Reflecting upon last Friday’s massacre in Paris and seeing how the whole world has taken notice and shown their support, it will inevitably frustrate those who have lost loved ones in Palestine, those who were banned from going to mosques, and so on. They are innocent people too, are they not? Where is their voice, their support?
The reason why such a despicable attack was carried out is because these men were (mentally) young, impressionable and frustrated at the French (and the western world) for their hypocrisy and responibilties in taking innocent lives – elsewhere.
If only they had not been so frustrated or impatient, in time they would have realised it is wrong to take innocent lives, especially that of women and children. They clearly misunderstood the true meaning of Islam and what it stands for which is peace, patience, humility and tolerance but understood what they were learnt, on their own terms. Distorted and fuelled by their anger at the hypocrisy of the western world.
I have seen boisterous young men do whatever they want because their mind has been set to it whereas I have seen other aggressive young men become wise with knowledge and patience.
To retaliate with violence (especially where a war in any sense ensues) is so not the answer.
Are established media outlets to blame for the ever-increasing exposure of radicalisation and extremism, by falling victim to playing a part in adding to the propaganda? Of which is misrepresenting Islam and its peaceful followers, the Muslims.
For those who may not know, extremism is not permitted, in Islam.
I say yes to my earlier question (as above) because the exposure adds to the rising levels of “Islamophobia” except I would like to go on to say that social media is also being used as a tool by today’s society.
There is an online world being formed, which makes people feel able to take things into their own hands, making comments, posting YouTube videos or articles that spread like wildfire within seconds of it being publicized.
It is all potentially dangerous because each one of us will interpret the context based on our personal knowledge, understanding and experiences. Not everyone will seek the truth or a deeper knowledge in order to be better informed about what we are being told or given to read, by or via the media.
Here are some excerpts from several of my past articles relating to and/or responding to any extremism in the media:
My “Waging a dirty war” article will help to explain one of the real reasons why the media of the West, is somewhat biased.
“I condemn all acts of terrorism especially where innocent people have to die.
Muslims seem to lose either way. They are constantly asked to apologise for crimes they did not commit nor supported. They are stuck between the extremists and fanatics on either sides. Most Muslims want to work providing for their family and get on with life in harmony.”…
…”My point being, freedom of speech is important but we need to hold back at our own discretion if we feel what we might say or do is hurtful towards others. There will always be people who want to push the boundaries and there is nothing wrong with that but freedom of speech cannot be used as an excuse to hide behind from when their actions has consequences and they should expect the same level of freedom of speech back especially when in a democratic state.
My main worry at this point in time is how society is reacting based on what the media wants us to see and believe”…
…”Any perceived anti-Semitism would be handled straightaway and the offenders promptly dealt with. Yet for any other religions, any anti views are sadly casually tolerated which I find very unfair because the same law should apply to all religions. By being respectful and mindful of others at all times would nip any anti views in the bud and would avoid that cataclysmic chain reaction of events spiralling out of anyone’s control. As for censorship? Do not even try to hide behind that excuse because no one ever sees what actually happens to the people of Palestine and other war-torn countries: Waging a dirty war.
Is the Ku Klux Klan a representative of Christians? So why do many think Terrorists are representative of Muslims? Fanatics or extremists does not define their religion come what may except distorts the truth behind it – all religions which asks for submission to the one and only same god is about peace and humanity. A true believer would not stoop so low to harm another because their religion (should) forbids it. Unfortunately people not in the know or are well-informed regarding a particular religion will accept that distortion all too readily. It is those who are the most sincere in their hearts that suffer the most from all this due to fanatics and others attributing excuses.
Thank you for allowing me to practise free speech – with respect comes peace.”
“The last straw for me came when I saw articles written by those who are not experienced or knowledgeable in either, the history of the Middle East, the language and the religion – the latter; ISIS has nothing to do with, at all.
Why are people listening to, consulting with or publishing someone”… “….who are not qualified on any aspect of the subject matter?
Not everything published online be it YouTube, Facebook or even established news outlets is correct and should always be looked at with a critical eye. Politicians who have an agenda in mind would highlight a particular issue and blow it out of proportion, then feed the public in order to gain votes. In some cases, deflecting attention from their shortcomings.”
Established media outlets should be responsible for what they broadcast and permit for they do not realise, the vast influence their content patently has on today’s society.
I am not one to speak openly about my religion due to prejudice or my family since I am a private person so please consider yourself rather privileged in this sense and respect this personal post of mine.
When I was born, my parents could not agree on whichever religion they wished to introduce me to and bring me up by since my paternal grandmother originated from Italy but resided in Egypt, which meant my father was automatically Roman Catholic. My maternal grandmother was a Christian and quite a righteous person at that. My parents soon became weary of arguing so they decided to let me grow up and choose myself, which of their religion I wished to follow.
