We Need An Intelligent Response to Islamophobia


By Farish A. Noor

The recent declaration made at the OIC summit that calls for Muslim nation-states to act in a concerted manner and to take legal action against any country, group or individual who deliberately attacks Islam is noteworthy for the seriousness of its intent; but falls short of providing us with a real solution to the problem of racism and prejudice disguised behind the banner of Islam-bashing.

For a start, one wonders if the arena of international law even allows states to take legal action against other actors and agents on such grounds; and one wonders what the modalities of such an action might be. But above all, we need to take a calm and rational distance from the problem itself and consider methods that will work and reject those that certainly won’t.

The problem, however, is this: How can Muslims react rationally and coolly to acts of provocation at a time when even the utterance of the mutest words of protest are deemed by some as the irrational outpourings of misguided pious grief instead? The worry that some of us share at the moment is how the Muslims of the world will react to the release of the film produced by Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party. Wilders is known in Holland as a maverick politician on the make, an ambitious demagogue whose tactics are as loud as they are crude. His decision to make a film on the life of the Prophet Muhammad was calculated to raise the political temperature in Europe at a time when Muslim-non-Muslim relations have hit an all time low. Unlike the murdered film director Theo van Gogh who was a left-leaning activist and long-time supporter of minority concerns (and who, incidentally, also defended the rights of Muslim migrants in Holland), Wilders is a far-right politician who is clearly appealing to the baser parochial and exclusive sentiments of white Dutch society.

It would be hypocritical, to say the least, that Wilders’ film which presents Islam as a religious system akin to Facism and which compares the Prophet Muhammad to Hitler was meant to bring the communities of Holland closer together.

But in reacting to the film the Muslim community worldwide would have to take into account some cautionary points:

For a start, Geert Wilders happens to be a single individual who happens to lead a relatively small (though growing) political movement. In no way can we say that his is the voice of mainstream Dutch society which has historically been critical of racist demagogues and hate-mongers in its midst. Furthermore it should be remembered that thousands of Dutch citizens have also been active supporters and defenders of the rights of Muslims elsewhere, and that there are hundreds of Dutch NGOs and citizens groups that have been actively campaigning for the political rights of the Palestinians and the people of Iraq during the recent Gulf War. In condemning Wilders for his racist rant, it is absolutely imperative that the Muslim communities of the world restrain from condemning Dutch society in toto, and Westerners in general.

Secondly it should be noted that any mode of protest has to be measured and has to reflect the true nature of the insult that is perceived. The concern of many Muslim intellectuals and leaders today is that as the protests against Wilders’ film grow across the planet, we will see yet another round of violent demonstrations accompanied by the now-familiar rhetoric of death threats and hate speeches. When will Muslims realise that reacting to racism and bigotry can only be effective when it is done from a higher moral ground, and not by responding to hate with hate?

To this end, we need to emphasise that Muslims will never occupy the higher moral ground as long as they do not learn to co-operate with other faith communities and realise that our lot is a common one, shared with the rest of humanity. It is therefore vital that any steps taken to respond to the film by Geert Wilders be inclusive and accommodating in character, and that Muslim leaders, intellectuals and activists reach out for support from other faith communities including Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and all those who are against all forms of racism and bigotry. Only then will Muslims give the impression that we are not an isolated, marginalised and parochial community driven primarily by our own exclusive sectarian interests.

Lastly, while responding to Wilders’ outlandish and repugnant misrepresentation of Islam and Muslims, Muslims also need to be honest enough to recognise the faults and errors in ourselves. To condemn racist non-Muslims who deliberately abuse Islam is one thing, but Muslims also need to do some proper in-house cleaning and recognise that not all is well is the house of Islam: Racism, sexism, corruption, nepotism and abuse of power remain pressing realities in so many Muslim countries today. Likewise the hate-discourse of the likes of Wilders can also be compared to the hate-discourse of many radically violent Muslim demagogues, who do deserve to be called Muslim Facists too.

