me? This excuse can never be acceptable. As a writer, you must have learnt as your utmost responsibility to look into all the aspects and their otherwise consequences while putting your pen down to write on sensitive issues like, religion.
You cannot resolve issues between groups through an inappropriate rather insulting language. The writer himself has confessed, about the usage of insensitive choice of words, which were not only insensitive but abusive as well.
We are no one to criticise anyone’s religious ritual. Islam gives complete freedom to exercise religious rituals and this lesson has trickled down to us by none other than Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Please don’t abuse your own brothers and sisters as, Shia and Sunni are not separate religions but parts of Islam.
We should all be following the principle of live and let others live. Respecting each others religions and faiths, is the only way to resolve religious conflicts. This is the reason why the Shia-Sunni reconciliation process should never stop and should indeed continue towards a healthy and fruitful tomorrow.
Note: The writer, Saleem H. Ali, is back on Express Tribune, with his latest opinion piece, Who is a liberal Pakistani?