United Nations Human Rights Council, 16th session, Geneva - 28 February 25 March 2011:
Agenda Item 8: General Debate on Follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action
Oral Statement by Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam
On behalf of International Club for Peace Research
Even though The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action called for elimination of all kinds of human rights violations almost two decades ago, we find that in some areas the situation is only worsening. Article 15 asks us to work against xenophobia and article 19 calls upon governments to protect all human rights of minorities. But xenophobia, particularly in the form of Islamophobia, is growing in several European countries and partly feeds upon the flagrant violation of the human rights of religious minorities in several Muslim-majority countries.
Petrodollar Islam has injected the poison of Islam-supremacism in Muslim societies worldwide. Even exemplary moderate countries like Indonesia, Malaysia are now infected with this virus. But the worst case scenario is evolving in the only Muslim nuclear power, Pakistan. Jihadi vigilantes including members of security forces are hunting down and killing all those who oppose their version of Islam. The country is drowning in a sea of violence but civil society, media or elected parliamentarians dare not condemn the wanton killings in the name of Islam. The educated middle class regards these murderers as heroes. Many in the security apparatus support the Talibani goal of a takeover of Pakistan to be followed by that of other countries in the region and beyond. Their goals maybe insane, but their insanity is not unlike that of the Nazis and Fascists in early 20th century Europe.
Muslims in Pakistan and elsewhere have to understand that the radical Islamists world over make use of emotive issues that would capture the imagination of Muslim masses and make them react irrationally, unthinkingly. In order to capture the minds of the Muslim masses, fanatical Mullahs are raising sensitive issues like those of members of other religious communities insulting Prophet Mohammad or the Holy Book, the Quran. The issue of blasphemy has been raised to such a high pitch, particularly in Pakistan, but also in other countries that the masses of Muslims are just not allowed to see reason. As in the case of Aasia Begum which has raised the present storm in Pakistan, there is not a shred of evidence, except the allegation of a woman with whom she had a personal fight earlier. But not many in Pakistan are demanding any evidence. Not many even want to know what if anything Aasia Bibi is supposed to have said or done. Mullahs are telling them in televised addresses that the Quran asks them not only to kill the blasphemers but also to kill them with relish. They present the picture of an extremely sadistic God and His prophet who relish torturing and killing and ask their followers to do so too. They do that while also referring to Allah as kind and compassionate and the prophet as a mercy to mankind, mind you mankind, the entire humanity, not just the Muslims, completely oblivious of the dire contradiction involved.
The result is a sort of free for all in the society. Any thinking Muslim can be a target. The latest case in point in the case of Pakistan is the Taliban latching on to the issue of blasphemy and making it appear as if the moderate elements among Muslims are either blasphemers themselves or support blasphemy. The result is the complete impunity with which they have been able to assassinate the only Christian minister of the Pakistani government and earlier the powerful governor of the state of Punjab in Pakistan.
These murders have taken place as these people were campaigning against the notorious blasphemy laws of Pakistan under which religious minorities like Hindus and Christians can be sentenced to death without even being told exactly what crime they have committed. This is what had happened recently in the case of Aasia Bibi. These two government leaders were killed because they were sympathetic to the hapless lady and were trying to get her death sentence reduced to life imprisonment as there is no evidence of any wrongdoing on her part. A mere allegation of blasphemy is enough to condemn members of religious minorities to death in Pakistan. No judge can dare impart real justice, even if he wants to, as he himself can get killed in the court room itself.
To get a little perspective one needs to recall the circumstances in which these laws were instituted. In 1984 the then military ruler General Zia ul-Haq, made it a criminal offence for members of the Ahmadi sect to claim that they were Muslims. Two years later he instituted in the existing laws the death penalty for blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad. These laws have since been widely used to victimize the now some five million strong Ahmadi sect as well as Hindu and Christian religious minorities.
