2012-10-02 18:54

The senseless killing of 8 fellow South Africans in Afghanistan is truly unacceptable and a gross injustice to their loved ones, friends, family and countrymen.

Whatever the aims of the bomber or bombers, the deliberate killing of innocent people cannot be condoned. There is definitely no religious, economic or political cause that can justify the killing of innocent people.

This unfortunate tragedy reminds us of the daily cycle of suffering, death and violence the Afghans have to endure due to the illegitimate war in Afghanistan and the so called “war on terror”. The cost of the war in terms of causalities, death and finance has been high on all sides and its time that the US led forces leave Afghanistan.

Similarly, the $200,000 bounty offered by a former Pakistani legislator for killing the maker of an anti-Islam film and the alleged threat by Boko Haram chief are also improper and un-Islamic. I cannot understand how such horrible and insane calls can be justified on religious grounds. (NEWS24, October 1).

Such behaviour gives Islamophobes the opportunity to label Islam as a violent and intolerant religion. The violence and terrorist acts carried out by some groups or individuals in different parts of the world are not the teachings of Islam, the Quran and the Sunnah (Prophet’s traditions). There is definitely a place for reason in the religious teachings of Islam.

Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) in his lifetime faced many physical, verbal and psychological abuses but he did not hurt anyone nor instructed his followers to go on destructive protests or label people using insulting and derogatory words or terms.

A humble appeal to one and all, please try and become familiar with the reasons behind Muslim hurt and anger, not the violent behaviour, when their beloved Prophet (PBUH), is insulted and disrespected.

In this regard may I suggest the following: Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet; Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time; and Islam: A Short History, all by British author Karen Armstrong, a former Roman Catholic nun who is a prominent religious historian.

The Prophet is demeaned in every way, ridiculed, made fun of and is accused of paedophilia and this is called freedom of expression. In New York provocative posters were put up in the city by the anti-Muslim American Freedom Defence Initiative, led by Pam Geller, without much condemnation by world leaders. A court ruled that the statements are “political” and protected by the first amendment’s guarantee for free speech. Imagine if the posters represented another religious sect or race. Will the posters be allowed to be displayed in public places? Here I am reminded of Julian Assange. What about his right to free speech or freedom of expression?

Muslims are required to be submissive and maintain “self-restraint” when they find some individuals and Western governments contradicting the very values of democracies and freedom of expression laws that they ask Muslims to implement.

I believe this downright hypocrisy is the root of all evil around the globe. The West’s double standards, hypocrisy, and injustice fuels Muslim anger. It is not about the question of integration and how compatible is the religion of Islam with a modern democratic society. It is not about free speech - which Islam supports. It is about being civil, tolerant and accepting people of other cultures, race groups, nationalities, creeds and religious views.

All these baseless hatred and double standards definitely needs to stop. Instead of being selective on religious or racial lines, all forms of aggression, occupation and terrorism and violence should be condemned by all individuals and heads of state.

We need to find amicable solutions and alternatives to all this death, destruction, suffering and pain. To quote from Jonathan Jansen’s book We Need to Talk: “Ways of speaking can help heal or they can provoke; they can inflame passion or settle nerves”.

The only thing that will heal the bleeding world is the voice of the ordinary people. “We may have different religions, different languages, different coloured skin, but we all belong to one human race. We all share the same basic values” to quote Kofi Annan.

In order to live and leave a legacy of Human rights, truth, equality and social justice for all, the onus is on us as ordinary people to bring about progressive change and to ensure that the fundamental freedoms for everyone enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights be known, understood and enjoyed by all everywhere.

Through all this turmoil I have become more and more convinced that there is an urgent need to teach and promote human rights and universal values in every learning institution. Human rights and social justice education are essential tools towards social cohesion, social reconstruction, peaceful coexistence and a life of dignity for all.

We all have a responsibility to future generations, to humanity and all life.


AB praises selfless skipper

2010-11-21 18:15

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