8 yrs old Saffie Rose Roussos is no more. Is she someone important, you wonder? Yes, absolutely. For her parents, friends and family as long as she was alive. And more so, now, for the many milestones she did not live to see. This child left for her heavenly abode in such an untimely manner, for, we, the grown-ups believe that a deranged group of fanatics shall somehow disappear through hash-tagged prayers.
Has living real lives virtually done this to us? That we believe that Facebook solidarity, Twitter sympathy and Instagrammed grief will make it all vanish. Expression online and silence in the real world is not going to make it go. It cannot. We have centuries of History, in all its genocidal details, vouching for it . Of what use is our empathy if we do not substantiate it with our courage of conviction? What good is the seeming resilience in Life goes on?
Have we become so inured to the regular mayhem and terror that we find pride in going on even when the spectre of terror simply refuses to go? Life should not, must not go on! Things should be at a standstill. What they killed in Manchester or elsewhere is, perhaps, not just innocent lives but something more. Our sensitivity has been stunned to death by these repeat attacks.
And in a bizarre state of warped logic, sensitivity is seen in Ostriching our way out of each event, as it unfolds, one bloodier than the other. Let me emphatically state that calling everyone, who highlights the obvious, an Islamophobe is not being sensitive. Let me also, even more emphatically, state that painting all Muslims as terrorists is reprehensible.
However, it is an established fact that a substantial chunk of global terrorism emanates from one or the other sect of the followers of Islam. So why is the world so apologetic? If a sect of people believing in the Religion of Peace has no qualms in blowing away little children to pieces, why is creating innovative excuses the world’s immediate concern after every terror attack?
We will have another cycle of apologists repeating verses from the Quran, written in the early days of the Islamic movement, to substantiate the peace factor. These people will avoid informing the world that such verses, despite being a part of the Holy Book, stand abrogated by later verses that preach the believers the very opposite of what is showcased. Nobody will highlight that one Verse of the Sword cancels or replaces 124 verses that call for tolerance and patience .
It is high time that the Doctrine of Abrogation is highlighted and the stance of the peaceful majority made clear. Many non-Muslims do not know that in situations wherein verses contradict one another, the early verses are overridden by the latter verses. According to one of Islam’s classical reference books “al-Nasikh wal-Mansoukh” (The Abrogator and the Abrogated), authored by the revered Muslim scholar Abil-Kasim Hibat-Allah Ibn-Salama Abi-Nasr, out of 114 Surahs (chapters), there are only 43 Surahs that remain unaffected. The majority of its chapters cannot be taken at face value. The cancelled verses are mixed in with the authoritative verses and only schooled Islamist know which is which.
Now, if even the followers cannot discern the real meaning, the misinterpretation excuse is clearly long past its expiry date. Using it, time and again, does nothing to calm our fraying nerves as we lose fellow human beings, in one attack after another. How can the peaceful majority leave their religion in the hands of few schooled Islamists when they have seen what a PhD in Islamic Studies is doing to the world?
It is not that we mistrust or misjudge Muslims. I, for example, have grown up being persecuted for my faith by some Muslim fundamentalists. I have no empathy for anyone who perpetrates violence and bloodshed in the name of his religion. I consider such people to be the worst forms of life. At the same time, some of my good friends are Muslims from various parts of India- one who believes in Yog, another who works on his Chakras and yet another who is happily married to the love of his life from my faith. Am sure the violence in the name of Islam makes most Muslims squirm. Nobody is accusing them of being inherently violent towards fellow human beings.
By covering up for those who give Islam a bad name through their actions, the apologists, including the left liberals, insult all those people who actually believe Islam to be a religion of peace. The people who must surely be embarrassed by the heinous deeds of their co-religionists. This cover-up indirectly indicates that the apologists have no faith in their faith and that they blame all Muslims.
Do we? Most definitely not! It is just that we are aware of the fact that devout Muslim parents, all over the world, ensure that their kids read, memorise and learn the Quran, either in Madarsas or at home. We cannot fault these children for looking at the world differently from us, once they grow up. With the population of Muslims being substantial, political correctness is certainly not going to help.
It is natural for the rest of the world to wonder if the real believers are aware, concerned or complicit. The rest of the world would definitely need some reassurance. So will the real believers please stand up? Stand with Humanity and against these Barbarians, for, the time for subtle gestures is over. The world is craving for visible overtures for reform, for a denouncement of those actions stemming from explicit verses, which even when used to spread the faith in the initial stage, were as unacceptable then, as these are now. By repeatedly saying that more Muslims get killed in terrorist incidents, the message that we receive is that there is some hesitation from their end. It indicates an unwillingness towards reform, spiritual cleansing or long-lasting and sustainable peace. And this causes discomfort among non Muslims.
The debate is not about misinterpretation – then or now. Common sense and logic suggests that the message that can be interpreted only by a limited set of scholars, for more than a billion people, is bound to create havoc, especially, when allegiance to the faith is expected to trump any other allegiance, Nationality, for instance.
I have personally seen it happen in the last twenty-seven years – in the region I inhabit, the country I inhabit and the world I inhabit. Keeping mum, even as I am concerned, worried, scared and agitated, is not a viable proposition any more. I am not an immortal. This is, therefore, not about me or my remaining years in this world. It is about the world – the present and the future. Do we wish to leave humanity better than we found it or not?
If yes, then let us start with being honest. We want our Muslim brethren, who truly believe in peace, to take charge and lead the spiritual rinsing and cleansing. Can they assure the world, through their words and deeds, that their worldview does not support the division of the world into believers and Kafirs; that even if they believe that there is only one God for them, it is OK for the rest to have their own beliefs; that it is not their religious or spiritual aim to make the rest of us come round to what they believe – through persuasion or persecution and that a Sharia compliant world is not what they seek.
The world wants them to open-mindedly see and accept that their faith was preceded by many other faiths and beliefs. Hence, any insistence on only their faith being right is akin to a teenager insisting on being considered older and more experienced than his forefathers. It can’t happen, won’t happen, for, it is not correct. The world wants the true believers of the religion of peace to start a dialog, work zealously on reform, and stand up for peace in the real world.
We belong to one species. It is perfectly alright to have diversity of race, religion, region and more. But it is just not alright to lose sight of our core values. Before being a true believer (be it in a book or an individual), you need to believe in humanity, equality, peace, compassion and mutual respect. Do You?