Can this dilemma be resolved in time before we witness yet another round of Muslim-West antagonism as we did in the wake of the Muhammad cartoon controversy of 2004-2005? One will only know the answer to that question when the controversy has passed and the dust has settled. But one thing is for certain at this juncture: No resolution to the perennial problem of Islamophobia and Muslim-bashing can be reached as long as we react to such slander and bigotry with slander and bigotry of our own. One does not fight hate with hate; and an intelligent, universal, inclusive reaction to the problem of Islamophobia is perhaps the first step to finding a solution. Let us hope that Muslims will keep their cool this time round.

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  1. #1 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 20 March 2008 - 9:22 pm

    I felt it is proper that this anti-Jewish sentiment (as opposed to anti-semitism) which is more widespread than commonly believed be given a historical perspective. It is not an excuse for murder!

    Christians have been guilty of ethnic cleansing of milliions in South America not too long ago.

  2. #2 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 20 March 2008 - 9:27 pm

    “You are correct. However, that was in the Middle Ages. We are no longer in the 12th or 13th Century. You can’t go around killing, bombing & maiming people who do not have the same opinions as you do!”

    I just thought that it was proper to give this anti_Jewish sentiment its proper historical perspective.

  3. #3 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 20 March 2008 - 11:16 pm

    Those who try to transform Kit’s blog into an Islamic bashing blog does injustice to a man who has devoted his entire life towards fighting for freedom.

  4. #4 by AirJ on Friday, 21 March 2008 - 12:00 am

    Salam All
    This is an interesting topic. There are people here who have cited cases of injustice caused by muslims to non-muslims but one could easily cites others cases whereby the reverse occured. Why should you focus on the negatives of others when there are positive factors you can take to promote closer ties and understandings?

    Everybody has their own preferences and ideologies. I can preach them aloud but I cannot force you to take my side. From my perspective, I think USA had a hand in creating disorder and unjust feelings amongst muslims towards westerners. It was particularly heightened with the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan in the false pretext of war on terror. These events had caused untold chain-reactions which some had cited above. Bin Laden is still not captured (intentionally perhaps?), Iraq is in shambles and facing ruins. Bush is still in power and USA still arrogantly flouts every rule of just and democratic governance it so highly preaches. From muslims perpectives – how is this a just society?

    From the beginning of mankind we have seen chaos and moronic actions being done in the name of religion. If we continue to see and highlights the negatives, these will not stop. It begins with you and I, we have to take this responsibility to say this is enough. We shall have to move towards more tolerated views of others different from us. As I’ve said, I may have my own personal convictions and beliefs but I can tolerate others who have different views from me. Let’s move forward and not have the vicious cycle continues…

  5. #5 by RGRaj on Friday, 21 March 2008 - 12:56 am

    You must understand that Bush was not acting as a Christian when he invaded Iraq. So that war cannot be used as a Muslim vs non-Muslim conflict. Can you really say which Christian teaching Bush was following when he decided to invade Iraq?

    Also regarding Undergrad2′s post about ethnic cleansing in South America; what religious doctrines were the perpertrators following when they did this?

  6. #6 by undergrad2 on Friday, 21 March 2008 - 1:21 am

    The Christians were responsible for the deaths of millions as a result of ethnic cleansing.

    I am a practicing Christian; and I’m willing to admit to that.

  7. #7 by Justhis on Friday, 21 March 2008 - 2:51 am

    Dear Mr. Lim,

    Moon light and solar power is not the same because these sources of energy cannot be the same. No human can survive when these two sources reducing their variants. But we need both of them naturally different in harmony.

    PAS is a political party that fights for or up holding Islamic principle. They have frankly and honestly indicate to every one. Seeing from the previous events drive me to think in order for this Party to continue growing, they must have reasons to fight; either that Islamic value is deteriorating, influence by western life style, feeling insecure due to existence of other religious or any other reasons but they must find one or more to justify it. By doing so, then only the Party members can unite. Sometimes only historians, after many years later, can determine if this unity is out of political purposes or the will of Allah.

