By Samar Fatany
12 April 2015
In last week’s column, I wrote about Islamophobia and how it is misleading many and making them enemies of Islam in the West.
I had hoped that my article would influence a more tolerant approach toward innocent Muslims who are being killed and displaced and whose homes are being destroyed by terrorists in the name of Islam.
However, I was really saddened by the attack I received for trying to address the issue and promote a better understanding.
One of the letters that was very disturbing showed an extreme contempt for Islam, closing all doors for dialogue and rapprochement.
I will include some extracts that reveal the extent of the defamation that goes on in the attempt to give Islam a bad name.
“I just don’t like Islam and what it stands for. I don’t like the lies being told about a peaceful religion but the Quran and Hadiths tell a different story.
“I can read and do not need a Muslim cleric to reinterpret the Quran and Hadiths. They say what they say and no amount of reinterpretation will change that.
“I have read many stories about your Prophet, and I don’t find anything that he did or said to be an example to mankind.
“The so-called terrorists are only doing what the Quran and Sunnah tell them to do, … the religion has created more wars and has been responsible for more atrocities in the name of Allah or God than any other cause.”
The writer goes on to justify the bombing of Muslim lands by Bush and says: “As for Bush bombing Muslim lands, I guess he was only doing what Muslim nations can’t do, and that is to bring order into despotic Muslim nations.
“What would you do if two of your towers were bought down by Saudi nationals no less.” This kind of logic is totally unacceptable.
If we remain silent…
We live in a more enlightened era. The international community should take a stronger stand against those who abuse their power to wage wars so as never to repeat the experience of the ugly religious wars of the past or the two world wars that killed thousands and spread destruction and ruin by the orders of egotistical and selfish leaders.
The attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan should have never been allowed. Ten years later we continue to suffer from the negative consequences of these wars.
And if we remain silent we could be headed for another world war. The writer then insists that Muslims are Jew haters, and praises MEMRI TV that shows many clips of Muslim clerics calling for the destruction of Jews wherever they are.
Well, of course, the Israeli network will never report anything positive about Muslims. According to Wikipedia, Western critics assert that MEMRI “portrays the Arab and Muslim world in a negative light, through the production and dissemination of inaccurate translations and by selectively translating views of extremists while deemphasizing or ignoring mainstream opinions.”
The illogical writer then admits that Christians also killed Jews and Muslims; however, he dismisses it as something of the past that happened hundreds of years ago.
He even claims that Hitler who was responsible for the Holocaust was not a Christian. Indeed, it is strange how he conveniently dismisses Christian killings as something of the past and yet is adamant in attacking Muslims for their past.
Muslims are not Jew haters as is claimed. Jews lived in Arab countries, had the same Arab names and were respected merchants until the formation of Israel in 1948 which created the division.
Another accusation is that Muslims want to burn churches referring to a fatwa (religious edict) issued by an obscure cleric.
First of all, in Islamic tradition any attack on Jesus or Moses (peace be upon them) is considered blasphemous and is rejected by all.
Churches exist in most Muslim countries and there are many Christians living in Muslim lands.
Moreover, why not highlight Reverend Terry Jones and his burning of the Holy Quran and the demolition of churches and mosques in occupied Palestine.
Enough is enough; let us all show some respect for the beliefs that are sacred to different cultures.
As educated people, we should not support the foolish among us or indulge in picking on negative aspects of what different cultures hold sacred.
Terrorists only represent themselves, and by the way, they are killing and terrorizing Muslims in Muslim lands.
They are criminals who are a product of weak states and lawless countries. All countries have their own share of criminals and gangsters, but unfortunately, not all countries are able to implement strict laws to stop them or have a strong police force to deter them or a powerful army to protect their borders.
The propagators of Islamophobic themes incite hatred and intolerance to create more conflicts and wars.
Ultimately no one benefits except the arms dealers who would do anything to fill their coffers.
Muslims, Christians and Jews must stand united against hatemongers and preach tolerance, compassion and peaceful coexistence.
Samar Fatany is a Chief Broadcaster in the English section at Jeddah Broadcasting Station. Over the past 28 years, she has introduced many news, cultural, and religious programs and has conducted several interviews with official delegations and prominent political personalities visiting the kingdom. Fatany has made significant contributions in the fields of public relations and social awareness in Saudi Arabia and has been involved in activities aiming at fighting extremism and enhancing women’s role in serving society. She has published three books: “Saudi Perceptions & Western Misconceptions,” “Saudi Women towards a new era” and “Saudi Challenges & Reforms.”