Why Is Raping Kids Inside Madrassas Not 'Blasphemous'?

Actor Saba Qamar is being harassed on social media by Pakistan's religious moral police who feels offended by harmless things like a twirl but stay silent when little children are raped inside madrassas by clerics who teach them the Holy Quran. A video of Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP) chief Khadim Rizvi is being circulated on social media where he could be heard hurling threats at Saba Qamar over the said twirl video at the Wazir Khan Mosque. He goes on to announce that he would hold Friday prayers inside the Wazir Khan Masjid because if it is opened for shoots then it should be open for worshipers as well. This threat by the extremist figure is dangerous because his followers are a bunch of hooligans who are always desperate to take law into their hands in the name of religion.

The government must provide security to Saba Qamar but those advising her to leave the country should understand that we cannot keep ceding space to these hooligans. Why should a successful, accomplished actor leave her career and go abroad just because a handful of bigots are accusing her of blasphemy? Saba Qamar should stay in Pakistan and keep standing her ground because it is about time we took the religious right to task for its sheer hypocrisy which they keep getting away with because they wear religion on their sleeves and consider themselves to be the only true Muslims. Our government has proven time and again that it cannot take the pressure from religious fanatics, but this does not mean that we as citizens should let them continue with their bigotry and double standards. Let's take a stand against this practicie of accusing people of blasphemy and ask these fanatics that when they will condemn the sexual violence that kids are subjected to inside the madrassas where they go to learn the Holy book? Isn't committing rapes inside a madrassa also blasphemous? We need to start asking this question from the local clerics we know in our communities. Confront them, ask them what their stance is on the issue of child sexual abuse in madrassas. And if they don't clearly condemn it, boycott them.

The writer is a Lahore-based journalist.