Was engaged in a discussion with some thirty working print and electronic journalists over the state of insecurity in the country. Journalists were sharing as to how they ‘ve interviewed people who on record have stated that they are avoiding places like well known hotels etc because of bomb threats. Just last week the Holiday Inn hotel Islamabad ( now known as the Islamabad Hotel) was cleared mid day because of a bomb hoax. The conversation then turned to war on terror, its reasons and the whole clash of religions and civilizations debate. One of the IL blogging team members shared how this Eid she had offered Eid prayers in a Jewish synagogue in Virginia,USA along with other Muslims . The Muslims of Virginia used to rent a Church hall for Eid prayers but this year the Church was being renovated so the Muslims had to find another space. The Jewish synagogue was an ideal place and the Jewish community of Virginia extended full support.
This “confession” meant as an example of peaceful religious co-existence caused almost an uproar. Journalists demanded to know as to how (a) firstly a woman could have offered Eid prayers and (b) how could Eid prayers be offered in a synagogue?
We cited the Faisal Mosque, Islamabad example where women do offer prayers but in separate halls. However, the journalists were enraged that men and women had offered prayers in one hall simultaneously. …. and of course that too in a synagogue. One journalist termed this as `distasteful and outrageous” and wondered what the Virginia Muslim community was thinking?
The discussion left us wondering …… why even the educated among us are so religiously confused and scared? The conversation had started with political insecurities and fear. It ended with us wondering why we are so scared of our own religion that we seek solace in ritualistic thinking?