As global tensions increase once more, I reflect on Carl Sagan’s words.
“My concept of religion has broadened over the years. My mother was a Baptist, and my father was a Methodist. They both believed that Jesus was the son of God. I don’t believe that, but I believe he was an important prophet like Moses. I believe that on judgment day, my parents will be in heaven, not because they were without fault, but because they were decent, loving human beings, and they believed in God.
We all have the same God, we just serve him differently. Rivers, lakes, ponds, streams, oceans, all have different names, but they all contain water. So do religions have different names, and they all contain truth, expressed in different ways, forms, and times. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Muslim, a Christian, or a Jew.
When you believe in God, you should believe that all people are part of one family. If you love God, you can’t love only some of his children.”
~ Muhammad Ali, The Soul of a Butterfly
The Holy Qur’an in verse 22:67 provides immense food for thought, especially relevant in our time of rampant sectarianism and increasing animosity between people who ally themselves to different religious traditions.
The verse indicates that all religions are from God, which means there must be a Divine Wisdom and Blessing in the diversity faith and spirituality takes in our Human Family. Surely then, this is not something to condemn as the closed minded do; rather this is a blessing from God, perhaps a phenomenon we should learn more about and reflect upon…
“Through our scientific and technological genius, we have made of this world a neighborhood and yet we have not had the ethical commitment to make of it a brotherhood. But somehow, and in some way, we have got to do this.
We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools. We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.
For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the way God’s universe is made; this is the way it is structured.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr, (31 March 1968)
By Dr Syed Talib Hussain Warsi
Director of Intrafaith Relations, AOBM
The Association of British Muslims strongly condemn and express our revulsion at the brutal and insane act of violence and murder of twelve people and injuring eleven others in Paris at the offices of the satirical Magazine Charlie Hebdo.
On behalf of the Muslims residing in Great Britain we express our sorrow and sympathy and convey our condolences to the grieving relatives, friends and associates of those who lost their lives in such tragic circumstance.
The slogan of the perpetrators of this crime “we have avenged Prophet Mohammed, God (Allah) is great” was deliberately made to malign all people of the Muslim faith in the eyes of the world. Islam practiced by all Muslims, except a very small minority, believe that human rights, rights and equality of all religion, race and cultural, plus social justice and freedom are the pillars of our faith. These terrorists are extremely wicked, dangerous, brutal, fanatical part of a particular sect or cult who have disguised themselves wearing the cloak of Islam. They have absolutely and I repeat absolutely nothing what so ever to do with Islam, just like Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland had nothing do anything with Christ or Christianity in their recent feuds. If they claim that they are “the pure and true believers and protectors of Islam and Muslims then why have they been killing thousands upon thousands of their own Muslim brothers and sisters within the bounds of the Muslim world. They have slaughtered men, women and children who say God (“Allah”) is great five times a day in their prayers, prayers that are all about peace, love and charity. These, unscrupulous, hideous and barbaric criminals did not hesitate in beheading Peter Edward Kassing, an American who had converted to Islam and adopted a Muslim name “Abdul Rahman Kassing. ,
Time has come to tackle this “cult” who are in a comparative way the Ku Klux Klan of the Muslim world. They are by now a global problem, a global menace. These scourge, the very scum of the modern world are branded as Islamists, whilst I keep repeating that they have absolutely nothing to do with Islam or its ideology. We have to acknowledge the fact that they are not only very well financed, armed and trained but also well versed with the art of using the media, especially the social media and the internet for their ill begotten aims. Their main objective is to subjugate other religions, cultures and societies. All efforts must be made and with great haste and urgency to cut off their sources of funding even if they are coming from some of “our best trading partners”. Never in the history of the modern world have terrorists and warlords received so much from so many, so freely, like ISIS, which many nations of the world must envy. Fellows like Abubaker Baghdadi must be saying to each other, “guys we have never had it so good”.
For the sake of regime, too many times we have encouraged, formed, financed, armed and trained rebel armies whose behaviour are no different to any other terrorist organisation. Often they have had boomerang effects. It is now appearing in the media that two of the terrorists named in the Charlie Hebdo massacre are ‘Syria returned’ i.e. ‘terrorists made in Syria’ perhaps at one of our friendly training camps. After gaining field experience, they have been returned to France with compliments. How sad, what a tragedy.
We beseech our Muslim brothers and sister in this country, France and rest of Europe to work hard within the community, with the government, the police, local authorities and the media in exposing and bringing justice to people with such twisted minds. In the safety of our nations and all its citizens lie the safety of all of us, Muslims or non-Muslims.
Happy New Year! May Allah SWT bless everyone in our Human Family through 2015 and beyond!