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منگل، 28 فروری، 2012

Holy Qur’an burning: Sacrilegious acts of American troops

 As sensitivities of Muslims in Afghanistan as well as other parts of the world have badly been injured by sacrilegious acts of American troops, Republican presidential hopful Rick Sanatorum has churned has churned out a statement that amounts to adding fuel to the fire and rubbing salt into the wounds. The candidate has not only criticized Pressident Barack Obama for offering apology on the incident but come out with a strange logic that the apology instead should have been made by Afghanistan.

After the burning of the Holy Qur’an five days ago at a US base in Afghanistan, country-wide demonstrations continue in which 30 people have been killed, including four US soldiers, and more than 200 have been injured. NATO and the British government recalled their international advisers from Afghan ministries late Saturday after two US military advisers – a lieutenant colonel and a major – were found dead in their office with shots to the back of their heads. A spokeswoman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed two of their servicemen had been shot dead in Kabul by an individual who turned his weapon on them. She declined to say if the killer was a member of the Afghan military or police. An Afghan security source said the shooting of the two Americans in the Interior Ministry could be connected to the burning of the holy Quran. The US and the West claim to be upholders of democratic traditions and preach tolerance for others faiths and views, but negate the very concept when they show no respect for Islam and Muslims.

Last year, controversial Pastor Terry Jones, a blot on the name of humanity, had acted as a judge in a mock trial that ended with burning a copy of Quran at his Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida. The US had strongly condemned the burning of Quran by the radical pastor, and the spokesman had said the Obama administration was deeply concerned about all deliberate attempts to offend members of any religious minority. But this condemnation is not enough, and unless the US invokes hate crime and put the perpetrators of heinous crime in the dock, the desecration of the holy book and acts of blasphemy would continue hurting the Muslims. In 2010, Terry Jones had called off the event after criticism from U.S. religious leaders, violent protests abroad and pressure from President Obama and then Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. However, on actual burning of the holy Qur’an last year, American politicians, media and intelligentsia remained silent on the despicable and abhorrent desecration, which glaringly exposed their hypocrisy and double standards.

On September 30th 2005, blasphemous caricatures of the Holy Prophet [PBUH] were published in Danish newspaper hurting the feelings of Muslims that make about 23 per cent of the world population. Danish Muslim organizations had objected to the depictions responded by holding public protests attempting to raise awareness of Jyllands-Posten’s publication. The caricatures were also reprinted in newspapers in more than 50 other countries, and this led to protests across the Muslim world, some of which escalated into violence with instances of firing on protestors resulting in a total of more than 100 reported deaths, including the bombing of the Danish embassy in Pakistan and setting fire to the Danish Embassies in Syria, Lebanon and Iran.

Crowds had stormed the European buildings, and burned the Danish, Dutch, Norwegian, French and German flags in Gaza City. There is a perception that they intentionally provoke Muslims and when they react or retaliate they dub them as rebel rousers, extremists and terrorists. However, the publishers of the newspapers took refuge under so-called freedom of expression. As recently as in January 2010, US Marines were shown urinating on the dead bodies of the killed Taliban fighters in a You Tube video. Such desecration of Muslims is tantamount to crimes, and stir anti-US sentiments in the entire Muslim world. Taliban would use such videos to recruit more fighters to fight US-led coalition in Afghanistan. Human dead bodies deserve respect and reverence even if they belonged to enemy ranks and had kinship in the opposing camps. Reportedly, America has apologized for recent desecration of the Holy Quran in Afghanistan. However, US and Western media had remained silent on the dead bodies issue and failed to condemn such inhuman acts of US Marines on disgracing the dead bodies of their opponents. Unfortunately one of the men was shown saying to dead bodies while urinating over them, “Have a great day, buddy”, while another soldier inquiring if they were being filmed. It is a clear case of war crime against US combat-ready soldiers who are implicated in disgracing the dead bodies.

American and European intellectuals and the people in general continue demonizing Islam for the acts of terrorism by a very small minority of fanatics, extremists and terrorists. As a matter of fact, the tirade against Muslims and Islam had started with Samuel P. Huntington’s article on inevitability of clash between civilizations. It appears that after disintegration of the USSR, the West needed another myth to keep the West united.

The “Clash of Civilizations” was published in the journal Foreign Affairs in the summer of 1993, which helped formation of series of attitudes opposing Islam. Given its intellectual and doctrinal nature, it had the greatest negative impact on the governments and the people of the western countries. He wrote: “The fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not primarily be ideological or economic…The most important conflicts of the future will occur along the cultural fault lines separating the civilizations from one another”. But the fact of the matter is that majority of the people are inclined to promote better understanding and mutual respect among followers of different civilizations. Majority of Muslims stand for inter-religion harmony, as the Holy Quran enjoins on Muslims to show respect to the Christ and other prophets that are revered by the Jews. The Organization of Islamic Conference should appeal to the US and the West that they should not ignore the social, political and economic realities, which give rise to extremism. If the western countries continue to misuse the right of freedom of speech to hurt Muslims and followers of other faiths, then they would make this world unsafe for the present and the coming generations. The people of Asia, Africa and Latin American countries that were colonized in the past by the western powers have not forgotten repression and exploitation of their resources. Despite the fact they got independence from the colonizers they were subjected to neo-colonialism through economic domination. This has resulted in poverty, hunger and disease in these countries, and such conditions spawn crimes, extremism and terrorism. Through acts of blasphemy, they inflame the sentiments of the people especially Muslims.

Those who misinterpret Islam as a dogmatic, conservative, upholder of obscurantism in fact deviate from the simple, rational and humane spirit of Islam, and are, indeed, enemies of Islam. In holy Quran, Islam advocates religious liberalism: “Let there be no compulsion in religion” (2:256). If anybody had transgressed such command in the past, then Islam should not be blamed. As a matter of fact all religions gave the message of peace and love. And all the Prophets were assigned with the task of making human beings humane, kind and tolerant so that people could live in an atmosphere of peace and amity to achieve intellectual, spiritual and material welfare. But there are enemies of peace everywhere. Former president Bush was also responsible for the interfaith-disharmony due to his perpetual criticism of Muslims by using terms like “Islamo-fascism” aimed at demonizing Islam. Being provocative in nature, such terms have created more hatred against the US in the Muslim world.

Pakistan Observer
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