Some statistics may help us understand the enormity of the problem. Almost half of the thousand people charged under this law since 1986 belonged to Ahmadi and Christian communities though together they do not account for more than five per cent of Pakistan’s population. Higher courts are known to have generally dismissed blasphemy charges, recognizing that they were false, arising mostly from disputes over land or family feuds. But the emotive value of the laws is such that 32 people who were freed by the courts were subsequently killed by Islamist radicals and so were two of the judges who freed them without any one launching much of a protest. Thus once a blasphemy charge is made, this could inevitably prove to be a death sentence. Not only can no government dare to repeal these laws, they cannot even condemn wholeheartedly the murders of even their own leaders committed in its name.
Even the Pakistani Parliament consisting of freely elected members has not been able to condemn either of these assassinations. The valiant civil society that has been campaigning against the blasphemy laws and demanding human rights for religious minorities for decades is now on the back foot. Its prominent members are saying publicly that they are just waiting to be assassinated. They are afraid because there is not a single institution in the country that is either not compromised or scared. Incitement against them is allowed to continue with complete impunity. All political parties are following a policy of appeasement of Jihadis. Assassinated Punjab Governor Salman Taseer had got removed banners calling for death to members of civil society campaigning against extremism. But after his assassination, banners justifying his own murder and hailing his murderer have sprouted all across the state and there is no one left now to stop that. Large sections of the popular print and electronic media are part of this incitement against the civil society.
Different Islamic sects including those like the Barelwis who were once considered moderate have now come together on an extremist platform. The killer of Governor Salman Taseer belonged to the majority Barelwi sect; 500 clerics of his Jamaat Ahle Sunnat Pakistan (JASP) sect supported him in a joint statement. This statement is probably the height of blasphemy in itself as it paints Islam as a traditional religion of killers and God as a sadistic entity who would encourage killing of innocents merely on the accusation of blasphemy. While issuing a death threat to anyone who attended the funeral prayers of the slain governor, the clerics’ statement said: “The punishment for blasphemy against the Prophet can only be death, as per the Holy Book, the Sunnah, the consensus of Muslim opinion and explanations by the Ulema…This brave person (Qadri, the bodyguard-assassin) has maintained 1, 400 years of Muslim tradition, and has let the heads of 1.5 billion Muslims of the world be held high in pride.” This is extremely offensive to mainstream moderate Muslims as there is no statement in the Holy Quran, the e authoritative sayings of the Prophet or even Islamic jurisprudence prescribing death penalty for the blasphemer. But after the clerics’ intervention in his support, this dastardly killer of the very person he was being paid to safeguard has now become a popular hero and is being lionised even by the educated middle class. The interior minister of Pakistan who is supposed to maintain the rule of law in his country said that he would have personally killed the blasphemer, of course, without waiting for a trial. He continues to hold his post even after making such an offensive statement.
The few liberal voices that continued to be heard even after the assassination of the governor are now falling silent, particularly after the killing of cabinet minister for minority affairs Shahbaz Bhatti, another crusader for moderation. As human rights defender Tahira Abdullah pointed out the vigils human rights bodies organised after the murder of Salman Taseer didn’t attract more than 100 or 200 people in the capital of Pakistan, Islamabad, which has a population of one million highly educated people and they got only about 500 people to come to those organised in Karachi, the largest Pakistani city with a population of 18 million.
Barring a few pockets, moderates are losing the war within Islam everywhere. The massive injection of petrodollar-funding to radicals throughout the world since 1974 has virtually changed the nature of the religion. Islam-supremacism is now the rule not only in the Muslim majority countries but also in countries where Muslims live as a minority. Millions of Muslims now look down upon people of other faiths and consider them permanently hell-bound.
According to the Holy Quran and Islamic traditions, we Muslims must believe in all the 124, 000 prophets who have spread the divine message to humanity in different parts of the world and must treat them all as equal to prophet Mohammad in status. We have to treat the followers of all these prophets as People of the Book [Ahl-e-Kitab] with whom close social including marital relations are allowed in Islam. But the concept of Ahl-e-Kitab has now been rendered completely meaningless. Instead Muslim children in religious seminaries [madrasas everywhere] as well as in government-run schools [in the case of Pakistan and some other Muslim countries] are now being taught to look down upon other religious communities. Many of us already have developed contempt for followers of other religions. The so-called religious scholars tell us that people of other religions may be ahl-e-kitab but they are nevertheless kafir (non-believers, infidels). They never explain how they hold and reconcile these two contradictory positions in one breath. Any community holding others in contempt is apparently not likely to be able to live peacefully in an increasingly globalised multi-cultural world.