    From another angle, Democratic Action Party cannot function if Malaysia becomes a communist country, just as PAS if their subject centre proven inexistent. DAP has to look for, one way or another, reasons to fight for democratic or freedom. It does not matter how much freedom is enough and how much power given to people is considered enough but understood well that once enough is enough then the Party can ‘close shop’. Because the party losses it meaning to exist. Hence, if Malaysia Government suddenly improves just 50% in all aspects, DAP will find it tough to advance in next round of election, not to mention losing ground. So, DAP will continue find faults from all angles to justify actions; in disregard how well ruling parties perform. (This way is still good for Malaysian now, but looking forward a more balanced duties and roles in 4 States that under Oppositions local governance.)

    If we are mature enough, either politically or humanity, then all should understand and accept that society grows gradually in transition manner. Unless due to wars, which can change societies in a switching manner from one form to another. Transition simply means stage by stage. DAP do not need to participate religious activities with PAS. But some of the democratic actions; i.e. related to old folks welfare, tackling social illness, disposing grafts, and many others are very good interfacing. Imagine if DAP Chinese and Indian members march and hand out letter of protest to Demark Embassy on cartoon Islamic figure, half the world would realize DAP has political mature leaders that up holding righteousness and enhancing social harmony.

    Example above will stage up positive challenge among DAP and PAS. DAP will try to emphasize social and democratic developments, economy growth, advance technology, creative leisure entertainments and many more good points to Islamic fundamentalist in PAS to gain their reorganization that Malaysia is functioning as a Nation in the world. Also from PAS will demonstrate their ability to maintain a simply, peaceful, respectful, low inflation, good value society that offers Mr. Lim the opportunity to enjoy less noisy, cleaner air, cheaper foods, more natural scenes, slower traffic, more polite conversations Kampong life style.

    Only through understanding of co-existence and inter-dependency, DAP-PKR-PAS can form coalition parties.
    But all these have to come through interface with PAS. May be going through PKR can make them feel important, which is a good and amicable thing to do. In the opposite, cut off interface with PAS but still need to form coalition parties with PAS under present political situation will only make DAP more like MCA. With UMNO, they wear the same sarong without trying to understand one another for donkey years. Only recently they start to realize that wearing in this way will soon tear the sarong into half and turn naked.

    So, Mr. Lim please don’t share sarong. Please try to understand PAS through interface and stage up positive challenges with them through PKR. No one can appreciate democratic without knowing its good points. Likewise, how well do you understand Islam, other than kris pointing (not Grease Lightning) in Parliament?
    Who knows, we may need PAS to assist non-Muslim in body snatching cases legally in future. For a start they can help to decode the following :
    A pamphlet titled ISLAM.
    published by Salafi Da’wah Centre and Library
    C32, 2nd floor, Al-Rahaba Complex near State Bank, Nellikai Road, Mangalore -575001. Tel : 2422220
    e-mail: [email protected]

    Stated in page 18 of the following :
    To the learned Jew also, the name “Allah’ is not something foreign. The Hebrew noun for God is ‘Elah’, sometimes written in its polite-plural form: Elohim. Elah is itself derived from the Hebrew noun ‘Alah’, which shares a common spelling, root and meaning with the Arabic name for the One God. For Christian too, God’s name is the same as that recognized by Muslims. In Arabic Bibles, the name of ‘God the Father’ is ‘Allah’. While in Aramaic, God is called ‘Allah’ –the proper noun by which Jesus (peace be upon him) referred to God in his native tongue. So, Jews, Christians and pagan Arabs had been calling God “Allah” centuries before Muhammad (peace be upon him) was even born.

    Thank you
    Regards,

  8. #8 by Tickler on Friday, 21 March 2008 - 8:09 am

    # undergrad2 Says:
    Yesterday at 23: 16.16

    Those who try to transform Kit’s blog into an Islamic bashing blog does injustice to a man who has devoted his entire life towards fighting for freedom.
    ________________________________________________

    I see that comment as a threat. Accusing those who do not agree with your lies. As someone rightfully has commented about you:

    “He isn’t stupid in an innocent sense but rather twisted with an arrogant proclivity to ego trip by brow beating his peers and seeking to insinuate himself into a discussion as an authority when his feet isn’t on the ground. He gets his way with the mods because the mods aren’t the brightest around like at the LKS blog.”

