Tuesday, March 28, 2006

'How to Lose a God in Three Months'

It has been particularly painful for me watch. It has been unsettling, unnerving, and disgusting. I'm not overly religious, but I know Islam well enough to understand with certainty that my religion is being hijacked by zealots.

A part of living abroad pertains to cultural interchange. I take particular pride in describing my country and explaining my religion. My country hasn't let me down, it's people have. My religion hasn't let me down, it's followers have. I have seen a sweeping dream of 'Bangladesh' made bleak in 35 years. I am seeing a great religion being reduced to obscenety in 1400 years.

Times have been difficult for Muslims living in foreign countries. Life can't be fun when one is blamed by both parties of a useless, unproductive fight. I don't side with the zealots who crash and burn over cartoons. I don't side with the political scoundrels who bend all rules to promote provocative journalism, either.

I believe that the Muslims have missed a golden opportunity to prove the depth and breadth of their religion by protesting violently against the Danish cartoons. We had been humiliated, harrassed, violated, demonized, and blacklisted following 9/11. God gave us another chance. We failed again. We knew it was a trap. We knew it was unnecessary provocation. We knew that Islam is weakened by violence and aggression, not satire. We knew our faiths weren't shaken a bit by mere cartoons. We knew the cartoons were not even remotely close to the appearance of Prophet Mohammed (sm). We knew that patience and forgiveness would serve us better than violence. Still we rioted and torched. Is it still a 'mistake' on the part of the Muslims? I guess not. I blame the Muslims for finally engaging in the widescale violence and terrorism that we've been long blamed for.

The western media and administrations have been just as bad. News about the incident was never fair or complete. I have read and watched every report on CNN/BBC. No one mentioned that this was initiated by a nationally awarded book that defiled Islam. No one mentioned that there was a nationally campaigned contest to get cartoons for the book's cover. No one mentioned that defiling Prophet Mohammed (sm) was a specification of the newspaper and the author (despite knowing than images or idols of Prophet Mohammed (sm) are considered blasphemy in Islam and there exists no such imitations in the Muslim world). No one mentioned that Muslims in Denmark initially responded with mild 'statements' saying that it was something wrong on the part of the newspaper to do so. No one mentioned that the cartoons were re-published just to create a bit more buzz. No one mentioned than Denmark is moving towards legally ostracizing Muslims. No one mentioned that the religious and racial right-wing was a patron of the newspaper's activities. Yet all the pre-determined conclusions were fired away when the bow finally broke. Muslims are fanatics, uncultured, unsocial, and impatient.

The fire finally broke out. Like every fire, it burned all else. Like every fire, it didn't spare its ignitors house. We have lost both reason and religion in the process. It proved to the west that Muslims still needs some lessons in patience and progress. It proved to the east that the west lives behind a cloud of deceit and hypocrisy. Has the world been any better since then? Certainly not.

The west has embarked on a crusade on cleriks. As much as I despise their zealotry, I would argue in their favor that "down with England!" can't be 'religious provocation' if Jyllands-Posten's activities weren't. At the same time, the east has pathetically failed to grasp the futility of rioting over a cartoon. If a western girl has to cover her head in a Muslim country, a Muslim can be expected to be tolerant of a cartoon in the west, too. Hijaab (head-scarf) is just as much a part of the Muslim society as good humor is in the west.

The east has done even worse. They have unearthed a long-forgotten case of conversion. A person being sentenced to death sixteen years after his conversion in a country that has constitutional ban against such judgement and a big chunk of the population is openly supporting so. If only these people went this far in the proper direction, they'd be in the fifth millenium in stead of the first! It took only three months to lose God again.

I knew I would express my opinions regarding these matters, but I also knew that I would wait until emotion gives way to logic. My thoughts have reassured me that there's a God (/Allah/...) up there. Still looking down. Lost and dejected.
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