Growing up, I was aware of the different yet similar religions but it was not until I left school that I started to develop a keen inquisition, to find answers regarding who we are and why we are here. I could not understand at the time why people were calling Jesus, the son of God and the wearing / use of a cross. I could not understand why the Jews were so stubborn and seemed to use stratagems. I could not understand why the number of Muslims seemed to be growing so fast. I decided to let my heart decide during the course of seeking further knowledge, for answers.
There was a time during my childhood while I was in Italy visiting family, I knew they were Roman Catholics but this plague on their wall caught my eye since it was in Arabic. Intrigued, I asked my cousin what it said and why they had it. He told me that it said “Allah” and they had brought it back from where they lived in Egypt. Noticing I was still perplexed and not yet satisfied, he went on to explain that Catholics have one God and the Muslims have one God and that “Allah” was the Arabic name for their God. It did not matter what language or religion, there is only one God… That memory and defining emotion has stayed with me ever since then. Based on this experience, my heart seemed to be more inclined towards seeking answers from Islam than the older religions before it.
I wrote to the nearest mosque to me at the time, for any leaflets they could provide me with and to my surprise, I received a book along with a letter from the Imam. I could not believe the level of such kindness and generosity that I immediately wrote back thanking them so.
This book became the very first book I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated. It all started to make a lot of sense, logically and scientifically. It was not just a hippy, peaceful religion for sandal wearing people. This fuelled my desire for more knowledge, and even more answers. Twenty years on, I am still reading books and sometimes, I even correct my husband who is a devout Muslim. They say converts tend to make better Muslims since they seek information in order to quench their thirst for knowledge and to be the better person they could possibly be.
One late evening, there were two young men who were trying to chat up my friend and I, in passing as we made our way to catch the last tube home. I could tell from experience, which country in North Africa they came from. I asked one of the men who was trying to pay me some attention, if he was a Muslim. Whether he lied or spoke the truth would only determine his character. He chose to speak the truth so I asked him in all honesty, why he was consuming alcohol and looking for attention when it was forbidden to him. He took a moment to reflect on his would-be answer but knowingly smiled instead. At that precise moment, he had every respect for me, for reminding him of whom he is, where he came from and to do good. I too relatively had respect for him as I sensed he would potentially cherish that moment, to help him become a better person.
Every being is born a Muslim but family life and peer pressure dictates otherwise so paths tend to deviate. If only people were able to realise the hand of Satan in all the engineering of situations and lures to increase ones desires. All of which is a test, of faith and character.
With Christianity and Judaism, the bible and Torah has been edited accordingly to fit around their ways of life, to make what was not permitted to them, permissible. The bible even more so. Each time certain people try to elevate themselves, they are actually debasing themselves. Not even one word has been changed in the Quran since it was first spoken, memorised and prescribed for the people to follow. When I first started to read the Quran, bits of it made sense and others not, of which I knew I would understand with time and patience. Upon reading the last page of the Quran, I cried a river! I did not want this unique experience and relationship to end. I then took to praying five times a day.
Within a month or so of praying, whenever I prostrated there was a dull pain in my stomach and I would remark on this pain to my husband. The pain continued for another month – especially each time I prostrated. Certainly, my body (and faith?) was trying to tell me something – that I was seriously unwell. My husband came to realise this too when he was told by the hospital over the phone that I had a ruptured appendix of which my body managed to seal off and turned into a mass, causing an abscess also. This meant an invasive surgery to clean up, drain and separate the organs from inside my stomach.
Prior to the operation, I did not think I would survive so I privately said my goodbyes albeit mentally, leaving my life in Allah’s hands by saying “Insha Allah” repeatedly until I was under the effects of the anaesthetics. This verse and my faith, gave me the courage I needed, to face the operation. An operation that saved my life, gave my children back their mother, my husband his wife. The doctor told me that I am extremely lucky to be alive today – I should not be here. At times, I very much struggle with that fact alone and I have to remind myself how I felt before that life changing experience and how much I trusted Allah with my life when I trusted no one else. In particular, it was not yet my time. Yet most importantly, my faith was reconfirmed.
As always, there is a reason for everything, behind every nature’s designs. Only those in a similar situation will come to understand my reasons for writing this and I can only hope that I have helped guide another by sharing how and why I became a convert. My conversion progressively occurred over a number of years as I researched, asked questions and experienced life and psychology from an Islamic perspective.
I would like to thank you for your patience and for sparing a moment of your valuable time to read something so personal.
