When I was a young boy, I remember there was the mother of a friend of mine who did not go to the market. I asked my mother about this, and she explained that uncle did not allow her to go because he did not want her exposed to things that went on there. I asked my father why he allowed my mother to go to the market and he smiled and said, “Your mother is a strong and intelligent woman. Why would I tell her what she can do?” I mentioned that there are some goods and conversations in the market that are not proper and he nodded his head and replied, “Your mother has a strong faith in Allah. She can walk through a pit of snakes and will not be shaken.”
My mother went to the market. My mother went wherever she wanted. Nobody dared to question her, either. At least not openly. I can’t imagine anyone telling her where she could and could not go without receiving a rebuke like you would not believe. I saw the women wearing burqas and felt sad for them. Not because they were hidden, but because I thought that it must be because they were not strong enough to face the world with only their faith in Allah. That they needed some extra security from that piece of black cloth.
Today, though, the judiciary and the PTA seems to think that all Pakistanis are too weak to go to the new electronic market without wearing an electronic burqa. First it was Facebook and today it is YouTube. Tomorrow it will be Twitter, then Google. Soon perhaps they will order that the whole nation be covered in a giant piece of black cloth.
Could these justices really have only now learned that there is some offensive materials on the Internet? What will happen if they find out about the stall at the village market with the certain DVDs and VCDs behind the counter? What if they take a look behind the curtains covering tea stalls during Ramadan? What if their drivers get lost and they end up in some slums at night? Surely their weak faith will be harmed when they see what goes on not on the Internet but in their own city!
The Internet is like a giant market. Facebook has popular groups for anti-Islamic things, but also there is a group for ‘I Love Islam’ that has over 900,000 members! YouTube surely has some offensive material, but has many beautiful videos about Prophet Muhammad and Islam also. Now we have banned these pro-Islam also? Users of YouTube can report offensive material and anything that is deemed offensive is available only to registered users over age 18 years. So why do we need these judges who are also self-appointed mullahs to tell us where we can’t go?
If JI and these judge-mullahs have such a weak faith that they cannot go to Facebook without being influenced against Islam, perhaps they should not go to Facebook. Actually, perhaps they should just stay indoors at all times and not bother those of us who are able to go to the market without being tempted to buy obscene materials or engage in improper gossips. I don’t need someone else to tell me what is right and what is wrong. My faith is strong enough that I am not tempted to go to some stupid ‘draw Muhammad’ page on the Internet. I feel sorry for these others who are so tempted.