  9. #9 by Tickler on Friday, 21 March 2008 - 8:25 am

    COLONEL Muammar Gadaffi yesterday celebrated the anniversary of the birth of Prophet Muhammad with a two-hour speech in which he attacked the Scandinavian countries for besmirching the Prophet, the Arabs for monopolising the Kaaba and signed off by describing the Bible as a forgery.

    Speaking to the mammoth crowd that braved the afternoon heat in Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium after leading the Thuhur (afternoon) prayer, Col. Gadaffi said any Bible and Tora (Old Testament) that does not mention Prophet Muhammad was written by mankind and therefore a fraud.

  10. #10 by Jeffrey on Friday, 21 March 2008 - 9:11 am

    “…..He gets his way with the mods because the mods aren’t the brightest around like at the LKS blog….”

    What is the meaning of “mods”??

  11. #11 by jetaime.f on Friday, 21 March 2008 - 9:12 am

    sorry, what’s mods?

  12. #12 by Tickler on Friday, 21 March 2008 - 9:20 am

    I think he/she meant `moderators`

  13. #13 by jetaime.f on Friday, 21 March 2008 - 9:30 am

    Tickler: thanks….too many “slangs”/ abbreviations used – need to learn…

  14. #14 by Jeffrey on Friday, 21 March 2008 - 9:42 am

    Moderators ? I don’t think so. There is but only one moderator in this blog so how could Mod(s) be plural?

    I venture to guess the term “Mods” is a kind of slang reference to people or sub-community of people of subculture interacting with each other within an internet Blog because of their shared values ….Slang derived from community blogs like We Are The Mods!, where “Mods” supposedly interact with each other through the same shared meanings of their culture, where others who are not in the Mod culture may not understand.

    So whoever who made that statement “he gets his way with the mods because the mods aren’t the brightest around like at the LKS blog” is a ‘techie’ person (knowing the slang) and inimical to LKS and the shared values of this forum. He is likely a BN sympathizer, on the grounds of which the credibility and objectivity of his remarks directed at anyone here are suspect.

  15. #15 by jetaime.f on Friday, 21 March 2008 - 9:48 am

    typo error…but what you say is not untrue…..

  16. #16 by Tickler on Friday, 21 March 2008 - 9:48 am

    Ah, that`s interesting. I learn something,
    But he/she has never been a BN sympathizer and has always voted the other way in the `voting life`.
    But I do like the reasoning :)

  17. #17 by Jeffrey on Friday, 21 March 2008 - 9:52 am

    Tickler, how could you use a quote from an anonymous person to tell off a member of this blogging community in which you are part of when that anonymous someone (probably a BN cybertrooper) displays such supercilious condescension to all this blog by saying “the mods aren’t the brightest around like at the LKS blog” with all the implications that we are “mods” of a sub community or subculture that others not part of in mainstream cannot understand? This is indirectly directed against LKS too.

  18. #18 by sotong on Friday, 21 March 2008 - 11:13 am

    Religious intolerant is when one religious values are forced into others.

    Islamic extremism, fundamentalism and intolerant do not have a place in a multi religious and modern society.

  19. #19 by Tickler on Friday, 21 March 2008 - 11:31 am

    “the mods aren’t the brightest around like at the LKS blog” – Jeffrey

    Until you claified that there is only one moderator (who I too have suffered under before, and probably will again with this post), we never knew if it was a single or plural.

    I will reemphasize that it is not a BN cybertrooper/sympathizer, and I do not see why I`m made to repeat that.
    It`s rather Goebellian to repeat something to make it look like the truth.
    As for LKS we have supported him for a long time now. If needs be we can meet through a meeting with Karpal (yes he`s a good friend). LKS probably knows my dad from Malacca days – can meet him too and share a cuppa and talk over `old times`.

  20. #20 by Jeffrey on Friday, 21 March 2008 - 1:57 pm

    No “Goebellian” repeats intended – interesting word “Goebellian” – as my second posting 09: 52.43 was made (from my end) before your posting at 09: 48.45 appeared on the screen, such workings of WordPress platform.

