A comment posted on my blog recently. : “So how do you feel when your religion arrests a retarded child and her mother for blasphemy? Where is the sense in calling for the death penalty? I want to see what you will say about this? Show me where there is mercy and forgiveness in your faith? Prove me wrong!”
First and foremost, most Muslims have signed the petition which was sent to the Pakistani government calling for the immediate release of this child. I know this because I was one of them, so did members of my family and friends.
For those who are unaware of the story.
Rimsha Masih, and her mother face charges under Pakistan's blasphemy laws. A local cleric had said Ms. Masih had burned pages of the Noorani Qaida, a religious textbook used to teach the Koran to children. (Noorani Qaida has nothing to do with Al-Qaida, it is simply means principles). The police took her into custody to protect her as the crowds were emotionally charged up and wanted to harm her.
My stance, HARM her??? WHAT THE HELL?
An 11 year old child with Down’s syndrome, who probably did not have a cooking clue, what she had done? Even if she did not have Down’s Syndrome - she’s a child!!!
Have these “people” lost their morals as well as their senses?
Are they representing the same faith which I believe in? The faith which teaches us mercy, compassion and justice?
Who has the greatest duty to stop violence committed by Muslims in the name of Islam? Muslims.
We get emotional and psyched up, when people ask us about the wrongs our fellow Muslims commit. We need to get our “house in order”; we need to collectively voice our stances against issues...
A Pakistani writer Fifi Haroon tweeted: "You think God needs little old you to protect him from an 11-year-old girl with Down's syndrome? Think again."
Imraan Khan, Pakistan’s most high-profile politician and former cricketer tweeted:
"Shameful! Sending an 11yr old girl to prison is against the very spirit of Islam which is all about being Just and Compassionate."Poor child is already suffering from Down's syndrome. State should care for its children not torment them. We demand her immediate release."
Like Salman Taseer, a politician who was shot dead for speaking out.
The perpetrators’, literate or illiterate; claim to follow the faith yet they commit so many wrongs against it. We need to practice Rahmutul Aalameen, which means the mercy to mankind. It is our duty as Muslims to protect the integrity of that title and never commit an unmerciful act in the name of our faith...
So don’t represent me.... I have a voice!
Many ask why are Muslims silent about many issues in the Muslim world?
When you do speak out, it’s as if you are uncritically supporting “non-Muslims”, or you are doing PR for Islam, or you are not “Muslim enough”.
I represent myself; I am done apologising for reprehensible actions committed by Muslims in the name of my faith. We tell colleagues, friends and others, "People who do these things (oppression of women, persecution of religious minorities, terrorism) have distorted the 'true' Islam.".
I don’t need anyone pointing out verses of the Quran to me, which they interpret to be justification of violence, incitement or spreading of fear. I do not impose my beliefs on anyone nor will I insult peoples’ beliefs or what their faith teaches them.
I will not disrespect religious books of different faiths. I use my voice to speak out against injustices, I denounce those who commit violence and those who thwart the true essence of my faith and its freedoms, those who repress women, and encourage violence.
Islam is about free will and as Muslims we need to stand against any oppression towards any human being.
Our Prophet (PBUH) had "thick skin"; he was treated terribly in Mecca; yet he still showed kindness, love and forgiveness....
How many of us 21st Century followers can say we are following his example of tolerance and forgiveness. So if such a great man endured such painful experiences yet rose above it and persevered, what the hell is wrong with us?
Why do we use loudspeakers to voice our dismay at others who commit injustices against us, yet are silent when the same injustices are done by our own against our own?
The Muslim world is divided into two camps: those who oppose the oppression of the Muslim people, and those who aid in that oppression. The rest of the world is divided between those who support terrorism, and those who fight terrorism. Many are torn between the two sides of both worlds; it doesn’t make one a traitor to ones faith, or a letdown to humanity.
We just need to speak out against injustices of whatever kind perpetrated by whomever irrespective of their race, religion or gender. We cannot suppress criticism from those watching our behaviour and silence, if we turn a blind eye. We have to do this, not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because if we do not, the Muslim world will remain deaf.
How will peaceful change ever be possible? The greatest harm we do to our faith is being silent. Don’t let radicals of any kind, overrule all which is good. We cannot sit by and watch flagrant human-rights abuses being committed in the name of Islam.
Just as we rise to condemn mistreatment of our fellow Muslims worldwide, from oppression, any form of violence; ethnic cleansing or abuse of any form or kind; so to should we speak out against hate, intolerance and the bullying of non-Muslims when this happens as well?
The responsibility of stopping HATRED, PREJUDICE, INCITEMENT, STEREOTYPING is on everyone’s shoulder. Whether you are Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Hindu, Atheist, Agnostic or Muslim or every other religion out there. We can all blame the problems of our world on the extremists of all faiths. The simple thing is that those of us who believe that the fundamentalists pose the greatest threat to the world; we must make our voices heard as voices of compassion coupled with our deep sense of morality.
In Salman Taseer’s words:
“I, for one, am fed up with politicians, mullahs and mobs using my religion to further their own vicious and sectarian agendas. So here's my own very simple message to the bigots, fanatics and reactionaries of the Islamic world: whatever intellectual or theological disagreements we may have with them, the fact is that Christians (and, for that matter, Jews) are our brethren; the Quran respectfully refers to them as the "People of the Book".
Nor should we extend our tolerance, compassion and solidarity only to members of Abrahamic faiths while demonising and discriminating against everyone else. Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, agnostics, atheists - all of them are also our brethren. Don't believe me? Listen to the verdict of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib, the great Muslim caliph and son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad: "Remember that people are of two kinds; they are either your brothers in religion or your brothers in mankind."
Denial is not an option, nor is turning a blind eye.
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