Americans getting it wrong
coming out of this, but it’s going to take a couple of years.” Clearly, American scientists are worrying themselves unnecessarily. If only they could take time out to read some Pakistani newspapers they would save themselves a lot of trouble and have their doubts removed in an instant.
A journalist with whom I often find myself in talk-shows, to my great joy I need hardly add, has expressed the definitive opinion that Hurricane Sandy is God’s punishment visited upon the American people for the Californian film blaspheming the Holy Prophet.
Excerpts from his column: “How could the Lord of the Worlds remain silent over (this blasphemy)? Of what account a superpower against the might of my Lord? ...Only a few weeks after (the blasphemous film) powerful America has been hit by such a calamity that until yesterday intoxicated by pharaonic power it today presents a picture of the utmost helplessness.”
In between he says that Muslims across the world were expecting nothing from their rulers, all American toadies, or from the Organisation of Islamic Countries. And they were dismayed. But how could my Lord remain silent? He doesn’t say it but the implication is clear that the US deserves every bit of what it has got, although what connection there might be between the benighted filmmaker and the millions hit by the hurricane comes out less clearly.
We can therefore rest easy. The Almighty took notice of a film that any ordinary filmgoer would have found unworthy of notice and, moved to uncontrollable wrath, sent down the thunderbolts of His vengeance on the modern-day Philistines, the American people. This in a widely-read newspaper, on the living page. And there would be any number of Pakistanis, rest assured, who would say how very true…and be in raptures over the notion of divine retribution.
The same day another article shed light on the reaction among Indian Muslims to the hanging of Ghazi Ilm Din in 1929, convicted of the killing of Ram Gopal, a Hindu who had published a book disrespectful of the Holy Prophet. It said the event had a profound impact on the Muslim mind and may have been responsible for moving Iqbal to sound the demand for a separate Muslim homeland in India. There would be few more singular takes on the Pakistan movement, this explanation opening up a whole new field of historiography.
None of this should be surprising. History has not been among our strong points. We are more at home with fanta-