    But on the subject whether “the mods aren’t the brightest around like at the LKS blog”, whoever should not deride importance of blogs. I noticed (before our last election) the manacled MSM (Mainstream Media) dared not take initiative to report anything unfavourable to the government. However the blogs took the lead and once a scandal was placed by blogs in public domain, MSM took it from them and gave coverage, albeit restraint one, but it served the purpose of disseminating the scandals to the national audience, penetrating areas where there was no much internet use and access, which may be one of the reasons people got so fed up and moved against the BN in 2008 elections. So blogs played a part I think in what happened, I take a litle exception to whosoever who derides its utility by saying readers of this blog or that blog are not bright etc .

  21. #21 by Jeffrey on Friday, 21 March 2008 - 1:58 pm

    “….report anything unfavourable OF the government…” Sorry.

  22. #22 by limkamput on Friday, 21 March 2008 - 5:00 pm

    Undergrad2 says: “The Christians were responsible for the deaths of millions as a result of ethnic cleansing.
    I am a practicing Christian; and I’m willing to admit to that.”

    We are discussing the issues at present, not things happened centuries ago. Are you saying therefore we have no right to comment what happens in the muslim world today because of our chequered past. Same as a typical argument against the West to talk on human rights and democracy because of their colonial past.

  23. #23 by vwfs68 on Saturday, 22 March 2008 - 2:03 am

    Islam today appears to be increasingly intolerant against all things non-Islam and its clerics seems to promote vengefulness in striking out anyone and anything that they perceive as insulting their religion.

    On this whilst the world and the Christian community has evolved to be highly tolerant. The Christians are turning the other cheek, when insulted and oppressed as oppose to the Muslims who will strike out with their Jihad retaliation.

    And yet, we have Muslims telling us Islam is a peaceful and tolerant religion but its actions are far from peaceful nor just.

  24. #24 by Tickler on Saturday, 22 March 2008 - 2:20 am

    # undergrad2 Says: March 20th, 2008 (2 days ago) at 20: 08.55

    I met a lot of whites who have a strong dislike for Jews. It is not just the Muslims. To understand some of it you need to read the Old Testament in the Christian Bible.
    ____________________________________________________
    So the in the OT it tells the Jews to eliminate Christians, or does it tell the Christians to eliminate the Jews?
    [Me not being christian, I assume you mean `whites` to be christians.]
    As `a practicing Christian` surely that should be within your capabilities to answer.
    Shhh nobody help him please.

  25. #25 by Tickler on Saturday, 22 March 2008 - 6:41 am

    # undergrad2 Says: March 20th, 2008 (2 days ago) at 21: 22.56

    Christians have been guilty of ethnic cleansing of milliions in South America not too long ago.
    __________________________________________________
    Another perspective:

    The parallels go beyond the death worship of Aztec warriors and Arab suicide-bombers. One of the latter responsible for the train bombings in Madrid declared in a letter: “You (Christians) love life — we (Moslems) love death.” Compare this Aztec poem:

    There is nothing like death in war
    Nothing like the flowery death
    So precious to the gods who give us life
    Far off I see it! My heart yearns for it!
    [ ]
    In 1487, to celebrate the completion of the Great Temple of Huitzilopotchtli in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, 20,000 prisoners were sacrificed in fourteen days, with long lines of victims stretching from the temple in four directions as far as the eye could see.

    It was decreed that other gods were perpetually hungry. Tlaloc, the rain god, needed the hearts of children and babies so that it would rain. Xipe, the plant god, needed human skins acquired by skinning a victim alive, so that plants would grow.

    Naturally, the tens of thousands of victims needed annually for these cosmic sacrifices could not come from the Aztec people, or else they would quickly kill themselves off. The only way to get them was to capture them as prisoners of war.

