The following feedback was received on a variety of articles posted on this blog. The identity of those providing the feedback has been deliberately kept vague ...
On the cartoons ...
I just wanted to say i enjoyed (if that is the right word) your article about the cartoons and all the furore that ensured. I congratulate you on your honesty and courage to speak out when you see something that you disagree with.
I am a non Muslim and I see much that is wrong with the Muslim world and particularly the tribal Islam that is spreading (I abhor any extremism and ism that imposes upon another). I think in the name of religion people get away with so much because, they say, this is what God wants. People have been trying (unsuccessfully I might add) to figure out God for ages.
I think it's time we stop trying to figure what god is wanting/needing (actually God is without want and need), something which humans still can't stop obsessing over. Religion has gotten us into a mess and our answers will not be found in looking back by what some prophet or messiah may or may not have said.
Rather, it'll be in finding the core values that unite us and seeing if the principles of human dignity and freedom are there. If not, then one can only say that a society/country or whatever you want to call it has a right to say that those values and ideas that could destroy the very values that we hold dear have no place. What God you worship or how you dress is not the issue.
But allowing people to express themselves, including the other half of the population is what it's about and if that's a problem then I say you may well be advised to find a state/country that supports your tyranny and outdated ways. Because we are in the 21st century and unfortunately some of Islam may need to dragged kicking and screaming into this century.
This is not racism as many would claim, but rather, a desire to progress and survive as a species on this already fragile planet earth. It is just a thought...
Assalamu alaikum [trans: Peace be with you],
In the name of the Most High,
Your sentiments are well taken brother. I want to point out that the "dark ages" in Islam began much earlier than people are aware. They actually began soon after the Prophet himself passed away. Anyone who studies Islamic history will notice some very strange events occuring.
Within 30 years of the Prophet's death, the family who were the worst enemies of the Prophet within his lifetime seized power and established the first monarchy within the history of Islam. There was no precedence for such a form of government because such was not Islamic.
This family appointed their relatives to the major posts in the governments. They commissioned their media to create hadith that praised their family and disparaged the family of the Prophet. They created a situation where many Muslims thought that the Prophet did not have a family or that if he did, they were definitely not Muslims.
Why does this matter today? If we look at the so-called Islamic countries, this is what we see. Many countries are ruled by monarchs who appoint the "religious scholars." The religious scholars in turn try to use Islam to justify the policy of the government.
This family was not satisfied with controlling the resources of the community. They also favored Arabs above non-Arabs, men over women, and reinstituted the values that were present in Arabia before the advent of the holy Prophet.
Today, we see so many Muslims angered over these cartoons which indeed are wrong.
Only 60 years after the hijra, a momentous event took place. The Prophet's own grandson, Husain refused to pledge allegiance to the monarch of the time, Yazid. So, how did Yazid respond to this? He sent messengers to the city of Madinah telling the governor to make Husain pledge allegiance or cut off his head!
Husain left Madinah for Makkah and then later to Iraq. In Iraq, he and his close relatives and friends were surrounded by a large army in the middle of the desert on the banks of the Euphrates and killed. After these men were killed, the government's troops trampled their bodies with their horses and decapitated each man.
They placed the heads of thesemembers of the Prophet's own family on the ends of spears. They burned the tents of the women whose men had just been killed, tore off their hijab, and took them prisoner. Now, picture this scene. They had their solders carry the heads on spears in front of the women while they paraded their prisoners through the streets of Kufa Iraq. They marched these women and young girls preceeded by the heads all the way to Damascus where Yazid was presented the head of Husain on a plate.
He poked at the head and made disparaging comments about the Prophet and his family. Now, doesn't this sound like news clips we hear about on a regular basis? We hear of innocent people kidnapped in Iraq who are decapitated on video. Anyone who simply disagrees with the governments in most Arab countries can be jailed, tortured, or even killed.
Why is this so acceptable to Muslims? The Prophet was insulted many times during his life but strove to make sure that other people were not wrongfullyoppressed. I see that the killing of the Prophet's own family by terrorist dictators was acceptable to the Muslims. Even if they thought it was wrong, they didn't as a whole take any action to stop these dictators from continuing in this manner. This family ruled the Muslim world for over 90 years!
So, the point I am making is that this indifference has been the way Muslims as a collective have been functioning since the 7th century AD. There have always been people who opposed this type of oppression, but they have been a small percentage of the entire ummah. We can learn from our own history that we NEED to clean up our own house because it is filthy, putrid, and has been so for many centuries.