There is nothing the people of our border regions love more than their mosques. They affectionately call the mosque “da Khudai kor” – God’s home. They love God’s home even more than their own home.
There is a high ratio of mosques to human dwellings. Generally, the people who live in the neighbourhood where a mosque is situated, will themselves contribute to the building and maintenance of a mosque.
When mosques are built in villages situated along major highways, then along with contributing to the building of the mosque themselves, local people will also collect funds from passing wayfarers. The enthusiasm of wayfarers in contributing to the building of the mosque is only matched by the zeal and passion of local people in making the collection.
Travellers on the Kabul-Jalalabad road will recently have noticed mosques being constructed in a couple of such villages, in the area of Laghman between Surkhakan and Mashala Qamar. The result of the collective effort of locals and travellers are two magnificent, palatial mosques, set amidst villages in which every house is a simple mud dwelling. The comparison between the human homes and the house of God almost mirrors the relationship between man and His Creator: total humility in the face of all-reaching might and power.
Set against this picture of undying love of mosques, it is all the more baffling to understand how sometimes attacks take place inside mosques. Such an attack took place last Friday, in the outlying Nangarhar district of Chaperhar. Local sources say that the bomb, which went off during Friday prayers at the mosque, wounded 30 people, including the Imam of the mosque, who is in a critical state.
PACT Radio/The Saba Story spoke to Mohammad Agha from Chaperhar about the attack. “If one per cent of a person’s faith is intact,” he replied, “he will not even attack his enemy in a mosque.” Echoing the words of others who condemned the blast, he added that it was un-Islamic elements who were responsible for such activities. But the fact remains that often such attacks take place in the name of Islam. How to put an end to them?
“If people raise awareness in this regard and punish people who perpetrate such acts, then these attacks will not take place,” contends Mohammad Agha. It would seem that such efforts should start without delay, for attacks on worshippers in mosques, particularly during Friday prayers, have become more and more commonplace over the last few years, with Lashkargah in Helmand and Jamrud in the Khyber Agency coming to mind as places where such attacks have taken place.
They are certainly a strange and horrific occurrence, when one considers in what sacred reverence people of the border regions hold their mosques.