Even if we Muslims constitute a simple majority in a country, we want to impose man-made Sharia laws calling them of divine origin which they are not. Now even in countries where Muslims are a minority they want to be governed by the Sharia laws. Apart from India, no other country allows this and no society is prepared to do so. This is leading to avoidable tensions and increasing Islamophobia in some societies.
When the term Islamofascism was used for the first time, many of us in the civil society considered it a vast exaggeration. But that no longer looks like the case. Islamofascism is even more dangerous because it is sustaining and encouraging a wave of Islamophobia, creating dangers for the religious minorities in several countries of Europe.
This makes it imperative for the world community to urgently work out a strategy to fight this growing menace. It also makes it incumbent on the moderate elements in the Muslim community to take the ideological war within Islam more seriously. Let us remind ourselves of the last sermon Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in which he said:
“All of mankind is from Adam and Eve (Hawwa), an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; a white has no superiority over a black nor does a black have any superiority over a white, EXCEPT BY PIETY AND GOOD DEEDS. Do not therefore do injustice to yourselves. Remember one day you will meet Allah and answer for your deeds. So beware: do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.”
As one can see, the Prophet did not say a Muslim has any superiority over a non-Muslim. For him superiority was entirely a matter of “Piety and good deeds”. That is all. Let us remember that and fight the growing power of the pernicious ideology of Islam-supremacism which renders us unfit to live as a worthy component of the present-day globalised multicultural world as a peaceful community that we mainstream Muslims have always been.
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Sultan, how many more years you are going
to live in this world? Perhaps another twenty or thirty years? One of your great prophets of Islam, Moses
prayed to Allah “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of
wisdom (Psalm 39:4) Another great prophet King David also prayed “Teach us to
number our days, that we may present to you a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12) It is not a surprise that 14 million Jews
produced more than 180 Nobel Laureates. Counting our days helps us to penetrate
through the totality of our existence and spur us to accomplish things before
Your prolific writings and excellent
speeches at UNHRC are not enough. You should cause action along with other
similar personalities, to forge a third front, apart from Sunni power centre,
Riyadh and Shia power centre, Tehran. We have to wait and see the ‘moderate
Islam’ propounded by the crown prince Mohammad bin Salman. The immediate rejection of moderate Islam by
Erdogan is sickening. May be his blood remembers the Ottoman Empire. The President
Sisi of Egypt is unstable. As I have gone through the Marrakesh Declaration, King
Mohammad VI of Morocco could be the possible candidate to whom all the moderates
and progressives should give the necessary support. If there is a third Islamic
power centre with good intentions, things could improve. It will lessen the
antagonism between Riyadh and Tehran.
Allah says “Where there is no vision
Sultan Bayta,, First of all I would like to thank you and your brave team for all the tired less efforts and educational research they have carried on in-spite of powerful and influential adversary forces. Please let me have your account details so that I can make a small contribution . If not possible than I will ask Dr.Masood Alam Flahi to donate on my behalf to the organization. I have recently read a great article "Britain &The rise of Wahhabism & The house of Saud " by Dr. Abdullah Mohammad Sindi ., it requires to be published in the NewageIslam(If permitted). I am sure it is the best I have come across for a very long time . Please note that am a great follower of the Sofism but refrain from the saintly graves and Fatwah makers .
AY KASH INKY TAQIT_E FATWAH MEH SHEEN OUN , IN NAY TO PORY QOOM KO KAFIR THAHRA DIA. Lot of good wishes & love . Ahmed
A Life So Simple, So Happy
Vimla Patil, June 1, 2013, DHNS:
Life, in all its colours and complexities, can be extremely fulfilling, if only we follow some basic rules, reckons Vimla Patil.
