Nehaal Hashmi used religion to justify his viral video. “I was fasting,” he reasoned, and hence he blurted out what he did. Strange how we allow people to misuse and exploit religion. If there was any punishment on religious bases, Mr Hashmi must be made to atone for his sins. But then, so should we all.

Religion forms a concrete narrative in our understanding of society which makes it the perfect tool to manipulate discourse. Religious leaders use it to dictate the society to play at its terms. Individuals such as Nehaal Hashmi use it to justify their language and political ploys. People like Malik Noor Awan use religion to cement their claims against the likes of Sheikh Rasheed. And then, there are the graver misuses. The blasphemy accused, the Mashals, the Asia Bibis.

The London bridge attackers were peculiar. The three men went on a knife jutting spree wearing fake suicide jackets. Of course, they would have known that they will be shot. Shooting was never difficult for special forces. So, what was their objective? Usually, terrorists want to create havoc and havoc is always a matter of numbers. The suicide bomber blows himself up in a dense crowd so that there are many bodies. The Manchester bomber ignited the bomb in a concert where a lot of people were huddled together and hence would die in numbers. However, the three London terrorists seem to be aimless. How and why they engaged in the futile exercise only to be killed mere minutes since the start of their spree has left many dumbfounded.

Questions arise as to what prompted them to go forth with this useless exercise. The answer is indoctrination. The three did not care about their impact, all they cared about was to go around and kill people because what apparently, that’s what Allah ‘wanted’ of them. This reveals the immense strength of engaging people in indoctrination; of playing with their realities and making them do irrational and illogical acts.

But, we know this already, after all that is the norm in Pakistan. People engage in these indoctrinations on a daily basis. Everyone seems to know the best version of our religions. Everyone has an opinion. Who is correct and who isn’t is a matter of confusion. Even authorities are confusing for there are many authorities. Religion tends to give away authority to simply any and everyone who wants it. The criteria of religious authority is in itself vague. Anyone who wants to become an Imam can devote himself to this exercise. Yes, he manages to gain religious knowledge but no one wonders if the man in the beard is apt to give social advice? No one asks if the gentleman must be allowed to preach on matters beyond the religious circle. That’s another problem, we just don’t ask.

And then there is the matter of the scholars. As a society we don’t have them account for what they say. For example, Amir Liaquat continues to gain spotlight even after the disastrous shows he has done in the past. In one such show he invited people like Hanif Qureshi and Kokab Noorani, both who have vehemently issued death threats to people. The two murderous personalities sat there on the stage, smiling and discussing things like what women rights were and how a woman must act with her husband. No one seems to have a problem with these two sharing the stage of a show that claims to represent Pakistan. No one worries that it was Hanif Qureshi who instigated Mumtaz Qadri to kill Salmaan Taseer in the first place. We all seem to forget their sin of the past as these brutal leaders indoctrinate others to lose themselves in the sin of the future.

All in all, indoctrination is an issue we all must sit down and discuss. But, before we move onto that, it is important to see how we allow people of every cast and creed, to play with religion. We need to stop making a social mockery of faith and hope that people follow suit in their personal lives. Only then can we expect some form of sanity to spread across the nation. Till then, everyone seems to hold their opinion in high regard and continues to use religion to indoctrinate people into acts that defame us as a community. The community itself must respond; and it needs to do this soon.