Hundreds and thousands of mosques open their doors to millions of worshippers across Pakistan each day. These spaces of worship are a central pillar of life for men in our country, and often become the biggest source of information for the ordinary citizen. Where there isn’t cable TV, there are still mosques. Pakistani men of all ages and class distinctions still share this site of worship as a common space. Primary attitudes about life, society, and outsiders are regularly formed here, often after the Friday sermon which dispenses advice about everything from dietary concerns to international affairs.
Why is it then, that these mosques fail to spread what most Muslims consider to be the true message of Islam, that of peace and humanity? If these are the values we must live by, then our mosques have to function as sites of inclusiveness and tolerance.
We are asking Muslim men to see their mosques as places of engagement. It is not enough to fold our arms and pray together if we don’t remind ourselves constantly what the true substance of our faith is. We are asking worshippers to start a conversation with their local Imams about the issues of intolerance and religious hatred plaguing our society. After prayers, approach your Imam and ask him to condemn attacks on minorities; speak out against intolerance and bigotry in the light of Islamic teachings; preach Islam’s lessons of acceptance and co-existence. We are not asking our Imams to facilitate political discussions, but simply to educate their congregations on the rights of non-Muslims as promised in Islam, and on the covenants signed by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with those outside the faith.
#TalktoyourImam, A small act can make a big difference.