Why do we eternally find it so difficult to be happy? Why is it that when nature – and the world around us – offers us the same opportunities to find fulfillment, joy, contentment and excitement, we turn away from this bounty and choose to be stressed out, brow-beaten, defeated, depressed and ‘deprived’ of the good things of life? Why is it that nature has the innate strength to blossom again and again after devastation while human beings – who enjoy more power and intelligence – collapse when misfortune or a low patch strikes?
Every culture and society, over the years, has continuously researched the nature of human beings, their habitats, their social systems and their relationship patterns and offered fairly simple methods to reach out to happiness in all these spheres. Much of this simple wisdom comes to us in the form of legends, fairy tales or even lessons in our school books – which means from our childhood, we learn about the secrets of happiness but somehow when we grow up, the pressures of our lives take over and all the knowledge vanishes like a bubble on the surface of water! So here, once again, are the simple rules of self assessment which guarantee us as much happiness and peace as we can accommodate within our hearts and minds.
Control your anger
Anger makes us blind to opportunities of happiness. Apart from physical problems, it corrodes the mind and causes loss of judgment. Small conflicts become ‘insurmountable’ and precious time is lost in regaining the energy and peace lost. Think first and then plan how to express your anger in a manner that solves the problem. If a person or situation continuously annoys you, question why this occurs and either resolve your anger or omit the situation/person from your life as far as possible. Being aware that you are likely to lose your temper is in itself a way of avoiding a scene/fight/quarrel.
Stop being jealous
Accept that everyone cannot be an Ambani or a Godrej. What you possess or earn is as precious to you as their huge wealth is to the tycoons. Look in your home, workplace and make your own wish list – and then go for it! When you plan and pursue what you want to possess, you will work hard and learn how to get the objects of your desire. Learn to ‘romance’ money even if your wealth is small. It is your nest egg and will help you to wipe out envy from your life.
Throw away hatred
Those who choose hatred over love surely find an ugly image when they look in the mirror. Creases, discolouration, a pinched look, spots on the face – all these become regulars in your life when you don’t open the door to love – and no amount of fairness creams or face washes can help remove them. Actually, when you choose love over hatred in every situation, problems get solved amicably and wonder of wonders, your complexion glows and gets that polish which no spa treatment can give you.
Avoid conflict of egos
Each of us has different needs, dreams, backgrounds, and natures. Thus, conflicts, quarrels and disagreements with family or colleagues or friends are an integral part of life. But an overblown ego surely stops you from seeing these differences in a creative manner and finding solutions which lead to happiness. What we inadvertently do is that we believe everyone should agree with our plan of action. A bloated ego blinds you to the opportunities of love and happiness.
Unruliness begets unruliness
Every day, we read reports of young people drinking late in the night and behaving or speaking vulgarly in public spaces and getting into scraps with the police or civil society. Even the daily language of many people is peppered with expletives and rude words. Sooner or later, the more enlightened among your friends will quit your company without a murmur and loneliness will be your fate. Conversely, you will gather rude and ill-mannered pals around you because ‘birds of a feather, flock together’!
Keep greed at bay
If you throw a handful of grain on the ground, the first crow makes so much noise that others know food has been laid out! They don’t hoard only for themselves. Great thinkers have said that the universe is a huge basket. What you put into it, will certainly come back to you. If you share and give – not just ‘things’ but also love and respect – your will surely find even strangers offering you respect and opportunities.
Control premature lust
If you read any print media or watch recent films, you would think that it is our last chance to have sex or enjoy porn before the world sinks into the endless ocean. ‘Being in a relationship” – sexual or romantic – is the keyword of today’s society, not only in metro cities, but also in burgeoning small-town India. There is a somewhat blind following of the Western concept of ‘space’ which drives young people to seek sexual pleasures long before their bodies are ready for the multiple experiences. Sex is a gift of nature to all species, including the human race. But carefree lust and avarice have never helped achieve a healthy lifestyle.
