Hamza Ali Abbasi recently asked some seemingly very simple and straightforward questions on Television. If we can discuss the persecution of Christians, Hindus and Shias, why can't we speak of the persecution of the Ahmadis? And likely tracing this persecution to the Second Amendment, he questioned the State’s right to anathematize a whole community of self-identifying Muslims.

Those who hate the Ahmadis should have pounced on this opportunity to inform the whole nation why there was a need to outlaw the Ahmadis and why speaking of their persecution is out-of-bounds. Instead, a firestorm erupted and Hamza Abbasi started receiving death threats on LIVE television. The right-wing turned against him overnight. His social media pages started lighting up with non-stop abuse and hate.

This was followed by PEMRA’s shameless ban on Hamza Ali Abbasi. AAJ TV has since apologized for “saying a few things on air which were opposed to the beliefs of the Muslims." The TV channel further said: "We also want to ask forgiveness from the clerics and the masses and promise not to repeat this mistake ever again." In Pakistan, asking for equal rights for all Pakistanis is sadly considered an attack on the beliefs of Muslims. What does that say about the integrity and decency of the right-wing?

This whole fiasco made one thing clear. The right-wing is threatened by dialogue. They are unwilling or unable (likely both) to defend their viewpoint through reason and argument. They would rather kill a fellow Sunni Muslim than let them discuss the rights of Pakistan’s 5 million Ahmadis.

Soon after Hamza Abbasi’s initial comments, prominent right-wing commentators and self-proclaimed intellectuals, Mr. Ansar Abbasi and Mr. Orya Maqbool Jaan (whom I have addressed before in context of their shameless attacks on Malala Yousufzai), took to the media to voice their opinion.

Orya Maqbool Jaan rebuked Hamza Abbasi and defended the State’s right to pass Takfeer on self-identifying Muslims. In a TV show with co-host Jameel Farouqi, he claimed that this right was legitimate because even the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) fought those who claimed the title of prophethood.

I sent him a message right away asking for one example of such a battle led by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). He has not yet replied. It is shocking how the right wing gets away with such serious misrepresentation of Islamic history. I then educated Orya Maqbool Jaan on the incident at Yamama where Islam’s first caliph - Hadhrat Abu Bakr (ra) - met and defeated Musailma. The war was in fact fought to defend Medina and the Muslims from a hostile and advancing army led by Musailma, and not for any claim or belief he held. For if so, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) would have fought him himself. And he did not.

Soon after, Mr. Ansar Abbasi also took to Twitter in defense of the Second Amendment.

He said: 

In response, I reminded Mr. Ansar Abbasi that the Meccan tribes that came together to unanimously declare Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) an imposter also considered their decision legal and settled. They were equally strong in their conviction. I also reminded him that slavery, that existed until recently even in America, was considered legal and settled. The racial segregation that Muhammad Ali fought, and that has many parallels with the apartheid of the Ahmadis in Pakistan, was also legal and settled. But these wrongs were reversed in time by people who dared to ask questions and fight these taboos.

I then asked Mr. Abbasi why he was hesitant to discuss an issue if it was so clearly settled? I left him this article that I wrote on Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) definition of a Muslim and invited him to discuss it with me on any medium. He, like Orya Maqbool Jaan, has also not responded.

I am writing to bring this to public attention that the Oryas and the Abbasis, known for their fierce speech, have still to impress this humble one. In the words of the Quran, "Bring forth your argument, if ye are telling the truth!” If it’s a settled issue for you, come settle it for me too.