While both sane and insane voices exist in every society, it is common knowledge by now that Islamophobes are pretty loud in the West, especially in USA. The story of Ahmed, the kid who brought a self-made clock to school, is a case in point. Of course, Islamophobia is not the dominant ideology in USA, as can be seen in the efforts of several good-willed Americans who seek nothing but peace. After all, Ahmed did get support and appreciation from all corners, didn’t he?
However, what happens when such Islamophobic paranoia, even though it might be in the minority, spills out and makes itself visible in stuff that is otherwise not a monopoly of Islam? What happens when one’s bigotry makes him/her feel scared of a language?
Apparently, some Islamophobes in USA seem to have an irrational fear of the Arabic language. Continue Reading
Recently, the news of a Palestinian toddler being burnt alive by Israeli settlers caught my attention. The eighteen-month old Ali Dawabsheh was asleep when Israeli extremists set fire to his house, and the kid was burnt beyond recognition by the time his body was found.
Ali’s parents too were badly injured; his four-year old brother, Ahmad Dawabsheh, is in a critical condition with over 60% of his body burnt.
The fact that Zionists indulge in cold-blooded murder and bloodshed of innocent Palestinians is not new. Ever since 1948, violence and genocide have been the norm. To make matters worse, Israeli settlers and Zionists tend to justify their actions through varied excuses — Promised Land, Chosen People, whatever suits their intent and purpose! Continue Reading
On March 18, a student in Pine Bush High School near New York City recited the American Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic. This was done as part of the school’s Foreign Language Week, which was conducted to celebrate the “many races, cultures and religions that make up [the US and the Pine Bush] School District.”
One would expect the multicultural and cosmopolitan American society to appreciate such gestures. However, reactions to the recitation of the Pledge in Arabic spoke otherwise: the language in itself was described to be meant for terrorists! Such bigotry once again highlighted everything that is wrong with USA nowadays: xenophobia, racism, ignorance, violence and above all, Islamophobia. Continue Reading
Every year in December, Christians all around the world celebrate Christmas, marking the birth of Jesus Christ. In fact, when it comes to venerating Christ, most Christians tend to go out-of-the-way and claim ownership of Christ. In Christianity, Jesus is viewed as the Son of God, or God Incarnate.
However, there is another religion that pays equal, if not greater, respect to Jesus, albeit in a slightly different manner.
Unlike Christianity that began respecting Christ only after he had left this world, Islamic veneration of Jesus began during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad himself.
Islam views Jesus as a Prophet of God, rather than Son of God. Jesus, or Isa as he is called in Arabic, is referred to by name in nearly 25 different verses of The Quran, with titles such as Messenger, Prophet, and even Messiah. In fact, all Muslim theologians view Jesus as a precursor to Prophet Muhammad.
So, is the fact that both Christianity and Islam respect Jesus enough to build bridges between the two religions? Or are the different versions a source of perennial tension between adherents of the two faiths? Continue Reading
Myanmar is undergoing a state of upheaval and transformation. As of now, the country is experiencing changes on the political, economic and social frontiers.
Amidst such transitions, Myanmar is also witnessing increased cases of religious intolerance. In spite of its rich cultural heritage and legacy of socio-religious harmony, present-day Myanmar is surely not the best place for its religious minorities. Continue Reading
So Iraq is in turmoil, and a full-fledged sectarian conflict between Sunnis and Shiites looks imminent. Probably, USA will need to interfere yet again (there’s oil at stake, after all), and the inefficiency of Nouri al-Maliki’s rule has been exposed.
However, beyond all that, something else is worth discussing here. The message and motives of ISIS have clearly shown that they intend to restore the Caliphate, like it or not. This has sent the alarm bells ringing: Caliphate poses a threat to both Western hegemony in the region as well as the misrule of regional despots. Quite obviously, everyone is alarmed at the success of ISIS.
The fact that ISIS have shown a visible dislike for Shiite rule in Iraq further adds a new dimension to the age-old question: Sunni Caliphate or Shiite Imamate? Which one is better as a self-rule option for Muslims, and more importantly, for preserving the peace of the entire region? Continue Reading
Seek knowledge, even if you have to go all the way to China!
The above is one of the most well known and oft-quoted statements of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Even though its origins are questionable and not entirely verifiable, it has served as an inspiration for scientific thought and rational ideas in the Islamic world for centuries.
Sadly, the present-day Muslims seem to be detached from that very rational and scientific learning that once was a hallmark of the Islamic world. According to Science Watch, out of the top 20 countries in terms of overall scientific output, Turkey is the only Muslim representative, with a modest rank of 19.
A civilization that had a humble beginning but soon reached the pinnacle of scientific and social learning seems to have come full circle. What exactly has gone wrong? Continue Reading