Throw aside arrogance
Pay careful heed to Mr. N. R. Narayana Murthy’s (India’s IT super-brain and founder of Infosys) famous words: “There are three kinds of arrogance in our lives– the arrogance of youth and good looks, the arrogance of wealth and belongings and lastly, the arrogance of knowledge.
Who are you? Though I concede that in many parts of the Muslim world there is an urgent update to carry out, why do we need a new age Islam? Would it not rather be a revival of Islam on its true founding principle?
The Christian New Age Movement in many aspects have highly degenerated into a new age Materialism, is it your view about the New Age Islam??? I am just concern about its delusional potential.
Thank you for taking the time to read my message. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
If the global moderate communities do not propound a strategy to
abolish the growing menace of injecting the virus of supremacy into the mankind,
the future will be overcast with disappointment and despair for all humanity
The way Pakistan
is treating with the people believed to be innocent of blasphemy is a matter of
devious process of politics rather than that of Islam.
Mr Sultan Shahin gives his concluding remarks under the
following Hadith which is all remedy for coping with the growing pernicious
idea of supremacy.
“All of mankind is from Adam and Eve (Hawwa), an Arab has no
superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; a
white has no superiority over a black nor does a black have any superiority
over a white, EXCEPT BY PIETY AND GOOD DEEDS.
Do not therefore do injustice to yourselves. Remember one day you will meet Allah and
answer for your deeds. So beware: do not stray from the path of righteousness
after I am gone.”
My Reply to Mr. Bashy Quraishy:
I genuinely disagree with your view point Mr. Bashy Quraishy. I will mince no words and there shouldn’t remain any ambiguity that I disagree. And reading your write-up, I guess you should be more interested in knowing whether Mr. X agrees or disagrees because you have proved yourself to not change your mind for decades.
I am sounding bit impolite and undiplomatic, because I do not want to waste my hopes on someone who think he has the most correct picture of things.
Your way of telling who you are and doing it repeatedly and then adding to it that it isn’t meant to impress is an over smart way of presenting your mediocre research work with silver wrappings.
To not embarrass Mr. Sultan Shahin, let me add a disclaimer that I am not his relative nor I write at his instruction. I am a right wing Muslim who is so much right that the rightest ones are left behind by miles. I am a practicing Muslim, and ritualistic as well. And by the Grace of Almighty, I have avoided falling in trap of many who advocate my concerns but push their Islamist agendas instead.
All your definitions of what Islam means what way is something that I have no issues with. However I have issues where you suggest to not blame Muslims or Muslims alone. This is a covert way of mishandling my case - a Muslim’s case, by pretending to be someone who is balanced and also who will not let Muslims’ honour belittled. You know such an insidious work is nothing but sabotage.
I mean for 40 years you have been advocating that Muslims aren’t at fault! It is like not diagnosing the real problem in a genuine incapable ways or if not, then not acknowledging after identifying it in a deliberate way, either with the belief that such an acknowledgement will harm Muslim interest (political supremacy) or who knows, the real intention could be as bad as to let Muslims sleep for some time more till it will be too late.
I can point out line by line what you have mentioned and what does it mean, but I think I can defer it for later as there is no urgency. You will Inshallah, struggle here to get your viewpoint across for another 40 years. People like you buy the theory of West – Clash of Civilization and then get Muslims involved into that clash and then very cleverly climb atop some Muslim-Christian-Jewish dialogue forum to say that everybody should listen to everybody projecting yourself on masses as some kind of great visionary who believes in dialogue.
Sir, if you believe in dialogue and as you said you have some association with Muslims of India and Pakistan however non-religious you are (in your own words) then the dialogue is needed more amongst Muslims than non-Muslims. Because non-Muslim's most lethal question is that shouldn’t you practice what you preach? If you preach universal brotherhood, then why are you still divided into 72 sects? On sidelines, let me tell you, this usage of ‘72’ sect is also an indicative that how much you have overdosed yourself with cheap Islamic literature. I know where it comes from.