    Thus war — Holy War — became the purpose of the Aztec State. All soldiers in the Aztec Army were Holy Warriors, Warriors of the Gods. Peace was dangerous. No war meant no prisoners to sacrifice, no food for the gods, which risked the destruction of mankind and the universe itself. The only way to avoid cosmic disaster was for the Aztecs to accept the burden fate had given them and wage perpetual war for the salvation of humanity.
    http://usawakeup.org/mythofmecca.htm

  26. #26 by jetaime.f on Saturday, 22 March 2008 - 7:56 am

    not all whites are chrisitians

  27. #27 by Bigjoe on Saturday, 22 March 2008 - 9:39 am

    This idea that the response to religious persecution is intelligent answer is not new. If you read the religious debates in English courts of King Henry VIII, in my view the onset of modern secularity, you realized they talked of this idea itself.

    The problem is that not that there is no intelligent response to Islamphobia but rather its not being heard due to politicisation. Its actually the core of secularity argument.

    Why did the US adopt such a strong separation of church and state? Due to the experience of its migrant fleeing religious persecution. They were religious people and thought the best defense against religious persecution was to remove the role of state power.

    Islam is a more organized religion than well almost all others. But it fundamentally has little confidence as a religion without state power despite proof to the contrary. After all its the fastest growing religion even in the US. Why? Because its not about religion, its about power and politics and that is all too common a weakness.

  28. #28 by Tickler on Saturday, 22 March 2008 - 10:20 am

    jetaime.f Says: not all whites are chrisitians

    Of course we know that. That comment is in the context of Undergraduate`s comments earlier.
    Just as a different perspective on S.America (also related to his comment) may be found here:
    http://www.groupsrv.com/religion/about46518.html

  29. #29 by jetaime.f on Saturday, 22 March 2008 - 10:53 am

    chill…………..

  30. #30 by Tickler on Saturday, 22 March 2008 - 11:46 am

    So sorry and beg forgiveness for disturbing the peace.
    Verily ignorance is blissful.[sarcasm intended].

  31. #31 by vwfs68 on Saturday, 22 March 2008 - 12:55 pm

    “# Tickler Says:
    Today at 02: 20.32 (10 hours ago)

    # undergrad2 Says: March 20th, 2008 (2 days ago) at 20: 08.55

    I met a lot of whites who have a strong dislike for Jews. It is not just the Muslims. To understand some of it you need to read the Old Testament in the Christian Bible.
    ____________________________________________________
    So the in the OT it tells the Jews to eliminate Christians, or does it tell the Christians to eliminate the Jews?
    [Me not being christian, I assume you mean `whites` to be christians.]
    As `a practicing Christian` surely that should be within your capabilities to answer.
    Shhh nobody help him please.”

    I am astounded by the lack of understanding you guys have. First thing first, in no place in the Bible OT or NT tells us to Kill JEWS. In fact the Jews are treated as in the first born child. The elder. GOD chose the Jews to be an example to the world as a holy priesthood; unfortunately not that didn’t that well. In NT the faith was open to non-Jews and from then onwards the new movement was came to be known as Christians (followers of Christ).

    In times of the atrocities the massacres in the varios examples you cited were politically motivated. And the examples you cited are over 600 years ago (if that is recent by your standards). Although it was sanctioned by the Catholic Church it was wrong. In the age of enlightenment time of Martin Luther where the Protestant Christian movement was formed thats a breakaway from the political control and to follow the real teaching of Jesus Christ which is to love one another; and turn the other cheek for vengeance belongs to GOD. True Christians follow a non-violent approach to life and we do not retaliate by killing other people even if they insult our GOD (Jesus).

    Even more recent, the second world war the Jews were heavily persecuted, thats still within 70 years of our lifetime (the holocaust).

    First of all, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all have the same roots. All claim to worship the GOD of Abraham, and share many of the same text. Hence the three religions all are middle-eastern in nature. Not White. Today, there are more Asian Christians than White (Caucasian) Christians. A trip to Europe, you will see many abandon churches and cathedrals.

    I am only explaining what we see in the world TODAY. If the muslims are so peaceful and inclusive and wonders why there’s Islamophobia they must be really blind or highly insensitive? Islam is reminiscent of the times when the Catholic Church was politically all powerful. Absolute Power corrupts absolutely, dont you agree?