Furthermore, extremism, terrorism, transgression of the limits and exaggeration, is not permitted in Islam.
“People of the Book, do not go to excess in your religion.” (4:171)
“These are the bounds set by Allah, do not overstep them.” (2:229)
“Do not waste by excess, Allah does not like wasteful people.” (6:141)
“Call on your Lord humbly and privately, He does not like those who transgress His bounds.” (7:55)
The Prophet Muhammed said:
“Avoid going to excess in religion. The people before you were destroyed by their exaggeration.”
Ahmad (1/215, 347), Nisa’i (3057, 3059)
He also said:
“Do not be harsh to yourselves, lest Allah be harsh to you. It happened to some people who adopted the harsh way and Allah treated them badly.”
Abu Ya’la (2427, 2472), Tabarani in Kabir (12/156)
I condemn all acts of terrorism especially where innocent people have to die.
Muslims seem to lose either way. They are constantly asked to apologise for crimes they did not commit nor supported. They are stuck between the extremists and fanatics on either sides. Most Muslims want to work providing for their family and get on with life in harmony, just like the police officer, Ahmed Merabet wanted to, who was also killed yesterday. I am certain not many people know that he was a Muslim because the media did not mention this until much later on but there was no news of what religions the others were. It does not matter to the media because it is not sensational enough and does not go with the narrative of their headlines. This police officer paid with his life trying to do his job as a just person. The far right are striving in France and this will be an opportunity for them to milk this sad situation to their advantages. Sadly the bigots will jump on the band wagon of hatred without any thoughts to the consequences.
Charlie Hebdo was founded in 1970 and since then they have been relentless in mocking everybody in a very aggressive manner. They have a long history of provoking a wide range of people based on their choices and beliefs. Many of their satirical cartoons are tasteless, violent and sexually explicit – depicting many religious figures and politicians.
In 2012 the French government condemned Charlie Hebdo for publishing caricatures depicting Prophet Mohammed. They even urged the magazine to reconsider their decision in publishing the material but they refused. As a result the French government decided to take security measures to protect their embassies and consulates around the world. They also increased security around Charlie Hebdo’s offices. The magazine was determined in pursuit of what they believed is their right to mock others through “Free Speech”. While they are free to publish what they like with the exception of any anti-Semitic content, the law could not stop them or any of their provocative material but there is an unwritten rule to be respectful to others in every walk of life – regardless, in my opinion. You might be walking down an extremely narrow path and someone walks up towards you so you decide to step aside in order to let them go through first. This is what humanity is all about. Why do we have to be so nasty, oppressive and/or so hurtful towards one another?
There are those who will poke fun at disabled people – does anyone still remember Glenn Hoddle? When he remarked disabled people had been punished for their previous life (not very clever) and as a consequence he was sacked from his position as an England football manager. While there is nothing set in law to prosecute him with, the FA still acted and sacked him to show such opinions will not be tolerated.
My point being, freedom of speech is important but we need to hold back at our own discretion if we feel what we might say or do is hurtful towards others. There will always be people who want to push the boundaries and there is nothing wrong with that but freedom of speech cannot be used as an excuse to hide behind from when their actions has consequences and they should expect the same level of freedom of speech back especially when in a democratic state.
My main worry at this point in time is how society is reacting based on what the media wants us to see and believe regarding the cartoons. First it was Denmark, now France – next it will be the UK. When the World Trade Centre was targeted on the 11th of September (9/11), we suspected London would be next but not when. We also knew that the London public transport system would be targeted as that is what would have hurt the city most. If the Waging a dirty war. continues to retaliate to this sad state of affairs regarding the cartoons with the same kind of mockery that provoked all this, their offices could be next.
Any perceived anti-Semitism would be handled straightaway and the offenders promptly dealt with. Yet for any other religions, any anti views are sadly casually tolerated which I find very unfair because the same law should apply to all religions. By being respectful and mindful of others at all times would nip any anti views in the bud and would avoid that cataclysmic chain reaction of events spiralling out of anyone’s control. As for censorship? Do not even try to hide behind that excuse because no one ever sees what actually happens to the people of Palestine and other war torn countries: Waging a dirty war.
Is the Ku Klux Klan a representative of Christians? So why do many think Terrorists are representative of Muslims? Fanatics or extremists does not define their religion come what may except distorts the truth behind it – all religions which asks for submission to the one and only same god is about peace and humanity. A true believer would not stoop so low to harm another because their religion (should) forbids it. Unfortunately people not in the know or are well informed regarding a particular religion will accept that distortion all too readily. It is those who are the most sincere in their hearts that suffer the most from all this due to fanatics and others attributing excuses.
Thank you for allowing me to practise free speech – with respect comes peace.