May be Mr. Sultan Shahin will be more polite in his response if he chooses to give, but I have no such bindings imposed by Islam that I do not tell in a straight language which I am sure you will not find difficult to understand given your command over Urdu/ English mannerism. You chose to give snide remarks, I chose to say straight, in a firm Muslim way, that even as you are not religious, you want a position where you would be seen amongst Muslims as someone who has soft corner for them but at the same time that shouldn’t upset your non-Muslim constituency so you disguise yourself. You un-ritualistic ways support your need to appear un-ritualistic and thus be more appealing to them. You are playing a double game. Perhaps you will be able to fool many Muslims and non-Muslims alike, but not all of them. Also, Allah sees the truth and he will take notice of your lip services. And as for me, this stunt of yours to my eyes is nothing more than that of the king with no clothes.
Before I end this, I tell you, that Dr. Zakir Naik whom you see as some kind of most correct version, and your God-father, is one of them who has fallen in such a trap in spite of his possible good intentions. People like you provide him his arsenals. He isn't unlike the routine low intensity mullahs who do not listen to people like you. His fellows show him various websites including this one and he reacts on the stage. However not all Muslims subscribe to his rote 150 solved questions of Islam kind of Islam. Islam encompasses so much more than the 150 odd simple question answer that his session meant for non-Muslims to listen and Muslims to get impressed about their 'Mighty' and 'Scientific' religion is insufficient to cure Muslim's lethargy to practice what they preach. No surprises then that Muslims outnumber non-Muslims in his monologues sessions and then they go back home with a feeling of freshness in their imaan, at the same time non-Muslim feel humiliated without provocation thereby getting more distanced from Islam. Actually what you fear doing, you, I mean your type get it done through Dr. Zakir Nayak without losing your face in front of non-Muslims if nothing else. Imaan wise, you already admit to be hollow. So if you are coming here with Dr. Zakir Nayaks coins in hand, then for your kind information, it values here naught.
Dear Sultan Shahin,
A close friend of mine
sent the contact of your Blog. Since I work with Islamophobia and human rights
of minorities in the western world, he wanted me to look at your article; The
War within Islam (22 Mar 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com) and correct some of your outrageous
claims like; Islamo-Fascism and Islam-Supremacism feeding Islamophobia
worldwide. It seems that on behalf of International Club for Peace Research,
you also sent a letter to the United Nations Human Rights Council, 16th
session, Geneva - 28 February 25 March 2011, where you lambasted Pakistan and
its so-called connection with terrorism and extremism as well as warned the
UNHRC against Jihadi vigilantes and Islamist radicals originating in Pakistan.
Then you go on to
argue that barring a few pockets, moderates are losing the war within Islam
everywhere. In the end, you very conveniently link the issue of Sharia and the
demands of few Muslim minorities who wish to live by its dictates in non-Muslim
you have addressed your blog article to Madame President.
Let me inform you that
the High Commissioner for Human Rights is Navi Pillay from South Africa and Mr.
Sihasak Phuangketkeow is the President of the Human Rights Council, Fifth Cycle
(2010 - 2011). He is from Thailand.
Before I go further
and refute some of your assertions, let me tell you, who I am. Not to impress
you but to present myself, since we do not know each other but seem to work for
the same cause. If you check my credential, on my web: www.bashy.dk, you will
see that I have worked tirelessly against anti-Semitism and Islamophobia for
the last 30 years. I am against extremism, violence and terrorism of all kind –
religious and secular. I am non-religious person with Muslim background with
Mr. Shahin, in your
blog article, you have raised many issues, which I can sigh under and agree
that these must be tackled but then some of your views and terminology is very
problematic, not only for me but ordinary Muslims in the west and people, like
Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer and Zakir Naik. I have no doubt if Allama Iqbal and
Allama Shabbir Ahmad
Usmani were alive, they would be really cross with too.
Reading and analyzing
your text, I think that you mean well but know very little about Islamophobiain
the West. It is difficult to assert what lies behind your generalizing way of
blasting Islam, painting ordinary Muslims with one dark brush and especially
being poisonous towards Pakistan. Could it be because you live in India or
perhaps you have a particular political agenda? Please pardon me if I am
stepping on some soft spot. This is not my intention.