    Today, many “Whites” are atheist or are “New Agers” not many are Christians.

    I hope that answers your sarcastic question.

  32. #32 by One4All4One on Saturday, 22 March 2008 - 10:20 pm

    Phobia…fear…insecurity…uncertainty…unknown…darkness…abyss…devil…death…after-life…the unclear…failure…dark ages…end of the world…natural calamity…nuclear warhead…satan…accident
    …trade embargo…climatic change…extinction…global warming…
    ozone layer depletion…green house effect…anarchy…hegemonism
    …racial discrimination…apartheid…inflation…economic downturn…
    currency depreciation….etc, etc…

    Any of the above may spark fear and phobia in anyone of us. The fear of the unknown. That is the reason why the initiated seek out to unravel unknown frontiers in the hope that fellow brethens may be enlightened and fear no more. To be ignorant no more. Knowledge lights up as opposed to the stifling effect of darkness.

    Humanity had gone through it all…every imaginable and unimaginable tragic events.

    Do we have to go through them again and again? Why can’t we live honorably, peacefully, lovingly, caringly, unprejudiced and accommodatingly?

    Isn’t there enough space for all of us? Why must we greed for more than what we need? Is one race more superior than another?
    Is another religion greater than the other? When can we stop lording over others? When will we see the folly of our actions? When will we accept all humanity as our own brothers and sisters?That humanity is one? When can we see that the God that we are worshipping all this while is actually the One and Only God, by whatever Name we came to know? That religion is actually one?

    We are living in the age of enlightenment. We have the benefit of hindsight. We have access to information and knowledge unimaginable even as close as 100 years ago. Why are behaving as if we are still living in the dark ages? Aren’t we suppose to have been ‘paradigmn-shifted’ in our mentality to be in sync with modern times?

    Perhaps because of deep-set discrimation, knowingly or otherwise, that we became so ignorant and backward in our view of our surrounding and environment. Or perhaps it was due to sheer lack of learning that contributed to the current state of affair, in which case the available information and knowledge resources are not utilised sufficiently.

    The constant bickering among religious groups should have been be replaced with meaningful discussion and discourse. We have to shed any prejudice that may colour our views and inclination and to move into uncharted waters. We should have the courage to accept new knowledge with grace and humility.

    The world should not be allowed to cringe under the shadow of ‘Islamophobia’. It is an over-reaction to what we do not know about the religion that causes unnecessary fears. We have to confront it i.e. learn about the religion itself from authorised and reliable sources and put to rest once and for all all doubts and prejudice that we may have harboured. Same for all other religions.
    We have to get down to the core of the subject to fully understand their significance and relevance in relation to place and time.

    It is with this approach that it is hoped that one can see the significance of teachings which are relevant to this age and time. Progressive revealation is a concept which is worth investigating to understand the ‘development’ of religions throughout the ages.

    Different era calls for different revealation and approach simply because humanity is progressing with time. We no longer write on bamboo or stone slabs. We no longer look to the medium or soothsayer to cure our sickness. We no longer thought that the earth is flat or that the sighting of the comet would bring bad luck to our community.

    Let’s move on.

  33. #33 by bra888 on Saturday, 22 March 2008 - 11:13 pm

    “I love you,
    You love me,
    We are a happy family,
    With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you,
    Won’t you say you love me too.”

    (by Barney, the purple dinosaur)

    “I bomb you,
    You judge me,
    We are an angry family,
    With a simple comic strip and a C4 from me to you,
    Won’t you say you hate me too.”

    (Current world)

  34. #34 by lakilompat on Wednesday, 26 March 2008 - 12:22 pm

    The thing is, if you just sit there doing nothing but to pray and do not accept “Change” in the outside world there will come a day when other races will come to create a mess in your country like what is happening in many middle east countries today. As a result a group of reformist turn into terrorist, they not only threatened their own govt. but also foreigner. All kind of religion should be accepted, the things are, we also need to change to adapt with modern world. We can’t defend our country using religion when foreigner send in their tanks & jet fighter & warship & troops.

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