The Milli Yakjehti Council (MYC) has decided to monitor Friday sermons in mosques, in order to limit clerics or prayer leaders to deliver speeches on the subject of morality and humanity alone, as explained in the religion of Islam. An alliance of various religious-political parties, including Jamaat-i-Islami, this decision was taken by the council in order to promote sectarian and religious harmony, through giving ‘purposeful’ messages to Friday prayers gatherings on ‘morality, humanity, civilization, family system, culture and public rights.’

This monitoring of religious sermons will have the purpose of avoiding religious and sectarian conflicts. It can also be looked at criticallay as a way of ‘systematizing’ religion. This has been one of the approaches that has led to a religious divide in the country, based on sects or any other religious affiliation. The members of MYC state, that they would brief the prayer leaders about some selected subjects that are required to be discussed in sermons. Here, what one should find problematic, and actually question is the lack of involvement by any other religious parties that are not dominant, but equally present in Pakistan. This sidelining of their views, one that has become an unfortunate norm, can be feared to actually promote a dichotomization of certain views being more superior to others. What sort of prejudice this will breed, is not something impossible to imagine in our country.

In a country, where authorities continue to enforce blasphemy laws, regulations designed to marginalize the Ahmadiyya and Shia community and on various occasions restrict religious freedom, one can see that even if this monitoring of religious sermons might be done with a ‘noble’ intention, it still does not tackle the root cause of intolerance in Pakistan. Religious freedom should be seen as a right for all sects, not just the dominant one.