So let me discuss with
you the term Islamophobia, which you actually but erroneously blame on
Islamo-Fascism and Islam-Supremacism in the world.
One of the topics
which is increasingly and heatedly discussed in the Western societies is, Islam
and the challenge it poses, not to the Christianity or Judaism as divine
religions but to the norms of the European cultures, the Western way of living
and the humanistic values, the Western civilisation is built on. If these
discussions were taking place in a civilized manner and with the Muslim
minorities, then it would be a healthy development, which I would also support
and work for.
However this discourse
has found its way, right into the top political leadership, mass media and down
to the population in general. This mindset has produced an atmosphere where
freedom of expression is misused to vent abusive opinions and hate speech. This
has in turn given rise to Islamophobia and cultural racism.
It is manifested in
newspapers, on the radio, on television, in church sermons and in literature.
Even in entertainment magazines for men and children's books, one can find
anti-Islam stories and remarks. The media constantly portrays non-European
cultures, especially cultures from different Muslim countries as inferior and
Islamophobia is now
a reality and not a fiction.
During my many years
of collecting information on religious dialogue between Islam, Christianity and
Judaism, I have tried to make some sense, out of this massive negative
description, which the Western media utilizes in its coverage of most
religions, especially Islam. I am also struck at the liberal use of concocted
terminology and doctored images; I find my self-facing multifarious problems
but few useable explanations as to why derogatory words are used, in relation
Why Islam is in
My qualified guess is
that after the fall of the Soviet Empire, the only remaining ideology or
system, which stood in the way of the total Western dominance – commercial,
political and to some extent religious, is Islam and the Muslim communities.
Another factor is the historical rivalry and competition between Islam and
Christianity for geographical dominance and getting new followers. Islam has
now 1.7 billion followers worldwide and is the majority religion in nearly
57countries. It is also said to be the fastest growing faith, in Africa, USA and
Most of the oil
resources are under the control of the countries, which profess to be Muslim.
Furthermore, in order to physically occupy, oil rich Middle East or to start
any future confrontation, between Christianity and Islam, demonizing Islam and
its followers would be a useful tool in the hands of political forces. They
would need to win a majority public support in the West, to carry out”A clash
And such public
backing can only come if Islam is portrayed as a terrible enemy. Some observers
may find this rationale, farfetched or at worst, my prejudice against the West.
I wish that my feeling was only an individual case, but the reality is that I
have heard of such scenarios from people, right from Morocco to Indonesia, as
well as from many concerned Western citizens. Invasion of Iraq is a classic
example of this tactic; demonize and destroy. Now Iran is in the pipeline.
Weapons of mass destruction and atom bomb program are being used as an excuse.
Interesting enough both countries is rich in oil and gas resources.
By the way, anti-Islam
hatred in the west is not new. A hostile view of Islam began in the8th century
when Muslims expanded into the Iberian Peninsula. Islam as a faith was rejected
as a fundamental religion and seen as a direct challenge to Christianity;
Muslims were seen as heretics and their prophet a diabolical fraud.
By the time of the
Crusades, Muslims were viewed as a geopolitical threat and military means were
seen as the only ways to address the danger to the Church.
anti-Islam propaganda resulted in formation of a mindset, which resulted in
colonialism and the conquest of most Muslim lands. When the
French General Henri
Gouraud, entered Damascus in July 1920, he stood over Saladin's tomb next to the
Grand Mosque, kicked it and said, "Awake, O Saladin, we have returned. My
presence here confirms the victory of the Cross over the Crescent."
As we all know or at
least should know, that Salahuddin Ayyubi was the great Kurdish general and
king who defeated the Crusaders in the last Crusade and expelled them from the
Holy Land. On top of his battlefield brilliance, he was so gracious as to
pardon the defeated soldiers and let them return to Europe.
practiced against Islam
• When an individual
does something that is repugnant to humanity at large, and if he happens to be
a Muslim, then the media describes him by his religion.
