Sunday, March 26, 2006

Islam must honour human rights

The Abdul Rahman case is a real eye opener for the world as we struggle to understand Islam in this post 9/11 world.

Mark Steyn writes in his excellent article -Will We Stick Our Necks Out for His Faith?

"If Islam is a religion one can only convert to, not from, then in the long run it is a threat to every free person on the planet."

I think this is real a catalyst now for the struggle of human rights – is Islam going to honour the convictions of the global community, or ignore them. If it does ignore, and agrees with an Osama Bin Laden type of philosophy that power is the ultimate purpose and justification for anything;

"When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse."

If they take this path, they disqualify themselves from complaining about any injustice, from the invasion of Iraq, to the alleged injustices of Israel against the Palestinians and the Danish insults of the founder. But if they don’t agree with Osama, then its time for them to voice out loud and clear their adherence to the standards of human rights – that mankind deserves the freedom of religion and that Abdul Rahman’s choice must be honoured. The choice has to be made by Muslim leaders all over the world, they cant be progressive and live in the global community and not honour basic human rights.


jacksons said...

Adam Khan gives us a muslim's perspective, from

Between Extremist Islam and Moderate Islam.

The former is at war with the latter.

That the extremists have hijacked the religion is not an exaggeration.

Wahabiism, as practiced and promoted by Saudi Arabia began as a grass-roots movement with the stated goal of taking back Islam and restoring Islamic civilizations to the glory of yesteryears. In reality, this was a ploy by the House of Saud to continue to remain in power by keeping the population backward.

Several religious groups signed on to this project--initially, many were peaceful evangelists. Spurred by the West's decision to carve out Israel out of what they considered to be Arab and Muslim land, militant outfits sprang up all over the Middle East and claimed to fight for the wrongs of the West against Islam.

Poverty and illiteracy, and the general backwardness of Islamic societies made it easier for these groups to extend their reach.

With the Saudis heavily promoting Wahabiism (and themselves the custodians of Islam), this once fringe brand of Islam soon spread to the corners of the globe, clashing violently with moderate Islam on many occasions.

Because Wahabiists have successfully fought for Islamic causes (in Afghanistan against the Soviets, in Kashmir, Sudan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Palestine), moderate Islamic societies tend to be baffled about how to deal with them.

The moderates secretly worry that the war on Islamists (aka the war on Terror) would leave Islamic societies under siege vulnerable to their enemies.

The rapid spread of Wahabiism has meant that the structure of many Islamic societies is socially and financially lined to the extremists.

It is not uncommon to find in the same family tree a moderate and and extremist, with each arguing the benefit of their respective approaches.

Iraq, thought to be a moderate Muslim nation by most experts, has revealed itself to be more exremist than once imagined.

The biggest problem of such a structure is that the moderates can easily switch sides.

Fueled no doubt by an instinctive distrust of the US (which traces its roots to British colonialism and Washington's support for Israel) moderate Iraqis were easily radicalized by 12 years of US sanctions that killed a million of their own countrymen.

Opportunistic clerics ensure that this anti-American momentum is sustained.

jacksons said...

Again, another perspective from Progressive Muslim Scholars;

Rahman, 41, stands accused of apostasy, or ridda, the act of renouncing one's faith. Apostasy is a grave sin in Islam, and according to classical Shariah, it warrants a punishment of execution.

But Islamic laws, including those governing the treatment of apostates, were developed as early as the eighth century against a vastly different political and social backdrop.

Progressive Muslim scholars argue that the meaning of those laws has been lost over time: When the laws were created, they say, apostasy was seen as the equivalent of treason.

"To be a Muslim was to live in an Islamic state or empire, so the presumption was you were not only becoming the enemy of God but the enemy of the empire," said John Esposito, a professor of religion and international affairs at Georgetown University in Washington.

Muslim jurists who support the execution of apostates often point to a hadith - a tradition attributed to the Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century - in which he is recorded as saying that a person who changes religions should be killed.

But while the Koran mentions ridda, it never calls for the execution of apostates. There is no record of the Prophet killing an apostate himself. And executions of apostates have been rare in Islamic history.

"The common argument is that it clearly contradicts the Koran, which says there should not be compulsion in religion," said Khaled Abou El Fadl, an Islamic law expert and professor at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Read the whole article here;