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Interfaith Dialogue ( 30 Dec 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Political Spin given to Christmas Goodwill Message

By Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam

30 December 2015

In his Christmas address, United States President Barack Obama paid tribute to US soldiers; “You help keep us free. You help keep us strong. And whatever service you're in, we are extraordinarily grateful for everything you do every single day," Obama said.

Simply put – We are always right to deploy you wherever you are. Carry on doing the fighting.

The Australian Prime Minister Mr Turnbull also did likewise and said; “In particular, we thank the men and women of the Australian Defence Force who are serving overseas this Christmas …”

Meaning – We are sorry you are not enjoying Christmas with your loved ones at home but we were obliged to put you in that position. Carry on never the less.

The soldiers, American, Australian or of other nations in today’s sophisticated world, unlike Genghiz Khan’s,  are generally referred to as members of Defence Forces, with the implied meaning that they are assigned the duty to defend their own nation when attacked.

This may be extended in special circumstances, to mean that the soldiers are obliged to defend others with whom their nation has defence treaty when it is attacked by enemy-forces. Historians could site many such examples where members of one nation’s defence forces were sent to other nation country for the purpose of defending it when attacked.

The spin that oozes out of some goodwill messages given by politicians this time of the year, then to single out the soldiers serving in wars of aggression outside their own boarders; is that our soldiers are fighting the “just wars” on behalf of our client and enlisted friends, even though these friends may or may not have defence treaty with us.

The spin given in acknowledging the soldiers sacrifices at this religious festive season camouflages the desire to defend the political decision taken to send the soldiers to fight these wars abroad; ala “Former British PM admits ‘mistakes’ and conflict’s role in rise of Islamic State but defends armed intervention in 2003”. Armed intervention is part of holy war even if it is a mistake!

Prime Minister David Cameron of UK, to his credit however came a bit closer to the real spirit of the Christmas. Although the obligatory acknowledgement of the defence services was there, one assumes for the above given reason. He said: “If there is one thing people want at Christmas, it’s the security of having their family around them and a home that is safe. But not everyone has that. Millions of families are spending this winter in refugee camps or makeshift shelters across Syria and the Middle East, driven from their homes by Daesh and Assad.”

Really? Were these refugee camps there in the time of Assad or in the beginning of Bashar’s time?

But spoken in the true spirit of the goodwill season- “We must pay tribute to the thousands of doctors, nurses, carers and volunteers who give up their Christmas to help the vulnerable – and to those who are spending this season even further from home…”. His heart seems to be in the right place. Politically his mind may not be though.

“Right now, our brave armed forces are doing their duty, around the world: in the skies of Iraq and Syria, targeting the terrorists that threaten those countries and our security at home; on the seas of the Mediterranean, saving those who attempt the perilous crossing to Europe; and on the ground, helping to bring stability to countries from Afghanistan to South Sudan.”

Why are they attempting the perilous crossings of seas to Europe? How stable are these countries now after decades of armed attempts at “stabilising” these countries from where these unfortunate refugees swim the Mediterranean?

The British Monarch, head of Commonwealth said that Jesus Christ's message was not one of revenge or violence, but of love. Referring to the Bible She added- “We can lift some of those shadows by sharing our love with others — beyond our family and close friends.” After all the Monarch holds the title – ‘Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England’.

Then there is the statements of the Pontiff, Pope Frances: “Let us all unite, either with prayer or with desire…”. For sure he has no forces deployed in other countries, so he can only pray and desire, being a man of God with no armed forces.

He named almost every country, Muslim and non-Muslim in conflict today, whether in religious, political or social aspects – from Palestine to Colombia and all in-between and added further in significance “…that dialogue may lead to a strengthened common commitment to the building of civil societies animated by a sincere spirit of reconciliation and mutual understanding.”

But the political powers understand that dialogue means it is only to be carried out by the use of guns and deploying soldiers.

It is also futile to remind the self-proclaimed Khalifas and the false defender of the Faith of Islam that their own Book of faith, the Quran had endorsed the Pontiff’s above statement at the very inception of the Faith- Invite all to the way of your Lord with wisdom and sound arguments and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious…16-125. And:

Say to my obedient servants that they should converse only in the soundest way: for Satan does sow dissensions among them; for Satan is to mankind an avowed enemy 17- 53. Add to this the following and then the message is complete:

And dispute you not with the people of the Book except with the means better unless it be with those of who inflict wrong and injury: but say “we believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; for our God and your God is ONE and it is to Him we bow in faith.29-46.

It is absolutely fair that soldiers who perform their assigned duty should be thanked, particularly during festive times when they should be with their loved ones to enjoy the festival like all others.

However for simple minded person the questions remain to the politicians to explain how their “Defence” forces go on “Offensive” in other countries with whom it has no treaty of mutual defence. Is implementing a political “Regime change” in other countries part of the Defence forces obligatory duty under oath?

Does this fall within the definition of Democracy?

Is it not obvious that peace and harmony among mankind is not high on the priority list of political powers and its operatives! Messages of revealed Books are turned into religious texts and politics and religion should not mix, it is said.

The ONE God’s Revelations are of fundamental values for whole of mankind. Religions are man-made to manipulate His Divine values. That is why the poet had said:

Jalaal-e-paadshahi ho ke hjamhuri tamasha ho,

Judaa ho Deen siyaasat se toe reh jaati hai Changezi


Whether it is the monarchy or the circus of democracy,

When the Divine Values are separated from politics what remains is Genghis-ism.

All those engaged in these games are the Genghis Khans of the modern world at the cost of destruction on large scale of humanity!

A regular contributor to New Age Islam, Rashid Samnakay is a (Retd.) Engineer