By contrast the media
and history does not single out Hitler who massacred Jews as “Christian",
or more recently, the Serbs and their atrocities against the Bosnians as
"Christian ethnic cleansing".
• When in Rwanda an
act of genocide took place, although almost all, Rwandan nationals are of
Christian faith, no one was presenting the atrocities as religiously inspired
acts, although even some priests or nuns also participated in the killings.
• While Bin Laden’s
call for the destruction of the United States is described, in the name of
Allah, one never hears of the US bombing of Iraq in the name of Christ. That is
the difference. Although many neo-cons who were in power - right up to
President Bush himself - in Washington openly consider it as a kind of a
religious battle or duty. We have also heard both President Bush and Prime
Minister Tony Blair openly admitting that they did have divine intervention in
their decision to go to war in Iraq, meaning that God has Himself sanctioned
Mr. Shahin, I gather
from your name that you have a Muslim background. If it is so, then am I
justified to deduce that terminology such as Islamo-Fascism and
Islam-Supremacism also applies to you. The same goes for the terminology, you
use such as; Islamist and Jihadism. These terms were manufactured by diehard
Bush loyalists who wanted to malign Islam. You of all people should be able to
Islam by the way, is
not a nationality or an ethnicity but a simple religion, practiced by
1.7billion people divided in to 72 sects, 60 countries and hundreds of
cultures. To lump all these diverse groups as Muslims is not only stupid but is
a good neo-con argument.
Islam can be used in
many different ways
attain a higher state of mind and to be a better human being
following the traditions blindly and obediently for present worldly and future
create social harmony in the society and advance human dignity and universal
•Politically, to bring
an administrative change in the country to help the disadvantaged and the poor
built a non-exploitary financial order
compete with other faiths for obtaining influence, recruit followers and
provide a framework for life for those who prefer boundaries and order in their
In the end, I would
suggest that you focus on denouncing and criticizing a tiny fraction of
extremists, no matter they are Muslims, Christians, Jewish or Hindus.
When it comes, to
extremism among Muslims, it is important to, not only distance us from it in
the strongest possible terms but also analyze the reasons, why people commit
violence. When American interference in Muslim lands and oppression of Muslims
in non-Muslim countries will be tackled, I am sure people will have no need to
take up extremism. In Pakistan, there was no violence and suicide bombings
until USA started attacking Afghanistan and other Muslim countries. This is a
fact. The same goes for Kashmir struggle. People in Kashmir were never violent
until Indian military started killing thousands. Just read Amnesty reports,
Human Rights Watch and even accounts from Arundhati Roy. Maybe you should also
write something about it.
Sorry that this letter
became a long one, but some of your ideas are very anti-Islam and I could not
help but reflect on it. In short, the only way forward lies in our ability to
listen and act rationally. Acting on our emotions may satisfy our short-term
need or allow us to get some funding from the state, but it will not help the
Muslim communities to be respected and accepted.
My experience of
40years in the West tells me that no matter how bleak the future looks; there
is always a ray of hope and a tiny candle of light burning to show us the way.
Faith in the best in humanity can move mountains and if we do not loose sight
of our goals, the journey will one-day be completed. But it is imperative that
the progressive forces must wake up, because to those much is given, is much
-EMISCO -European Muslim Initiative for Social Cohesion - Strasbourg/Copenhagen
Co-operation Platform - Brussels
Mobile; 0045 40 1547
Phone; 0045 38 8819 77
Thanks a lot Ghulam Mohiyuddin Saheb for a vey apt reply to possibly a genuine question from
Narayan Rao Akhelikhar & keshavrao Bindu of Hyderabad.
It is important that we respond to such queries even if we feel these are coming from motivated individuals whose business it is to denigrate Islam. For, in an open forum like New Age Islam, what is important is not so much the person who has put forward such issues but he readers at large.
I hope Narayan Rao Akhelikhar& keshavrao Bindu would listen to your advice in the spirit of interfaith dialogue in which it has been given without raising any question about their motives.